The 10 Best Open-World PS3 Games, According To Reddit

Open world games tend to be the most immersive and the vast amount of possibilities make them endlessly replayable, and that’s going to be taken to an unimaginable level with Grand Theft Auto 6. The announcement of GTA 6 is imminent (per Screen Rant), and fans have waited long enough, as GTA V was first released almost 10 years ago on the PlayStation 3.

But it wasn’t just GTA that defined the era when it comes to open-world gaming, as the generation was full of creative and original approaches to sandboxes. Between using farts as weapons, sailing between pirate towns, and duct-taping chainsaws to kayak paddles, sandbox gaming was at its peak on the PS3.


Saints Row: The Third (2011)

An image of the player using the Shark-O-Matic to summon a shark in Saints Row The Third.

The first Saints Row game was just another GTA-influenced open-world game, and it hardly stood out in an ocean of them. The follow-up was a little more outlandish, but it was with Saints Row: The Third when the video game series really got a voice of its own. The Third is more of a sandbox game than anything else on the PlayStation 3, as it meshes genres together and lets players do almost anything.

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The fictional city of Steelport is a world of destruction, and the game is full of bizarre weapons, like the fart-in-a-jar stun grenade and even sex toys. IHazMagics claims, “Haven’t found an open-world game that is as fun to be a part of as that.” The series got more ridiculous from there, as the following games see players control the President of the United States as he protects the world from an alien invasion.

Just Cause 2 (2010)

Rico looking at an island in Just Cause 2

JustCause 2 had a decent amount of success, especially considering that it earned two sequels, but it’s one of the most underrated PS3 games and isn’t appreciated enough. The first game in the series had the biggest open world on the PS2, but that came at the expense of messy missions and frustrating controls.

However, that’s all ironed out in the sequel, and along with the exotic fictional island of Panau, JustCause 2 is full of exceptional level design and it feels like living inside an ’80s action movie. A deleted user puts it best by explaining, “Walking away from a bunch of gas tanks as you press the trigger on the C4 is the most satisfying experience ever.”

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013)

Edward dives from a ship into the ocean in Assassin's Creed Black Flag

Tea Assassin’s Creed series has always used each game to explore different time periods and bathe in those periods’ history. That’s part of what makes the games so engaging, whether it’s focusing on 18th-century Colonial America or the 15th-century Ottoman period. But it was the fourth game, Black Flagthat took the novelty to the next level.

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The 2013 game saw players exploring huge pirate towns and even traveling between them by pirate ship, which is the game’s biggest appeal according to Browns420. The Redditor notes, “you can just cruise around in your pirate ship exploring the seas and islands.” While the narrative in Black Flag is just as great as its three predecessors, it’s the first game in the series that’s actually fun to explore.

Skate 3 (2010)

Gameplay pf Skate 3

When it comes to skateboarding games, few gamers will know much outside of the long-running Tony Hawk series. However, EA’s skateboarding franchise was the one series that gave the Neversoft games a run for their money, and many think the realism of the skateboarding games was a vast improvement on the stale arcade gameplay of Tony Hawk.

Virenq is one of those fans, stating, “I can spend hours and hours just cruising streets, looking for spots to do tricks, etc. too bad the map isn’t quite as big.” Not only was skate 3 more realistic than the Tony Hawk games, and not only was it more satisfying when players landed the simplest of tricks, but it features the rich, detailed city, Port Caverton. Some Tony Hawk’s games have claimed to be “open-world,” but they were still small areas tied together by long and narrow hallways masking loading screens.

Red Dead Redemption (2010)

Micah, John, Dutch, and Sadie face off in a Mexican standoff in the final mission of Red Dead Redemption 2

Few people would have ever thought that an open-world western game would be as addictive and entertaining as a modern GTA world, let alone better. While there aren’t endless amounts of artillery or fast customizable cars, Red Dead Redemption’s quiet but detailed world, a vast map, and 1910s setting were refreshing changes of pace for an open-world game.

FearOfTheDock champions the game more than anything else, noting, “First time you ride into Mexico on your horse, and that song ‘So Far Away’ kicks in… I was speechless.” It just goes to show that the atmosphere, tone, and narrative are actually as important as simply wreaking havoc. And galloping through the desert with epic music and a hugely ambitious vista for the PS3 in front of players gives off such a sense of awe, and that’s why Red Dead would make a great movie.

Rise Of The Tomb Raider (2015)

Lara climbs mountain in Rise of the Tomb Raider

While Rise of the Tomb Raider doesn’t feature any of Tomb Raider’s toughest levels, the whole game could be seen as one huge difficult stage. Where most Tomb Raider games haven’t been open-world but have featured massive open levels full of puzzles, the 2015 game puts all of those tombs and caves into one map with players free to explore how they like.

But the open world is cleverly built, and players have to strategize where to go first, as some areas could be tougher than others depending on what gadgets and weapons the player has. A deleted user notes, “It’s very story-driven but the scenery is awesome. It’s not as peaceful as Red Dead Redemption but it’s beautiful and unique.” The open-world is in the form of snow-capped mountains in Siberia, and it features some of the most visually stunning scenery on the PS3.

Dead Rising 2 (2010)

Frank wields a sword near zombies in Dead Rising 2

Zsdsre makes a leftfield choice and argues that Dead Rising 2 is the best open-world game. The 2010 release might not have the biggest open world, but it’s one of the most creative. The whole game takes place in a casino resort and shopping complex, and it’s full of zombies.

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The player must kill every single zombie in the game, and they have almost anything they can find in the locations to use at their disposal. Players can get creative, as there are combo weapons, such as the Hail Mary, which is a hand grenade duct-taped to a football, and the Paddlesaw, which is two chainsaws duct-taped to a kayak paddle. Duct tape has never been more important in a game than in Dead Rising 2.

Sleeping Dogs (2012)

Sleeping Dogs flips the idea of Grand Theft Auto on its head, as instead of being a criminal evading the police in an open world, players control a cop infiltrating gangs in an open world. It’s one of the most creative sandbox games ever, and while it may look like just another pale imitation of GTA, it actually attempts to do something different. OPNinjastyle notes, “Really nice world and a good story… it’s always entertaining.”

Sleeping Dogs turned 10 years old this year, which makes it all the more jarring that there hasn’t been a sequel yet. The 2012 release is one of the most beloved games of its generation, and fans have been wanting a sequel ever since its release. According to CBR, developer Square Enix did try to get a sequel off the ground, but it just didn’t come to fruition. However, there is at least a movie adaptation in the works.

The Saboteur (2009)

An image of Sean smoking a cigarette as he overlooks Paris in The Saboteur

Of all the great open-world PS3 games that Redditors mention, The Saboteur might be the most unknown, and it totally flew under the radar when it was first released in 2009. However, it isn’t underrated, as critics enjoyed it a fair amount, it just, unfortunately, failed to find its target audience.

Though it might be too little, too late, Iamhak tries to help the game’s success. The Redditor notes, “It’s GTA-style set in German-occupied France during World War II if I recall correctly. Fantastic game.” The game follows an Irish race car driver who becomes part of the French Resistance in an attempt to liberate Paris.

Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)

Niko Bellic in Grand Theft Auto

While GTA V has a much bigger world, features way more minigames, and is more of a sandbox, Lobinhu reckons GTA IV is actually the best Rockstar game on the PS3. The Redditor argues, “it’s by far the best GTAbar none.”

While GTA V features funnier and cooler characters, they’re almost caricatures, and Niko Bellic in GTA IV has a much more grounded and emotional story arc that actually has stakes. Along with the engaging storyline, it has a near-perfect depiction of Liberty City, realistic vehicle physics, and better than anything, no microtransactions.

NEXT: 10 Ways Grand Theft Auto IV Is The Best Game In The Series

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