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The 5 PS5 games you should play first

PS5 updates
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The PS5 has been essentially impossible to find for more than a year, and that’s doubly true during the holiday season. If you’re one of the lucky few who actually managed to get a PS5 for Christmas, stop for a moment to pat yourself on the back — or give the person who found it for you a big hug. This wasn’t an easy task.

Now, with that out of the way, once you set your PS5, you’ll want something to play on it. At present, there are more than 400 games available on the PS5, and that’s not even counting the thousands of backwards-compatible titles, including all of the best PS4 games.

If you’re looking for a place to start, you could check out our list of the best PS5 games as well as our look for what lies ahead for the PS5 in 2022. But when you’re just starting to build your library, you may find it more helpful to have a directed list. Here are the first five PS5 games that you’ll want to pick up if you want to put your new console through its paces.

(If you’re still looking for a PS5, check out our PS5 restocks page. It’s still an uphill battle, but it’s not impossible.)

Deathloop

Deathloop review

(Image credit: Arkane Studios)

At first glance, Deathloop looks like a standard first-person shooter, and there’s no shortage of those in the gaming world. But if you play it for a few hours, you’ll see that combat is only one small part of Deathloop’s clever premise. You play as Colt: an amnesiac stuck in a time loop on the ‘60s-themed Blackreef Island. By exploring four different parts of the city at four different times of day, he may be able to break free of the loop — or he may just get slaughtered by the relentless, unpredictable assassin Julianna Blake. The PS5 version of this game takes full advantage of the DualSense controller’s subtle haptics, whether you’re firing an assault rifle or teleporting from rooftop to rooftop.

Demon’s Souls

Demon’s Souls review: The best reason to own a PS5

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One of those “it’s not right for everyone, but it may be right for you” games, Demon’s Souls is still one of the defining experiences of the PS5. A top-to-bottom remaster of the PS3 classic, Demon’s Souls it’s an ultra-difficult action/RPG that lets you customize your own adventurer and explore the cursed realm of Boletaria. Enemies in the game can (and will) kill you at the slightest provocation, but by building your character, learning enemy patterns and discovering the game’s many secrets, you can slowly and satisfyingly turn the tables. The Demon’s Souls remake is a PS5 exclusive, so if you went to all the trouble of finding the console, you should give it a shot.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade

final fantasy vii remake intergrade

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy VII is one of the most beloved RPGs ever made, and a remake could have gone exactly one of two ways. We could have gotten a lovingly-rendered-but-lifeless shot-by-shot remake, which would satisfy hardcore fans and absolutely no one else. But thankfully, in Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, we got a slick and smart reimagining, taking the first section of the classic game and expanding it into a full narrative arc, complete with some surprising deviations from the source material.

The real-time combat system is thrilling, the character-building is deep and some of the optional bosses will keep even Final Fantasy veterans on their toes. The PS5 version of the game positively shines, though, thanks to improved graphics and an extra DLC chapter where you get to play as fan-favorite character Yuffie Kisaragi.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

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The PS5’s flagship title, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart shows off everything that makes the system so special. As intergalactic adventurers Ratchet and Clank travel through dimensional rifts in their latest adventure, they’ll jump from fully-rendered level to fully-rendered level in seconds, showing off how quickly the PS5 can load areas from scratch. The gorgeous graphics and responsive DualSense feedback make the game feel even more immersive than previous entries in the series.

But the real draw of Rift Apart is simply that it’s an excellent action/platformer with a heartfelt story. There’s also a new playable character: a female Lombax called Rivet. After eight years, it’s great to see the Ratchet & Clank story advance again, especially in such a finely crafted game.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales

PS5

(Image credit: Sony)

Spider-Man: Miles Morales was one of the very first PS5 games, and it holds up just as well, more than a year later. A continuation of Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a shorter standalone expansion that casts you as the titular teenage Spider-Man successor. With Peter Parker out of town, Miles has to step up and defend New York City by himself, meeting a new cast of allies and villains along the way. The webslinging mechanics are still an absolute joy, and they’re even better than on the PS4, thanks to the DualSense’s variable-tension shoulder buttons. Miles Morales also feels like a timely game, since Spider-Man: No Way Home is out in theaters, and Insomniac’s version of Spider-Man is arguably even better than the MCU’s.

Marshall Honorof
Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.