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Best PS5 Games 2021: All of the top games to play on the next-gen console

The PlayStation 5 has finally been released across the globe, meaning that millions of players can now jump into all of the fantastic experiences the next-gen console has to offer. 

Compared to the competition, it already boasts a strong selection of exclusive titles you can’t find anywhere else that take full advantage of the new hardware. There’s also a strong array of third-party blockbusters alongside hundreds of compatible games made possible by backwards compatibility. 

For a new generation, this is easily a new record for the sheer amount there is to play at launch. There’s a lot to sort through, but we’ve trimmed things down things to 9 of the best games you can play on PS5 right now. 

Demon’s Souls

Demon's Souls

Pros: 

  • A stunning remake of a classic
  • One of the most visually impressive games ever made
  • Combat is brutal, unforgiving and wonderfully satisfying
  • Exploring the Kingdom of Boletaria is a melancholic joy

Cons: 

  • DualSense implementation can be underwhelming

Demon’s Souls is a triumphant remake from Bluepoint Games, introducing the original masterpiece to a whole new generation of players with astonishing results. It’s an unparalleled showcase for the PS5, and easily one of the finest launch games the medium has ever seen. 

This uncompromising pilgrimage into the Kingdom of Boletaria won’t be for everyone. It’s incredibly harsh, unforgiving at every turn as you stumble into otherworldly monstrosities who want nothing more than to witness your demise. 

But such barriers are worth overcoming, since beyond them is one of the finest RPGs I’ve played in years – and one you need to experience. It more than lives up to the lofty legacy of its progenitor, proudly taking its place alongside the likes of Dark Souls and Bloodborne as one of the genre’s all-time greats. 

Read our full Demon’s Souls Review

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Miles Morales

Pros: 

  • Miles Morales is an excellent protagonist with a worthwhile story
  • Meaningful expansion of the original gameplay formula with new powers
  • Manhattan looks positively gorgeous with ray tracing on PS5
  • Teases an exciting future for this vision of Spider-Man

Cons: 

  • The campaign is a little short for the asking price
  • A fairly pedestrian take on the open-world genre

If you’re picking up a PS5 this month, you need to own Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It’s a gorgeous showcase for the platform, even if it’s also launching on PS4. The implementation of ray tracing makes the city of Manhattan feel more alive and reactive than ever before, with minimal impact on performance. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can play at a seamless 60fps with visuals that still pack a punch.

As for the game itself, it’s a worthwhile expansion of the universe Insomniac has created, easily making Miles Morales my favourite character in the entire franchise. He’s kind, brave and wise beyond his years, and I can’t wait to see how future titles expand upon his relationship with Peter Parker. While it doesn’t build on the formula enough to be truly groundbreaking, this is still a journey worth taking.

Read our full Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Review

Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Sackboy

Pros: 

  • A cute and charming platformer to showcase the PS5
  • Great fun both alone and with friends by your side
  • Immense amount of level design across its many worlds
  • Musical levels are a brilliant mixture of rhythm and platformer

Cons: 

  • A fairly pedestrian take on the genre
  • The overbearing whimsy won’t be for everyone

Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a perfect launch title for the PS5. It’s gorgeous, experimental and accessible to all manners of players. Despite its easy going nature, there’s still a solid platformer here that is absolutely bursting with clever ideas. 

It’s a whimsical affair that ticks all of the boxes you’d expect while adding a decent dose of surprises into the mix, which was more than enough to hold my attention across its selection of alluring worlds.

Even after all these years, nothing beats posing for a picture at the end of each level as Sackboy emits a tongue-lashing grin with trophy in hand. It turns out one of the best ways for Sony to start a new generation is to christen its console with a platformer that reminds us of where it’s been, and how far it’s come.

Read our full Sackboy: A Big Adventure Review

Astro’s Playroom

Astro's Playroom

Pros: 

  • A cute, inventive and endlessly joyous showcase of PlayStation 5
  • Shows what the DualSense will be capable of in the new generation
  • Explores the history of PlayStation with untold love and detail
  • All four stages are filled with bright and imaginative ideas

Cons: 

  • It’s over far too soon

In the modern landscape it’s easy to believe we’ve seen everything the medium has to offer, but then something like Astro’s Playroom comes along and redefines all previous conventions. It’s pure platforming excellence and hopefully spells a bright future for one of Sony’s finest current mascots.

Playroom’s most valuable asset is arguably its dedication to PlayStation’s history. It approaches 25 years of consoles, games and accessories, from a perspective that shows nothing but love for those who created them and the players who have crafted everlasting memories from their own experiences.

Read our full Astro’s Playroom Review

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Valhalla

Pros: 

  • Engaging Viking-style combat
  • Story scratches Game of Thrones itch
  • Excellent RPG level progression
  • Medieval England is gorgeous and a joy to explore

Cons:

  • Lots of game-crashing issues
  • Small focus on stealth

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is an excellent RPG adventure, with the hand-to-hand combat among the best in Ubisoft’s franchise. Stealth has unfortunately taken a backseat, which feels very strange for a Creed game, but the epic-scale battles and sophisticated RPG mechanics more than make up for such shortcomings.

The highlight here are the multiple Game of Thrones-esque stories that take place in Medieval England, which scratch that itch for devilish schemes and shocking, bloody twists. 

Sadly, a few glaring flaws and a number of technical hiccups can see Valhalla become very frustrating at times. If you’re happy to put up with such nonsense though, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best open-world games of the year, with comfortably enough content to see you spending dozens of hours across war-torn England. 

Read our full Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Review

Bugsnax

Pros: 

  • Presents a bizarre and adorable world to explore
  • Core mechanics of catching Bugsnax are supremely satisfying
  • All of the characters and creatures you meet are the best kind of weird
  • Makes creative use of the DualSense controller on PS5

Cons: 

  • Trial-and-error gameplay can prove frustrating at times
  • Each habitat is surprisingly robotic once you learn how things work

Bugsnax is a strange, satisfying and utterly engrossing journey into another world – one that’s never afraid to embrace its stranger side even if it means leaving your mouth agape in amazed confusion.

While the act of capturing and eating Bugsnax is a delight, the finer qualities of Young Horses’ latest outing comes in its story and characters. Beneath the otherworldly design sits a beating heart of close-knit relationships and relatable issues I found myself growing immeasurably fond of.

Read our full Bugsnax Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Pros: 

  • An enjoyable spy thriller story
  • Multiplayer is fun, addictive and an arcadey return to form
  • Zombies remains a blast, although it doesn’t change up the formula
  • Seeing so many iconic characters is a nostalgic treat

Cons: 

  • Campaign feels underbaked
  • Narrative isn’t fleshed out enough to be worthwhile
  • Multiplayer is lacking somewhat ahead of the first season

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a solid entry in the blockbuster franchise that looks stunning on next-gen consoles. 

While its campaign fails to deliver on its potential, it still takes you on a thrilling tale of explosive espionage as you uncover the true identity of Perseus. Combine this with an old-school multiplayer component and expanded Zombies mode and you’ve got a shooter experience I can easily recommend. 

It also teases the beginnings of a “Call of Duty metaverse” of sorts which I’m fascinated to see develop in the coming years, as it could push the franchise into an unparalleled new direction. I’d also love for Activision to stop mining our nostalgia one of these days. 

Read our full Black Ops Cold War Review

Watch Dogs Legion

Watch Dogs Legion

Pros: 

  • Dystopian London is a joy to explore
  • Operative system provides the option for many different playstyles
  • Bagley is a brilliant character you’ll quickly come to love
  • Looks positively gorgeous and is faithful to the real thing

Cons: 

  • Story is underbaked and tonally inconsistent
  • Larger than life villain don’t have enough room to shine
  • Operative system never reaches its full potential

Watch Dogs Legion is an enjoyable open-world adventure that provides you with a beautiful vision of dystopian London to explore, but its ambitious mechanics simply don’t reach the heights I was hoping for.  

The idea of playing as anyone is a fascinating premise, but there isn’t enough flexibility in combat and exploration to justify building up your roster. It also fails to integrate effectively into the narrative, which tries desperately to tow the line between a serious commentary on modern society and the consequences of fascism and a tongue-in-cheek spy thriller that never takes itself too seriously. 

As a result, Watch Dogs Legion has nothing to say, and fails to reach the relatable heights of its predecessor. That being said, I still had fun cruising the streets of London as a gun-wielding granny, but I’m not sure this is the direction I was hoping the franchise would pursue, since now it can only delve further into the realm of absurdity. 

Read our full Watch Dogs Legion Review

Dirt 5

Pros:

  • Off-road racing is incredibly fun
  • Large number of terrains provide varied courses
  • Bright and colourful visuals
  • Oodles of replayability with various modes

Cons: 

  • Next-gen upgrades aren’t ground breaking
  • Number of audio glitches
  • Frame rate performance issues on Xbox One S

Dirt 5 isn’t the next-gen technical showcase you were probably hoping for, but its excellent off-road tracks are an absolute delight to race on while superb modes such as Arcade, Playgrounds and Online/Offline multiplayer should provide enough gas in the tank for numerous revisits. 

The PS5 version also makes brilliant use of the DualSense controller, providing an immense sense of feedback that simply isn’t present on other platforms. If you can, this is the version of Dirt 5 you absolutely need to play if you’re picking up the PS5. 

Read our full Dirt 5 Review

Planet Coaster: Console Edition

Pros:

  • Fantastic ride line-up
  • Superb build and customise tools
  • Incredible range of scenery and props
  • Brilliant fun to play and works a treat on PS5

Cons: 

  • Not a huge leap on from a management perspective
  • Lacks a few classic rides and attractions

If you’re looking for a theme park management game with a business perspective, Planet Coaster might leave you wanting. However, if you’re coming from the creative angle it’s hard to imagine a richer package.

Not only is it a joy to build and refine your rides and coasters, see people love them and design your perfect park, but the levels of detail in the theming, customisation and animatronics take the theme park sim to a whole new level.

If you ever wanted to build your own Thorpe Park or Cedar Point, this is the game for you. The PS5 and Xbox Series X versions are also excellent, offering a new benchmark for features and performance that feels frighteningly close to a high-end PC.

Read our full Planet Coaster Review

Immortals Fenyx Rising

Immortals Fenyx Rising

Pros:

  • A vast, colourful and gorgeous world to explore
  • Boasts a refreshing take on Greek Mythology
  • Combat and exploration are rewardingly engaging
  • Puzzle design is downright excellent

Cons: 

  • Narrative is lightweight and underwhelming
  • Lacks challenge, even on harder difficulty settings

If you’re after an open world experience that’s a little different from Ubisoft’s usual output, Immortals Fenyx Rising is a colourful adventure worth considering.

Using Breath of the Wild as its blueprint, this is a mythical adventure with plentiful charm and enough distinct ideas of its own to stand out. It’s a shame that the lacklustre narrative and archaic approach to the genre holds it back from true greatness.

Despite such shortcomings, this gorgeously refreshing take on Greek Mythology is crammed with creativity across its impactful combat, engaging puzzle design and lovable cast of characters. As a new franchise, I can only see it growing stronger in the years to come.

Read our full Immortals Fenyx Rising Review

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends and the Secret Fairy

Pros:

  • An engaging mixture of exploration, alchemy and combat
  • Filled with great characters I loved spending time with
  • The world itself is so wholesome and fun to exist in
  • Expands upon the first game in a number of great ways

Cons: 

  • Visuals are still a bit underwhelming at times
  • Focus on anime fan service can be a distraction

Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends and the Secret Fairy is a brilliant sequel that expands upon everything that made the original great, while forging a path forward that can be further expanded upon in the trilogy’s final chapter.

It’s the role-playing equivalent of a warm blanket, embracing you with a slate of lovable characters and a comfy selection of gameplay mechanics that are so much fun to engage in, but which don’t require much effort to enjoy.

The game doesn’t have the gargantuan budget or production values of Final Fantasy 16 or The Witcher 3, but Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends and the Secret Fairy carves an audacious niche all its own that I’m happy to see adopting a wider international audience.

Read our full Atelier Ryza 2 review

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