The 17 Best Games For Sony’s PlayStation 5

The 17 Best Games For Sony’s PlayStation 5

Now that we’ve reached the end of 2023, we can comfortably say that Sony has given the PlayStation 5 a solid three years of game releases. That’s good news if you’re new to the console, or if you’re just wondering about which games to pick up to fill out your PS5 library. Whatever the case, we’re here to help with our list of some of the best games available on the platform, freshly updated with a few new contenders that’ve dropped this year.

First, know this: The vast majority of games playable on the PS4 are playable on the PS5 via backward compatibility. (Here’s our list of the best games for that console.) Then, of course, the revamped PS Plus subscription service means that either system can get access to a wealth of PS1, PS2, and PS4 titles, as well as stream selections from the PS3 library. No matter what, you’ll rarely be short of terrific things to play on the PS5.

However, if you’re looking for something more cutting-edge—something designed with the new console in mind—then scroll on. Many of these have also been released for the PS4, but they’re unquestionably better looking, and better running, on the more modern system. Here, without further ado, are the best games for the PS5.

Baldur’s Gate 3

Image: Larian Studios

Baldur’s Gate 3 has been the game of 2023, and not just because it won Game of the Year at this year’s The Game Awards ceremony. Larian Studios’ Dungeons & Dragons-based RPG has a little something for everyone: deep role-playing mechanics that let you really immerse yourself in the wide-reaching world, a robust character creator so you can create yourself or someone else entirely, intricate combat mechanics which allow you to kill everything in sight or schmooze through dialogue without resorting to violence, and sexlots and lots of sex. It’s easy to feel intimidated by everything on offer here, but that in and of itself is part of what makes Baldur’s Gate 3 one of the best PS5 games: there’s so much to experience that you might need another playthrough—or two—just to see it all. What’s not to love?

A Good Match For: Dungeons & Dragons fans, folks who enjoy meaty RPGs, and anyone looking to create and really embody a character in a different world.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who doesn’t like turn-based combat, deep and nuanced role-playing mechanics, and complex, interweaving narratives.

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut

Image: Sucker Punch Productions

Sucker Punch Productions’ Ghost of Tsushima is a love letter to beloved filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, but it’s more than that. A deep, thought-provoking story about finding honor in the midst of revenge, the Director’s Cut of this open-world action-adventure game is a solid demonstration of the power of PlayStation 5. Taking advantage of the PS5’s plentiful features, including the console’s dynamic 4K resolution and the controller’s haptic feedback, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut is the definitive way to experience this excellent narrative of love and loss. This version of the game also comes with the DLC, so you’re really getting a full package here.

A Good Match For: Fans of Akira Kurosawa films, folks who love samurai and the bushido spirit, and anyone who wants to play as a ronin in a video game.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who doesn’t like samurai tales, Japanese history, Ubisoft’s open-world game design, and revenge stories.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Image: Insomniac Games

If you wanted more Miles Morales and Peter Parker at the end of their respective games—Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales—then Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man 2 is just that: more of the same, but with a heavy emphasis on the “more.” There’s a bigger New York that extends into Brooklyn and Queens. There’s new powers that give our dual Spideys thrilling ways to beat up bad guys. There’s additional villains that make the story darker and grittier than before. And there’s more stuff to collect, more sights to see, and more side activities to engage in, all of which make The Big Apple feel all the more lifelike. In that way, Spider-Man 2 does what good sequels do: expanding upon a successful formula, which positions it as one of the greatest PlayStation 5 games in recent memory.

A Good Match For: Spider-Man diehards, folks who can’t get enough of superheroes, and anyone who loves a good story about besties, love, jealousy, revenge, and kickass acrobatics.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone tired of Marvel and its Cinematic Universe.

Resident Evil 4 Remake

Image: Capcom

We’ve been down this road before. The OG Resident Evil 4 came out way back in 2005, but you’ve never seen it quite like this. Much like Capcom’s done with the remakes of previous Resident Evil games, the Resident Evil 4 remake gives the base game a nice facelift. You’ve got the usual tweaks that come with that: enhanced visuals, revamped controls, and modernized combat. But on top of these welcome changes, the studio also altered the gameplay and narrative to streamline elements for a tighter, tenser atmosphere. Some bosses have been either deleted or replaced with new ones, fan-fave aspects like the merchant-run shooting galleries have been expanded, and characters are more aware of their perilous situations and aren’t hitting on Ashley Graham all the time. It’s a solid update that makes an all-time classic even better.

A Good Match For: Resident Evil fans looking to revisit Leon Kennedy’s 2005 escapade with revamped controls and visuals, survival horror enthusiasts, and anyone generally looking for a tense game with some creepy atmosphere.

Not A Good Match For: Non-Resident Evil fans, folks who get scared easily, and anyone who doesn’t enjoy survival horror elements in their games.

Final Fantasy XVI

Image: Square Enix

The sixteenth Final Fantasy has been divisive since it launched last week. The game skews pretty hard into action, with almost none of its old RPG DNA to show for it. But it’s also a pretty sublime action game evocative of series like Devil May Cry and Bayonetta. Its story isn’t a series highlight, but there’s some memorable character moments in the mix that make the brooding protagonist Clive and the charismatic Cid stand out alongside classic fan favorites. Time will tell where it falls in the pantheon of Square Enix’s blockbuster series, but for now, it’s got a spot on here as one of the games you should probably play on your PlayStation 5.

A Good Match For: Anyone who wants a tight character action game and to thirst over a bisexual roguish type who smokes

Not A Good Match For: Those looking for a robust RPG experience

Read our review.

Study our tips for the game.

Street Fighter 6

Image: Capcom

Capcom has pretty much rehabilitated the Street Fighter brand with the sixth entry. On top of it being a return to its world-class form after Street Fighter V’s stumbles, Street Fighter 6 is secretly a pretty okay RPG thanks to its World Tour Mode and a dense character creation suite that gives even the least skilled fighting game player something to sink their teeth into. The excellent core mechanics are elevated by Street Fighter 6’s expansive modes and ways to play. It’s one of the most full-bodied fighting games at launch in a long time, which stands in stark contrast to its predecessor. The future of Street Fighter looks bright once more.

A Good Match For: Anyone who wants to go real sicko mode in character creation or just wants a really solid fighter with a long life ahead of it

Not A Good Match For: Someone who doesn’t like being caught in a throw because players do be grabbing.

God of War Ragnarök

Image: Santa Monica Studio

Kratos is back, in the sequel to the adored reboot of God of War, in which father and son once more explore the realms of the Norse gods. With third-person combat, a pile of puzzle solving, and plenty of downtime paddling their boat, the mini-family is this time concerned with eschatological issues—Thor and Odin are battling their way to the end of the world.

Like most of Sony’s current next-gen offerings, God of War Ragnarök saddles the over-extended generational gap, releasing both on PS4 and PS5. And the PS4 version is a great (if noisy) swan song for that console, sure. But Ragnarok on PS5 is a far superior experience, supporting higher resolutions and silky smooth framerates. It really is the best way to play the game and luckily, God of War Ragnarök is also a damn fine game that should be enjoyed on Sony’s next-gen hardware.

A Good Match For: Folks who love epic and (extremely) long single-player action-adventure games or people who love Norse mythology.

Not A Good Match For: People who didn’t like the first game, players who prefer shorter games, or folks who can’t stand door puzzles. (It has a lot of door puzzles…)

Horizon Forbidden West

Image: Guerrilla Games

Yes, yes, big shocker: The sequel to one of the best games of the PS4 generation is one of the best games of the PS5 generation. Though Horizon Forbidden West isn’t quite as groundbreaking as its predecessor, Horizon Zero Dawn, it captures everything that helped it stand out—the splendor, the bow-based combat, the unique take on post-apocalypse—and then some. Once again, you play as Aloy, a young woman who carries the burden of “saving the world” on her shoulders. You fight giant robot animals and explore derelict ruins of human civilization, not unlike the first game. But Forbidden West also builds on that foundation with a bunch of welcome additions, including a hang-glider, a better climbing system, and a remarkably engrossing tactics mini-game called “Machine Strike.”

A Good Match For: This may sound strange, but fans of turn-based strategy games: Seriously, “Machine Strike” is top-notch for the genre, practically a game unto itself. Oh, yeah, also fans of open-world games.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who bounced off the first one, or can’t stomach a truly bonkers third act.

Elden Ring

Image: FromSoftware

If you like getting your ass handed to you, you’ll love Elden Ring. It’s the latest game out of FromSoftware, a studio best known for establishing a relentlessly difficult live-die-repeat formula of action-RPGs with its Souls series (which has spawned a gazillion copycats). It’s also the first to apply that formula to an open-world framework. Unlike most similarly structured games, Elden Ring refuses to hold your hand, instead letting you roam free. Sometimes, that means meeting a boss who kills you 242 times. But more likely, you’re just…seeing what exists in the nooks and crannies of this carefully designed realm. Though Elden Ring can be frustrating at points, there’s truly no game like it (until, of course, it spawns another gazillion copycats).

A Good Match For: People who like dying in Demon’s Souls, exploring in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and watching the withering corpses of dead gods decay into dust.

Not A Good Match For: People who don’t like dying in Demon’s Souls, exploring in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, or watching the withering corpses of dead gods decay into dust.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Image: Eidos-Montréal

Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t just candy for Marvel fans. It’s also a decadently crafted story-driven game about the lengths to which lonely souls will go to make families out of friend groups. Though you only play as Star-Lord (voiced by Jon “Not Chris Pratt” McLaren), you spend near-constant time with the whole group of galaxy-trawling heroes. You can further direct these companions in a battle system that mixes action-forward combat with RPG menus—kind of like (modern) Final Fantasy games—giving GotG more pep and verve than your standard sole-protagonist action game. And yes, the gameplay is serviceable, but the real draw is the story, which goes from 0 to 60 out of the gate and doesn’t slow down after. Not bad for a game about a talking raccoon!

A Good Match For: Players who like choice-based RPGs and PS3-era action platformers. Anyone who enjoys gaping slack-jawed at gorgeous sci-fi environments.

Not A Good Match For: MCU fans hoping for a to-the-letter adaptation of the films.

Read our review.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase from: PlayStation Store | Target | Best Buy | Amazon


Image: Housemarque

Few games show off what the PS5 can do better than Returnal. Developed by Housemarque (the folks behind PS4 launch title Resogun), Returnal is a cross between a roguelike and a third-person shooter. You play as Selene Vassos, an interstellar scout who crash-lands on the uncharted planet of Atropos. Your goal, which sounds simple, is to escape Atropos and crawl your way back to civilization. However, every time you die, you’re sent all the way back to where you started, with none of the items or weapons you acquired in the prior life. Yes, Returnal is a time loop game—and a relentlessly difficult one at that—but Returnal is much more than what you see on the screen. When it rains in-game, you’ll feel the cadence of a gentle rainstorm in your palms. When you shoot, you’ll feel the trigger tense up at the halfway point; pushing past the tension activates a secondary firing mode in a technical display you can’t experience on the PS4 or a simple DualShock. Plenty of games look like next-gen games. Returnal feels like one, too.

A Good Match For: Fans of time loops, particle effects, roguelikes, and time loops.

Not A Good Match For: Players who grapple with soul-crushingly challenging gameplay. Anyone who’s willing to lose everything (knowing that runs can easily last hours).

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Image: Insomniac Games

If you’ve played a Ratchet & Clank game, you’ve played Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Everything that made the series a mainstay in the first place—clever writing, airtight third-person shooting and platforming, just the right amount of wacky hijinks—is present here. So, no, Rift Apart doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but it’s self-evidently among the best-looking and smoothest playing console games out right now. A new player character, a Lombax called Rivet whom you spend half the game playing as, injects some freshness into the formula. At the start of the game, longtime series villain Dr. Nefarious steals a machine that allows its user to travel between dimensions. Of course, everything goes wrong, and the universe is…well, read the name of the game. It is then up to you to bounce between these two characters—and between dimensions—to restore the fabric of reality. Tall order for a pair of small space-cats. But given that you have more than a dozen unique guns at your disposal—including one that turns every enemy in the vicinity into shrubbery—you’ll be fine.

A Good Match For: Series newcomers. Series not-newcomers. Anyone who likes platformers, third-person shooters, and fast-paced, lighthearted games.

Not A Good Match For: Players craving a massive, endless open-world game, as Rift Apart is fairly contained. Dr. Nefarious.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade

Image: Square Enix

Final Fantasy VII Remake’s 2020 PS4 release was shockingly groundbreaking. More than a phoned-in remake, it showed what could happen when developers reimagined a beloved game. Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, the PS5 version, is the same thing but better looking. Remake takes the first party of Final Fantasy VII—a several-hour stretch of game in which Cloud and pals blow an energy reactor to bits and then escape the city—and expanded it into a 40-hour adventure. Intergrade adds to that a currently PS5-exclusive bit of DLC in the form of an add-on chapter starring Yuffie, another character from the original. There’s only one catch: If you’re picking up Intergrade new, you get the Yuffie chapter at no extra cost. If you already own the PS4 version, you can upgrade your game for free, but you’ll have to get the add-on piecemeal.

A Good Match For: Fans of the original game, or action-forward JRPGs in general. The door.

Not A Good Match For: Remake is mostly on-rails, so those who like open-ended RPGs might not get much enjoyment out of it.

Read our review, and our impressions of the new DLC.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase From: PlayStation Store | Target | Best Buy | Amazon | Walmart

Hitman 3

Image: IO Interactive

Make no mistake: Hitman 3 on next-gen consoles is the definitive Hitman. Not only is IO Interactive’s stealth paradise visually stunning (no surprise there) but, on PS5 at least, it also makes subtle use of the DualSense controller’s advanced haptics. You can also carry over all of your data and unlocked levels from Hitman 2, though the process is admittedly somewhat confusing. Any stages you import will join the six included in Hitman 3: Dubai, Dartmoor, Berlin, Chongqing, Mendoza, and the Romanian backcountry. For the most part, these are just like any other level from the recent Hitman games. You’re given one or more targets and let loose in a sprawling open area. You have to pay attention to the environment and nearby characters for clues. You can lift the clothing off incapacitated NPCs for a disguise. The missions aren’t long, but they’re designed to be played over and over as you unlock new starting locations, stash spots, and pull off unique kills. It’s tense, tough, often silly, and just as approachable for novices as it is accommodating for longtime fans.

A Good Match For: Fans of stealth, puzzles, environment analysis, and costume parties. Anyone plagued with serious wanderlust.

Not A Good Match For: Those who prefer to go in guns blazing (unless you’re down to play the bombastic final level ad infinitum).

Destiny 2

Image: Bungie

In December 2020, Destiny 2 received a next-gen overhaul. Before the update, Bungie’s space-faring loot crawl was a solid shooter. Now, it’s one of the best on the market, with stunning visuals, top-shelf performance, and even support for 120fps in the Crucible PvP mode (provided you have a compatible display). A November update—the Europa-bound Beyond Light—brought a new area, new missions, and new abilities, but the fundamental gameplay remains blessedly unchanged. If you’ve been away for a while, it’s worth getting back in the fight. And if you never checked it out in the first place, now’s as good a time as ever—Beyond Light includes an easy start point for new players.

A Good Match For: Fans of first-person shooters with endless streams of loot. Anyone who likes poring over in-game lore text.

Not A Good Match For: Those hungry for a competitive scene on the level of Bungie’s pivotal Halo 3. Anyone who can’t take storylines about Light vs. Dark seriously.

Read our review of Beyond Light.

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase from: PlayStation Store | GameStop | Best Buy | Walmart

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Image: Ubisoft

By now, you probably think you know what you’re getting with Assassin’s Creed. That’s what makes Assassin’s Creed Valhalla such a pleasant surprise. Though unmistakably more similar to the recent series entries (Origins, Odyssey) than the middle-aged ones (Syndicate, Black Flag), Valhalla is very much its own creature. For one thing, side-quests don’t exist at all, supplanted instead by a dizzying amount of bespoke narrative vignettes and environmental challenges. For another, the narrative is vivisected regionally, so you get a bunch of shorter main arcs alongside an overarching narrative (kind of like a long-running, well-crafted TV series). And the setting—England and Norway in the late-9th century—is distinct, at least in the video game world. That it’s rendered so marvelously is just icing on the cake; you can practically taste the crunchy autumnal leaves of Cent and Sciropescire.

A Good Match For: Fans of massive, compelling open-world games—including the prior two Assassin’s Creeds—and historical drama.

Not A Good Match For: Players tired of Ubisoft “map” games. Anyone not down to play a morally dubious raider.

Demon’s Souls

Image: Bluepoint Games

Although the PlayStation 5 didn’t come out of the gate with a deep lineup, the Demon’s Souls remake developed by Bluepoint Games is one of the best console launch titles in recent memory. It maintains most of what made the PlayStation 3 original so special, sprucing things up a bit with a massive upgrade to visual fidelity and some very useful quality-of-life updates. It may not be the best or most fulfilling Souls adventure—a high bar—but Demon’s Souls both justifies making the jump to a next-generation system and solidifies Bluepoint as a studio we’d want to remake our favorite games if and when the time comes.

A Good Match For: Demon’s Souls fans who don’t mind a few aesthetic changes, folks looking for a relatively easy entry point into the Souls series, and anyone who doesn’t mind a good challenge.

Not A Good Match For: Demon’s Souls fans who wanted just a straight-up port. Players who want their games to be as free of frustration as possible.

Want more of the best games on each system? Check out our complete directory:

The Best PC GamesThe Best PS4 GamesThe Best Games On PS NowThe Best Xbox One GamesThe Best Games For The Xbox Series X And SThe Best Games On Xbox Game PassThe Best Nintendo Switch GamesThe Best Wii U Games • The Best 3DS Games • The Best PS Vita GamesThe Best Xbox 360 GamesThe Best PS3 GamesThe Best Wii GamesThe Best Android Games

How has this list changed? Read back through our update history:

Update 12/26/23: Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Resident Evil Village have been swapped for Spider-Man 2 and Resident Evil 4, respectively. Also, Baldur’s Gate 3, 2023’s (horniest) Game of the Year, has taken its place on the PlayStation pedestal and Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut has been granted entry to the hallowed halls. As a result of the changes, Life Is Strange: True Colors has been retired from the list.

Update 28/6/2023: Final Fantasy XVI and Street Fighter 6 join the fray.

Update 24/11/2022: Astro’s Playroom has finally slipped off the bottom, its promotional work now done, heralding the arrival of God of War Ragnarök.

Update 4/20/2022: We’ve added Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West, while removing Immortals Fenyx Rising.

Update 1/21/2022: The Pathless loses its way on the path, but three newcomers are found: Guardians of the Galaxy, Lost Judgment, and Life is Strange: True Colors.

Update 6/28/2021: And that’s 12! Returnal, Resident Evil Village, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart join the list. Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, once a PS4-exclusive, knocks off Godfall, which will soon no longer be a PS5 console-exclusive.

Update 2/4/2021: Excellent work, 47. Hitman 3 joins the ranks.

Update 12/25/2020: Immortals Fenyx Rising has earned a seat on the pantheon. Also, Destiny 2’s next-gen update and Beyond Light expansion make it feel like a new, and awesome, game.

Update: 25/4/2024: Retimed as an Anzac Day public holiday read.

Originally published 26/12/23. This piece has been updated many times since.


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