Years 2005-06 saw the birth of the seventh generation of consoles. While the first one to land on the shelves was Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 followed soon after.

The console of the Japanese giant offered plenty of interesting titles from different genres, some of which had become instant classics. Our list presents the best games released for the PS3 throughout its lifespan. Take a look and see why PS3 is considered one of the best consoles of all time when it comes to video games.

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Resistance: Fall of Man

Released 14 November 2006
Genre first-person shooter
Developer Insomniac Games

The first title on our list was also one of the first games released on PS3. Resistance: Fall of Man was set in an alternate timeline, where World War II had never started.

Instead, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Earth was attacked by the alien race known as the Chimera. Outnumbered and outgunned, humans are quickly defeated and forced to fight in guerilla warfare against the invader.

Resistance Fall of Man

Resistance: Fall of Man was one of the first games to show the features of PS3 in action. The game used various console mechanics, such as using the SIXAXIS motion controller in various situations. Other than that, Insomniac Games’ production was a competent first-person shooter, with a variety of human and alien weapons the player could use and at-the-time impressive graphics. Not a bad start for the PS3, right?

Key features
  • Experience the story set in an alternate timeline
  • Liberate Europe from the hands of alien invaders
  • Fight using human and alien technology
  • Use the SIXAXIS motion controls in various combat situations

Journey

Released 13 March 2012 
Genre adventure
Developer Thatgamecompany, Santa Monica Studio 

Journey is quite a unique title, not only on our list but in the PS3 library itself.

The game features few gameplay mechanics other than moving slowly towards the goal in the distance. The player controls a nameless traveler on a journey towards a mysterious mountain. Journey is one of the titles that elevate games to the rank of an art form.

Journey

And quite rightly so. The developers at Thatgamecompany knew what they were doing. The game wows the player with its serenity, which, compared to the usual loudness of contemporary video games, was quite unusual. Journey could also be played in multiplayer, offering a shared experience of this astonishing title.

Key features
  • Travel towards the mountain looming in the distance
  • Face the treacherous winds and deadly drops of the desert region
  • Inspect the remnants of the once-thriving civilization, now eroded by time
  • Join other players and journey together

Dead Space 

Released 13 March 2012 
Genre adventure
Developer Thatgamecompany, Santa Monica Studio 

Dead Space is another experimental title. The developers asked the question: what if we gave the player a very basic tool to defend themselves against nigh-invulnerable alien monsters?

The answer was one of the scariest games ever to grace the seventh-gen consoles. Following Dr. Isaac Clark as he investigates the creepy halls of the spaceship Ishimura will give the player nightmares for days.

Dead Space Gameplay cut scene screenshot

Dead Space was quite unique in its presentation. The HUD was virtually non-existent. The health bar was represented by the diodes on Clarke’s suit and ammo count displayed above the plasma cutter. Thanks to their resistance and persistence, the game’s enemies – Necromophs – quickly became one of the classic video game monstrosities. The game was popular enough to warrant a sequel, which gave the player even more frightful encounters with the undead aliens.

Key features
  • Explore the halls a spaceship taken over by a mysterious alien life form
  • Face the terrifying Necromorphs using your trusted plasma cutter
  • Use the workbenches to upgrade tour suit and weapon
  • Stay alert at all times – you never known if the corpse you’ve just passed won’t spawn an alien

Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction 

Released 23 October 2007 
Genre action-adventure, platformer
Developer Insomniac Games

After PlayStation 3’s premiere, it was only a matter of time when the next installment of Insomniac’s flagship series would be released on it.

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction takes the players back to the world of galactic adventure with the brave Lombax and his robot friend. This time Ratchet and Clank must face the evil Emperor Tachyon, who aims to take over the universe using a device called the Dimensionator.

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction digs deeper into the origins of both protagonists. Throughout the game, we learn more about Ratchet’s home planet and Clank’s true purpose. Gameplay-wise, Tools of Destruction offer a similar blend of platforming and shooting, with various new weapons added to the arsenal. Our favorite was definitely the Tornado Launcher, which deployed, well, tornados that sucked in several enemies at a time.

Key features
  • Ratchet and Clank are ready for a new adventure.
  • Dig deeper into the series lore, with the plot focusing on the protagonists past
  • Visit new worlds and face new threats
  • Use powerful and crazy new weapons

Assassin's Creed

Released 13 November 2007
Genre action-adventure, stealth
Developer Ubisoft Montreal

Assassin’s Creed, developed by the same studio that gave us Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, introduced the players to one of the most popular series of video games in existence. In the first installment, set during the Third Crusade to the Holy Land, we meet Altair, a member of the ancient Assassin’s Brotherhood, trying to prevent the Templars from using the Apple of Eden, a powerful artifact giving its wielder the power of mind-control.  After a failed attempt to retrieve the Apple, Altair is demoted and tasked with hunting down nine members of the Templar Order to regain his position.

Assassin's Creed

Compared to today’s Assassin’s Creed games, the first installment might seem a bit clunky. Carrying out assassinations required the player to gather necessary intel, which boiled down to completing various minigames – collecting templar flags within the time limit, successfully eavesdropping on a conversation, etc.

While the subsequent installments slowly but steadily dropped many of these elements, the open-world exploration of various historical locations and stealth gameplay mechanics remained. After all, what game gives the player a chance to visit medieval Jerusalem and meet King Richard Lionheart?

Key features
  • Learn the ties between the past and present through Animus
  • Explore the open-world locations of Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus
  • Gather intel and carry out assassinations on nine Templar associates
  • Find out the truth behind the mysterious Fragments of Eden

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Released 9 November 2010
Genre first-person shooter
Developer Treyarch

Call of Duty: Black Ops takes the player into the middle of the Cold War when the United States and Soviet union carried out various proxy wars in order to establish dominance in the world. The player controls Alex Mason, a CIA agent sent to the world’s most dangerous regions to carry out top-secret missions. The game is known for introducing many scripted gameplay events – something that the Call of Duty series would be known for in the years to come.

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Black-Ops was also one of the most brutal installments of the series. The game didn’t shy away from the atrocities of the Cold War. Prisoner torture, mental conditioning, deadly weapons tearing the enemies apart – the player will find all that within the story and gameplay sections of the game. Black-Ops features the Zombie mode, introduced in Call of Duty: World at War, in which players cooperate to defeat hordes of undead.

Key features
  • Carry out the most clandestine operations of Cold War
  • Experience the full brutality of the conflict between the United States and Russia
  • Visit exotic locations like Cuba and Vietnam
  • Join the Zombie mode and fight the undead with other players

Telltale Games' The Walking Dead 

Released 24 April 2012
Genre adventure, point-and-click
Developer Telltale Games

The Walking Dead is a popular graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman, where a mysterious virus raises the dead. Dubbed as “Walkers,” these monsters cause the collapse of human society forcing people to fight for survival not only against the Walkers but also against each other. But in this world, remaining human is often more important than surviving. And this is the lesson that Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead tries to transfer to the player.

Telltale Games' The Walking Dead 

The developers of successful Sam & Max and Back to the Future games knew exactly what they were doing. Blending point-and-click adventure mechanics with character-driven narration made the game more dramatic. In addition, the player’s choices actually influenced the outcome of various scenarios. Finally, the story of a growing bond between Lee and Clementine pulled at the heartstrings so hard that it remains to this day one of the best written father-daughter relationships in video game history.

Key features
  • Survive in the world taken over by the reanimated corpses
  • Enjoy the combination of point-and-click gameplay and character-driven story
  • Witness the blossoming bond between Lee and Clementine
  • Take in the graphics designer inspired by the graphic novel

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger

Released 30 June 2009
Genre fighting
Developer Arc System Works

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger did for the sprite-based fighting games what Telltale’s The Walking Dead did for point-and-click adventure games.

The first installment of the BlazBlue series introduces an innovative presentation method in which 2D sprites move in a #D rendered environment, creating a feeling of an increased depth. Combined with a roster of unique characters, BB: Calamity Trigger is a title that’s hard to pass up on.

BlazBlue Calamity Trigger

The game is known for its complex story, which extends into the further installments of the series. The central character of the game is Ragna, known as the Bloodedge. A rebel hunted the Novis Orbum Librarium, an organization tasked with controlling the use of magic, Ragna remains on the run from NOL and the bounty hunters. BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger also features complicated fighting mechanics, relying upon the characters’ unique skills known as Drive.

Key features
  • Enter the world of magic and science
  • Follow the story of Ragna the Bloodedge and his fight against the NOL
  • Select from the roster of 12 unique characters
  • Learn the complex fighting system designed around the characters’ special skills

Heavy Rain 

Released 23 February 2010 
Genre interactive drama, action-adventure  
Developer Quantic Dream 

Quantic Dream’s first venture into the world of next-gen consoles showed the power of PlayStation 3.

The game aspired to blend the gameplay and cinematic experience, and in the opinions of many, managed to do that successfully. The players controlled four characters following the trail of Origami Killer while also dealing with the problems of their everyday lives.

Heavy Rain 

Heavy Rain is mostly known for two things. The first one we’ve already mentioned – at-the-time groundbreaking visuals blended the gaming and cinematic experience. The second feature are the gameplay mechanics. HR relies heavily on the use of quick-time events, especially in action scenes. Frantically pressing the buttons to keep the character alive is an important aspect of the game, one that appears in the following games of David Cage’s studio.

Key features
  • Solve the mystery of the Origami Killer
  • Find clues and connect the dots leading to the climactic revelation
  • Experience unique gameplay mechanics, using contextual button presses and quick-time events
  • Feast your eyes on the life-like rendering of the characters and the environment, blending the cinematic and gaming experience

Grand Theft Auto IV

Released 29 April 2008
Genre action-adventure
Developer Rockstar North

Grand Theft Auto IV is the first installment of Rockstar’s series to appear on the seventh generation consoles.

The story of Niko Bellic, a Balkan immigrant who arrives in Liberty City to avenge the members of his platoon, is one of the most mature narrations in the series’ history. Combined with the open-world gameplay mechanics, it made the player’s first visit to the HD-era LC one to remember.

Grand Theft Auto IV

The developers expanded on the gameplay features of previous GTA games. The player has more to do, for example, arranging a date with their girlfriend or a visit to a bar with Niko’s cousin. The game’s mature narrative didn’t dampen Rockstar’s classic humor. GTA IV makes all sorts of snarky comments on various aspects of society and popular culture, poking fun at politicians, celebrities, and other members of the melting pot that is Liberty City.

Key features
  • Explore Liberty City like never before, looking into all corners of the New York-inspired metropolis
  • Follow the story of revenge and redemption as Niko Bellic
  • Participate in minigames and side activities scattered around the city
  • Join the multiplayer and experience the absolute chaos and mayhem

Tomb Raider (2013)

Released 5 March 2013
Genre action-adventure
Developer Crystal Dynamics

After the moderate success of the Legend trilogy, the Tomb Raider series needed yet another fresh start.

The 2013 remake spelled a new beginning for the young archaeologist, Lady Lara Croft. Quite literally, as it turned out, because the game was a complete restart of the series. Facing her first adventure on the island of Yamatai, Lara would not only learn about the dangers of tomb raiding but also the art of survival.

Tomb Raider 2013 PS3

The 2013 remake didn’t hide its inspirations from another action-adventure series – Uncharted. It’s funny how Naughty Dog’s series took inspiration from old Tomb Raider games, only to lay the groundwork for their remake. Lara’s adventure on Yamatai was filled with action, introduced puzzle tombs – an homage to the puzzle levels of the older games in the series, and gave the players a modernized version of Lara Croft, taking her first steps in the world of great mysteries.

Key features
  • Explore the open-world locations of Yamatai and discover its secrets
  • Face the dangerous cult and mysterious guardians of the island
  • Collect resources to craft better tools and weapons
  • Visit ancient tombs and solve the puzzles inside to get the treasure

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 

Released 5 November 2007
Genre first-person shooter
Developer Infinity Ward

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was not a small revolution for the series. The game abandoned the familiar period of World War II, throwing the player in the midst of contemporary, albeit fictional, conflicts.

The game once again takes the player to different corners of the world, fighting against terrorists in the Middle East or dealing with the growing influence of Russian extremists. COD 4 gave us also one of the most memorable video game characters – Captain John Price and his trademark mustache.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 

The change of scenery and timeframe influenced the gameplay significantly. Instead of relying on WWII technology, the player could use a variety of modern weapons – assault rifles, RPGs, and even drones. The game was also known for its multiplayer, which set the standards for the further installments in the series. Modern Warfare spawned two sequels and a remake, becoming the first subseries in Call of Duty’s history.

Key features
  • Feel the thrill of contemporary warfare
  • Use modern weapons to thin the enemy ranks
  • Hunt down terrorists and extremist aiming to topple the western world powers
  • Join the multiplayer and fight alongside or against your friends on various maps

God of War III 

Released 16 March 2010
Genre action-adventure, hack and slash
Developer Santa Monica Studio

God of War III is the culmination of Kratos’ quest for vengeance against the gods of Olympus.

Having allied with the Titans, the Ghost of Sparta heads into the final battle against his father, Zeus. But Kratos will soon find out that all mortals are only pawns in the games played by mightier beings. Betrayed by his new allies, Kratos vows to destroy everything that stands in his way towards Zeus and the vengeance he craved for so long.

God of War III

The impressive God of War and God of War II were tough acts to follow. But God of War III managed to do that surprisingly well. The game looked stunning, the gameplay was as brutal as ever, and the plot tied all loose ends, providing a fitting closure for the Ghost of Sparta’s journey. One of the best trilogies of two generations of gaming consoles had come to an end, but Kratos’ story continues in 2018’s God of War and upcoming GOW: Ragnarok.

Key features
  • Take the fight to the gods and bring Olympians to their knees
  • Face the gods of Olympus in spectacular boss battles
  • Make new alliances and face betrayal from old friends in an epic tale of vengeance and redemption
  • Enjoy GOW’s trademark gameplay, full of deadly combos and brutal fishers

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Released 25 August 2009
Genre action-adventure
Developer Rocksteady Studios

After several failed attempts to bring the Dark Knight into the gaming world, the fans of Batman had lost all hope for their favorite hero ever starring in a game that’s anything more than mediocre.

However, their prayers for a decent Batman title were heard by Rocksteady Studios. Arkham Asylum was everything the fans had ever wanted. It blended an expertly written story with excellent gameplay mechanics, bringing to the forefront not only Batman’s combat prowess but also his detective skills.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

In Arkham Asylum, Batman escorts the Joker to the titular prison for the most dangerous criminals. Things go wrong when the Clown Prince of Crime takes over the facility, releasing the Dark Knight’s deadliest foes. The game follows Batman as he uses his skill and combat and supply of fantastical technology to figure out the Joker’s plan. The game has become a gameplay phenomenon, with its various mechanics (free-flow combat, the “detective mode”) being copied into other titles.

Key features
  • Follow the Dark Knight on his mission to stop the Joker’s nefarious plans
  • Explore various locations of Arkham Asylum and face the Dark Knight’s infamous Rogue’s Gallery
  • Use free-flow combat and stealth to deal with enemies in style
  • Solve puzzles using Batman’s detective vision, highlighting clues and interactable elements

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 

Released 11 November 2011
Genre action-RPG
Developer Bethesda Game Studios

Skyrim. Because why not, right? The fifth game in The Elder Scrolls series takes the player to the titular region of the Tamriel continent.

There, as the prophesized Dragon-born, they will face the dreadful Alduin, the Black Dragon aiming to destroy humanity. Along the way, they will meet a gallery of interesting characters and carry out various quests for them.

The-Elder-Scrolls-V-Skyrim-PS3

The success and popularity of Skyrim could be easily measured by the number of memes that it spawned. The “arrow to the knee” sentry, the famous “Fus-ro-dah!” yell – these are only a few of them. The game is also known for its modding community, but that’s a story for another list. For all the fans of action-RPG games set in an open world, Skyrim is an absolute must-own.

Key features
  • Explore the mountainous ranges and windy plains of Skyrim
  • Fulfill the prophecy of the Dragon-born and face off against the dreadful Alduin
  • Meet a bunch of colorful characters and pass the time accepting quests from them
  • Learn the origins of various memes

L.A. Noire 

Released 17 May 2011
Genre action-adventure
Developer Team Bondi

Cole Phelps is a WWII veteran who returns home to Los Angeles. Seeing little prospects for himself, he joins the police force.

As a patrolman, he successfully solves a murder case, earning him a promotion to a detective. As he climbs the career ladder, Cole becomes involved in increasingly brutal cases, witnessing the deplorable state of the City of Angels.

La Noire PS3

Many expected L.A. Noire to be the reverse GTA – the player climbs up the ladder of a policeman’s career instead of ranking up in the criminal underworld. While some of that is true, the game is more linear, offering the player little in terms of side activities. What it does offer is a unique mechanic of solving crimes by reading the face of the interrogated person. A revolutionary feature and a statement to PS3’s rendering powers was only ever used once. Then again, we didn’t really get many more games about playing a “good cop,” did we?

Key features
  • Become the officer of LAPD
  • Solve cases and climb up the career ladder
  • Find clues and piece them together to find the culprit
  • Read the expressions of the interrogated to deduce the truthfulness of their statement

Red Dead Redemption

Released 18 May 2010
Genre action-adventure
Developer Rockstar North

John Marston used to ride in a gang of outlaws. When his former friends left him to die in a job-gone-wrong, he leaves that life behind to look after his wife and son.

A few years later, government agents bring Marston in to hunt down his former friends in a bit to eradicate outlaws from the quickly modernizing frontier. Thus begins an epic journey of a man seeking redemption for the crimes of his past.

Red Dead Redemption

Before the game was released in 2010, many thought Red Dead Redemption would be simply a GTA clone set in the Wild West. It was that, but also so much more. The open world of the US/Mexico frontier offered a multitude of activities to do, people to meet, and things to find. RDR allowed the player to really feel like a cowboy facing the end of the age of outlaws.

Key features
  • Explore the open world of the US-Mexican border
  • Experience the story of redemption set at the turn of the age of outlaws
  • Carry out story and side missions, and participate in various optional activities
  • Feel like a star of a western film, riding your horse towards the setting sun

Grand Theft Auto V

Released 17 September 2013
Genre action-adventure
Developer Rockstar North

Unlike GTA IV, presented earlier on our list, Grand Theft Auto V is much more optimistic.

The games’ plot abandons the murky streets of Liberty City and moves to the sunny Los Santos. Instead of following the grim story of revenge, GTA V puts the player in the shoes of three protagonists, each with their own quirks and personal goals, whose fates are bound in the attempt to get rich easily. The game also features an intricate multiplayer mode, which is a game of its own.

GTA 5 PS3

Michael, Trevor, and Franklin will quite possibly go down in the history of the series as its most memorable protagonists. A former bank robber, a deranged drug lord, and a small-time gangbanger making first steps into the world of big crime. The player will get to control each of them, using their unique skills in various missions, side-activities, or simply by causing mayhem on the streets of LS. Because, despite the new/old setting, GTA is still an open-world romp that gives the player the freedom to create their own entertainment.

Key features
  • Welcome to Los Santos – the land of opportunities (also the missed ones)
  • Control Michael, Trevor, and Frankil on their quest for the big money
  • Explore Los Santos and the areas around it, complete side-missions, and participate in optional activities
  • Experience the chaos of the multiplayer mode in GTA Online

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Released 20 November 2007 
Genre action-adventure, platformer
Developer Naughty Dog

While Lara Croft was considered the “female Indiana Jones,” Nathan Drake could be considered a “male Lara Croft.” With a few caveats.

The first game in the Uncharted series features Drake and his friends searching for the mythical treasure of El Dorado. The game set new standards for the action-adventure titles and elevated Naughty Dog to the big leagues of game developers.

Uncharted Drake Fortune

Drake’s Fortune’s gameplay is pretty simple. The game focuses heavily on TPS action, giving the player a wider range of firearms to use against the mercenaries standing in their way. Now and then, the player will have a puzzle to solve or a setpiece to clear, but most of their time will be spent on moving down goons. The following installments, also released on PS3, managed to find a middle ground between action, exploration, and puzzle-solving. But the first one is definitely a game for the fans of fast-paced, breakneck action.

Key features
  • Join Nathan Drake on the trail of the legendary treasure of El Dorado
  • Race against mercenaries who want to use the treasure for their own gain
  • Fight using a variety of weapons and a mean right hook
  • Explore exotic locations in search of hidden treasures

The Last of Us

Released 20 November 2007 
Genre action-adventure, platformer
Developer Naughty Dog

The Last of Us was probably one of the last epic PS3 games, a swan song of a console passing the torch to its successor. And boy, what a swan song it is.

The journey of Joel and Ellie across the post-apocalyptic United States wasn’t only the gameplay and visual marvel but also a dramatic story filled with tragic moments and difficult choices. Suffice to say that the opening segment is considered one of the most heartbreaking gaming moments in history.

The Last of Us

While the game looked stunning and the gameplay was nothing short of a masterful blend of exploration, stealth, and combat, the key feature of the title was its plot. The growing bond between Joel, a hardened survivor, and Ellie, a traumatized girl in his care, is to this day considered one of the best-written pieces of storytelling. Seeing the characters start to open up and trust each other will make even the toughest gamers shed a tear. And if you intend to follow the protagonist to the end, you better have a load of tissues at the ready. The Last of Us is a truly epic and emotional sendoff to the PlayStation 3.

Key features
  • Journey through the post-apocalyptic United States with Joel and Ellie
  • Witness the bond between the characters grow as they move towards their destination
  • Fight against enemies, both human and mutated due to the effects of an outbreak
  • Craft items necessary to survive, such as medicine, weapons, and upgrades for them

The next generation of gaming

There you have it – our list of top PlayStation 3 games. We tried to include not only the best-selling but also the most innovative titles released for the seventh generation Sony console. The games on our list offered the player stunning visuals and gameplay mechanics like no others. The increased technical capabilities of the console allowed the developers to implement features that had forever changed the gaming world (e.g., the SIXAXIS motion controls). PlayStation 3 games paved the way for the current era of excellent gaming, and fans of modern titles will definitely find something for themselves among the titles on our list.