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Best Simulation Games on PlayStation 3

Simulation video games aim to create play around closely simulated real-world activities. This could be a battlefield, landscape, motor racing, farming, flying or just a kitchen.

The novelty is that you are not only playing a game but interacting with complex systems modelling the real-world in some way. This opens the door for creative and inventive approaches to succeeding in the game. It also provides the player with an open-world in which to spend time simply experiencing the simulation.

Almost any game can offer a simulation experience as this can combine with most genres to skew gameplay in a more realistic and open direction. This can mean that players enjoy a particular game not because of the shooting or racing but because it's a chance to spend time in a simulated world or system they enjoy.

From an educational and experiential perspective, a simulation game offers an entirely new way to learn and understand the world. Rather than a cold or external understanding of how things work, this offers an embodied experience of a system as the player moves and interacts with the simulation from within.

DetailsGenre Details

Era: 1991 - 2023
Total Games: 40
Total Likes: 723
 

 

Gran Turismo (Series)

Release Date: 01/01/1997, updated in 2017

Out Now: PS3, PS4 and PSP

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and 3D Third-Person

Gran Turismo is a driving simulator that focuses on a photo-realistic driving experience. Players race real-world cars where bodywork and interiors are perfectly modelled. Whether hatchbacks or supercars, this game lets you step into the world of the...

Williams Pinball

Release Date: 09/10/2018

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Android, Mac, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox One and iOS

Components: 2D Overhead and Hand-Made

Williams Pinball is a series of simulation games that recreate the classic pinball experience in a virtual space. You shoot the balls up the table, use the flippers to keep it up, and can even nudge the table to stop it from sinking. It stands out for...

The Sims 4 (Series)

Release Date: 04/02/2000

Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Grid, Open World and Persistant World

The Sims puts you in charge of a world of characters living normal lives. By providing a home, a job, leisure, friendships and even a love interest, you work to make them happy. It’s an open-ended game as well, although the altruism is focused on...

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning

Release Date: 10/02/2012, updated in 2020

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Components: 3D First-Person and Open World

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is an adventure where you set out from the vibrant city of Rathir to rescue a world torn apart by a vicious war. Along with its huge scale, the game offers nuanced character development and a political system where you...

From Dust

Release Date: 27/07/2011, updated in 2011

Out Now: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Weather

From Dust is a strategy game. You play as an all powerful God of a primitive people. The land is ancient but devoid of humans. Unusually, you control the landscape rather than the people, moving land and water and lava to give villagers pathways to...

Tony Hawk 1 and 2

Release Date: 04/09/2020

Out Now: DS, Mac, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Tony Hawk 1 and 2 is a sports simulation skateboarding game series. It features the famous skater in 19 different games. From its start in 1999 on PlayStation it is now available on most consoles and has recently been re-released in updated as Tony...

Angry Birds (Series)

Release Date: 11/12/2009, updated in 2021

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PSP, Web, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Angry Birds is a series of puzzle games where you catapult cartoon birds to destroy the pigs who have stolen their eggs. The latest game, Angry Birds Reloaded, is a remake with new levels, graphics, locations, birds, and story elements. The series'...

I Am Alive

Release Date: 07/03/2012, updated in 2013

Out Now: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

Skill Rating: 15+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

I Am Alive is an action adventure in a post apocalyptic future where an event has reduced cities to rubble. You traverse the country to find your wife and child. It draws on end of humanity fiction like The Road, and stands out for its commitment to...

PixelJunk Monsters (Series)

Release Date: 24/01/2008, updated in 2018

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PSP, Switch and Wii U

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead

PixelJunk Monsters is a strategy game where you build defensive towers to defeat a linear march of enemies before they reach your base and kill your creatures.

Far Cry 2

Release Date: 21/10/2008

Out Now: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night and Open World

Far Cry 2 is a shooting game set in a fictional African country engulfed in civil war. You play a mercenary tasked with killing an antagonistic arms dealer. This involves exploring the open world and using stealth or shooting to complete missions. It...

Paleo Pines

Release Date: 26/09/2023

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World

Paleo Pines is a simulation adventure where you befriend dinosaurs to help you fix your ranch and farm crops. Play involves exploring the island, meeting the locals, taking on quests and working towards taming the dinos. It stands out not only for the...

Red Faction (Series)

Release Date: 22/05/2001, updated in 2018

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Open World

Red Faction is a series of shooting and sabotage games. Although the games differ in terms of player perspective, they all share the ability to destroy anything in the environment. The novelty is how believably building collapse. Bring down a wall or...

PixelJunk Eden

Release Date: 31/07/2008, updated in 2020

Out Now: PC, PS3 and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

PixelJunk Eden is an organic puzzle game. You swing from abstract plant shapes to explore a stylised garden, attacking pollen carriers to gather particles that bring seeds to life. It's a game where you grow a field of plants, each one granting new ways...

PixelJunk Shooter

Release Date: 10/12/2009, updated in 2015

Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS3 and PS4

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

PixelJunk Shooter is a shooting game where you fly a subterranean vehicle to rescue scientists trapped underground. You control movement with one stick and shooting with the other. This combines with the world's physics to create a puzzling shooting...

Terraria

Release Date: 25/11/2013, updated in 2019

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Blocks, Day and Night, Persistant World, Pixels and Weather

Terraria looks like a 2D, lesser version of Minecraft. However, this is a game every bit as complex and creative as the better-known block-building game. To the world-crafting and survival, it adds hundreds of items to collect, characters to defeat and...

Flower

Release Date: 12/02/2009

Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, Open World and Weather

Flower is a traversal collecting game where you control the breeze across fields of grass and blow petals into other flowers to make them bloom. Flower is simple and single-purpose in evoking the feeling of the wind. What starts as an awkward struggle...

Don't Starve

Release Date: 23/04/2013, updated in 2017

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks, Day and Night, Hand-Made and Open World

Don't Starve is an open-world survival game where it’s the environment and enemies, rather than other players, that you have to work with. You need to find and develop food, weapons and shelter to survive. It’s enjoyable because it’s hard, so...

Proteus

Release Date: 30/01/2013

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita and PS3

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Proteus is a narrative adventure game which takes you to a pixelated island. As you explore you discover that your presence changes the seasons and time of day. Delving deeper, there are rudimentary interactions with the creatures that inhabit the land,...

Shadow Of The Colossus

Release Date: 18/10/2005

Out Now: PS2, PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Shadow Of The Colossus is an action-adventure game where you play a young man who enters a forbidden land to defeat sixteen massive beings to restore the life of a girl he cares about. It sounds like any other video game, although in fact, Shadow of the...

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag

Release Date: 29/10/2013

Out Now: PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag is an action-adventure game set in a fictional telling of real-world events around the 18th Century Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy. You run, jump, climb, explore and fight as a notorious Welsh pirate Edward...

Dark Souls

Release Date: 22/09/2011, updated in 2018

Out Now: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Dark Souls is a fighting game with an emphasis on precise timing and extreme difficulty. You navigate through labyrinthine ruins and ancient kingdoms, defeating monsters with your weapons and magic. A spiritual successor to [link to game/Demons+Souls...

FIFA (Series)

Release Date: 15/12/1993, updated in 2021

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Android, DS, Mac, Megadrive, PC, PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Wii, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, 3D Third-Person and Cards

FIFA is one of the two main football video games (the other being Pro Evolution). Each year it's released with improved visuals, more realistic physics and enhanced competitive play. For those who follow the game closely and play it a lot, it offers a...

Portal 2

Release Date: 18/04/2011, updated in 2022

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS3, Switch and Xbox 360

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Portal 2 is an action adventure where you traverse through increasingly complex (and dangerous) test chamber obstacle courses. By creating two connected portals (if you walk into one, you walk out the other) you must move yourself around the rooms to...

The Elder Scrolls (Series)

Release Date: 11/11/2011, updated in 2017

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Open World

The Elder Scrolls is a series of action role-playing games that take you to detailed open worlds with free-form gameplay. The series has sold more than 58 million copies.

Burnout Paradise

Release Date: 16/03/2018, updated in 2018

Out Now: GameCube, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Open World

Burnout Paradise is the latest game in the Burnout series, an over-the-top racing game where you’re encouraged to crash, bash and ram other cars. Throughout the series the bravado and crashing increase, but they all have the same novel core gameplay.

Dishonored (Series)

Release Date: 09/10/2012, updated in 2017

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Dishonored is an adventure game series set in the fictional, plague-ridden industrial city of Dunwall. You play Corvo Attano, bodyguard to the Empress of the Isles. But you are framed for her murder and forced to become an assassin.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (Series)

Release Date: 30/09/2014, updated in 2017

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War is an adventure series set in Tolkein's fictional work, between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. You play Talion, a Ranger who sets out to avenge the deaths of his loved one. The...

Skate 3 (Series)

Release Date: 14/09/2007, updated in 2010

Out Now: PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Skate is a skateboarding series with innovative controls. One stick is used to control the skater's body and the other his feet. This resulted in the need to quickly motion different patterns to intuitively achieve different tricks - what become coined...

XCOM (Series)

Release Date: 01/01/1994, updated in 2017

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

XCOM is a science fiction strategic battle game where you control units to stop an alien invasion. The long-running series has come in many forms, but always has in common the finely tuned turn-based ground combat where you control a squad of soldiers...

Motorstorm (Series)

Release Date: 14/12/2006, updated in 2012

Out Now: PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PS4 and PSP

Components: 3D Third-Person

Motorstorm is a series of games started on the PlayStation 3 with innovative tracks that got muddier as you raced. This, along with a wide variety of vehicles and routes through each of the courses makes for an entertaining and light-hearted racing...

Crazy Taxi

Release Date: 01/01/1998, updated in 2012

Out Now: Android, GameCube, PC, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and iOS

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World

Crazy Taxi is a series of games where you take people to different locations in a city, as a taxi driver. It sounds a little dull, but in this brighter and bigger world, it's a joy rather than a chore. When you complete a fare you get money based on how...

Jet Set Radio (Series)

Release Date: 01/01/2000, updated in 2012

Out Now: Android, PC, PS Vita, PS3, Xbox 360 and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World

Jet Set Radio is an action game where you play a skating youth traversing Tokyo, spraying graffiti and evading authorities. It was influenced by late 90s Japanese pop culture such as the rhythm game PaRappa the Rapper.

Pay Day 2 (Series)

Release Date: 13/08/2013, updated in 2021

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Components: 3D First-Person

Pay Day 2 is a shooting adventure game. You are part of a criminal gang who do various heists such as bank and jewellery store robberies, as well as contract work and drug deals. It stands out for the thrill of breaking the law, committing violent...

Dark Souls II

Release Date: 11/03/2014

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Dark Souls II is a fighting game with an emphasis on precise timing and extreme difficulty. You navigate through labyrinthine ruins and ancient kingdoms, defeating monsters with your weapons and magic. It pairs immense difficulty with a grand story and...

Guitar Hero (Series)

Release Date: 08/11/2005, updated in 2015

Out Now: Apple TV, DS, Mac, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

Guitar Hero is a series of rhythm games where you tap buttons in time to all sorts of songs using plastic instrument-shaped controllers. In the latest game, Guitar Hero Live, you play along to real-life recorded performances filmed from the lead...

Lemmings (Series)

Release Date: 14/02/1991, updated in 2018

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PSP and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Lemmings is a series of puzzle games where you guide small (suicidal) creatures to the end of the levels. Unusually, you don't control when or how a character jumps and navigates the areas, but instead, you assign them actions that change the level to...

Rogue Legacy (Series)

Release Date: 27/06/2013, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Rogue Legacy is a dungeon-fighting game. Each time you die you go back to the start. However, you are resurrected as a character with different challenges: colourblind, dyslexic, a dwarf and so on. You can use gold, collected from previous lives, to...

Dead Space (Series)

Release Date: 13/10/2008, updated in 2023

Out Now: Android, PC, PS3, PS5, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox X|S and iOS

Components: 3D Third-Person

Dead Space is a remake of an adventure horror game where you must survive on an abandoned spaceship filled with mutated humans. You explore and solve puzzles, all while shooting enemies and carefully managing your health and limited resources. Like the...

Everybody's Golf (Series)

Release Date: 17/07/1997, updated in 2021

Out Now: PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Everybody's Golf is a series of golf games that create a detailed, gentle electronic version of the game. Although there are cartoon characters the focus is on realism and positive encouragement as you make your way around the various courses. The...

Super Pole Riders

Release Date: 11/06/2013

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Super Pole Riders is a cross between the high jump, jousting and basketball. It's a simple game where four players must get a ball hanging from a wire to the opponent’s goal using long poles. It’s the controls that make this game so much of a giggle...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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