10 Hardest Games On The PlayStation 3

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 generation of gaming saw the industry take a noticeable shift in terms of difficulty. With games becoming longer and consumers buying more, developers didn’t need to use difficulty as a way to artificially elongate their games. This trend of easing difficulty, which spanned multiple decades, would come to a peak with the PlayStation 3. The vast majority of games released on the PlayStation 3 had a noticeable amount more hand-holding than PS2 or PS1 titles, as developers and publishers wanted to ensure that players didn’t become frustrated with their games and stop playing, an increasing trend.

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Despite this, the PlayStation 3 generation is also responsible for the current trend of difficulty in gaming, which has seen games become more challenging and hand-holding be less prevalent. The 10 entries on this are to thank for this, as they reminded players of how rewarding a tough game can be.

10 Hotline Miami

Masked characters from Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami is a fitting game to kick this list off with, as it was a throwback to classic shoot em’ up titles of the 80s and 90s. The top-down shooter wasn’t simply about all-out violence though, as stealth was often a valuable alternative that players needed to utilize to say alive.

Despite the short campaign of only 5 hours, Hotline Miami was well received by critics, scoring 87 on Metacritic. As well as the excellent action gameplay, Hotline Miami is fondly remembered for its excellent soundtrack, for which it won IGN’s Best PC Sound award.


9 Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge

Monkey Island 2, Guybrush and Elaine dangling

Originally released during the height of the point and click era of gaming in 1991, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge received a HD remake on modern consoles in 2010.

At a time without online walkthroughs or YouTube guides, many point and click games offered tie-in guide books or even helplines that stuck players could call for a cost. This money-making idea meant that many point and click games had a handful of painfully tricky puzzles in them, to convince players to pay for help. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge is home to one of the genre’s most infamous sections, the Monkey Wrench puzzle. The puzzle simply requires players to turn off a pump; the issue is, that there is now key insight. The solution, believe it or not, is to hypnotize a monkey with a banana on a metronome, then use it as a literal wrench. To make this puzzle even more difficult for some players, the term “monkey wrench” is very uncommon in many countries, making it almost impossible.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown - shot accuracy

A remake and reboot tied into one, XCOM: Enemy Unknown rejuvenated the XCOM franchise and brought the turn-based genre tactics to a mainstream audience. The game was lauded by critics and won Game of the Year awards from multiple outlets including GameSpy and Kotaku.

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown‘s developer Firaxis Games didn’t worry about lowering the game’s difficulty to appeal to a wider audience, and instead offered a realistic yet punishing experience that removes any sort of respawning feature for squadmates. The game’s aiming mechanic that is centered around hit percentages became infamous for its seemingly unfair accuracy at times.

7 Braid

Braid title screen

Released in 2008 by Number None, Braid is a puzzle-platformer that was one of the pioneers of the rise of indie gaming. The game was designed by Jonathan Blow and is known for its deceiving story with a powerful message behind it.

For someone that simply rushes through platforming levels to get to the end as efficiently as possible, Braid will seem like an odd choice for this list, as many levels can simply be completed by simply running from one end to the other with little or no obstacles in the way. For 100% completionists, however, the game requires players to utilize the numerous time-manipulation mechanics to collect puzzle pieces. Moreover, 8 stars can be collected in the game, one of which requires players to stand on a cloud for nearly 2 hours (real-time) as it slowly moves across the screen.

6 Wipeout HD

Wipeout HD - Racing gameplay

The eighth entry into the Wipeout series, Wipeout HD released in 2008 to universal praise and an impressive Metascore of 87.

Sony Computer Entertainment and Studio Liverpool’s game certainly didn’t have an easy start to life, as Wipeout HD had numerous delays due to epilepsy issues, then received heavy criticisms from fans who were angry at the long load times caused by adverts. The load times were a particularly frustrating issue as the series kept its 90s difficult, meaning many restarts were needed.

5 Vanquish

Sam Gideon in Vanquish

SEGA and PlatinumGames’ cult classic released in 2010 and was a futuristic experience for players not just because of its sci-fi setting, but because of its numerous innovations to the third-person shooter genre that earned it GameSpot’s accolade of Best Original Game Mechanic.

One of the game’s many innovations was its weapon upgrade feature, which was also a source of the game’s difficulty. On hard mode, the player’s weaponry is downgraded upon death, and on God Mode, the entire upgrade mechanic is removed.

4 Killzone 2

Killzone 2 - Looking at squadmates

The PlayStation 3 had a difficult start to life, with the console’s frequent delays and high price handing an audience to Microsoft’s Xbox 360. One of the ways that Sony looked to win back the favor of its audience was with the second entry to its exclusive Killzone franchise.

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Released in 2009, Guerrilla Games’ first-person shooter, like many games of its era, wasn’t too taxing on normal difficulty. The toughest difficulty level Elite, however, significantly ramped up the challenge and remains to be one of the toughest campaigns in the history of the FPS genre.

3 Demons Souls

Demon's Souls - Tower Knight

From Software’s Demons Souls released in 2009 with little marketing. Those who trusted the complementary reviews and took a chance with the little known game were rewarded, as Demon’s souls gave players the first taste of the Soulsborne gameplay formula that would capture audiences and influence the gaming industry moving forward. Demons Soulslike the rest of the Soulsborne franchise, is unforgivingly difficult and offers minimal hand-holding as players are forced to use their intuition, exploration, and combat skills to progress through the game.

Demons Souls was recently remade on the PlayStation 5 and received the joint-highest Metascore of the Soulsborne series along with Bloodborne.

2 Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2

A port of the Xbox 360 game Ninja Gaiden IITeam Ninja’s Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 released in 2009 and brought the notorious difficulty of the Ninja Gaiden franchise to modern audiences.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 differentiated itself from the original Xbox 360 iteration of the game by adding new bosses and online co-operation. The hack and slash game was well-received, scoring a respectable 83 on Metacritic.

1 Dark Souls

Player character at Firelink Shrine in Dark Souls

The second Soulsborne game and first entry into the Dark Souls trilogy released, much like Demons Souls, with little marketing and fanfare. It’s now almost a decade after the game was initially released, and it is considered to be one of the best and most influential games of the PlayStation 3 generation.

Similar to Demons Souls, the game combines its punishing difficulty with minimal hand-holding. The praise and acclaim that Dark Souls received in the years following its release heavily influenced the gaming industry; particularly because excessive help screens, maps, and quest markers are now looked down upon by some players.

NEXT: Ranked: 15 Most Powerful Weapons In Dark Souls

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