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Welcome back, NPCs, to our Console Challenge and its 23rd Day of existence!
Today, we’ll be chatting about the PlayStation 3, which I compared to a radiator when it first launched. To my mind, the generation that saw PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii duke it out was a weird one but it saw more than a good share of stellar games to play. It was a scene I completely checked out from for a while, but coming back to it feels natural now. It’s a matter of exploring backward in time and experiencing games I missed, which are now being classified by some as “retro”. That seems strange to me. Anyway…
As the Final Fourteenth is about to discuss, games can really be about sharing. I never thought I’d be sharing this writing space with someone I never met separated from me by an entire ocean! Yet, here we are. Cillah (@Cilllah of Cilla vs. Games) comes from a different walk of life, different culture, age, gender, and so on, yet games have given us a common ground for discussion and appreciation since she first contacted me and I delightedly welcomed her aboard the team. It’s a wonderful thing that video games can bring people together! Really, in all of the talk of which games should make which lists and which consoles are better than others, this is what really matters: communication and community. Games tie the world together.
Please enjoy the Final Fourteenth Mage’s list of the top 7 best PS3 games!
-The Well-Red Mage
“If you consider the PlayStation 3 a toy, then yes, it is an expensive toy. However, it is more than a toy. It is a PlayStation 3. And it is the only PlayStation 3. I hope that those who understand this will gladly purchase it.” (Ken Kutaragi)
I was tasked with the exciting opportunity to discuss the top seven games on the PlayStation 3 as a part of The Well-Red Mage’s 30-Day Console Challenge. I hold the PS3 close to my heart as it’s the console that really extended my love of video games from a solo hobby to something that I now share with numerous people by means of playing with one another or writing about the video games themselves.
When the Playstation 3 initially released, things were a little bit rocky for Sony. You wouldn’t know it looking at them now but back then they released the PlayStation 3 at an incredibly high price point. In Australia it sat at just under $1000 which despite the custom cell processor and backwards compatibility was just too much for the average consumer to pay. However, solid marketing, a great range of first party games and a few price drops turned this around and the PlayStation 3 over 83 million units.
The PlayStation 3 has such a vast library full of amazing games that it’s absolutely impossible to choose seven without leaving some classic titles out. As with anything that I write, I can only write about the experiences that I have had and therefore these games will mirror the games that I enjoyed the most on the system.
Bioshock is one of my favourite shooters, due to the fact that the story is really dark and interesting. A dystopian city under the sea is the stuff of nightmares and here it exists in the form of Rapture. The game kindly introduces you to some dark human conditioning and awful choices that feel like they are tugging on your morality – harvesting or saving the little sisters.
The world of Rapture left me wanting more and more. What went wrong? Who was responsible? Is there anything left to save? Is it possible to create a utopia/heaven on earth? Why/why not? Did science go too far, too fast to cause the collapse or are the flaws inherent in humanity too much to overcome? When does the cost outweigh the gain? These questions also have real life implications which make the world of Rapture that much more interesting.
I’m yet to find a game that has the spooky atmosphere that Rapture possesses and because of this Bioshock will always rate highly.
#6. Portal 2
Portal 2 is an amazing game. The puzzles are incredibly fun and the story is engaging. Portal 2 (and the predecessor) are home to one of the most well-written antagonists in any video game – GLaDOS. I would go as far as to say that it is GLaDOS herself that makes the game truly remarkable. The things that GLaDOS says… for example “Why do I hate you so much? You ever wonder that? I’m brilliant. I’m not bragging. It’s an objective fact. I’m the most massive collection of wisdom and raw computational power that’s ever existed. And I hate you. It can’t be for no reason. You must deserve it.” Portal 2 also includes Wheatley which Stephen Merchant plays perfectly.
The game also has a fun co-operative mode that dives deeper into the Portal universe. It’s quite fun trying to work out some of the harder puzzles with a friend all the while listening to GLaDOS rant about something.
Like its predecessor, Portal 2 also has a fun song during the credits which you can listen to here! I find this one better than the first one as it displays GLaDOS’ emotions more openly.
Final Fantasy XIII is a good game with an unwarranted reputation. There’s a fair bit of disdain for it which often stems from people being confused by the story. The story itself is fine and reading the Datalog entries do clear up any potential questions. There are certainly some things that Final Fantasy XIII did well enough to put it on the list as one of the games that you should play if you own a Playstation 3. The first one is that the game boasts a great battle system. The paradigm system worked well and even though it required strategy as to what roles you should change to at certain points in a battle; it was easy to understand. The fact that you could use summons in battle as a kind of limit break as opposed to something that was incredibly overpowered was welcome.
That battle system is tested due to the difficulty spikes in the game. You know the one? Barthandelus. That was the time where most of us realised that we needed to actually put some strategy into our battle strategies and I appreciate that. The Crystalarium caps and you often can’t just grind to get past everything.
Even if the story is a little out there at times, the tale and emotional bonds between the characters are engaging. Everyone has a sad backstory or challenge that they are facing and it really makes the events in the game memorable.
#4. The Walking Dead
The first season of TellTale’s The Walking Dead is no doubt their best work. The relationships and characters that they develop are incredibly easy to relate to and feel real. The bond between Lee and Clementine is what really this game something special. Whilst some of the choices do feel a little scripted in that no matter which one you chose the same event will eventually happen in a slightly different way, there’s still enough attachment to the characters to find some of the choices incredibly difficult. Especially one of the choices at the end of the final episode. In fact, I can still hear that sentence in my head even now as I write this.
There are a lot of zombie video games and it feels like you can’t escape them no matter where you turn. However, this is the game to play if you want a narrative-driven experience. The sequels are fine and do hold up in their own right if you find yourself attached to certain characters but I just find the events of the first game far more memorable.
#3. The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection
Whilst this collection is two Playstation 2 ports it still belongs on the list of the best games that you can play on the Playstation 3. Team ICO produce exceptional video games that are both beautiful and thought provoking.
Ico was a game that I missed on the Playstation 2 so I was glad to see it in this collection. The game is set in a castle where you, an unknown horned boy, are escorted to. You meet a girl named Yorda and together you try to escape from the castle together. The castle is filled with puzzles and shadows that will try to stop you at all costs. Team Ico games seem to not tell more of the story than they do tell and it’s interesting to speculate what the story is about. One of my favourite fan theories links Shadow of the Colossus to Ico due to the final happenings in Shadow of the Colossus. Both of the games have a great OST but Ico in particular has a great soundtrack, with “You Were There” being an amazing example.
Speaking of Shadow of the Colossus – you couldn’t find a more epic game if you wanted to. There is something invigorating about scaling giant colossi whilst your stamina depletes and you have nowhere to rest. It sure gets the blood pumping. I really like the fact that the true narrative of Shadow of the Colossus is only discovered once you’ve already gone too far in your mission. It’s quite a bit darker than it first appears and it deserves credit for that. Like I mentioned above, I think that the way the two games potentially link together are quite interesting.
#2. Dragon’s Dogma
Dragon’s Dogma is one of those games that are absolutely wonderful but a lot of people seem to sleep on. Think RPG elements, large enemies you can scale, an interesting story line and a couple of Berserk easter eggs and you’ve basically got Dragon’s Dogma.
There are two aspects to the game that I absolutely loved and should be appreciated. The first one is the pawn system. Whilst it does have a few flaws that could be ironed out in a sequel, the system itself is wonderful. For those who don’t know, basically you create your own pawn which fights alongside you and you can hire the help of two other pawns that somebody else has created. You enter the Rift and find yourself surrounded by pawns that you can choose. Once selected you are free to equip them with whatever you like and can give them a gift once you release them back to their creator.
The second aspect of Dragon’s Dogma that I think should be noted is that of the Ur-Dragon. This is basically an incredibly strong boss that everybody works together to defeat albeit independently. If you verse the Ur-Dragon in online mode you and everyone else slowly whittles down its health. Each time it is defeated it grows stronger and the cycle repeats itself. Whoever takes the final blow receives strong items which in theory sounds great but once the Ur-Dragon became much stronger, people would only hop in to see where the HP of the dragon was at as opposed to fighting it. There is also an option to verse the Ur-Dragon offline. This version is a lot easier than the online version but does still provide a challenge. It goes without saying that the loot won from this version isn’t as good as the previous. An extra titbit in regards to the Ur-Dragon is that during the period where the player base for Dragon’s Dogma was at its highest it was interesting to see just how much stronger the PS3 version of the Ur-Dragon was to the Xbox 360 version. This definitely showed which console the majority of players were playing on.
If anybody asks me for a suggestion as to what to play on the PS3, I always mention Journey. This game is truly astonishing. I remember finding the premise intriguing and downloading it on release. I was in awe at how beautiful the environments looked and the way that the story was gradually told to you in a manner that was eventually left open to interpretation. The moment that I knew that this game was something special was when I realised that another similarly cloaked figure was in fact another person.
There’s something special about going through the challenges of this game with another person. There’s no communication allowed sans the ability to ‘chirp’ to get the attention of a nearby player but this never stopped me bonding with my companion. I remember the first time I made it to the last segment of the game and I got lost and it probably took me an extra five minutes to get to the final area. I was surprised to make it up there to see that the person that I had gone on my journey with was there waiting for me the whole time. Could they have known that I was coming back and hadn’t disconnected? Nope. Yet they still waited so that we could walk towards the end together.
It’s this bond despite the lack of normal communication methods that really makes the game special. I have written and received so many cute things using footprints in the snow. From hello and thank you to even love hearts. It’s little things like this that make the experience so memorable.
Well there you have it! My list of the best seven games on the Playstation 3 console. Pull up a seat and tell me whether you agree or if I missed out on a title that you really loved on the console. Let’s discuss it in the comments!
The Final Fourteenth Mage has the weight of her backlog on her shoulders as she scours the internet searching for her next favourite game. You may know her as Priscilla Cullen and can read more of her musings at Cilla vs. Games.