When the console first launched, some may have scoffed at the ability to come up with a list of 30 of the best PS3 games. Despite stumbling out of the gate, confusing and weird advertisements, and that infamous E3 reveal, the library of PlayStation 3 games helped shape the PS3 to be an incredibly solid console.
Whether it was multiplatform all-stars or console-exclusive hits, the PlayStation 3 had a lot of great video games. To celebrate that heritage, we’re going to go through some of the best of the best the PS3 has to offer.
The list is compiled using a mixture of critical acclaim, fan response, and personal opinion. It is also presented in no particular order. There are a lot of games we want to add, but hey, we have to make the cut somewhere. You may agree with our list, you’ll probably disagree. Either way, keep the conversation going in the comments below.
Grand Theft Auto V is an absolute masterpiece
We might as well start with one of the best PS4 games.
Grand Theft Auto V is a crowning achievement for Rockstar Games. Its existence on virtually every modern platform is a testament to its quality. Few games, if any, are able to match the mixture of story, characters, gameplay, and world design.
The fact that this game even runs on PlayStation 3 is a minor miracle. Though technically, the launch of Grand Theft Auto Online didn’t run on PS3, that’s neither here nor there.
GTA V is a video game gold standard and the bar for what every other open-world game desires to be. Rockstar’s prowess forces other developers to look at this game and ask themselves, “what are we doing, here?” This is the pinnacle not just for the Grand Theft Auto franchise but also one of the best games ever made.
Grand Theft Auto IV brings the franchise to new heights
You could say that Grand Theft Auto IV walked so GTA V could run.
The franchise’s HD debut and return to Liberty City is a game that hasn’t necessarily aged well. Despite this, the number of new ideas, innovations, and design choices that exist lay the foundation for the future of the series.
Not everything within GTA IV works out, but what is properly fleshed out is a true revelation. The leap from the GTA III trilogy is more than just in terms of visual quality. Liberty City doesn’t just look bigger than its predecessors, it feels bigger. The amount to see and do is, at times, intimidating.
The DLC for GTA IV delivers a refined experience and is the reason why so many people were hoping for post-launch GTA V support outside of Grand Theft Auto Online.
Red Dead Redemption revolutionizes open-world gameplay
Outside of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, Rockstar Games had delivered a handful of solid releases. Nothing was on that same level, however. Until Red Dead Redemption, that is.
It turns out that if you just make Grand Theft Auto but in the Wild West, it’s a great idea.
All kidding aside, Red Dead Redemption takes Rockstar’s ability to deliver not just a cinematic experience but a cinematic performance from its cast to another level. Red Dead feels more grounded compared to GTA and is better for it. You build a personal connection to these characters and get drawn into their stories.
The world badly needs to see Red Dead Redemption get the HD remaster it desperately deserves. It’s easily one of the best gaming experiences of all time and can undoubtedly hold its own even today.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is an absolute masterpiece that is easily one of the best PS3 games ever made
At launch, the original Uncharted isn’t just one of the best PlayStation 3 games but also the birth of a top-tier Sony franchise. Sadly, it has done the opposite of age gracefully.
Thankfully, Uncharted 2 is still able to hold its own a decade later.
Few games even today can match the cinematic perfection that Uncharted 2 pioneered. Among Thieves captures the magic of those unforgettable movie moments that wow us and delivers them in video game form.
Uncharted 2 wears its inspirations well and delivers what truly is a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience. There’s a lot of hyperbole that is thrown out in the video game industry, but Uncharted 2 is one of the few cases where it is all rightfully earned.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is a thrilling conclusion to the PlayStation 3 trilogy
There was absolutely no way that Uncharted 3 could possibly surpass the excellence of Uncharted 2. Despite this, Drake’s Deception does a pretty darn good job of living up to the hype.
Despite the ever-looming shadow of Among Thieves, Uncharted 3 is everything you could ever want a sequel to be. The stakes feel bigger, the set pieces are downright insane, and the gameplay is as satisfying as ever.
What helps to keep Uncharted 3 from failing, though, is the continued strength of the character. Naughty Dog understands the importance of properly pacing a game. Uncharted 3 is a great example of this. We all knew the action and combat were going to go bigger, and the juxtaposition against the stellar performances by the cast prevents the game from being too loud or obnoxious.
The Last of Us is a Naughty Dog masterpiece and one of the best PS3 games
Uncharted 3 had the unenviable task of following up on one of the greatest video games ever made. The Last of Us had the equally difficult task of following up on some of the greatest acting to ever appear in the video game.
Somehow, it tops both of its predecessors and is one of the best PlayStation 3 games anyone will ever play.
Earlier I talked about how Red Dead Redemption’s more grounded design led to a superior product compared with Grand Theft Auto IV. The same is said about The Last of Us. That’s not to knock on Uncharted but to boast about the strength of The Last of Us.
Level design, gameplay, combat, acting, narrative; The Last of Us only works if all of these things come together. If one cog of the wheel isn’t up to code, everything falls apart. Naughty Dog is able to succeed in perfectly placing all of the game’s moving parts, delivering an experience that overshadows the reveal of next-generation consoles.
Seriously, the biggest talking point at E3 2013 was how good The Last of Us is.
BioShock: Infinite is an incredible achievement from start to finish
Speaking of 2013 conventions, it seemed like all anyone wanted to talk about was BioShock Infinite, a game that didn’t release until two days after PAX ended. As one of the best PlayStation 3 games ever, I don’t blame them.
Some of Infinite’s shine has faded over the years, but upon release, it was a crowning achievement in video game design. It was always going to be impossible to live up to the full potential of its E3 demo, yet BioShock Infinite still delivers an excellent capstone to a console generation.
Yes, it feels more action-heavy and FPS-like compared to its predecessor (more on that here soon), but it doesn’t come at the cost of its characters, setting, or story. Infinite is undoubtedly the loudest of the BioShock games but it also remembers what it is and the message it’s supposed to tell.
BioShock is a revolutionary game and one of the best PlayStation 3 games ever made
Few games have impacted the industry like 2007’s BioShock. The spiritual successor to System Shock 2 may not have fulfilled every promise and expectation but it still delivers an engaging narrative-driven action-RPG thrill ride.
The underwater dystopia of Rapture is both haunting and enchanting. Between the cultural appeal to those wanting more and its art deco beauty, you understand why people flocked to what they hoped was a chance at something greater.
Then, of course, there’s the game’s combat. Splicers are fast and frantic, adding plenty of tension to a game that already keeps you on your toes. They contrast well with the methodical and visceral Big Daddies that stop at nothing to protect their Little Sister.
Batman: Arkham City is one of the best comic book games ever made
You’d think that comic book video games would be a guaranteed smash hit. Sadly, that’s not always been the case. Developer Rocksteady Studios found a way to crack the code, and Batman: Arkham City may be their crowning achievement.
The successor to Arkham Asylum leans in heavy on its Arkham City subtitle. The game’s world is alive and well, with plenty to see and do.
Everything within Arkham City feels like an improvement over Asylum. The presentation, gameplay, style, and substance are everything you could ever ask for in a sequel. It’s an easy choice for one of the best PS3 games ever made.
The Orange Box is the best value in gaming history
There is no better deal in gaming than 2007’s The Orange Box. We can meme all day about how Half-Life fans are still waiting for a follow-up to Episode 2, but they’ve been through enough for the past 25 years.
Two breakthrough games exist within The Orange Box. Team Fortress 2 is a crowning achievement in multiplayer gaming. It’s a flawless team-based shooter experience that offers the right mixture of accessibility and challenge.
Then, of course, there is Portal, one of the few video games that can be described as perfect. Its cultural impact was revolutionary and the undoubted breakout hit of the 2000s. It’s not often a small 2-3 hour game gets a fully fleshed-out sequel, yet Portal is that good.
Portal 2 is a worthy successor to one of the best PS3 games
Portal 2 is more Portal, which is a great thing.
The main campaign offers more puzzle platforming alongside a deep dive into the history of Aperture Science. The writing and humor shine throughout, even carrying the gameplay at times.
Cooperative play is where Portal 2 truly shines. As enjoyable as a full campaign can be, Portal is all about puzzle solving at heart. The addition of a second player, and therefore a second set of portals, offers both new challenges and solutions.
Does it suffer from the typical puzzle problem of already knowing the solutions if you’ve already played through it? Sure. Does that matter? Absolutely not, because sometimes a new set of eyes offers a new way to experience things.
Play Portal 2 with a friend or loved one. You won’t regret it.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare helped revolutionize the FPS genre
It’s hard to believe, but there used to be a time where Call of Duty truly ruled the world. I’m not talking about topping sales charts, but also everyone played these games. Campaigns were enjoyable, but multiplayer is where things truly shined, delivering fast-paced and enjoyable chaos.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is where Infinity Ward truly hits their stride. The single-player campaign offers excellent gunplay and action. Yes, there’s the issue with infinite enemy respawns, but this is still a top-tier experience.
The multiplayer, though? You get lost in it. Everything is at the peak of its genre: level design, kill streaks, player progression, abilities and perks; this was the FPS experience of its time.
Little did we know that we were just getting started.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is everything a sequel should be
Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer is more Modern Warfare. It’s bigger, better, and just as addicting.
The game’s campaign, though? That’s the true star of the show and helps elevate it to one of the best FPS games of all time.
Infinite enemy respawns are gone. The environments feeling like they’re “same old, same old” are gone. The typical story beats are gone. Modern Warfare 2 delivers a fresh and unique take on the FPS single-player experience.
The writing and actual narrative won’t exactly blow you away, but Infinity Ward deserves credit for putting effort. The story and characters do well to keep you hooked and engaging, but it’s the mission design that will truly blow you away.
Mass Effect 2 is one of the best games ever made
Mass Effect 2 is one of the best third-person shooters of all time. It’s the best game in the Mass Effect franchise. It’s also one of the best Xbox 360 games ever released. So, of course, it’s one of the best PlayStation 3 games ever made as well.
BioWare is able to expand the original Mass Effect while simultaneously addressing its issues and keeping the foundations intact. Overhauling combat and the controls overall works. Does it lose some of its RPG feel? Yes, but the game is honestly better for it.
The core DNA is still there, just without some of the clunkiness. Well-written characters and an amazing story are still present throughout.
LittleBigPlanet is an amazing platformer and easy inclusion on our list of best PS3 games
Before Super Mario Maker, there was LittleBigPlanet. Media Molecule’s platformer gave the power of creativity and level design into the hands of gamers. The result is an innovative game that was ahead of its time, offering a seemingly endless amount of content and replayability.
A story mode and built-in levels are present, but they take a back seat to the star of the show: user-created content.
Between being able to create the levels of your dreams and getting to experience the dreams of others, LittleBigPlanet is a platformer fan’s dream come true. Everything about it works so exceptionally well, between gameplay, controls, and creativity.
Plus, Sack Boy is just so gosh darn adorable.
Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots is a satisfying conclusion to the Metal Gear Solid story
Guns of the Patriots is an experience. It concludes the story of Solid Snake, starting way back on the PS2, in an incredibly satisfying manner.
The gameplay is both faithful and innovative, offering some of the best stealth-action the Metal Gear Solid franchise has ever had.
Metal Gear Solid IV isn’t afraid to flinch from its stance and message and the game is better for it. This is a story that is indeed rough and confusing at times, but it wouldn’t be a Kojima game without that, right? Still, Guns of the Patriots knows what it’s about and wears its badge with honor and pride.
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion brings Elder Scrolls to the masses as one of the best PS3 games
Oblivion is the first Elder Scrolls game to really appeal to the masses. Elder Scrolls IV helps to bring the franchise from an RPG with a narrow but devoted following into a gaming mainstay.
The game starts to draw you in with an impressive presentation value. Patrick Stewart tells you that you’re the only hope for the world. He spends his dying breath letting you know that Sean Bean can help you fulfill your destiny.
Oblivion’s gameplay loop hasn’t necessarily aged well and its relatively small voice cast can be silly at best, but this is my favorite Elder Scrolls game for a reason. It balances the structure and polish (yes, that word is doing some heavy lifting) of a big-budget game with the charm and personality of a more intimate RPG experience.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and its open world offers one of the best PlayStation 3 games ever
It may not be my favorite, but for others, Skyrim is far more than just one of the best PS3 games. It’s a definitive and core gaming experience.
Elder Scrolls V is an experience. The open world of Skyrim is massive and inviting, yet it’s still filled with so many small and intimate moments. Honestly, the best part about the game is just going your own road. That’s my biggest critique with it, as well: the main story doesn’t have enough of a hook to keep you going.
There are so many reasons to play Skyrim and never touch the main quest line. So many wonderful secrets, locations, and characters just waiting to be discovered that are otherwise missed.
I truly hope that Elder Scrolls VI combines the best of Skyrim and Oblivion, with plenty of dashes from Morrowind, too, of course.
God of War III is a breathtaking hack ‘n slash action adventure
Before 2018’s God of War, 2010’s God of War III delivered a fantastic capstone to the trilogy, resulting in one of the best PlayStation 3 games. Santa Monica Studio delivers more than a game, but a full-blown cinematic experience.
God of War III starts out strong and doesn’t let up until the final credits roll.
Santa Monica concludes the God of War trilogy in an excellent manner. Between refined and visceral gameplay, satisfying story beats, and gorgeous graphics, this is the definitive God of War experience.
Until the PS4 game was released, anyway. Thankfully, that doesn’t diminish the accomplishment that is God of War III.
God of War Collection brings the best PS2 games to the PS3
Of course, God of War III wouldn’t have been anything without its predecessors. The remastered collection of the first two God of War titles is undoubtedly one of the best PlayStation 3 games.
The upscaled graphics help give God of War 1 and 2 the visual love they so deserve.
These two PS2 games changed the way action hack-n-slash games could achieve. The perfect balance of combat, puzzle solving, and platforming is a sight to behold.
Some would love to see the entire trilogy remastered for the PlayStation 5, but the strength of the God of War Collection indicates that it’s not something entirely necessary.
Journey is an unforgettable adventure and one of the best PS3 games
Journey is more than one of the best PlayStation 3 games. It’s an experience unlike anything else.
Its story is told exclusively through gameplay and visuals; there is no line of dialogue in the entire game. That doesn’t hold it back from telling one of the best narratives in the medium.
The beauty of the game’s art direction drives the player’s experience, and it’s enhanced by a beautiful and moving soundtrack. Adding in dialogue would only distract from the game’s messaging and its enchantment.
The less we say about Journey, the better. This is a game that deserves to be played without knowing too much, lest we spoil the, well, journey.
Rock Band 2 is everything a sequel should be
The original Rock Band helped usher in the era of plastic instruments in your living room. The sequel took the concept to another level, resulting in one of the best PS3 games of all time.
Between the increase of original recordings over covers, gameplay enhancements, and well-rounded DLC content, Rock Band 2 is the premiere release in the franchise.
Any music game is only as strong as the content. Rock Band 2 has it in spades. The killer track list features Steely Dan’s “Bodhisattva,” the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong,” Soundgarden’s “Spoonman,” Megadeth’s “Peace Sells,” and more.
It also had a new Guns N’ Roses song from the infamous Chinese Democracy album!
MLB: The Show 10 is one of the best sports games ever made
PlayStation fans have been blessed with an excellent baseball video game. The MLB: The Show franchise has rightfully earned its place as one of the premier sports video games. In 2010, the series may have reached its peak with one of the best sports games ever made.
The best part of MLB: The Show 10 is the impressive amount of content the game offers. Beyond being a satisfying game of baseball, enjoying the game’s alternate modes offer tons of replayability.
Doubly impressive are the game’s graphics, animations, and design. Remember: this is a game that is over ten years old. Today, we take things like a realistic ballpark design for granted. At the time of its release, MLB: The Show 10 was a revolutionary sports game.
Fallout: New Vegas is the best game in the Fallout series
The Fallout franchise returned thanks to Bethesda with Fallout 3. The follow-up, New Vegas, is developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
Despite the numerous bugs, glitches, and issues at launch, Fallout: New Vegas leans heavily into the RPG elements when you compare it to its predecessor. This isn’t just a post-apocalyptic FPS-RPG hybrid, but a fully-fledged role-playing experience.
The game’s characters and stories carry the game, even at times surpassing the technical hiccups. It is a game worth playing despite the many flaws.
Thankfully, those bugs have been taken care out, helping to cement its place as the best Fallout game and one of the best PS3 games.
Street Fighter IV is an incredible fighting game and one of the best PS3 games ever
What happens when you respect your franchise’s legacy and combine it with new ideas? You get Street Fighter IV, one of the best PlayStation 3 games ever released.
Capcom brings the beloved series into the modern era of gaming with great success. The game’s visual style is both slick and gorgeous. Character animations complement the game’s fighting style well.
Speaking of characters, Street Fighter IV boasts an impressive roster. New addition and franchise mainstays all feel right at home, helping to enhance the already deep and addictive gameplay.
The inspiration and similarities to Street Fighter II are felt throughout the game. Street Fighter IV is the perfect mixture of classic inspiration and modern design, resulting in a nearly perfect fighting game experience.
The Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection are timeless classics
Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are two incredibly beautiful games. There isn’t much, if anything, quite like them. Being able to experience them together in this bundled package is an easy choice for our list of the best PlayStation 3 games.
While Shadow of the Colossus would see an even greater remake on the PlayStation 4, this HD remaster helps bring the titles to their full potential.
Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are some of the most unique and inspiring video games ever created. They are works of art that deserved to be experienced. You’re better off for it.
Killzone 2 is one of the best PS3 games and an amazing FPS experience
It was going to be hard for Killzone 2 to fully live up to the hype. Somehow, against all the odds, the game nearly does.
Killzone 2 is one of the first PlayStation 3 titles to showcase the full potential of the system. If you ever want to know how Guerilla Games was able to pull off the Horizon franchise, you can start by looking here.
Between intense FPS action, absolutely gorgeous graphical prowess, and fantastic multiplayer, Killzone 2 is a top-tier game for the PS3. It knows its job and does it well, helping it to stand out against the crowded FPS genre.
Rayman Legends is an incredibly stylish platformer
Next on our list of the best PS3 games is a title that can be best described as pure platforming bliss.
Rayman Legends successfully weaves in loads of style with plenty of substance to back it up. The combination of slick visuals and precise platforming works extraordinarily well together.
Pacing is equally on point in ways that echo the best Sonic the Hedgehog titles. Levels and worlds are vibrant and expansive while remaining focused. This results in an experience similar to a roller coaster: building momentum as you dive straight into an exhilarating crescendo, slowing back down, and then finishing with an extraordinary finale.
Dark Souls is one of the most challenging and best PS3 games
It may be known as “that brutally difficult video game,” but Dark Souls is so much more.
It’s one of the best PS3 games ever made. It’s a beautiful and enchanting experience. Beating bosses is one of the most satisfying things you can ever do in a video game. Yet beyond all this, Dark Souls is a masterclass in both world and game design.
Dark Souls is the poster child for “show, don’t tell.” It presents you with challenges and obstacles that seem impossible but instead encourages you to venture elsewhere. Sometimes, skill can carry you through, but more often than not, you’re just not prepared for what lies ahead of you.
The more you put into Dark Souls, the more you learn the ins and outs, and the better the experience is.
Demon’s Souls is the birth of a franchise
As great as Dark Souls is, it wouldn’t exist without Demon’s Souls. FromSoftware’s first action-RPG experience broke ground in several ways.
Much is (rightfully) made about the game’s brutal difficulty. Demon’s Souls toes the line of being tough and fair. Does it feel cheap and aggravating at times? Absolutely. Is the game impossible? Definitely not.
There are undoubtedly some rough edges and quirks to be found, but Demon’s Souls lays the foundation for an entirely new genre of video games. One that trusts the player to take in the story without expositional dialogue and cutscenes that hammer home the point of the game’s narrative.
As much as later FromSoftware games have expanded their concepts and tried new ideas, their DNA all traces back to Demon’s Souls. Without the original, there would be no Bloodborne, no Sekiro, and no Elden Ring.
Wrapping up our list of the best PlayStation 3 games
That does it for the 30 best PS3 games! I’m sure we’ve missed a couple, and that’s okay! These lists are ultimately up to the opinion of the author. If we wanted to, we could have easily doubled the amount of games, but then we’d be here all day.
What titles did we miss? What would you have liked to see appear on our list of the best PlayStation 3 games? Be sure to let us know in the comments below and keep the conversation going!