The 8 Best Games for PS5 of 2021

We've rounded up the best options to play on your console currently.

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The Rundown
"Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla definitely stands tall among the other entries as one of the best in the series."
"Sure, the game is shorter, but it’s also cleaner—the side missions are more direct, and they don’t feel repetitive at all."
"Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is another great entry in the COD series, and our pick for best FPS on PS5."
"As one of the launch titles for PS5, Godfall does an excellent job of showing off the potential of the next-generation hardware."
"Watch Dogs: Legion is the third game in the Watch Dogs series, and it feels like a pinnacle of what the series can do."
"This is a remake of the original Demon’s Souls, which was released in 2009 and helped kick off the Souls-Like genre."
"Makes for an accessible and entertaining ride as you complete level after level of colorful and exciting challenges."
"Bugsnax creates an original world that will draw in kids and even some adults."

The best games for PS5 take full advantage of the console’s upgrades. The PS5 is significantly more powerful than its predecessor, with a better CPU and GPU, more RAM, SSD storage, and controller enhancements to push games to the next level. With any game, we expect it to be playable. It should be relatively bug-free, and it should have a good storyline, fun characters, and innovative (or at least interesting) engines that make the experience worthwhile. But in addition to these basics, the best PS5 games should provide a little something extra—exceptional graphics, amazing sound, or really cool feedback and integration with the new DualSense Controller

We examined the library of games available to play on PS5, and we rounded up our picks for the best PlayStation 5 games currently available. Our pick for the best PS5 game is Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla because although it has a few bugs, the world looks gorgeous and it held our interest from start to finish. If Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla isn’t for you, we’ve also included picks in other categories, like the best FPS, the best RPG, the best platformer, and the best PS5 game for kids.

Best Overall: Ubisoft Assassin's Creed: Valhalla

What We Like
  • Huge open world to explore

  • Gorgeous visuals

  • Exciting historical theme

What We Don't Like
  • Has bugs that need resolved

Assassin’s Creed has had its share of ups and downs over the 12 main entries into the series, but the fact that Valhalla is the 12th main entry should send a signal that the series remains solid. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla definitely stands tall among the other entries as one of the best in the series, as well as one of the best games to play on your PS5. Valhalla looks amazing running in 4k at 60 FPS, with next-gen visual tricks that show off the console’s graphics. The sunlight beams down, making you feel as though you are really exploring medieval England. Whether it’s through attacking forts or riding through the detailed wilderness on a wolf, you will always have sights to see. 

The side quest system feels streamlined and the quests are actually enjoyable, rather than having you spend hours on a bunch of meaningless hunts or fetch quests which are repeated through each zone. The game does not disappoint when it comes to acting or storytelling either. You play as Eivor—a male or female viking who wants to lead their clan out of their homeland in search of a better life and home. Throughout the game, players explore much of medieval England. You get to see a really cool interpretation of Asgard, and several other places. 

Eivor will become involved with the Assassins in an attempt to take down Templars, much like other games in the series. As with other Assassin’s Creed games, there is a modern part of the tale as well, which continues from previous entries. With fun combat, thorough exploration, and a good story, this is a top notch game for PS5.

“Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla exceeds, as Assassin’s Creed games so often do, in creating the most painstakingly detailed virtual recreation of a place and period possible. It’s got exploration, intense combat, and enthralling stories by the bucket full, and it’s easy to get lost in its sheer scope and scale.”Andy Zahn, Product Tester

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Launch
What We Like
  • Fits well in universe

  • Good controls and responsiveness

  • A fun experience start to finish

What We Don't Like
  • Smaller game than original Spider-Man game

Even with that limited scope, Miles Morales is an even better and more exciting game than its predecessor. Miles’ tale is full of richly-drawn characters, relationships and tugs on emotional threads as he navigates being the new Spider-Man and wrestling with conflicts that are nearer and dearer than expected. It’s a beautiful game on the PS5 and benefits from the immersive DualSense controller and speedy loading times, but the PS4 version keeps the experience intact without the bonus frills. This is one of the best comic-based games to date.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is an open-world superhero adventure that launched alongside the new PlayStation 5 console, but is also available on PlayStation 4. It carries over most of the framework from Insomniac Games’ 2018 Spider-Man quest, but has a shorter campaign and less side content around it, but with a lesser price tag to match.


"Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a stunner on the new PlayStation 5 hardware, putting the ample graphical power to use in delivering smooth performance at 4K resolution and dazzling lighting effects."Andrew Hayward, Reviewer



Best FPS: Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
What We Like
  • Tight shooting

  • Best in class multiplayer

  • Lots of modes and things to do

What We Don't Like
  • Not much innovation

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is another great entry in the COD series, and our pick for best FPS on PS5. Cold War provides players with three main ways to enjoy the game and plenty of fun to be had. The campaign mode focuses on the Cold War and has some interesting ways of exploring the way the series can go. There are the large scale battles and gunfights of course, but there are also more calm moments which provide a bit of balance, making you feel more engaged and like you’re playing through a real story. 

The Cold War story follows up on the previous Black Ops entry, and even includes some characters you will find familiar. Don’t worry if you didn’t play the last entry, as you do not need to have played to enjoy this game. With huge set piece moments and classic COD gunplay, there is plenty of action in the roughly five to eight hours of campaign gameplay. The Multiplayer mode is the classic draw for any COD game, and Cold War doesn’t let you down, but at the same time, a lot of it feels familiar. Most modes are 6v6, but there is also Combined Arms mode, which features 12v12, and Fireteam: Dirty Bomb, which is a fun mode that features 40 players on 10 teams. Finally, there’s Zombie mode—a mode which sees players facing round after round of zombie killing fun in a cooperative way. With lots to do, and executed in a clean way, Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War is a must have for any PS5 owner who loves the FPS genre.

Best Looter: Counterplay Games Godfall

Godfall
What We Like
  • Sword hacker slasher looter gameplay

  • Beautiful landscapes

  • Customizable armor

  • Upgradeable weapons

What We Don't Like
  • Four lookalike maps

  • Very repetitive

  • Poor, incoherent plot line

  • Large storage requirements for short gameplay

As one of the launch titles for PS5, Godfall does an excellent job of showing off the potential of the next-generation hardware. Godfall calls itself a Looter-slasher—a play on a popular genre of games called looter-shooters, which feature loads of weapons and loot to constantly try and play with. When it comes to loot and weapons, Godfall is a great success. It gives you options between different primary and secondary weapons which all feel distinct, while also constantly growing in power. Weapons feature multiple types of attacks and they look amazing. There are different types of armor, known as Valorplates, that you can use as well. 

Most missions and levels involve getting to an area and fighting a boss, and this is repeated through the three realms available. The story has some interesting parts, but it’s a bit thin. You can probably play through the game in about ten hours. Godfall has three-player online-only coop, which adds to the fun and can be a good time with friends. After completing the game, players can retread through previous missions to take on harder and harder challenges, putting the skills they learned in the game to the test. Godfall is a good time slashing romp and an easy pick for anyone looking for a fun looter.

Best Open World: Ubisoft Watch Dogs: Legion

What We Like
  • Permadeath feature available for extra challenge

  • Effective use of humor

  • Good attention to detail

  • Visually interesting

What We Don't Like
  • Missions felt redundant

  • Online play not available on release 

Watch Dogs: Legion is the third game in the Watch Dogs series, and it feels like a pinnacle of what the series can do. Most open world games allow you to take your character anywhere, but Watch Dogs: Legion lets you take control of literally any person you encounter in the city. You are given the ability to scan any person, learn about their skills, and then complete a task for them to recruit them to your team. Completing a combat mission with a senior citizen or a spy is the ultimate in choice and freedom. 

The game has permadeath for your characters, which makes missions with your favorite characters feel more important. Exploring futuristic London is truly a sight made better on the PS5, and puts the hardware to the test. In the game, you are many characters who make up a group called DedSec, a hacktivist group who want to take down another hacker group and a private security group with a grip on the city. The story is pretty interesting, and the characters are well acted and thoughtful. As you complete the game, you will chase down side tasks, grow your abilities through a tech tree, and look for collectibles. All of the controls in the game are smooth and consistent, and you can see Ubisoft’s quality shine.

“Watch Dogs: Legion looks incredible, with great draw distances, and an incredibly detailed world.”Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Best RPG: Bandai Namco Demon's Souls

Demon's Souls
What We Like
  • Punishing difficulty

  • Rewarding gameplay

  • Innovative world

What We Don't Like
  • Not for the faint of heart

The remake of Demon’s Souls for the PS5 loses none of the difficulty and hideous grandeur of the original classic. BluePoint Games have done a masterful job of fixing bugs and overhauling the visuals with fantastic next-gen visuals.

Make no mistake, Demon’s Souls is a brutal experience that refuses to hold your hand through its claustrophobic corridors, gothic towers, and miserable stinking swamps haunted by decaying monsters designed to test your reflexes and strategic thinking. It’s a deep game with a steep learning curve. The reward for suffering such punishment is a feeling of accomplishment unparalleled in gaming. Even the smallest success in forward progression feels like a triumph.

Aside from the gorgeous next gen graphics and smooth 60fps frame rate that show off the impressive capabilities of the PS5, the variety of environments to traverse in Demon’s Souls keeps the game feeling fresh. After hours of trudging through what can charitably be described as an infected sewer, it’s refreshing indeed to visit the relatively bright and stormy seaside. Swapping between the five available regions also gives you the opportunity to take a breather from that one boss that keeps killing you, if only to die ignominiously to a random skeleton you failed to notice hiding in an alcove.

Along with the unique brand of multiplayer common among Souls games, Demon’s Souls is not only a worthy remake of the original classic that started it all, but this PS5 exclusive is perhaps the pinnacle of the franchise. It’s a wild ride, and one on which you must be prepared to die.

"Demon’s Souls on PS5 is stunning to behold, yet has lost none of the atmosphere of oppressive gloom that fans of the PS3 classic adored.” Andy Zahn, Reviewer

Best Platformer: LittleBigPlanet Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Sackboy: A Big Adventure
What We Like
  • Fun world and characters

  • Local Co-op

  • Excellent level variety

What We Don't Like
  • Controls can be finicky

Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a spin-off from the Little Big Planet universe, which is a Playstation exclusive set of titles focused around crafted characters and worlds. These games usually have tons of tools for creating levels and mini-games. However, you won’t find the same tools in this spin-off, as it instead focuses solely on a platforming adventure to save Craftworld. This targeted approach makes for an accessible and entertaining ride as you complete level after level of colorful and exciting challenges. Even better, you can play couch co-op with another player. 

The story is cute and lighthearted and keeps you invested as you play. Level designs are well done, as each level offers a good amount of variety and things rarely feel repetitive. The stages have beautiful visuals and just make you feel good as you play them. You will hop, dash, and explore to a fun soundtrack that features some fun takes on popular songs. While the controls can be a bit loose at times and can lead to a few unfortunate failures, they’re not so bad that they’ll cause a huge amount of frustration. Sack Boy: A Big Adventure is best described as a fun time and a game where you can smile while playing, especially with someone next to you playing along.

Best for Kids: Young Horses Bugsnax

Bugsnax
What We Like
  • Fascinating world

  • Good writing

  • Clever puzzles

What We Don't Like
  • Some odd technical issues

Bugsnax creates an original world that will draw in kids and even some adults. In the game, you visit Snaktooth, an island that features Bugsnax, which are sentient food that mimic animals and bugs. As you arrive, you are thrust into a mystery surrounding a missing explorer and a town where everyone has gone their separate ways. Luckily, you can pull everything back together by helping each “Grumpus'' with locating their favorite Bugsnax. 

To locate them, you will need to take a picture of them, and then work out a small puzzle to capture them based on the creature. The puzzles are fun to solve and not overly difficult, so kids will be able to continue and achieve without getting frustrated. However, just because we selected this as the best kids game doesn’t mean there’s not something here for all gamers. It’s a fun game for kids and adults to play and talk about together (there is no co-op or multiplayer though, so you'd have to take turns or play on separate consoles). 

The characters are extremely well written, and there are some truly genuine moments in Bugsnax that players may find surprising considering the theme and weight of the game. While Bugsnax does not graphically push the PS5, it is a great game for kids to play, which is an area often missed by game publishers.

“The cuteness of the Bugsnax and the game’s similarities to creature-catchers like Pokémon might make it seem like the perfect game for younger audiences.”Joshua Hawkins, Product Tester

With stunning graphics and a huge world to explore, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla earns our top pick as the best game for PS5. If you want something more succinct that shows off the PS5’s hardware and still offers a fun ride, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is the way to go.

About our Trusted Experts: 


Erika Rawes
has been writing professionally for more than a decade, and she’s spent the last five years writing about consumer technology. Erika has reviewed roughly 125 gadgets, including computers, peripherals, games, A/V equipment, mobile devices, and smart home gadgets. 

Andy Zahn has been writing for Lifewire since 2019 covering technology and games. He loved playing Demon's Souls for its challenge.

Andrew Hayward is a Chicago-based writer who's been covering tech and games since 2006. He's previously been published in TechRadar, Stuff, Polygon, and MacWorld.

What to Look for in a game for PS5:

Playability- Few things are more irritating than a glitchy game. Look for games that run smoothly, with clean transitions, tight controls, and minimal bugs (or prompt and reliable fixes for existing bugs).

Graphics- The PS5 has a 10.3-teraflop RDNA 2 GPU, 16 Gigs of RAM, and a 3.5-GHz 8-core AMD Zen 2 processor. With the upgraded hardware, game makers can take graphics up to the next level. Look for amazing visuals that truly feel next-gen. You want the game to look and run smoothly in the highest resolution/frame rates. 

Innovation- A new console gives developers the chance to push boundaries like they never have, introducing new gameplay, worlds, and novel mechanics. The best games have next-level controls and integration with new PS5 features like the DualSense controls and 3D audio. 

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