The era that is commonly referred to as the seventh generation of gaming consoles included the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. These consoles had many outstanding games that - while possibly still available by some means like PC marketplaces, backwards compatibility, or streaming - have never had official updates or proper re-releases for more modern systems. But the games on this list have earned their place in gaming history and still hold up as very enjoyable experiences.
Infamous / Infamous 2
After finishing their trilogy of Sly Cooper games, Sucker Punch sought something more ambitious for their first foray into PS3 development. The Infamous games are superhero titles that take place in an original universe where you can make the protagonist as heroic or evil as you want. While the games’ Karma Systems only offer some simplistic binary choices, the narratives can diverge surprisingly far between the two paths. Protagonist Cole MacGrath and his supporting cast are generally interesting, leading to some impactful moments in certain story outcomes. Much of the games’ stories are told through animated cutscenes that evoke a grungy comic book aesthetic, which gives them a unique flair and charm. But the main thing that people loved about these games are the electrically-charged superpowered fights. Cole’s lightning abilities are extremely fun to use, and they evolve based on his karmic alignment. The second game also adds a bevy of new power customization options, including the choice of an entirely new power set based on either Ice or Napalm that Cole can acquire from one of his allies. Infamous 1 and 2 are available to stream via PlayStation Plus Premium, but picking up a PS3 copy of one or both is absolutely still worth it.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Nintendo made the rather baffling decision to exclude this gem from the Super Mario 3D All-Stars compilation of remasters for Switch. While this acclaimed platforming sequel is still stranded on the Wii (and soon to be shut down Wii U eShop) for now, every Mario or platforming fan deserves to experience it at least once. This game is the only direct sequel to a 3D Mario platformer, and it broke Nintendo’s tradition of only releasing one 3D Mario per generation. While its development started out as something of an extension or level pack of the first game, it quickly blossomed into a true sequel. While it cut much of the story that fleshed out the first Super Mario Galaxy, Galaxy 2 made up for it by honing in on the gameplay. Nearly every level is memorable and bursting with creative ideas. Dozens of fun mechanics are introduced, played out, and then replaced with something fresh in the next level. There’s a reason it received so many 10/10 reviews. If you missed out on this one, don’t hesitate to pick it up if the opportunity presents itself.
The Rayman franchise, for being pretty consistently high-quality, has had a strangely turbulent history. The first Rayman on PS1 was a modest success, but the series really became acclaimed with the release of the fully 3D Rayman 2. After Rayman 3, it went mostly dormant, relying on the spinoff Raving Rabbids games to carry the franchise forward with less and less actual Rayman in each entry. But Rayman saw something of a renaissance in 2011 with the release of Rayman Origins, a beautiful, multiplayer 2D platformer with loads of style and charm. Up to four players can journey through creative and vibrant hand drawn environments inhabited by lively creatures and catchy music. The movement mechanics are smooth, satisfying, and fast-paced. A selection of remastered levels from Origins are unlockable in its sequel, Rayman Legends; but without the story framing, art style, world design, and atmosphere that surrounded Origins, they lose a lot of their luster and just become some additional fun levels to play. Even if you have Legends (which is available for pretty much every system available at the time or since), getting the full Origins experience is still very much worth it.