It feels a little strange to be writing a retrospective article about a console which is still going strong, but nevertheless, it won’t be long before the PlayStation 3 will have to play second fiddle to the PS4. To celebrate the launch of PS4 Attitude, I thought I’d look back at some of my favourite PS3 games, to hopefully prove just how much of an awesome console it really is.
Note: this is by no means a definitive list. I tried to pick a diverse selection of retail games that covers the whole of the PS3’s lifespan, with a maximum of one game per developer.
Batman: Arkham City (2011)
Batman: Arkham City, created by London-based developer Rocksteady Studios, is one of those rare videogame sequels that not only matches the creativity and ambition of its predecessor, but exceeds it in every way imaginable. Roaming the streets of Gotham is a hugely empowering experience, especially when you beat up what feels like the city’s entire criminal network. When you add in a handful of awesome Catwoman sequences, along with the dozens of combat and stealth challenges, you have what is indisputably the greatest superhero game ever made.
Dragon Age: Origins (2009)
I’m a little ashamed to say it now, but two weeks before the release of Dragon Age: Origins, I hadn’t even heard of the game. I can’t remember how I finally found out about it, but I eventually bought it as somewhat of an impulse purchase, and was immediately hooked. The world of Thedas was so completely realised and detailed that I found it difficult to believe it was a brand new IP; it felt like I’d missed out on about five games’ worth of back-story. Putting such a heavy emphasis on narrative was clearly a very risky decision by BioWare, but it’s also one that massively paid off.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2007)
Although Skyrim may seem like a more obvious choice, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will always hold a special place in my collection, because it was the first game on PS3 that truly made me sit back in my chair and think ‘Wow!’. The sense of freedom that PC gamers had been experiencing for over a decade was finally available to PlayStation gamers for the first time, and I definitely made the most of it, sinking well over 150 hours into the PS3 version alone. Emerging from the prison sewer at the beginning of the game is truly one of my favourite videogame moments of all time.
God of War III (2010)
Arriving towards the end of the PS2’s lifecycle, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the God of War series completely redefined the hack and slash genre, as it was later copied (but never bettered) by titles like Dante’s Inferno, Darksiders and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, to name a few. However, with God of War III on PS3, the team at Sony Santa Monica outdid itself, delivering an absolute powerhouse of a game. From the brutal gameplay to the phenomenal visuals, even today GOWIII remains one of the best action-adventure games on PS3.
Heavy Rain (2010)
For some people, Heavy Rain will always be simply ‘that QTE game’, which is admittedly a fairly accurate description, but also a complete disservice to developer Quantic Dream. It may not be a perfect game, but David Cage’s creation is still an incredibly engaging piece of entertainment that I believe pushed storytelling in videogames to a whole new level. From the heart-breaking opening to the frantic finale, I was on the edge of my seat throughout each of my many playthroughs, and I eagerly await the release of the studio’s next game, Beyond: Two Souls, in a few weeks’ time.
Let’s be honest; with a few notable exceptions, there were very few must-play exclusives released in the first couple of years after the launch of the PlayStation 3. I dread to think what could have happened to Sony’s console if LittleBigPlanet wasn’t a success, but thankfully not only did it somehow live up to the hype, but it also completely smashed my expectations to pieces. The pre-made Story levels are amongst the most inventive I’ve seen in any platformer, and the user-generated content features were light-years ahead of anything we’d seen on consoles… until LBP2 came out.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)
Confession time: before Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, I’d never played a single Metal Gear Solid game. But before you judge me too harshly, I can assure you I definitely made up for lost time with MGS4, completing three full playthroughs in the space of two weeks. The PS3 admittedly isn’t home to many third-party exclusive games, but Hideo Kojima’s epic is undoubtedly the best of them. Very few games manage to be so innovative while still feeling traditional, but MGS4 pulls off this complicated balance with ease, delivering what was (at the time!) an extremely fitting end to the series.
Portal 2 (2011)
Gabe Newell appearing onstage during Sony’s E3 2010 press conference is possibly my favourite moment in the Expo’s history. He’d previously made no secret that he thought the PlayStation 3 was an utter failure, so hearing him describe the console in a positive manner, not to mention announcing the PS3 version of Portal 2 as ‘the best version on any console’, was unexpected to say the least. With Steam features, a free code to download the PC version, and eventually a PS Move patch, he certainly made good on his promise. Oh yeah, and the game itself wasn’t too bad either.
Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction (2007)
Ratchet & Clank was one of my top three franchises on the PlayStation 2, and Tools of Destruction meant it remained so on PS3… that is, until the Future trilogy ended. To this day, the Plumber’s quip about not recognising Ratchet and Clank in hi-def still cracks me up, and it also highlights just how much of a step-up the visuals were compared to the PS2 games. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Tools of Destruction is that, despite the huge amount of variety in the gameplay, it’s all fun. Now, if only I could say the same for Full Frontal Assault.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)
There aren’t many games that can legitimately be described as ‘perfect’, but Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is definitely a strong contender for that label. Everything about it was absolutely class-leading, whether we’re talking about the gameplay, graphics, story, music, voice-acting, sound effects, online multiplayer, or pretty much anything else you can think of. For me, Uncharted 2 is when Naughty Dog ceased to be simply an amazing developer, and became arguably the best console developer in the world. I can’t wait to hear what the team has got planned for PS4!
Be sure to return to PS4 Attitude at the same time next week, for the second and final part of this feature – The Future: Looking Ahead to the Most Anticipated Titles on PS4.