We're at the halfway point on my Top 35 favorite PlayStation 3 games countdown. From here on, there are only great games that were very difficult for me to rank. I actually cannot believe that that numbers 18-16 failed to land a spot in my top 15. Here's the list so far:
33. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
32. Far Cry 3
31. Grand Theft Auto V
30. MLB 13: The Show
29. Call of Duty: World at War
28. Assassin's Creed III
27. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
26. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
25. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time
23. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
22. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
21. Infamous 2
20. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Developer/Publisher: Naughty Dog/Sony CE
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is the worst game that Naughty Dog has released since the days of the PlayStation 1 (not counting the kart racers). That is saying something about the developer seeing that Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is a must-play PS3 classic. And not only was Uncharted the first truly impressive PS3 game, it is one of the most important games in the PS3's library as far as being influential goes. It brought the cinematic action, Indiana Jones-esque adventure, and breath-taking set pieces of a Hollywood blockbuster to video games. More importantly, it did so carefully enough that Uncharted still has the engaging, hands-on fun that Hollywood blockbusters can't offer. Whenever I play it (the Uncharted series is a blast to replay again and again), I can't help but feel like I'm on an adventure myself, maybe more-so than any other game on this countdown except maybe a couple RPGs. A crucial part of creating a good narrative adventure (movie or video game) is having the audience care about the characters taking part in the adventure. In Uncharted's case, Naughty Dog created three iconic characters in Nathan Drake, Elena Fisher, and Victor "Goddamn" Sullivan. All three of which may be Hollywood stereotypes, but their back-and-forth lines throughout the game make them anything but ordinary and mundane. From a gameplay standpoint, Uncharted is made fun to play though the game's unique mix of third person shooting, melee slugging, and inventive platforming. There's a lot to love about Uncharted that only got better as the series went on.
Favorite memory: First getting to play as Drake in the jungle after his failed parachuting escape from a crashing plane. At the time, I had never played anything similar.
19. Bioshock Infinite
Irrational Games/2k Games
Probably one of the more controversial, "love it or hate it" games on the list, but as I recall playing Infinite, I loved every minute of it. There are games that you complete by picking at them here and there, saying, "I guess I should finish this game", and then there are games that you cannot wait to play again between sittings. Bioshock Infinite is certainly the latter for me. It's riveting plot kept me guessing and hanging on every moment while the combat was simple but fun. The only thing that keeps Infinite from being a top 10 game for me is that the two elements do not compliment one another. It's almost like, "travel this path in the giant connected world (you literally step, fly, or hang-slide every inch of this game from start to finish in first-person without a single cutscene), shoot these guys, experience a crazy set-piece action scene, and then experience the story." Especially for a game that lets you look and act first-person through every dramatic scene, it was a missed opportunity to not let the combat have a purpose in the plot. But that's really my only complaint. Infinite may be the most technically flawless game that I've ever played. There wasn't a single glitch I ever encountered during my playthrough. What really makes Bioshock Infinite an exceptional game is its level design and atmosphere. As with the first two Bioshock games, every square inch of the game world is extremely detailed and full of mystery. Maybe my favorite parts in the game weren't the ones where Booker was shooting everything in sight but rather carefully exploring the floating city of Columbia, taking in all of its sights and discovering its mysteries. There isn't a modest part about Bioshock Infinite. Irrational Games was one of the best game developers in the business by the time Infinite came out and they were not afraid to boast about it through their game. And seeing as this was the last Irrational game, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
Favorite memory: The mind-blowing ending. I sat through the entire line of credits just thinking about it. It's a brilliant ending, really.
GOTY Awards to its name: Best Shooter 2013, Best Atmosphere 2013, Best Voice Performance (Troy Baker as Booker DeWitt & other roles) 2013
18. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
From one controversial game to another. MGS4 is certainly an odd game. Its stealth-based, boss fight drenched gameplay is absolutely great. Then, infamously, there are the sometimes 30+ minute long cutscenes. I certainly scratched my head a few times when I had to watch some kid cook eggs for like the fifth time in the game, but in the end, these custscenes are mostly immovable from the full game experience, which I think was 'once in a generation'. Each cutscene built character and continued to tell the plot of a very old Solid Snake on his final mission. And what a mission it was. As mentioned before, the stealth gameplay is great: just what you would expect from a Kojima MGS game. The other great gameplay aspect were the sometimes extremely difficult boss-fights in the game. Seriously. Vamp. Screaming Mantis. Crying Wolf. RAY. This game holds some of the best boss fights I've ever played. And since they were so rare across the the PS3/360 generation, extra points go to Kojima for proving that boss fights aren't just a retro gimmick. What we thought was the last MGS game was innovative, nostalgic, weird, and fitting. Everything you would expect from the series. (Side note: MGSV looks incredible)
Favorite memory: The ending. Tears were shed.
Irrational Games/2k Games
I originally had Bioshock inside my top ten for this list. It's an outstanding game, but it has too many faults that restrain it for me. Its final 2 hours are a disappointing mess, it hasn't held up as well over the years as you'd might think, and it simply doesn't mean as much to me as it may to others. Do not get me wrong though, Bioshock is a fantastic game. It's an influential game in that it changed the way stories were told in video games. It leaves cutscenes to movies, and instead has the player trek through the game world completely oblivious as to what's around every corner in both the underwater city and the plot. All in first person. When a big moment happens, you experience it through the eyes of the character. It's not the first time it happened in a game, but it was never done as well and as inventively before, with such brilliant writing at its core. The star of this game isn't its innovative FPS combat, but rather the world of Rapture that you explore. Through masterful level design and a unique art style, Rapture offers a creepy, cool atmosphere open for exploration and discovery. Only the Batman: Arkham games rival Bioshock's atmosphere and level of detail.
Favorite memory: The Sander Cohen encounters.
16. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Level-5 & Studio Ghibli/Namco Bandai
Sadly, the only JRPG from last generation even worth mentioning. However, with Ni no Kuni, we got probably the best true JRPG since the genre's glory days on the original PlayStation. With its unexpected success even in the west, we may just see a renaissance of JRPGs very soon if we're not in one already. Playing this game (I'm still playing it which might be keeping it a bit low on this list) is really like nothing else. It's best described as a playable Studio Ghibli movie with classic JRPG gameplay of turn based combat and exploration. This means a lot to me personally, since JRPGs and Studio Ghibli (along with Dragon Ball/Z, Pokemon, & Harry Potter) brought my childhood a sense of wonder and magic. All five (none of which are American by the way, as I am) influenced my imagination as a child. When not watching, playing, reading, I would be outside with friends or family or by myself playing outside in nature, having our/my own adventures. It made my childhood special. With Ni no Kuni, that same sense of imagination and wonder lives on and I get to experience it all over again. Even the simple fetch tasks in villages brings back countless childhood memories, just as a Studio Ghibli movie would. Personal meaning behind, Ni no Kuni has a very touching story full with colorful characters that I won't forget. And the amount of content in this game is ridiculous. Even at 80ish hours in, there is still so much content. And all of it is fun and inventive, not just a retro throwback. Ni no Kuni is a very different game than most of the games on this list and I love it for that.
Favorite memory: First playing the game. I was amazed with its beauty; even in 3D, Ghibli's influential art design comes to life.
GOTY Awards to its name: Runner-up GOTY 2013, Best RPG 2013, Best Soundtrack 2013, Best Graphics (Artistic) 2013
I told you it was nothing but top-tier games and personal favorites from here on out :P I still can't believe Bioshock, MGS4, & Ni no Kuni didn't place higher. But there is just no way that they could have. Keep a look out for Part V soon. It includes two of my favorite military FPSs that gave me days of hours of fun, a game that marked a turning point in a still popular franchise, one of the most bug-filled games that I ever played (but put up with because it otherwise would be in my top 5), and a game that really wasn't like anything before it. If I don't before next Friday, have a safe and happy Halloween! Thanks for reading and please comment :)