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The 10 PlayStation 5 Best Games

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The vast bulk of games playable on the PS4 is playable on the PS5 via backward compatibility. Beyond that, members of the PS Plus subscription service get access to the PS Plus Collection, a bonus that offers some of the most acclaimed PS4 games—including BloodborneUncharted 4, and God of War—at no extra cost. All of those games are downloadable from the PS5’s dashboard. And then there’s PS Now, a $10-monthly service that enables you to stream or download hundreds of PlayStation games right to your PlayStation 5.

The PS5 has fewer next-gen-only offerings at this point, but the few it has are an impressive lot.

Lost Judgment

Lost Judgment, the sequel to a spinoff of Sega’s immensely popular Yakuza series, is one of those rare games that’s both a throwback and a modern marvel. Unlike the prior entry, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which featured a turn-based combat system, Lost Judgment revives the fast-paced, no-holds-barred brawling of previous Yakuza games. The characters are a hoot. The writing’s sharp and clever. Plus, you get to ride around town—the series’ stalwart location of Kamurocho makes a return—on a skateboard.

Life is Strange: True Colors

You probably know what you’re getting into when you start a Life is Strange game: pastel visuals, light puzzles, and pivotal choices for which there’s no “right” decision, with deliciously twee indie rock playing while you mull your options. Yes, Life is Strange: True Colors is all of that, but it’s also much, much more. You play as Alex Chen, fresh out of a group home, visiting her brother, who’s offered her a chance at a fresh start in an idyllic new town. Though the plot starts slow, the stakes quickly hit a peak, folding in developments more bonkers than anything in prior Life. You often hear chatter about how games imitate films. Life is Strange: True Colors is one example where films should definitely imitate games.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

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!

Returnal

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. 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 looks like next-gen games. Returnal feels like one, too.

VILLAGE

Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil Village will give you anxiety. Picking up shortly after the events of Resident Evil 7Village once again puts you in the shoes of Ethan Winters. At the start of the game, Chris Redfield, another longtime Resident Evil hero, shows up at Ethan’s house, shoots his wife, kidnaps his daughter, and disappears into the night. Ethan is dropped in a nondescript European village in search of answers. Instead, he finds monsters. The moment-to-moment gameplay is tense and is far less focused on action than some of the more recent series entries. Ammo isn’t exactly plentiful. Guns can jam up. And though fear is of course subjective, there are some moments that are genuinely terrifying. Oh, yeah, and there’s also a tall lady.

Hitman 3

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.

Destiny 2

In December, 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 starting point for new players.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Spider-Man: Miles Morales is everything its predecessor (2018’s Spider-Man) was and more. Playing as Miles Morales gives you access to a far deeper bag of tricks than Peter Parker had at his disposal. You can still swing from Harlem to Fidi in seconds but can bust out more than 20 stylish SSX-style flips along the way, rather than just a handful. Miles also has a literally shocking set of powers that augment his strikes and can turn invisible at the drop of a hat. Beyond the toolkit, the narrative is tighter, more personal, and more contained than the 2018 game’s. Of course, since this is a next-gen launch title and all, you’re probably wondering about visual enhancements and the like. The answer is yes, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is quite a looker, featuring two different rendering modes that prioritize either razor-sharp resolution and image quality or a smooth framerate of 60 fps.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

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 (OriginsOdyssey) than the middle-aged ones (SyndicateBlack 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.

Demon’s Souls

Although the PlayStation 5 might not have a lot to offer right now, 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.

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