The PS3 PlayStation Store will shut down on July 2, 2021, taking with it a ton of exclusive games. What are the best PS3 games to buy before they’re gone forever? We’re here to offer our handy recommendations.
Here are our criteria:
- The game must still be available for purchase on the PlayStation Store in North America.
- It can’t exist in a ported or remastered form on a modern platform.
- It must be either download-only or difficult to acquire on disc.
- Perhaps most importantly, it offers something great or special to today’s players.
Onto the games!
If you can only pick up one game — in any of our PlayStation Store guides — make it this one. Tokyo Jungle, which only saw physical release on an increasingly expensive compilation disc, is the weirdest and most addictive game on the platform. You control various animals in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, trying to survive and unlock more and more playable creatures. It’s a game that deserves new life on a modern platform, and one that would thrive in the stream-centric present. But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, so grab it before it goes extinct.
Siren: Blood Curse
An early experiment in selling a game episodically in North America, Blood Curse never saw a physical release in the region. It’s the last game in the Siren series, and a remake of sorts of the original game. And Blood Curse takes “episodes” literally: it plays out like a season of horror television, using a “look through other perspectives” split-screen mechanic to navigate environments. It’s more than a decade old, but in many ways, it still feels modern.
This exclusive indie found a devoted following when it was offered as a PlayStation Plus freebie. And with good reason, too! It takes the fundamentals of tower defense and builds it into a co-op shared-screen action game. There’s a PlayStation 4 sequel, and it’s good! But the original has a lot to offer, too. It’s a great game to play with friends and family, talking through strategies and working to gather resources and fend off enemy waves long enough to deploy a game-winning army of your own.
There’s a lot of Japan Studio games on this list, and that’s no accident. That team’s output has always been experimental, and it’s also been more likely to be download-only than most. Rain is no exception. It’s built around invisible characters, only seen through the environment as they leave footsteps and displace the titular rain. It’s atmospheric. It tells an emotional tale. And its release at the very end of the PS3 era means it’s been largely overlooked.
The House of the Dead 4
Released in arcades in the mid-2000s, The House of the Dead 4 made its way home in 2012 as a PS3 PlayStation Store exclusive. If you have a PlayStation Move controller, you can use it to control the light gun action of the game, coming closer to the intended gameplay experience. And as light gun cabinets are more fragile than most, the arcade version’s increasingly hard to find in working condition. If you’re a fan of the series, the clock’s ticking on your chance to play this one.
The Last Guy
One of the first PSN exclusives, The Last Guy has you running around a top-down city map and rescuing citizens in an apocalypse. It’s part Google Maps, part Wonderful 101 and all quirky fun. It’s the sort of game that could only have been made in the early days of downloadable games: low-budget with interesting ideas that nevertheless still came from a big studio like Sony. And it’s quintessentially PS3.
Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty
Ratchet’s shortest adventure is also its most likely to be lost to time. Only a few hours long, Quest for Booty takes Ratchet on a pirate-themed adventure that does a lot in a short span. And it only made it onto a disc in a limited release in Europe and Australia, so it’s going to be hard to buy after the shutdown.
Class of Heroes 2G
If you’re a fan of traditional dungeon-crawling RPGs like Etrian Odyssey and Wizardry, you owe it to yourself to check out Class of Heroes 2G. It has all the hallmarks of a Gaijinworks project: a limited physical run, an admittedly uneven localization and a level of care and attention nothing else gets. The work on the PSP/Vita controller app for the PS3 game was likely extensive, and the result is a dual-screen experience that’s more useful than a lot of Wii U games. Now that the digital version’s becoming just as hard to acquire, you may want to take this chance to secure a copy.
Chime Super Deluxe
While Chime showed up on other platforms, Super Deluxe is the definitive, final version of the game. This PS3 version includes exclusive multiplayer modes and more songs that never made it back to PC or 360, and this new content is just as fun and thought-through as the original batch. It’s the sort of game that packs visuals and controls that will age really well, too.
The aesthetic and gameplay of Echochrome really paved the way for the indie scene we know today. In it, you control the perspective of a black-and-white diorama, manipulating the Escher-like presentation to change environments and move around to particular points. It’s a clever puzzle game with lots of levels, and it remains worth your time.
What do you think are the best PS3 games on the PlayStation Store? Let us know in the comments! And check out more of the handy PlayStation Store guides we’re sharing as the PS3 and Vita shutdown dates approach.