The PlayStation 3 had many great Role Playing Games. We listed the Top Five RPGs according to critics a few weeks ago. This week, we are doing to the same thing but from the Users’ (gamers) perspective.
As always, the amount of user reviews isn’t taken into consideration unless two or more games have the same score, in that case the game with more user reviews will earn a better placement on the list.
5. Mass Effect 2 (2011) – User Score: 8.7
The Mass Effect Trilogy was one of the most important video game franchises during the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era. Consequently, it is not surprising that it finds its way into the very top five PlayStation 3 Role-Playing games according to gamers.
Mass Effect 2 is considered by many as the finest entry in the trilogy, and in my opinion, it truly is the best that the series had to offer.
Mass Effect is a planet hopping drama, in which your decisions shape certain outcomes in the story. As a 3rd person shooting Action-RPG, with a wide-range of customization options for the player’s avatar, and weaponry, Mass Effect, at the time, was a fresh experience that attracted hardcore and casual gamers alike.
4. Demon’s Souls (2009) – User Score: 8.7
The first Souls game was an unexpected critical, and commercial hit. Demon’s Souls was a tough (difficult) action-RPG set in a dark fantasy world. FromSoftware created a world and an atmosphere like no other, at the time.
While the game is considered a spiritual sequel to King’s Field, From Software clearly found a winning formula with Demon’s Souls. The game was frustratingly tough, and incredibly addictive, all at once. Its difficultly was maddening, but the prospect of eventual success kept players coming back after dying…over and over again.
The game earned tremendous respect by fans (and critics alike). The game’s reputation (and the Dark Souls’ series decade long success) compelled Sony to utilize its Bluepoint Games ( of Shadow of the Colossus Remake fame) studio to remake it as an exclusive PS5 launch game in 2020.
3. Valkyria Chronicles (2008) – User Score: 8.8
Valkyria Chronicles is the first game in Sega’s tactical role-playing game series. Set in alternate reality (1930’s Europe), VC features a complex plot that enamored critics of the era. The game has themes, characters, and weaponry inspired by military weaponry and political conflicts of the time period.
The game’s unique take on strategic combat was praised as a leap forward for a genre that had mostly seen Final Fantasy Tactics clones for over a decade. In addition to its complex plot, Valkyria Chronicles’ gameplay features its “BLiTZ” (Battle of Live Tactical Zones) system. The system allows for freedom of movement (limited by AP amounts), and for actual real time shooting while (action) time is frozen allowing for precise shots.
The game’s complex, but intuitive battle system made it an engrossing experience for hungry JRPG strategy fans during an era where bigger, open ended western Role-Playing games where starting to take over console game sales.
While initially a “flop” of sorts, positive word of mouth, and price cuts drove Valkyria Chronicles to become a 1 million unit seller on PS3. As a result of its strong sales, Sega did not give up on the franchise and released 3 more main entry titles (2018’s Valkyria Chronicles 4 being the latest one).
2. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix (2014) – User Score: 8.9
While fans awaited an inordinate amount of time for the series’ third entry, Square Enix milked this franchise to no end with portable entries, and various remasters. Given the game’s “fan rating” on the PlayStation 2, it is not surprising to find Kingdom Hearts 2 here, again.
While not my favorite PS3 RPG (that would be Skyrim), Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix brought the series’ best entry, and the PSP’s Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix into the HD era, and that was enough for fans to rate this game collection highly.
At this point, the series’ plot had already turned into an incoherent mess, which some critics noticed in their critiques. Judged by its more conservative 81 critical score, it is likely that Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix made it here to this list on the strength of is loyal fan base.
The game was truly a PS2 great, and a least according to fans, it remained so as PlayStation 3 entry.
1. Dark Souls (2011) – User Score: 8.9
Dark Souls was a seminal moment for FromSoftware, and Japanese Role-Playing Games. Dark Souls is a spiritual sequel to Demon’s Souls. Since Sony published the first title, FromSoftware couldn’t use the same name for its sequel.
The game is very similar in its approach to Demon’s Souls, but it felt like refinement, as it featured a large, intricately designed and interconnected world set in a different universe (from Demon’s Souls).
Dark Souls is hardcore gamer’s game, and a grinder’s dream come true. It requires repetition, and constant improvement from the player, all which is acquired through extensive hours of combat, exploration, and constant deaths.
The game’s setting, and world is largely inspired by European architecture and fantasy, but the game’s smart (at times Zelda like) design is as Japanese as it gets, and that is a beautiful thing.
I am not sure that I would rate Dark Souls as the Top PlayStation 3 game of all time, but it certainly has case. And, how could I argue against a game that hooked me up for nearly 100 hours of pure addictive gameplay?
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