What are the best PlayStation 3 games to own forever?

July 18, 2013

The Best to Own Forever series isn’t about what’s great right now. It’s about what will be great in 10 years, even though there will be better-looking games and later sequels, and what will keep you pulling that dusty old console out of the closet every once in a while. This time, we look at what you should check out on the PS3.

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

Despite a cartoonish appearance, Ratchet & Clank games are pure, distilled fun, and A Crack in Time is the best of the bunch. Off-the-wall weapons are Insomniac’s bread and butter, and things like the Mag-Net Launcher, the Rift Inducer and the Buzz Blades return from Tools of Destruction and are joined by customizable constructo-weapons that allow the player to make just the right pistot, shotgum and bomb glove for the situation. What really sets A Crack in Time apart, though, are Clank’s time puzzles. Clank can make recordings of himself activating buttons, holding open doors and taking out enemies in order to reach the end of the room, and figuring out the right way to get Clank to work together with previous versions of himself is a great mental workout. The large bolt payouts are great, and if you get stuck, you can bypass a puzzle at any time. I own them all, and this is the Ratchet game that I go back to most. – Justin Last

inFamous 2

It’s not too often when a sequel can surpass its predecessor, especially when it is so well-regarded. inFamous 2 does just that in every regard. Unlike a lot of open-world games, even those with super-powered protagonists, inFamous 2 makes traveling around the city something fully enjoyable and almost addictive. You may even find yourself tracking down collectibles, something that is usually easy to ignore in similar games. Combine this with its excellent combat, wide selection of powers both new and old and a large variety of missions (with some surprisingly solid user-generated content), and you’re left with the PS3’s defining open-world action game. – Andrew Passafiume



Here is the game we can point to and say, “there’s our artistic expression.” Journey is a meditative experience. A successful and original experiment in multiplayer. A breathtaking adventure. A short, quiet, wonderful piece of mastery. Sure, it’s only a few hours. There are very few enemies, and you don’t really do all that much. But you do a lot in other games. Journey is all about how you feel, how each level looks and sounds so incredible that it makes you wish you could feel this way all the time. Peaceful, determined, relaxed. What a soundtrack. What a game! – Henry Skey

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2 is an odd game. A great one, but an odd one. It didn’t do anything to reinvent action-adventure games or even third-person shooters, but it gave us an amazing story with characters and visuals that matched it perfectly. This game immersed us in its universe, and took us on an adventure that felt like it was straight out of the movies. The game was paced amazingly well, intertwining the entire package of visuals, action and story to create a game that many developers strive to achieve today. To me, it proves that you don’t have to revolutionize anything to make a great game. Just create a great story, and time all the elements properly. – Eric Albuen

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

The series may still be running, but MGS4 was the culmination of everything Kojima had been doing with his career since his debut on the MSX, for better or worse. It also stands as an ostensible end to the Solid Snake canon; each game since resides in prequel territory. The mechanics were drastically changed to more closely resemble a traditional third-person shooter, but also peppered with enough nuance and ambition to make the playable sections of the game really stand out. The maddeningly-long cutscenes may have been ridiculous and convoluted, but they were equally emotional, and for fans that grew up with Metal Gear Solid on the PS1, finally being able to revisit those characters and seeing how their stories ended was tremendous. – Lucas White


Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Every fan of Miyazaki has desired the chance to experience the worlds he has created firsthand. Ni no Kuni gives us the chance to do just that, and it is just as wondrous and beautiful as we had hoped. From the gorgeous landscapes and characters to the pun-filled writing, it is almost impossible to play this game with anything other than a smile on your face. While it has some AI failings in battle, it isn’t overly difficult, and tells a heartwarming and unique story about Oliver, a boy with humble beginnings who saves the world because of his heart and care for others. With a story on par with many of Miyazaki’s movies and matching art and music, this is a JRPG for the ages that everyone should experience. – Shawn Vermette

Burnout Paradise

Burnout Paradise is one of those rare games that did absolutely everything right. The car controls feel good without being too sim-like, the sense of speed is fantastic, the soundtrack has something for everybody (and made me realize just how catchy Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” is), the event types are unique and varied and the DLC adds to the game in meaningful ways. No matter what you’re in the mood to do, Burnout Paradise has got you covered. There are traditional races, time trials, stunt runs, marked man events (in which opponents try to wreck you) and road rage (in which you take out as many other racers as possible). And if none of that is what you’re after, then the DLC packs change the game in great ways: they add motorcycles, replicas of famous cars and a whole new island full of events to take part in. It’s not uncommon to see me tooling around Big Surf Island in my miniature F1 car and winning every race by a mile. Burnout Paradise is arcade racing in its purest form, and the PS3 was Criterion’s lead development platform. – Justin Last


Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles made subversive waves with its striking visuals and unique gameplay. It’s a turn-based strategy game at its core, but it gives the player third-person control over each individual unit, giving them a much more satisfying sense of influence than watching your units do their thing from far above could ever provide. It could be a bit sloppy at times, and was rough around the edges as any new experimental title will be, but even with the advent of similar games like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Valkyria Chronicles stands out as something you can’t experience anywhere else. – Lucas White

Heavy Rain

I know, I know. The gameplay is barely there. It’s like The Walking Dead, only with more quick-time events, goofy button presses and early Resident Evil movement. Thankfully, it has one of the most engaging stories I’ve ever seen in a game. The film noir setting was outstanding. The voice acting was superb, and you felt the full brunt of consequences; if one of the four characters dies during a chapter, they die. The story keeps going. You can always go back and replay the chapter, but the game let the story continue without them. You could move on, even if you didn’t want to. Some absolutely brutal scenes ,combined with an appropriately dark film noir setting and soundtrack, made Heavy Rain an immediate favorite. Maybe story and characters can triumph over mediocre gameplay. – Henry Skey

LittleBigPlanet 2

There’s been an industry-wide effort to allow for user-created content in games, but none have done it quite as well as Media Molecule. LittleBigPlanet 2 improved upon the original’s formula, but didn’t change it too much: make it simple and fun to create platforming worlds. I hope the servers live on for a long time, because the true magic of LBP2 is exploring and playing the work of the world’s master level artists, but even the on-disc campaign is expertly-crafted and a blast to play with friends. – Graham Russell


The Last of Us

While Naughty Dog’s previous efforts on the PS3 have all been outstanding, especially Uncharted 2, it’s safe to say that The Last of Us will be the one that leaves the most resounding impact. It takes mechanics similar to those found in the Uncharted games and grounds them, making them applicable to this world ravaged by a terrible infection. It’s full of intense (and brutal) moments that feel impactful, not because of the violence that surrounds these moments, but because of the involvement of characters that are worth caring about. Most important of all, it’s a bold, stunningly realized world, complete with well-defined characters and, above all else, it will be remembered for many years to come. – Andrew Passafiume


Flower is as much of an experience as it is a game. Unlike many art house games, Flower sticks to an easily-recognizable progression path, with levels that begin and end. The game is visually stunning, and the first thing you notice is the incredibly vibrant colors that fill the game world; each time you find a new color, the music changes. Gathering colors really enhances each level, and adds exploration. The mix of visuals and music provides a very relaxing experience.  As with thatgamecompany’s other games, Flower is somewhat short, but making it any longer would’ve taken away from the experience. – Jeff deSolla