Hottest PlayStation 3 games for Christmas and beyond

There are many that believe that the PlayStation 3 is more of a media machine than a games console, and while it is an excellent 3D Blu-ray player and media streamer, they are wide of the mark. The PS3 is more than capable of holding its own in the gaming stakes, and has a fair few tricks up its sleeve, to boot.

For starters, not only does it offer similar, if not identical graphical abilities as its nearest console rival, and a healthy online games store and remote multiplayer platform, but is capable of native stereoscopic 3D without resorting to the half resolution side-by-side method.

However, to be completely honest, the machine itself is nothing without the games it supports, so, without further ado, here's a mighty list of top titles that you might want to consider adding to your Christmas list, or mark as must-haves early in the new year...

 

PS3 exclusives...

These are the recommended games that are only available on this specific platform (console, anyway). Not only are they top titles, they also offer bragging rights in order to lord it up over lesser console-owning chums.

SingStar: Back to the 80s

Publisher
SCEE
Release date
Out now

We love a bit of karaoke here at Pocket-lint Towers, but if there's anything better than being ritually humiliated whilst you murder Spandau Ballet's Gold at the top of your voice, it's being told by a games console just how badly you did afterwards.

SingStar is one of the oldest and best karaoke-based games on the market, but it's been over two years since a singing-only edition has come out (SingStar Take That was the last), so it's much welcomed in our neck of the woods.

Also, unlike the pop and chart hit versions, what's great about this latest entry into the SS pantheon, is that everyone can join in this Christmas, even Granny. She, and other family members, are far more likely to have heard Bros' When Will I be Famous, than anything by N-Dubz. Ever.

Of course, there's a whole stack of '80s songs (including many that are on this particular disc) on the SingStar marketplace, but they can't be played around a mate's house too. And, at least, with 100s of extra tracks from all eras and genres able to be purchased from the store and played through Back to the 80s, you can even add the odd current hit too.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

Publisher
SCEE
Release date
Out now

The Ratchet & Clank platform/action games have been incredibly successful for Sony over the years, having made their debut on the PlayStation 2 back in 2002. However, none of them have been quite as ambitious as the lastest; Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One.

Taking part after the conclusion of Crack in Time, the gameplay of All 4 One is different in that it relies heavily on co-operative gameplay, both online and off. As well as eponymous stars Ratchet the Lomax and, yep, Clank the robot, players can also take control of Captain Qwark, the inept superhero, and Dr Nefarious, villain of former games in the series.

Gameplay offers up the same kind of platforming/puzzle and shooting fun that fans will love, and even if you can't persuade a friend or two to take part, it can be played solo with a smart AI buddy at your side.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Publisher
SCEE
Release date
Out now

The Uncharted series almost transcends gaming, being almost as cinematic and spectacular as Stephen Spielberg's early output. In fact, the scenery, character motion capture and voice acting is so good that sometimes you might find you don't really want to game bits to come in and slow it all down.

However, that would be foolish, as the duck and cover shooting sections, coupled with the awesome climbing and swinging platform elements, are superb. They often culminate in grandstanding boss battles or jaw-dropping set pieces. And the game is worth it even for the lengthy pirate sequence alone.

It'd be interesting to see what plans Naughty Dog and Sony have for an Uncharted 4, but if Drake's Deception turns out to be the swansong for Nathan Drake, he will have gone out in mighty fashion.

Read our Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception review for more.

 

PlayStation Move highlights...

Motion gaming is gaining in popularity and, while Sony's version, PlayStation Move, can make you look like you're directing air traffic with its glowing ball-ended controllers, at least you don't need a living room the size of the Albert Hall. These are the compatible titles that stand out.

After Hours Athletes

Publisher
SCEE
Release date
Out now

After Hours Athletes offers three motion controlled sports that, some might think, may be best accompanied with a pint or two of beer. And, while that could be seen to be in contradiction to PUMA's sponsorship of the title, when you realise that three "sports" on offer are darts, pool and bowling, you'd be hard pressed not to agree.

To be honest, Sony revels in the fact that these are beery, leary games in its own marketing, focusing the title towards a certain demographic: "Fitness, calorie counting and hydration levels all mean nothing to you," it proudly states.

And this is why we're fully in support of After Hours Athletes. In fact, we've already had thoughts for new events for a sequel: Down in One, Race to the Kebab Shop, and Fail to Make it to the Toilets, all spring to mind.

Carnival Island

Publisher
THQ
Release date
Out now

Like After Hours Athletes, Carnival Island is a collection of mini-games for the PlayStation Move. However, in terms of tone and target audience, it's far far removed.

The game features 35 different and cute events and is aimed at families with kids. Naturally, the focus is on fairground style attractions, and all manner of different motion-based actions will be required to progress through the different sections. Plus, snapshots taken with the PlayStation camera can be amusingly warped in a Funhouse Mirror mode.

Pics can also be uploaded to Facebook via the game, so it's not just a socially interactive game locally, but remotely too.

DanceStar Party

Publisher
SCEE
Release date
Out now

Dancing games have now truly taken over from the guitar and band titles of recent years. Motion controls have added a whole new element to bopping away in your living room, and Sony's own DanceStar Party uses the Move and PS camera to great effect.

Featuring songs/tracks by Chemical Brothers, deadmau5, Jessie J and the Venga Boys (yep, you read that right), the game uses the controller for movement and the connected camera to show you (cut-out) on screen. Unlike other dance games, however, DanceStar Party also adds singing elements, as you can also use your SingStar microphones to warble along.

One or two players can groove along at the same time, and the game offers 160 dance routines to master. And as long as one of those is the traditional shuffly shuffly holding on dance that graces the end of school discos up and down the country, we'll be happy.

Medieval Moves

Publisher
SCEE
Release date
Out now

The final PlayStation Move game that we hotly recommend is Medieval Moves; a cartoon beat-em-up that offers precise and friendly controls that offers a different style of setting to most motion games.

Based in a fantasy world, it asks you to defeat waves and levels of increasingly tougher skeletons using your sword or bow and arrow (while they're trying to inflict pain on your in return). But it is in the mechanics of the game that you'll find the most enjoyment.

For example, instead of pointing the controller at the screen and pressing a button, Medieval Moves requires you to reach for an arrow in the quiver on your back, virtually draw it with the bow and fire. You'll need a bit of space to play, but the extended actions really add something different. Even when you need to replenish your health, you need to pretend you're drinking from a bottle of milk.

It's all great fun, and while you might look like a whirling dervish during the harder sections, you'll feel all the better for it.

 

Multiplatform titles...

These are the games that are available across PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and, in some cases, Nintendo Wii. There may be minor differences between each version, but you can rest assured that they're all as hot as Kelly Brook eating a Deep Heat Vindaloo.

Assassin's Creed Revelations

Publisher
Ubisoft
Release date
Out now

Like Gears of War 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Assassin's Creed Revelations offers the conclusion to a storyline in a hugely successful videogames franchise. It also sees the return of Altair, the assassin hero of the first instalment, as a playable character - alongside the more contemporary Desmond and star of the latter two chapters, Ezio.

Action this time shifts to Constantinopole (now the Turkish city of Instabul), which, in Ezio's time, is the heart of the Ottoman Empire, and the play area purports to be vast. But, while seasoned Assassin's Creed fans will find much that is welcomingly familiar, the free-running elements have been enhanced. And there's a stack of new weaponry to get used to.

But it is that story that will have you playing to the bitter end. Assassin's Creed Revelations is shaping up to be a more than fitting end to a series that has more and more cemented its position amongst the gaming elite with each iteration.

Read our Assassin's Creed Revelations review for more.

Batman: Arkham City

Publisher
Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
Release date
Out now

The more you play Batman: Arkham City, the more you realise that it's not just a conventional action game. Indeed, some of the best moments in the open world sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum are when you're flying around this specific corner of Gotham, high above the thugs below.

It's also one of those rare games that, even when the main storyline is long over, you'll find yourself revisiting the campaign mode again and again in order to find all of the secrets, and finish each of the side missions as Batman and Catwoman. Plus, there's plenty of other game modes - such as a challenge mode - to try out.

You do have to have a fondness for Batman, it must be said, as some of the villains and characters may be meaningless to you if you don't, but in gameplay terms, there are few titles out there this year that can compare in depth or variety.

Read our Batman: Arkham City review for more.

Battlefield 3

Publisher
Electronic Arts
Release date
Out now

Coming just before Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 both in release date and alphabetically, Battlefield 3 is, perhaps, the one that hardcore gamers were looking forward to the most. And to that end, its strength is on the multiplayer side of things.

The single player campaign's feel is far removed from the last Battlefield game, Bad Company 2, as the comedy and vehicle-hopping action has been swapped for modern day gritty realism (a la Modern Warfare or the last Medal of Honor). It harks back to 2005's Battlefield 2, which is no bad thing although it does stand this specific game up for more direct comparison with MW3.

Multiplayer, however, is utterly brilliant, and many will be picking this up for that experience alone.

Read our Battlefield 3 review for more.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Publisher
Activision
Release date
Out now

It's the end of the Modern Warfare trilogy, and Infinity Ward has hinted that new pastures and settings await the Call of Duty franchise (such as a return to World War II), but what a way to go out...

Massive in depth and scale, it is story that drives the final instalment, offering a single player campaign that you would probably be almost as happy to sit back and watch than play. Voice acting is, once again, superb, and the hopping around the globe for sequences, including visits to London, Hamburg and Paris, give the game an almost James Bond style feel.

Outside of the single player campaign, the multiplayer and co-op modes are no slouches either. CoD Elite handles matches and gamer details brilliantly, and there's enough tweaks from the last MW title to make it feel fresh for experienced online FPS fans.

Read our Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 review for more.

Dark Souls

Publisher
Namco Bandai
Release date
Out now

Namco Bandai's sequel to Demon Souls has been somewhat of a surprise hit at the end of this year, surpassing many bigger names in review scores. The Japanese role-playing game may not have had the hype of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and has a very different feel about it, but is no less an enjoyable experience.

Admittedly, there's not much of a plot to speak of, and it favours dungeon crawling to expansive world exploration, but Dark Souls more than makes up for the lack of story depth with incredible combat and boss battles that will rattle your teeth.

The game may not be for everyone -  it's a hardcore experience through and through, and extremely tough to complete for RPG newbies - but an inventive online mode (which offers occasional interactions with other real-world players) and sumptuous graphics reward those who are willing to take the plunge.

FIFA 12

Publisher
Electronic Arts
Release date
Out now

Pro Evolution Soccer may have has a stronger offering this year, but it would take a monumental effort to knock FIFA off its perch, not least because FIFA 12 is a good contender for best football game of all time.

It builds on the excellent gameplay engine of the last version, adding a new impact engine in order to create some spectacular fouls, but it is the inclusion of a new defensive jostling and containg system that really puts this iteration on an entirely new level. The game is now the closest to real world professional football that you can get - but without sacrificing elements of fun, speed and excitement.

FIFA 12 may have been out for a while now (since September), but it's a shoo-in to be top of the games charts this Christmas, or thereabouts.

Read our FIFA 12 review for more.

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded

Publisher
Activision
Release date
Out now

A remake of the Wii version of GoldenEye 007, itself a remake of the classic N64 game, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded certainly benefits from the sumptuous lick of paint offered by vibrant high definition graphics.

For those who didn't catch up with the Wii edition last year, this refreshed title replaces Piers Brosnan with current Bond Daniel Craig, and Sean Bean's 006 with an, erm, slightly podgier character model. The levels, while familiar to fans of the Rare classic from yesteryear, have significant alterations to bring it up to speed with modern gameplay.

But the biggest draw to the new version is the multiplayer. The original brought split-screen FPS action to consoles in trailblazing fashion, and again you can play locally as any one of Bond's famous villains. However, now you can go online too, which adds a new element to an excellently fun feature.

Read our GoldenEye 007: Reloaded review for more.

Mass Effect 3

Publisher
Electronic Arts
Release date
9 March 2012

The first Mass Effect was an incredible role playing game, the second added a combat engine that was a vast improvement, while the latest - due out in 2012 - promises the most radical new feature of all; multiplayer.

The online aspect will come in the form of a co-op mode, with the storyline being able to be played by more than one player for the first time. Additional co-op characters will also be made available through downloadable content, and while developer Bioware claims that the perfect "ending" can only be achieved through the single-player campaign, there will be other endings exclusive to multiplayer.

However, great feature or no, you only need to look at the stunning amount of game time it took to complete the first two in the series to know that your Christmas money will be well spent on Mass Effect 3. 

Max Payne 3

Publisher
Rockstar
Release date
30 March 2012

It's been eight years and counting since the last Max Payne game, and he's never made an appearance on a "next generation" console before (bar compatibility with the Xbox version added to 360). This is also the first of the trilogy to be developed entirely by Rockstar in-house (the former two being created by Remedy Entertainment). However, that's no bad thing, coming from the team behind LA Noire, Red Dead Redemption and the GTA franchise.

Action this time around focuses on a much older Max Payne who, like Denzil Washington in the movie Man on Fire, has taken up a private security job in South America - specifically, Sao Paulo in Brazil. Of course, things go tits up, and that's when the trademark blazing guns are called into service.

As with the originals, you should expect a lot of bullet time, slow mo and introspective commentary, although a multiplayer mode will be a new, if not overly essential addition.

Need for Speed: The Run

Publisher
Electronic Arts
Release date
Out now

Sort of the racing game equivalent of The Cannonball Run (film and real world race), Need for Speed: The Run is different to most driving titles in that it dispenses with laps and set tracks for a mad dash across America.

The 18th game in the Need for Speed series (staggering, eh?), EA's latest asks you to take part in an illicit high speed, high stakes race from San Francisco on the West Coast of the USA, to New York on the East. Millions will go to the winner, most likely death and destruction to the loser.

Interestingly, this will be the first of the franchise to use Battlefield developer DICE's Frostbite 2 engine, so should look absolutely top notch. And there's over 300km of track to traverse, making it the largest Need for Speed game of all time.

There's also a plot this time around, in order to keep things moving along cinematically. And EA even hired Transformers director Michael Bay to cut together a trailer, which we love in Pocket-lint towers.

Saints Row: The Third

Publisher
THQ
Release date
Out now

The first Saints Row was a good, if obvious Grand Theft Auto III clone. The second bended the rules of reality somewhat, in order to distance itself from Rockstar's franchise. And this third is the zaniest, wackiest, most bonkers edition yet. Which is a very good thing.

Once again, you take the mantle of the leader of the Third Street Saints gang. This time around though, the action has moved from Stilwater to the city of Steelport. which you must take over with as much gusto and inventive mission competition as ever before.

Celebrities lend their voices to the latest game, including the return of porn star Sasha Grey, while she's joined by WWE star Hulk Hogan, who takes on the role of professional wrestler Angel De LaMuerte.

However, it is the incredibly over the top themeology, gangs that wouldn't look out of place in The Warriors, colour schemes and graphical flair that graces both single and multiplayer that will entice gamers who are looking for something a bit out of the ordinary.

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure

Publisher
Activision
Release date
Out now

Not just a game, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure comes with an accessory and toy figures in the box that adds a whole new element of interactivity for kids. The portal hooks up to the console, and when one of the plastic figurines is placed on top, it is that specific avatar that becomes the on-screen playable character.

What's great about this is that, considering that the main game is essentially a 3D platform/puzzle affair, each character offers different powers, and can even unlock different areas in the game world. Plus, while you get several in the box - including the eponymous Spyro - other packs of creatures are available, so there's a toy collecting element that young boys, certainly, will love.

The game's storyline and characters were also crafted by the Oscar-winning screenwriters of the original Toy Story, so you can be rest assured that it is as captivating as it is a cunning concept.

Sonic Generations

Publisher
Sega
Release date
Out now

Sonic is now 25-years-old, although he doesn't look a day over 12. However, as we can't exactly claim to be experts on the effects of ageing on male hedgehogs of the blue variety, we can't be sure. But there's one thing we can be sure of, the fast platforming pace of the wee blighter is still as welcome today as it's ever been.

Sonic Generations does have some 3D bells and whistles, but it is its 2D retro fare that will have anybody over the age of 35 giggling like a schoolkid. And, like with before when it was Sega's main weapon in the battle against Nintendo's Mario titles, the main selling point to this tribute game is in its speed. It whips along like a cheetah... strapped to the underbelly of an F-14 Tomcat.

Some modern gamers may not appreciate its undoubted charms, but they can languish in the wake as we dash forward, while simultaneously looking back with warm fondness.

Read our Sonic Generations review for more.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Publisher
Bethesda Softworks
Release date
Out now

It's been a long time coming, but the sequel to Oblivion is looking to be well worth the wait. For starters, it's absolutely stunning, with a graphical style that hits both the last Elder Scrolls game and Bethesda's other RPG franchise Fallout 3 for six. And it's no waif of a game either. If you enter the world of Skyrim, it's likely to consume a month of your time... At least.

Of course, as an open world role playing game, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim offers a myriad of ways to play, orders to play them in, and more side missions than you can shake a stick at. But it is the main storyline, where dragons have returned to the land to devastating effect, that will inevitably have fans coming back for more.

You can also see why it took so long to release, with the amount of voice acting and background detail crammed into every nook and cranny of the game world. And it also promises a larger variety of character models than ever before.

It may not appeal to some. There are some that may not have the time to divest in it. But Skyrim is undoubtedly a mammoth project that will sate every RPG enthusiasts wants, and more.

Read our The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim review for more.

WWE '12

Publisher
THQ
Release date
25 November

We've always been fans of the WWE franchise of games, even before the World Wildlife Fund managed to get the "sports entertainment" brand to change its moniker. And WWE '12 is the first to dispense with the RAW vs Smackdown suffix that has been lingering for some time.

That doesn't mean that everything's changed, however, as much of the graphical style and options remain from former games. Creation mode, for example, is again a large part of the game, although a created wrestler gets even more attention than the most recent forebears, as he/she will be part of the new storyline in the "Road to Wrestlemania" storyline.

What's new, though, is the replacement of player-controlled weak/strong grapple moves in favour of a fighting system that pulls off different moves depending on the energy of the opponent. As they tire, you'll be able to enforce alternate actions.

But what makes any WWE game, for fans at least, is the roster of playable superstars. And Pocket-lint is very excited that Brock Lesner (who ended up in the UFC) makes a return alongside favourites like The Rock and Sheamus (he's a Liverpool fan, dont'cha know).

Do you have any other suggestions of games you'd recommend that we haven't included? If so, let us know in the comments below...