The PlayStation 4 is now here and people are beginning to wonder: how much longer will the PlayStation 3 library hold up and will there be many worthy future additions? Just in this month alone and for many months to come, there are many game releases slated for the system: I would say that it’s a safe bet that we will see plenty of great gaming to come for the PlayStation 3. With that being said, though, it’s also a pretty safe bet to say that the majority of the PS3 library has come and gone and I feel pretty secure in being able to come up with my very first top ten for the best that has come and gone for the PlayStation 3. Before I get started, you should probably know a few things that will become staples of my top tens: I only place games I’ve played, I only call on one game per franchise, and you should also know that this is my personal opinion, I’m just some guy on the Internet, and this is all in good fun, alright? Shall we begin?
Top Ten Best Games Ever for the PlayStation 3
10. Fallout: New Vegas
This one places you in the role of a man simply known as the Courier on his mission to deliver something called the Platinum Chip. He’s assaulted within inches of his life during this delivery and in getting the package back he gets stuck in the middle of something akin to a civil war in New Vegas over control of the Hoover Dam, which provides natural power and irradiated water to the entire region. His choices affect the outcome of this little fight between factions and you ultimately end up changing the history of the region upon completing the game.
Some would say that Fallout 3 was more iconic to the franchise but I beg to differ; while Fallout 3 turned the game format on its ass and changed it into the awesome format we know and love today it’s just simply not the game to have done it the best, in my eyes: you have a more fleshed out and believable story, you have a more finely-tuned battle system, a lot of the glitches have been worked out; I could go on for an hour but the fact, to me, remains that there’s a much more polished experience, here. Right from top to bottom, the game took everything that made Fallout 3 awesome and just made it cleaner and more presentable. Sure, there were a lot of annoyances but you can’t make a game of that kind of scope without running into a few road bumps, right?
Say what you want about the music/rhythm genre, it got all kinds of serious when Rock Band came along and started making peripherals specifically for its music game that included more than a cheap, clicking, plastic guitar. You got more of a band experience with Rock Band and, with that, people’s expectations started getting higher. While Rock Band 3 tried to accommodate some of these expectations but EA and Harmonix seemed intent on creating plastic toys for their peripherals; by that time, people were saying that the instruments were not real enough.
That’s where Rocksmith came in with their game that allowed you to use practically any actual electric guitar and, using a special cable, play the game with it. It was an unrivaled experience for the time and, to date, there’s nothing quite like it. Not only does it change how you play the game but it also works as an excellent teacher as it changes a song’s difficulty based on how well you perform in certain parts of a song. It doesn’t spend a lot of time holding your hand but it still does a great job of bringing in those new to guitar playing.
8. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim puts you in the role of the Dovahkiin, a mortal with the soul of a dragon within him whose purpose is to absorb the souls of other dragons through combat and the use of Thu’uns – or shouts, as the game also calls them – who comes to his power just in time to combat Alduin, the dragon-god of destruction, who is busy reviving his dragon kind from their slumber to assist him in razing all of Skyrim and, in time, all of Tamriel.
This is another one of those spots where people say that another game in the franchise is better than my favorite but, like in the case of Fallout: New Vegas, this game just did everything past games in the franchise did but better. It didn’t really bring anything new but the highest degree of polish and attention to detail that has yet been unmatched. In all honesty, there’s not many fantasy-themed games that come close, let alone many games that come close to it period. There’s literally so much to do; you can get lost in the in-game literature, you can go hunting, you can pick flowers or catch animals, you can screw with people, you can be the ultimate good or bad guy, you can explore to your heart’s intent. There’s literally no boundary on what you can do within the province of Skyrim.
7. Heavy Rain
Heavy Rain is a bit of a convoluted game that focuses on the trials of Ethan Mars whose son has been kidnapped by a man who the police have dubbed The Origami Killer. Its tale is told through the perspective of many characters and is progressed through the use of quicktime events.
Yes, I can hear the groaning from here. I know that some people don’t even qualify this as a game but rather a quicktime event-heavy blitz but this game broke some pretty shaky ground back when it was released. It was a video game that actually focused on storytelling instead of storytelling taking the back burner or being filled with completely lame McGuffins – I’m looking at you, Square-Enix – and that story had some pretty risque chapters within it. This game holds a special place in me for being able to do that and still succeed in spite of the flak it continually took. This game took risks that some other franchises – I’m looking at you, EA – simply refuse to make.
Yes, it did more than take a whole bunch of risks and make a bunch of money – it also told a pretty decent story, too. A lot of the plot twists were very cathartic and sometimes cringe-worthy but always in context. It had a pretty deep story to tell and that story wasn’t entirely a bad one, either.
6. Batman: Arkham City
This game can be summed up thusly: take one Batman; take nearly every major villain in Batman’s rogue’s gallery; seal off all of Gotham’s slums; throw said Batman and villains into said sealed off slums and let the magic happen. There’s a lot more going on but that’s about the gist of what you’re getting into with this game that takes place one year after Arkham Asylum. While there’s a lot going on, here, the classic story of arch-rivals, Joker and Batman, runs really deep within the story of this game and serves up a pretty big twist at the end.
Yet again another case of “this is my favorite from the franchise”, I chose this one for a different reason: while you can reboot a franchise, retell the origin story, serve up a million different writers to take on the Batman, the professionals always go to the tried and trusted Batman vs. Joker plot, which always is about risk and sacrifice. While Rocksteady took the “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” approach and did very little to mess with the gameplay, it did the one thing that made this game the perfect title in the series: it wrote the story extremely well and actually started the story almost as precariously as it ended it.
5. Bioshock: Infinite
In 1912, Booker DeWitt is given a simple task: pursue a girl and retrieve her, in turn for a pretty vague favor – to “wipe away the debt” – which sets in motion one the greatest plots in the last generation of gaming and then some. What starts as a pretty straightforward shooter turns into a desperate plot as you start weaving between dimensions using the powers that this girl, Elizabeth, is capable of using.
I’m not going to lie; as a game, there’s nothing really special here, even among other franchise entries: your character has a select amount of firearms at their disposal and a select amount of gadgets and powers to supplement that armory in order to confront your foes, who eventually turns out to be everyone who isn’t you and Elizabeth. This run-and-gun atmosphere that doesn’t give you too much variety in mission objectives slowly changes as the plot starts to twist and change. This is where the game truly shines – your commitment to the game and its story slowly but eventually starts paying off as your mastery of the gameplay starts getting challenged and so does your grasp of the situation, both literally and figuratively. It’s one hell of a roller coaster in many ways.
4. The Last of Us
The Last of Us chronicles the before and after of a massive cordyceps infection – a fungal infection that is known to mankind, in the real world, as a threat only to ants in a select area overseas – that suddenly mutates and becomes able to infect humans that come in direct contact with it. Those infected become zombie-like and things go really bad, really quick; especially where Joel and Ellie are concerned: Ellie may hold the key to a cure for the infection and Joel may be her only hope in getting that cure to humanity before it’s too late.
This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite games of 2013, hands down. This takes every lesson Naught Dog learned in the last twenty years in the gaming industry and puts that into a game with so much attention to detail and realism – as real as a game about, for all intents and purposes, plant zombies can be – that cannot be denied as a very strong contender for game of the year for Playstation 3 and one of the best games of the generation, for sure. This game would have, alone, made an extremely compelling movie; stack on top one of the more compelling gaming experiences to be had on the Playstation 3 and you have a winner.
3. Grand Theft Auto V
This outing in the GTA world has you in control of three characters, out to build their way to the top of their criminal empire by making the “big score”. What this entails is entirely up to you but this takes the gangland and mafia-like stories of previous entries and makes this outing feel way more personal, playing up a short story about a few schmucks who have a past with criminality and dreams of making it big, marking their return to former glory.
This game doesn’t offer you anything you’re really unfamiliar with; you’re offered a huge game world, its inhabitants, all of its vehicles, plenty of side missions, and all the time in the world to do whatever you want, almost, in just about any manner you choose. The two biggest things that set this game aside from all of the rest aside from the obvious things – graphical, physics improvements, along with a bigger game world – is the fact that the characters feel personal and so does the world they live in. Everybody’s busy doing something and the world doesn’t revolve around your characters and their actions. You can even get involved in some of the random citizens’ actions, though that’s still kind of limited. Some people prefer the atmosphere of GTAIV‘s Liberty City antics and the main character’s brother constantly pestering you and getting you into trouble but I am definitely not one of those people. I prefer a living, breathing world.
2. Mass Effect 3
This entry wraps up the Shepard trilogy of the Mass Effect series and stamps a final end to the Reapers, in one of many ways. Without spoiling much of the plot, you see Shepard bounce around the galaxy, like before, performing favors for governments who hate him for whatever reason but end up bending after doing all kinds of crazy stuff to prove his worth, ending up doing a majority of the grunt work himself anyway, putting an end to a threat that seemed to focus entirely on the destruction of a galaxy that would have, honestly, not grieved for long if he died, as he’s already proven.
Let’s face it: Mass Effect 3 felt a little watered down. As the previous entry launched the franchise into the spotlight, EA and Bioware felt they had to cater, in certain ways, as to broaden their horizons without alienating their current fanbase. They had, for the most part, did that; some will beg to differ, will do it as loudly and obnoxiously as possible, but I enjoyed the game immensely. Many of the games biggest flaws weren’t even flaws at all, really – most people complaining about plot holes, changes in plot direction, the game doing simply more of the same, staying with what’s safe instead of breaking boundaries like… the… last did? Reality check, folks: Mass Effect 2 may have perfected the experience but some culling was needed and some important stuff to keep it relevant was, as well.
Two things this game did well that the others didn’t? First, every last bit of DLC was important, deep, added more gameplay without taking away from the experiences you knew, and didn’t feel stapled on. Honestly, most of the DLC felt like it should have been there all along. Most importantly, all of it was fun, especially Citadel. If Citadel was released as a small spinoff I would have gladly bought it. Every DLC I have ever purchased since then has been held to that standard and not many pieces of DLC are like that. Secondly, multiplayer: a lot of games and a lot of franchises staple on multiplayer because, in the modern gaming industry, it’s important to have an online presence and having a multiplayer function can be an easy way out to get that presence without having to do much extra work. This game’s multiplayer doesn’t feel stapled on, necessarily, but feels rather like an extension of the game: so much so that it used to require that you play multiplayer to some degree in order to get the best possible endings. It felt like a path you could take in the existing games that just happened to be co-op.
Oh, by the way, don’t get me started on the endings. I liked them. That’s all that needs to be said.
1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
You see a lot of titles come and go through the years – some games play awesomely – they’re light on story, they focus on the gameplay and the characters, they shine brilliantly but fade quickly; some games are wonderful stories – they are incredibly cathartic, funny, and moving, telling you a tale that will be remembered forever, where it’s pretty obvious the game came as an afterthought to a story that was very well thought out; there are games that give you freedom, that send both story and gameplay to the wind and spend more time burying you in attention to detail and giving you the freedom to do whatever you like, how you like it. This game literally has everything you can ask from a singular gaming experience; it gives you a chilling premise, entering you into the shoes of Old Snake, whose mission is to eliminate a man whose code name is Liquid Ocelot. This deceivingly simple assassination mission takes you through many territories, linking with many characters and telling many stories, reminding you of and resolving plot threads from the entire franchise, while giving you complete control over how you experience the game.
When I say that you get complete control over your experience, I mean it in every way I possibly could: you can experience cutscenes from many perspectives, you can approach the gameplay in many different ways, you can unlock things that could change how you view everything; this is literally a custom-tailored experience based on how much you put into it. Some people might complain about this game but I feel that it gives you everything you could ask from a video game that ever released on the Playstation 3: it gives you story, attention to detail, and awesome gameplay; and it gives you that in spades. Hell, Snake even carries around a little iPod that he can listen to tracks from past games on… and if he’s close to the enemy, the enemy can hear you and raise an alert. I mean, that’s just something you don’t see in anything else. Every choice you make, good or bad, has implications on the game in the future, big or small. It’s really something and you cannot miss it.
This system has seen a lot of hits comes and go and I very highly doubt that the hits are going to stop coming now that the next generation systems are finally current gen. This is an exciting transition period for me as a gamer and I think it’s an exciting time for the industry, with so much active hardware that a great deal of developers are still planning on releasing material for.