Well, it’s finally happening. After last year saw the redesigned PlayStation web store drop PS3 and PS Vita games, many saw the writing on the wall. Reports came in last week about Sony closing both PS3 and PS Vita stores, and news was officially confirmed shortly thereafter. Thankfully, players can still redownload their existing libraries, but PS3 owners only have until 2nd July to buy anything new.
Though hardly surprising, it’s certainly disappointing, and this mass delisting means we’re saying goodbye to many fantastic games that never saw a physical release. For anyone looking to secure a few gems before July rolls around, we’ll be highlighting a few of the best games going before they permanently disappear.
As forewarning, anything with a PS5 and re-release isn’t counted here, and that exclusion also applies to any PS1 and PS2 Classics still available. If retail versions exist on other platforms – or only in Japan without English support – those will be noted. So, while there’s still life left the PS3, here’s 10 of the more notable games we’d recommend checking out.
One of Capcom’s earlier franchises, Bionic Commando first appeared back in 1987, seeing a couple of handheld follow-ups before quietly disappearing. Back in the late 2000s, it underwent a significant reboot, and that began by remaking the NES game with 2008’s Bionic Commando Rearmed. Developed by Grin, Rearmed starred Nathan 'Rad' Spencer with his bionic arm, which he used as a weapon or to swing across different objects.
Fighting for the Federation against the
Nazis Badds, Spencer is tasked with destroying a weapon known as the Albatross project, eventually facing off against Hitler The Leader. It reviewed exceptionally well, but despite that success, Capcom never released it physically, perhaps a result of Bionic Commando's poor sales. Despite that, Rearmed 2 emerged two years later and while that also doesn’t exist physically for PS3, Xbox 360’s Capcom Digital Collection included it.
Castlevania’s been missing for some time. While the Netflix series got renewed for a fourth season, we’ve not seen a new console game since 2014’s enjoyable Lords of Shadow 2 continued Konami’s now-stalled 3D reboot. Though Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night now succeeds Castlevania’s traditional 2D gameplay, Konami offered us one last return in 2013 with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD.
Set after Lords of Shadow, this side-scroller brought us a split narrative regarding Gabriel Belmont’s descendants, and we took on the role of Simon Belmont, Trevor Belmont, and Alucard. Despite good reviews, the HD edition was never physically released, and Konami’s Lords of Shadow Collection only included it as a voucher code. As such, if you’re seeking a physical copy, your only option is the Nintendo 3DS edition.
Capybara Games returned to PlayStation last year with Below, but back in 2009, it made its name with Critter Crunch. Initially released for mobiles, this arcade-style puzzle game brought a new spin on Bust-A-Move. You played as Biggs, a fluffy forest dweller with a big appetite, using your tongue to grab critters and control the food chain.
Your goal was simple, feed these critters to other critters until they burst, which provided jewels for Biggs to consume. Offering an adventure mode and co-op play, we had excellent things to say back in 2009, calling it “one of the most beautiful games on the PlayStation Network” and awarded it 9/10.
Contra’s had a rough ride this last decade. Between Pachislot and mobile entries, 2019’s Rogue Corps made for an utterly dreadful experience, but in 2011, Konami gave us a highly entertaining spin-off. Developed by Arc System Works, Hard Corps: Uprising is both a prequel to the original game and spin-off to Contra: Hard Corps.
Putting us in the role of Colonel Bahamut, Uprising featured those same run and gun mechanics we’ve come to expect, letting us play solo or in two-player co-op. Providing a more anime aesthetic, many noted Uprising’s challenging gameplay and it saw positive reception, being considered a worthy Contra evolution.
SEGA’s support for House of the Dead has never completely disappeared, but home consoles have a shaky history with their horror-themed rail shooters. Following on from 2011’s House of the Dead: Overkill, 2012 brought House of the Dead 4 to PS3, and it’s currently the only way to play it outside an arcade.
Set between House of the Dead 2 and III, we played as AMS agents James Taylor and Kate Green in a ridiculous B-movie style plot, fighting off the undead and stopping a worldwide nuclear missile strike. Offering two player local co-op, this light gun game made a perfect fit for PlayStation Move – don’t worry, DualShock 3 support is also included – and we gave it a fine 8/10.
Any Sony fan should know Sucker Punch Productions at this point. Finding early success with Sly Cooper and more recently with Ghost of Tsushima, the PS3-era saw Sucker Punch exclusively focus on inFAMOUS. Offering us an open world action adventure, we played as Cole McGrath, a courier with electricity-based superpowers. Letting players use these powers for good or evil within a karma system, it became a hit.
Come 2011, a sequel followed and with it, a standalone expansion soon launched, and we believed it made a “great addition to the series”. Calling it Festival of Blood, this non-canon adventure retained inFAMOUS 2’s setting but followed Cole’s transformation into a vampire, removing the Karma system. Similar to Mirror of Fate HD, Festival of Blood was included as part of Sony’s physical inFAMOUS Collection, but Festival of Blood was only available through a download code.
Since it arrived in 1986, Might & Magic’s seen no end of entries, but only a select few have come to PlayStation. Branching off from the Heroes of Might and Magic sub-series, Ubisoft’s Clash of Heroes offered us a curious spinoff back in 2009. Set 40 years before the events of Heroes of Might and Magic V, this entry took a decisively different approach, incorporating puzzle mechanics into an RPG, reminiscent of Puzzle Quest.
Playing between five protagonists, this campaign saw us fighting the Demon Lord Azh Rafir, restoring peace to the world of Ashan. Initially released to critical success on Nintendo DS, a HD port followed two years later for PS3, and we had similarly high opinions, calling it an “engaging strategy RPG that's as deep as it is accessible”. Thankfully, Ubisoft released physical editions for DS and PC, so this one isn’t completely disappearing.
Q-Games’ PixelJunk series is a hard one to summarise. With entries ranging between zombie-themed food management, platform puzzlers, and tower defence, you’d be forgiven for forgetting this began with PixelJunk Racers back in 2007. Bringing us slot car racing across 10 different tracks, Racers offered both single player tournaments and seven-player offline multiplayer.
Though initial reviews were mixed, Racers received an expanded version in 2010 called 2nd Lap, which came as a free update for existing owners. Incorporating new gameplay modes, gameplay rebalancing, and Trophy support, we gave it 7/10, advising it added depth to an “already addictive concept”.
Chronicles makes for an interesting juncture in Resident Evil’s history. Though most spin-offs established their own stories, these two entries offered a retelling of the main games, turning them into light gun shooters for the Nintendo Wii. That began with 2007’s The Umbrella Chronicles, which covered Zero, Resident Evil, and 3: Nemesis from Albert Wesker’s perspective, before culminating with an original final chapter.
Work quickly began on a follow up called The Darkside Chronicles, framed as a Resident Evil 4 prequel. Set two years beforehand, we played as Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, and that retold Resident Evil 2 and Code: Veronica’s events. Eventually, Capcom ported both games to PS3 with PlayStation Move support, dubbing this the Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection. This edition only received a physical release in Japan, but English Wii copies still sell cheaply.
When you think of Konami and RPGs, chances are that you’re better acquainted with Suikoden than Vandal Hearts. Providing us a turn-based tactical RPG, Vandal Hearts first appeared back in 1996 on PS1, seeing a sequel three years later before going quiet. Over a decade later, Konami released a prequel with Flames of Judgment.
After a group of bandits pillage your hometown, our protagonist and friends set out to discover the cause, leading to a tale of war, betrayal, and saving the world. It wasn’t the most innovative game – also receiving significant criticism for its art style – but most agreed Flames of Judgment offered a fine RPG experience at the core, and reviewed fairly well.
And there we have it. We’d also like to give honourable mention to games like Bomberman Ultra, Galaga Legions DX, Dustforce, Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, Trash Panic, After Burner Climax, and so many more we that couldn’t name here. Will you be picking up any of these before they disappear? Got a favourite we foolishly missed? Let us know!
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