With the PlayStation 3, PSP, and Vita stores set to be permanently closed later this year, it might be time to buy any of the PS3 games or DLCs you don’t already have in your library.
There is still no official confirmation from Sony, but the report from TheGamer cites “a source familiar with the situation,” and the removal of PS3, PSP, and Vita games from the online storefront last year point to the same conclusion.
With how hard it is to emulate the PlayStation 3, the closure of its store means that many of the digital-only games on the system will be lost, outside of those who already have the games downloaded. Whether it’s for the sake of games preservation, or if you’re just dusting off your PlayStation 3 to try some new games, here are our picks for the best PS3 games to consider buying before the store is permanently closed.
25. Thexder Neo
Thexder was originally a PC game released in 1985, and Thexder Neo is an HD remake that was exclusive to the PS3. The game design is a bit dated, but it might be worthwhile for fans of shoot ’em ups, as Thexder laid the groundwork for run and gun games like Metal Slug and Contra.
It may not be the most artistic or deep game on the list, but PAIN was, for a time, the most downloaded game on the PlayStation Network. The gameplay is simple and consists of trying to launch your character out of a giant slingshot while causing havoc and making obscene gestures. Today, it would probably get brushed aside with all the other shovelware in online game stores, but it certainly made an impact and is remembered fondly by many.
23. Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars
Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars might look familiar, and that’s because its big brother, Rocket League, is one of the most popular esports of all time. It is essentially the same game, but unfortunately for SARPBC, it didn’t do nearly as well as Rocket League. Maybe it was the smaller budget, or maybe it was ahead of its time, launching in an era without Twitch. Regardless, fans of Rocket League might want to pick this one up to discover the roots of the franchise.
22. Dark Mist
A dungeon crawler/top-down shooter hybrid, Dark Mist was a game that flew under most people’s radar. Unfortunately, the game has a few missteps, such as being completely unable to save your game or the fact that the game never released on the North American store. For those who can look past the game’s flaws though, Dark Mist is a unique experience that had some interesting ideas.
21. Gravity Crash
A multi-directional shooter in the vein of Gravitar or Gravity Force, Gravity Crash is a love letter to old-school arcade shooters. From the vector-like graphics to the arcade-style score system, Gravity Crash was a throwback shooter that brought asteroids-like gameplay into the HD era.
20. Linger in Shadows
Not a game, but a short, self-contained demo, Linger in Shadows was an attempt to foster a home for “interactive art” on the PlayStation 3. It received extremely mixed reviews, with some saying that $3 was too much for a 10-minute experience, and others saying that it was unlike anything else on the console. Because of this, it ended up being ignored or overlooked by a lot of players, but it might be worth a look, if only for the historical context.
19. Trash Panic
Other puzzle games involve stacking blocks or blobs in grid-based patterns, but Trash Panic was unique in that it asked you to fill up a trash can with oddly shaped, physics-based trash. At the time, it appeared to be at the forefront of a new type of puzzle game, but it never really took off. Still, puzzle game fans might find a unique experience in Trash Panic.
Like Linger in Shadows, Rain focuses more on being an artistic experience rather than a game. Unlike Linger in Shadows, though, Rain got pretty good reviews. At only three hours, there might not be too much here, but what is here is strongly atmospheric and emotional.
17. Lumines Supernova
Lumines Supernova sticks pretty closely to the tried and true Lumines formula: a puzzle game somewhere between Super Puzzle Fighter and DJMax Technika. It worked though, and Lumines Supernova ended up being one of the best puzzle games on the PS3. Fortunately, it isn’t the exact same as every other Lumines game, as it does have its own unique game modes.
16. Bomberman Ultra
Bomberman Ultra was released as part of a digital-only trilogy, alongside Bomberman Live and Bomberman Blast for the Xbox and Wii, respectively. It didn’t innovate on the Bomberman formula too much, but it did have a wealth of cosmetics and gave the PS3 that classic multiplayer that the franchise is known for.
15: Infamous: Festival of Blood
Infamous: Festival of Blood is a standalone DLC that follows Infamous 2. This game sees Cole, Infamous’ protagonist, becoming a vampire hunter. The main campaign of the game is pretty short, but it makes up for that with UGC or User Generated Content. This means you can play other player’s custom quests, which adds some replayability. As of 2020, the UGC servers were still up, so even players who are late to the party can still check out custom content.
14: LocoRoco Cocoreccho!
LocoRoco Cocoreccho! is a spin-off of the iconic PSP franchise. Where the original game had the player turning the world in different directions to roll around the titular LocoRoco creatures, Cocoreccho! puts the player in charge of a butterfly that draws the LocoRoco to it. It’s a fairly short title, but it’s still worth checking out for LocoRoco fans.
13: The Last Guy
Considered one of the true “hidden gems” on the PlayStation 3 store, The Last Guy is a top-down, post-apocalyptic game that tasks the player with finding survivors and escorting them out of a city with a rapidly growing zombie problem. The game is quirky, humorous, and unique. We haven’t seen anything like it since, and we probably never will.
12: Battle Princess of Arcadias
Battle Princess of Arcadias is a unique RPG that asks the player to master three different combat systems. The first is a 2D beat ’em up system, à la Odin Sphere. The second is similar, but you have an entire army of allies at your side to help you square off against bosses. The third combat system puts the player in a more strategic role, as the leader of the aforementioned army. This RPG may have gone relatively overlooked, but it’s unique enough to deserve a second look.
11: Tokyo Jungle
Another post-apocalyptic hidden gem, Tokyo Jungle is another one of those games that don’t really have anything else out there like it. Unlike The Last Guy, humanity is completely wiped out in the world of Tokyo Jungle, leaving only animals to populate decaying cities. The goal of the game is pretty straightforward: find the food you need to survive, and don’t become food for the other animals roaming the city. It’s a simple concept, but the wealth of animals you can play as gives it variety and different strategies as you progress.
10: Siren: Blood Curse
The third and (so far) final entry in the Siren series was released as a 12-part episodic series on the PlayStation 3 store, but all 12 parts can be bought together. Siren sort of fell in the shadow of Silent Hill and Fatal Frame, but it is incredibly atmospheric and unnerving in its own right. It’s not the perfect survival horror series, but fans of horror will absolutely not want to miss this one.
9: Fat Princess
Fat Princess is one of the more iconic PlayStation Network exclusives, both because of its commercial and critical success, and the fact that Fat Princess was featured in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. The point of Fat Princess is to save your princess from the other team’s castle, while simultaneously feeding the enemy team’s princess cake, to make her fatter and harder to carry. For local multiplayer enthusiasts, this is one of the best games on the platform.
8: House of the Dead 3 & 4
House of the Dead is a classic arcade staple, and the PS3 versions are direct ports. While these can be played on a DualShock 3, the PlayStation Move provides a more arcade-like experience. House of the Dead 4 is exclusive to arcades and the PS3, while 3 was released on other consoles, but if you have a PlayStation Move and a gun attachment, you might as well grab both.
7: Daytona USA
One of the most iconic racing games of all time, Daytona USA has it all: great music, cool graphics, and a ton of mechanical depth. It started in the arcade, and has multiple console ports, from Dreamcast to Xbox 360, but the nice thing about the PS3 version is that it’s compatible with the Logitech line of racing wheels. Even without the wheel, Daytona USA is still insanely cool after nearly 30 years.
6: Noby Noby Boy
Noby Noby Boy comes from Katamari series creator Keita Takahashi, and is filled with his trademark charm and silliness. The goal is to stretch Boy out as much as possible and report back to Girl, who will use that progress, and the progress of all other players, to stretch to the next planet. The girl reached her goal in 2015, 6 years after the original release when a letter from Takahashi was revealed as the true end credits. Even though Girl has reached her goal, the game is still playable, just without the over-arching metagame.
5: Asura’s Wrath Part IV
Capcom’s Asura’s Wrath is one of the true cult classics of the PS3 era. Notably more cutscene than a game, this beat ’em up is more like an interactive anime. Asura’s Wrath itself has a physical release, and it isn’t going anywhere, but the true ending of the game is unfortunately DLC. Thankfully the DLC will be preserved on the Xbox 360 store, but PS3 owners will want to make sure they snag Asura’s Wrath Part IV while they can.
4: Castlevania: Harmony of Despair
Harmony of Despair is a fairly eccentric title in the Castlevania lineup. Instead of having one huge castle to explore, like many other Castlevania entries, it consists of six smaller self-contained Metroidvania-style castles. The most notable thing about this title is that it’s a Castlevania game intended for multiplayer. Harmony of Despair is on the Xbox 360, and Xbox One via backwards compatibility, but the PS3 version is the only one that supports local multiplayer.
3: Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is not a PS3 exclusive. In fact, it came out nearly 10 years before the PS3 did. It’s actually a PS1 title that can be obtained on the PS3 as part of the PS1 Classics series. There are plenty of worthwhile PS1 Classics to check out, including Suikoden 1 & 2, and Silent Hill, but Klonoa made the list for two reasons. Firstly, Bandai Namco has renewed the Klonoa trademark, meaning a new Klonoa could be in the works, and secondly, a physical copy of Klonoa is outrageously expensive, at $300+. Emulation is always a possibility, but this might be the last chance for those who want to own a copy.
2: God Hand
Like Klonoa, God Hand is not a PS3 game. Instead, it’s a PS2 game that is, you guessed it, part of the PS2 Classics series. This another fairly expensive game, with physical copies ranging anywhere from $100-500, depending on when and where you look. Despite getting some infamously bad reviews on launch, God Hand is considered a cult classic and one of the most unique beat ’em ups of all time. Don’t forget to check out the other PS2 Classics while you’re at it.
Echochrome is, in no uncertain terms, one of the most innovative puzzle games of all time. The game consists of M.C. Escher inspired buildings, that must be traversed by using the game’s unique laws of nature. Existence in Echochrome is entirely perspective based. If a hole is not visible, then it does not exist. If two platforms appear to connect, then they do. As the player, your job is to alter the level to allow your character to move around by rotating the camera. It can be difficult to grasp, but Echochrome is a game unlike any other and is an absolutely essential part of any PS3 owner’s lineup.
All-in-all, the PlayStation 3 was an amazing console, and it’s sad to see its digital lifespan come to an end. Thankfully, most of the best PS3 games were released physically, but many PS3 digital exclusives deserve a spotlight of their own.
While this list does consist of much high quality or historically significant releases, it is by no means a comprehensive list of PS3 digital exclusives, and I highly recommend breaking out your PS3 and taking a look at the storefront while you still can.