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Top Five PS3 Games

December 4, 2009

Well, the holidays are almost upon us.  Those of you lucky enough to have (or receive) a PS3 might need a few ideas as far as the best releases currently available for this amazing system. 

I admit, I do not understand those of you out there who prefer your Wiis and your XBoxes – why settle for re-vamped nostalgia when you could have a game that places you right inside the action with brilliantly sharp graphics and easy controls?

5.) Elder Scrolls: Oblivion

This game is one of the original releases on the PS3, but it is part of one of the greatest franchises in all of RPG history.  It has all the usual hallmarks of a great role playing universe:  customizable gear/weaponry, character class creation, etc.   Although not as open-ended as Morrowind (the previous incarnation), it still offers enough side quests and add-ons to last through several months (if you are me) or several years (any other normal human) of continous gameplay. 

Positives:  amazing graphics, customization, length

Negatives: side quests can get repetitive, battles are often too hack and slash rather than skill-based

4.) Batman: Arkham Asylum

Arkham Asylum is the perfect setting for a video game – the possibilities and locations are endless, and the developers took excellent advantage of this when creating the plot.  The villains are lifted straight out of the comic books and animated series, complete with the original voice actors (including Mark Hamill as the Joker).  I love Harley Quinn, and she is one of the main enemies following you throughout the sequence of missions that make up the main storyline.

Overall, Arkham is fun and a heck of a joyride.  However, since Batman can’t kill anyone, you have a limited range of stun and punch attacks that got old after a bit.  There are only so many times that one can hang off of a gargoyle and swoop down on hapless NPCs before you want the gamemakers to realize that most people would eventually realize they need to LOOK UP.  Even The Joker’s henchmen could figure that out.

Positives: great overall map, villain variety, length of overall gameplay.

Negatives: limited attack options, only two real side quests.  Also, the only thing more annoying than dealing with The Sandman’s little mind-trip mazes was the ‘trail of blood’ maze in the original Max Payne.  Controller-throwing worthy.

3.) Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 4 was perhaps one of the PS2’s best offerings.  It was also difficult and had amazing re-play value and additional features.  Resident Evil 5, while I didn’t like the setting and plot as much as 4, has just as much going for it in the long run.  Resident Evil’s mythology and backstory is about as interesting and engaging as they come – full of evil corporations, mutating viruses, and complex villains and heroes.  At this point, our major character, Chris Redfield, is like an old friend.  Chris and his partner Sheva race through Africa trying to stop the evil Albert Wesker from unleashing the Urobouros virus on the rest of the world.  When you have to actually play a game with all of the lights on in the house because of the scare factor, I’d say that’s a plus.

Positives: amazing graphics, cut scenes and backstory/mythology.   Variety of baddies/villains.

Negatives:  Lacks the side missions and additional features of 4.  Limited weapons, boss battles are relatively easy and predictable.

2.)Uncharted 2:  Among Thieves

The first Uncharted was an incredible ride – a great combination of action, plot, puzzles that actually had a POINT!  Unfortunately, it was also about 5 hours too short.  I finished it in about 6 hours of playing time over a weekend.  Yep – it was that awesome.

Uncharted 2 corrects many of the issues that made the original less than perfect.  First, developer Naughty Dog almost doubled the length of  the game, adding in some additional backstory/flashback missions.  They also wisely chose to stick to what worked in the original:  fast-paced, explosive action, compelling characters and a cool mythos.  I admit, I’m a little in love with hero Nathan Drake.  He’s intelligent and resourceful, and boy can he climb stuff.    Drake’s mission is to find the legendary Shambala (Shangri La) and stop an evil dictator from using the powers of and ancient stone to take over the world.  Along the way he has two female sidekicks – occasional double agent Chloe and journalist (and companion in the original game) Elena.  The great thing is that the chicks can actually back you up fairly well in a fight.

Positives: The Best Graphics On Any System Out Right Now.  Period. Excellent characters, non-stop action.

Negatives:  Too much time between now and whenver Uncharted 3 will release…

1.) Grand Theft Auto 4

 I know, I know.  It’s expected, but it is true.  GTA is simply the most amazing, complex and down-right enjoyable franchise in video game history.   GTA 4 is actually my THIRD favorite out of all them (Vice City will always be my favorite), but is still the most amazing thing that the PS3 has to offer right now.  GTA is a great open-ended universe.  You can choose to spends hours, even days doing side missions without ever worrying about the main storyline.   The only complaints I have about GTA 4 are the same things all the other fanboys are griping about.  There aren’t enough opportunities to build up businesses (like in Vice City or even San Andreas), and quite frankly there are only so many cars you can steal to earn cold hard cash before it becomes incredibly repetitive.   Also – the fact that you can outrun the cops takes all the fun out of racing for the Pay N’ Spray. 

Positives:  You could just sit and LOOK at the darn game for hours, exploring the nooks and side streets.   The map is amazing.

Negatives:  Limited side missions (more linear than previous installments), protagonist Nico and his backstory is perhaps the LEAST interesting in all of the GTA games.  Even the nameless guy in GTA 3 was more amusing.

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