After launching in 2020, the PlayStation looks to have a bright 2021. New Horizon and God of War games are slated for release at the end of the year, and the next few months . But that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty to play already.
The biggest games to launch alongside the console were Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Outside of that, there are some excellent multiplatform games that have gotten the PS5 treatment. Note, however, that this list doesn’t include updated PS4 games, such as Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition.
Hitman 3 is the first big game of 2021 and it’s a good’n too. Wrapping up the rebooted Hitman trilogy, which began with the eponymous 2016 title, Hitman 3 received a 9/10 from CNET sister-site GameSpot thanks to its excellent level design, improved story and its replayability. That last attribute is the key. Hitman may be about assassinations, but it’s more of a puzzle game than an action game, and you’ll have to play each level over and over to see all of the creative ways Agent 47 can dispense with bad guys.
The game is available on both the PS4 and PS5, among other consoles, but the PS5 version has 4K, 60-frames-per-second gameplay and improved haptic feedback thanks to the DualSense controller.
One of the more conspicuous trends of the past 10 years has been the rise of the super hard game. A lot of that is chalked up to the success of Dark Souls, by FromSoftware, which hit the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011. But Dark Souls itself was a spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls, a highly regarded game by FromSoftware that launched in 2009.
And now Demon’s Souls has a second life on the PlayStation 5, as it’s arguably the best game on the platform. It has a 92 rating on Metacritic, and got a 9 out of 10 from GameSpot. It’s been credited for faithfully remaking the 2009 classic but improving it with better movement, and modernizing it with graphics that show off what the PS5 can do.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
In a small cat donning a Spider-Man mask pops out and attacks your enemies., an expansion to 2017’s Spider-Man, you can wear a backpack in which
I don’t think I need to expand any further.
Since Demon’s Souls and Miles Morales, the PS5 has seen a dearth of exclusives. Returnal’s late-April release changed that. It’s a game big on budget and beauty, and is if nothing else a great demo of what the PlayStation 5 can do graphically. It’s roguelite, a genre in which you’ll reset from the beginning each time you die, albeit with new skills. And you will die a lot. It’s a tough game that, but is sure to find a cult following.
Uncharitably speaking, Astro’s Playroom is a glorified tech demo. Charitably speaking, it’s a glorious tech demo.
Designed to show off what the PlayStation 5’s Dual Sense controller can do, Astro’s Playroom comes free with the PlayStation 5. “Free tech demo” doesn’t scream “must-play,” but Astro’s Playroom has received strong acclaim for being filled with clever homages to previous PlayStation games and, more importantly, for being fun to play.
Astro’s Playroom makes no attempt to hide the fact that it’s an excuse to show you what a gamepad can do. But it conjures a world that you’ll want to see and explore, according to GameSpot’s Mike Epstein.
A third-person action game concerned almost primarily with flow and movement, The Pathless is a pleasure to play every single second you have the controller in your hand.
It’s available on other platforms, including the iPad, but I’d argue it’s best played on a current gen console like the PS5, where the visuals and frame rate reflect the slickness of the game’s design.
You can read our full review
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
The mascot of LittleBigPlanet is here to provide a more substantial platformer than the cute-but-short Astro’s Playroom. Sackboy: A Big Adventure abandons the level creation that LittleBigPlanet centered around, and instead focuses entirely on 3D platforming. But it retains the colorful visuals and the charm.
No, it’s not a Mario-level platformer, but it’s accessible fun for anyone with a PlayStation 5.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
It’s far from exclusive to the PlayStation 5, but Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is still arguably the biggest game on the console. I mean that literally: This is a huge game. The main quest will take you over 50 hours to beat and there’s plenty of other good Viking stuff to see on the side. The PS5 version makes raiding England smoother, with 4K, 60-frames-per-second gameplay.