The PlayStation 3 is a solid console that saw a lot of great games over its long lifetime, and it’s still getting some well-earned attention even to this day. Despite the slew of next-gen games dropping between now and Christmas, there are still plenty of excellent titles worth checking out on Sony’s last-gen console, including exclusives you can’t play on any other system. Best of all, a lot of these games are cheap and accessible, meaning you can clear out that growing backlog without making your wallet suffer.
If you’re not ready to dive into the next generation right away and want to give your dear old PlayStation 3 a little more love, we’ve rounded up the 10 best games you can buy this holiday season.
1. Minecraft: PlayStation 3 Edition
For those who’ve been living in a cave (or, perhaps more appropriately, a mine) for the past few years, Minecraft is an indie game that became an international best-seller due to its unique and addicting gameplay. Players are dropped into a randomized world of textured cubes and told to survive. Monsters come out at night, so it’s the player’s job to scavenge for resources, construct a shelter and basically build whatever they can think up in what amounts to a world of digital Lego bricks. While the original PC edition of the game dominates, the PlayStation 3 version is a great way to experience Minecraft‘s huge worlds, multiplayer co-op and limitless possibilities.
Price: $18.58 (7 percent off MSRP)
- Endless exploration
- Limited only by imagination
- Simplified menu navigation
- No mods
- Updates come slower to PlayStation 3
- Still not as robust as PC version
- Sneaky creepers
2. Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar Games knows how to make a living, breathing world. The Grand Theft Auto series is known for giving players absolute freedom in violent, crime-ridden cities parodying America’s most famous locales. In Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar Games allows for players to switch seamlessly between three protagonists: a rich family man struggling with maintaining relationships, a bonafide gangster and a psychotic hillbilly. Heists are a new addition that mimic the famous bank robbery mission everybody loves from Grand Theft Auto IV. All the other stuff people adore about GTA is there: guns, strip clubs, sweet rides and a solid story tying it all together. There’s a reason Grand Theft Auto V is sitting pretty at a 97 on Metacritic.
Price: $34.99 (42 percent off MSRP)
- Breathing world
- Three playable characters
- Excellent voice acting and story
- Multiplayer doesn’t live up to the hype
- Needs more heists
3. The Last of Us
Naughty Dog proved with The Last of Us its ability to craft a truly heartbreaking tale, and their masterpiece solidified to many naysayers the fact that video games are indeed art. On the surface, The Last of Us is a zombie tale, but the setting doesn’t matter so much as the characters do. Joel, a middle-aged man with nothing left to lose, and Ellie, a young and foul-mouthed teenager, travel across the desolate United States shooting bandits, avoiding clickers and, most importantly, learning and growing together. There are too many special moments in this game to mention here, and doing so would only spoil what makes The Last of Us great. If you haven’t played it yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Price: $27.49 (30 percent off MSRP)
- Breathtaking story
- Amazing graphics
- Stellar acting
- Fun multiplayer
- Purposefully wobbly gunplay
- You’ll probably cry
4. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty is one series that has withstood the test of time, with releases spanning more than a decade and three console generations. The franchise has tackled everything from World War II-era battles to modern-day combat. The newest entry in the series, Advanced Warfare, takes place in the future, where jetpacks and hovering grenades are staples in military technology. Sure, it might look like Titanfall at a glance, but Advanced Warfare is a title all its own, and it’s bound to be a best seller just like its annually released brethren. I mean, even IGN gave it a 9.1.
- Futuristic weapons and gadgets
- DLC drops first on Xbox One
- Zombie mode is back
- Kevin Spacey
- $50 season pass
- Average campaign
- Set pieces everywhere
- Same ol’ Call of Duty formula
5. Assassin’s Creed Rogue
Ubisoft is doing an edgy thing by releasing two games from the same franchise on the exact same day. Assassin’s Creed Unity drops for next-gen systems alongside its last-gen sibling, Assassin’s Creed Rogue, but that doesn’t mean one is going to stand head and shoulders above the other. While those with next-gen consoles tear it up as an Assassin, those who purchase Rogue get to play on the other side as a Templar for the first time ever. Of course, the famous naval combat from previous entries is making a triumphant return, but the lack of competitive multiplayer this year is a disappointment.
- Naval combat returns
- Play as a Templar
- New weapons and gadgets
- Three distinct areas to explore
- No co-op
- Franchise fatigue
- No competitive multiplayer
6. God of War III
Possibly the angriest, most vengeful game character in history, Kratos, concludes his long-lasting Greek tale with God of War III. The series is lauded for its delicious action and combat, over-the-top bosses and entertaining unlockable weapons capable of spilling enough blood to fill an ocean. The third title in the franchise doesn’t do much to mix up the formula that made the series a best-seller, but it polishes everything up into what amounts to be the best entry in the God of War saga. Fight skyscraper-sized monsters, meet scantily clad gods and hack your way through Greece in a rage-fueled journey of revenge to see how Kratos’s story conclude. Spoiler alert: It’s brutal.
Price: $19.70 (34 percent off MSRP)
- Ridiculous scale
- Super gory
- Satisfying combat
- That final boss fight
- Not much has changed over time
- Nauseating for the weak of heart
7. Red Dead Redemption
Rockstar Games didn’t just create an excellent Wild West game with Red Dead Redemption; they made one of the best sandbox games ever thanks to a thrilling story, tight horse-riding controls, slick slow-motion gunplay and a protagonist you just can’t help but love. Red Dead Redemption places you in the boots of cowboy John Marston, an ex-gangster who left his life of crime to start a family. Bad habits have a way of catching up to you, though, and Marston finds himself deep in enemy territory, and the only way out is with violence. Red Dead Redemption presents a world that feels as authentic as the real Wild West, a killer soundtrack and a harrowing and unforgettable conclusion to the story of a cowboy looking for redemption.
Price: $21.47 (28 percent off MSRP)
- Game of the Year Edition includes free DLC
- Online, open world co-op
- Dead Eye targeting is fun
- No sequel in sight
- Competitive multiplayer not for everyone
- Racing missions
8. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Think of the Uncharted series as a masterful video game version of the Indiana Jones movies. You’ve got your handsome hero, wise mentor and witty support characters. Then there’s the treasure hunting, the tomb exploring and the armed goons who want to kill you, all punctuated with suspenseful set piece moments. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception has all of this and more, and developer Naughty Dog took a risk that paid off by introducing new elements to the series for its third entry including a less predictable story and better stealth and melee systems. Gamers looking for a explosive single-player experience need look no further than Uncharted 3.
Price: $19.12 (4 percent off MSRP)
- New melee system
- No more bad stealth mechanics
- Unpredictable direction
- Emotional moments
- Story feels rushed at the end
- Unrealistically strong enemies
- Deaths aren’t always deserved
9. Crysis 3
Crysis 3‘s gameplay didn’t step up much from Crysis 2, but what did change is developer Crytek’s focus on story and characters. The first two games in the franchise didn’t have much in the way of narrative, with stories that acted as little more than excuses to go out and kill hundreds of bad guys. Crysis 3 still has that fun action first-person shooter fans crave, but it’s sprinkled with real characters with authentic emotions players can relate to. If that’s not your cup of tea, you’ll still have a blast cloaking yourself so you can sneak up behind enemies and snap their necks or using your Predator bow to take down targets from afar as a super-powered killing machine.
Price: $16.25 (19 percent off MSRP)
- Eye-popping graphics
- Responsive controls
- Good characters
- Solid narrative
- Awkward vehicle controls
- Confusing objective markers
- Multiplayer is only decent
10. Heavy Rain
Heavy Rain is the exciting tale of four protagonists involved with the Origami Killer, a serial killer who drowns his victims during, well, heavy rain. What’s great about it is you can’t really fail. Actions are controlled with on-screen button prompts. If you’re fighting a bad guy and miss a prompt that would’ve had your character latch onto him, you won’t “lose”; the story will merely continue on a different path with the bad guy getting away. With this kind of system, almost anything can happen, including player character deaths, and this opens up the possibility for multiple playthroughs to see the variety of endings available. It doesn’t hurt that the game’s story itself is as gripping, chilling and exciting as any blockbuster movie, which, coincidentally, is what Heavy Rain ends up feeling like thanks to its brilliant presentation.
Price: $17.10 (43 percent off MSRP)
- Movie-like presentation
- Edge-of-your-seat thrills
- Unprecedented story
- Multiple endings
- Slow start
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