- It's Bank Holiday weekend, but no rest for the wicked. Especially when PlayStation 3 is celebrating its first birthday. Yep, Sony's sleek stunner of a console is one on Sunday, and we thought we'd put together a top ten list of the very best games you can buy.
We've aimed for a good mix of retail titles and some cult PSN hits, and the vast majority of games on this rundown are PS3 exclusive - but there's a very good reason for that. For one, we wanted to celebrate the titles that make PS3 unique, and the best way to do that is to pick games which aren't available elsewhere. Secondly, a lot of the multiformat releases are (whisper it) better on 360. But as developers slowly start finding their way around the PS3's architecture, we're bound to see such titles really making the most of the added power under the PS3's shiny hood. Indeed one of the titles you'll see in the second part of this list - which will arrive later this weekend - is a multiformat game that perhaps has a slight edge on PS3 over its rival versions (and which is just so damn good, we couldn't possibly ignore it).
So here goes, then...the first part of our Ten Best PS3 Games. Enjoy!
10. Unreal Tournament III One of just two first-person shooters in our list (and we bet the other one's not what you think either), UTIII deserves inclusion for being one of the finest multiplayer experiences on the console. Its single-player story mode might not seem up to much, but take it as a training course for the blisteringly-paced multiplayer blastathons you'll be engaging in later, and it's well worth the effort. With some seriously daft weapons, huge vehicles, gorgeous visuals and a super-smooth frame-rate, you'd have to be dead not to grin stupidly during the chaotic online fragfests. Fun, fun, fun, as the Beach Boys once sang.
9. SingStar "But it's just glorified karaoke!" Poppycock. SingStar is...well, actually it is just glorified karaoke. But what's wrong with that? With an interface so smooth it makes James Bond look like Avid Merrion, SingStar PS3 is incredibly simple to set up and play. Whether you like Britney or Bloc Party, Supergrass or Spice Girls, you'll find something to cater for your tastes. Pop into the SingStore to download the latest available tracks for very reasonable prices, or simply use the impressive selection bundled with the game. Grab a few friends, a few snacks, a few beers (perhaps the most important ingredient), and let the caterwauling begin. You'll have a cracking night out from the comfort of your own home!
8. Super Stardust HD For a long while, it seemed that Xbox 360's Live Arcade service was the haven for old-school twin-stick shooters. Until Super Stardust HD came along and lit up the PSN with its pyrotechnic take on ye olde arcade favourite Asteroids. An update of a little-known Amiga game from the mid-Nineties, SSHD (as us fans refer to it) is impossibly frantic, fantastically explosive, terrifyingly addictive high-score-beating entertainment. It's easily one of the best-looking PSN games too, and for a penny shy of a fiver, you really can't go far wrong with this.
7. Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction For years, any game with impressive cartoon-style graphics was always compared to Pixar's films. Insomniac's PS3 revival of its most popular franchise is arguably the first game that genuinely warrants the comparison. It's an eye-massagingly gorgeous romp through alien worlds that teem with extra-terrestrial life - and thankfully its core robot-blasting, bolt-collecting gameplay was as compelling as ever. With some of the best use of the Sixaxis' under-utilised motion-sensing capabilities (falling past moving sky taxis is a vertigo-inducing moment par excellence) and a rich seam of witty, self-referential humour running through its veins, Tools of Destruction is an absolute blast from start to explosive finish. Glorious.
6. flOw Suffering from insomnia? Stick on ThatGameCompany's wonderfully soothing ode to aquatic life before bedtime and you'll be sleeping sounder than a narcoleptic on quaaludes. That's not to say that it's boring - it's just a terrifically relaxing game, one you can play while slumped back on your sofa in a near-horizontal position. Simple swoops and pivots of the controller gracefully manoeuvre your chosen creature as you descend ever further into the depths of the briny ocean in search of fellow sea-dwellers to nibble on. For only through eating your rivals can you grow and evolve into another, more advanced form - whereupon you return to the surface and start the cycle over again. This is gaming with an arty ambience - a mesmerising piece of software that's worth every penny of the £3.49 it costs to download.
Screenshot is of Unreal Tournament III and screenshots of each game can be seen at the link up top!