From previous generations, especially the PS2, the war and shooter genre was becoming very popular with the beginnings of franchises like Call of Duty and Medal Of Honor, but the PS3 took everything to the next level.
With the colossal graphic and technical leap that this Sony console took, developers had free rein over their craziest ideas to unleash great battles on our screens.
Some bets didn’t pay off, but others significantly improved their games and presented mechanics that are still standard today. These are
The Best Military / War Games for PlayStation 3
Brother In Arms: Hell’s Highway (2008)
We start with a franchise that, unfortunately, has been off the radar for a long time, even though in the 2000’s it was dominant in the war genre.
The Brother In Arms series has stood out for offering tactical action in realistic scenarios based on the Second World War, where knowing how to advance and give orders to the team is essential to flank the enemies and eliminate them.
Hell’s Highway takes place in the Netherlands in the middle of World War II, during Operation Market Garden, one of the most significant paratrooper operations ever seen in any war.
As Sergeant Matt Baker, you must lead your squadron to survive and achieve victory over the Germans. You will see old friends like Joe “Red” Hartsock and Sam Corrion again.
Your mission is simple: stop the Nazi reinforcements from capturing Highway 69, which connects to cities of great strategic value. This is where the name “Hell’s Highway” comes from.
As its premise states, you’ll take control of Baker in first person while leading your troops through the battlefield, where taking advantage of the terrain and flanking will be vital to defining the winner. Indeed, this is not a new scenario in the genre, but it makes up for it with a greater importance on strategy.
So please, don’t run like crazy to the battlefield. In this PS3 game, the “heroes” end up in the cemetery.
Medal Of Honor Airborne (2007)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Every gamer of the 90s and 2000s remembers the golden age of Medal Of Honor, and although its success is in the past, we can always enjoy its best gems.
Airborne was the leap of Medal Of Honor to the new generation, and what better than a campaign mode based on World War II to show all the advantages of the PS3 in its premiere?
In this title, you will take the role of Boyd Travers, a paratrooper of the 82nd Airborne Division whose operations will take you through Sicily, Palermo, Normandy, and the Netherlands.
But make no mistake, this is no pleasure trip, as you will enter hellish war zones where you will face hundreds of soldiers, tanks, and even anti-aircraft towers.
The difficulty will increase significantly as you progress through the game, which is an exciting challenge, with the option to choose your drop zone on the map and the order in which you will complete the objectives.
Airborne’s missions are also surprisingly long, perhaps the longest first-person shooter with the most extended mission length. Although the game only has six missions, it will take you between ninety minutes and two hours to complete each one.
On the other hand, combat relies heavily on cover and flanking, so your allies and enemies have a reasonably competent AI that creates a realistic experience.
The fans know Airborne as the last great game of the series, and even if I disagree with that opinion, it was indeed its previous sales success.
Bullet Storm (2011)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Maybe you don’t know much about this title, but its gameplay will make you fly through the battlefield… And you will also blow your enemies to pieces.
Developed by People Can Fly, Bullet Storm is set in a distant future where humans have colonized several planets, but politically, they have not advanced much, but rather the opposite.
Our protagonist is a brutal space pirate who has defected from the Confederacy for a few good reasons, and now his head has a price on it. However, the narrative aspect is just an excuse to shoot through the game.
Bulletstorm is a cyberpunk video game that perfectly combines a story full of over-the-top clichés and crude jokes with matching gameplay.
The question is not how many enemies you defeat but how you combine the multiple possibilities the game offers to do so, which perfectly sums up the slogan of the game, “kill with skill.”
Whether you use the scenery, your whip, or your unique abilities, the goal is to kill in the most incredible way possible to earn skill points, which are used to buy better weapons and equipment.
With that premise, the game features some pretty flashy graphics that show blood and gore in all its splendor.
Metro Last Light (2013)
Publisher: Deep Silver
In the twilight of the PS3, Deep Silver took full advantage of the console to launch the second part of its famous Metro series.
In Last Light, the story takes place a year after what happened in Metro 2033. Humanity continues to live as best it can under the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow.
Life in the subway is not easy. The survivors are being besieged by all kinds of external and internal threats. Mutants are the most dangerous, both on the surface and in the catacombs.
In addition, the different stations are fighting each other to seize power. And amid all this chaos is Artyom, the key to humanity’s survival.
This first-person game takes survival elements and mixes them with action, terror, and an enthralling atmosphere. If you have claustrophobia, you may not enjoy Last Light as much.
Although it has a slow start, the game ramps the intensity in the following levels, where there will be moments of stealth and action.
As part of its dark narrative, throughout the tunnel, you will encounter many inhuman situations in which you will decide whether to act. I clarify beforehand you won’t receive material rewards, although a thank you from someone in need will give you more satisfaction than a powerful weapon.
Undoubtedly, Metro Last Light is a perfect experience for those who enjoy slow-paced shooters with a greater emphasis on an immersive narrative. Although watch out for the Dark Ones, you’ll never know in which corner they are hiding…
Spec Ops: The Line (2012)
Publisher: 2K Games
This game may have failed in sales, but it is the one that best portrays the true horrors of war.
Spec Ops: The Line revolves around Captain Martin Walker and his squad of American special forces sent to a devastated Dubai after a sandstorm to save a colonel. Of course, their mission gets more complicated than it should, and they will have to face moral decisions that will put their health at stake.
This title bets on third-person action with cover, which is not always safe, and you will have a shortage of ammunition that will force you to change weapons frequently.
The good part is that it has a tactical section, thanks to the ability to lead your companions.
The bad part is that this title will make you hate the war genre forever since it presents many difficult decisions that involve innocent lives being destroyed in the worst possible way.
Up to this point, shooters hadn’t cared much about the moral issue, although Spec Ops gives a lot of importance to the character’s emotions and how their mental health is being destroyed. Even the way your companions think will be affected by your decisions.
It’s a shame that a title that dared so much in the narrative aspect did so poorly in stores, but time made it a cult classic you can’t miss.
While this title is available for Xbox 360, it was developed using the PS3 as a base, so we can count it as a “semi-exclusive.”
Directed by the legendary Shinji Mikami, responsible for Resident Evil and Dino Crisis, Vanquish Vanquish is a game that takes on well-worn elements from those years, such as heroes clad in metal armor with helmets, lots of shooting, covers and endless hordes of enemies.
However, it is also one of the freshest games of its time, thanks to its aura of stylized Japanese arcade action, as fantastic as unreal.
The plot presents us with a not-too-distant future in which human overpopulation is unsustainable, and resources are scarce. The United States is grappling with an unprecedented energy crisis that a solar-powered space station has defused.
However, an ultra-nationalist army from Russia hijacks the station and uses it to destroy San Francisco. Their next target: New York.
Vanquish is a constant bombardment of gunfire, destruction, and chaos at every step you take. Also surprising is the large number of characters on screen -between allies and enemies- and all the environment animation that makes you not want to stay still for even a second.
But the most exciting thing is the special suit of the protagonist called ARS, which gives him multiple technological advantages, such as turbos, feline agility, and an experimental weapon that scans and replicates others.
Unfortunately, as fun as Vanquish is, it failed to garner good sales. Still, it is a cult classic that perfectly combines Japanese style and occidental action.
Battlefield 3 (2011)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
All the Battlefield games released for the PS3 deserve to be on this list, but in my opinion, the most iconic is its third chapter, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks so.
If there’s one thing this series is known for, it’s its multiplayer. However, the same can’t be said for the single-player campaign mode, which is generally poor compared to what the competitive multiplayer modes offer us. But on this occasion, DICE tried to create an intense, epic, and cinematic campaign to raise the bar to a new level.
But the main draw is Battlefield 3’s multiplayer. In a nutshell, it’s genuinely insane and one of the best online modes on the PS3. Unlike its biggest competitor, Call of Duty, Battlefield 3 stands out for its more leisurely and tactical pace on giant maps where you can kill on foot, by car, boat, helicopter, and even jets.
With several different modes available, most notably Conquest and Rush, Battlefield 3 throws you into a scenario you can almost destroy, thanks to the Frostbite 2 graphics engine.
Still, this game isn’t about shooting wildly. It’s about cooperating with your team to accomplish objectives as real military men would… Except for the part about launching yourself into the air to destroy a jet with an RPG.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2007)
Talking about the heavyweights of war shooters, I couldn’t leave out one of the best titles in the history of COD.
Also known as Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare was the great game that marked a before and after in the series, giving it the frenetic style and arcade action that still characterize it today.
On one side, a member of the British SAS and the other, a United States Marine, each in a part of the conflict. Russia and the Middle East are the protagonists of a short but intense and rewarding campaign mode.
The story is full of references to war movies where the game is more expressive and frenetic, with truly unique moments that are remembered and commented on beyond the campaign’s duration.
Modern Warfare shows its other side in a magnificent online mode. Popular modes such as DeathMatch or Domination coexist with a system of leveling up in the form of military rank and the famous “prestige” that follows in current games.
From the advantages of your set to the most varied streaks of casualties, Modern Warfare presented a most entertaining online mode that is still very popular today, to the point that it was remastered.
Anyway, I must stop here because I could fill an encyclopedia about this game. In short, this title was not only the definitive FPS experience of its generation but also a clear example of how to do things right, something that its creators should remember today.
The Resistance Trilogy (2007 – 2011)
Publisher: Insomniac Games
Finally, we come to the PS3’s greatest war franchises.
The first Resistance game, “Fall of Man,” came at a time when the PS3 was highly criticized for its lack of exclusives, and it convinced more than one to buy the console.
That feat was achieved by introducing us to Sergeant Nathan Hale and taking us on a journey through the United Kingdom, in an alternate version of 1951, in which an alien species known as “the chimeras” was conquering Europe.
Thanks to the good reviews of the first game, Resistance 2 and 3 soon followed, completing a trilogy characterized by its arsenal of human and alien weapons, devastated historical settings, and fast-paced action against various types of chimeras.
As a curious fact, Resistance 2 presented at the time the biggest boss seen in a shooter, not to mention its online multiplayer that supports 60 people.
Resistance was a saga with which Insomniac dared to experiment like never before, and although it is not as popular as Ratchet & Clank or Spider-Man, many of us are still hoping for a fourth part.
The Killzone Series (2007 – 2011)
While the first part was exclusive to PS2, the other two games were enough for this series to be the best of war games on the PS3.
These titles are set in a future where humanity was forced to abandon Earth due to a lack of resources.
Most settled on Vekta, a planet very similar to ours. Still, due to different problems, some had to go to Helghan, a world with aggressive atmospheric conditions that mutated its citizens.
You already know the following: many battles between the two planets in which it is difficult to define who is right. Although the Helghasts seem to be the bad guys of the story, behind their sinister masks and violent behaviors, there is a human being in constant pain.
That’s the dilemma proposed by this first-person action series with dozens of futuristic weapons, endearing characters, and battle scenarios in which the weather plays an important factor.
As if the interesting story mode wasn’t enough, the online modes continued to explore the battle between Vekta and Helghan. Before each match, each player selects from one of five available classes that could be improved with battle points.
Undoubtedly, the most fun mode was the Warzone, not the Battle Royale of COD, but a game in which both teams had to complete seven objectives. From Capture and Hold to Assassination, Warzone brought together 24 players to have the time of their lives.
Too bad Guerrilla shut down the servers for both games in 2018, but the memories remain in the gamers’ hearts and seem enough to crown Killzone as the best war “game series” on PS3.
Wrapping Up The Best Military/War Games For The PS3
Today’s shooters may be very advanced and intuitive, but I find a magical aura in 7th-generation games that is very hard to replicate.
The PS3 knew very well how to capitalize on that effect and give us some of the best war games ever, even though some stayed on the PlayStation 3 and others continue to evolve on newer platforms to this day.