What are the best games on PlayStation 5? Now that supply issues are over, Sony’s latest console is flying off shelves, while its library of games rapidly fills up. New and old PS5 owners will be wondering what to play, so here’s our living list of the best video games available on the platform, to be updated as more games come out.
Our recommendation lists here at Polygon ordinarily contain 22 games, because it’s a solid number that can encompass many different kinds of games. This list doesn’t have 22 picks because, well, the PS5 is still young. However, it does have backward compatibility with PlayStation 4 games, so our list of the 22 best PS4 games will also serve you well.
Alan Wake 2
It’s a bold move, on the part of Remedy Entertainment, to actually make a decade-late sequel to a game that defined the studio, but whose ambitions it has arguably outgrown in the years since — particularly in its stunning, architectural action game Control. Might a trip back to Alan Wake’s spooky woods, so obviously haunted by the ghosts of Stephen King and David Lynch, not feel like a step back?
Hardly. What Remedy created by bringing all its experience to bear on its most beloved creation is nothing short of a survival horror masterpiece, as well as a meta mystery about its own creation. Horror author Alan is joined by a co-protagonist, FBI agent Saga Anderson, who’s investigating a case linked to Alan’s disappearance over a decade earlier. Using this dual setup — impressively, you can fluidly switch between Alan’s and Saga’s stories essentially at your discretion — Remedy works outward from the original game’s premise, twisting it into a methodical detective thriller one moment and a reality-bending cosmic horror the next. Alan Wake 2 announces the start of a new generation of blockbuster horror gaming. —Oli Welsh
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is securely a role-playing game with a stealth influence, instead of the other way around. It allows the player to enact both large-scale battles and quick assassinations while hidden within a crowd. The Vikings, too, introduce their own expression of stealth in their raids, where narrow longships sneak up to encampments to attack without warning. Eivor has an assassin’s blade, a gift given to her from Sigurd. Hers, though, is not hidden — she wears it atop her cloak, because she wants her foes to see their fates in her weapon.
Valhalla’s most intriguing story is one about faith, honor, and family, but it’s buried inside this massive, massive world stuffed with combat and side quests. That balance is not always ideal, but I’m glad, at least, that it forces me to spend more time seeking out interesting things in the game’s world. —Nicole Carpenter
Astro’s Playroom is themed around the idea that you’re running around inside your working PlayStation 5. The first area, Cooling Springs, is filled with waterslides and glaciers, implying that it’s keeping the heat down to a manageable level. This cute theming runs throughout the game, showing off different chunks of the hardware.
As in any great platformer, it’s a treat to just run around the environment in Astro’s Playroom. Astro doesn’t have as wide a range of talents as, say, Mario in Super Mario Odyssey, but he does have a handy jetpack, a fierce spin attack, and the ability to tug on ropes real hard. Each of these activates the new haptics in the DualSense controller, showing off the nuances of the enhanced vibration technology. As just a simple example, if you walk across a glass surface as Astro, you’ll feel the small tippy-taps of each step within the controller. Tugging on a rope to launch an underground enemy into the sky yields a far different experience, with a more intense vibration within the whole of the controller, followed by the ka-thunk of Astro falling back on his robutt.
Without playing it, it’s easy to write off Astro’s Playroom as a silly, ignorable pack-in game, something to fill up your system storage while you wait for the actual games to download. But it turns out that this is one of the best platformers Sony has ever made, matching the charm and fluidity of a Nintendo platformer while also demonstrating the power of this new console. —Russ Frushtick
Baldur’s Gate 3
Even after a very impressive three-year early-access period on PC, it’s still a shock how big a critical and commercial hit Larian Studios’ hardcore Dungeons & Dragons-based role-playing game turned out to be. It’s also surprising how well the Belgian studio has adapted this very computer-centric genre to console; Baldur’s Gate 3 feels perfectly at home on PS5.
Perhaps thanks to the popularization of D&D via actual-play series, the whole world seems primed and ready for a game like this — and Larian overdelivers in spectacular fashion. Baldur’s Gate 3 is as close to tabletop role-playing as you can get in video games, delivering strong storytelling, indelible characters, incredible flexibility and player agency, and the requisite side order of messiness, happy chaos, and barely disguised horniness. All this, and the PS5 version offers split-screen co-op, too. It’s simply one of the best role-playing games of all time. —OW
By the time I went through my final run of Deathloop, I thought I would’ve walked away from the game feeling like a superpowered, time-bending assassin. Instead, the game made me feel like a masterful speedrunner.
That’s because there’s only one way to succeed in this time-looping game: To win, I must memorize the routines of all my assassination targets throughout four unique times of the day. Not only that, I have to set up specific scenarios so I can put them all at the right place at the right time to get eliminated. Mastering everything I needed to know took around 20 hours of living the same day over and over again. The payoff for all that hard work had me at the edge of my seat.
The endgame scenario for Deathloop requires me to take out each of my targets in a single run. It felt like setting up dominos that would then smoothly fall down in the most stylish way possible. The excitement of executing a well-made plan armed with knowledge — and a powerful arsenal of weapons and superpowers — made the hours of investigation and prep work feel worthwhile.
Deathloop still has a handful of mysteries left for me to unravel, and I can’t wait to uncover all of Blackreef’s secrets. —Jeff Ramos
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut is the definitive way to play one of the strangest games of the past few years. Where 2019’s Death Stranding welcomed a dedicated audience — and a good chunk of players that quickly bounced off — Director’s Cut makes Hideo Kojima’s independent debut more accessible without sacrificing its unique identity.
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut still asks Sam Porter Bridges to walk across a condensed version of the United States, precariously stacking packages on his back. But this time, Sam has more tools in the initial leg of his cross-country journey. Instead of spending the first 15 hours walking around with a rope as your only weapon, you can quickly get a gun that stuns enemies with lightning. And instead of winging it in your first combat scenario with a new piece of gear, the re-release of Death Stranding offers a substantial firing range for you to test your loadout.
But for all of its fancy new toys, Death Stranding is still a game about doing the grunt work necessary to connect with others. Its script can be metaphorically clumsy, but it never stumbles in expressing those metaphors through the gameplay itself.
Nobody has ever accused Hideo Kojima of subtlety, but it’s Death Stranding: Director’s Cut’s smallest changes that make it so much easier to recommend. —Ryan Gilliam
Demon’s Souls has good bones. It was true in 2009, when developer FromSoftware released the mechanically groundbreaking role-playing game on PlayStation 3, and remains true for Bluepoint Games’ remake, released alongside Sony’s PlayStation 5 this week.
Over those bones is a gorgeous remodeling. Every texture in Demon’s Souls has been painstakingly repainted, sometimes to the point of questionable reinterpretation. Every stilted animation appears to have been replaced by three or four new ones, all of them remixed with more lifelike flourishes. Many of the original game’s points of aggravation, like long load times and frequent backtracking, have been softened or nearly eliminated. But rarely does Bluepoint muck with the foundation of Demon’s Souls, because to do so would be sacrilege. —Michael McWhertor
Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition
Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition isn’t a new game like the others on the list, but it is one of the first examples out the gate that put the promises of next-generation hardware on full display. The world of Devil May Cry always seems to be slick with something — water, demonic ooze, slimy roots of a world-sized tree filled with blood. All of that dazzles with easily accessible ray tracing, even if it’s a little stomach churning. Some of the most memorable set piece battles look better than before, and having a higher frame rate makes the constant action much easier to follow.
Capcom stuffed the game with characters on the first go-round, switching the campaign between three heroes with their own distinct, over-the-top fighting styles. (And the special edition adds big bad Vergil as a playable option, letting you replay the entire campaign from a new perspective.) All these options offer variety that makes the campaign — which embraces demonic camp as well as any great CW show — worth experiencing all over again. This was an excellent game when it came out in 2019, but hopefully its special edition treatment means more people will appreciate its campiness and stellar action. —Chelsea Stark
The intricate, demanding action-RPG format FromSoftware started with Demon’s Souls gets blown out into an epic open-world adventure in Elden Ring, and miraculously loses nothing in the transition. What it gains is sheer scale, breadth to go with the traditional Soulslike depth, as well as a sense of freedom and discovery that the warrens of the Dark Souls games could never provide. But it’s still as mysterious and sorrowful as fans of From’s string of dark fantasy masterpieces have come to expect.
You have to be up for a challenge: Elden Ring is still not an easy game, although like its predecessors its difficulty has been overstated. This is, as ever, a game in which patience, restraint, and planning will take you just as far if not further than razor-sharp reactions, even in some of the most testing boss encounters in gaming history. But the openness of Elden Ring’s world, and the sheer flexibility of its class designs, make it From’s most inviting game to date, without sacrificing any of its imposing stature. A modern classic. —OW
God of War Ragnarök
Santa Monica Studio’s grandstanding cinematic beat-’em-up is the latest perfection of a certain kind of high-gloss, low-brain-cell entertainment Sony has always done so well. That’s not to say it’s not clever — there’s a very good, well-balanced action game in here, which interlocks neatly with some understated but satisfying RPG-lite character advancement. There’s also a smart script that assembles a lovable family of weirdos around our gruff, god-killing hero, Kratos, as it explores the soapier side of Norse mythology. And it’s topped off with the absolutely inspired casting of Richard Schiff (The West Wing’s Toby) as an irritable, grousing Odin.
It’s just that it all goes down so easy — intentionally so. This isn’t Baldur’s Gate 3 or Elden Ring; it’s a largely on-rails spectacle full of delightfully brainless button-mashing, surprisingly touching acting, and a steady drumbeat of Big Moments to keep you alert. It also looks incredible, considering it was a cross-generational release with PlayStation 4. Just an extremely solid blockbuster. —OW
Gran Turismo 7
Somehow, over 25 years in, a PlayStation console just doesn’t feel complete until it has its Gran Turismo game. That happened for PS5 in 2022 when it got GT7, which, despite some initial missteps around the grindiness of the economy and some overpriced microtransactions, is actually one of the most roundly satisfying, accessible, and just plain fun games in the series’ history.
Joyfully, instead of chasing trends, Polyphony Digital leans into Gran Turismo’s unique and slightly stuffy character to make a game that’s endearing in the way that it overflows with a nerdy love of cars and racing. The driving simulation is excellent and the photorealistic visuals are peerless, of course — but what reels you in is the charming single-player Café mode that takes you on a guided tour of the game’s thoughtfully selected garage, complete with sweetly enthusiastic talking heads.
In a genre that often focuses on customization and box-ticking features, Gran Turismo 7 feels wonderfully authored and personal in all its myriad activities, from licence tests to mission challenges or the Scapes photo mode. It also has, in GT Sport, a superb online racing suite that’s both accessible and fair. Gran Turismo is still the thinking person’s racing series. —OW
If you only get one indie game for your PS5, make it Supergiant Games’ definitive dungeon crawl set in the world of Greek myth. Hades swept every game of the year award in 2020 — a rare feat for a small independent production — before it had even landed on PlayStation and Xbox platforms. It’s not hard to understand why. It’s a game of immense depth but also huge charm, that’s as sophisticated in its funny, gossipy storytelling as it is in its razor-sharp combat and roguelike-inspired structure.
Hades casts the player as Zagreus, the rebellious son of Hades, lord of the Underworld, who’s making repeated attempts to escape his father’s realm. Every run takes you a little further through a randomized labyrinth of deadly rooms, using random boons and weapons bestowed upon Zagreus by the indulgent gods of Olympus. Hades is never the same, but you’re always mastering it, and discovering more about its sharply written gallery of gods; also, the mythical setting, where death is a trifle and immortality is a bore, is a perfect fit for the Groundhog Day action of a roguelike. Simply put, a masterpiece. —OW
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is that next-gen title that awes you the entire way through. It looks stunning, the controller plays a big role in the gameplay, and the amount of bolts and particles on screen at any given time can be jaw-dropping.
But as expensive as Rift Apart looks, it’s also just a great Ratchet & Clank game. Rift Apart takes classic Ratchet & Clank ideas and modernizes them. The series’ famous wacky weapons have unique alternate fire modes, activated by how hard you pull down the trigger. And the typical collect-a-thon aspects get a refresh thanks to the exciting Rift system and a detailed map.
But the latest Ratchet also tells a story that changes its world forever, adding Rivet and Kit as another powerful duo in its ever-expanding cast of characters. If you’ve spent years playing Ratchet games, Rift Apart likely won’t surprise you outside of its visuals. But if you’ve missed the series, or haven’t played them in years, Rift Apart is a great reminder of why the Lombax and his robot pal have stuck around for 19 years. —Ryan Gilliam
Returnal was the first PS5 game, outside of the free Astro’s Playroom, that really took advantage of what the new DualSense controller could do. To test the limits of the controller’s feedback, Housemarque took its refined arcade shooter craft and planted it in a third-person roguelite. The result is a game that demands precision — precision that your fancy new controller helps afford with its haptic triggers and immersive rumble.
Returnal’s controller feedback is, outside of some stunning visuals, its most iconic feature. And because of some of the game’s downfalls, like its uneven repetition and imbalanced Parasite system, it’s perhaps doomed to be remembered mainly as a great showcase game for the PlayStation 5. But Returnal is still a game every PlayStation 5 owner should pick up and play, if only to feel every bit of that $500 rumble in your fingers. —Ryan Gilliam
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
The word for Spider-Man 2 is confidence: This is an astonishingly slick, enjoyable, and just very together superhero adventure that even has the ambition to take some big storytelling risks as it puts its own spin on Spider-Man lore. It pays off in perhaps the most accessible and glossily entertaining PS5 game to date.
At its core, this is an iteration on — and combination of — what worked in the first Spider-Man and Miles Morales, getting great mileage from bringing the two heroes together. You have the same peerless web-swinging traversal system and fluid combat combined with a more bustling city and a much more upbeat and socially conscious (and less cop-centric) attitude. As it’s a PS5 exclusive this time, there are impressive new tech flourishes too, like the lightning-quick fast travel and the ray-traced reflections on all those glass skyscrapers.
But what really makes Spider-Man 2 come out swinging is Insomniac’s greater confidence as a storyteller, taking on perhaps the ultimate Spider-Man storyline — the advent of the symbiotes and Venom — and twisting it into an even more potent form, staging some unforgettable set-pieces along the way. —OW
Street Fighter 6
There’s so much to love about Capcom’s textbook revival of its fighting game champion: the deep, rewarding combat system, the plethora of ways to play, the series-best lineup of old and new characters, and the gloriously extravagant, pugnacious, and characterful design and animation that brings it all to vivid life. It’s absolutely a new high water mark in fighting games — but the best part of it is that it’s also a revolution in accessibility for the genre.
Street Fighter 6 introduces a number of important innovations aimed at opening up this sometimes intimidating competitive gaming space. There’s the World Tour campaign that patiently teaches you the fundamentals as you level up a custom fighter. And there are also new control schemes — the streamlined Modern setup and the assisted button-mashing Dynamic mode — designed to welcome players of every skill and experience level into the fray. As much of a blast as a casual party game as it is in ranked online play, Street Fighter 6 is the first fighting game in a very, very long time that can claim to be for everyone. —Oli Welsh
Watch Dogs: Legion
I’d worried that Legion’s be-anyone approach might turn its characters into the game’s loot — valued only for the skill or perk they bring to the team, and robbing us of anyone worth caring about. You might be left with that feeling if you play without the game’s permadeath option, which has to be activated at the start of a campaign (it can be later turned off, but not reactivated). I recommend users turn the permadeath option on. It feels like the ‘right way’ to play.
I’m glad I restarted Watch Dogs: Legion’s campaign very early in my playthrough, after finding the guards’ and thugs’ oblivious AI triflingly easy to exploit at standard difficulty. Only permadeath and hard difficulty forced me to plan out and solve each level as a puzzle — which should be the enjoyment of a game built around hacking, after all — rather than blunder through an impromptu shooting gallery out of impatience or a bad decision. Experienced gamers, or anyone familiar with how Ubisoft handles the stealth business, should play on these settings.
I didn’t find any nasty difficulty spikes waiting for me as the story advanced through the Ubisoft formula of taking down a series of bad actors and discovering how they’re linked, before the big reveal and concluding showdown. Watch Dogs: Legion’s story may be templatized, but it benefits considerably from a richly illustrated, believably near-future London, and plot lines that are unafraid to tackle troubling subjects or put a subtle opinion on them. —Owen Good