Throughout PlayStation’s 23 year old history, we have been blessed with countless masterful games. While we love playing games like Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K or the Batman: Arkham series, the thing that makes PlayStation the best place to play is the exclusives.
Time flies when you’re having fun and 5 years ago today the PS4 was unveiled. This means we now have four fully fledged consoles to choose from, so we figured it would be a good time to rank the best of the bunch. Firstly though, we need to set some ground rules:
1. The Game must be Generation Exclusive
This excludes Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. And Silent Hill 2.
2. Only One Game per FRANCHISE
Otherwise this list would be filled with almost nothing but *spoilers* Final Fantasy and Uncharted.
3. No Collections or Remasters
Unfair advantage and we’d like to see more new games, not just remasters.
4. No PSN-only Titles or Indie Games
We’ll make a separate list for those, it’s just too hard to compare. Apologies to Journey, Super Stardust HD and the always overlooked Shatter.
5. These are our opinions
You might agree with us, you might not. We look forward to hearing what you guys think!
That’s it! Let’s start:
10. God of War III
Number 10 on our list is God of War III and it fittingly encapsulates a lot of what PlayStation games are about. It is action-packed combat on a grand scale with top notch graphics and cinematic set-pieces throughout a 10 hour Greek mythology adventure.
God of War III is probably the game you should show to someone who wants to know about the PS3. Unless it’s your grandma.
The game is unabashedly gory. We’re talking ripping out eyeballs, decapitating Cerberus dogs and gutting a Minotaur kind of gory. The antihero, Kratos, has an emotional range from angry to infuriated and it shows. You control a seething Kratos, climbing up Mount Olympus to exact revenge on Zeus and the other Olympians who betrayed him.
You could argue the two previous games tell a better story, but God of War III excels everywhere else. As the culmination of the trilogy and a fusion of all the best parts of I and II, it warrants a place on this list.
9. Kingdom Hearts
The debate around which is better, Kingdom Hearts or Kingdom Hearts 2, won’t be settled here, but this is my take: Kingdom Hearts 2 might be more polished and the better overall game, but I still prefer the original. Kingdom Hearts is noticeably rough around the edges compared to the sequel, but has a lot more going for it in the story department (as Kingdom Hearts 2 story is bat-shit crazy)
The PS2 classic wowed gamers when it was released in 2002, as no one thought you could have Disney characters and Final Fantasy characters combine so seamlessly! Instead what the gamers got was a highly enjoyable action role-playing game which would create one of the biggest franchises that Square-Enix has to offer! LONG LIVE KING MICKEY!
8. Persona 5
Where do I start? The game is an enormous and stunning JRPG which has well over 100 hours of gameplay and is somewhat of a crossover between a high-school simulator and Final Fantasy.
Blessed with a convincing cast of characters who are all completely three-dimensional, a strong story and set in a life-like Tokyo, this dungeon crawler leaves a long-lasting impression on those who play it. While some might compare it to a soap opera, the video game perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to be a teenager, and the struggles that comes with trying to leave a mark on the world.
Persona 5 is the golden standard for Japanese RPGs, as many have tried to emulate and copy the fantastic winning formula that ATLUS has achieved with the Persona series.
inFamous 1 & 2 are both worthy of this list with their own strengths and weaknesses. While inFamous 2 is the more realized game, with tighter game mechanics and better, more varied superpowers, the original shines because of the superior story. We believe story matters more than gameplay, so the original earns the 7th spot on the list.
A big part of what made inFamous so memorable, was it’s unique style of cut-scenes. To compensate for a lack of a studio to act out the cut-scenes, they had to depend on comic-book style drawings to tell Cole McGrath’s story. It further enhanced the feeling of playing a visualized version of a super hero comic-book of old.
For InFamous 2, they recorded most of the cut-scenes like any other game. The comic-book way of telling the story was sparsely used and it suffered for it. The original also had the more memorable antagonist, one of the best in that generation of games.
While the sequel improved and fleshed out the gameplay, the original inFamous was fun in it’s own right. Zipping through Empire City on electrical lines, zapping unsuspecting foes or wreaking havoc at the height of your powers was all a blast. The Good/Evil karma system gave it replayability and it still holds up to this day.
6. Crash Bandicoot 2
Woah! Ah… Crash Bandicoot 2. The perfect platforming videogame. While some might take great offense at that comment, I will loyally stand by one of the greatest platformers ever. Why is it so good? Well, for starters, it is a true sequel, as the original game pales in comparison. It just does everything so perfectly. The level design ranges from running through the forest to jet-packing through space with an awesome soundtrack accompanying you throughout your journey.
Crash Bandicoot 1 has now been labelled the “Dark Souls” of platforming, as the level design and controls are actually kinda crap. That problem DOES NOT exist with Crash Bandicoot 2. It is perfect, as the controls are very responsive and none of deaths feel cheap, in fact, you’re at fault for screwing up. The story has also been ramped up a bit as N.Cortex is back and more charming than ever and there are a lot more cutscenes to make the gamers more excited of what lies ahead.
If you’ve played the N Sane Trilogy and want to know how the original sequel holds up, do yourself a favour and check this title out. It has aged very well!
5. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
The Uncharted series has everything I want in a game. A simple to follow, yet engaging story, driven by relationships between likable characters. Lush environments filled with Naughty Dog’s patented breathtaking vistas and fun gameplay filled with platforming, puzzles, shootouts and jaw-dropping set-pieces.
Naughty Dog has become the gold standard for PlayStation and it all started with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune laid a good foundation, but was too repetitive both in terms of gameplay and setting. Uncharted 2 took it to a different stratosphere.
Nathan Drake is the star of the show, both figuratively and literally. Played by the always charming Nolan North, Drake was destined to become one of the most beloved characters in gaming. The other two mainstay characters, Elena Fisher and Victor “goddamn” Sullivan, or Sully for short, complement each other perfectly.
Uncharted 2 found the perfect balance between cinematic storytelling and engaging gameplay. Not just compared to the rest of the franchise, but compared to all other games. I challenge you to find a better paced game, that also seamlessly integrates such a compelling story. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is unmatched in that department.
4. Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus is unlike any other game on this list. It’s unlike any other game, period. In the best possible way.
It’s stripped-down, yet so vast. Clear cut, yet so mysterious. You play as Wander, whose sole mission is to restore the life of a young woman named Mono. He arrives at the Shrine of Worship and makes a deal with a mysterious entity called Dormin. If Wander is able to defeat the 16 colossi scattered around this forbidden land, Mono will be resurrected.
From that point on, the game revolves around you as Wander, his impeccable horse Agro and the 16 colossi. No other enemies, no villages, not a single NPC in sight. The landscape is beautiful, almost overwhelming, but when you are confronted with a colossus is where the game really shines.
Each one of the 16 colossi brings its own distinct flavor and feel. These 16 boss fights are as much about puzzles as they are about platforming or even combat. The grandiosity of the Colossus strikes you with fear as much as it fills you with a sense of awe. Conquering them feels both satisfying and slightly sad at the same time. The orchestral score wows you whenever it decides to show up and the music ramps up during battle.
Unlike a lot of the game’s critics, I don’t have a problem with the controls or the camera. Considering its primitive hardware compared to the scope of the game, it did have some noticeable texture pop-ins however. Luckily, the recent PS4 remaster fixes all these things, so go out and play it, even for a second time.
3. Metal Gear Solid
I can’t screw this up. TOO MANY PEOPLE LOVE THIS GAME. And there’s a brilliant reason why. IT’S AMAZING. That’s it. Go home and play this game.
On the real, Metal Gear Solid was at the time one of the most ambitious games ever. Jam-packed with a lot of exposition in the style of codec-calls and highly memorable cutscenes, Metal Gear Solid was one of the greatest cinematic gaming experiences you could find. The main protagonist, Solid Snake, is a complete badass and is tasked with a seemingly impossible mission. It’s with your help that you embark on one of the coolest espionage missions in any form of entertainment. Screw off, James Bond. There is a new king in town.
Solid Snake actually starts the game without a weapon, so survival is completely dependent on you as the gamer to be able to take on enemies with stealth. You can like me, eventually go Rambo style when Snake’s arsenal gets bigger and bigger. For the best gameplay experience however, I’d suggest going stealth all the way, baby!
Most people know by now that we should boycott Konami for getting rid of the mastermind behind the Metal Gear Solid franchise, Hideo Kojima, and it’s sad to know that he’ll never make a Metal Gear Solid game again. Keep an eye out for Death Stranding however, because like anything the master creates, you know it will be amazing.
2. Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII isn’t actually my first ever Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy VIII was. My brother bought it for his birthday in March, and I was given Final Fantasy VII on my birthday in November. It goes without saying that Final Fantasy VII is probably my favorite video game of all time.
It’s clearly better than Ocarina of Time. It’s a running joke that my friends and I have had for the last couple of years since debating which game is truly “THE GREATEST OF All TIME” (as Metacritic lists Ocarina of Time as the greatest of all time). But it is true, Final Fantasy VII is a god-damn masterpiece.
Final Fantasy VII is the culmination of fantastic art design, timeless characters and music that is so god-damn good, that they’ve done concerts (Seeing the London Symphony do various renditions of some of the classic songs was just so amazing). The main character, the ever so broody Cloud Strife, embarks on a remarkable journey which includes meeting some of the greatest characters in videogames and having to save the world from being destroyed at the hands of the charismatic and tormented villain of the story, Sephiroth.
Sephiroth is probably one of the greatest villains of all-time *COUGH* much more interesting than Ganondorf *COUGH* and created one of the most famous scenes in video-game history. (the death of a certain character that most gamers know about, except for our friend Shane).
I can go on and on about this game, but all I can say is… if you’re willing to give the time (the game is 40+ hours long at the very least) and can forgive some of the now out of touch aspects about it, you will find that Final Fantasy VII is one of the best games you have ever played, or ever will play for that matter.
The only reason why I allowed Final Fantasy VII to be #2 is simply because….
1. The Last of Us
The Last of Us is the pinnacle of video games.
It’s not necessarily perfect, but it’s the greatest story ever told in a video game. It’s a story that holds up as one of the greatest regardless of art form. When I want to show someone why we love video games, The Last of Us is the game I show.
Like Naughty Dog’s other game, Uncharted, the story is driven by it’s fantastic characters. However, while Uncharted is a lighthearted adventure, The Last of Us is anything but. Already within the first 30 minutes, the game pulls your heartstrings.
The main characters are Joel & Ellie, and while there are many questions surrounding the post-apocalyptic world the game is set, the focus is entirely on these two characters and their developing relationship.
Ellie, the brash, independent, 14 year old girl who was born into this world, might be my favorite character in any video game. At 14, she still has the curiousness and wonderment of a kid, but growing up in a fucked up world she is tough as nails and wise beyond her years. Along with the main character Joel, you’ll become increasingly fond of Ellie as you go.
So many factors making up this game are expertly executed. I’m going to expand on that in a separate article at some point. Just trust me when I say this: The Last of Us is the best PlayStation game of all time, if not the best game ever!