Time for the second part of my blog series that counts down my 35(!) favorite PlayStation 3 games. To catch up on the list and see my complicated list of rules and restrictions, here's a link to Part 1:
Now, for Part II. Part II contains my all-time favorite co-op game, two sequels of the same franchise, the lone sports game on the list, and one of my favorite licensed video games. 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
Developer/Publisher: SCE San Diego/SCE
Genre: Sports (Baseball)
While I am a shameless Madden NFL addict (every game, week 1 since 2005), I do admit that the series rarely innovates and is easily the lamest annual installment franchise around. That is not and has never been the case with MLB: The Show. Ever since 2006, the single team of Sony San Diego has continually innovated and constantly improved their Major League Baseball licensed series. Choosing from 2008, 2010-2013 was no easy task as far as which installment was my favorite, but I feel that MLB 13: The Show in particular found the perfect balance between fun and challenging/arcade-ish and realistic. The authenticity of the series (especially) is amazing and I wish every sports game could come close to matching it. Baseballs bounce in the outfield the way they should. Where you hit the ball on your player's bat is relative to where the ball ends up in the field. Players from Derek Jeter to Denard Span to Pat Neshek are superbly replicated in the series complete with their batting/pitching style, tendencies, and facial expressions. And believe it or not, the three play-by-play commentators never get old and repetitive; they sound authentic. On top of it all, the series packs two game modes that offer hours on hours of baseball. Both the actual gameplay and making managerial decisions like signing free agents, making trades, setting lineups, etc. It's a series that truly captures every detail of baseball and the timeless tradition that it carries.
Favorite Memory: Having a late game comeback as the New York Yankees in my season mode. I overcame a three-run deficit and earned a win as a relief pitcher in one late inning. Let's just say the signing of Brian Wilson (not the Beach Boy) paid off. What a rush.
Archived GOTY Awards To Its Name: As a series, Best Sports Game 2010, 2011, 2013
29. Call of Duty: World at War
WAW (or COD5 as me and my friends called it back in the good old days; sh*t, this game is 6 years old) is a game that I learned to love. After all, who wanted to go back to World War II after experiencing modern warfare? Well, now that I look back at it, it is my second favorite Call of Duty game of all-time, only behind the legendary COD4. There is something compelling about using single shot rifles instead of Ak-47s and SCARs. There is more of an adrenaline rush but oddly less of a mayhem scramble. You simply cannot play WAW the same way as you played COD4. That takes balls from Activision's/Treyarch's end. Thankfully, it paid off for them. They made perhaps the last and by far the best WWII campaign to date with unforgettable moments that didn't just copy what COD4 did. On the competitive multiplayer side, it was certainly challenging given the weapons and perks that you had to deal with. But once you got past the learning curve, you would find WAW to be refreshing and unique despite carrying over COD4's basic features. But where World at War truly shines and makes the game unforgettable is its cooperative multiplayer mode known only as Nazi Zombies. At first a fun little reward for beating the game, Nazi Zombies became a pop culture phenomenon that inspired actually great DLC (who could forget the asylum or the swamp house!?) and revolutionized the zombie survival genre. This mode was an addictive adrenaline rush that I couldn't put down.
Favorite Memory: In the deep rounds of Nazi Zombies, all three of my teammates were down after a 2+ hour match. It was just me vs well over 15 zombies. I was the last hope to keep the game going. I mowed each zombie down one by one and kept the fun going for what felt like an entire night of zombie carnage. Unforgettable fun that I didn't think would ever be matched by a co-op video game (until Red Dead Redemption).
28. Assassin's Creed III
One of the PS3's more controversial games in terms of love it/hate it, ACIII is certainly a game that I will not soon forget. After all, behind maybe Batman: Arkham City, there wasn't a game that I was dying to play in anticipation more than ACIII. I am a huge fan of colonial American history and the war for American Independence. To me, there isn't a more fascinating time period throughout history. So I was always begging for a game set during it and when Ubisoft announced that their next game in their historical series would have the main character interact with George Washington, Sam Adams, Benedict Arnold, etc., I freaked out. It all seemed too perfect to be true. Well, it kind of was. While it is set in the time period and while the character does encounter historical fugures/locations/events galore, that is all he does is encounter this time period. Connor does not "ignite the revolution" as the advertising displayed, the revolution (and the Templar/Assassin war) just happens in the background during his personal quest. I enjoyed Connor's story (I wrote a lengthy blog on that topic in the past), but I did feel cheated by Ubisoft. That, combined with the game's many bugs and its extreme lack of player choice during stealth missions are what keeps this game from being higher. But there is so much to love about ACIII. It captures Colonial America BEAUTIFULLY and authentically. The hand-to-hand combat is great. The tree-climbing free-running is exhilarating. The huge open world game map is packed with activities to do. And the biggest surprise, the naval gameplay was a smash hit that inspired a great pirate game that I only left off the list because of its superior PS4 version which I played over the PS3 version. ACIII has its flaws that keeps it well out of my top ten (would have been otherwise), but it still has a lot to love.
Favorite Memory: Exploring the lovely frontier and doing EVERYTHING in it.
GOTY Awards: Game of the Year 2012, Badass 2012 - Connor, Best Surprise 2012 - naval gameplay, Best Atmosphere 2012, Best Graphics (Realistic) 2012, Best Voiceover 2012 - Noah Watts as Connor, Best Action/Adventure 2012
27. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
Traveller's Tales/Warner Bros. IE
I am a giant Potter nerd. I've read the books again and again and I re-watch my blu-ray collection every year. It's a franchise that ruled my childhood alongside Batman and Dragon Ball Z. HP, alongside Spirited Away, takes credit for giving my childhood magic, creativity, and imagination. But what makes Harry Potter so special to me and my entire 90s kid generation is that it grew up with me until the final movie release a few years back. Needless to say, I always wanted a great videogame set in the wizarding world. While I hope a Hogwarts RPG is still on its way, LEGO HP is the best we've got. And it is great. Set in an almost open world of Hogwarts and its surrounding environments including Hogsmeade and the Forbidden Forest, you play through Harry, Ron and Hermione's first four years of adventure. It captures the magic of Hogwarts and their adventure completely. It isn't a lazy cash grab but rather a faithful celebration of Harry Potter for fans of any age to enjoy. It is simple and fun to play through, but it is the mass collecting that makes the game addictive and consuming. What is was really surprised with was how the HP story was told without words and while lightening the series' darker moments. It's faithful but makes its own fun by being genuinely funny. It may be impossible to understand for people who have never read or watched the series (who are you?), but for Harry Potter fans of any age, LEGO Harry Potter is a treasure.
Memory: Exploring Hogwarts' open world and collecting everything. Finding/unlocking character studs was my favorite.
GOTY Awards: Best Kid-Friendly Game 2010
26. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
In my opinion, this is the best AC game since Assassin's Creed II, which will have its place high up on this list. It builds upon Ezio's initial adventure without changing the formula. That said, it isn't just simply a Part II. ACB introduced the recruitment of Assassins to assist Ezio on his journey and a smart and unique multiplayer mode that didn't feel like a lame add-on. ACB of course takes place in Rome and its surrounding areas, complete with everything you would expect from the prestigious setting including the Coliseum, which is 100% interactive to climb. Riding along the Roman countryside on horseback was a delight as Ezio became a veteran Assassin fulfilling his mission started in ACII. In terms of gameplay, Brotherhood brought largely superior melee combat and perfected the stealth combat to near perfection. In fact, in my opinion, Brotherhood is as good as AC got with stealth gameplay before throwing it away with Revelations, III, and Black Flag. Although, it does look to be making a grand return in Unity, which I am really excited for.
Favorite Memory: The game's cinematic, hectic ending was very well done and was perhaps the high point in the Ezio trilogy. Overall, I had a hard time putting the controller down until Ezio's main story completed.
That's it for Part II. The next part includes three PlayStation 3 exclusives, a 2011 gem that is often overlooked, and three of the best superhero games ever made. Then after that, it's on to the 9.5's and 10's. I can not tell you how hard it was to order those. Yikes. What's up with you all and any? Enjoying the news from TGS so far? What games are you playing? Personally, I had to pick my jaw off of the floor after watching the Final Fantasy XV and Metal Gear Solid V demos. As to what I'm playing, mostly Madden 15 and a few PS3 games I never got around to beating. Namely, Sly Cooper 4, Ni no Kuni (there is no end to this game and I love it), and Fez. In honor of Jak 3's upcoming 10th anniversary, I am thinking about replaying the Jak & Daxter HD Collection. If I find the time in the busy life of a commuting college student. Thanks for reading and please comment :)
Go Buffalo Bills.