The PS5 has had a stuttering start due to the pandemic, high demand and lack of stock since its release in November 12, 2020. One of the key factors in keeping this demand strong has been the onslaught of games with never-before-seen graphics and high performance levels – demonstrations of which make older consoles feel suddenly slow and outdated.
Leading from the front, a selection of family-orientated adventures filled with whimsical characters, and gritty first-person shooters that couldn’t be any less whimsical, gifted us all a next-gen showcase that has left us increasingly more satisfied.
Equipped with innovative DualSense controllers and headphones wired up to Sony’s 3D Audio system, gamers are fast becoming immersed in a growing library of genre-defining games. In this article, we’ve picked out a few of our favourites and tried to ascertain exactly why we think the flame-spitting ‘21 rise of the PS5 is partly down to them.
10. Death Stranding: Director’s Cut
Some say it’s the best game of the past few years. Others call it at least the strangest. Now, Death Stranding: Director’s Cut offers a definitive take on the original playing experience. This time, Hideo Kojima’s debut is more accessible than ever, yet still in touch with the bold identity and unique appeal of this independent endeavour. Sam Bridges’ long, back-breaking walk across a dystopian United States is now supported by a few essential gadgets. You can stun enemies with a lightning gun and train up in a firing range to hone your loadout. So, for all the grunt work still left in there, this is a decidedly more gamer friendly outing on the PS5.
9. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Death Stranding is a lesson in hard yards earned through toil and effort. On the other hand, Spider-Man is a giddy celebration of effortless web-slinging travel. We’ll let you decide which mode of travel your prefer, but it’s safe to say a few minutes spent soaring onto New York rooftops, sky-diving down to swing at the last second over busy streets, will leave you wanting more – much more. On the PS5, shut-in hours spent with another genetically-enhanced spider-man, Miles Morales, are always deeply entertaining. The combat is so fluid and intuitive it can feel like a symphony you’re conducting with those colourful buttons. The graphics flow in 60fps, with immersive ray-tracing and authentic reflections and lighting, to make you ogle each second that passes by in this world.
8. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
All roads in the Assassin’s Creed series seemed to be leading, at one stage or other, to the brutal historic turf of the Vikings. Finally, the PS5 has unleashed these red-bearded raiders upon the gaming world, within the context of their 873 AD invasion of Britain. In this game, we’re hurled into the iron-shod boots of Eivor and stuck between that proverbial rock and hard place – the Templar Order and the Brotherhood of Assassins. In our opinion, open world gaming has never been better than in the hands of a high-powered next-gen console. While the mud-soaked Anglo-Saxon kingdom makes for an ideal stomping ground to swing flails, kick shields and steer whinnying horses.
7. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
Black Ops Cold War is the latest instalment in the Call of Duty series, packed with enough explosive effects to make Michael Bay salivate. Hollywood-esque in scope and grounded in gritty storytelling, gamers are quick to be reminded of what brought them to this franchise in the first place. This time, it’s the ‘80s. Ronald Reagan is barking orders behind you. The Cold War looms large. You’re on the hunt for two terrorists wanted for their part in the Iran hostage crisis. Cue the usual cacophony of nerve-trembling gunplay and climactic sequences, made all the more real by the obvious next-gen improvements.
6. The Pathless
The minds behind Giant Squid brought us something special with this one. A mythical third-person adventure in which players are assigned to the role of Hunter and tasked with liberating a curse-stricken island. Roam through tall, mist-laden forests with your eagle companion and fly at intervals from its clenched talons, while you navigate scattered puzzles and discover the many secrets of your environment, using Spirit Vision. The game is infinitely playable and the whole aesthetic is absolutely joyful to be part of.
One of many outstanding console-exclusives that really stood out for us – Godfall is an action RPG staged in a fantasy world that comprises five realms: Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Spirit. You’ll be part of the Knight’s Order and lumped with the considerable task of preventing an apocalypse. Choosing from a number of different armour sets, you can opt for either dual blades, a war hammer, polearm, double-handed great sword, or longsword. Further customisation allows you to refine your play styles and wade into the waves of gnarly enemies, properly equipped and ready to brawl in cinematic fashion.
4. Demon’s Souls
Like all these titles, Demon’s Souls is another game that benefits from the rich capabilities of a next-gen console. This remake of the clunky PS3 hit, recreates that former world of haunting medieval fantasies. Empowered by a vastly superior system, the combat runs in one of two modes, either native 4K at 30fps, or 60fps at 1440p resolution. Dark beauty abounds in the varied settings, beautifully rendered with a wealth of gory details.
3. Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition
Capcom’s masterpiece is another reimagined oldie brough to the shiny, transformative altar of the PS5. This game plays so smoothly on next-gen hardware you’ll be spoilt for eye-watering details, from slime-slickened tree roots, bloated with blood, to flowing water so authentic you’ll be tempted to dunk your head in it. Ray tracing and a higher frame rate also bring combat set pieces to life like never before.
2. NBA 2K21
The genre of sports games is being totally transformed by next-gen hardware. Whole crowds are now being rendered to realistic effect, ranked together in the stands and poised to react in appropriate fashion, unlike the pixelated 2D cut-outs of old. Now, NBA 2K21 is undoubtedly the most immersive NBA game yet. The MyCareer mode is pure gold, whether you’re shoe shopping, or scrutinising slow-mo replays and analysing the finer details of co-operative competitive play. In short, Visual Concepts have harnessed the new power of the PS5 and released a game so sharp, detailed and intricately sweat-spotted, the scenes often double as those of a real-life broadcast.
1. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Finally, we come to our top pick for anyone looking to get behind the controller of a PS5 for the first time. This PS5 exclusive is a richly imaginative showcase of everything the console offers. Near non-existent load times. Clever DualSense haptic reactions. Colourful high resolution graphics that plunge you ever deeper into your playable fantasy. And the gameplay too is slick and enriched by heartfelt moments and joyful characters. There’s over 20 hours of gameplay on offer here and a loyalty displayed to franchise regulars. At the same time, newcomers won’t be disappointed either, wielding an extensive arsenal of cartoon weaponry and supported by that smooth-talking, soul-given Sentry-botrobot, Clank.