Screenshot via PlayStation YouTube

The 10 best PS3 games of all time, ranked

I miss the Kevin Butler era.

The year was 2006 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 was hitting markets around the world, unless you lived in Europe or Australia. The seventh console generation was upon us and Sony was determined to wow critics and fans alike with its Spider-Man-inspired font, Blu-ray drive, and plenty of exclusives.

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It was a beloved console with some of the best titles in all of gaming, in my opinion. So I’ve compiled a ranking of the best that you could find on the PlayStation 3.

The definitive, indisputable, ineffable Top 10 for the PlayStation 3

10. Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

Image via Rockstar Games

I really wanted to put Grand Theft Auto IV here, but there’s no denying the juggernaut that is its sequel. A massive campaign split amongst three leads and a much-awaited online mode that has been running ever since led to Rockstar raking in obscene amounts of cash. Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online have been carrying the series since 2013 and it’s easy to see why.

9. Batman: Arkham City (2011)

Image via Rocksteady Studios

2011 brought us one of the more classic Batman and Joker storylines with the release of Batman: Arkham City. Rather than be confined to the haunted halls of Arkham Asylum, Batman prowls the cordoned streets of Gotham City which serve as a larger prison for some of the more deranged criminals. Written by the legendary Paul Dini and featuring iconic performances from Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, Arkham City was the sequel the original deserved. It’s just a shame that Rocksteady took Two-Face’s words to heart.

8. Dark Souls (2011)

Image via FromSoftware

It’s truly something incredible to see a genre not only be born but also completely dominated by the studio that spawned it. Sure, FromSoftware put out Demon’s Souls two years earlier, but it was Dark Souls that really grabbed everyone’s attention. Moving fully into the spotlight, masochists could indulge themselves in the comfort of their living room rather than having to book sessions in that neighborhood (you know the one). Dark Souls rebranded FromSoftware as it was no longer known for the Armored Core series. Rather, they were the developer that was going to make you suffer in the best possible way.

7. LittleBigPlanet (2008)

Image by Destructoid

Every so often, the world is gifted with a character that is so undeniably cute, that it transcends borders. LittleBigPlanet‘s Sackboy was exactly that as it donned various costumes and personalities to then hurtle through player-made levels full of platforming challenges. It was a title that took advantage of more readily available internet and unleashed players’ creativity upon one another. It was Super Mario Maker well before Nintendo came to the obvious conclusion itself.

6. Portal 2 (2011)

Image via Valve

I’m going to be real with you when I say I cannot overstate how gigantic Portal 2 was to gaming in general. It bent the zeitgeist to its will and even those (like me) who weren’t into it at the time, could not avoid it. What’s even more peculiar to say, is that it’s all well deserved. Portal 2 lived up to expectations in a way that Duke Nukem never could.

Portal 2 puts players back in the bouncy calf boot things of Chell as she must work with GLaDOS against the new AI foe, Wheatley. With brilliant writing, performances by J.K. Simmons, Stephen Merchant, and Ellen McLain, a two-player mode, and even more mechanics, Portal 2 was a mind-blowing experience. There’s nothing like banging your head against the wall trying to figure out a puzzle and then immediately feeling like an idiot once you get it.

5. Mass Effect 2 (2011)

Image via BioWare

Mass Effect was rough around the edges, Mass Effect 3‘s ending was a massive letdown, and we don’t talk about Mass Effect: Andromeda. That leaves us with Mass Effect 2 which just might be my favorite single-player science fiction title of all time. It serves as the undeniable high point of the trilogy, as Shepard plays the good cop pushed too far who must put together a rag-tag crew of equally badass individuals.

Shepard is working for the bad guys, teaming up with the greatest supporting cast of all time, and squashing alien bugs before heading off on an epic suicide mission. Building up my team and watching them come through the other side of the wringer is easily one of my top experiences in any game. I would die for most of the Normandy SR2 crew, except Grunt, Jacob, and Zaeed. They can stay on the ship or get jettisoned into space.

4. God of War III (2010)

Screenshot via PlayStation YouTube

God of War II left Kratos and players alike on quite the cliffhanger. Leaving behind the PlayStation 2 for the PlayStation 3, technology had progressed far enough to handle the raw power and fury of Kratos’ wrath for the Greek pantheon. The final entry in the eponymous trilogy was a high mark that burned brightly in the ruins of Olympus.

After doing a short stint with Maury Povich and learning that Zeus was his father, Kratos, being the reasonable demi-human that he is, stormed Mount Olympus with an onslaught of Titans to put an end to the meddling gods who had pushed him too far. From Poseidon to Zeus, God of War III pulled out all of the stops with its QTE finishers. Like the tales of old, it cemented Kratos’ tale as an epic.

3. Red Dead Redemption (2010)

Screenshot via Rockstar Games YouTube

I’m not much of a fan of the Western genre in general, so when I tell you that Red Dead Redemption consumed me, that should lend some credence to the level of artistry on display here. From the dusty single road of Armadillo to the relative metropolis that is Blackwater, John Marston’s journey was a bittersweet one. Rockstar created a world unlike any other and it was freeing to simply ride the countryside or take on the occasional odd job.

Despite the betrayal he suffered at the hands of Edgar Ross, there was no keeping a good man down as John Marston rose from the literal grave in the phenomenal Undead Nightmare DLC. I still haven’t forgiven myself for what I did to the Sasquatch.

2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)

Screenshot via PlayStation YouTube

Not content to rest on its laurels after dunking on Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, Naughty Dog jumped right into the development of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Running on a brand-new engine and boasting additional multiplayer modes (as was the style at the time), Uncharted 2 put players back in the boots of Nathan Drake on another globe-trotting adventure.

The Uncharted series is one of those where you don’t need to worry about keeping up, as you would in a live-service title, and delivers a compelling story through action-packed set pieces and fantastic acting. Uncharted 2 was a high point in an already stellar series that had many itching to boot up their PS3 as often as possible.

1. The Last of Us (2013)

Screenshot via PlayStation YouTube

I mean, who didn’t see this coming? Of course, Naughty Dog was going to nab the top two spots. The Last of Us killed it on practically every front, from gameplay to narrative. It’s a bleak and realistic look at an apocalypse. Fellow humans are a tremendous threat and the fresh take on zombies kept it all from feeling like a tired retread of the genre.

Ellie and Joel are anything but 2D as they deal with trauma and hard choices at nearly every step of their journey. It is such a profoundly strong story that sucked players in back in 2013 and then pretty much everyone else in 2023 when the television series was released. Sure, there was plenty of controversy and mixed feelings regarding its sequel, but you can’t deny that The Last of Us was the greatest title released on the PlayStation 3.


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Author
Christian Dawson
Christian has been playing games since he could hold a controller in the late 80s. He's been writing about them for nearly 15 years for both personal and professional outlets. Now he calls Destructoid home where he covers all manner of nonsense.