The PSN 100: PS3
25 PlayStation 3 games to think about buying before they get nuked
The PSP/PS3/Vita digital stores are about to go the way of the dodo. That is, dead. Extinct. They're all going to go dead extinct. As a result, it seems like a pretty damn good reason to prepare a list of digital titles for each system that you really ought to consider getting while they're available. I've already done the PSP and the PS Vita, and soon I'll be doing a final list of errant PS1 and PS2 classics available on PlayStation 3, soon to go the way of the void. Allegedly. 100 games, total.
Initially I was planning to focus on games that have no physical release, but that felt too limiting so I've just used the criteria of "anything available digitally", which for PS3 is surprisingly challenging.
I've also stuck with stuff available on the US store, though I may do a supplementary list for Japan-only titles. We shall just have to wait and see, shan't we?
Castlevania: Harmony of Despair
This divisive re-use of some very old assets really split the room on release, but some people swear by it. A large-scale multiplayer take on IGAvanias that acts as something of a series “greatest hits”, Harmony of Despair is basically essential for Castlevania fans, even if it is – in my humble opinion – a bit boring, overall. Also, the PS3 version is the only one that supports local multiplayer, so get it (and the excellent DLC) while you can.
Yes, the remake exists and is pretty good. But please don’t let’s discount the fabulous original. This was the beginning of something very special and a series that spawned a genre that changed gaming for the better. And the Tower of Latria is still way more atmospheric in the original than the PS5 edition, as far as I’m concerned.
Insomniac’s Overstrike was heavily retooled during production from a silly, wacky and cartoonish co-op shooter to a more serious and coin-adjacent version that met with a lot of scorn at the time. But! It’s really good, possibly my favourite multiplayer experience on the system, with each character’s unique weapon offering a really distinctive, interesting and satisfyingly deadly even-ing of the odds. Brilliant.
God of War (series)
Encompassing two collections (God of War Collection and Origins Collection) and two main games (God of War 3 and Ascension) A masterful series rammed to the gills with an absolute ton of bloodletting Heavy Metal fun, God of War sidesteps complexity in favour of the hyper-linear destruction of basically the entire pantheon of Greek gods. The relative merits of each game in the series can be argued forever. The original and Ghost of Sparta were my favourites, but all of them are worth playing.
Hard Corps Uprising
Bally difficult prequel to Contra: Hard Corps, though it resembles that Genesis classic in almost no way outside of a run ‘n gun focus. The new Rising Mode lets you upgrade your character to give you a fighting chance, but the game really is absolutely nails. A friend of mine got really good at it and was able to beat it on Arcade Mode which locks out most of your upgrades. Baffling scenes. Nevertheless it’s a fun game once you get a little better at it. It’s available on Xbox (and backwards compatible on Series S/X) but it deserves a spot here. After all, some people are locked into the PlayStation ecosystem and (clasps cheeks condescendingly) Sony wony don’t carey warey about their legacy wegacy!
House of the Dead 4
As far as I could tell, this is the only home port of this marvellous zombie shooter from the best zombie shooter series ever, even better than the series literally titled Zombie Shooter. The big gimmick here is SMGs, baby!! Looooads of zoms on screen to mow down liberally with your PlayStation Move controllers. As with every single other game in the series, it absolutely rules. Thanks.
I'm horny! Horny, horny, horny! Not really. I'm not horny at all, I was doing a joke. Look, the main character of this game has horns, so... I was making an equivalence with, you know, the word "horny". Look, piss off. I have to write 25 of these. Anyway, this PS2 critical darling got a nice little upscaled for PS3 along with the later-remade-for-PS4 Shadow of the Colossus. So... go and buy it!
Despite frankly laughable “moral choices” along the lines of KILL EVERYONE/DON’T KILL EVERYONE ::thinking emoji::, Infamous is a lot of fun, chiefly because it basically lets you Get On With It and electro-zap bad lads with your electro-zapping superhero powers. Learning to traverse the world is a bit of a joy thanks to smooth and perfectly loose controls, and apparently the sequel is much better, even. I haven’t played the sequel, ever, so no idea.
Jak and Daxter Collection
Three of the best platformers ever made, in quite possibly the best condition they’ve ever been released in. Yes, they’re available on PS4/PS5, but only in a lesser form. The only real downsides with this set are a difficult-to-reproduce control glitch and the complete lack of the absolutely seminal – it is, shut up – Jak X.
A remaster of the shonky PS2 original, the rather lovely PS3 sequel Killzone 2 and the marvellous (and fully co-op!!) third game, imaginatively titled Killzone 3. The series is now basically dead after Killzone: Shadow Fall stank the place up with its crappiness on PS4, and we've seen no real trace of the franchise since that one laid an egg. Best Killzone game is Liberation, for PSP. But 2 and 3 are fun, too!
This beautiful redux of Sierra's seminal (but frequently, understandably maligned) adventure game series offers an absolutely charming challenge rich with character, beautiful graphics and an interesting story to follow. A marvellous effort, this, and massively under-played considering what an achievement it is. World-class, life-changing? No, not at all. Just really rather good fun.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
A co-op isometric action-puzzler, this is an absolutely classic downloadable title that puts many full-price efforts to shame in its sheer gleeful creativity. Yes, it’s a little bit short, but every second – honestly, every second – is absolute two-player perfection. The DLC starring, respectively, Kain and Raziel (Soul Reaver) and Kane and Lynch (um, Kane and Lynch) is pretty humorous, but barely different.
A cracking overhaul of the poorly-done, floaty original, this is the realisation of the potential that Sackboy's adventures always held. Shame that the servers are down, but the campaign is good enough to still be worth picking this one up. Have to say, I do wonder why Sony stopped making these - yes, Dreams is nice, but LBP could have run forever. Sackboy's Big Adventure, while fun, isn't really the same thing.
Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots
An exhausting, emotional and still-fascinating "finale" to Hideo Kojima's ridiculous stealth series, now starring Old Man Version of Solid Snake as well as introducing Cyber-Raiden, possibly best-known for his work in the later (and brilliant) Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. A hefty install, for sure, but the whole patch situation with MGS4 is looking a little bit hairy, so probably best to grab this one while you can.
Monster World IV
Weeeell, it’s about to get a remake, isn’t it? Which, yes, includes the original game but – bafflingly – only as a bonus extra in its physical edition. I suppose you could buy the rather excellent Mega Drive Mini (which also includes it), but a whole new piece of admittedly quite bijou hardware when it’s right there on the PS3 alongside a couple of its sister titles? Get it in.
Noby Noby Boy
Never touched this one myself, and my understanding is that the major draw of the game - its online functionality letting you contribute to "growing" your Nobi Nobi Boy as far as possible - is basically over, now. But Diamond Feit said it should go in, so here it is. If it's rubbish, blame them, alright?
PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale
Yes, it sucks. It’s absolutely terrible. But come on, what a bizarre hodgepodge of a cast. A Bioshock Big Daddy versus DmC Dante versus Metal Gear Rising Raiden versus Parappa the Rapper?? Bonkers. Playing this game is an absolute chore due to the idiotic decision to make only KOs using Super moves “count”, but that baffling snapshot of early 2010s gaming is absolutely worth a look if only for the car crash angle.
A game that honestly still looks breathtaking in places, Puppeteer is a glorious little labour of love, a 2D platformer that is unfortunately a little lacking in challenge and stage variety – but gosh darn, those visuals and the sheer verve of the whole thing make it a great pick-up anyway. Prices are already soaring so move quickly.
Forever the black sheep of this acclaimed series, Deadlocked dropped the vast majority of the platforming and focused on pure shooting action in a sci-fi Killing Game Show scenario that’s held up remarkably well as a downloadable game. Compelling, challenging stuff. Is it perfect? No, the port is a bit of a hot mess in places. But it’s terrific fun to play. And it has local co-op for the whole campaign!
Ratchet and Clank Future (series)
Full disclosure, I’m not the biggest fan of the Ratchet and Clank Future efforts, encompassing Tools of Destruction, Quest for Booty, A Crack in Time and Into the Nexus, but series fans swear by them. Crack in Time, in particular, which baffles me because I thought it was an extremely dull effort, moving rapidly away from the series’ strengths into a bizarre focus on repetition with a banal “world map” that does nothing but fill your downtime with boring space battles. Tools of Destruction is closer to the series’ PS2 halcyon days, but Quest for Booty is poor and Into the Nexus barely holds together on the poor old PS3 hardware. Still, I’m just one guy who loves the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, so it’s quite possible I’m not to be trusted.
Another Insomniac joint, the Resistance series didn't really grab me until this one. Helpfully, it has a full two-player split-screen campaign which - if you've been paying attention - is a major selling point for me. The fact that Resistance 3 is just plain fun to blast through is a nice bonus. Absolutely fantastic weapons, and it's a little bit of a shame that it's never been re-released.
Siren: Blood Curse
A digital-only release in the States, this follow-up to (and remake of, kinda) lesser-known PS2 spookfest Forbidden Siren. The series’ traditional “sightjack” mechanic lets you see through the eyes of your enemies, and here it operates in a consistent split-screen mode letting you both see and flee at the same time. I’m all sight, Jack! (Shut up – Ed) Look, in case it’s not obvious, I haven’t played this one. But its forthcoming rarity means you may want to prioritise grabbing it while you still can.
As well as being an anagram of “held spunker”, Spelunker HD is a more modern multiplayer take on archaic, brutal masterpiece Spelunker, which means deaths at the drop of a hat and stiff, frustrating gameplay. And it’s an absolute riot of a game, really great stuff. There’s a bunch of DLC and, annoyingly, it’s basically all worth buying. Have fun in a land down under today. Oh wait, that was Australia. Er, go under the ground then, I suppose.
Fantastic and completely idiotic post-apocalyptic animal game that frankly defies conventional description. Stealth game, RPG, open-world sort of thing. Just buy it and play it. There’s a lovely Pomeranian in it, like Missile from Ghost Trick!
This absurdly violent redux of the exhausting PS1 car combat series gave the franchise a shot of adrenaline with flawless controls, great graphics and a thrillingly horrible storyline. There’s some point-missing stupidity in there – racing?? In a Twisted Metal game?!? – but overall this is an absolute treat, with gameplay as viciously satisfying as one of Sweet Tooth’s “special sundaes”.