The Open-World genre has been evolving since its first appearance on PC, while the PC held the throne of open-world games for a long time. The seventh generation of consoles entered the competition with the ability to run some of the most ambitious Open-World titles rivaling the PC hardware and sometimes even surpassing the PC.
The mighty PlayStation 3 was not an exception despite the weak launch titles, developers took the time to master and perfect the PS3 riddle. Offering some of the most outstanding Open-World titles and franchises (inFAMOUS, Red Dead Redemption, GTA IV and V, Batman Arkham City….)
Today we are here to offer you a list of the best open-world titles for the PlayStation 3 system including a decent array of genres and covering both popular and underrated gems.
Table of Contents
Grand Theft Auto IV was revolutionary at its time the game was truly a taste of the amazing next-gen physics, the game marks the sixth entry in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and the first game in the series to be released on HD consoles. The game follows the story of Niko Bellic an Eastern European ex-soldier who travels to liberty city to pursue the American dream. Niko soon finds himself trapped in a world full of crimes and blood fighting local mobs, loan sharks, and former companions.
Just like the previous games in the series, the player control Niko seen from a third-person perspective, the player can complete the main mission to progress through the story events while offering multiple story mission choices occasionally. Outside of missions the player can freely roam the city using a variety of cars, motorcycles, cars, or even planes. New to the series is the cover-based combat system, now the player can take cover to fire blindly or shoot specific enemies. The wanted system has been also hugely improved with smarter AI, making the chase harder and harder depending on the wanted level. On the whole, GTA IV is a true classic that will hold up for the years to come, while the PS3 version might be a bit rough around the edges i still hugely prefer to play this amazing game on PlayStation 3 system.
Grand Theft Auto V needs no introduction for sure this is one of the most popular video games in the whole world and the series defines a genre. The game marks the seventh main entry in the well-known Grand Theft Auto series. Different from the previous games the game follows the story of three main protagonists, Michael a retired bank robber, Trevor a crazy lunatic who’s a drug dealer, and Franklin a street gangster. Fate joins the three guys in a crazy world full of drug deals, heists, and betrayal.
The game is mostly seen from a third person’s perspective offering the huge map of Los Santos to explore, the player can drive multiple cars, motorcycles, and planes to roam the city. The single player lets you play three different characters starting with Franklin followed up by Michael and then Trevor. Each playable character has its own characteristic and abilities, also each character campaign is separated but not for so long since the three guys’ stories meet at one point. On the whole, GTA V needs no introduction as it’s considered by many gamers the best open-world game to date if you were living under a rock and didn’t get the chance to play this title it’s now or never!
Just Cause 2 is an amazing sandbox open world game, the game is a direct sequel to the 2006 Just cause. Four years after the event of the first game Rico must hunt down his former mentor and friend Tom Sheldon who has taken shelter in the land of Panay ruled by a merciless dictator under the name of Pandak Panay.
The game is seen from a third-person perspective borrowing the prequel key elements, the player roams the land of Panau using a decent variety of vehicles, planes, and of course the grappling hook. The game offers the player three types of missions to engage: agency missions which represent the main story missions, factions missions which force the player to assist one of the three factions in the game, and stronghold missions where the player liberates specific places from the hands of the government’s men. The player can use a variety of weapons to fight the enemies including automatic weapons, sniper rifles, combat vehicles, explosives, and many more. On the whole, Just Cause 2 still holds up the throne of the best game in the franchise offering a simple idea with an amazing execution and a fun combat system.
Sleeping Dogs is an outstanding title offering an oriental background with a huge emphasis on martial art combat. The player takes control of a double agent named Wei Sheng, Wei a former San Fransisco police officer who transferred to Honk Kong to join the police forces. He works as a double agent to take down one of the most vicious and brutal triads ruling the underground world of Honk Kong.
Sleeping Dogs is a third-person game, offering an open-world environment and a GTA-like feel and missions. The game is divided into two different main missions Police missions and Triad missions, each mission gains the player exp points which can be spent on the skill tree to unlock new moves and executions. While the game allows the player to use firearms, the martial art combat system is where the game stands from other GTA clones offering an amazing combat system with fluid and smooth animations. Overall, Sleeping Dogs is a great game with amazing ideas and a solid execution if you are a PS3 collector this is a must-own!
Fallout 3 took the world by storm introducing the old-school formula in a newly shaped format including an open-world environment and a heavy-based RPG system, New Vegas continued the legacy with a new story using the same formula and overall atmosphere. Both games feature an open-world post-apocalyptic environment with many enemies to defeat and a huge world to explore.
The game starts by offering players the choice to create their own characters modifying the outer looks and several stats attributes. New to the series is the Vault tec assisted target system, this system allows the player to pause the time and aim for various enemy’s weaknesses to shoot at offering a hybrid between real-time and turn-based combat systems. Also the player can choose one of several NPCs companion to help him through his quests assisting in combat. Overall, both games are well worth it on the system with New Vegas being a little bit better with updated controls and hardcore mode for a real challenge.
Red Dead Redemption is more of a journey than a game offering a wild-west story enriched by the amazing open-world environment. The story follows the tale of John Marston an outlaw who is forced to chase down his former gang members by the Bureau of Investigation who kidnapped his wife and son compelling him to turn against his former companions.
The game is played from a third-person perspective offering a fictional map presenting both portions of wild west America and Mexico. The player control John Marston following a linear storyline or free-roaming the wild west. The main form of transportation are the horses, you can tame or buy wild horses and own them to be used at ease. In addition, the player can use trains and wagons to speed travel between the cities. Gunfights are the main combat elements presented in the game, you can use different firearms and rifles to take down your enemies, while also using a cover-based combat system. Overall, Red Dead Redemption is more than a game it’s a journey on the wild west exploring themes like freedom, redemption, losing innocence, and many more.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag tried a different approach from the previous AC titles offering a more open feel and a huge ocean to explore. The story continues where it left covering the struggle between the templars and the assassins. The player takes control of Edward Kenway a pirate who will eventually become a member of the assassin’s brotherhood, Edward uncovers a conspiracy between the templars and the British and Spanish empires leading him to some greatest secrets concerning both the templars and the assassins.
While Black Flag borrows a lot from the previous installment of the series like the stealth and climbing system, the game offers a fresh open-world feel with the ability to free roam the world using your pirate ship. The player can ambush and capture other enemy ships using a variety of weapons. Also, the ship is fully upgradeable including the upgradeable weapons and structures. Furthermore, the ship’s crew members can be expanded through recruiting. The main missions are still here offering a traditional feel with the classic assassination and tailing missions, the player can explore environments like jungles, forts, ruins, caves, and villages. Overall, while Black Flag sticks to the old formula, the new pirate ship elements offer a breath of fresh air for the franchise.
InFamous is a series of open-world action-adventure games released exclusively on the PlayStation consoles. The series started on the PS3 console delivering two amazing titles that are still on the top of many gamers’ best lists. The first game put you in the shoes of Cole Macgrath a bike courier who gains electrical power after surviving a mysterious explosion. The second game is a direct sequel continuing the tale of Cole as he escapes to the city of New Marais.
Both games are seen from a third-person perspective and share the same concept with some minimal change in the sequel. Cole can use his electrical and parkour skills to roam the city and climb buildings. The player can fight the enemies using his supernatural electric power, abusing the power will make the power gauge decrease, Cole can charge up the gauge by draining resource powers or using his enemies as resources. Unique to the game is the morality factor, the player’s actions will affect the game story and the morality gauge, also choosing evil or good decisions will affect the ability gained further up in the game. On the whole, the PS3 dilogy still holds up to this day, presenting some brilliant ideas and amazing execution.
Batman Arkham City was a huge step up by the developers opening the game to more non-linear gameplay and open areas. The story follows up the tale of Bruce Wayne once again, Bruce is imprisoned within the facility of Arkham City, a prison built in the abandoned part of Gotham. Now Bruce must brake free as Batman and investigate an enormous war occurring between his greatest enemies.
The game is seen from a third-person perspective, it offers an open world environment and a mixture of brawling and stealth combat elements. The player can move silently during the game by gliding and grappling objects to move, Batman can take down his enemies silently using a decent variation of gadgets, or fighting directly. The game uses the same freeflow combat system presented in the previous title (Batman Arkham Asylum) with improved physics and an upgraded counter system, now the player can counter multiple blows at the same time and catch up projectiles if the counter is well timed. Overall, i consider Arkham City a modern classic offering an amazing story and ultimately one of the best atmospheres capturing the feel of the gritty Arkham City.
Burnout Paradise was a huge leap compared to the previous Burnout titles, now the game is entirely open allowing the player to explore the huge map of Paradise City. The game takes place in a fictional city called Paradise City, you can play various events scattered across the city varying from races, stunt runs, road rages, and more.
Unlike the previous games, Burnout Paradise is completely open even when you take a race you are free to approach the route as you like as long as you get to the finish line. There is a lot to enjoy here single-player wise you can spend hours finishing the game’s tracks. But unfortunately, the online multiplayer servers were shut down on the PS3. If you’re more into online than single-player, the newer remastered version of the game might please you. Overall this is a must-own on the PS3 for arcade lovers.
Saint Row: The Third follows the same formula as its predecessors with newer ideas and an amazing arsenal of weapons. The game takes place two years after Ultor corp’s destruction, now the gang has turned to media business becoming an icon around the world and gaining a large fan base.
The game is seen from a third-person perspective offering a huge map to explore and a GTA-like feel and mechanics. Similar to the previous games the goal is to overtake rival gangs’ territories while fighting both rival gangs and the special anti-gang units. While the game is mostly known to be a GTA clone, Saint Row sticks to its own personality with a hilarious story and witty gameplay elements. Saint Row The Third offers a huge variety of weapons including the typical ones (pistols, machine guns, shotguns, bazooka….), and some hilarious and unrealistic weapons including a fart bomb, shark spawning weapons, and many more. If you’re looking for a hilarious experience with your friends during the weekend Saint Row The Third will definitely do the work.
Red Faction Guerilla is an action-adventure open-world game brought to us by the same people behind the Saint Row series. The player takes control of Alec Mason a young miner who joins the resistance on Mars fighting off the cruelty of the oppressive Earth Defense Force.
The game is seen from a third-person perspective, offering the huge map of Mars to explore at ease. The big selling point of the game is the destructible elements, the player can demolish the enemy’s base, destroy multi-story buildings, or even break a wall to ambush the enemies. The brilliant destruction elements offer a satisfying experience and allow a certain degree of creativity in approaching your objectives. On the whole, Red Faction Guerilla is an amazing game for what it tries to do offering a creative destruction-based combat system and an overall enjoyable campaign mode.
The Saboteur is a dark open-world game with a film noir direction. The game takes place during the WW era following the story of Sean Devlin an Irish race car driver and mechanic. After visiting his old friend, Sean finds himself and his friends accused of being British spies by a Nazi SS commander. The Nazi commander manages to torture and kill Sean’s friend, while Sean manages to escape. Now fueled with anger and regret Sean ventures on a journey full of blood and vengeance against the Nazis.
The game is mostly seen from a third-person perspective combining elements of driving, shooting, exploring, and melee combat. The Saboteur offers the city of Paris to explore alongside a countryside map, the goal of the game is to liberate every land from the hands of the Nazis, area occupied by the Nazis are presented in a black and white palette, freeing these parts bring back the colors to the territory liberated. Overall, The Saboteur is a nice little gem who has been forgotten by gamers if you like a well-narrated story with a film noir style this might be your next pick.
Borderlands 2 is an Action-RPG open-world game, the game is a direct sequel to Borderlands and acts as the second entry in the Borderlands series. Five years after the events of Borderlands, the player is back in Pandora once again. The player takes control of one of the four Vault hunters seeking revenge against Handsome Jack and saving the planet from his evil plan.
Similar to the previous title the game offer first-person shooter elements, with elements drawn from role-playing video games. Four playable characters are available at the beginning of the game each one of them with its own abilities. The game offers a huge variety of weapons that can be purchased, picked up for dead enemies, or found in containers. Each one of these weapons also has its own stats affecting range, fire rate, and damage. As the player completes main and sub-missions they gain exp points and rewards including new weapons and game currency. Leveling up your characters also increases your maximum health and unlocks new weapons to be purchased. In addition, every class has a skill tree to unlock over the course of leveling. On the whole, Borderlands 2 is a solid title wrapping up the good aspects of the previous game into an amazing package, offering both amazing cell-shaded visuals, a huge world to explore, and a great leveling system.
Prototype is a series of dark action-adventure games following the tale of a spooky mutating virus. The first game follows the story of Alex Mercer a powerful brutal shapeshifter who suffers from amnesia. Alex hunt down the ones who think are responsible for his mysterious deadly power with the help of his sister. The second game follows the story of Sgt James Heller an infected officer who’s looking to take revenge against the one who killed his family and infected him with the deadly virus.
The game is seen from a third-person perspective offering a huge map to explore at ease. The layer can move around the map on foot using its abilities to jump, run, glide, and climb buildings. Also, the player has the ability to shapeshift transforming his limbs into deadly weapons and even transforming into civilians and military men to blend in. On the whole, both games offer a fun ride to enjoy especially if you like your protagonist a little but overpowered this game might be your cup of tea.
Dead Island offers a good mixture of First Person melee-based combat and survival horror. The game takes place on a fictional island called Banoi, after an exciting night, the four main game’s protagonists wake up to an emergency call. The announcer tells them to evacuate from the hotel building as the majority of the island population has been infected by a mysterious virus.
The game features a first-person view with an open-world environment, most of the game you’ll find yourself taking requests from other NPCs completing quests all around the island, the combat system on the game is mainly melee, killing Zombies or completing quests making the player gain exp and level up, upon leveling up you earn extra HP point and a skill point to spend on a skill tree, enemies are mainly Zombies with different abilities varying from normal enemies to bosses and mini bosses-like creatures.
The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion & Skyrim didn’t get the best treatment on PS3, since their Xbox 360 counterparts have received enhanced backward compatible 4K versions (and in Oblivion’s case, it doesn’t even support trophies). The controversy doesn’t end there, since Skyrim’s launch on PS3 was pretty bad, with the initial copies of the game corrupting users’ save files (in a game that takes weeks to “finish”).
Apart from these major issues, both titles still deserve to be on this list, as they’re a part of one of the most influential open-world franchises, and of course one of the most loved RPG franchise in the world. Both games offer an open-world environment with heavy RPG elements, you can explore the world at ease completing various quests and defeating many enemies. The combat system offers both weapons-based and magic-based combat, defeating enemies will reward the player with exp points, and items when searching their bodies. Overall, both games are a must-play on the system with a huge world to explore and a worthy story to conquer.