PS5 has been out for more than a year, and the time to draw the first conclusions is ripe: here is the list of exclusive PlayStation you cannot miss.
Sony’s new console launched over a year ago, and while it’s hard to get one, some great PS5 games have already been released. Xbox is doing well, and the competition has helped the Japanese console get busy, thanks to the first Microsoft exclusives delivered to the public in years and the strength of the Xbox Game Pass. At Sony Land, things have been a little simpler: video games are now arriving at a very regular cadence since the release.
The time is ripe to look at the console’s first year and past and pick the fifteen best PS5 games. Here are some rules behind the choices. First of all, this list will favour PlayStation 5 exclusives. If the game is only available on PS5, and you haven’t been able to play it on other platforms, chances are greater that it is on the list. If it came out on PS4, this is equally true as an exclusive: after all, PS5 is the best place to play cross-gen titles. Also included are some games that came out for past-generation consoles and received upgrades for PlayStation 5.
It is divisive, but there is no doubt that Death Stranding has much uniqueness. Looking at the range of votes, it’s easy to see why some might say “10/10, best game ever” and others “5/10, what’s this?”. It is a game in which, as Norman Reedus, you will trek through a post-apocalyptic United States revival to reconstruct human connections. Everyone is hiding in underground bunkers, and the communication lines are offline.
As a man who cannot die, you will have to carry packages between bleak landscapes and reconnect outposts while cooperating with other players by building infrastructure that will make your journey less dangerous. Mads Mikkelsen and his skeleton army want to kill you; you have a baby in a jar that can see ghosts, and you can make grenades out of your poo. Clear, right?
In practice, Death Stranding is a mountain hiking game. You will have to plan routes through steep terrain, climb mountains, cross dangerous rivers and balance the piles of cargo on your back while avoiding threats from the outside world. Director Hideo Kojima cleverly uses an incredible licensed soundtrack to make every shot feel deep as you get lost in this vast setting. Eventually, the game speaks to something within you. At least until you remember the grenades in your inventory are made of poo. It is an experience to try at least once in a lifetime.
14. FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE
Gregorian choirs in the background, kids are dragging unrealistically large swords, impossible haircuts and ecoterrorism. Final Fantasy VII could not fail to become a gaming icon. It is also a synonym for the PlayStation brand since the original was released in 1997 for PS1. In the classic, the characters barely had faces, and their hands were simply stumps. With Final Fantasy VII Remake, Square Enix attempted to recreate the epic JRPG and elevated it to modern standards: a remastered orchestral soundtrack; unrealistically large swords beautifully modelled; impossible haircuts, but now you can see every strand, and completely doubled eco-terrorists.
All are packaged in gorgeous, high-resolution settings, and stellar interpretations elevate every interaction with the characters. These characters are exactly as you imagined in the 90s when they talked to you with those adorable (but so old) blue comics.
This growth in graphic fidelity comes at a cost, however. The original game came out on three discs because it was huge. This remake will still take 40 hours to complete, but it doesn’t cover the entire first disc of the original game either, being set only in the first city (Midgar). The story will be completed in later games. Still, this nostalgia-based hook has it all in the right place.
It is mostly faithful to the original but comes with a reimagined combat system that captures the essence of the old game’s turn-based battles and, at the same time, transforms the game into super-smooth real-time action. When Cloud did something strong in the past, she was portrayed in an interlude scene; now, you can see him sending enemies in mid-air with his sword during gameplay. Ultimately, the story takes a different turn from what happened in the original, showing how the remakes can still surprise you.
13. GHOST OF TSUSHIMA: DIRECTOR’S CUT
With an enemy not fighting fair, a samurai must forget his code of honor to spend the next 40 hours completing tons of side missions on a map. Ghost of Tsushima may not have the most exciting mission design in an open world, but it does it with a certain flair. While this is the same game released on PS4 but at a higher frame rate, Ghost of Tsushima remains one of the most beautiful games to see on PS5.
Developers always talk about a “live and active world”, but here it is. Instead of having all those tokens on the screen, you need to follow the wind to achieve your goals. The blades of grass, the trees, the falling leaves, the dragonflies, the ash … this world is always in motion, dancing on the breeze.
Ghost of Tsushima also solves a problem that so many games have with sword fighting. The swords are sharp. They cut. And it’s not nice when you hit someone ten times with a sword, and it looks like you did it with a rolled-up newspaper. The fight in the Sucker Punch title is intentional and purposeful, and a single swipe of the sword can slice a man until he spits a geyser of blood from his body. It’s a beautiful and brutal homage to samurai movies.
12. ASTRO’S PLAYROOM
Pre-installed on every PS5, Astro’s Playroom demonstrates the new console’s technical capabilities. The game displays every type of graphics you can expect in the next big first-party releases and showcases all the new features introduced by the new DualSense controller. You can use the adaptive trigger to roll up the spring and release it to shoot it in the air. You can feel the tap of your footsteps on the ice through haptic feedback. You can blow it into the controller and sterilise it before passing it on to a friend (maybe the last thing is a bit special, but everything else is beautiful).
It could have been a simple tech demo, but Astro’s Playroom is a fun platformer and a celebration of PlayStation history, full of little Easter eggs and collectables that will take you back to your childhood days. Back to the days before the NFTs, the pandemic and the controllers you can blow into.
11. IT TAKES TWO
PS5 isn’t the only place you can play It Takes Two, but you should still play it. There’s a reason he has won so many trophies at The Game Awards. On paper, this is a game that should have been a disaster. Platformers aren’t popular anymore, according to publishers, at least. Neither are cooperative games. Well, here’s a platformer that you can only play in co-op – single-player isn’t intended. By taking control of a couple on the brink of divorce, you will have to travel to various worlds and work together to fix your relationship. Sometimes it’s witty; other times, it’s surprisingly dark, but it’s never predictable.
From Street Fighter-style combat sequences to parts where you’ll find yourself in a top-down dungeon crawler, It Takes Two is a difficult game to put into traditional genres. There is an incredible variety, even without considering the dozens of competitive mini-games, which include a playable chessboard and an interpretation of Catch the Mole hidden in the levels. And you don’t need to buy two copies: by buying it, you will also receive a friend pass to pass on to a friend so that they can download it at no cost.
Returnal’s fights are a sensory experience. Shoot, dodge, hit and jump as the screen fills with bullets and particle effects. Playing with it takes your brain to another plane of existence, magnetising you to an alien planet populated by Lovecraftian beasts with more tentacles than a weeb’s hard drive. But it’s not just a matter of shooting: Returnal has a fascinating mystery behind it, and the way it unfolds is directly linked to his “just one more try” mentality.
By trapping the player on an alien planet, with the curse of respawning and repetition with each death, Returnal masterfully integrates a story into its time-looping gameplay. One minute you’re jumping on deadly lasers and eliminating space octopuses, and the next, you’re exploring your childhood home and hiding from a terrifying astronaut.
9. MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN: MILES MORALES
Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 was another didactic open world to clean up and a map full of repetitive icons and activities. In most games, this would have been a bad thing, but doing the same thing over and over isn’t a big deal when the simple act of moving around is so much fun.
Insomniac has the full swing of the web shooter in Spider-Man, and Miles Morales offers more. You’ll play as Miles this time and see him learn the trade as New York’s new Spider-Man, while Peter Parker will be out of town for some time. His characterisation is perfect: even the way he swings and climbs is less refined than Parker’s.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales also tells a more intimate story, focused on Harlem and his problems rather than a global threat. It’s the story of how Miles’ hometown begins to accept him, both under the guise and as Miles itself. Good writing and the solid foundation inherited from the predecessor elevates the game beyond the usual open world. The game is also a good demonstration of ray tracing on PS5: every window in the city reflects the world on its surface.
8. RATCHET & CLANK: RIFT APART
Insomniac is the only studio with two games on this list. If you thought Miles Morales was a good example of ray tracing on PS5, wait until you activate Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart’s photo mode and zoom in on the characters’ eyes – you will see the whole world of the game reflected in their pupils. From the hair of the protagonists to the richly detailed settings, Rift Apart is as close as there is to an interactive Pixar film.
It also helps that it’s fun to play. Most people would classify it as a platformer, but it’s a third-person shooter – one of the good ones. Every single weapon is creative and satisfying to use, and most robotic enemies will fall apart whenever you pull the trigger. The game also tells a touching story about acceptance, loss and living with guilt.
7. DEMON’S SOULS
Bluepoint Games have outdone themselves, creating what is perhaps the most beautiful PS5 exclusive to be seen to date. A faithful recreation of the From Software game that started the Dark Souls series, Demon’s Souls, is an atmospheric and heartbreaking descent into the abyss. With improvements in frame movement, new animations, and completely redone environments and textures, this is the best way to enjoy Demon’s Souls. At 60fps, it’s smoother than a petroleum-coated dolphin.
Throw on a good pair of headphones, and Demon’s Souls also becomes one of the best demonstrations of the PS5’s 3D sound engine. Hearing a bell ringing or the cries of inmates is a claustrophobic and intense experience which will drag you completely into this dark fantasy world.
6. DEATH LOOP
You are trapped in a time loop; killing many people is the only way to escape. No, this isn’t a comment on the average workweek; it’s Deathloop, an exclusive PS5 console from Arkane Studios, the masters of immersive sims. If you’ve played any of their previous titles – Dishonored, Prey – you know that you can expect the best level design, interesting systems that interact in surprising ways, and character details tucked into every note and hidden in every item in every room you walk into. You will find yourself passing by.
Previous Arkane games encouraged playing carefully and avoiding unnecessary kills, while Deathloop encouraged carnage. In a world where everything resets and people come back to life daily, there is no need to feel morally superior.
Go ahead and kill, and maybe be creative in doing it. Place a mine on a firework and light it in someone’s face. Kick someone out of a window in the downstairs garbage can. Throw it in the air and shoot it in style. When you are done, could you do it again and again? Once you get bored, activate multiplayer and invade other players’ games to ruin a real person’s day. Happiness.
5. GRAND TOURISM 7
Gran Turismo 7 is more than just a driving game – it’s also a game of sitting in a coffee shop and listening to an old man talks about cars. A game in which to watch cars, all beautifully rendered in ultra-realistic detail. What happens on the track seems almost secondary. A game for car culture fans, not those who love speed.
If you love motorsport to the point of sticking to the leather seats of a classic car, this is probably your dream game. It’s available on PS5.
4. HORIZON FORBIDDEN WEST
One of the coolest games ever made, Horizon Forbidden West is the best to the series’ first instalment in almost every respect. Thanks to the addition of a paraglider and the ability to swim and climb virtually any surface, the world – which is gigantic – is much more open for the player. This also means you have more options for taking down the colossal mechanical beasts roaming the setting.
Fighting with huge robotic dinosaurs is one of the most jaw-dropping combat experiences other than a Monster Hunter. Each shot smashes a piece of their armour or mechanical components, reducing the beast’s range of motion as you hit them with a mix of sci-fi and prehistoric weapons.
3. GHOSTWIRE: TOKYO
Ghostwriter: Tokyo is not a game that will change your life in any way, but it can be a spiritual experience. Shooting through the photorealistic streets of Tokyo fighting yokai demons is an excellent experience, half virtual touring, half RPG shooter, with the exception that the weapons are your fingers and make a series of signs with your hands as if you were Naruto.
Our Ghostwire: Tokyo review explained how good it is and how the gameplay loop can tire so many players quickly. Despite the flaws, if you are looking for a PS5 title to play, this could be one of the best choices, offering hours of exploration and combat. If you’ve loved the tourist aspect of the Yakuza series, Tango Gameworks’ title takes those environments to the next level, and you can enjoy Tokyo from the comfort of your home.
2. THE LAST OF US PART II
This isn’t technically a PS5 release, but it’s best played on PS5 for several reasons. The Last of Us Part II was celebrated as a pivotal milestone, a game that elevated the cinematic storytelling Naughty Dog is capable of and ended up being one of the best games you can play on PS4. Now, it’s even better on PlayStation 5.
If you have downloaded the latest patch and are playing it on PS5, you can have access to a mode with an unlocked frame rate of up to 60fps while maintaining the high resolution seen on PS4 Pro. This patch places the graphics on the level of modern triple-A experiences. , despite being from a previous generation. The Last of Us Part II is a brutal game, but it’s worth a try. You can start with the best version if you haven’t played it before and own a PS5.
1. GOD OF WAR
Similar to The Last of Us Part II, God of War is a release that marked the generation of PlayStation 4 and laid the foundations for an epic final chapter with God of War Ragnarok scheduled for this year PS5. This game reinvents Kratos as an older, calmer, wiser god who must teach and raise alongside his son, Atreus.
Seeing Kratos’ hard heart soften as he learns to express his feelings to his son is an exciting experience, as is discovering that the bond between Atreus and his distant father strengthens as the story progresses. And, like the title that precedes it on this list, the best place to play it is on PS5. On PlayStation 5, all the graphical enhancements of the PS4 Pro version remain, along with the stunning 60fps, which makes the action smoother and more responsive than ever. Again, this is an obvious choice if you haven’t played it but have a PS5.