Mike’s picks

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

Originally released: Nov. 19, 2007

What is it? Uncharted is a third-person shooter that focuses on Indiana Jones-style adventure. It stars the likable and wise-cracking Nathan Drake, a man searching for the city of gold, El Dorado. It was developed by Naughty Dog, a studio mostly known for platformers like Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter.

You'll spend a lot of time dangling off things and looking for something to jump on.

Above: You’ll spend a lot of time dangling off things and looking for something to jump on.

Image Credit: Naughty Dog

Why it’s still worth playing: Uncharted was the PlayStation 3’s best exclusive at the time, and it still stands up as an adventure worth taking. Sure, it doesn’t feature as many over-the-top set pieces as its sequels (neither of which are currently on PlayStation Now), but Drake’s Fortune still has the wit and charm that made gamers fall in love with Drake, Sully, and Elena back in 2007. If you’ve somehow missed the Uncharted train and don’t know a half-tucks from a three-fifths tuck, this is a great opportunity to see why this series became one Sony’s most important franchises.

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

Originally released: Oct. 27, 2009

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What is it? The PlayStation 3’s third entry in action-platformer series Ratchet & Clank. While it features the familiar weapons-based mayhem fans loved the franchise for, it also adds some time-bending puzzle sections.

It's Clank, Clink, Clonk, and Clunk. I made those other names up, but I like them.

Above: It’s Clank, Clink, Clonk, and Clunk. I made those other names up, but I like them.

Image Credit: GiantBomb

Why it’s still worth playing: Those puzzles I just mentioned? They’re superfun. As Clank, you use special pads to record your actions for up to a minute. You then employ extra pads so you could send out multiple versions of yourself at once, all while trying to carefully time each copy to cooperate with each other in order to solve a puzzle. Besides that, the basic Ratchet gameplay is as great here as ever. Add in the capability to freely visit small planets from your spaceship and the series best villain, Dr. Nefarious, and you have the best Ratchet & Clank game in the franchise.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Originally released: Oct. 10, 2005

What is it? Enslaved is a third-person action/platformer from Ninja Theory, a studio known for using motion-captured performances in its games.

So much green!

Above: So much green!

Image Credit: Ninja Theory

Why it’s still worth playing: Enslaved is a fun game with great mechanics, but it’s also beautiful. It takes place in a surprisingly colorful postapocalyptic future, and it features some fantastic performances. Notably, Andy Serkis, best known for his portrayal of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings films, is fantastic as the main character, Monkey.

Shadow of the Colossus

Originally released: PS2 version on Oct. 15, 2005; PS3 version on Sept. 22, 2011

What is it? Shadow of the Colossus is a spiritual successor to Ico. It tasked a human-sized character with the monumental task of defeating 16 giants.

You can take him!

Above: You can take him!

Image Credit: Eurogamer

Why it’s still worth playing: Even all these years later, the sense of scale in Shadow of the Colossus is breath-taking. Climbing up a giant colossus as it tries to shake you off is as intense a struggle today as it was in 2005. Like Ico, this is a beautiful game, but it has an epic quality that few have ever matched.

The Last of Us

Originally released: June 14, 2013

What is it? The Last of Us is a third-person action game that focuses on survival in a postapocalyptic world filled with fungal-infect zombies (or whatever you want to call them). It’s from Naughty Dog, the same studio behind the Uncharted series.

The Last of Us

Above: Don’t worry about the guy with the shotgun, we have a gas mask!

Image Credit: Naughty Dog

Why it’s still worth playing: The Last of Us is a chilling, moving, and memorable game. Naughty Dog used the graphical and performance-capturing tricks they learned with Uncharted to tell a darker story. Of course, The Last of Us recently got a remastered release on the PlayStation 4. Still, streaming the PlayStation 3 version on PS Now could be a cheaper option for you. Even on the older system, it’s still a beautiful game.

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