The 7 Best First-Person Shooters on PlayStation 3

Do you enjoy heart-pounding action and white-knuckle multiplayer battles? Then the PlayStation 3 (PS3) easily delivered some of gaming‘s all-time greatest first-person shooters (FPS).

During the PS3‘s historic run from 2006-2017, developers constantly pushed the envelope of the FPS genre. They crafted exhilarating single-player campaigns, expanded online multiplayer offerings and realized lavish worlds that immersed players like never before.

In this guide, I‘ll be counting down the absolute best PS3 FPS games that no fan should miss. Along the way, we‘ll explore what made these titles so special with a critical eye towards gameplay innovations, visual polish, level design mastery and influential impact on later franchise entries.

Let‘s kick things off with a quick glance at the success of the PS3 platform itself:

ConsoleLaunch YearUnits Sold
PlayStation 3200687.4 million

With nearly 90 million PS3 consoles sold, it‘s clear these landmark FPS titles reached a massive audience hungry for firefights. The PS3 also became many gamer‘s first gateway into iconic franchises like Call of Duty, Killzone and BioShock – series still going strong today.

Now – lock and load as we dive into the 7 genre-defining PS3 first-person shooter experiences no gamer should miss!

#7 Far Cry 3

  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Release Date: December 4th, 2012
  • Notable Awards: GameSpot‘s Best PS3 Game of 2012

The Far Cry series redefined expectations for what‘s possible with open world first-person shooters thanks to lush tropical islands rife with possibilities. 2012‘s sensational Far Cry 3 represents a high point for both Ubisoft‘s burgeoning franchise and the entire FPS genre on PS3.

Playing as a tourist stranded on a lawless archipelago, you join the native Rakyat tribe to take the fight to menacing pirates and escape the island paradise. Outposts begging to be liberated with stealth or overwhelming force litter the map alongside races, side quests and hunting challenges. The excellent writing brings twisted personalities like Vaas Montenegro to chilling life against a backdrop of moral descent into violence.

Far Cry 3 achieved both critical and commercial success on PS3 with over 7 million copies sold. Reviewers praised the game‘s flexibility in accomplishing objectives, stellar voice acting performances and ability to maintain tension. Its open-ended design empowers creativity, whether stealthily infiltrating bases with knife takedowns or going loud with grenade launchers blazing.

  • Metascore: 90

Far Cry 3 set a new bar for the scope of violent possibilities in PS3 first-person shooters through its lush island sandbox coursing with threats.

#6 Killzone 2

  • Developer: Guerrilla Games
  • Release Date: February 27, 2009
  • Notable Awards: Best PS3 Game of 2009 (GameTrailers), Best Graphics (Spike Video Game Awards)

When Killzone 2 launched in 2009 as a PS3 exclusive, its jaw-dropping visuals instantly separated it from the FPS pack. Developer Guerrilla Games wasted no effort highlighting the PS3‘s graphical brawn through sprawling cityscapes brimming with dazzling effects like glittering glass and sparks.

Set on the planet Helghan, you play as ISA troopers Sev and Dante across memorable war-torn locales fighting the fascist Helghast army. Levels like retrieving launch codes as a shrunken Sev demonstrate a penchant for the unexpected. Online multiplayer allows up to 32 players to battle across 15 maps with 5 customizable classes keeping things fresh.

Reviewers praised Killzone 2 as a technical showpiece for PS3 thanks to unparalleled graphics paired with a gritty orchestral score. The solid controls, impactful weapons and smooth animations stand out during hectic firefights – of which there are many against overwhelming Helghast troops. While the story doesn‘t reinvent the wheel, Guerrilla nailed the execution of bombastic FPS spectacle.

  • Metascore: 91
  • Lifetime sales: Over 3 million copies

With its leading-edge graphics still impressive over a decade later, Killzone 2 pushes the PS3‘s technical limits to create an exhilarating FPS showcase.

#5 Borderlands 2

  • Developer: Gearbox Software
  • Release Date: September 18, 2012
  • Notable Awards: Best Multiplayer Game (Spike VGA), Best RPG (Destructoid)

Gearbox Software struck gold in 2009 merging FPS gameplay with RPG character progression and loot hunting. Understandably, expectations reached a fever pitch for its sequel Borderlands 2 arriving three years later. It perfected the formula with twisted humor across vibrant cel-shaded visuals and bazillions of procedurally generated guns.

This time around, players stop megalomaniacal villain Handsome Jack from getting his hands on an ancient alien vault rumored to contain advanced technology. The gunplay feels fantastic thanks to many unique effects like projectiles exploding, splitting, ricocheting or simply screaming as they soar through the air. While going solo provides tons of content, Borderlands 2 excels most in four player online co-op enabling friends to team up and collect ever more powerful gear.

Not only did Borderlands 2 earn stellar reviews, but it sold an estimated 12 million copies across all platforms as Gearbox‘s biggest release ever. Critics praised the wacky cast of characters, mountains of loot and flexibility when approaching missions either stealthily or more aggressively. The PS3 version holds up well thanks to solid visuals and frame rate even years later.

  • Metascore: 90
  • Copies sold on PS3: Over 5 million

With its trademark absurdist humor on full display across a sprawling FPS adventure playground, Borderlands 2 offers one of most accessible co-op experiences on PS3.

#4 BioShock

  • Developer: Irrational Games
  • Release Date: August 21, 2007
  • Notable Awards: Game of the Year (GameSpy), Story of the Year (Spike Video Game Awards)

When BioShock launched in 2007 from Irrational Games, it immediately entered the pantheon of greatest video games ever made. That lofty status comes thanks to its provocative themes examining unchecked scientific progress paired with an intricately realized undersea setting brimming with atmosphere.

You play as Jack, survivor of a mysterious 1960s passenger plane crash who enters the crumbling, art deco-styled ruins of Rapture. Atlas, a seeming ally only heard through radio transmissions, guides you through the decrepit walkways and boulevards overrun with crazed enemies called Splicers. Rapture tells a distinctly non-linear story through the environments themselves – be it abandoned apartments or makeshift hospitals – that retain traces of once-idyllic life.

BioShock earned critical raves (see its metascore below) and praise centered on its fearsome foes, morality-based evolution mechanics and haunting musical score. Irrational created an almost unwillingness to further explore its shortcomings as players confront timeless philosophical questions. BioShock treats players to an unsettling yet wondrous world awaiting rediscovery even 15 years later.

  • Metascore: 96
  • Copies sold on PS3: Over 4 million
  • Won over 50 Game of the Year awards

An objectivist utopia gone horrifically awry, BioShock‘s unforgettable descent into the madhouse of Rapture leaves an indelible mark on PS3 owners.

#3 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

  • Developer: Infinity Ward
  • Release Date: November 5, 2007
  • Notable Awards: Overall Game of the Year (Spike Video Game Awards, Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences)

After years stuck storming beaches in WWII theatres, Infinity Ward propelled Call of Duty into contemporary times with the seminal Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It revolutionized FPS gameplay with blistering action exhilarating enough to earn acclaim as 2007‘s Game of the Year across outlets like the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.

Often credited with popularizing the military shooter genre, Modern Warfare introduces fan-favorite characters like Cpt. John Price across covert operations in Russia and the Middle East. Set piece moments like slowly Sniping foes ghillied in the grass or defending a Burger Town from invaders leave memorable impressions amidst the slick production values and visuals.

On the multiplayer front, Modern Warfare lays the blueprint for online military shooters followed to this day. Ranks and weapon unlocks keep players invested alongside teammates in deathmatches and tactical modes like Search and Destroy.

  • Metascore: 92
  • Highest rated Call of Duty among critics upon release
  • Sold over 13 million copies across all platforms

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare brought Activision‘s juggernaut FPS into present day with cinematic flair across explosive battleshtowns. Its immersive multiplayer kept fans competing for far longer than any WWII entry could manage.

#2 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

  • Developer: Infinity Ward
  • Release Date: November 10, 2009
  • Notable Awards: Best PS3 Game (Spike Video Game Awards), Best Shooter (Spike Video Game Awards, GameTrailers)

When Infinity Ward‘s follow-up arrived two years later, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 confidently expanded the military shooter template with a globe-spanning single-player campaign and polished multiplayer. Opening moments infiltrating an icy Russian base set expectations high – then MW2 keeps upping the ante across set pieces like a daring prisoner rescue from a gulag.

Beyond the campaign, Special Ops mode offers co-op specific missions ranging from stealthy to frantic for some friendly competition. On the much-anticipated multiplayer front, new modes like Infected or Third-Person Throwback arise across 20 maps to master. Players could easily pour hundreds of hours fine-tuning custom classes, perfecting tactics on beloved maps like Rust and climbing the online ranks.

  • Metascore: 94
  • Biggest entertainment launch ever with $550 million in first five days
  • Single highest grossing game in Call of Duty franchise

With tense battles against Russian forces at home and abroad, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 confidently expanded the military FPS template on PS3 through bigger and better blockbuster experiences.

#1 BioShock Infinite

  • Developer: Irrational Games
  • Release Date: March 26, 2013
  • Notable Awards: Game of the Year (Destructoid, Good Game), Art Direction (Polygon)

Similar to its namesake, BioShock Infinite from Irrational Games continues to influence first-person shooter design even a decade after release. Series creator Ken Levine transports players this time to 1912 aboard the fantastical floating city Columbia. What begins as an idyllic tour of neoclassical architecture and patriotic fanfare hides deep unrest among political factions and paranoid inhabitants.

You play as former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt sent to rescue the mysterious Elizabeth with seemingly universe-altering abilities. Levine examines racism, American exceptionalism and quantum physics against a backdrop marrying turn-of-the-century Americana with dimensional rifts to alternate timelines. From harrowing encounters with the mechanized Songbird to navigating warping outcomes from Elizabeth‘s powers, BioShock Infinite brought bold new narrative complexity to PS3 shooters.

Critics unanimously praised Infinite‘s willingness to tackle charged themes across beautifully realized locales housing dark political and social undercurrents. Combined with one of gaming‘s most beloved companions in Elizabeth, BioShock Infinite leaves an indelible mark on PS3 owners to this day.

  • Metascore: 94
  • Over 11 million BioShock units sold to date across all platforms and games

BioShock Infinite represents a crowning achievement in PS3 first-person shooter storytelling that tackles complex themes across lavishly crafted lands in the clouds.

The Legacy Lives On

Thanks to these pioneering PS3 titles, many FPS franchises like Borderlands, Killzone and BioShock continue raising the genre bar even on modern platforms. Multiple Call of Duty entries rank among the best selling games annually a decade later.

These titles demonstrate the technical prowess possible on PS3 while advancing immersive stories, multiplayer innovation and visual polish. PS3 owners enjoyed both generation-defining exclusives like Killzone 2 and multiplatform blockbusters pushing rival platforms as well.

While today‘s entries boast sharper graphics and expanded feature sets, these classic PS3 shooters provide indelible memories for millions that hold up just as well in 2023. Their landmark status persists across sequels that built upon and carried this golden age forward.

For first-person shooter fans, the PlayStation 3 library delivers the incredible range of the genre – from military shooters like Call of Duty to wholly unique settings like BioShock‘s Rapture. These 7 games represent ambitious peaks that developers constantly aim to match even now.

So lock and load PS3 owners – it‘s time to revisit the fantastic first-person shooter generation that started it all!

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