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Level Up: Does PS5 have the greatest launch line-up in PlayStation history?

The PS5 has finally arrived, with millions of players across the world getting their hands on the next-gen console this week. While powerful hardware is all well and good, it’s the games that call it home which truly matter. 

Sony has come out swinging in this regard, with the PlayStation 5 boasting a solid selection of fantastic launch titles which have all received rave reviews. This is seldom the case with new consoles, which are oftentimes straddled with experiences that have come in hot and try desperately to accommodate the new machines. 

Demon’s Souls, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Astro’s Playroom are all fantastic, varied and showcase the new platform in a variety of unique ways. Spidey can also be found on the last generation, but the PS5 version is steps above in both visuals and gameplay. With so many gems already encrusting its crown, we’re tempting to ask if this is the strongest start Sony has ever had. 

To make such a decision, we need to look back at several generations of hardware and what the first-party output was like in decades past. 

Related: Best PS5 Games


PS1 launch games

  • Air Combat
  • Battle Arena Toshinden
  • ESPN Extreme Games
  • Kileak: The DNA Imperative
  • NBA JAM Tournament Edition
  • Power Serve 3D Tennis
  • The Raiden Project
  • Rayman
  • Ridge Racer
  • Street Fighter: The Movie
  • Total Eclipse Turbo
  • Wipeout

The original PlayStation is no slouch, launching with a generous selection of experiences which included soon to be iconic franchises such as Wipeout, Ridge Racer and Rayman. Despite its immediate success, it would be a few years until Sony finally hits its stride with some true classics. 

Final Fantasy VII, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro The Dragon were still a couple of years away, meaning it was far from reaching its full potential. That being said, this line-up is still pretty strong even today. What is being offered differs by territory, with all the lists here focusing on Europe.

Related: Cyberpunk 2077 Preview

Screenshot of scene from a game called Tekken 

PS2 launch games  

  • Aqua Aqua
  • Dynasty Warriors 2
  • Fantavision
  • FIFA 2001
  • Gradius III and IV
  • Jikkyou World Soccer 2000
  • NHL 2001
  • Orphen: Scion of Society
  • Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
  • Ridge Racer V
  • Silent Scope
  • Smuggler’s Run
  • SSX
  • Tekken Tag Tournament
  • TimeSplitters
  • Wild Wild Racing

We won’t lie, the PS2 launch was filled with absolute bangers. Timesplitters, Dynasty Warriors 2 and Tekken Tag Tournament are all downright classics, and other masterpieces such as Final Fantasy X and ICO weren’t that far behind. 

Compared to its predecessor, this is a much stronger starting arsenal, with most of the games acting as true generational leaps over what came before them. 

Related: Final Fantasy 16

An animated scene from a game, a monster holding a gun pins a man against a wall

PS3 launch games

  • Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII
  • Call of Duty 3
  • Def Jam: Icon
  • Enchanted Arms
  • Fight Night Round 3
  • Formula One Championship Edition
  • Full Auto 2: Battlelines
  • Genji: Days of the Blade
  • Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Target In Sight
  • MotorStorm
  • NBA Street: Homecourt
  • Need For Speed Carbon
  • NHL 2K7
  • Resistance: Fall of Man
  • Ridge Racer 7
  • Sonic The Hedgehog
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
  • Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent
  • Tony Hawk’s Project 8
  • The Godfather: The Don’s Edition
  • Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
  • Virtua Fighter 5
  • Virtua Tennis 3
  • World Snooker Championship 2007

The PS3 had a slow start, with its steep asking price resulting in a lack of early adopters and worthwhile exclusives with only a few key exceptions. Resistance: Fall of Man and Motorstorm remain excellent to this day, but the less said about Genji: Days of Blade and Mobile Suit Gundam the better. 

It was a mixed bag, which was thankfully saved by an avalanche of third-party support. The early years were a dry spell for first-party gems too. Heavenly Sword was an enjoyable brawler, but mediocre efforts like Haze really stopped the platform from shining. It would be a while until things would change with the arrival of God of War 3, Uncharted 2 and other beloved classics. 

Related: Best PS4 Games 


PS4 launch games

  • Angry Birds Star Wars
  • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
  • Battlefield 4
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts
  • FIFA 14
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition
  • Just Dance 2014
  • Killzone: Shadow Fall
  • Knack
  • LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
  • Madden NFL 25
  • NBA 2K14
  • NBA Live 14
  • Need for Speed: Rivals
  • Putty Squad
  • Skylanders Swap Force

I maintain the opinion that Knack is a good platformer. Sadly, this golden truth couldn’t save the PS4 from what was a rather underwhelming slate of launch games. Killzone: Shadow Fall was a gorgeous yet archaic shooter, and while excellent, Resogun proved to be far too lightweight for the average consumer. 

Third-party support even wavered, with the delay of Watch Dogs resulting in many consumers holding off until 2014 before picking up the console. Out of all the lists here, this is arguably the weakest. But much like its predecessor, PS4 would go on to produce some undeniable brilliance in the years to come. 

Related: Best Xbox Games

Demon's Souls

PS5 launch games

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  • Astro’s Playroom
  • Borderlands 3
  • Bugsnax
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • Dead by Daylight
  • Demon’s Souls
  • Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
  • DIRT 5
  • Fortnite
  • Godfall
  • Goonya Fighter
  • King Oddball
  • Maneater
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered
  • Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate
  • NBA 2K21
  • No Man’s Sky: The Next Generation
  • Observer: System Redux
  • Overcooked: All You Can Eat
  • The Pathless
  • Planet Coaster: Console Edition
  • Poker Club
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure
  • Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition
  • Watch Dogs Legion
  • WRC 9

The PS5 has a stunning range of launch games, boasting a trio of masterful first-party experiences alongside a number of worthwhile third-party titles such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. Free upgrades from the previous generation also ensure that new and existing games play better than ever, while also ensuring your existing library carries over thanks to backward compatibility.

Its near future also looks bright with Horizon: Forbidden West, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Final Fantasy 16 all confirmed as major exclusives. When compared to previous generations, the PS5 really does stand out, acting as concrete proof of Sony’s strength as a producer of wonderful exclusive games and a solid place to enjoy the work of others. It will be fascinating to see how history looks back on the new platform in years to come. Right now, it’s easily one of the brand’s best openings ever.

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