PlayStation 3 reaches its fifth birthday in Europe this week, where it finally released on 23rd March 2007 after a lengthy delay. In that time the system has been through highs and lows, but ultimately has proven to be a dominant beast in the living room, embracing multimedia such as TV and film streaming services, Blu-rays and – naturally – video games aplenty.
To celebrate half a decade of Sony's home console, we at Push Square have put together a little list of our ten favourite PS3 titles. Nine of our writers reluctantly prised their DualShock controllers from their hands to pore over their collections and skim through their bustling Trophy lists so that they could each pull together their own personal preferred line-ups. The results were tallied together to form a formidable top ten, games that can be counted among PlayStation 3's finest and deserving of your ownership.
Of course, there are many titles that didn't quite make the cut. In total 47 games were nominated, each beloved for some reason or another by our team. Fierce competition, and a limited number of slots, prevented us from highlighting every single great title, but we feel that the ten games that emerge victorious represent some of PS3's greatest hours. Let's start at the bottom.
10. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – Snake decided to opt out of growing old gracefully in Konami's cut scene-heavy epic, sneaking through a war-torn world when he should have been shuffling about in slippers. We're glad he stayed out of retirement, though; he infiltrated our hearts once more in this fantastic tale of stealth, war and nanomachines. Lots of nanomachines.
9. Heavy Rain – Quantic Dream continued its push to improve the approach to narratives in games with Heavy Rain. The noir thriller has you chasing a mysterious serial killer, the story shifting organically and moving down new routes as characters perish. The tale played out to great effect with performances from real actors, and the later addition of Move support made it even better.
8. flower – Who would have thought that lifting petals through the air on a soft breeze could elicit such an emotional response? flower captures the feeling of freedom in a way that few games manage, and includes some of the most effective motion control yet through subtle tilts of DualShock 3.
7. God of War III – Kratos made his raucous return to home consoles three years after God of War II. Perhaps the goriest entry in the series to date, Kratos took the fight to Zeus through another visceral campaign of vengeance. Plus, the number of enemies saw a big boost, giving players ample opportunity to swing those blades again and again.
6. Portal 2 – The original Portal's increasingly brain-befuddling test chambers were wonderful, but better still is the way that Valve expanded the series' scope in the sequel. Stretched to span a full adventure game, Portal 2 is smart, challenging and genuinely hilarious without feeling forced or compromising its core concept.
5. LittleBigPlanet 2 – Playing, creating and sharing only got bigger and better in Media Molecule's follow-up platformer. LittleBigPlanet 2 moves beyond the possibilities of the original to allow would-be game designers to put together not just their own stages, but their own games. Other appeals of LittleBigPlanet weren't discarded either: the co-operative play is some of the most ridiculous fun you can have on PS3.
4. Valkyria Chronicles – SEGA's tactical RPG takes a decidedly brighter approach to war stylistically, brought to life through a cel-shaded style reminiscent of pencil-sketched animé. Beneath its gorgeous exterior lies a testing title that mixes strategy and action perfectly. Every move puts you in direct control of your unit, right in the firing line, so even the deaths of the most basic grunts mean something.
3. Demon's Souls – Demon's Souls brings new meaning to the word “difficult”. The brutal action role-playing game weeds out all but the most dedicated players, forcing sadistic levels of challenge upon anybody who dares approach it. Conquering its trials is empowering; if you like your games as hard as rocks, Demon's Souls should be your first stop.
2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – From the very first moments right through to the explosive conclusion, Uncharted 2 points a taunting finger towards the summer blockbusters of cinema. Packed to the brim with exhilarating set pieces, great writing and characters that are actually worth caring about, the second entry in Naughty Dog's series remains the best yet and one of PlayStation 3's most important first party titles.
1. Journey – Not content to bring just the one stirring game to PlayStation 3 in flower, thatgamecompany delivered Journey. Its anonymous, communication-free multiplayer, which places random travellers together as they each work their way towards the summit of a glowing mountain, is one of the best uses of online play thus far, facilitating true bonds between players without the need for a single word. Journey is an awe-inspiring masterpiece, a triumphant motion towards anybody that declares that games cannot inspire true feelings.
And the rest? Just outside of the top ten 3D Dot Game Heroes, Red Dead Redemption and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West jostled with the likes of BioShock, inFAMOUS, Everybody's Golf: World Tour and MotorStorm: Pacific Rift. Meanwhile, Uncharted 3 glared on jealously at its older brother...
What are your favourite PlayStation 3 titles, the ones that have given you the most joy over the last five years? We'd love to hear what you think of our top choices – let us know in the comments below.