Did you just get beamed into this parking lot with a Playstation 3? I’m sorry. Are you okay? But also, congratulations, you now have a fantastic game system that can also play 90% of PS1 and maybe PS2 titles on it. That’s a whole lot of games. But, there are also Playstation 3 games you can play on it.
These are twenty of these sort of games.
Lost Planet 2
Okay, this first one is going to take some work. I apologize. You are also going to need 3 friends who also got beamed with a large black box while walking to their car. Again, I’m sorry, but that’s how you maximize fun in Lost Planet 2, a game where you shoot giant bugs in their delicious Tang glowy bits with you friends.
Did I mention you are going to need your friends? Most people that played this game FOR REVIEW did not have to do it with their friends; they scored the game badly. It’s a game that needs friends to harnish the potential of friendship to make twisting a train railgun to shoot a sandworm the best thing you’ve ever done in a video game. You also have a grappling hook. And emotes. And sweet Memorial Day Sale, the shotgun sounds and feels amazing.
Kane and Lynch 2 Dog Days
Okay, maybe you don’t have 3 friends. Do you have one? Do you have one that you would go through hell with? Would you like to play the best Third Person Shooter ever made? Because that game is Kane and Lynch 2 Dog Days.
You will kill everyone in Shanghai. It’s going to feel terrible. It feels terrible without saying anything about it aside from warning you that it’s fucked, you hate it. When you shotgun someone, the game mosaics out their non-head like an episode of Cops. The camera is glitchy and blurry. Everything feels sweaty and too hot. You feel too tired. It has impeccable co-op level design about flanking your opponents before they flank you. If you somehow have 7 friends with Playstation 3s at the time of reading, the multiplayer is also fantastic as long as you start betraying each other.
I played through this game recently. It is still incredible. It is about getting out of Shanghai and also about going through hell as bad men. The dialog is hilarious. The guns are as accurate as they need to be. There are no bosses.
Sidebar: Some Other Games You Might Know
The thing about this list here is that there are a bunch of games that aren’t on it. If you at all paid attention to games prior to getting teleported to this magical parking lot, you are probably gonna think “damn, where is that game on this list?” and get mad at us. We get it. So here are some games that probably show up on every other PS3 GREATEST GAMES list that you can ease your mind with knowing that yeah, we know about them too.
- Dark Souls 1
- Dark Souls 2
- Shadow of the Colossus/Ico
- Some other thing we forgot.
Resonance of Fate/End of Eternity
Rudie: I have only played this game for about 5 hours. It is supposedly 80 hours long and loops multiple times. I will still call it incredible It has an insidiously complex semi-realtime battle system that is about crossing paths and shooting the bad thing. It has dress-up. It has over-wrought jaw-dropping eye-rolling cutscenes. Even without ever touching this game (it is been at least 5 years since I started it), I love this game.
Chris: I played this game for about 40 hours, which is nowhere near enough to beat it once, and I don’t care. This is a game about everyone inexplicably doing anime John Woo jumps during every fight. It takes 15 hours to totally “get” the battle system, and then the game screws you over by screwing with the battle system. You can also dress up the characters in lots of ridiculous costumes for no reason. It has no impact on the game except that it has all the impact on the game.
Time and Eternity
Let’s follow up a JRPG only liked by weirdos with a JRPG only liked by weirdos that weird out the first group. This game is like a Sega Saturn game that fell through a portal and ended up on the Playstation 3. This is also the first PS3 exclusive game on this list; I can’t help everything was ported to everything. This Hi-Res 2D Anime girl running across a 3D world with a basic slightly-time based battle system with music by Yuzo Koshiro.
This game isn’t a meal, it’s a pair of socks with a design only you like. You’re happy every time they come up in rotation, and no one is gonna convince you you don’t like them.
Back in 2008, we were all afraid motion controls were going to shoot our game controllers in the head. Sony had various experiments in making you use motion controls in your normal video game. Uncharted had you balancing on logs, which wasn’t the worst. Wipeout HD asked that you try to turn by twisting, which maybe was.
The best of this is in Folklore, a game with graphic comics cutscenes where you collect monsters to fight monsters in New England. You rip out the monster’s soul to take their power. You do this by swinging the controller upward like you’re trying to catch a fish. It feels great still. Hold a controller and swing it up. The whole game is capturing how good that feels, while also being stylized and forgotten.
The Demoscene Games
Speaking of forgotten.
The early-to-mid Playstation 3 days were wild. Case in point, we got weird demoscene games!
Show off how impressive the PS3 hardware is with Linger in Shadows. Control the air with motion controls in Flower. Detuned (above) is a glorified visualizer. None of them are incredible, but each shows tiny little possibilities in the field of video games.
Noby Noby Boy
An incredible tiny possibility in the field of video games that baffled everyone. How do you review a game that is just about stretching and shrinking a boy-monster? Boy wants to reach Girl. You help by stretching Boy. Everyone that played the game helped stretch Boy. Eventually with failed math, Boy reached Girl.
I love it for being audacious in it’s earnest simplicity. The creator of breakthrough video game Katamari Damacy makes an interactive toy about ??Stretch Boy and Enjoy??.
Sidebar: Playstation Home
You can’t experience this now, except as an artifact. The late 2000s were wild as everyone got on the internet on things that weren’t PCs and the state of the future was yet to be written. So Sony made a digital world where you would stand in line to play Not Great Bowling on two digital lanes. You could also decorate your fake house or leave your fake house to cause your PS3 to overheat and shut off instantly. Playstation Home was your digital hangout spot that was baffling to consumer and creator. But people mourned its closing, and that’s a sign that it put some good in this world. Now we just have targeted Twitter ads.
Armored Core: For Answer
Thanks to a single Souls games making more money than the rest of their catalog combined, From Software is not going to make an Armored Core game for a long time. And the last ones they made (5 and Verdict Day) were mostly built around a multiplayer mode that the US didn’t have the players or the infrastructure to enjoy.
But before that, they made For Answer, a sequel to AC4 that gives you a whole lot of single player stuff to enjoy, including like 50 individual one-on-one fights and a whole branching storyline full of gigantic bosses where you might get to be the bad guy in a Gundam series. Enjoy becoming a gearhead for fictional gears, spending an hour designing the perfect robot to pull of a one minute long fight. It sounds tedious as hell and it might be but it is also perfect.
(I’ll be honest here and admit you should play it on a 360 if you can, because the framerate is better, but hey, you are stuck in a parking lot without a 360, so deal.)
Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown
A fighting game where being good at fighting is about knowing how to fight. Sega’s three button 3D fighter is so pure that people don’t even know what to do with it. Fights can be done in 15 seconds or can go forever in pure battles of tension. You’re gonna just want to do another.
You’re gonna want a fight stick. You’re gonna want a friend. You’re gonna want to find a character you like so much that you want to sign a lease and live inside an apartment in their head for a year. And then you are going to want to decorate that apartment with a bunch of ridiculous clothes and accessories because you can.
For some reason (we all know the reason (it’s money)), a lot of the shooters in this particular generation went to the 360, despite most of Japan not liking the 360 and most of America not liking shooters. From a Venn diagram perspective, it was probably a “bad move” on the part of the few companies still making these games. And try though you might, there still is not a 360 in this parking lot, so you better just find copies of Under Defeat, Ketsui, and Mamorukun Curse if you want to get your STG on.
Under Defeat is a Dreamcast ode to slow moving helicopters and explosions. Ketsui is a Cave game about getting really close to things before making them explode and dying a lot. Mamorokun is cute and cartoon-y and way too loud on the XMB when it shows up. In terms of the number of bullets from least to most, it goes Under Defeat -> Mamorukun -> Ketsui, if that helps you decide where to start. It helps that since we started this article and when we actually published it we got the M2 Shottriggers PS4 port of Ketsui which is incredible.
Sure this is now on PC, but if we start going down that rabbit hole, there’ll be almost nothing left on this list in 2019. And this comes from a different time when indie games had promise, and rainbows grew on hope trees. It’s a minimalist twin stick shooter with a soundtrack you create. Play, create music, die, consider. It didn’t change the world. It wasn’t trying to. I sure think it is pleasant.
Remember the time before your console had any kind of menu system? Or when even if it had one, it would normally just boot right past it if there was a game in the tray? Those days are long gone, but the Playstation 3 is here to remind you that it might not be so bad. In the era when the 360 kept finding new ways to screw up its own menu system*, the Cross Media Bar (XMB) mostly got it right. It was easy to get around, and the ads that it eventually hoisted onto us were mostly isolated in a little bar in the top right. Sony liked it so much that the PSP also used it, but then they disliked it enough that they fucked it up for the PS4. So enjoy it while you can.
*: I swear to Silvergun, whoever thought fucking Chuck Norris advertising World of Warcraft (a game that isn’t even on the 360) needed to be on the home screen of the 360 was both a supervillain and accidentally giving us a preview of the internet to come.
Probably the game that needs the biggest TRIGGER WARNING of any game on this list, mostly due to one specific storyline/ending in which the Persona team does their fumbling worst to screw up their own game. It’s unfortunate because outside of that gross transphobic bullshit, they somehow made a game that is a pretty OK exploration of Japanese dude anxieties about growing up and commitment and so on, combined with a weird as hell puzzle game that even spawned a minor competitive scene. If you ever watched Boys on the Run*, you might know what anxieties I am talking about. But again, there is a chance you will encounter some really gross shit, so be warned.
The Persona team could really stand to learn what they should and shouldn’t try to cover in their games and there is a reason Persona 5 isn’t on this list.
*-Boys on the Run is great. Maybe just go watch that instead.
Since going all in on the Dreamcast and subsequently deciding hardware just wasn’t their thing, Sega have made some weird decisions on which systems to back and why. Remember how there were a bunch of original Xbox exclusive Sega games? Sure, you can explain that by pointing out how Microsoft went hard on writing checks to ex-Sega of America staff, but still, it was weird. But Sega on the PS3 wasn’t really a weird decision, and they ported some pretty cool stuff to the system. Jet Set Radio, Daytona USA, Virtua Fighter 2, and Sonic CD are the ones I would go for, but there’s plenty of other stuff if you can get to the PSN store (don’t worry, the parking lot has really good wifi for some reason (don’t ask questions)).
If you aren’t up for ports, there are some pretty good originals from the Yakuza team too, including overly detailed robot murder simulator Binary Domain and one of the few Zombie Games That Mattered™ Yakuza: Of the End as well. The main Yakuza games at this point are for novelty only. Feel free to stick to Zero, Kiwamis, and Six.
Oh and if you can somehow figure out a way to get a copy of it, Afterburner Climax is some real good times.
Sidebar: The Last Guy
While scouring the internet to find out where the hell this parking lot you happen to be stuck in is, you probably stumbled on Google Maps. Don’t worry, the parking lot isn’t on there; this dimension isn’t mapped. But if you turned on the satellite view, you probably thought “I sure bet somebody could use this for a videogame” and you aren’t wrong, but somebody already did it. It’s called The Last Guy, and you are the last guy, rescuing people from zombies or aliens or whatever by running around actual Google Maps. It’s not great, but it is basically the game everyone thought of when they saw them maps, so it’s neat to see it.
A sensory overload based on apocryphal Jewish texts. It is absurd that this game exists and I love it. The one button battle system is good, actually, but it took me two playthroughs to figure it out. Both the Japanese and the English dub are excellent. It is sponsored by a hideous Japanese Jeans company. Each chapter looks radically different, and it tells you straight up the game is about 7 hours long. We are lucky to have it.
Everyone loves roguelikes now. But back in the day this was a crazy experiment in which you ran across a belt scroll angled Tokyo as a pomeranian. Or a lion. Or a deer. The object was to find a mate, pass on your genes and hope for the next generation. Eventually something else kills you. Or you die of hunger. It’s rough, and yet calming.
How do you feel about 90s anime? Not the post-Evangelion shit gets weird kind, but anime that wanted to make dudes beat the shit out of each other in increasingly ridiculous ways. Do you want to play a sorta FMV videogame of that, but also with constant tie-ins to Hindu mythology? You better. Asura is a beast with rage issues. He comes up with increasingly ridiculous ways to beast out. There’s a mandatory hot tub scene. Whereas El Shaddai wants to make weird art by appropriating mythology from religions it isn’t going to bother learning about, Asura’s Wrath wants to make fights happen.
Siren: Blood Curse/New Translation
Not enough people played this, and that is sad. It took the PS2 Sirens, which are notoriously difficult (they only appear so) and made it playable. It is still tense. You navigate tiny mazes of a remote Japanese village where it is constantly raining and your enemies are unkillable-but temporarily stoppable. It was released in a novel piecemeal fashion which makes playing it in 2019 difficult. Maybe the first part is still free, and that should be enough for you to know if you want the rest.
11 years later it is shocking how much they get right. Everything clumsy is forgivable. Do not be shocked by the objectives popup, a crime we frequently notice here, you need that direction for each bite-sized roughly 45 minute Episode.
Sidebar: PS4 – PS3 Games
Not even counting how many of these games had up-ports to PS3, we have to mention if you do not possess the 5 years-old latest home console, the excellent games that had concurrent releases with the PS3. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is one of the best open world games there is, and it feels wrong to give it a space on this list, but we do need to mention it totally did come out on the PS3. Looking at any given list is frightening: Alien:Isolation, Persona 5, Shovel Knight, Farcry 4, Grand Theft Auto V. Wow!
So I’ll use the second paragraph of this sidebar to say that we would love to put Dragon’s Dogma on this list, but our parking lot PS3 can’t quite handle the task that Modern PCs and PS4s can. It’s playable, but you will want to reach over and pet the little guy for trying it’s hardest to run it.
Nier Automata was the mainstream success for Yoko Taro and those that played the original were not surprised. Now it commands a fine price physically and is unavailable digitally. It has an untouchable soundtrack, a story that is more moving than expected, and boar drifting. The soundtrack perfectly changes between areas. It has incredible status messages only people not playing the game can see. There is also a robust gardening system that grows in real time. There is complaint that the battle systems is clumsy and repetitive. Sure. It’s also a 3D representation of a bullet hell shooter with more than enough references to the history of video games. There are dozens of little details that made people that played it back in 2010 heartbroken that the team making it broke up afterwards, and ecstatic that Nier Automata happened.
And you know, the ending that deletes your save file. A cost too high for many players.
This also feels like the place to mention Drakengard 3. It does not get a place on this nebulous list, even if the soundtrack to that is also incredible. It is frequently repetitive. Despite being a late-era Unreal-engine release has single digit framerates and was made for nothing and left to die. Despite this it has a deeper story than first appears. There is good to great moments buried in the monotony. It also features a 7-minute no-miss rhythm game as the final boss which is hilarious and cunningly evil to any that try to complete it.
Short Piece: Ranko Tsukihime’s Longest Day
Does that look busy and overdone? well it is only on screen for about half a second. Ranko is the fifth part of the compilation film Short Peace. The film is high level anime shamen being given a huge budget to go crazy for 15 minutes. Ranko is Grasshopper Manufacture being given two hours to throw whatever wonderful idea popped into their head. It at least starts as a speedrunning platformer about a schoolgirl in a wedding dress off to kill her father. It is everything we love about video games: brief, visually arresting, filled with great ideas, and fun. Stuck? well you’ll still be done with the whole game before the end of a Marvel movie.
Godhand (PS2 Classics)
This is our list and we get to put whatever we want on it. We’ve already broken 20 games in a dozen different ways. So we also get to tell you to play Godhand. We may be old and unable to engage with it’s infinitely deep infinitely rewarding combat system for too long before becoming exhausted, but that shouldn’t stop you. It’s ten dollars on PSN. Download it. Play it for twenty minutes. Then scream at the top of your lungs that IGN are morons.
To be cliche, how could anything else be at the end of our list? Especially now that it is offline. It is an lonely game devoid of friend or foe or help now. The Souls series has monolithic status now, but it only got that way because of Demon’s Souls. We should be clear, Demon’s Souls is still beyond excellent. 1-1 Boletarian Palace is the finest level design you will find anywhere. Everything since then, including 1-2, which is also excellent, has been chasing 1-1. It is a game filled with mystery and challenge, and though you could easily look everything up at this point we don’t recommend it. Turn off the lights, start it up, and breathe deep that even off-line forever it is the best game experience you can get. Best of luck with you. Umbasa.
- Chris Pinner and Rudie Overton