This article is a farewell to the PS3. To celebrate the end of this generation and look back at what the Playstation 3 had to offer in it’s time as Sony’s primary console.
If the Xbox 360 were described as a pop concert, then the Playstation 3 would certainly be a symphony performance. Much more technologically complex, with an emphasis on art rather than spectacle, the PS3 is the thinking gamer’s console. Difficult development and complicated hardware made the PS3 tough to work with, but once game designers figured out how to unlock the system’s true potential, Sony’s console showed that it was the true beast of this generation.
The PS3 sold less units than both the 360 and the Wii, but it can be confidently stated that the PlayStation 3 was home to the top exclusives during this console generation. The sheer innovation, dedication and creativity brought forth in their top exclusives is very impressive and shows that Sony is focused more on the gamer than the bottom line.
Early in the latest console cycle, Sony was reeling after introducing the PS3 at too high a price point, so they needed some big system sellers to make up for the expensive price tag. Fortunately, Naughty Dog, one of the best developers in the world, was there to save the day with their mega-popular Uncharted series. Starting with Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, greatly upping the ante with the stellar Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and finishing strong with Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, the Santa Monica-based developer hit it out of the park.
The other big seller early in the cycle was Sony’s other “ace up its sleeve” God of War 3. Already a massive series that helped solidify the PS2 as quite possibly the greatest console of all time, the God of War franchise was a necessity for the PS3 and did not disappoint. The David Jaffe created mythology epic brought ultra-violence and the power fantasy to the PS3, allowing gamers to take the role of the biggest badass in the universe, Kratos, the god of War.
The final established franchise to help make the PS3 what it is today is Metal Gear Solid. Already one of the most well known video game IP’s ever, Hideo Kojima ratcheted it up to 11 with the fourth entry: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. With updated visuals, polished action, and an epic backstory, MGS4 showed a mature and war-torn Solid Snake (aptly codenamed Old Snake) several years after the events of MGS2: Sons of Liberty, while also moving the perspective from the classic overhead third-person to a streamlined over the shoulder view, increasing the visceral nature of the stealth series.
While these franchises brought Sony great success and help define PS3 as a console, it is the risks that Sony took which should be applauded. Xbox always played it safe, but Sony was more than willing to take a chance on something that no one had ever seen before. This is where Heavy Rain and Little Big Planet enter the equation.
Heavy Rain is a dark and mysterious title that follows a very well-developed narrative, placing the player in the shoes of a private detective who must solve a mysterious murder before it is too late. Using innovative gameplay mechanics and hyper-realistic visuals, Heavy Rain was (and still is) the closest we have gotten to a fully interactive and immersive experience.
Going the opposite direction, and introducing a whimsical ability to simply create, Little Big Planet brought countless hours of fun to gamers in the form of cute little characters made from burlap sacks. A puzzle-platformer, Little Big Planet not only has a fully-realized game you can play through, the true selling point is the ability to create new content using the in-game tools. The results have been nothing less than extraordinary, with LBP fans around the world developing original game scenarios and sharing them online, so their friends and the rest of the gaming community can play the end result.
But no best of PS3 list will ever be complete without the inclusion of the Naughty Dog magnum opus, The Last of Us. The last great PS3 game of the generation, The Last of Us is the story of Joel and Ellie, two survivors of a worldwide apocalypse who are trekking across the United States to reach a resistance group called the Fireflies. Simply put, The Last of Us is a game of the highest order, bringing unprecedented visuals, innovative gameplay and one of the most arresting and emotional storylines ever created. Suspense and anxiety follow close behind as you make your way to your final destination, forced to avoid diseased humans and corrupt gangs that will not think twice about killing you. The Last of Us will not only be known as one of, if not the best, PS3 games, it will surely be looked at as one of the best game ever made.