The 10 best PlayStation 5 games to play right now
10 of the best PlayStation 5 games to play today
May 2021 marks the six-month anniversary of the launch of the new-gen consoles. While the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X haven’t had a killer-app launch yet – though Xbox Game Pass really is incredible – Sony has trickled out some exclusives that are well worth playing. Of course, there are also third-party titles to consider and certain PS4 titles that enjoy PS5 improvements.
PlayStation 5s may still be in limited supply, but for those of us fortunate enough to have one, there are some great games that are must-play right now. Read on for our breakdown of the top 10 to play today.
The PlayStation Plus Collection
The best PlayStation 5 games
It’s amazing what a difference the actual release of a game can make in contrast to its expected awesomeness. If you saw our old ‘most anticipated’ list, you would have seen the inclusion of Destruction AllStars, Oddworld Soulstorm and Worms Rumble, which you won’t find anywhere else on this page. They’re not terrible, but ‘just okay’ doesn’t cut the new-gen mustard, either.
Speaking of ‘just okay’ games, we’ve obviously tried other titles for this list – including the awesome-looking but repetitive Godfall – so you can rest assured we’re representing killer, not filler. Meanwhile, other anticipated titles delivered the goods, like some of the picks below.
Normally I’d slot a launch trailer above, but the less you know about Returnal’s story, the better off you are. It’s easiest to envisage Returnal in terms of the developer’s pedigree. Housemarque is renowned for making bullet-hell twin-stick shooters with an isometric perspective. Take the bullet-hell and shooting parts, splice it with a third-person perspective, then package it in a punishing roguelite box and you get the gist of what Returnal is all about.
RNGesus looms large in the early hours of Returnal, but even if you get cursed with terrible gear on a run, you’ll find yourself tempted back for more the next day… or the next hour. Come for the gorgeous graphics and mind-bending story but stay for the addictive combat loop that makes you feel godlike when you start to master its intricacies.
PlayStation Plus Collection alternative – The Last of Us Remastered
Resident Evil Village
Resident Evil Village proves that the quality of the last game and initially controversial shift to first-person perspective wasn’t a fluke. Even if you’re more of a casual fan of the series like me, there’s a lot to love about Resident Evil Village. Amid this wacky world of wonderful weirdoes is a Metroidvania gameplay loop that rewards curiosity, exploration and a willingness to knock over side quests.
Long-time fans will be more lenient with familiar detractors like a tight and immovable field of view, bullet-sponge enemies and pretty average boss fights. But when even that’s not enough to hold Resident Evil Village back from being utterly recommendable, you know Capcom has struck gold. There’s action aplenty with more than a fair share of genuinely effective scares, ensuring that this action-horror game is a must-play.
PlayStation Plus Collection alternative – Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
I’ve always preferred the dark, brooding antics of Batman over the teenage angst of Spider-Man. But given we haven’t had a Batman: Arkham game in far too long, this helps scratch that itch. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a great place to start for non-Spidey fans eager to see the power of Sony’s new-gen console. You can play on high-fidelity mode for all of the mouth-watering eye candy or embrace the high-speed hijinks in higher-frame-rate Performance mode (or the patched-in Performance RT for a middle ground).
Either way, Miles Morales builds on everything that was great about Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 – combat, momentum, sleuthing and abilities – and evolves it. Spidey purists may prefer Peter Parker’s long-running Spider-Man over Miles Morales’ newer take, but there’s no denying that Miles’ powers make for more evolved gameplay.
PlayStation Plus Collection alternative – Monster Hunter: World
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Nostalgia tends to warp perceptions. Like, the games you used to play ‘back in the day’ are less pretty and a whole lot easier than you recall. While Crash Bandicoot games have never been easy, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About time seemingly takes everyone’s collective memories of the trickiest parts of older Crash Bandicoot games, straps it with a bunch of Nitro Crates and blows it sky high.
Okay, okay, so Crash Bandicoot 4 isn’t some kind of impossible platformer reimagining in the vein of Dark Souls. But it does reward quick reactions, expert timing and a whole lot of patience when things start to go wrong. Fans new and returning or young and old can get into this.
PlayStation Plus Collection alternative – Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Control: Ultimate Edition
If you missed Control on PlayStation 4, your patience will be rewarded with the best version of the game. If you played it on PS4 and missed the DLC, this is still worth the romp; hell, it’s worth playing all over again if you played all of it last-gen because it’s particularly gorgeous on PS5 this version comes with all the DLC.
Control is what happens when Remedy Entertainment is freed of the shackles of publisher oversight and is free to go all out. In some respects, Control plays like a greatest hits of Remedy’s back catalogue: Max Payne-like shootouts, Alan Wake-type weirdness, and Quantum Break all-out sci-fi. It takes the best of what worked about those earlier gems and presents it in a top-to-bottom satisfying package that’s all kinds of awesome.
PlayStation Plus Collection alternative – Infamous Second Son
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
Sure, buying a second DualSense controller ain’t cheap, but it’s an investment in one of the best perks of console gaming: couch co-op. Splitscreen and competitive couch games are fine and all, but for a super-chill co-op game that’s charming and fun for all ages, look no further than Sackboy: A Big Adventure.
Besides, if your co-op partner bothers you, this game has a slap button (it legitimately never gets old), plus competitive types can play for bragging rights to the best end-of-round score. But, really, you want to be working together to platform, puzzle and ransack your way through Sackboy’s stylised adventure.
PlayStation Plus Collection alternative – Ratchet and Clank
Bugsnax is such a bizarre game to pitch. You get stranded on an island after a giant flying pizza creature attacks your dirigible. It doesn’t take long before you’re tracking down and trapping all manner of edible critters. And when you feed these creatures to the island inhabitants, they start to transform into them.
While that pitch could easily make for a horror game (sans pizza creature), Bugsnax veers in the opposite direction and lands firmly inside family-friendly territory. Initially, the weirdness may feel a pinch overwhelming. But the more you lean into it, the more delicious the gameplay loop becomes. Bugsnax isn’t going to blow you away with its next-gen visuals, but it will keep rewarding you with its wacky and wonderful world.
PlayStation Plus Collection alternative – The Last Guardian
In a rare and rad move if, for some reason, you bought a shiny new PS5 and didn’t buy any games to play, Sony has you covered. Astro’s Playroom comes preinstalled on the PlayStation 5, and it would be very jaded to say that it’s merely a glorified tech demo to show off what’s great about Sony’s new-gen consoles.
While it does the job of acting as a great way to learn about the PS5, it’s also a celebration of PlayStation history. More than this, even when you think you may have it pegged as a charming elongated tutorial, it delivers great gameplay and rewards curious explorers with awesome Easter eggs. You should absolutely give it a crack.
PlayStation Plus Collection alternative – Batman: Arkham Knight
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
It wasn’t so long ago that it felt like Assassin’s Creed had run its course. Then along came Assassin’s Creed Origins to evolve the gameplay loop and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to build on that foundation. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla takes this recent redirection to the next level, showing that the sustained Viking invasions of Britain make for great game fodder.
More than this, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the kind of game that rewards with scores of hours of play if you get into the groove of just one more mission. Okay, just one more Zealot assassination. Okay, just one more fully clearing of an area. You get the point. It also helps that it’s gorgeous and it loads so fast that exploring a sprawling Assassin’s Creed world has never been more enjoyable.
PlayStation Plus Collection alternative – Days Gone
Ghost of Tsushima
There are several incredible PS4 games that have received a free PS5 upgrade, but none of them are as beautiful as Ghost of Tsushima. This game may have been one of the PS4’s best swan songs, but its rebirth in 4K form on PS5 (at 60 frames per second, no less) offers plenty of incentive to revisit, even if it’s just to find that last elusive haiku location.
For those who missed Ghost of Tsushima on PS4 or didn’t get around to finishing it, playing it on PS5 is a no-brainer. This game splices a compelling Assassin’s Creed-like gameplay loop, with katana-sharp combat, compelling characters and a great story.
PlayStation Plus Collection alternative – God of War
PlayStation 5 games on the horizon
We’re only at the start of the PlayStation 5 generation, which means some of its best games are yet to come. Below is a list of some highlighted picks for our most anticipated PS5 games that are slated to hit in the not-too-distant future.