Wow, you really managed to get a PlayStation 5. Congratulations! It must have been a long, arduous journey, but ultimately you prevailed. Here’s even better news: There are quite a number of titles to buy or try right now to show off your shiny new console.
The PlayStation 5 had arguably the best launch year in the brand’s two-decade history, and its library is only going to get better. The console comes with the impressive “Astro’s Playroom,” which wonderfully shows off the new haptics of the PS5′s DualSense controllers while serving up several levels of PlayStation nostalgia. But since you’ve technically already “bought” that title, we’re leaving it off our list of the console’s best games to buy.
Some of these titles are no-brainer purchases, but we’re covering all our bases here. And if the PlayStation 5 is your first Sony console, consider dipping into the back catalogue of incredible PlayStation 4 exclusives. You can read our rankings of those titles here (some of which have since been ported to PC as well).
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition
Sony can’t quite call Spider-Man the official PlayStation mascot, but the character may as well be, since Spidey-centric games remain exclusive to the console for now. The “Miles Morales” chapter of the Insomniac Games Spider-Man saga has been the console’s hottest seller, and why not? It’s the follow-up to the greatest superhero game ever made: “Marvel’s Spider-Man” for the PS4.
While it boasts a steeper price, we highly recommend purchasing the ultimate edition of the game, as it comes with the remastered Peter Parker adventure that released in 2018, spruced up with ray-tracing, real-time reflections, improved texture work and other significant graphic upgrades. These two games are the perfect excuses to keep the hype burning after watching “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” It especially helps that both of these stories are far better at capturing the spirit of Spider-Man stories than any of the Hollywood efforts, including the Sam Raimi films.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
It’s a game often counted among the best games of 2021, and it took home the award for best game graphics that year from respected tech analysis outlet Digital Foundry. In our review, we called “Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart” a practically perfect video game.
It’s a classic, character platforming game with tons of kid-friendly action along with animation and story that’s as good as any big-budget, 3-D animated feature film. If you’re going to pick one game that’s going to wow the most people, Insomniac Games is three for three on the PS5 with its Spider-Man games and now this.
“Demon’s Souls” was both a PS5 launch game and a remake of the seminal, 2009 PlayStation 3 exclusive that kick-started the Souls-like genre of role-playing games, which demand patience and skill. Because it’s the first of its kind, it’s a great introduction to both the series and genre, and even after a year, it’s still one of the most stunning looking games ever released.
Before diving into “Elden Ring,” one of 2022′s most highly anticipated games from the developer behind the original “Demon’s Souls,” try out the remake for the PS5.
“Returnal” by Housemarque provides a quicker, more reaction-based style of play for you, as it harks back to old-school bullet-hell shooters inside a modern, third-person game. In our original impressions of the title, our Gene Park described it as a good fit for those who “adore gothic horror or biomechanical science fiction, a la ‘Alien’ and ‘Annihilation.’ ” That’s true — with a catch.
“Returnal” and “Demon’s Souls” can be tough to recommend if you’re not up to failing and retrying a lot. But both games offer some of the best replay value on the market today because of the inherent challenge. If you’re up to the task, give “Returnal” a whirl.
Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut
We’re entering into remaster territory because it’s still slim pickings for new experiences on the PS5 — at least until the 2022 release calendar starts in earnest. “Ghost of Tsushima,” the swan song from Sucker Punch Productions for the PS4, was already one of the most gorgeous games ever made. The PS5 “Director’s Cut” upgrade is better still, filling the screen with enrapturing vistas and gorgeous animation framing the cinematic samurai violence. It’s one of the tightest, cleanest, open-world experiences to date, surpassing even the Assassin’s Creed series from which it draws inspiration, making it a can’t-miss modern PlayStation game.
Final Fantasy VII: Remake Intergrade
The original “Final Fantasy VII Remake” rivals the best 3-D film productions when it comes to animation quality, texture work and even lighting, and the “Intergrade” upgrade for the PS5 just fixes a lot of the PS4 original’s rough patches. If “Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart” looks like a Pixar film in game form, Square Enix’s update of the classic role-playing title is the prettiest 3-D anime-style game ever made.
It helps that the story of “Final Fantasy VII” is a canonical classic in the games medium. This is the best possible introduction to the world, stories and characters of the Final Fantasy series.
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut
Hideo Kojima’s latest work is the least violent big-budget video game in a long time, actively discouraging lethal violence in favor of taking in the sights during long hikes while reflecting on the meaning of life.
As the last two years made the world stir-crazy, Kojima’s 2019 game portended its problems in this playable visual concept album in which you play as Sam Bridges, a lone delivery man. You’re tasked with providing essential goods while people are quarantined inside to avoid an invisible and potentially lethal threat that they do not understand. It’s a game about logistics, taking stock of what you need for long journeys and helping other people without preconditions. Like “Tsushima,” this is another PS4 swan song elevated by the PS5′s power to present one of the most visually unique and stunning experiences on the market.