The 7 Absolute Best Open-World Games for the PlayStation 3

Playstation 3 PS3 controller

The 7 Absolute Best Open-World Games for the PlayStation 3

Launching as the successor to the PlayStation 2 is no easy feat given it’s the most successful video game console of all time. Even so, the PlayStation 3 looked to come out of the gate strong as the first console to use Blu-ray disc technology as well as the first console to integrate social gaming services with the PlayStation Network

While the PlayStation 3 would never quite capture the magic of the PlayStation 2, selling 87 million consoles is more than enough evidence to consider it a success. Against fierce competition with the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 relied on its game lineup to help set itself apart including some fantastic open-world titles. 

What is an Open-World Game? 

Open-world games have grown leaps and bounds in popularity as each console generation passes and now are mostly considered a game in which the virtual world allows the player to freely explore. You can complete mission objectives out of order or look to finish all side missions first which is just one of the many ways an open-world game is playable. 

Whereas many video games offer linear-style gameplay that requires you to complete one mission in order to move on to the next, open-world games don’t do that, at least not fully. And while there are still restrictions imposed and the open world isn’t endless, there’s certainly no shortage of ways to go about enjoying the game. 

Was the PlayStation 3 Known for Open-World Games? 

The PlayStation 3 wasn’t known for any specific style of game but open-world games certainly played a role in its success. Grand Theft Auto V is the console’s best-selling game and is one of the highest-rated open-world games on the platform. Still, the PlayStation 3 is home to many great games including outstanding titles that cover racing, action-adventure, both first and third-person shooters as well as role-playing titles. Of the top 30 best-selling games on the platform, only three qualify as pure open-world games. 

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01/17/2024 01:05 pm GMT

Saints Row has always been something of a game franchise that played in the shadow of Grand Theft Auto which is truly unfortunate. emSaints Row: The Third/em is a fantastic game set in the fictional city of Steelport and continues the previous game’s story of the 3rd Street Saints.

Whereas Grand Theft Auto plays more toward realism, or as real as a game can be where you can elude entire hordes of police by taking a left turn, emSaints Row: The Third/em suspends realism as your goal is to take over the city and eliminate the rest of the gangs. But to do so, you’ll need a whole lot of zany weapons and rides, and there is no shortage of either. 

Earning an 82 Metascore, reviews have praised the open-world style, colorful characters, and overall wild tone. You can pretty much destroy everything in your path and do it while dressed as a toilet which is just downright awesome. If outlandish titles are your thing, emSaints Row: The Third/em is the perfect game for you and it’s proof that Grand Theft Auto doesn’t own the whole “take over the city” genre. 

emSaints Row: The Third/em can be purchased from Amazon here

Sleeping Dogs (PS3)
  • Sleeping Dogs catapults players into the role of undercover cop Wei Shen, tasked with taking down one of the world's most fearsome criminal organisations from the inside... the Hong Kong Triads. As...
  • Offering players an island packed with action, every street corner, market stall, harbour dock or city skyscraper can become an opportunity for intense shoot-outs, adrenaline-fuelled street races and...
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01/17/2024 02:11 pm GMT

A true diamond-in-the-rough, emSleeping Dogs/em is one of those hidden gems that not enough people know exists.

Released in 2012, the game has long captured praise for its combat, voice acting, and overall depiction of Hong Kong. Played from the third-person perspective, you control Wei Shen, an undercover Chinese-American police officer bent on taking down one of the local Triad organizations.

The game itself starts with a somewhat linear tutorial for learning how to play the game but once you work past that, open-world gameplay kicks in and you can start working through dozens and dozens of side missions, go on dates, or help local citizens. 

The highlight of the game is undoubtedly fighting with a strong grapple system that includes both weapons and no weapons. Chaining together blocks and attacks leads to an incredibly fun experience as Wei Shen takes down enemy after enemy, sometimes more than one at a time.

Unfortunately, there is no multiplayer component that could have easily raised this game’s Metascore of 83 to a higher level. Still, that its popularity has lasted this long is a testament to its overall gameplay and a word-of-mouth campaign that has helped it continue to see new players year after year.

Grab your copy of emSleeping Dogs/em for the PlayStation 3 on Amazon here

Best Pirate Simulator
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – Playstation 3
  • Effortlessly switch between the Hidden Blade of the Assassin's Order and all new weaponry including four flintlock pistols and dual cutlass swords.
  • Discover the most diverse Assassin's Creed world ever created. From Kingston to Nassau, explore 50 unique locations where you can live the life of a pirate.
  • Command your ship, the Jackdaw, and strike fear in all who see her. Plunder and pillage to upgrade the Jackdaw with ammunition and equipment needed to fight off enemy ships.
  • Stand amongst legendary names such as Blackbeard and Benjamin Hornigold, as you establish a lawless Republic in the Bahamas and relive the truly explosive events that defined the Golden Age of Pirates.
  • Play with your friends in the ruthless and critically acclaimed multiplayer experience. Choose from an eclectic cast of characters from the Golden Age of Pirates and fight to the death in exotic locations.
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01/17/2024 08:15 pm GMT

Scoring an 88 Metascore, emAssassin's Creed IV: Black Flag/em is widely regarded as one of the best games in the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

The year is 1715 and the place is the West Indies during a time when pirates freely roamed the Caribbean. The gameplay follows pirate Edward Kenway who is the grandfather of one of the main protagonists from Assassin’s Creed III

Differentiating itself from previous games in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, emBlack Flag/em looked to create a story that felt more open and leaned heavily into an open-world concept. You have a pirate ship at your disposal which makes it all the easier to explore and battle against other pirate ships in what has been widely regarded as one of the best sea-faring games of the PlayStation 3 era. 

There’s no shortage of missions to complete and they will cross through caves, villages, forts, ruins, and plenty of stealthy assassinations available for you to complete. If you do nothing else in the game but endlessly sail around the ocean in search of pirate ships to conquer, you’d have fun for hours and hours on end. 

Pick up your copy of emAssassin's Creed IV: Black Flag/em from Amazon here

Playstation 3
The PlayStation 3 is home to some incredible open-world games that are a blast to play!
Best Wild West
Red Dead Redemption Game of the Year
  • The Dead Eye targeting mechanic, allowing the player to slow down time for shot accuracy
  • Expansive open-world gameplay set in the final years of the American Wild West
  • Massive play area filled with NPCs, made up 3 unique regions composed of towns and outposts filled with varying characters
  • Morality system based on honor and fame generated by the players actions throughout the game
  • Western themed mini-games including showdowns, gambling, hunting bounties, cattle herding and five finger fillet
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01/16/2024 11:45 pm GMT

Selling more than 1.35 million copies on the PlayStation 3, emRed Dead Redemption/em is undoubtedly one of the best open-world titles on the console.

It captured a 95 Metascore which is even more evidence that this game is one of the best games of the genre released as part of the seventh generation of gaming. Released in 2010, the second game in the Red Dead series follows the main protagonist John Marston whose life as a former outlaw has caught up to him, and now he must hunt down his former gang members and bring them to justice. 

At the time, emRed Dead Redemption/em was one of the most expensive games ever made and is said to have taken more than five years to develop. Thankfully, the game received award after award upon its release and has shipped more than 23 million copies in total across all available consoles and platforms. Its successor, Red Dead Redemption 2, followed its success and is widely regarded as one of the greatest video games ever released. 

You can freely roam across the lawless Western part of the United States which is just so much fun and there’s so much to see and do across roughly 18 hours of single-player gameplay. 

You can pick up a copy of emRed Dead Redemption/em from Amazon here

Come Face to Face with Batman's Nemeses!
Batman: Arkham City (Playstation 3)
  • Become the Dark Knight in a genuinely authentic Batman experience with advanced, compelling gameplay on every level, epic super-villain encounters, and unexpected glimpses into Batman's tortured psyche
  • Play as Catwoman with her own storyline in the main game which is seamlessly interwoven with Batman's story arc
  • Experience advanced freeflow combat as Batman's melee abilities ratchet up to match that of AI enemies
  • Put new gadgets, and new functionality for existing gadgets to work that expand the range of Batman's abilities
  • Encounter numerous characters from the Batman universe, including Catwoman, Two-Face, Harley Quinn, Penguin, Hugo Strange, Victor Zsasz, Calendar Man, The Joker, The Riddler, and others
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01/16/2024 05:47 pm GMT

With a storyline taken directly from the comics, emBatman: Arkham City/em was released in 2011 and was one of the best Batman games ever released.

Presented from the third-person perspective, the game takes place in (surprise!) Arkham City where the player can freely travel around as Batman. Between the available gadgets, gizmos, and perks of the Batman uniform, the city is your oyster as you look to take down plenty of henchmen hanging around Arkham City ready to do bad things. 

Offering more than 40 hours of gameplay for completionists and a single-player campaign that lasts more than 25 hours, there is just so much to see and do. On top of the strength of the gameplay, the environment is nearly picture-perfect for a console at the time with incredible detail and graphics that help bring the Batman world to life in an entirely new way. 

On top of everything else that makes this game great, voice acting from the legendary Kevin Conry and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker himself) makes it stand out. There’s also no shortage of villains hanging around as you’ll find cameos by Catwoman, Harley Quinn, The Joke, The Riddler, Penguin, and so many more. 

Pick up your copy of emBatman: Arkham City/em from Amazon here

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01/17/2024 04:29 am GMT

A game that needs no introduction to anyone familiar with the open-world genre of gaming, emGrand Theft Auto V/em is often regarded as the pinnacle of this style of gaming and a Metascore of 97.

Arguably one of the most lasting video games of all time, the release of emGrand Theft Auto V/em has eclipsed three generations of gaming since 2013 and shows no signs of slowing that.

It earned more than one billion dollars in sales within its first three days of release showing just how much influence this game has on the open-world genre. As the best-selling game for the PlayStation 3, emGrand Theft Auto V/em moved more than 29.52 million games since its release. 

So, why is this game so well-regarded? It all revolves around the three simultaneous storylines and the massive open-world environment where you can pretty much play for hours and hours on end before you even get back to the main missions. Played from the third-person perspective, you’ll have a ridiculous amount of weapons and ammunition at your disposal to wreak havoc, not to mention you can steal pretty much any vehicle in the game. 

On top of that, you can trade stocks, buy property, play golf, see a movie, play as a police officer, and pretty much do anything you want. The main campaign takes around 80 hours for true completionists which is a model that is hopefully followed by future open-world games. 

Grab a copy of emGrand Theft Auto V/em right now on Amazon here and see what you have been missing. 

Grand Theft Auto IV - PlayStation 3
  • Carry on the Grand Theft Auto tradition playing through the single player campaign as Niko Bellic
  • Get cars and other modes of transportation anyway you can
  • Interact with various colorful characters who give you various missions to engage in
  • Engage in multiplayer challenges ranging from cover matches to shoot-outs, System Specification: Windows Vista SP 1 / Windows XP SP 3, Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz, AMD Athlon X2 64 2.4GHz, 1.5GB, 256MB...
  • Game Rated 'M' due to Intense Violence, Blood, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Partial Nudity, Use of Drugs and Alcohol
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01/17/2024 04:24 am GMT

Boosted by a 98 Metascore, emGrand Theft Auto IV/em is the absolute best open-world game you can find for the PlayStation 3.

Upon its release, it was heralded as a must-play thanks to its next-generation graphics and the storyline of Niko Bellic on his quest to find the American dream. Along the way, Niko will find himself committing more crimes than you can keep track of as well as walking you through arguably the most emotional storyline of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. 

As is the case with most modern GTA games, the player is controlled from a third-party perspective. The game itself is navigated either by foot or by vehicle, of which you can steal so many of the latter whenever you want. At the time of its release, the game’s budget had eclipsed over $100 million dollars, making it one of the most expensive games ever released to that point. 

The 28-hour single-player experience helped it drive right past 4.3 million games sold and solidify its place as the 11th best-selling game on the PlayStation 3 console. The open-world design is largely based on New York City and was roughly 3x as large as the previous map for Grand Theft Auto III

Own emGrand Theft Auto IV/em today by picking up a copy from Amazon right here

Final Thoughts

No matter what game on this list you decide to try first, you can’t go wrong. Every title is a standout open-world game well worth playing again and again. Between the storylines, the destruction, the emotion, and the ability to just roam around almost endlessly, there’s so much to see and do for hours on end. The Grand Theft Auto games have long dominated the genre and that streak continues on the PlayStation 3 for very good reason but they are by no means the only games worth playing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the absolute best open-world game for the PlayStation 3?

The absolute best open-world game for the PlayStation 3 is Grand Theft Auto IV with a close-to-perfect Metascore of 98. 

When was the PlayStation 3 released?

The PlayStation 3 was released in North America on November 17, 2006, and stayed on store shelves until 2017. 

Can you play any of these games on the PlayStation 4?

While games released for the PlayStation 3 are not backward compatible with the PlayStation 4, every game on this list has been released or remastered for the PlayStation 4. 

What was the best-selling game for the PlayStation 3?

Grand Theft Auto V has the distinct honor of being the best-selling game on the PlayStation 3 with more than 29.52 million games sold after its release in 2013. 

How many PlayStation 3 consoles were sold worldwide?

Available on store shelves for more than 11 years, the PlayStation 3 sold more than 87.4 million consoles making it the second best-selling console of the seventh generation of gaming. 

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