With the launch of the PS5, Sony has delivered what could be the greatest PlayStation launch line-up we’ve ever seen. From Demon’s Souls to Spider-Man: Miles Morales, we’ve gotten our hands on a slew of high-quality games that could still be the PS5’s selling point for most of the next year.
Whether these games show off the power of next-gen or are just excellent experiences from start to finish, we’ve highlighted our favorite PS5 launch titles.
Demon’s Souls is the excellent progenitor to the critically acclaimed Soulsborne series. A Bluepoint Games remaster of the 2009 classic was launched alongside the PS5, this time coupled with a visual spectacle not present previously. If you’re looking to jump into a simultaneously brilliant and striking world littered with designs that are sure to embed themselves into your brain, Demon’s Souls is a must play.
Coupled with an ever-present sense of dread thanks to unforgiving level pathing and a brutal combat system, the game boasts a mix of both frustration from failure and deep satisfaction out of victory. Additionally, the game’s gimmick boss fights are underrated, as their puzzle-like foundation is arguably as memorable as those which rely on mechanical mastery. And what’s most exciting about this remaster is that Bluepoint has crafted their own vision for Demon’s Souls. Tower of Latria is now a Victorian gothic castle straight out of Bloodborne, while Boletarian Palace is far more elegant and sophisticated than before. These areas are significantly different than they were in the original game, meaning the original and remaster are still both worth playing.
— Mohammad Tabari, intern
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
From that fresh lineup, to the hidden tributes to actor Chadwick Boseman to the central location of Spanish Harlem. Spider-Man: Miles Morales just hits different. And yeah, it’s retreading the well-worn path of a teenage superhero finding their way in their world. However, this time It’s a much more personal story.
Picking up after the death of his father and gaining his own Spidey-powers in Marvel’s Spider-Man, we find Miles taking NYC for a spin as OG Spidey, Peter Parker goes out of town. With his base of operations in Spanish Harlem, Miles’ story centers around family and just how far you’re willing to go to honor those you love. And while Miles Morales borrows heavily from the original game, Insomniac Games keeps the formula fresh by bringing in Miles’ bio-electrokinesis powers as well as his camouflaging abilities.
— Sherri L. Smith, editor-in-chief
They’re half bug, they’re half snacks, they’re 100% adorable. In Bugsnax, a game that borrows heavily from Pokémon Snap, your goal is to capture edible animals and learn their traits. Doing so will help uncover the mysteries of Snaktooth Island and find out what happened to Elizabert Megafig, an explorer who invited you to the island.
What makes Bugsnax such a great launch title are its characters. It’s not just the cute Cinnasnails or mouth-watering Cheepoofs, it’s the diverse and eclectic group of Grumpuses who inhabit the island. There’s the awkward and timid Filbo Fiddlepie, the hard-headed farmer Wambus Troubleham and the brilliant scientist Floofty Fizzlebean. While Bugsnax is appropriate for kids, it has darker undertones and adult elements, and the increasingly complex puzzles grow challenging, and in turn, hugely rewarding. While there is no multiplayer element, Bugsnax is a great game to play with friends and family watching.
— Phillip Tracy, editor
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
If you liked Astro’s Playroom (see below), your next game should be Sackboy: A Big Adventure, a wildly creative platformer set in the LittleBigPlanet universe. One of the few multiplayer games available on PS5, Sackboy is a great choice if you want to play local or online co-op as it supports up to four players.
In Sackboy, you play as a cute puppet character whose goal is to save his friends from the oppressive Vex. The story isn’t especially inspired, but the levels are filled with creativity. What Sackboy does best is activate your senses with beautiful imagery, ever-evolving gameplay mechanics and one of the best uses of music I’ve ever encountered in a game.
There is whimsy and silliness of kids but a level of difficulty that will frustrate even the most adept adult gamers. And while this might feel like a LBP spin-off, Sackboy is a full-fledged game that will take at least a dozen hours to master. In short, Sackboy is a lengthy fun-filled adventure for kids and adults alike.
— Phillip Tracy, editor
Alright, alright alright, you’ve finally got your hands on a PS5, congratulations! And I know what you’re thinking, you’re going to boot up Spider-Man: Miles Morales or Demon Souls and go web slingin’ or die a thousand and one deaths. But before you do that I implore you to take Astro’s Playroom for a spin. Beneath its cutesy veneer lies the groundwork for gaming going forward –– at least for the controller. Astro’s Playroom transforms that somewhat chunky, yet exciting piece of plastic called the PlayStation DualSense wireless controller into one of the most intriguing pieces of tech of the year.
In the first few seconds of the game, the controller seems to come alive in your hands. Nearly every inch of it corresponds to the game. There’s portions where you’re prompted to blow into the microphone port to spin various fans in the game. The haptics are unlike anything I’ve experienced, growing stronger in relation to the pressure placed on the shoulder button and triggers. It’s something that you really need to experience to understand.
And if that isn’t enough to convince you, Astro’s Playroom is a deep love letter to the history of PlayStation with easter eggs hidden throughout the entirety of the game. From homages to games like Ico and Silent Hill 2 and devices like the PlayStation Eye and the Pocketstation you owe it to yourself to take this preinstalled hidden-in-plain-sight gem for a spin.
— Sherri L. Smith, editor-in-chief