Despite a decade’s eulogy and negativity decreeing single player games as dying, there’re a raft of quality single player experiences to be had on PS5. Several of the games in this rundown are remasters and remakes, sure, but with PS5’s enhanced visual prowess, DualSense controllers, and 3D audio, those games from older generations, polished and reimagined, have never played better.
For clarity’s sake, the games chosen in this rundown are as close to PlayStation 5 exclusive as possible. Of course, Sony is releasing many games on PC nowadays too, but for the avoidance of doubt none of the game’s featured here are playable on Microsoft or Nintendo consoles.
Finnish developer Housemarque blasted their already stellar reputation into the stratosphere with their first AAA title, rogue-lite third-person shooter Returnal; a game in which time is an agonising loop for astronaut Selene after she lands on the hostile alien world Atrophos. With an arsenal of hi-tech weaponry at her disposal, Selene must explore six vibrant biomes in search of the mysterious “White Shadow” signal, coming face-to-face with a host of imaginative, mind-warping extra-terrestrial enemies along the way. Sure, Returnal’s steep difficulty and rogue-lite structure isn’t for everyone, but those who stick with it enjoy a game that’s thrilling to play.
Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut
Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut expands and repackages the PS4 action-adventure for the PlayStation 5. Taking inspiration from the dynamic, narrative aesthetic championed by Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa with the enigmatic minimalism of Shadow of the Colossus, samurai Jin Sakai’s quest through feudal Japan during Mongol invasion feels thoroughly authentic. Gameplay flawlessly balances zen-like tranquillity with swift, limb-slashing swordplay, with the PS5’s DualSense providing the tactile feel of cold-blooded violence through the fingertips.
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut
Brimming with cinematic confidence and idiosyncrasy, Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding is a masterclass in environmental story telling. Assuming command of intrepid porter-cum-glorified delivery man Sam Bridges, players literally and figuratively build bridges between communities isolated by global catastrophe. Bleak, Icelandic landscapes – oftentimes jaw-dropping on PS4 – have their widescreen fidelity ramped to the max on PS5; plus, there’re improvements to Sam’s traversal too such as the excellent stabilisers, affording opportunity to cover larger distances more efficiently.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
LittleBigPlanet spinoff Sackboy: A Big Adventure eschews the 2.5D platforming of its forebearer, instead opting for the visual splendour of full 3D environments. Developer Sumo Digital haven’t lost any of LBP’s charm though, with Sackboy’s solo foray lovingly sprinkled in the same delightfully endearing sound design as those much-loved PS3-era titles, albeit sounding markedly stellar thanks to the PS5’s 3D audio. Admittedly, we’re cheating slightly with this entry as Sackboy: A Big Adventure is fully playable in local and online co-op modes, with stages specifically designed to get the best out of a team of players. Multi-player functionality wasn’t available on the game’s launch however, so we’re letting this one slide as Sackboy: A Big Adventure is too good not to include.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition
Insomniac Games’ 2018 masterpiece Spider-Man almost got the nod for this feature, but Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition for the PS5 appears instead as it collects the revamped and remastered Spider-Man alongside its successor, or baby brother of sorts, the deeply personal origin story of Marvel Comics character (and Into the Spider-Verse movie tie-in) Miles Morales. Miles is adept in agility, with his physics-based motion lifted straight out of Peter Parker’s playbook. But he’s equipped with additional super-cool venom abilities too; abilities that enhance Miles’ explosive action sequences beyond 2018’s effort.
Horizon Forbidden West
On first glance, Horizon Forbidden West might’ve appeared a ‘more-of-the-same’ continuation through beautifully misty, machine-roamed scenery established in predecessor Horizon Zero Dawn. As it happens, Forbidden West improves almost every heralded aspect of its precursor. True, the visuals are stunning, again, but combat takes a leap forward too with bigger, deadlier, and smarter machines threatening the life of heroine Aloy. Human friends and foes are more capable too, with an enriched cast of side characters adding emotional heft to an already enthralling story.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade
Any doubts Final Fantasy VII’s remake was unnecessary were surely evaporated during the game’s super-glossy rebuild of the original’s iconic opening sequence. Cloud, Barrett, and the rebellious cast of eco-terrorists never looked better, with the remake on the whole being one of the best Final Fantasy titles ever. Sure, a lot has changed since 1997, but in Final Fantasy VII Remake’s exhilarating combat, emotional story, and wonderful characters, the developer have somehow delivered pure magic. PlayStation 5’s Remake Intergrade is an enhanced version of the PS4 title bundled with new story DLC centering on entertaining protagonist Yuffie.
PS5 launch title Demon’s Souls is a faithful recreation of a cult classic. Utilising the original’s PS3-era code, Bluepoint Games’ modern remake harnesses the power afforded by Sony’s current gen hardware to incredible effect, with staggering attention to detail in environmental and sound design. Most notably, perhaps, is the game’s re-composed soundtrack, dense with orchestral swagger befitting this torch bearing classic.
Team Asobi’s PS5 pack-in Astro’s Playroom serves as the perfect introduction to Sony’s current gen hardware, and specifically it’s revolutionary DualSense controllers. It’s Astro’s Playroom’s ability to retrain the senses through masterfully implemented adaptive triggers, motion control, and haptic feedback, delivering new meaning to how a game feels to play that’s the true success here. It’s colourful and quirky too; playing through the game’s 3D platforming levels – themselves designed in homage to PlayStation’s rich heritage – is a joy every PS5 owner should experience.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection
Despite Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection bundling two PS4-era titles into one PS5 package, these two titans of cinematic adventure are still as essential as any single player game on this rundown. Both Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy receive visual upgrades that’re delivered in an unwaveringly smooth 60fps, backed up by non-existent load times and DualSense’s haptic feedback, meaning Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is an easy recommendation despite both titles being previous generation.
One aspect of this rundown that surely hasn’t gone unnoticed is the lack of purely current gen titles; there’re plenty of remakes and remasters featuring on this list for sure, but Deathloop however is as current generation as they come. Leveraging the PS5’s graphical prowess for it’s ultra-stylised retro future aesthetic, Arkane have crafted a cutting-edge tale of sparring assassins that breathes new life into an oftentimes limp genre. Playing through the campaign as Colt, players must hunt down targets whilst evading sharpshooting rival assassin Julianna, breaking the game’s time loop in the process. Deathloop is oftentimes exhilarating. The option for Julianna to be sneakily controlled by another player ramps up the thrill ride, although this is a single player feature so worth pointing out players can choose for AI to occupy Deathloop’s deadly antagonist.
Coming from The Evil Within developers Tango Gameworks is Ghostwire: Tokyo, a first-person reimagining of ultra-modern Shibuya overrun with vengeful Yokai spirits. Players must utilise a raft of devastating elemental abilities to hunt down and eliminate ghosts prowling the once bustling streets. Visual impressions and atmospheric world-building aside, it’s fair to say Ghostwire: Tokyo’s combat could grate on some due to its repetitiveness. However, there’s a compelling narrative and dark mystery to unravel, with a gracefully short runtime minimising player gripe.
Typical of Asian martial arts movies, unforgiving kung fu fantasy Sifu recounts a tale of revenge; perhaps atypical of games of this type though, Sifu’s primary gimmick is its aging mechanic whereby you’ll add years to your character’s life with every death. So, whilst every brutal encounter – and with it, a rapidly increasing death count – becomes an opportunity to learn, once those fighting techniques have been perfected there’s impetus to swiftly brawl through each of the game’s stages as perfectly as possible. There’s not a lot out there quite like Sifu, and rarely a game quite as rewarding.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is the gorgeous debut game from one-time animation and content creation studio Ember Lab. The studio’s aptitude for characterful, vibrant visuals shines through; spirit guide Kena’s trek though mountains and enchanted forests is oftentimes stunning. On her way she collects cutesy companions who’ll help her throughout her journey. Combined with her magical staff, the fluffy little spirits – known as The Rot – offer up fun combat and interesting environmental puzzle scenarios. Perhaps the story isn’t as engrossing as others on this rundown, but Kena: Bridge of Spirits still deserves plaudit as towering achievement for its fledging studio.
Yes, the most hyped game of the summer centres on the internet’s favourite animal, but Stray isn’t an experience purely for cat lovers. No, Stray is a good game, period. Playing third person as the eponymous cat plunged into Kowloon-esque city walls; a playground populated by machines, robots, sentinels, and toxic bacteria. There’s at least one friendly drone – companion B-12 – whom the stray cat utilises to store items or interact with the environment. The main draw though is of course the cat-like traversal. Leaping over ledges, jumping up to fences, nuzzling up to NPCs, purring, meowing… Stray risks feeling overly kitsch. As it happens, Stray’s whimsical feline rambling contrasts artfully with the dingy and decrepit surroundings which the lonesome cat finds itself in – Stray is playful and sublime.