If you missed out on some of the PlayStation 3’s best games, you’re about to get an interesting way of rectifying that mistake.
Your second chance comes via Sony’s PlayStation Now. It previously allowed users to rent and stream PlayStation 3 games, but it’s adding a subscription service on Jan. 13. For $20 a month (or $45 for three months), you get streaming access to over 100 PlayStation 3 games on your PlayStation 4.
Of course, not all of those games are equal. So, to help you on your journey of PlayStation 3 discovery, GamesBeat’s senior editor Dale North and community manager Mike Minotti have each picked five from the current subscription list that you need to play.
Originally released: Sept. 24, 2011
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What is it? Ico was the game that started it all for the Sony Computer Entertainment Japan internal team headed up by Fumito Ueda, which is now named after this classic. This puzzle-platformer has the player considering his rescued companion’s every step, running hand-in-hand for the entire journey.
Why it’s still worth playing: Now considered a classic, Ico’s hand -holding escort mission was one of the most emotionally moving moments of the PS2 era. Even some 15 years later, its puzzle design and visual approach continue to serve as inspiration for game makers. There’s still really nothing else like it out there.
Originally released: Dec. 23, 2008
What is it? The popular PSP block-dropping puzzle game got a console port in 2008, bringing new levels and gameplay to the PS3.
Why it’s still worth playing: You want longevity? This toe-tapper is timeless. Every game that designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi has his hand in has staying power, but this particular version feels more alive than its predecessors with its new modes and music. Try the Time Attack mode and you’ll find that it chomps away at your life, 60 seconds at a time. I feel like many missed Supernova’s outstanding Sequencer mode, which let players create their own stage soundtracks from scratch.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
Originally released: Sept. 29, 2009
What is it? Team Ninja’s Xbox 360 release Ninja Gaiden II saw visual and gameplay upgrades in this PS3 exclusive.
Why it’s still worth play: Be honest: You didn’t finish Ninja Gaiden II. No one here is judging you, mind you. But now’s your chance. Jump back in and see just how difficult being a ninja can be. Bonus: You’ll appreciate that Sigma 2 is just a tad bit easier. It still stands as one of the most challenging and rewarding games in the genre, so hang in there. Or if you’re a wimp, try the auto-guarding Hero mode.
Originally released: June 7, 2012
What is it? Tokyo Jungle is a postapocalyptic animal survival game, released exclusively for the PS3.
Why it’s still worth playing: If “postapocalyptic animal survival game” doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will. Following a little Pomeranian pup as it roams a ruined downtown Tokyo may sound silly, but sticking with Tokyo Jungle and letting it get its claws into you really pays off. Survive long enough and you’ll uncover some challenging gameplay and an interesting storyline.
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
Originally released: Feb. 22, 2012
What is it? The best version of the long-running Hot Shots Golf franchise started out as a PS Vita release, but it became popular enough to warrant a PS3 port.
Why it’s still worth playing: Hot Shots Golf continues to be one of Sony’s most approachable and enjoyable franchises. It’s easy to take to the green to learn the game’s three-click swing system, but to really be competitive in online tournaments requires patience and training. And with PS Vita-to-PS3 cross-play support, online leaderboard bragging rights extend even further now.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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