Let's say your PS3 has bricked and you're wondering whether or not to wait and get a PS4 or pick up a current-gen system to hold you over until November 15, 2013: The date the next generation begins. Or maybe you're wondering if you just have to sit on your hands until you get a chance to play "Killzone: Shadow Fall." Will your PS3 grow cold and lonely from lack of use? No. It most definitely will not. While we're undeniably in the final days of this generation, there are at least nine games worth a look that, as of now, are not going to be available on the PlayStation 4 at the beginning. Well, maybe nine. Some of these are in bizarre stages of development, one is stuck in red tape hell as its date has been delayed numerous times, but at least a few are either already out or are coming out very soon. And they'll give your PS3 a workout before you send it off to the gaming retirement home.
Can you really call yourself a gamer and NOT play the most anticipated game of 2013? Of course not. And imagine the time that you won't be on the bandwagon given that this game comes out nearly a full two months before the launch of the PS4. You won't know what your friends are talking about or why they look so bleary-eyed in school or at work every morning. The "Grand Theft Auto" games are as addictive and immersive as any franchise in existence and this feels in many ways like the climax of the entire current generation of gaming systems. We've been waiting for and building to this game for years. If it disappoints, it will be truly tragic. No pressure, Rock Star Games. Well, none that you can't handle.
Forget marking your calendar, this one's out now and it's a beauty. We'll get into more depth with it in a full-length review later this week but Ubisoft's return to the "Splinter Cell" franchise is a surprising accomplishment, a refined blend of stealth & combat with some of the best graphics and gameplay of the year. It's not perfect but it's really a PS3 game that you should play before you pack up the machine and move on to the PS4. It's also incredibly difficult. So it might make you want to throw your machine out the window, giving you more of an excuse to get a PS4. You're welcome.
3. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
This one's simple. No, not the game, which will take you DAYS of gameplay time and which we'll review as soon as we can really get into and spend some quality time with the product -- the reason it's on the list. Because you can't get it on your Xbox for now. A PS3-exclusive "Final Fantasy" game (which, to be fair, is PC available...just not Xbox). For some people that's reason alone to BUY a new PS3, much less for gamers to wait to trade-in or shelve their current system until they've had time to explore what promises to be one of the most engaging RPG worlds of 2013. To be fair, this game will reportedly be available for the PS4 as well but imagine how much of it you'll be able to navigate before then. Let the grinding begin.
Two words -- "Heavy Rain". The game that perched near the top of About.com's "Best Sony PlayStation Exclusives" finally has a follow-up as the team behind that masterpiece are going to deliver another motion-capture epic in October of this year and it's a "PS3 not PS4" game for now. And the game could be a perfect lead-in to what we'll get in the PS4 generation, as the developers have claimed that its creation was guided by experience and lessons learned from tinkering with the new system. Ellen Page stars (and she'll be the first to remind you that it wasn't her in "The Last of Us") in this daring, dramatic approach to gaming. We can't wait to get our hands on it.
Could this be the last great PSN game for the PS3 generation? It launches on October 1st and is available for pre-order now. Little is known about the game other than it looks like it will take an artistic approach to puzzle-solving a la masterpieces like "Limbo" and "Braid." A boy turns invisible and can only be seen in the rain, leading to a puzzle-solving experience involving taking shelter and tracking wet footprints. "Journey," "Flower," "The Unfinished Swan," "Sound Shapes" -- one of the most exciting things about the PS4 is going to be seeing how Sony continues and enhances this streak of notable PSN exclusives. Perhaps "Rain" is the bridge that takes us from "Journey" to the future.
6. Until Dawn
A game inspired by the teens-in-danger subgenre of horror movies that plays with the form and its inspiration like "The Cabin in the Woods" did on film? Sign me up. Maybe. The reported emphasis on PlayStation Move technology, something that has never quite worked with anything other than sports games, is off-putting, and we've seen almost no actual footage from the game nor does it have a release date. Is it really happening? Is this all a dream?
This one's too easy. Right now, these two highly-anticipated titles are only scheduled for release on the PS3 and they both have the potential to crack the top ten games of 2013. They're both titles that could eventually show up on the PS4 but, for now, they're sequels that everyone is going to want to play and they're this-gen only. Why get excited? Because the "Arkham" games have revolutionized the way we approach superhero tie-in games by injecting the genre with refined gameplay and complex storytelling. And "Lords of Shadow" was one of the most unexpected critical darlings of the last decade. Can they follow it up with an even better game? I can't wait to find out.
8. South Park: The Stick of Truth
Maybe. I hope. Please? The fact is that this long-buzzed game was supposed to come out on the PS3 in March of this year and was delayed and shuffled and delayed and shelved and so on after THQ went out of business. Ubisoft now has control of the game and some sites even report a November 19, 2013 release date, which seems odd given the fact that this week will be PS4 mania. Maybe they'll port this over to the 4, maybe they'll quietly release it on the 3. Either way, what we've seen of "The Stick of Truth" promises the ingenuity of Trey Parker and Matt Stone in an RPG send-up. This is no mere tie-in. It's a project that's been intriguing since it was first announced. Let's just hope it comes out some day.