10. Elden Ring (PS5)
Elden Ring’s crowning achievement is taking a relatively niche gameplay loop – refined over the years with Demon’s Souls, Bloodborne, et al – and presenting it to the masses. FromSoftware’s open world magnum opus is a staggering achievement: a sandbox bursting at the seams with vulgar secrets, all presented with enough ambiguity to make combing every square inch of its dramatic Lands Between backdrop feel like true discovery. With a complex combat system enabling an eclectic array of gameplay styles, and some of the most devilish encounters in gaming history, this is an unmissable experience – and then some.
Segmented into a selection of sprawling sinister landscapes, celebrated director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s ambitious open world harbours more secrets than you may imagine. Cliff edges hide untouched catacombs, littered with loot and guarded by grotesque enemies, while the friendly characters you encounter gradually make way to sprawling quest lines that will send you all over the open world.
While you will need assistance to discover much of the game’s more obscure content – and we recommend reading through our Elden Ring guide before you embark – a big part of this fantasy favourite’s appeal is simply getting lost in its world. With the bottlenecks of past entries mostly eradicated due to the sheer scale of its sandbox, no two adventures will ever be the same.
In fact, the title’s versatility is one of its defining features. With a dizzying selection of armaments to choose from, ranging spellbinding incantations through to deadly seven-foot swords, the game gives you the freedom to inject your own personality into it. And whether you’re playing in single player alone or in co-op with a companion, you’ll find what feels like a never-ending array of artillery to experiment with and areas to explore.
FromSoftware has never been blessed with technical chops, and while the painterly art direction borders on the sublime, some minor frame hitching and graphical glitches can be a concern. But these are minor blights in a tour-de-force: a culmination of everything the Japanese developer has spent the past decade and a bit working to achieve.
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.
Not that it needed to, but with Returnal, Housemarque has proven itself an incredibly capable studio. This PS5 exclusive is a frantic, ultra-tight third person shooter dressed up with some rogue-like elements to add variety and unpredictability to the mix, and the result is wonderful.
Trapped in a loop on a hostile alien world, Selene is forced to relive her fateful crash landing each time she dies. There's an amazing sense of accomplishment as you slowly progress through challenging boss encounters and explore six diverse environments full of randomised weapons, perks, and power-ups. It feels amazing to play, especially with amazing support for the DualSense's features, and the addictive gameplay is complemented by an enigmatic story that will leave you guessing.
The best part is that's just the start. A slew of additional modes flesh out Returnal, giving you a few extra ways to play when you're done with the single player campaign. The daily challenge mode provides all players with a fixed loadout and room layouts, with the goal of amassing the highest score possible by exploring and playing skilfully. Beyond that is the Tower of Sisyphus, an endless arcade mode that similarly tasks you with getting the highest score you can, only there's more of a sense of urgency. You're rewarded not just for skilled play but for fast play — your multiplier will start to tick down if you loiter for too long. The Tower also contains additional story, adding more layers to the mysterious narrative the main game offers.
Finally, there's two-player online co-op. This allows you to join or invite another player and go through the main campaign with a companion, potentially alleviating some of the challenge. While it isn't the primary focus of Returnal, the co-op works splendidly; resources are shared between you, forcing you to make decisions on who gets what, and a revival mechanic lets you bring each other back into the fight. It's just as much fun taking on the world of Atropos with a friend as it is alone, if not more so.
Whether you're in it for the world class gameplay, the atmospheric sci-fi setting, the intentionally mysterious story, or the variety of extra modes, Returnal is among the most robust, rewarding, and addictive games on PS5.
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.
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.
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.
A compilation including two of the PS4’s most beloved games was destined to be well-received, and while the absence of PS3 era adventures like Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves prevents this from being definitive, it’s still an absolute must for thrill seekers. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End paints protagonist Nathan Drake as a weary buccaneer on one final score, while the even more refined Uncharted: The Lost Legacy – originally intended as DLC – acts as a kind of Greatest Hits album, with series stalwart Chloe Frazer serving as a superb step-in for Nate. Series creator Naughty Dog could have done more to upgrade these greats for the PS5 console, but there’s no question this collection is a must-play.
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.
Offered as an added incentive as part of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales’ pricier Ultimate Edition, a somewhat strange delivery mechanism should take nothing away from Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered. Insomniac Games invested a huge amount of effort here, rebuilding New York City to take full advantage of the PS5 hardware, without interfering with the critically acclaimed action of the PS4 original. Some vocal fans were frustrated by the changes to protagonist Peter Parker’s face – but with new visual effects like ray tracing, in addition to silky smooth 60 frames-per-second refresh rates, this is the definitive way to experience Sony’s superb superhero sandbox. It even includes all of the original’s inconsequential but enjoyable expansion packs!
Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut repackages one of the greatest open world games of the PS4 era on the PS5. A breakout hit for first-party developer Sucker Punch, this expanded re-release includes a new idyllic samurai sandbox named Iki Island, and forces protagonist Jin Sakai to face some painful memories. With improved presentation and stunning DualSense support, allowing you to physically feel the clash of steel-on-steel in your fingertips, this is the definitive version of one of PlayStation Studios’ crowning achievements.
It represents an interesting change of direction for the team, which during the PS2 era was best known for its cutesy mascot platformers, Sly Cooper. Moving into the PS3 era, the Seattle studio cut its teeth in the open world arena with inFAMOUS, a superhero series spanning a variety of unique powers, including the unusual Video and Neon abilities of inFAMOUS: Second Son.
There are similarities between all three series, despite the obvious deviations in setting and tone. Ghost of Tsushima, as zen as it can be, has a very aggressive combat system, which sees you cutting through Mongols rapidly and using all manner of samurai gadgetry to make your approach. While it’s not necessarily the game’s strongest asset, you can approach many skirmishes in stealth – or simply challenge your adversaries head-on to a duel.
As a sandbox, there are few surprises in Tsushima and its expanded Iki Island, although the way points of interest are presented is particularly original. Rather than rely on compasses and maps, the developer uses the wind to guide Sakai to key regions of interest, while wildlife like birds and foxes will lead the way to Hot Springs and collectibles.
It all makes for a serene experience during exploration, accentuated by the otherworldly visual style. Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut presents a romantic glimpse into historical Japan, but its virtual tourism is arguably unmatched, making it one of the greatest open world adventure games you can currently play on PlayStation – or any console for that matter. A surprisingly robust online suite, named Ghost of Tsushima: Legends, rounds out the package impressively.
Those are the best single player games on PS5 according to the Push Square community. Do you agree? Are you happy with the ordering or do a few tweaks need to be made? Either way, don't forget you can leave ratings for your favourite games using the search bar on the first page of this article. Doing so could see your own picks rise through the ranks. If you think there's something missing from our PlayStation Game Database, please let us know. All that's left to do is share your own recommendations for the best single player games on PS5 in the comments below.