The PlayStation 3 is hard to beat from a pure storytelling standpoint. The absolute power of this console gives game developers so much to work with, and they took every advantage in crafting some of the most compelling characters and exciting experiences I’ve had across any entertainment medium, period. From pirates to professional wrestling, here are my top 10 favorite games from the amazing PS3 era.

1. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

I’ve played a lot of video games over the years, and this is probably the most fun I’ve ever had. I think it’s because it fit my personality type so well. I like to explore game worlds and track down all the cool stuff. What better way to find treasure chests than as a pirate? Sailing the open sea, hunting whales, collecting treasure maps, sword fighting. This game is a 10/10.

2. Tomb Raider

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About halfway through this game, I realized something interesting: it was perfect. Not everyone’s going to agree with that, but I’ve learned a lot about what I like in a video game and Tomb Raider was absolutely perfect for me. Beautiful graphics, compelling story, solid action, and lots of treasure hunting. I appreciated every second of this one.

3. Batman Arkham City

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Everyone my age wanted to be Batman when they were a kid. I think kids today still feel that way. But Batman video games had always been kind of a letdown. The first Arkham game was the best one to date, and Arkham City was even better. Gliding around Gotham and fighting goons never got old, and this game actually got me into Batman comics for the first time.

4. Heavy Rain

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The first 30 minutes of this game will stick with you forever. We hadn’t really seen anything like Heavy Rain, and it delivered on so many levels. The pace was slow but that was by design. You’re supposed to “feel” this game. It’s a very realistic look at a family’s bond and the pain that can tear a family apart. Not for the feint of heart, but a classic every step of the way.

5. Red Dead Redemption

For years, we all wanted a great western game. Red Dead Redemption finally delivered. It was basically Grand Theft Auto set in the Old West, and that’s a beautiful thing. The characters were fantastic, the story was impressive, and the game overall was a masterpiece. You could even rob a stagecoach. What more could a guy ask for?

6. Assassin’s Creed 2

The first Assassin’s Creed was amazing, but it was really just a tech demo with no story or depth. Boy, did that change for AC2. This game took storytelling to a whole new level and was the moment I realized the PS3 was probably the best console ever. It was so smooth and so easy to play, and every kill kept you on the edge of your seat.

7. WWE 13

This is literally the perfect wrestling game. I was only a WWE fan during the acclaimed Attitude Era with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mr. McMahon and the Rock. This game lets you play through 50 or so famous matches from the Attitude Era in a storyline mode, and it is freaking amazing. All the right matches are included, and your favorite Superstars are at their best.

8. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Metal Gear games have always been fun, but looking back I can’t recall anything special about the game play here. The story, however, was brilliant. Video games can sometimes be like playing through interactive books, and nowhere is that more apparent than Metal Gear. This was the last chapter of Solid Snake’s career, and what a way to go out.

9. NBA 2K12

The 1995-96 Sonics were included as a legends team, and I swapped them out in the regular season with the Sacramento Kings. The idea was to pretend we actually bought the Kings and moved them to Seattle. I then played two of the most memorable seasons ever. My last game, I hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat Miami in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

10. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted games are summer blockbusters. Just like a good Will Smith movie from the 90s. I loved the first Uncharted game because it came with my PS3 and was a great introduction to the new system. But the sequel put everything together into a flawless experience. Great acting, writing and set pieces, this is as close as gaming gets to a Die Hard movie.