The largest console you’ll ever clap eyes on has been out for well over two years now. And rejoice, because getting your hands on a PlayStation5 has got much easier. The PS5 boasts some of the best games and exclusives of all the consoles, too.
Unlike the Xbox Series X, which launched without any first-party games and continues to push Xbox Game Pass and studio acquisitions as its biggest draw, Sony has a typically diverse little collection of them already, each utilising in some way the PS5’s huge power boost and an innovative new controller. And like the Xbox Series X, the latest PlayStation is capable of making last-gen games look and run better, so there’s plenty to get stuck into if you’re lucky enough to have one under your TV.
We’ve been putting the PS5 through its paces since day one, and have put together a list of the games we think you should be playing first. Here are the best PS5 games to buy and play first, in no particular order.
Additional copy by Jack Needham
1. Astro’s Playroom
For all of its graphics and CPU advancements, the most interesting thing about the PS5 is the new DualSense controller, and Astro’s Playroom is the perfect demonstration of its various innovations – definitely one of the best PS5 games around!
The game itself is a charming, if fairly basic 3D platformer, but add the DualSense’s functionality and it becomes something entirely unique. Through the haptics, you can feel the titular robot’s footsteps in your hands, or the slap of impact when he plunges into water. The new adaptive triggers, meanwhile, tighten when Astro later discovers a bow and arrow, and lock up altogether when he runs out of coins to play the crane game in the main hub. There are loads of great ideas here, many of which will no doubt be pinched for future PS5 games.
And aside from all that, Astro’s Playroom is also absolutely jam-packed with Easter eggs and tributes to PlayStation’s 25-year history, all of which are well worth seeking out, and none of which we are going to spoil. The five hours we spent with the game gave us some of our best gaming moments of the year, and given that it’s absolutely free and comes pre-loaded on every PS5 console, it’s the easiest recommendation we’ll ever make.
2. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
It’s Christmas in The Big Apple, but the city’s newest web-headed crimefighter has no time for ice skating and unsuccessful shopping trips. As you’d expect there’s some villainy afoot, and with original Spider-Man, Peter Parker, out of town, it’s up to his new partner Miles to suit up and put a stop to it.
If you played 2018’s excellent Spider-Man game you’ll feel right at home here; Miles Morales is more of a generous expansion than a whole new game, but its 10ish-hour campaign cuts off a lot of its predecessor’s fat, while adding more variety to missions and some excellent new characters. And the swinging still feels as fantastic as it did two years ago.
Miles Morales is also a technical showcase for your new console, with much-improved draw distance, super sharp 4K visuals and impressive ray tracing reflections. Who needs Pete?
3. Demon’s Souls
Confession time: we’re yet to down the first boss in Demon’s Souls, a ground-up remake of the 2009 PS3 cult classic that set the blueprint for the Dark Souls series that followed.
While the visual performance of the game – entirely redone with modern technology, running in 4K at a buttery smooth 60fps on PS5 – is very different, the merciless difficulty that the Souls games are known for remains intact, and some series veterans will tell you that Demon’s Souls is the most unforgiving of the lot.
Still, those who put in the work insist that no game has a loop as satisfying as that of this one and its contemporaries, and with the stunningly reimagined kingdom of Boletaria harnessing the PS5’s power in what is easily one of the best-looking games ever made, there’s no better time to get stuck in and show those unnecessarily large monsters who’s boss. Which we intend to do too.
4. Baldur’s Gate 3
Larian Studios’ bewilderingly imaginative RPG arrived on PS5 slightly later than its PC counterpart, and while the game still feels most at home with a mouse and keyboard in front of you, the developer has done an impressive job of transitioning its epic adventure to console, slightly tweaking the UI so it’s easier to navigate with a controller. On the whole, performance is excellent too.
As for the game itself, we called Baldur’s Gate 3 a marvel in our review, its video gamification of a tabletop D&D campaign something no other game has managed to pull off so effectively. It can be daunting at first, but learn its ways and you’ll be rewarded with a role-playing game of truly endless possibilities, and easily one of the most rewarding experiences you can have on PS5.
The latest game from the studio behind the now legendary Tetris Effect has reimagined another classic puzzle game, only this time it’s Lemmings. In Humanity you play as a Shiba Inu (a hunting dog breed from Japan) that is tasked with guiding enormous crowds of humans to a goal by dropping directional commands on the floor that they obediently follow. At least, that’s what you’re doing initially.
The game just keeps layering on new ideas, solutions, and obstacles. To keep on top of it all you need to be one seriously good dog, but Humanity somehow never feels completely overwhelming. And as you’d expect from an Enhance game, it looks and sounds amazing, with a pulsating synthy score that combines with what’s happening on screen for an almost trance-like experience – especially when played in VR with PlayStation VR 2. If you’ve got PS Plus Extra or above, you can download Humanity at no extra cost, and you really should if you like puzzle games.
6. Street Fighter 6
Thanks to an abundance of modes that cater to all skill levels, Street Fighter 6 is the ultimate fighting game package and, unlike its controversial predecessor, feels like a finished one from the off. The Yakuza-esque single-player campaign is ideal for teaching novices how to play, as is a simplified control system that removes a lot of the complex quirks that makes the genre so impenetrable to those who didn’t grow up with it.
The roster was already sizeable at launch and will only get bigger as new characters arrive in future updates, while Capcom’s decision to adopt its RE Engine pays off, with some of the best visuals we’ve ever seen in a fighting game. There really isn’t much to find fault with here.
Time loop games were very much in vogue in 2021, but the one that we’ve thought about the most is Deathloop. The hidden isle of Blackreef is doomed to repeat the same 24 hours forever, making death little more than a temporary inconvenience and the island’s residents as hedonistic and dangerous as might expect. As Colt Vahn, it’s up to you to break the loop.
If you’ve played any of Arkane’s previous games, such as Prey or the masterful Dishonored series, you’ll know that they’re all about giving the player freedom to tackle the first-person combat however they want. High chaos, super stealthy or a healthy blend of both: it’s up to you, and perhaps more than any of the studio’s games to date, Deathloop really does fully embrace every approach, and the result is a wildly entertaining sandbox of violence.
Hellbent on stopping Colt is his arch-nemesis Julianna, who at any point can invade your game. Offline she’s an AI-controlled character, but Deathloop’s online multiplayer component allows real players to assume the role of Julianna, which leads to some tense and hilarious battles that make your Deathloop experience feel totally unique.
8. Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut
We were admittedly pretty lukewarm on the PlayStation 4’s final big exclusive game at launch, but Ghost of Tsushima has still found a huge audience ready to sing its praises, and if you’re not taken by the Viking simulator that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is offering up, perhaps Sony’s samurai epic could be your next open-world obsession.
Ghost was already one of the best examples of a last-gen title that’s instantly improved by the PS5, and the Director’s Cut is now the definitive version. As well as benefiting from the shorter loading times, the game runs at a perfect 4K/60fps, making one-on-one duels – already one of the game’s strong points – even more epic to behold. And it looks mind-blowingly beautiful. Japanese lip-syncing – one of the most asked-for features from fans – has been added to the PS5 game, as well as some generous DualSense trickery and 3D audio support.
And we should probably mention the entirely new Iki Island, which adds a huge chunk of additional story content, a massive new environment, new characters, and most importantly of all, new animals to befriend.
9. Gran Turismo 7
In a genre increasingly dominated by the brilliant bonkers Forza Horizon series, we half-wondered if we could ever fall for Sony’s traditionally straight-faced sim racer again. But Gran Turismo 7 is a terrific reminder of why the GT series has lasted long enough to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.
This is still a game that’s head over heels in love with cars and car culture, but you really don’t need to be a petrolhead yourself to have a great time. As you set about collecting the 400 cars available at launch, GT7 does a great job of teaching you its many systems, and if you’d rather just drive there’s a massive suite of assist options.
We love the leisurely Cafe mode, in which a friendly chap named Luca gives you menus of cars to collect, lovingly telling you all about their history before introducing a new set, and Music Rally, which has you racing not against time, but a song’s BPM. With ray tracing support, full 3D audio and genuinely immersive DualSense features, Gran Turismo 7 should be in every PS5 owner’s collection.
10. God of War Ragnarok
Given the second half of 2022’s lack of AAA games, God of War Ragnarok didn’t have to do a huge amount to get us excited. But as it happened, huge is the only word to describe the sequel to the PS4 classic. This dizzyingly epic romp through Norse mythology takes everything that was good about the previous game and makes it bigger.
This is occasionally to the game’s detriment, with so much attention given to so many characters that the story can lose focus. But the heart of the game remains Kratos’ relationship with his increasingly adventurous son, Atreus, and the difficult balancing act of remembering to offer sound parental advice when they’re not slaying house-sized monsters together.
The combat is as brilliantly crunchy and visceral as it was in 2018, the puzzles still at the ‘just right’ level of taxing, and thanks to the power of the PS5 it all looks far better in motion. Controlling Kratos has never felt this good. Where God of War goes next is a conversation for another day, but if you’re looking for a supremely polished blockbuster right now, look no further.
Returnal definitely won’t be for everyone.
Arguably the first triple-A “roguelike”, this sci-fi shooter pits you against waves of unforgiving enemies as you explore a series of biomes on a hostile alien planet, and when you die (and you will die, a lot) you’re sent right back to the start, losing the majority of your weapons and often hours of hard-earned progress. To make things worse, the map is randomly generated so it’s not like you can memorise the most forgiving route.
But it’s also this uncompromising difficulty and nail-biting tension that makes Returnal one of the most thrilling and memorable games on the PS5. And sure, the constant dying can be frustrating, but when a game looks and feels as good in the hands as this one, the suffering feels worthwhile.
Arguably no PS5 game to date better shows off the potential of 3D audio, while the DualSense controller’s haptic feedback is brilliantly utilised. Returnal may well break you, but triumph, when it does come, has never been sweeter.
12. Disco Elysium – The Final Cut
Disco Elysium is an RPG in which gameplay revolves almost entirely around dialogue, so it’s a good thing that it’s easily one of the best-written games of all time, and features full voice acting on PS5, making a surreal and frequently laugh-out-loud funny adventure even better.
You play a detective charged with solving a murder, but there’s a small problem: you’re also an alcoholic and an amnesiac, so while you’re putting together the puzzle pieces of the aforementioned mystery, you’re doing the same for your whole life. This gives you total freedom to mould the character you want to play as, which can range from vaguely competent charmer to a chaotic disaster of a human being, and every dialogue choice you make can have consequences.
Navigating the disgraced city of Revachol is admittedly best done on PC with a mouse and keyboard, but if that isn’t an option for you, the PS5 alternative is still a must-play.
13. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
It’d be easy to call the latest entry in PlayStation’s long-running Ratchet & Clank series a playable blockbuster animated movie, but in truth, it looks even better in motion than a lot of those. Ratchet & Clank games have always been technically impressive beasts, and Rift Apart certainly doesn’t buck that trend.
Never less than stunning to behold, it gives the PS5 a serious workout, while the typically bonkers weapons you acquire throughout the game usually have a primary and secondary mode of fire that activate depending on how hard you squeeze the DualSense’s adaptive triggers. A Rift Apart is a PS5 exclusive and all the better for it.
It’s also just very fun to play. If you’ve played a Ratchet & Clank game before you already know what to expect: visit planets (as both Ratchet and a new female Lombax named Rivet), shoot aliens, collect bolts and buy even better weapons to do the same thing all over again. Mix in some rock-solid platforming and dazzling dimension-hopping set pieces and you’ve got a first-party game worth bragging about.
14. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
We adored the remake of two of the best sports games ever committed to code when it kickflipped onto last-gen hardware last year. Unsurprisingly, the PS5 upgrade makes a 5-star game even better.
As before, you get the two classic games rebuilt from the ground up in high definition, but now they run natively in 4K at 60fps, and can go up to 120fps if you’re willing to take a bit of a resolution hit. Haptic feedback courtesy of the DualSense makes landing big tricks feel even better in your hands, and there’s now support for spatial audio too.
While none of the enhancements radically change the experience, they do mean THPS 1 + 2 is one of the most impressive next-gen games to date, and to be honest, did you really need an excuse to drop into the Warehouse again?
- Now read: the best ever PlayStation games
15. Horizon Forbidden West
If you loved the PS4 classic Horizon Zero Dawn, you’ll be happy to know that its long-awaited sequel is simply more of everything that made the original so much fun. More robotic beasts to slay, more gadgets to take them down with, a bigger, even more beautiful world to explore, and much-improved side quests to lose hours to.
Protagonist Aloy is still a fascinating character to play as. In the first game she was oblivious to the secrets of the post-apocalyptic America she grew up in, where technology is feared and humans form tribes to survive. But in Forbidden West Aloy is a hardened warrior who knows her destiny, and it makes for an equally enticing adventure.
Horizon Forbidden West doesn’t reinvent the third-person action RPG, and if games that drown you in loot and quest icons aren’t your bag, this one probably won’t change your mind. The story gets pretty ridiculous too, but when combat and exploration is this much fun, it doesn’t really matter.
16. Elden Ring
FromSoftware’s first open-world game is nothing short of a masterpiece. We struggled to imagine how the very deliberate design of the Dark Souls games would translate to a game that lets you do and go whatever and wherever you like, but it has pulled it off and then some.
Surviving in The Lands Between is still incredibly difficult, and you’ll die a lot on your more than 80-hour journey. But unlike Bloodborne, Sekiro and Dark Souls before it, Elden Ring’s non-linear structure means that an inability to beat a certain boss doesn’t halt your enjoyment. Simply go somewhere else, get stronger and more powerful, and come back later.
Comparisons to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can be misleading, but what Elden Ring does have in common with Nintendo’s all-time great is its sense of adventure, and how it nearly always rewards your curiosity. It’s a game people will be talking about for years, and an absolute must-play on PS5
17. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection
There’s no new content in Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection. The two-game bundle brings together two of the PlayStation 4’s very best games, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, but content-wise they’re exactly the same games as they were before.
But Legacy of Thieves Collection is easily the best way to play these games today for one simple reason: 60fps. Sure, fidelity mode features some nice graphical flourishes that make the two action adventure classics look even better than before in shiny 4K, but its performance mode that’s a game-changer here. Once you’ve launched Nathan Drake towards a terrifying cliff face at a silky smooth 60fps, you’ll wonder how you ever tolerated anything else. If you’re willing to knock the resolution down to 1080p (and have a compatible TV) you can even play with a 120fps framerate.
If you’ve never experienced the globe-trotting thrill ride that is Uncharted 4, or the spinoff game that’s easily worthy of the mainline series’ name, then doing so on PS5 is essential. And if you ask us, the performance enhancements are enough to make both games worth replaying as soon as you get a chance.
18. Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade
The remake of one of the most beloved games of all time was already something of an impossible masterpiece on the last generation of consoles, but on PS5 it’s even better. Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is not only an even smoother, shinier reimagining of Cloud and co.’s escape from Midgar, but also includes a whole new episode which focuses on the ninja Yuffie, which is well worth playing through.
Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s slick real-time combat really sings in Performance Mode 60fps, while the various visual improvements make the game worth a revisit for those who played it on PS4. If you haven’t played Remake yet, this is absolutely the best way to experience one of the best games of the last few years, and with the next part of the trilogy coming next year, now is the perfect time to jump in.
19. Death Stranding: Director’s Cut
There has never been a game like Death Stranding, and we’re not sure there will ever be anything quite like it again. Kojima Productions’ first game is baffling, indulgent, and at times seemingly intentionally boring, but it’s also incredibly compelling once you settle into its strange rhythm, and you’ll be thinking about it for months after the credits roll.
You should play it, then, and if you’ve got a PS5 then the Director’s Cut is the version to get, thanks to graphical enhancements, clever use of the DualSense, and a few new mini-games that are a fun diversion from all the arduous box-lugging.
There probably isn’t enough fresh content here to warrant buying the game again, but first-time couriers are fortunate that Kojima’s singular creation is even better on Sony’s latest console.
20. Resident Evil 4
We’ve already been blessed with some pretty great Resident Evil remakes, but fans of the franchise waited with bated breath for the 2023 version of Resident Evil 4. The iconic 2005 survival horror pretty much changed the action genre overnight, and had some pretty terrifying moments to boot. Thankfully, the more polished Resident Evil 4 is a triumph that stays faithful to the original, while adding a few new scares for the experienced players.
The original Resident Evil 4 was a masterpiece, so it’s understandably quite a difficult task to improve on that. But rather, the remake feels like a lovable ode to the original, a remake crafted with care (and exploding heads).
We were all in on Stray from the moment the game was first revealed. A cyberpunk adventure game in which you explore a city occupied by robots as a stray cat – what’s not to love? Luckily, the final product is worthy of the initial pitch. While tedious stealth sections and unengaging combat occasionally get in the way, Stray‘s successes far outweigh its shortcomings. The game is stunning to look at, designed with real care, and absolutely nails the feeling of being a curious cat in a strange place. There’s also a dedicated meow button, because of course there is.
And while the cat might be the star here, it’s the tragic backstories of the slum-dwelling machines you meet along the way that’ll make you want to see the end. And at just over five hours in length, this is a rare game that is respectful of your time.
An indie gem that is best played on PS5 thanks to great DualSense integration and the fact that it’s free to anyone subscribed to the Extra and Premium tiers of the new PlayStation Plus.
22. OlliOlli World
We love this game so much that it also has a spot in our similarly prestigious best Nintendo Switch games roundup, but if the PS5 is your platform of choice and you like skateboarding games and, well, fun, then OlliOlli World has to be in your library.
The first two OlliOlli games were great – so much so that one of them even won a Bafta – but you can’t really say they were welcoming. OlliOlli World is a different story. While still a mostly 2D skateboarding side-scroller with a high skill ceiling, it’s immediately clear from the Saturday morning cartoon visual style that this is a game that wants you to succeed, rather than one that laughs at your failure. You don’t need to know anything about the story, other than that it takes you on a memorable skate tour of a screen-burstingly colouful fantasy world known as Radlandia, and that nobody’s fashion choices are judged. We wish we could live there, to be honest.
With nice use of the DualSense speaker and pin sharp visuals, the PS5 version of OlliOlli World might be the definitive version. Just make sure you play it somewhere.
23. The Last of Us Part I
You can make a very strong argument that remaking The Last of Us, a game that isn’t yet a decade old and still looks very nice, wasn’t the best use of Naughty Dog’s time and effort. But with a TV show on the way and the very powerful PS5 tech to play with, we also can’t say we massively blame the prestige Sony-owned developer, and the end result is one of the best games ever made, made better.
Much improved visuals, more detailed environments and upgraded, more convincing facial animation come together for a decidedly more immersive adventure across post-apocalyptic America, but it’s the 60fps performance mode that’s the star of the show. Like in the PS5’s Uncharted 4 remaster, the extra frames really do make a difference, and while the price tag is hard to stomach if you already own the original, we’d be lying if we said that playing through The Last of Us Part I hasn’t been one of our best PS5 experiences to date.
What do you get if you cross Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater with The Hunger Games? Something that looks a lot like Rollerdrome, that’s what. From the makers of the superb OlliOlli games (one of which also features in this list) comes this similarly trick-focused but decidedly more violent third-person action shooter, in which you leap and grind around futuristic skateparks on roller skates and try not to get shot out of the air mid-backflip.
In the blood sport known as Rollerdrome, the only way to survive the onslaught of armoured goons with big guns trying to kill you is to kill them first, but in order to keep your ammo stocked you need to perform tricks. It’s a bizarre and wholly unique setup for a game, and it doesn’t always work perfectly, but developer Roll7 knows how to make games about movement, and at its best Rollerdrome is one of the most stylish and thrilling games you can play on PS5.
Sifu successfully manages to bring a fresh take on what is a crowded, beat ’em up field. The game is there to you remind you that time is fleeting as you control a character that ages over the course of the game. You begin as a fresh-faced fighter who’s seeking revenge after their father’s death. Over time, the more you die the older you become, which puts a unique twist to the well used life system. The combat is great, too, and while at times the difficulty level can be infuriating it makes for sweet satisfaction when you make it past that tricky boss.