The PS5 debuted two years ago, and even when it launched, it had a pretty good game lineup. In addition to full backwards compatibility with the PS4 library, the PS5 also launched alongside exciting new games such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Since then, the games for Sony's latest console have gotten even better.
In 2021 and 2022, the PS5 received new entries in beloved series, such as Horizon, God of War and Ratchet & Clank. We saw big-budget takes on indie genres, and exclusive titles that took full advantage of the idiosyncratic DualSense controller. We even had some shot-for-shot remakes of classic PS3 titles - which some fans adored, and others bemoaned.
We polled the Tom's Guide staff to see which PS5 title made the strongest impressions on us. These aren't necessarily the best PS5 games; these are the ones that we, personally, enjoyed the most. Read on to find out the PS5 games that we recommend wholeheartedly.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the PS5's flagship game - and one of the only true "next-gen" experiences we've played so far. Eight years after Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus, Rift Apart finally continues the titular duo's sci-fi adventures. This time around, the villainous Dr. Nefarious drags Ratchet and Clank into an alternate dimension, where they team up with their distaff counterparts, Rivet and Kit.
Fans of the series won't be surprised to learn that Rift Apart delivers tight platforming, joyful combat and a smart story, all wrapped up in the series' signature sense of humor. (To wit: One of your weapons is a Topiary Sprinkler that turns enemies into hedge art.) But what makes Rift Apart so special is that it takes full advantage of the PS5 hardware. From near-instantaneous loading times while jumping between dimensions, to the subtle haptics each time you fire a weapon, Rift Apart is one of the only PS5 games that would have been impossible on a PS4. — Marshall Honorof
God of War Ragnarök
Even after reviewing the game, I haven’t been able to put down God of War Ragnarök. In a year that has been all-but bereft of them, God of War Ragnarök satisfies my desire for big-budget games. However, my appreciation for God of War goes beyond its production values. It’s legitimately one of the finest titles I’ve played in years.
Whether it's the thrilling combat sequences, the imaginative level layouts or the robust character customization systems, all of God of War Ragnarök’s disparate gameplay elements come together beautifully. You’re never stuck doing one activity for long, which helps keeps things lively.
But what makes God of War Ragnarök a must-own title is the gripping narrative that ties everything together. I won’t spoil anything here, but it’s extremely satisfying to see how certain character arcs unfold during the course of the game — especially if you’ve played 2018’s God of War. The main narrative is on a par with anything out of Hollywood, and its various side quests feel equally well-crafted.
I could go on about the game, but you should experience it for yourself. It's an experience worthy of the gods. — Tony Polanco
It wasn’t until I played Deathloop that I felt like the new generation of consoles had arrived. Before I played the game, I regarded the adaptive triggers, haptic feedback and built-in speaker on the PS5’s DualSense controller as mere gimmicks, but I soon learned otherwise. Each weapon in this creative first-person shooter requires a different level of trigger discipline, and the unpredictable assassin Julianna constantly taunting you through the speaker is a nice touch.
Even though I bought the game at launch, I still boot it up regularly to play online. Hunting other players as Julianna is a shift in perspective that never gets old.
Deathloop’s inventive time-loop story is also something that I still think about regularly. I still have questions, and there are still unsolved mysteries. But that’s great, as I still have a reason to keep playing. Now, it's time for another loop. — Andy Sansom
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade
Final Fantasy VII Remake was a tour-de-force on PS4. Putting that experience onto the PS5 as Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade was the only logical thing to do. However, Square Enix went one step further by adding a whole new chapter to the game. The new Intermission episode covers the story of Yuffie Kisaragi, one of the optional characters from the original game. By putting Yuffie’s story into the PS5 version, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade became a great supplement to the original PS4 game.
That level of care and consideration pervades every part of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Square Enix streamlined the title in such a way that you can run through it in 20-or-so hours, or take your time to experience everything the game has to offer by taking on all the extra quests. Both ways to play feel equally valid here, and both are rewarding in their own way. — Nick Pino
Returnal is a gaming experience that has stayed with me. Even 18 months after its launch, I find myself reminiscing on my first playthrough. And I still regularly boot it up for a quick session that often ends up stretching for multiple hours.
Returnal fuses bullet-hell gameplay with a wonderfully replayable rogue-lite structure. Even though I’ve beaten its final boss many times, I keep coming back, especially since a free DLC update added the seriously difficult Tower of Sisyphus endless mode.
The game’s perfectly balanced gameplay and compelling structure are impressive, but so are its intriguing world and striking visual design. I’d also wager that Returnal offers the second-best implementation of the DualSense controller’s unique features, behind only Astro’s Playroom.
To anybody who hasn't given Returnal a chance yet, I urge you to reconsider. To be honest, I’m quite jealous of your position. I would sincerely love to experience this truly next-gen game for the first time all over again. — Rory Mellon
Horizon Forbidden West
It can be easy to forget about Horizon Forbidden West, as it launched in the same month as Elden Ring, and the latter game arguably took open-world games to new heights. While Horizon Forbidden West isn't groundbreaking, the game does a great job of building on its predecessor’s foundations. The story is less expository, the combat and traversal feel more dynamic, and the environments and antagonists are more varied.
More than anything else, though, Horizon Forbidden West just looks gorgeous. While it’s a cross-generation game, the resolution mode on PS5 gives a sharp, detailed presentation, with impressive textures and lighting effects. Often, I’d stop and slowly rotate the camera, drinking in vistas while protagonist Aloy quietly commented about the cold, or some other environmental effect. The game's visual design also shines during cutscenes, as characters convey their emotions with well-animated facial expressions. Horizon Forbidden West may not be the very best game of 2022, but it still remains a core title for the PS5, and a must-play for anyone who loves exploring rich open worlds. — Roland Moore-Colyer