The 10 Best Games for PS3 You've Never Heard Of

Published: September 2, 2014

Don't have enough money to afford a PS4 and bored with with all the big name games like Call of Duty or Skyrim?  Here's a list of ten games that may hold you over for another year until that PS4 price drop when it's actually WORTH buying...

Games included are some of the most unique, absorbing, alternative experiences to mainstream gaming.  Organized by overall quality from 1-10.

  1. Catherine - Love and sex philosophy


    Catherine is one of the greatest games of this generation of consoles that completely flew under the radar, as most Japanese games due these days.  The anime cover may turn away people who aren't a fan of the medium, but don't let that deter you.  Fan of anime or not, this game will challenge your opinions of love and sex in ways you never thought a game could.  It really pushes the medium to an interactive art form, and it's dissapointing it didn't get more attention.  

    While the game is told from the perspective of a male character, I do recommend it to women if they want a glimpse into the male psyche and it's sexual and romantic drive.  

    Primarily, this is a puzzle game, as you experience nightmares on a nightly basis in which you are climbing a tower, pushing and pulling blocks into configurations that allow you to ascend.  Traps and pitfalls attempt to halt your progress along the way.  If you make it, you enter a confessional in which you answer True/False questions about love and sex.  If you are connected to PSN, you get to see if your answer falls into the majoirty of what other gamers chose.

    During the day, you interact with friends and other customers at a local bar.  Things you do or say will have an affect on the conclusion of the game (there are several endings to obtain).  

    Overall, Catherine is a nailbiting, edge of your seat experience, that even uses metaphor and symbolism to push gaming into new realms of arts and entertainment.  If you see gaming as capable of more than just mindless entertainment, this is a game you won't want to miss out on.

  2. Yakuza 4 - Virtual Tourism

    The Yakuza series is another Japanese game that didn't seem to appeal to the Western market.  Surprising, as games about crime seem to be all the rage these days.  But Yakuza is more than just a mobster story.  The game goes to great lengths to replicate Kabukicho, the red light district of the Shinjuku ward in Tokyo.

    To an American who's always wanted to visit Japan, this is the next best thing.  Buildings are created with great detail, displaying neon signs and advertisements for real Japanese products, such as Boss Coffee.  You can even enter bars and restaurants and sample actual Japanese dishes and alcholic beverages.  If you want to take time off from the storyline, there is a host of minigames: Pachinko (a popular gambling machine similiar to slots), table tennis, and and undground fightclub to name a few.

    The storyline plays second fiddle to the "virtual tourism" aspect, however it does offer insight into the seedy underworld of The Land of the Rising Sun.  Mobster politics and the control of families, money and land sets the backdrop for the story as you control 4 different characters who are actually trying to navigate their lives away from the Yakuza and it's grip on their lives and their neighborhood.

    While some aspects of the game could be improved (the combat system in particular), the replication of a fascinating neighborhood in real life Japan more thank makes up for it.  Yakuza is really about being immersed in a foreign land and society most Westerners are not familar with, and it's worth playing for that aspect alone.

  3. Final Fantasy Crystal Defenders - Unique Tower Defense

    An interesting spin on tower defense, filled with classes and creatures from the 25+ year Final Fantasy lore.  Crystal Defenders has you setting down different classes of warriors (archer, soldier, mage) in strategic places in order to fight off mobs of different types of enemies that take turns entering the playing field.  Your warriors cannot move once they are set down, so placement is of the utmost importance.  As the game progresses, these warriors, you have to ability to upgrade your warriors and unlock newer classes with different specialites, provided you have the funds.

    Simple gameplay and graphics, yet so addicting you won't want to put it down.  The trophies are all achievable provided you put the time in (if you're good this should only take a few days).  Well worth the money and will satisfy any strategy addict or fan of Final Fantasy.

    (Available as a PSN download)

  4. Hotline Miami - Bloodsoaked Retro Trip

    Hotline Miami is a surrealistic story with a retro atmosphere that has you bursting, guns ablazing, into Russian mobster territories.  The main character awakes each night to get cryptic phone calls from a mysterious person who directs him to what venues need to be...taken care of.  A top down shoot em up that has you implicating strategy and some stealth, Hotline Miami is a unique throwback to the 8 and 16 bit era, with a modern twist.  Men in masks haunt your dreams and ask questions and make comments towards you that seem to make no sense.  The masks also play a role in the gameplay: they are earned as your progress and provide a different skill that may aid one of your weaknesses or that may assist you completing a certain level.

    A bizzare storyline, a retro throwback and fast and furious gameplay make Hotline Miami an addicting game well worth your time if you are seeking out a unique gaming experience that will have you going "Huh?"

  5. Pixeljunk Shooter Series - Rebooting a Forgotten Genre

    I listed this series as one whole game, since they basically have the same gameplay and Number 2 picks up immediately where the first left off.  Another game that reboots a genre long gone (much like Hotline Miami takes on the overhead gun shooter genre from games o yore), Shooter puts a new spin on the "overhead space shooter" genre.  While not necessarily in space (you are in fact underground and then in the belly of a monster), the stages are definately alien in appearance as you navigate your way through labryinths, trying to rescue lost scientists.  Different tools you are provided with help you solve the puzzles that obstruct your progression.  With a nice HD sheen, and new additions to the gameplay of a long forgotten genre, Shooter 1 and 2 will have you reliving the type of gameplay you used to love as a kid.

  6. Tokyo Jungle - Animal Instinct in the Urban Sprawl

    Ah yes, a 4th Japanese game enters the list.  While the Japanese aren't as prolific with the amount of games they put out as they used to be, when they do it's usually a gem.  Tokyo Jungle imagines the country's capital as in a world where humans are extinct, and nature has taken over.  Plants and animals are the only forms of life seen in this game.  While you can't play as a plant (check out Plants Vs. Zombies if that's your thing),  you have the option to play from a wide variety of animals.  From the adorable little Pomerian, to the vicious king of the now concrete jungle, the lion, each animal has different attributes that allow it to survive and continue breeding, ensuring it's species survival.  Another unique experience to add to your PS3 gaming library.

  7. Papo & Yo - Channeling the Negative Into Something Creative

    Papo Y Yo is an indie game designed by a Colombian game developer reflecting on the issues he faced as a child dealing with an abusive father.  The game acts as a metaphor for this:  a young boy befriends a monsterous looking creature in an imaginary world who can be kind, gentle and helpful, yet can go into a rage if you do something he doesn't like.  Maintaing the peace and evoking the rage both come into play as you figure out puzzles in an urban South American type setting.  Meanwhile, insights into the young boy's reality are revealed as you pass stages in the game.

    You have to respect to creator Vandar Caballero's intentions with this game.  Coming from a country with a violent past, he didn't want to create just another game featuring guns and violence.  Papo & Yo is yet another title pushing the medium into the world of art, and for that it deserves your time.

  8. Velocity - Simple, Old School Fun

    Velocity is labeled as "PS Mini", meaning it's an inexpensive game with low production value (basically 16-bit era graphics).  Yet it's a fun overhead romp through space, a throwback to a forgotten genre much like Shooter.  The game screen continues to scroll up, giving you only a certain amount of time to figure out how to get past the obstactles coming at you.  As is expected, you do shoot alien ships, but you also have the ability to "jump" or warp from one area to another, allowing you access to different parts of the giant spaceships you encounter.  Deciphering color coded puzzles while fighting off mobs of alien spaceships lets your progress through the game.  Oh, and did I mention the music?

  9. Child of Eden - Stimulating Your Senses

    A glorious world of color and sound await you in Child of Eden.  While many games seemed to have tried to replicate this formula, I feel Child of Eden got it right.  Almost anyone can pick up on the easy gameplay, but of course it offers a challenge for more serious gamers.  Where the game really excels is in it's visuals and sound.  As you shoot at on screen gems a melody builds and the visuals become more dramatic.  It can be played with a regular PS3 controller, however for the true experience get the PS Move.

  10. Heavy Rain - Immersion Into a Hyperrealistic Crime Mystery

    I placed this game last since it managed to get some exposure in the mainstream due to it's hyperrealistic graphics and use of movement with the Dual Axis controllor or the PS Move.  However, most PS3 owners haven't played it, and well, they are missing out on a one of a kind experience.  The game plays out like a cinematic crime mystery, as you control 4 different characters wrapped up in the psychological game of the "Origami Killer".  Movement is used to control the mundane (drinking of orange juice) to the more adrenaline pumping (driving on the wrong side of the street in order to save the life of your young son).  A glimpse into the future of gaming and storytelling(I believe more and more games will become physically interactive), Heavy Rain would actually place second on this list (if it had completely met my criteria).

All these games are deserving of any true gamer's time and money.  They take gaming to new places and allow the player to have new types of gaming experiences.  Sadly, it is because of each of these games unusual and uncommon take on video gaming that they often get ignored by the mainstream.  With time, however, I believe the community will come to recognize how valuable these titles are if they wish to move the their hobby past the negative stereotypes mainstream society has given them.