With the Advent of the Playstation 4, less and less games are being made exclusively for Playstation 3 so we can make fairly definitive lists about the system’s library as a whole. so here is my Top 20 as of 30 Dec 2014.
NOTE: Everyone has different tastes so I do not expect everyone here at Blazekick to agree 100% with this list.
NOTE: HD Collections, Indy games, and Digital Only titles are not on this list.
No. 20: Nier: Replicant (ニーア レプリカント, Cavia, 22 April 2010)
Starting off this list of mine here is Nier! A spiritual successor to Drakengard and Square’s attempt at making a “Kingdom Hearts for grown-ups.” Nier is a fantastic action RPG, with well-written characters with wonderful voice acting. One thing I particularly like about the characters in Nier is that they aren’t afraid to be raunchy, some of the dialogue is very raw: which can be very emotionally capturing at sometimes, and downright hilarious at others. On top of that, great enemy designs, a well rounded combat system, and a great story with spectacular music to accompany it make Nier an absolute must-have for anyone with a Playstation 3.
No. 19: God of War: Ascension (ゴッド・オブ・ウォー アセンション. Santa Monica, 12 Mar 2013)
Truly, this spot belongs to the entire God of War series, but I chose to specify Ascension particularly because it was the most recent one, and also the most technically advanced. The God of War series was very impactful on the gaming industry, because it wasn’t just an action game, but it felt completely unique to itself. It’s hard to say why, but God of War just has a very particular heavy and brutal combat system to it that no others could emulate at the time. Since then, many games (like Lords of the Shadow or Dante’s Inferno) tried to emulate what God of War did, but ultimately fell just short. Ascension has the tightest combat and most polished graphics of any other in the series, which is more or less the reason it go the spot as opposed to III.
No. 18: Tales of Xillia (テイルズ オブ エクシリア, Namco Tales Studio, 8 Sep 2011)
The Tales series is really hit and miss for me. Although it gets much acclaim for continuing a long tradition of classic Japanese RPG’s, some of the games in the series are very bland. Xillia happens to be one of those in contrast. The battle system remains generally the same as the rest of the series (originating from Star Ocean’s battle system) with good free action and plenty of spell and ability variations. What I really like about Xillia opposed to other Tales games is that the story isn’t all generic anime crap, but involves interesting aspects of religion, political intrigue, and other topics not normally found in those kawaii-as-fuck games like Hyperdimension. You play as a med student who follows a goddess on her revenge journey, and you go across a vast world meeting plenty of other types (royalty, bounty hunters, magicians), which makes for a diverse array of characters. Overall, Xillia is an interesting, classic, fun RPG that is sure to satisfy any gamer.
No. 17: Star Ocean: The Last Hope (スターオーシャン4, Tri-Ace, 4 Feb 2010)
There was a time in Japan’s history where the Xbox 360 was failing miserably, so a bunch of Japanese developers made a fair amount high-quality Xbox exclusives. (games like Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, Infinite Undiscovery, etc.) Star Ocean was initially one of those titles, but eventually found its way over to Playstation about a year later. Star Ocean is a super solid, lengthy, classic action RPG. The battle system is fun and simple, but has its depth if you look for it. Star Ocean 4 particularly holds its own place in the market as one of the last handful of real “Classic” RPG series to be released on the platform.
No. 16: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (メタルギア ライジング リベンジェンス, Platinum Games, 19 Feb 2013)
This rendition of Metal Gear the first to not be made by Kojima directly, rather developed by Bayonetta creator Platinum Games. Metal Gear Rising is a high-speed stylish-action game, reminiscent of Devil May Cry. You play as the popular, cyber-ninja, character Raiden. This is a change of pace from the stealth/espionage style of the rest of the series, Rising encourage full on battles with plenty of enemies, robots, and environments just waitng to be sliced to bits by your blade. Besides the super solid combat, Rising prides itself in the fact that virtually anything in the game can be cut by your blade, giving a sense of control and freedom not seen in many other games of this genre (Have fun breaking pots Kratos, I’m chopping cars to shreds). And you do all your stylish chopping in a well-polished world and against cool (but admittedly generic) enemies. Metal Gear Rising is one of the very few of Playstation 3’s really good classic hack-n-slash action games.
NOTE: Bayonetta is also an amazing title, but the PS3 version was poorly ported so it will more likely appear on my top 20 Xbox 360 list.
No. 15: Akiba’s Trip 2 (アキバズトリップ2, Acquire, 7 Nov 2013)
This game is just straight goofy. Akiba’s Trip 2’s fantastic world is one where vampires have taken over the Otaku district of Akihabara, and the only way to kill them is to strip them down naked and let the sunlight explode them. By far, the weirdest game on this list. The story is fairly simple, partial dating sim action adventure, multiple endings, normal Japanese stuff. What makes Akiba’s Trip stand out (aside from the absurdity) is the attention to detail they gave intro recreating Akihabara in a game (complete with random game and anime ads, cosplayers, French maids, and businessmen) and making a interesting fight system. The battle system works on weakening each piece of clothing individually before you’re able to strip: so you have a high attack (Triangle), mid attack (Square), and low attack (Cross), which target the headwear, shirts, and trousers respectively. You also get bonus exp. for doing multiple strips in a row (chains). This kind of intricacy you don’t expect from weeabo bait anime games, normally. You’ll enjoy your stay in Akiba with all of the weapon and wardrobe combos, colourful characters, and all the aforementioned absurdities!
No. 14: Final Fantasy XIII (ファイナルファンタジーXIII, Square-Enix, 17 Dec 2009)
Final Fantasy XIII is frankly one of the single best looking games on the Playstation 3, really it’s stunning. XIII got a lot of hell from fans and critics for being too linear
(*cough* Final Fantasy X *cough*) and having a weird half turn based/half action battle system. And at first I didn’t really like it all that well either… In retrospect, it’ actually a rich and fulfilling RPG experience. It’s very lengthy, does offer some amount of freedom once you’ve reached a certain point in the game (*cough* Final Fantasy X *cough*) and the battle system, while unfamiliar, was actually a lot of fun to figure out and master. XIII is a gorgeous and interesting RPG and makes a great addition to the FF legacy and my list.
No. 13: Tekken Tag Tournament 2
(鉄拳タッグトーナメント2, Bandai Namco Games, 11 Sep 2012)
I love fighting games. I’m not good at them, but I love ‘em. For a lot of people, the largest portion of the time they spend playing games is on fighting games (whether it be arcade, practicing, online, whatever) so it greatly surprised me that you seldom see at least one or two show up on any of these sorts of lists. Regardless, here’s one. Tekken Tag 2 is a long awaited sequel to the tremendously popular ps2 title, Tekken Tag. The Tekken series has a long running fan base, and is probably the most played competitive 3-D fighter to-date, and to say Tekken Tag 2 is the definitive Tekken experience is accurate. Tekken has a great, and diverse, cast of characters that give you near infinite amounts of play styles. Each character practices a particular style of martial arts, and the game gets the distinctness of each style down very well. Tekken’s single player has plenty of challenge to offer, and the online community is very skilled and makes the challenge even more real.
No. 12: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (二ノ国 白き聖灰の女王, Level-5, 17 Nov 2011)
Ni No Kuni is kind of like, if you can imagine, Pokemon and Final Fantasy had some kind of a weird child. While it doesn’t have a turn-based battle system, it still feels like the old turn based RPG’s from the last few generations. It’s very nostalgic, while still feeling very fresh and new. You explore a magnificent world, on a quest to revive your late mother. You collect and battle with familiars, a pokemon-esque monster that acts as your main combatant. There are many of these to collect as you progress through the land. One great strength of Ni No Kuni is the shear length of the game. In an era of 5 hour game campaigns, we have here a fully loaded RPG that has upwards of 100 hours of things to do. On top of all this RPG greatness you Kuni is an all-star work.
No. 11: Hot Shots Golf 6 (みんなのGOLF6, Clap Hanz, 22 Nov 2012)
It is unlike me, or most reviewers, to include sports games on these kinds of lists. Hot Shots is unlike most sports games, though, so it felt appropriate to throw up here. Originally released on the Vita, this game had a strong focus on social gaming. Hot Shots golf 6 has a spectacular online tournament mode, in which it’s easy to get lost in challenging your friends or strangers to a wacky round of golf. But the offline play is really where I find myself spending most of my tee-time. Hot Shots offers easy to understand mechanics, while maintaining a great challenge. The big downfall of most sports games is that they stride to be so realistic they become impossible for newcomers to learn quickly, Hot Shots remedies this. In the challenge mode, you complete courses, one-by-one, to earn money which is used to unlock a myriad of costumes, characters, courses, music (none of that DLC bullshit, you unlock it all in-game!) By far the most fun, and most substantial sports game on the market.
No. 10: Yakuza 4 (龍が如く4 伝説を継ぐもの, SEGA, 18 Mar 2010)
Yakuza 4 is one of the greatest open-world RPG’s to date. Yakuza 4, as well as the rest of the series, has an astounding way of making an open world setting not feel so thoughtless and bland. Most sandbox type games give way too much attention to the environment while sacrificing gameplay or story. (I’ll call out Elder Scrolls for having really weak combat and Grand Theft Auto for having a boring story) Yakuza has a fantastic setting, great story, and amazing combat. You get to explore a fictional, but realistic, modern Japanese city complete with all sorts of things to do, including: karaoke, arcade games, running hostess clubs, gambling, helping people from committing suicide, golf (I’m pretty sure this was in 4), pachinko, hanafuda, and more! But atop that, you do actually get a very good story the redemptive tale of 4 men caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Each character has an incredible back-story, but also a unique combat style. The combat of this game is where it shines. You may remember the ps2 games being clunky and hard to play, the ps3 era corrected this, and now the brawling is as smooth as ever. Overall this is a well-rounded game, and will enthrall any player from begging to end.
No. 9: Dead or Alive 5 (デッドオアアライブ5, Team Ninja, 25 Sep 2012)
Dead or Alive has always been one of my favourite fighting game series’. It’s not really much in the competitive realm of fighting game culture, but it is one of the most unique. While DOA has always had the jiggle mechanics (you know what おっぱい I’m talkin bout) as a signature gimmick, but offered a lot of depth under that (and that’s pretty deep) to really give it one of the greatest fighting game experiences in gaming. DOA gives you the range of fighting styles like Tekken, but offers it in a less mechanical fashion. DOA is fast a smooth; the pace of battle really keeps you engaged. The game keeps a simple button layout, making it easily accessible to newcomers, but also offers plenty of counter attack and combo mechanics to test the best of them. One of the biggest qualities that DOA always had was the story mode. While the story itself in convoluted and makes no sense at times, the story mode itself feels like the good old fashioned Arcade mode of late fighters. And the challenge is real, some of the last fights can be frustrating as all hell, although still not quite as enraging as DOA 4. The series will always be my favourite fighter, and 5 lived up to my expectations an then some.
No. 8: Dynasty Warriors 8 (真・三國無双7, Omega Force, 28 Feb 2013)
Musou games are to Japan, as sports games are to the United States. They get released almost every year, and almost every year they’re the same as they were last year with a few tweaks. Dynasty Warriors 8 is the exception. I admit to being a blind Musou fanboy, I’ll buy any Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, or Warriors Orochi game that comes out. But 8 was special. Dynasty Warriors 8 maintains the fun that comes from slaying thousands of men and warlords with a single blade and running long distances just to save one weak character from dying just so you don’t have to start the whole damn level over. But 8 added a whole new engine to this. Omega Force started from scratch with this one, gave each character a new attention to detail, made each special attack more fierce, overhauled the visuals, and added more variety to gameplay. On the surface, it is just another Musou game, and it’s hard to put into words why it isn’t, but it is just one of those things you have to play to get what is being said.
No. 7: Devil May Cry 4 (デビル メイ クライ4, Capcom, 31 Jan 2008)
Some will say that 4 wasn’t as good as the rest of the Devil May Cry series, but it’s certainly better than that abortion of a reboot that Ninja Theory made (yeah, I went there)… All that aside, Devil May Cry has always been a top of the line action series, 4 being no exception to that greatness. While the story may be lacking anything mind blowing, the game itself was extremely well done. It has the signature fast and stylish combat that Devil May Cry is known for with the challenge that comes from the great AI and level designs. The further the game progressed, the more crazy and intricate combos you could pull off. The game, itself, even rewards you for pulling off stylish combos in battle, and will punish you, in some cases, for button mashing. The voice work and the visuals are as stunning as ever. You’ll slice and dice plenty of great looking demons on the back drop of gorgeous gothic churches and cities, Devil May Cry 4 made great use of the visual technologies of the time. Devil May Cry 4 will always be a standard to what action platformers need to live up to.
No. 6: Dragon’s Crown (ドラゴンズクラウン, Vanillaware, 25 July 2013)
Oh where to begin. I absolutely adore Dragon’s Crown. In a similar fashion that Ni No Kuni was a throw back to old school RPG’s, Dragon’s Crown is a throwback to old school dungeon crawlers (like Diablo, Gauntlet, Golden Axe, D&D, etc.) Vanillaware, the makers of Odin Sphere and Princess Crown are known for their unique visual style, and it comes across the best it ever has here. The game is entirely hand-painted! The characters, enemies, environments are all gorgeously made with vibrant colours, fluidity, and originality. I can’t stress how great this game looks! On top of that, the sprites move very smoothly, and blend with the world so well. The game plays like you’d expect: dungeons, loot, classes, and dragons. The classes are very diverse, and each playthrough feels unique to itself; tons of loot to gather, a load of great fun in just finding new weapons to slay dragons with; the battle mechanics are great… too many great things to say about this game. I will end by saying that the topping to this cake is the multiplayer: This game would have been absolutely fine as a 1-player game, but the 4 player local and online experience give it that true D&D arcade experience.
No. 5: Catherine (キャサリン, Atlus, 17 Feb 2011)
Not to mention the severe lack of platformers in recent time, there are few puzzle-platformers that really leave a lasting impact on people. On top of that, social-sims aren’t usually the making of “Game of the Year” lists, either. Well Catherine is all of these things, and it was outstanding. The puzzles were challenging but they were also made to be more intense, because you were racing against either: time, other sheeple, or even giant satanic foetuses with chainsaws. Yes, the enemies in this game are the work of pure nightmares, but it’s really motivating to get you to the top. The story was also interesting. it was dark and focused on a subjects most game ne’er touch: such as infidelity, alcoholism, real marital issues, etc. The characters are all well written, and messed up in there own way. It’s easy to love this game just by watching someone else play, but the multiple endings and rewarding stages make it 100% worth your play.
No. 4: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (メタルギアソリッド4 ガンズ・オブ・ザ・パトリオット、Kojima Productions, 12 June 2008)
Metal Gear is one of the truly most stunning experiences the Playstation 3 has, and ever will have, to offer. The games story and presentation are it’s strongest points. The story and dialogue are extremely well written, as well as diverse… the game can be very serious and emotional at times, while also being able to be light-hearted and funny. Visually this game comes about as close to realism as the system could have, the lighting effects, textures, environments, character designs, just everything looked great! Those things aside, the gameplay was phenomenal: the levels were both challenging and rewarding, the weapon choices were great, and each boss fight was original and well done. This game has some of the best boss fights in modern gaming, by far. The game has some extremely long cinematic cutscenes, but they are very well put together and interesting to watch. Metal Gear Solid 4 is still one of the most memorable gaming experiences on Playstation 3.
No. 3: Yakuza 5 (龍が如く5 夢、叶えし者、SEGA, 6 Dec 2012)
Yakuza 4 was already on the list, and not surprisingly, 3 will be next. What makes 5 place so much higher on the list are the combat and the visuals. 4 used the same combat and graphics engine as 3, so 4 sort of felt like a direct extension of 3 in a lot of ways. 5 comes in with a brand new engine for both. The combat and level up options in 5 felt so much tighter and well put together, not only as an RPG, but also as a brawler. 5 just played so well, each battle was engaging, each finishing move was exciting, and they just kept getting better as the game progresses. The visuals also went above and beyond: this game has to be one of the best looking games on the console. Yakuza 5 holds everything great about the series, but shinier and smoother.
No. 2: Yakuza 3 (龍が如く3, SEGA, 26 Feb 2009)
Yakuza as a series is one of my favourite franchises to date, all 3 main series games appear on this list. Yakuza 3 has all the same things I loved from 4 and 5, but just a smidge more. 3 was the first game where Kiryu is out of the yakuza and begins his ‘redemption’ of sorts. Also, you play only a Kiryu through the whole game. As a result, I felt the story in this one was the peak of the writing for the series, genuinely one of the best stories ever written in a video game sequel. Only having one main character, I believe, made the story more solid and better flowing. 4 and 5 where great, but Yakuza 3 will always hold the number one spot in the series.
No. 1: Demon’s Souls (デモンズソウル, From Software, 5 Feb 2011)
Demon’s Souls is the spiritual successor to the PS2 series King’s Field. It is a dungeon crawling action RPG, set in a bleak aftermath of a kingdom fallen to demons. The reason it takes the first spot is because the game is fluid, punishing, creepy, in-depth, and all around fun. The story is fairly straight forward, but there is so much to learn about the world by talking to NPC’s (but it’s actually interesting) Tons of customization options for your character, Perfect soundtrack to match the atmosphere, the graphics are stunning, and the game is just outright cool. On top of all this, the game has tons to do aside from the main quest, without having that loose and lazy open-world feel. Overall, every aspect of the game feels purposeful and works harmoniously with one another to give one of the most fulfilling gaming experiences of all time.