It seems like just yesterday that Sony pulled the curtain back on the sleek, jet-black box known as the PlayStation 3, but in reality, the console has been out for over a decade. With so many games to choose from, we know it can be hard to choose your next purchase.
There’s a laundry list of fantastic titles available for the console, from The Last of Us to Grand Theft Auto V, many of which you can purchase new at budget-friendly prices or pick up secondhand from some dude on Craigslist. Below are our favorite titles for PlayStation 3, in no particular order, whether you’re looking for a standalone masterpiece or a highlight from a blockbuster franchise.
Despite an uneven combat system and a lack of multiplayer content, Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us came away as one of the most alluring console titles of any generation. Its fantastic visual design, rich voice acting, and choice-based gameplay blend together in support of incredible, mature storytelling. The compelling relationship between Joel and Ellie as they fend for themselves in the post-apocalyptic United States is memorable to say the least — so much so the game was quickly remastered for the PlayStation 4. It’s truly a cinematic masterpiece.
Read our full The Last of Us review
The latest installment of Grand Theft Auto is a benchmark in terms of open-world design and narrative. The gorgeous, bustling streets and back roads of Los Santos are chock-full of stuff to do, while the title’s unprecedented three-protagonist system propels you through a gripping story lined with superb, multilayered heists and unforgettable sequences that owe as much to the voice acting as they do the tight vehicular handling.
Read our full Grand Theft Auto V review
The charming Ni no Kuni is a pleasure, described by some as Chrono Trigger crossed with Pokemon, in the style of Studio Ghibli, who actually worked on the game’s animation. It’s a sweeping cartoon adventure revolving around a simple boy named Oliver, who sets out to become a wizard in the hopes of toppling evil and saving his recently-departed mother.
The timeless world is rich and inventive, whether it’s the talking scenarios, enemies, characters, or the surrounding locales. And the heartfelt themes and motifs make up for troublesome leveling mechanics. Drippy is also one of the best fairy sidekicks you ask for, on par with Ocarina of Time‘s Navi.
Read our full Ni no Kuni review
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption remains the undisputed sleeper hit of 2010. It’s essentially a GTA title set in the Wild West and built on all manners of western cliches. The deserted region you traverse as former outlaw John Marston is vast, peppered with memorable characters and a variety of optional activities, including everything from racing and roping to poker and hunting. The accompanying story and its melange of staggered climaxes are just as sublime, so much so that you often forget there’s an entire multiplayer component with a host of classic options to explore.
Uncharted 2 doesn’t really deviate from the first title in Naughty Dog’s smash series, and that’s fine by us. It once again stars world-class treasure hunter Nathan Drake and an entourage of familiar faces. Like its predecessor, it seamlessly blends platforming and shooting with a riveting storyline and deep levels of exploration. The competitive multiplayer and bundled game modes add to the fun, offering up an attractive perk system designed to keep you engaged beyond the 10-hour campaign. Now, if only the cover system worked better in tight spaces.
Portal 2 is a wonder to play–that is, assuming you can look past the lengthy load times and general lack of replay value. It features a welcome array of spatial orientation puzzles centered around the portal gun, much like its short predecessor, and includes both a story-driven single-player and a less story-driven two-player co-op campaign.
Either way, the puzzles are more sophisticated and the characters more entertaining than before, the latter of which owes much to the game’s clever writing and Valve’s ability to bring a surprising human element to its cast of spherical robots and ghostly voices, featuring fantastic actors like Stephen Merchant and J.K. Simmons.
Read our full Portal review
Assassin’s Creed V: Unity seemed awful, but largely because Black Flag was so mesmerizing. It features all the hallmarks of the series — clever stealth mechanics, high-flying acrobatics, a fluid combat system, etc. — while introducing a vibrant open world where resounding naval combat and a dynamic progression systems reign supreme. The story revolving around protagonist Edward Kenway is also fascinating, and though it’s a bit formulaic and repetitive in nature, it somehow manages to paint a less dismal portrait of pirates and the sea-faring life than most modern media.
Read our full Assassin’s Creed IV review
Acclaimed game designer Ken Levine knows how to tell a great story — take BioShock Infinite as proof. The lofted, spirited world of Columbia is a sight to behold on foot or via skyline rail. Like any good story, Infinite also has the ability to tug at your emotions through incredible voice work and a mind-blowing plot that will leave your mouth agape when the credits roll. The gameplay can be customized to your preferences, too, with a gratifying swath of vigors, weapons, and upgrades to make you feel like more than just a man trying to wash away the sins of his past.
Read our full Bioshock Infinite review
The crime-ridden, atmospheric metropolis of Gotham has never seemed more appealing than in Arkham City. The terrific adventure sees you grappling and soaring above the city as the everyone’s favorite superhero, before descending upon the streets and engaging in fast-paced combat with a bevy of notable Batman characters using your fists or a host of iconic gadgets. The story itself is lined with a vast assortment of side missions and nerdtastic lore as well, and features standout voice acting from the likes of Batman staples Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, and others.
In a nutshell, the evocative Journey is a third-person adventure in which you cross the desert as a red-robed figure on a quest toward a mountain. However, it is just as much a work of artistic expression as it is a video game, reveling in dazzling animation and a highly-interpretive story that’s never clearly defined throughout the game’s short length. Nonetheless, it’s a joy to play alone or with any anonymous stranger who might wander into your game without notice. Moreover, gliding and sand surfing provides movement that’s as dynamic as the stirring music.
Read our full Journey review
The third installment of LittleBigPlanet is just as quirky and playful as any platformer Sumo Digital has released to date. It shines when it comes to the rabbit-hole of a level editor and the sheer wealth of inventive gadgets if offers, even if its ineffective tutorials and bugs can sometimes interrupt the gameplay. The game’s new characters and items also substantially change the platforming mechanics, giving you a convenient means for flying (Swoop) and scrambling up walls (Odd Sock). And who doesn’t like clean visual design and Pug costumes?
Read our full LittleBigPlanet 3 review
Occasional disastrous glitches aside, New Vegas expands upon the winning formula Bethesda first forged in Fallout 3. The role-playing game features an expansive and detailed wasteland strewn with wide-ranging quests, along with a stellar soundtrack and voice work that buoy the prevailing atmosphere to great effect. The deep and flexible leveling and reputation system, the gravity of your choices, and the innate ability to play in either first or third-person allow for a multitude of approaches too, increasing the game’s replay value.
Fumito Ueda’s Shadow of the Colossus was great on the PlayStation 2, sure, but it’s even better remastered on the PS3. The larger-than-life title has you playing as the game’s two heroes, Wander and his horse Argo, shuffling you through a bleak and somber landscape as you work to eradicate a host of enormous colossi and wake your fair maiden from her slumber.
The colossus fights make boss battles in any other game look small and prosaic by comparison. The short story and accompanying score are beautifully orchestrated — as are the updated visuals — but it’s the way the puzzle and action mechanics seamlessly intertwine that makes it unlike anything else.
Read our full Shadow of the Colossus review
The world Bethesda conceived for the latest iteration of the Elder Scrolls is incredibly immersive and big; not just in terms of its massive map and an overwhelming number of quests, but in the engrossing lore and battles themselves. It’s been almost a decade after its initial release and people still use it as a standard for the scale of open-world RPGs.
Bethesda’s insistence on porting it to every new platform that comes along has certainly helped it remain in the public eye. Fighting dragons is epic fun, of course, but the title’s subtle atmospheric touches and a stunning emphasis on art design give it the upper hand over its predecessors.
Read our full Elder Scrolls V review
Playing as going-on-senior-citizen Solid Snake could have easily been a disaster, but Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots took the series in a brilliant direction with the use of gadgets like the camouflage suit, a buddy robot, and the innovative Psyche Meter. From a technical perspective, MGS4 was one of the most impressive feats of the era, from visuals to gameplay to cinematics.
The story, like the games in the series before it, twisted and turned and amused and befuddled. With a movie-length cutscene sequence at the end, MGS4 ended with a startling bang. MGS4 was a more than worthy addition into the Metal Gear library and is commonly viewed as one of the greatest stealth games of all time.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was a watershed moment for the franchise and first-person shooters in general. First, it brought the traditionally World War II shooter into the modern era with a contemporary single-player campaign that raised the bar for the genre. It still remains one of the most affecting and well-crafted campaigns in shooter history. Second, it really kickstarted the Call of Duty multiplayer craze on consoles.
Thanks to finely-tuned mechanics, an addictive class-based system, and wondrously-designed maps, Modern Warfare quickly became the leading example of multiplayer shooters done right. Even more than a decade after its release, fans are still enjoying Modern Warfare via the Remastered edition and backwards compatibility on current generation consoles.
The Souls series has gained a reputation for being the standard for difficult games. Demon Souls kicked off the From Software series, but it was Dark Souls that brought the punishing franchise to the mainstream, and for good reason. Though Dark Souls is an open world game with a dizzying number of tangents and secrets, it can be aptly described as an epic boss rush.
You had to master the methodical combat and learn the tendencies of its diabolical bosses in order to come out on top. Even early bosses felt like an immense hurdle, which made each victory sweeter than the last. Dark Souls is also known for its bugs and inconsistencies. Rather than diminishing the experience, however, the strange occurrences and dips in performances contributed to its novel charm.
The Mass Effect trilogy from BioWare is arguably the greatest video game trilogy of all time. While everyone has their personal favorite in the series, we chose to go with the original due to the way it redefined choice-based RPGs. Set in the Milky Way galaxy in 2183, players stepped into the shoes of soldier Commander Shepard. With human life in danger from a machine invasion, Shepard departed on an adventure that we’re still thinking about today.
Filled with stellar writing that forces you to make critical decisions that alter the course of the story, Mass Effect featured some of the best world and character building of the era. The original held the deepest RPG connections and moved at somewhat of a slower pace than its sequels, but it rewarded those who stuck with it to its extremely satisfying conclusion. Though the series ended with controversy and was followed up by the disappointing Mass Effect: Andromeda, the first game will always be known as a defining and influential action-RPG.
Dead Space felt like the perfect combination of horror and action. Developed by the now-defunct Visceral Games, Dead Space followed spaceship engineer Isaac Clarke’s repair mission on the USG Ishimura. Naturally, things quickly went south when Clarke realized the crew had been slaughtered and turned into terrifying creatures called Necromorphs.
Dead Space stood out for its haunting atmosphere and brilliant action gameplay that saw players dismembering the Necromorphs limb-by-limb with technological gadgets. With brilliant pacing and expert design, Dead Space kicked off the best action-horror trilogy of the era.
Developed by Insomniac Games, the Resistance series saved its best game for last. Set in a ridiculously cool alternate 1950s reality filled with grotesque aliens, every single mission managed to outdo the last. Fast, over-the-top combat made Resistance 3 a constant joy to play, but it was the touching story that brought the trilogy to a great conclusion.
For a science fiction series filled with fantastical elements, Resistance 3‘s grounded tale about protecting one’s family was both surprising and moving. Though Insomniac has moved on in the years since the underrated trilogy reached its conclusion, Resistance 3 remains one of its best efforts.