I was eating lunch with some friends at work and we started talking about video games. The coworkers I was eating with are both sports nuts, probably as passionate about them as I am about video games. One of them (we’ll call him Schmandrew) said he owned a PS3 just for the yearly sports titles and the built in Blu Ray player. There’s nothing wrong with that, but as a geek, it was my duty to scoff. So Schmandrew asked me what I’d recommend as the top five games to play on his system. Specifically, he asked if I’d put it in a blog post. Here it is: The top five games to play on your Playstation 3 (Note: These are PS3 exclusive games. As in, only available on this system. I’ll make a different list for excellent multiplatform games).
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
The Uncharted series started as a modern riff on Indiana Jones, but after three entries, Uncharted has eclipsed Indy as the new template for archeological adventure. The games star treasure hunter Nathan Drake, a guy that can’t seem to stay away from trouble. The way the action packed story is seamlessly married with excellent gameplay makes it feel as if you’re playing a summer blockbuster movie. Praised as one of the best games of 2009, Uncharted 2 is perfectly paced, looks gorgeous, and it’s a blast to play. There are action games, and there’s Uncharted 2—a must play if you own a PS3.
Complexity: The controls are fairly intuitive. You jump, you shoot, you take cover when others are shooting at you. I’d recommend the easiest difficulty setting for those new to shooting dudes in video games. Familiarity with the first game is not necessary.
Also see: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (available 11/1/11)
Portal 2 is a puzzle game unlike any anything else, unless you played the first Portal, which isn’t required but still highly recommended (also, the first one is only three-ish hours long). You play as Chell, a test subject trapped in an Aperture Science testing facility. To escape, you’ll need to use a portal gun to solve tricky mind bending puzzles, all while being berated by a malevolent testing robot. I think it is one of the funniest games of all time, featuring excellent vocal performances from Stephen Merchant, JK Simmons and Ellen McLain. (side note: Portal 2 is not really a PS3 exclusive, but the PS3 version is the one to buy. If you purchase it new, it comes with a free copy of the game for PC. The game runs well on most computers, and the saves are in the cloud, so you can stop on your PS3, and pick up on your laptop!)
Complexity: Portal is a first person game, which can be disorienting to newcomers, but the game does a good job of easing you into it. The puzzles are expertly constructed. They’re just difficult enough to cause you to scratch your head, but never so much that you want to give up. Few games leave you feeling like a genius just for beating them.
Also see: Portal (available in The Orange Box for PS3)
I didn’t particularly like everything about Heavy Rain (partly because my copy was a dud that included a game breaking bug), but it’s definitely a unique experience worth checking out if you own a PS3. This isn’t a game in the traditional sense; it’s more like a playable crime drama. You control multiple people--a troubled father, a private investigator, an FBI agent and more--all out to catch the Origami Killer. Their stories intertwine and collide based on the decisions you make. Everyone will have a slightly different Heavy Rain experience. Dark and brooding, Heavy Rain has fantastic atmosphere and a one-of-a-kind presentation.
Complexity: It might look intimidating, but this game is super easy to control. Simple button presses and large prompts make it easy to guide the characters through the story.
Also see: LA Noire
Everyone, regardless of video game familiarity, has likely seen Mario in action at some point in their lives. LittleBigPlanet 2 is a modern platformer with classic roots in the Mario-era of games. You’ll move from left to right jumping over enemies and solving light puzzles. LittleBigPlanet 2 has a wonderful arts and crafts aesthetic and some of the most creative level design I’ve ever seen. With a charming story and endearing design, LittleBigPlanet 2 is as fun to look at as it is to play.
Complexity: This one is pretty simple, although I’ve seen the floaty controls frustrate a few non-gamers. My advice is to make sure you always mash the jump button hard. If you want to dig deeper there’s an endless number of levels online, made using the games super deep (and super complex) level creator.
Also see: LittleBigPlanet (not required playing, but still fun)
The big boy in exclusive PS3 racing is Gran Turismo 5, but I think MotorStorm is more approachable. The loose arcade controls will have you slipping and tumbling through tracks that deform and change each lap. It’s a visually stunning game that offers a good sense of speed and a nice variety of vehicles. If the world ended, and people decided to compete in dangerous multi-vehicle races, it would probably be a lot like Motorstorm Apocalypse.
Complexity: The racing genre is split into two categories: arcade and simulation. This is an arcade game, meaning the handling is unrealistic and often floaty. Simulation games, like Gran Turismo 5, aim to recreate the feel of actually driving real world cars. If you’ve never played a racing video game before, MotorStorm is a great intro to the genre.
Also see: Gran Turismo 5
There you go. If you only ever play five games on your Playstation 3, you’ll have a great time with these ones. Next time I’ll tackle the five games to play on your Xbox 360, followed by another entry detailing five games available for both systems. Now go, play some games!