Sony PS4 Announcement: 15 PS3 Games You Should’ve Played by Now
The beginning of a new console generation is mostly about looking forward. Looking to the new technologies, new franchise entries and new IPs. Anticipation runs high. But we mustn’t be quick to turn away from the past – especially as we’re about to see a surge in pre-owned game sales. It’s time to grab those games that you’ve been meaning to check out for years but never got around to. If there were fifteen games that you should make sure you’ve played before the PS3 is condemned to gather dust, it’s these ones.
15. Heavy Rain
Sometimes a game is worth checking out simply for the technical prowess, and the designers willingness to make something undoubtable adult orientated without packing it full of gore and swearing. Heavy Rain put aside the usual control conventions in favour of an interactive story that requires the player to guide the characters through their own plots. The game featured four characters – a father, a reporter, a drug addicted police investigator and a private detective – who are all caught up in a murder mystery involving the ‘Origami Killer’. Eventually it is revealed that one of the four characters is the killer, but to get there the player is put through segments involving split second timing, careful consideration of responses and deciding which implement they should use to hack off their own finger. Developers promised radically different outcomes depending on player actions, but many were disappointed by the killer always being revealed to be the same person. Still well worth a look, as you’ll unlikely to find anything that looks this good.
14. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Series
The impact of this game has been diluted by the multiple sequels, spin-offs and pretenders to the first-person throne, but it’s a must play for anyone with a Playstation. The action is quick and intense, moving through bombastic set-pieces that carry an intriguing story of espionage and a global conflict (although it does become increasingly silly as the series progresses). The controls are tight and responsive and the drastic changes in setting from mission to mission keeps things engaging all the way through. The overall narrative is memorable for the big set piece numbers, such as the first time you get caught in a nuke or seeing the Eiffel Tower collapse.
13. inFamous 2
Early on in the PS3 run there was a notable lack of exclusive titles to set the console apart from the competition. Things took a very sudden turn in later years, and one of the key titles in this change was inFamous. Video games based on superheroes are common enough, and the source materials are extensive enough that developers have never needed to create original characters. Cole McGrath was unusual in that he was an original, and an interesting one at that. After the package he’s carrying explodes, courier McGrath finds himself surrounded by thousands of corpses and the ability to absorb and unleash electricity. Over the course of the games the player unlocks many cool skills that start with electric shocks and finish with summoning devastating lighting storms. Clever twists in the story, interesting characters the zipping around the city on cables make for a damn good time.
12. Just Cause 2
Some people may notice a lack of GTA IV on this list, but it was dropped from the final draft for two reasons. Firstly, there’s already a better Rockstar sandbox adventure on the list. Secondly, we’ve got something much more unique in Just Cause 2. GTA IV is a Tarantino-styled urban crime drama burdened by an invasive social mechanic. Just Cause 2 is more like something Michael Bay churned out, but it must be noted that the style is better suited to video games. Riding the nose-cones of fighter jets, grappling a statue head to a helicopter to use as a wrecking ball, ramping sports cars off towering mountain peaks, fist-fighting on the backs of in flight nuclear warheads, attaching enemies to windmills with a cable – this is a particularly awesome brand of action.
11. Assassin’s Creed 3
The Assassin’s Creed series has become a staple of the current console generation. The first in the series was one of the earliest hits on the PS3 with its slick graphics, unique setting and free running mechanic drawing in the crowds. Whilst it received strong reviews the repetition of the missions and stodgy combat left many players dissatisfied. Things certainly improved with each addition to the franchise with more elaborate settings, more weapons, more missions and a more fluid and dynamic combat system. The addition of an imaginative multiplayer game further sweetened the deal. Although they have put a heavy emphasis on story newcomers are encouraged to catch up on plot via a wiki and enjoy running around the wilderness with Connor. If that doesn’t suit your tastes then Ezio’s adventures through Italy will certainly serve.
We would be remiss to not include something from the blossoming indie game market. Among the many, many great titles available on the PSN none are quite as remarkable as Journey. The simple but beautiful experience sees players taking off a pilgrimage through a desert and other environments before climbing the blizzard struck mountain that once sat on the horizon. The unusual take on multiplayer throws you together with random people who you can’t communicate with, something that works surprisingly well. A completely satisfying experience.
9. Littlebigplanet 2
Sackboy and friends may not have become the next great icon of gaming as Sony had hoped but he’s certainly not to be ignored. On the surface it’s a simple platforming game with the ability to jump and grab, but the game introduced ideas that have become commonplace in the gaming market. Infinitely customisable characters can participate in an endless supply of user-designed levels covering practically every style and tone imaginable. Creative players went berserk with the incredible amount of options available and the community turned out some remarkable levels. Even without it the single player campaigns will challenge even the most seasoned gamers and are among the most difficult of the decade.
8. X-COM: Enemy Unknown
The most recent release on the list, but not one to be ignored. 1994’s X-COM was long considered one of the best games ever released and was making sales more than a decade later. This remake is practically perfect, bringing the UFO defence tactical strategy game to life for new gamers. When the globe is invaded by aliens they find that the human race is out-gunned, out-numbered and out-matched. You’re commanding X-COM, a military operation funded by the nations of the world and switching between micro-managing the base and research and directing the troops in the field. It’s a fast paced and highly addictive game that cannot be missed.
7. God of War III
Every new generation brings with it a higher level of graphics and presentation, and we always need a game to make the most of that. Kratos had carved his way onto the scene with his first two outings on the PS2 and the final chapter of his epic was a highly anticipated event. The game opens with Kratos and the titans scaling the sides of Mt. Olympus to battle with the gods, and it’s as epic as it sounds. Mythical monsters meets with early Peter Jackson levels of gore as Kratos rips the head off Helios, dismembers Hades and goes toe to gargantuan toe with Chronos. This is a hack ‘n’ slash on a scale never before seen.
6. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Sometimes gamers don’t want a dense story or clever gimmicks – they just want an adventure. Enter Nathan Drake, the very personification of adventure. Players head out for a Spielberg-esque journey across snowy mountains, ancient ruins and collapsing buildings in search of ancient treasure. The action switches easily from cover-based shoot-outs with seemingly endless groups of thugs to climbing, jumping and scrabbling over cliffs, through jungles and tombs. It’s nothing taxing, but you get plenty of bang and spectacle for your buck.
Another early bestseller for the PS3, and with good reason. The steampunk styled, Atlas Shrugged themed descent to an underwater utopia reduced to ruin stands as one of the most unique games ever produced. Rapture caught the public’s imagination, and then promptly terrified them with the lumbering Big Daddies and Little Sisters. Horror and philosophy have never been mixed together so effectively. It’s enough that players have this fantastic world filled with nightmare scenarios to explore, but the twist that appears partway through the game makes it that extra bit special. And you can shoot bees out of your hand!
4. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Hideo Kojima’s long running series (the first appearing on the NES) has always been a beacon of exceptional design with the highest level of presentation and control. If you want to see any console pushed to its limit then MGS has always been the way to see it. Story-wise the games have long ago gone off the deep end, but that’s not what sells the series. The latest sees the ageing hero Solid Snake pushing his way through five distinct environments packing a range of high-tech gadgetry and dozens of stealth combat techniques. Along the way he’ll clash with some of the most imaginative boss encounters this side of gaming. As usual the small details and easter eggs flesh out the game to create a unique experience.
3. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Fantasy worlds and video games have always gone hand-in-hand and while we love our unique and original titles it’s good to get back to the classics every once in a while. Entering into Skyrim is the ultimate time sink. Your custom character is dropped in to a massive, meticulously detailed world populated with orcs, knights and…most importantly…bloody great dragons. Whether your taste is swinging swords or weaving spells this game gives you the options to do as you please. Become a thief or a werewolf, join the kingdom or the rebellion – there are endless ways to join this adventure.
2. Batman: Arkham City
The perfect superhero simulator. It’s no secret that we’re all big Batman fans around here, but that doesn’t insure a spot on the list for any title (Gotham Impostors sure doesn’t rate a mention). Whether you’re a caped crusader fan or not isn’t going to detract from the enjoyment of the game, since it provides plenty of background and context for newcomers. This is just a damn fine action game with liberal amounts of problem solving, detective work and exploration. Unlike many licensed games this title wasn’t content to rely on brand recognition to move units but have put together a well thought out game with brilliant design and detail. It balances every gameplay style that it incorporates. The combat is smooth and unique, and the stealth is well crafted and fun. Even better, it makes it feel like you’re Batman.
1. Red Dead Redemption
Grand Theft Auto is fun, but it never made you feel like a gangster. Red Dead Redemption, on the other hand, makes you feel like an awesome cowboy. The grim and dusty old West is brought to life with incredible detail and imagination. From the burning red skies at sunset and awe-inspiring rock formations to the the towns populated with colorful lunatics and wide landscapes, every inch of the world is a wonder. Players take control of John Martson one of the most well developed characters in gaming. The former outlaw turned family man is cornered when government agents arrest his wife and son and hold them ransom until Marston brings down his former gang members. The story that unfolds is nothing short of epic and takes players from the dry deserts of Mexico up to the frozen wilderness of the mountains.
Although you may find yourself spending more than a little time riding a horse until you unlock the fast travel things are balanced out by the amazing range of activities and missions. The shooting mechanics certainly make the average gamer feel like a quick-draw, participating in shoot-outs through gorges and picking off circling eagles. Heading into a cowboy town gives you the chance to play poker, throw horseshoes and even watch movies. In the great outdoors you hunt bounties, animals, leap from horses onto trains and collect wildflowers. Few things are quite as thrilling as running down an outlaw and nabbing them with a lasso (and then leaving them tied up on a train track if you’re particularly sadistic). Red Dead Redemption with take you a long time to finish…and it’s worth every minute. Play it, now. If you’ve already played it, play it again.