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In keeping with the theme right now, I've decided upon putting my neck out there and composing my own list, starting with the PS3. It's easy to criticize and slight behind a keyboard without putting your own list out there for people to see and critique themselves.These lists are difficult to put together and are always subjective, but in the first of my planned annual list, here are the top 25 PlayStation 3 games available to play now. If you don't see a favorite or think I've missed something obvious, stay and read my honorable mentions at the end.
Note 1: I'm rating games on how their playable state is now, NOT WHEN THEY WERE RELEASED. Time heals wounds and fixes problems, remember that.
Note 2: In further keeping with these themes, I will be making a top list for the PSN itself so that is why you won't be seeing games such as Limbo and Journey here. Look for that soon.
25: Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time
A tried and true PlayStation mascot strutting his stuff in the best offering from the franchise in years. Broad appeal, accessible gameplay and the characters we know and love gives Sony an identifiable IP without relying on fan service and allowing the game speak for itself. Suprisingly well done combat and gunplay as well.
While Sony definitely received the weakest port of this jaw dropping action game upon release, that has long since been rectified with patches and an optional install that should be manditory. Developed by the phenomenally talented Platinum Games, Bayonetta gives us a charming new set of characters and a boat load of fan service, yet underneath lies one of the beautiful and rewarding action games released this generation. The combat is deep and flashy and culminates with some fantastic moments and boss battles. Don't let the fluff fool you, this is an action game to be taken seriously. Here is a sample of some of the big moments and boss battles I was talking about. Bring a napkin for drool.
23: Grand Theft Auto 4
The most recent entry in the financial and critical monster that is Grand Theft Auto is a worthy one. Receiving many perfect scores, the game brought the open worlds we know and love into the HD generation and gamers have been clamoring for the next installment ever since. Many would rate this higher, but I believe RockStar out did their selves with another entry into the genre which we will see later. No matter what number it lands at, Grand Theft Auto 4 is a worthwhile purchase for any PlayStation gamers library and is only expanded upon now with the well done downloadable content packs available for purchase at retail on on the PSN.
22: Castlevania Lord of Shadow
Possibly the biggest surprise on this list will be Castlevania Lords of Shadow. A criminally underrated action games that FINALLY brings all the elements from this pillar of gaming history into the HD generation. Boasting a legendary soundtrack and a complete reboot to the Castlevania canon, Lords of Shadow brings us the creation of Dracula and the Belmont's legacy anew. The transition of this classic franchise from its glory days to now has not been kind, but Konami and Mercury Steam have struck gold here and one only needs to see the sweeping shots of ancient castles and the feel the legendary whip in their hand AHEM controller to know this is Castlevania through and through. A sequel was announced at this years E3 that pays homage to someone we know and love from arguably Castlevania's most beloved game, Symphony of the Night. Here is the trailer:
21: Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition
Que the jokes about waiting for the ultra, mega, uber edition and the scathing comments of on disc DLC for this choice, but fighting games don't come more polished, deep or accessible as Capcom's most recent version of Street Fighter. Iconic characters, infinite replay and a sky's the limit approach to your skill level are at the touch of your controller, or arcade stick if you will. There has never been a better time to return to, or enter the world of Street Fighter with modes that teach you the ropes, replay functions to show you what the pros do and a never ending supply of foes via the almost seamless online functionality, it's like having an arcade cabinet in your living room and every player around the world available to test your skills against. Call me crazy, but there is no better way to get the blood pumping than putting my Akuma against the best! You never run out of reasons to keep coming back.
20: NBA 2k12
Sure Madden sells the most and Fifa supposedly represents the worlds most popular game, but no one has done more to innovate and re-invent everything we associate with a sports game than 2K Sports and it's NBA offering. Since it's reboot in 2010, they've improved the formula astronomically and have even garnered places on overall best games lists come years end. 2K sports puts every other sports game developer to shame with the lengths they go to capture basketball in game and their hold nothing back approach taken to cramming each offering chalk full of what any fan could want. I just wish more sports game developers would follow their lead and stop giving us the same game with marginal upgrades year after year. All hail 2K sports!
19: Battlefield 3
The world of first person shooters is bursting at the seams and growing by the month. Love them or hate them, it is difficult to deny they are a powerhouse that is here to stay and have pushed the boundaries of what online gaming is all about. Sure these military shooter giants offer single player campaigns, but that isn't why the majority of gamers buy them. Online play and competition is the name of the game and while it may not sell as well as its biggest rival, Battlefield 3 is the best online first person shooter you can buy. DICE completely overhauled their graphical engine and it shows and while online functionality was a little shaky at launch, every kink has been worked out and streamlined for today's Battlefield 3 fan. If first person shooters are your thrill, Battlefield 3 is your game! At least until next year when winter rolls around anyway….
Far and away the best shooter this generation has produced. Stunning visuals, break neck paced gameplay with wrinkles to the tried and true formula. Vanquish shows the rest of the genre that you don't have to be first person perspective to do a shooter right. Bosses are challenging and huge and there just enough guns to offer variety and not be redundant in a players arsenal. The visuals are also of the highest caliber, befitting of any game in Platinum's capable hands. If only Vanquish were a little longer and offered a more comprehensive online mode it would score higher on the list. Nonetheless, this is the best shooter on the PlayStation 3. Just a couple little trailers to sate your appetite. If you don't think Vanquish belongs on this list, you either haven't played it or need to go back to it. Great game.
17: Mass Effect 3
Controversy aside, Mass Effect 3 is the culmination of gaming's best and most beloved franchises. While never reaching the heights of its predecessors in terms of character and story, the game sets itself apart from past offerings with more expansive and interactive environments, as well as new additions to gameplay that will make returning to other entries in this space opera incredibly difficult. It also introduces the welcome addition of online multiplayer that is still receiving attention and accolades almost six months after release. Let's face it, even if you were disappointed in Mass Effect 3, that is only because the hype and build up was impossible to meet.
InFamous is a great example of what a strong new exclusive can do for your console. Garnering a ton of attention industry wide when released, we were introduced to Cole McGrath, a regular guy imbued with the powers of lightning and forced to be something he obviously wasn't ready for. Moral decisions abound in this made for gaming superhero tale which extends to gameplay, where every civilian saved or injured takes a toll on your morality meter. The story is strong as are the connections with the characters you come to know. InFamous led to a sequel in 2011 which you will not see on this list. While an improvement visually and gameplay wise, it was a significant step backwards in terms of story telling and killed much of the momentum that the first built for it. For that reason, the first is the only essential play in the top 25 from the InFamous franchise, but by all means play the second and see for yourself. It's a good, but not great game.
15: Batman Arkham Asylum
Rocksteady did what many were beginning to believe was impossible, that being actually making a good superhero game. Sure Nolan's Batman movies paved the way for this gritty take on the caped crusaders world, but the developers had to weave their own tale and make it gel with compelling gameplay that made you feel like Batman himself. A success is an understatement to be sure, as never has it been more satisfied to don the cape and cowl than when playing Arkham Asylum for the first time. I debated through and through as to whether to include this as I don't want to be redundant in my list, but the game is much too good and tells a unique story in itself that it would be an injustice to leave it off this list.
14: Valkyria Chronicles
While strategy RPG's are becoming more obscure on home consoles these days, it's a good thing obscure isn't the deciding factor when it comes to fantastic games. The first thing you'll notice about Valkyria Chronicles are its awe inspiring water colored visuals, but dig deeper and you'll find challenging strategic gameplay and a compelling tale that meshes politics and personal relationships into one. The gameplay varies as well, forcing you into smaller sneaking missions and chapters where you are completely out gunned and every choice is like moving a chess piece. You'd be hard pressed into finding a better game no matter the genre than Valkyria Chronicles and although it has seen sequels on the PSP, I'm holding my breath for a return to its rightful place on home consoles.
13: Heavy Rain
I assure you, Heavy Rain is not everyone's cup of tea. Some even argue if it can truly be called a "game" at all in the traditional sense. Believe what you will, but I strongly recommend developer Quantic Dreams initial PS3 offering to every player. Offering an extremely graphic and mature branching tale where every one of your protagonists are at risk at any time, the story is as good as they come. While the game may start slow, it is integral to set the mood for the remainder of the story and build to the more in depth gameplay aspects that Heavy Rain provides. Definitely worthy of being on any PlayStation gamers shelf and sates the appetite for a murder mystery in any medium.
12: Little Big Planet 2
I still feel having some sort of spokesperson for your console is important and in Sackboy, Sony has one that adults and children alike can identify with. The character itself epitomizes everything that Media Molecule's Little Big Planet games embody and by extension Sony PlayStation. Boasting near limitless options to create and modify, Little Big Planet 2 fans have created millions of levels to continue with Sackboys adventures where the entertaining single player campaign leaves off. While the first offering in the franchise is excellent in its own right, Little Big Planet 2 nearly perfects the formula laid out and offers a conduit for fans to create for years and years to come.*Sackboy bowing .gif goes here*
11: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
The current benchmark to compare any console games visuals, Uncharted 3 gives you everything you want in a blockbuster sequel. Huge explosions, OMG moments and a big budget story you've come to know and love the franchise for. Upon release, this third iteration garnered many perfect scores industry wide leaving no doubt as to its standing as a pillar for PlayStation and the strength of its exclusive library. Each Uncharted tale tells its own unique story, but its the characters that really set themselves apart in this game and you'll chuckle everytime you hear the banter between Drake, Sully, Elena and company. It also expands on the incredible online multiplayer introduced in the second game and truly takes it to the next level. Honestly I have a difficult time recommending the single player portion over the multiplayer, it's truly that good. While it is a little lower than many would rank it, rest assured that this is a must play for every PlayStation gamer new and old.
10: Dark Souls
The spiritual successor to the PlayStation exclusive Demon's Souls, Dark Souls continues the brain stomping difficulty and learn by death mechanic you love to hate. I chose this over its predecessor as it refines the somewhat clunky gameplay and expands everything that makes the first one such a painful pleasure to play. Sure, you'll die a lot, but once you get the hang of the game mechanics and garner some better gear, it isn't anything a seasoned gamer can't handle. Still there is no denying the fear and awe that takes hold in the many boss encounters in Dark Souls. This, as well as the deep loot and upgrade system will have you coming back for many hours of sadistic fun.