This has been the worst console generation ever, but these 7 PS5 games have (almost) saved it

PS5 console and controller
(Image credit: Future)

I’m not being hyperbolic when I say this has been the worst console generation I’ve ever experienced. More than last-gen, this console cycle is oversaturated with remakes, remasters and especially cross-gen titles. 

I’ve owned a PS5 since launch, but I still have trouble justifying its existence since there are so few “current-gen” titles available for the system. Things are even worse for the Xbox Series X, which has even fewer true exclusives, but that’s a whole other conversation. Regardless, this console generation has been a major disappointment for me.

Despite the PS5 not blowing me away, there have been a handful of exclusives that have kept the system from being a complete wash. Sure, games purely made for PS5 are few and far between, but most of the ones I’ve played have been solid — even if none have been generation-defining experiences. To that end, I want to list some of my favorite PS5 exclusives released so far.

The main rule I placed on myself when putting this list together is that the games are only available on PS5. This is why you won’t see titles like God of War: Ragnarok, Horizon Forbidden West or Spider-Man: Miles Morales. I also excluded The Last of Us I Remake and The Last of Us II Remastered since you can play the PS4 versions on PS5.

Without further ado, here are 7 PS5 exclusives that have (almost) saved this console generation.

7 PS5 exclusives worth buying

As I said above, this list is limited to games that originally released exclusively on PS5. Not only does this include first-party offerings from Sony Interactive Entertainment, but you'll find some third-party exclusives as well. Not only are these games great in their own right, they also take advantage of the PS5's powerful hardware.

Astro's Playroom

Astro's Playroom

(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Astro’s Playroom is a free game that comes bundled with the PS5. Don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a cheap throwaway title, as it’s legit a fun and captivating experience. 

Astro’s Playroom is a wonderful showcase for the PS5’s DualSense controller. You’ll feel the sensation of walking over rough sand or swimming through thick water via the controller’s haptics. The game also utilizes the microphone and touchpad, along with gyroscopic features.

Beyond its technical accomplishments, Astro’s Playroom is simply a fun platforming game that’s a massive love letter to PlayStation’s 25-plus year history. No matter if you’re young or old, a gaming expert or a newbie, Astro’s Playroom delivers a fun time for just about anyone.

PS5: was $499 now $449 @ Best Buy

PS5: was $499 now $449 @ Best Buy
The PS5 is one of the most popular gaming devices on the market. It sports a 4K UDH Blu-ray disc drive, a lightning-quick custom SSD, and an innovative DualSense controller. It's fully adapted for cutting-edge gaming. In our PS5 review, we said it's an essential console for all gamers. Astro's Playroom comes bundled with every PS5.

Demon’s Souls 

Demon's Souls

(Image credit: Sony)

This is somewhat of a cheat since it’s a remake of a PS3 game. However, I’m adding it since I can’t include Elden Ring, which is technically a last-gen game. Besides, Demon’s Souls is too awesome to ignore.

Demon’s Souls isn’t as vast and expansive as its successors but it excels at delivering a tight and focused game that tests you every step of the way. It's every bit as difficult now as it was back in 2009, which might be a shock even to those who’ve mastered Elden Ring. But like its spiritual follow-ups, you’ll feel an immense level of pride after every hard-earned victory. Demon’s Souls is not for the faint of heart, and that makes it awesome.

Demon's Souls: was $69 now $48 @ Amazon

Demon's Souls: was $69 now $48 @ Amazon
Demon's Souls is one of the toughest games on PS5; it's also one of the best. This ultra-difficult action/RPG casts you as an adventurer in the cursed realm of Boletaria and then challenges you to overcome deadly dungeons and towering bosses.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth 

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

(Image credit: Square-Enix)

As I said in my review, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth delivers on almost every conceivable level. This sequel to the beloved Final Fantasy VII Remake offers expansive environments to explore, robust customization options, exceptional presentation and an engaging story that’s both familiar and unexpected.

If you enjoyed the previous installment, you won’t find many faults here. While the slew of mini-games can sometimes distract from the core narrative, the vast amount of content means you’re getting your $70 worth. This is a game worth owning a PS5 for, even if you’ve never played a Final Fantasy game before.

Image

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth: was $69 now $57 @ Amazon
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is a phenomenal JRPG thanks to its stellar graphics, robust customization options and vast explorable environments. This is a PS5 exclusive worth buying Sony’s system for.

Final Fantasy XVI 

Final Fantasy XVI

(Image credit: Square-Enix)

While on the subject of Square-Enix’s most beloved RPG series, let’s discuss another one of my favorite entries: Final Fantasy XVI. I dubbed this the Final Fantasy for adults due to its mature subject matter. While its grimdark tone and diminished RPG mechanics mark a radical departure from what people are used to, it contains series staples like over-the-top magic spells, malevolent gods — and chocobos. Yes, it’s dark, but it’s still very much a Final Fantasy game.

Final Fantasy XVI isn’t your father’s Final Fantasy. Heck, it’s not even your Final Fantasy. But the changes introduced make the franchise feel more relevant than it has in years. 

Some have decried the action-focused gameplay and mature tone, but as a long-time fan of the series, I find this entry ticks almost all of the right boxes. While I’m not enamored with everything, the characters, lore and graphics help me overlook some of the less-than-great aspects. Final Fantasy XVI might not be perfect but it’s the best installment in years. It’s also a visual showcase on PS5.

Final Fantasy XVI: was $69 now $44 @ Amazon

Final Fantasy XVI: was $69 now $44 @ Amazon
The Final Fantasy franchise has never been scared to reinvent itself, and this 16th mainline entry is one of the most radical departures to date. Packing real-time combat, and a focus on epic-scale boss battles, Final Fantasy XVI is a highly cinematic experience. Plus, it packs a dark medieval setting and a grown-up story that casts you as a fallen prince on a mission of redemption.  

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart 

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart review

(Image credit: Sony)

This was one of the first big first-party PS5 games released but it’s still one of the best. Like its predecessors, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart features tight gameplay, gorgeous graphics, and a story that deftly balances humor and heart. And though it pays homage to what came before, newcomers can also have a great time.

Rift Apart utilizes the PS5’s super-fast SSD to zip you across multiple levels within seconds without any noticeable loading. The only other game I’ve seen that does this is Spider-Man 2, which Insomniac Games also developed. Then we have the drop-dead gorgeous graphics which do a stellar job of bringing the colorful alien worlds to life in stunning detail. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is yet another technical stunner for PS5.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart: was $69 now $59 @ Amazon

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart: was $69 now $59 @ Amazon
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is one of the PS5's first truly next-gen games. As adventuring partners Ratchet and Clank travel through dimensions, the PS5 can render new levels almost instantaneously, providing the backdrop for one of their most entertaining jaunts yet.

Stellar Blade 

Eve from Stellar Blade battling a Naytibas.

(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Stellar Blade is the newest PS5 exclusive released, but it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the other entries on this list. As I said in my review, it offers a refreshing change of pace from the deluge of remasters, remakes and sequels we’ve seen this generation. This has it all, including superb graphics, exciting gameplay and a captivating narrative. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it excels as a kick-ass action adventure game.

Stellar Blade has both style and substance. Even if the stunning graphics and well-animated protagonist are what initially draw you in, the challenging combat, thrilling story, and explorable environments will keep you hooked. This is exactly what a video game is supposed to be about — pure fun. It’s absolutely a reason to own a PS5.

Stellar Blade:$69 @ Amazon

Stellar Blade: $69 @ Amazon
Stellar Blade is an excellent hack-and-slash action-adventure game that takes full advantage of the PS5's horsepower. Featuring thrilling combat sequences, an engaging story and drop-dead gorgeous graphics, this is a PS5 exclusive worth owning.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 

Marvel's Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Last but certainly not least is Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. As we said in our review, this game is nearly flawless. That’s saying a lot considering the high bar Insomniac Games set with the also spectacular Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4. This amazing sequel web zips over its predecessor with ease.

All the best parts of the previous game are here, including a well-realized recreation of my hometown of New York City and the instantly accessible combat. There are also dramatic improvements to the numerous side activities, and the central story ranks as one of the greatest Spidey tales ever told. Spider-Man 2 is more than just an endlessly enjoyable love letter to the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler, it’s one of the best superhero video games ever created.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2:$69 @ Amazon

Marvel's Spider-Man 2: $69 @ Amazon
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is a textbook example of a video game sequel done right. It retains everything great about its predecessor while also refining the experience in key areas. The biggest improvements come in the form of engaging side missions, but the highly cinematic main story is the ultimate show-stealer. This is the best Spider-Man video game ever made.

Honorable mentions

While they're not my personal favorites, I wanted to give some love to Returnal and Rise of the Ronin.

While the former can be frustratingly difficult, I can't deny its stunning graphics and expert use of the DualSense controller's features. As for Rise of Ronin, I might add it to my personal list after I've played more of it  —  but the little I've played lets me know it's a cool open-world adventure.

Returnal: was $69 now $49 @ Amazon

Returnal: was $69 now $49 @ Amazon
Returnal may look like another third-person action game with the PlayStation Studios splash screen attached However, nothing could be further from the truth. Returnal is a bold step forward for developer Housemarque, proving that the studio is one of the finest working teams in the industry. 

Image

Rise of the Ronin: $69 @ Amazon
Rise of the Rōnin brings the ‘Shogun’ vibes in force, shaping a rich open world tinged with its own special magic. It blends some of the best elements from the biggest franchises in gaming all while keeping its sword-slashing, gun-toting combat fresh in a narrative that’s rooted in real-world history.

More from Tom's Guide

Category
Arrow
Arrow
Back to Game Consoles
Brand
Arrow
Storage Size
Arrow
Colour
Arrow
Condition
Arrow
Price
Arrow
Any Price
Showing 10 of 198 deals
Filters
Arrow
Load more deals
Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.

  • guraldunix
    I agree the market is oversaturated with remakes, many of which are barely an improvement on the game they're remaking.

    Nevertheless, the focus on console exclusives is disheartening. Console exclusives are one of the most toxic influences on the game industry and market for video games as a whole. They're inefficient economic silos intended to encourage lock-in to an ecosystem antithetical to consumer interest. They provide no benefit to consumers and create an us vs them mentality in terms of hardware, against all reason.

    Aside from always online games with an implicit expiration date, console exclusives are the most hostile anti-consumer thing about videogames today.
    Reply
  • soy77
    guraldunix said:
    I agree the market is oversaturated with remakes, many of which are barely an improvement on the game they're remaking.

    Nevertheless, the focus on console exclusives is disheartening. Console exclusives are one of the most toxic influences on the game industry and market for video games as a whole. They're inefficient economic silos intended to encourage lock-in to an ecosystem antithetical to consumer interest. They provide no benefit to consumers and create an us vs them mentality in terms of hardware, against all reason.

    Aside from always online games with an implicit expiration date, console exclusives are the most hostile anti-consumer thing about videogames today.
    I envy your youth. No, really, i do.

    I'm old. So I'm already used to the idea that mario is on nintendo and sonic is on sega, while sony has crash bandicoot. iMessage is on iphone, while Android folks brags about their latest snapdragon which plays games. Avengers are on Disney+, The boys is on Prime, and everything else are on Netflix.

    I mean i went to five guys to get a burger, but i like McDonald's fries too much. And say what you want about them, but KFC still makes the best chicken. I'm spending my hard earned money on multiple companies, playing right into the capitalism trap. I bought every consoles and keep my mouth shut.

    Please never let it go. Stick to your guns. Fight for consumer's rights. Don't end up like me.
    Reply
  • guraldunix
    soy77 said:
    I envy your youth. No, really, i do.

    I'm old. So I'm already used to the idea that mario is on nintendo and sonic is on sega, while sony has crash bandicoot. iMessage is on iphone, while Android folks brags about their latest snapdragon which plays games. Avengers are on Disney+, The boys is on Prime, and everything else are on Netflix.

    I mean i went to five guys to get a burger, but i like McDonald's fries too much. And say what you want about them, but KFC still makes the best chicken. I'm spending my hard earned money on multiple companies, playing right into the capitalism trap. I bought every consoles and keep my mouth shut.

    Please never let it go. Stick to your guns. Fight for consumer's rights. Don't end up like me.
    I'm not sure how old you are, but I'm likely older.
    Reply
  • Sam Bridges
    And yet, I’m still having a heap of fun. To each their own mate.

    Cheers.
    Reply