The best PS3 games really exemplify just how much the console had to offer during its reign. First released in 2006, the Sony machine was the first console to feature a Blu-ray player and heralded a new age for video game graphics. Its launch lineup included Resistance: Fall of Man, Call of Duty 3, and "giant enemy crab" meme source Genji: Days of the Blade.
Between launch and the release of the PS4 in 2013, the PS3 was home to iconic titles like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Red Dead Redemption, and GTA 5, to name just a few. Curating a list of the best PS3 games is no easy task just because there are so many to choose from. We've done our best though, using our expert knowledge and some deep breathing when the arguments got heated.
So get comfy and read on for the best PS3 games, and when you're done with that, check out the best PS4 games too.
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25. Tokyo Jungle
Release date: 2012
You'd be forgiven for overlooking Tokyo Jungle; the game looks like a B-grade title, with blurry textures and blocky models throughout. But you don't play Tokyo Jungle for the graphics - you play it so you can control a pack of beagles taking on a lion. You play it to dress a giraffe in silly hats. You play it because Tokyo Jungle is an addictive roguelike, constantly offering new surprises and challenging you to perfect your routes through an abandoned city as you hunt for food and mates to keep your species alive. Its simple gameplay and plethora of unlockable animals means you'll get the hang of things quickly, but constantly be striving to get that next piece of the puzzle.
24. LittleBigPlanet 2
Release date: 2011
With the possible exception of Minecraft, no other console game nurtures the imaginations and creativity of its players like LittleBigPlanet 2. The first game's user-content creation tools were a revolution in player freedom, and the sequel not only refines these options, but expands them to allow you - yes, you - to create not only fresh levels, but whole new stories, worlds and even games. And the stuff the community has created is unbelievable.
No, LittleBigPlanet 2 doesn't have as sophisticated a platforming system as the Marios and Raymans of this world (it's still heaps of fun, regardless), but to judge the game on these terms is as short-sighted as dismissing War and Peace because you don't like the font it's printed in. Simply put, this is one of the most important, relevant, and entertaining games on any PlayStation.
23. Hotline Miami
Release date: 2013
Hotline Miami is the game your parents always warned you about back in the 1980s, a video game from an alternate universe where Reagan became Forever President and The Running Man is actually a real thing you can watch on TV. Don a rubber animal mask of your choosing and wander into one of a few dozen pixelated murder carnivals to waste every mook in sight, as the background colors pulsate along with the way-too-cool-for-you synthwave soundtrack. Hotline Miami is raw, punk fury, a hypnotic display of hyperviolence one step away from pure, unadulterated anarchy - Just don't tell your parents.
22. Batman: Arkham City
Release date: 2011
How do you make the best superhero game of all time better? You add a whole lot more of it and drop all of that into one of the best-realized open-world cities ever seen in a game. Smartly choosing fidelity, personality, and meaningful design over sheer scale for scale's sake, Rocksteady's quarantined chunk of Gotham is one of the most striking, affecting, and most entirely purposeful environments seen in an entire generation. Letting the empowering yet perfectly balanced mechanics of the first game really fly, literally and figuratively, Arkham Citys structure is an equally grand victory in both gameplay and aesthetic terms.
But just as importantly, it never dominates or detracts from what made Arkham Asylum great. The same mix of intelligent, creative sandbox stealth and taxing, thrilling, almost musical combat still underpins everything and is even better than it ever was before. That Arkham City also plays host to a Batman story dark, dramatic, and entirely epic enough to stand up in any medium is just the icing on the utility cake.
21. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Release date: 2011
It shouldn't have worked. It shouldn't have even been attempted. It should have been a dumbed-down, lite-RPG cyberpunk shooter with a recognizable name stapled on. But miraculously, Eidos Montreal's Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the real thing, a layered, complex, entirely player-driven action RPG with freedom, creative thinking, and choice at the core of its every element.
Effectively whatever game you want it to be, it's even more impressive that DE:HR manages to offer so much customization of experience while also being so coherent. Its dense story of conspiracy and philosophical tension - both global and personal - will drag you along whatever you choose your character's stance to be, and the cohesive, lived-in nature of its world-building is second to none.
20. Burnout Paradise
Release date: 2008
When Burnout Paradise came out, multiplatform games were always better on Xbox 360. Not so this. Criterion always made PS2 sing and PS3's Burnout Paradise still looks sensational. It revised the Burnout formula too, combining an open-world city and surrounding countryside to race around. But the wealth of enjoyable things to do make this better than EA's more recent Need for Speed outings.
It's in the little things, like trying to handbrake-turn your car into a parking space (for which it grades you) or trying to leap down the side of a mountain and land without totaling your car. DLC patches even fixed the few annoyances in the original release's structure, meaning this truly is a Burnout-themed paradise. Great soundtrack, too.
19. Resistance 3
Release date: 2011
The Resistance series went from a decent launch game to a disappointing sequel to FPS masterpiece over the course of the PS3's lifespan. It's a shame then, that Resistance 3 - the FPS masterpiece from the first sentence - signaled the end of the series. There's something so utterly right about R3. It's the way the alternate-reality '50s setting combines with the mad, yet satisfying, alien weaponry, and mixes in with the heart-warming story of a father protecting his family that makes this game a stand-out.
Each stage is well-pitched too - there are few, if any, weak moments - and the combat is slicker than a gull plucked from the Gulf of Mexico. Every time you think you've got it nailed, the story throws another situation or problem at you, forcing you to adapt and explore the game's versatility even further. Which you'll gladly do to bring Joe Capelli's sad, hopeful tale to its thrilling conclusion.
18. Yakuza 5
Release date: 2012
Lots of games talk about how big they are, but few offer a wealth of wildly entertaining and bizarre things to do like the Yakuza games. At its heart, Yakuza 5 is a deeply serious story of the Japanese criminal underworld, of evil men doing bad things and righteous men ripping their shirts off in one swift motion to stop them in hand-to-hand combat. But Yakuza 5 isn't just a brawler. It's also a taxi driving sim; a hunting game; and a Japanese pop idol sim (complete with dance battles!). It's got baseball minigames, ramen cooking minigames, stand-up comedy minigames, an arcade with damn-near full versions of Virtua Fighter 2 and Taiko Drum Master, and so much more - and all of these pursuits are fun in their own unique ways. Yakuza 5 is an exuberant abundance of gritty crime drama and abject silliness, and while it may not be the best place to hop in for newcomers, it's got more than enough goodies inside to entertain anyone.
17. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Release date: 2007
Whatever you think of COD's current state, there's no denying that Modern Warfare was a watershed moment for games. Not only did it revive the tired FPS genre, and transform Call of Duty from ok shooter into OMG shooter, it set a benchmark for multiplayer gaming and provided an incredible, 8 hour rollercoaster of a story that few have matched since. The ghillie suit stage, the opening scenes on the tanker, that ending - Modern Warfare is stuffed full of memorable moments.
And guess what: it has aged really well. While subsequent Call of Duty games have attempted to build on Modern Warfare, making the action ever more bombastic, this stands as an exercise in stripped-back, streamlined entertainment. There's no fluff here, just 8 hours of smooth FPS action that still outclasses all its imitators.
16. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Release date: 2008
Old Snake may have a creaky back and snarl even more than he used to, but he's still got it where it counts. MGS4 is still a technical showcase for PS4, just as MGS2 was for PS2 before it. But, crucially, it uses the advancements in technology to better its gameplay. The camouflage suit, in particular, is not only fun to use but useful in the tense stealth situations you find yourself in.
You could criticize Kojima and his team for making the storyline too complex and movie-like (especially in terms of the length of its cut-scenes), but the cast of characters and bosses are all memorable, and there's no denying the drama at the game's conclusion. However, had one scene, in particular, ended the other way, this would likely be even higher up this list. Still essential gaming if you own a PS3.
Turn to page 2 for more best PS3 games...