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1. Chrono Cross
Let’s get this out of the way: Chrono Cross is an imperfect game. And it’s a deeply, deeply imperfect sequel to Chrono Trigger.
But if you can enjoy this game on its own merits, there is a lot to love. The combat system is engaging and innovative, making fights seem exciting instead of like a slog. The music is hypnotically beautiful, and the deep roster of characters adds almost endless replay value to the game.
2. Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore
Dead or Alive 2 feels like a magic trick. At first, it’s easy to dismiss this game as hollow titillation for gamers (hell, the older you tell the game you are, the bouncier the boobs get). But once you start playing, it is a surprisingly robust fighting experience.
And DOA 2: Hardcore adds new modes, skins, animations, and other cool features. It’s basically the best version of an awesome game, and now is the perfect time to learn what the hype over the franchise is all about.
It may seem a bit tame to today’s gamers. But once upon a time, the PS2 game Manhunt was the title all your teachers, parents, and politicians were worried about.
The game combines stealth and horror in some really innovative ways. And if you like buckets of blood, this game is filled with gore and violence from beginning to end. Come for the gameplay and violence and stay for the surprisingly great voice acting.
4. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Look, I know: the quality of the Star Wars prequels is a topic of serious debate. But regardless, the PS2 game adaptation of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith remains one of the best Star Wars titles ever created.
And unlike many other Star Wars games from this time period, this one has not been ported to modern systems. Downloading it from the PS3 store is a great way to relive the past and really give your fandom nostalgia “the high ground.”
5. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Usually, there is a lot of debate over which game in a franchise is the best. But when it comes to Castlevania, Symphony of the Night is a clear winner.
And while it has been ported to other systems, there is something truly special about playing this killer PSX game on your PS3. Just be warned: all other Castlevania games will pale in comparison after this!
6. Resident Evil Director’s Cut
The Resident Evil franchise has always featured evolving monsters and adaptable heroes. It should be no surprise, then, how much this series has changed over time.
If you want to return to where it started while enjoying a few twists, the Resident Evil Director’s Cut is the way to go. The graphics and gameplay will tickle all your nostalgia bones. At the same time, the changes to the Director’s Cut version can make for some fun added challenge if you’ve only played the original version.
7. Metal Gear Solid
“Genre-defining” is a term that reviewers and critics throw out a little too often. But this remains the best possible description for the original Metal Gear Solid.
While this game would eventually get a PC port, this is your best chance to play it with a PlayStation controller in your hands. And if you’re a franchise fan or just a completist, it’s important to grab this game as well as Metal Gear Solid 4 to round out your PS3 collection.
8. Um Jammer Lammy
In the early days of rhythm-based games, PaRappa the Rapper really led the pack. But the spinoff game Um Jammer Lammy actually made for a much more entertaining game.
The character designs manage to be both cute and highly stylistic. And the story of the game is absurd in a really fun way. Best of all, though, the songs in the game are insanely catchy despite the plethora of nonstop lyrics.
9. R4: Ridge Racer Type 4
In the early days of the PlayStation, Ridge Racer helped show off what this new system could do. And in Ridge Racer Type 4, this franchise reached a state of perfection.
The gameplay is deep and satisfying, especially when you successfully powerslide around corners. The soundtrack is an instant classic. And there is even a fun little story to help provide context for all your epic racing.
10. Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger remains one of the greatest games ever created for the SNES. Later, it was ported to the PSX, which added some beautiful anime cutscenes from the legendary DBZ creator Akira Toriyami.
Aside from those additions, this is the same great game that you remember. It’s quick and easy to beat this game the first time. But the dozen different endings and New Game+ mode will keep you coming back for more.
11. Final Fantasy Origins
Among Final Fantasy fans, this might be considered a hot take. But on the PS3 store, one of the best purchases you can make is Final Fantasy Origins.
This was actually the first two Final Fantasy games in a single digital package. The titles feature new graphics, better resolution, and some great CGI cutscenes. So if you’ve wanted to explore how the franchise started but you can’t handle those 8-bit NES graphics, this is a great alternative.
12. Twisted Metal
In the best possible way, Twisted Metal feels like it was designed by two kids coming up with progressively crazier ideas. What if you had a racing game--but it was actually about destruction? What if you had fierce multiplayer--but it was all about blowing up your friends?
Sure, the franchise has been quiet for a few years now. But Twisted Metal was once a force to be reckoned with, and this is your chance to see how the franchise began.
13. Cyber Sled
If you spent a lot of time in arcades back in the day, you probably enjoyed Cyber Sled. The simple aesthetic combined with the twin-stick controllers made blowing up your friends from a futuristic tank seem natural.
The PSX got a solid port of this game, and you can download it from the PS3 store. While the graphics look a tad simple, firing up the multiplayer will instantly transport you back to the good old days.
14. Mega Man Legends
Mega Man Legends gets full points for being bold. While the series was always known for killer 2D sidescrolling gameplay, this new franchise brought the Blue Bomber into a fully 3D space.
Unlike many games of that era, the 3D platforming holds up well. The character designs are great and memorable. And if you’re a huge Mega Man fan, this game serves up some really interesting background and lore for the franchise.
If we’re being honest, Xenogears is a franchise that never really managed to stick the landing. But this first game remains an absolute classic from the days of the PSX.
The mixture of 2D sprites and 3D backgrounds still looks great to this day. The music really stretched the muscles of the original PlayStation. And if you love RPGs, this is a title whose magic no other game or franchise has been able to reinvent.