So You Want To Buy a PlayStation 3? (Holiday Purchase Guide)

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So, you want to buy a PlayStation 3? Geeks Under Grace is here to help! This guide will give you a list and some information on some of the best games and accessories the PS3 has to offer. Sony’s PlayStation 3 may be last generation’s news, but it still has plenty of power and incredible gaming experiences left to offer.

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The PlayStation 3 introduced us to Bluetooth wireless rechargeable controllers in the Dual Shock 3, quality high definition graphics through an HDMI port, and online play through built-in Wi-Fi. A brand new PS3 can be had for between $199.99 and $289.99 depending on hard drive capacity and bundled items. Online gameplay is free on PS3, but a PlayStation Plus membership ($50 for a year) will yield two free game downloads (of Sony’s choosing) every month, along with discounts in the PlayStation Store, among other perks and freebies. Another great feature is that the PS3 also plays Blu-Ray disc movies and also plays game discs from the original PlayStation console.

7 Must-Play Games for the PlayStation 3

3D Dot Game Heroes

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In this love letter to classic, retro, action-adventure RPGs, you play as a hero questing to rid the kingdom of Dotnia of the forces of evil. The game looks beautiful, using 8-bit art styles with 3D graphics to create a world that looks like you’re both playing The Legend of Zelda and playing with toys. 3D Dot Game Heroes plays like something familiar, but looks like nothing you’ve seen before. It is definitely a game for fans of retro RPGs and action-adventure games, and it’s a true hidden gem on the PS3.

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Gran Turismo 6

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For 15 years, the Gran Turismo series has been the gold standard in simulation racing games, and GT6 carries the torch through the PlayStation 3 era. Gran Turismo 6 is the epitome of a sequel being both more and better. There are more cars, more tracks, and more beautifully realistic graphics. Gran Turismo games spend years in development while getting the look, feel, and handling of its cars and tracks just right, and it shows. Polyphony Digital never disappoints with GT games and Gran Turismo 6 is the best the series has to offer.

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Heavenly Sword

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Heavenly Sword is an early game in the PlayStation 3’s life cycle, but it holds up well today. At first glance, Heavenly Sword could be written off as just a God of War clone for its hack-and-slash combat style and use of quick-time events… but it’s so much more than that. The story follows the Heavenly Sword, a weapon of chaotic power, that was sealed away until a prophesied warrior would come to use it to restore peace to the world. That warrior is Nariko, who is mocked by her tribe because she is a woman. The player uses Nariko’s multiple fighting styles to strike against King Bohan, who is trying to seize control of all of the tribes of the world. If you’re looking for an atmospheric adventure with fun hack-and-slash combat, check out Heavenly Sword.

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Infamous

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Infamous follows Cole MacGrath, an average bike courier that is granted electrical powers when he is caught in a massive explosion. The player can choose the Cole’s ultimate destiny, making him a hero or a villain, depending on the choices made during gameplay. The open world is fun to explore and very interesting to see how your decision to become good or evil effects the game. If you’ve ever wanted to play Grand Theft Auto with superpowers, Infamous is the game for you.

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Katamari Forever

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If you’re familiar with the Katamari series, you understand just how wacky these games are. The best way to describe Katamari is to say that it’s very Japanese. You play as The Prince who is tasked to roll up everything you can touch into a ball called a katamari in order to achieve the objective of the level. Katamari Forever features a ‘best of’ or ‘greatest hits’ of stages from previous Katamari games. Some stages have you rolling up stuff to restore color to the world, and others follow the classic Katamari format of rolling up your ball to replace the missing stars in the sky. The game is pretty zany in concept, but it is hilarious, fun to play, and definitely original.

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Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection

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This compilation is a must-own for anyone that is a fan of the Metal Gear series. The collection includes every game in the main Metal Gear series: Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions, Metal Gear Solid 2, Metal Gear Solid 3, Metal Gear Solid 4, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, as well as two digital graphic novels and an exclusive art book. There are many, many hours of fantastic gameplay across all of these amazing games, giving this collection great value. If the masterworks of the brilliant Hideo Kojima are something you’re into, you owe it to yourself to grab the Legacy Collection.

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Uncharted (Series)

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The Uncharted series follows Nathan Drake, a snarky treasure hunter, on his adventures to discover the world’s most coveted secrets… and who finds trouble along the way (think Tomb Raider starring Nathan Fillion; yes, it’s as cool as you imagine). The game plays out like a Hollywood action movies with smart, funny dialogue, interesting characters, and brilliant, cinematic set-pieces throughout. The Uncharted series has amazing production value and is a wild ride for those that crave adventure. I tried to pick one game in the series to recommend, but all three are outstanding games that deserve to be checked out.

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Bonus Game for the Family:

Little Big Planet (Series)

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At its core, LBP is a puzzle-platformer, but it is so much more than that. Developer Media Molecule set out to create an adventure that is only limited by your imagination, and they completely nailed it. The games put the player in control of Sackboy (or a sackperson, if you prefer) on adventures in a fabric-like world. Content of the game relies heavily on user creation with a massive online community supporting custom levels… and even entire worlds. Recently, an LBP community member spent over 2 years creating the entire experience of Final Fantasy VII inside of the world of Little Big Planet. There is a ton of character customization, levels to create, and worlds to explore. For kids, this game taps into Minecraft-esque levels of wonder and imaginative creativity. My daughter spends hours just creating different objects in custom levels and seeing how things interact. One of the best parts, in my opinion, is that all of the content that you’ve collected in previous LBP games transfers to the next, giving a great sense of value to the experience. The third installment, Little Big Planet 3, was recently released, so now is a great time to get into the world of LBP and start imagining.

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Bonus Game for Adults:

The Last of Us

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The Last of Us is a survival horror game that follows Joel as he escorts a little girl named Ellie across the country while fighting hordes of monsters mutated by a fungus. Of course, the biggest threat in an apocalyptic world is other surviving humans, and TLOU makes you question humanity in a way that is reminiscent of The Walking Dead. But this is no cookie-cutter zombie game. The Last of Us is brilliantly written and acted, with the characters delivering a story that will draw you in and probably make you cry like a baby. The entire production of this game including art, music, and story, is so top-notch that some critics consider this to be the best videogame of all time, and certainly the best game on the PlayStation 3. The Last of Us was the last big hurrah for the PS3 before the release of the PlayStation 4, and showed the world that the PS3 was still an amazing piece of gaming hardware that could deliver the best experiences.

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Upcoming Games You May Be Interested In Pre-Ordering:

The PS4 is over a year old, but there are still some great games on the horizon for the PlayStation 3. Here are a couple of them.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMix

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Slated for a North American release on December 2, 2014, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMix looks to be an amazing value for fans of the Kingdom Hearts series. Included are HD remastered versions of Kingdom Hearts II, Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. For those unfamiliar, Kingdom Hearts is a beautiful wedding of Japanese action RPGs and the vibrant and storied worlds of Disney. For fans of the series, this release looks like a great way to play classic Kingdom Hearts games in beautiful high-definition.

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Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-

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The fifth installment of the often under-appreciated, 2D, fighting series makes the jump from arcade to PlayStation platforms on December 5th, 2014. This version ditches hand-drawn sprites in favor of cel-shaded models, and the results are gorgeous. Character models are rendered like a cutscene, and environments are vibrant and detailed. The previous installments are solid fighting games, so here’s to hoping that Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- plays as good as it looks. If you’re a fan of the series, or of 2D fighters in general, check this one out.

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Accessories

What’s a great console without great accessories? PlayStation 3 has a lot of great peripherals to help aid your gaming experience. Here are a couple:

PlayStation Move

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I know: motion-controlled gameplay was so 2010, but stay with me here. PlayStation Move is far and away the most accurate and responsive motion control experience on the market. This is achieved, not by using infrared or body recognition software, but a calibrated, lighted orb on top of the Move motion controller. The orb is tracked by the PlayStation Eye camera and has very little latency in input. You can also get the navigation controller, which has a thumbstick (a la Wii Nunchuck) to further enhance gameplay. There are also some fun and innovative games for Move like Time Crisis: Razing Storm, echochrome ii, and Sports Champions as well as stand-alone games that are Move compatible like Bioshock Infinite, Killzone 3, and SOCOM 4. If you’re willing to give motion-control gaming another shot, PlayStation Move is the best you can get.

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PlayStation Gold Wireless Headset

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If there’s one thing, other than gaming, that Sony does well, it’s headphones. They know how to make a pair of high-quality cans. The first-party Gold Wireless Headset was designed for the PlayStation 4, but is completely PS3 compatible. For the price, this is an amazing headset. They are wireless (with an optional cable for use with other devices), rechargeable, relatively lightweight, sleek, and look great. There is no goofy microphone sticking out, but it’s still noise-cancelling and picks up voice with great fidelity. For under $100, this is the best value in a wireless gaming headset.

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I absolutely love my PlayStation 3. There are hundreds other great gaming experiences on this powerful console aside from this small cross-section, but hopefully this guide helped provide a good place to start. If you missed out on the PS3 party bus, and are thinking about diving in with a purchase for the holidays, do it. It’s a very solid console with plenty of life left and a catalog that will keep you gaming for years to come.
Check out our other guides HERE.

Jon Hill

I'm a 28 year old husband, father of 3, Christian DJ, PlayStation fanboy, and retro video game collector from Chesapeake, VA.

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