With the PlayStation 5 having now been in the hands of scalpers for just over a year, and having had the opportunity to play through a good number of releases on the platform myself, it’s time to start tracking the best titles available on Sony’s console. I plan to keep revisiting this list throughout the PS5’s lifespan, so keep checking back as new releases come in!
10. Tales of Arise
For a franchise that had committed to such regular releases, the five year wait between the critically acclaimed Tales of Berseria and 2021 release Tales of Arise felt unnervingly long. When it did finally arrive, it felt like the jump into modernity that the franchise had been needing since the PlayStation 3 era. With visuals now equaling the ambitious quest you head out on, Tales of Arise was a big hit with fans around the world. The combat was rapid, the characters were likeable (as always) and the story was interesting. While it does feel a little rushed in the latter half of the adventure, there’s a great game on offer here and a solid base for Bandai Namco to build off in the future.
9. Astro’s Playroom
Astro’s Playroom has no business being this good. A free pack-in game designed to show off the new features of Sony’s Dualshock controller, Astro’s Playroom is the somewhat follow up to Astro Bot Rescue Mission, a 2018 PlayStation VR game which earned itself a reputation as one of the key reasons to invest in the headset. Honestly, before I got my hands on my PS5, I had no intention of sinking as much time into this title as I did, but the sheer fun I was having actually even stopped me from playing the other games I picked up at launch for a bit. With the news that Team Asobi has now been spun off into their own studio, I’m excited to see where Astro goes from here.
8. It Takes Two
I’ve written before about It Takes Two, developer Hazelight Studios’ latest foray into the co-operative multiplayer space, but it really is a game that continues to shine, even on repeated playthroughs. The narrative tissue holding the levels together might be an area for improvement the next time around, but who really cares when the levels themselves are so fun? Each new area of the game brings along its own set of gameplay mechanics, from third-person shooter to top-down dungeon crawler, each one feeling like a lovingly crafted homage to gamings biggest genres. The division of abilities between the two leads is also very impressive – players never feel like they’ve picked the short straw, as both characters receive fun power ups and special tools to keep the adventure moving.
7. Marvel’s Spider Man: Miles Morales
Swinging into action on the PS5, Spider-Man Miles Morales was a great follow up to 2018’s Spider-Man on the PS4. A smaller story than its predecessor, Miles Morales is more of an addendum than a full on sequel, but it brings in some new gameplay mechanics that keep things fresh, even as much of the city stays the same. By shifting focus from Peter Parker’s antics, Miles Morales tells a much more grounded and personal story, one that feels distinctly connected to its setting in a way that few superhero games manage. I loved exploring New York with a fresh set of eyes and playing through Miles’ story – so much so that I ended up playing it twice in order to get my hands on that shiny platinum trophy.
6. The Artful Escape
The Artful Escape may well be my personal favourite game on the system, an experience imbued with such an innate sense of wonder that I often found myself open-jawed while riffing through its interstellar adventure on a journey of self-discovery. I’m aware that The Artful Escape might not be for everyone – it’s relatively light on gameplay – but as someone who is falling ever more in love with the artistic side of games, Beethoven & Dinosaur‘s release took a hold of my heart and didn’t let go until I’d finished. Even now, the soundtrack is on heavy rotation.
Arkane Studios have had a stellar showing over the last few generations, and if Deathloop is anything to go by, that’s a trend that’ll continue into the new era of consoles. Their latest release continues to boast the kind of slick action that the developers have come to be known for, this time pushing it even further into the forefront of the gameplay experience. While Dishonored generally pushed you towards stealth (but gave you enough power to survive open combat), Deathloop feels like it’s telling you to run and gun all over the place. With releases such as Outer Wilds, the gaming industry seems to be going through a ‘time loop’ boom at the moment, and Deathloop is yet another success in the narrative genre.
4. The Pathless
Wearing its Okami and Legend of Zelda influence on its sleeve, The Pathless was another brilliant launch title for the PS5. Developers Giant Squid made a name for themselves with the release of diving game Abzu, but The Pathless sees them pushing into much more ambitious territory. The game tells the story of a nameless hunter as she journeys to free the four corrupted spirits and defeat the oppressive Godslayer. Visually striking and featuring some great little puzzles to solve, the world of The Pathless is a joy to traverse. I can’t tell you how happy I was to finally get my hands on this one and find that it lived up to expectation.
3. Demon’s Souls
FromSoftware’s Soulsborne games have become a titan in the industry, earning themselves a devoted following from their hardcore fanbase, eager for the challenge that only they can offer. My first experience with one of these games was Bloodborne on the PS4, a game that I actually bounced pretty quickly off of, but as the only true PS5 exclusive at launch, I felt the timing might be right for me to dip my toe back into FromSoftware’s dark and brooding waters. What a good decision that turned out to be. The world of Demon’s Souls is gruelling, yes, but so, so rewarding, and the amount of freedom you had to develop and customise your character means that no two playthroughs have to feel the same. Since finishing Demon’s Souls, I’ve gone on to explore more of the Soulsborne universe, something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, and have this game to thank for. Truly stellar.
2. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
The best showcase of the power of PlayStation 5 so far, and possibly the most outright fun offered by any of its games, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart feels like the series’ homecoming. It’s been a while since the lombax and his mechanical friend have managed to capture the zeitgeist like they did here. A roaring adventure that was a blast to play from beginning to end, Rift Apart introduces new characters that never feel forced, instead feeling like they have belonged in the series the whole time. The Ratchet & Clank series has always excelled at creating exciting and quirky gameplay experiences, and with Rift Apart, Insomniac Games have reached a new pinnacle of excellence.
1. Death’s Door
It feels a little odd talking about the best games on Sony’s latest console and giving the number one spot to Death’s Door – a small indie game playable on Nintendo’s comparatively underpowered Switch that launched as an exclusive to Xbox, but it really is just that good. While it may not be as flashy as some of the other titles on this list, Death’s Door has a heart to it that can’t be denied, and it oozes charm in spades. Counting Studio Ghibli, classic Zelda and the Souls games among its influences, Death’s Door manages to draw from each of them without ever losing its own sense of humour and identity. The growth developers Acid Nerve have shown since their previous release, the pixel art Titan Souls is almost unbelievable, and while that was an enjoyable enough experience, Death’s Door will undoubtedly stand the test of time as a true classic.