Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales may be shorter than its immediate predecessor, a spin-off if you like, but it’s lacking none of the character of its older, bigger brother. While Marvel’s Spider-Man did away with origin story clichés, Miles Morales is much more of a coming of age tale, as it sees the eponymous star coming to terms with his new-found powers. This is a deeply personal plot that adds depth to Insomniac Games’ wider Spider-Man universe, and it comes with some smart new gameplay wrinkles that make it a blast to play. Instant loading and sumptuous visuals are merely the frosting on the top of this wintery open world treat, which will leave you lusting after Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
Up until Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart released, Insomniac Games’ dynamic duo had been wilting in the wilderness a little bit. The PS4 reboot, Ratchet & Clank, was well-received – but it felt lightweight compared to classic series entries, like Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time. Fortunately, while Rift Apart doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel, it does deliver the series’ first full-scale adventure in well over a generation. This is a game that feels great to play, thanks in part to stunning DualSense integration and some of the glitziest special effects this side of the galaxy. It’s a little more throwaway than many of the PS5’s other exclusives, but its thoroughly entertaining while it lasts, and the introduction of new characters like Rivet mean there’s a lot of life left in this series yet.
The sequel to Guerrilla Games' breakout hit, Horizon Zero Dawn, is bigger and better than its immediate predecessor in every single way. Horizon Forbidden West may retread familiar territory with its open world RPG adventure, but it improves upon the writing, introducing a worthwhile cast of characters for heroine Aloy to bounce off. New combat and exploration wrinkles, including a grappling hook, intensify the action, while the eponymous Forbidden West is a diverse sandbox, bursting with varied biomes and secrets to discover.
Sony comfortably hooked the enthusiast crowd by adding Demon’s Souls to the PS5’s launch lineup. FromSoftware’s legendary action RPG – which would go on to spawn the so-called Soulsborne series and, eventually, even Elden Ring – was snubbed by the Japanese giant during the PS3 era, as it felt early builds were simply not up to snuff. Publishers like Atlus and Bandai Namco eventually picked it up, and it went on to become a cult classic. Perhaps as a tacit admission that it made a mistake, its recruited tech specialists Bluepoint Games to remake the game for a modern era – and the results are remarkable. This version uses original PS3 code to make for an incredibly authentic experience, but its visuals are among some of the best you’ll find on Sony’s new-gen console. It’s an extraordinary blend of old and new that comes highly recommended.
As far as pack-ins go, Astro’s Playroom is exemplary. Inspired by Team Asobi’s critically acclaimed PSVR platformer Astro Bot Rescue Mission – itself originally introduced in The Playroom VR – this short-form platformer serves as an introduction to the PS5, specifically the DualSense controller. As you explore cutesy character Astro’s vibrant world, you’ll physically feel it in your fingertips, from the sensation of rain falling on the hero’s hard, steel exterior to the slippery surfaces of ice. All of this, alone, would make it a truly memorable experience – but the game also doubles as a kind of history lesson, exploring many of the most famous moments from PlayStation’s past. Simply put, it’s an extraordinary four to five hour escapade, and one that every new PS5 owner must play.