Ranking the Best PlayStation games of 2021

Sony has been a titan in the video game console market for decades, with the current generation console providing some of the very best PlayStation games ever made. With a range of genres, playstyles, and story types available to choose from, it’s easy for even the most particular gamer to find something interesting.

Our list below includes a range of PlayStation exclusives and AAA titles, plus indie titles. It showcases the best PlayStation games out there to help you figure out what you should play next.


1. Last of Us Part 2 (PlayStation Exclusive)

the last of us part 2

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The original Last of Us was hailed as one of the greatest video games ever made, and its successor, The Last of Us Part 2, has somehow managed to improve on it in almost every way. It combines innovative new twists in gameplay with a more mature and even harsh thematic feel to create not just one of the best video games but one of the best works of fiction we’ve ever experienced.

Why we like it: Last of Us Part 2 is the kind of game people buy a PlayStation just to be able to play. It’s also quite possibly one of the most developed and downright enthralling stories ever told by a video game. It follows protagonist Ellie four years after the events of the critically acclaimed original and explores new areas of emotion, grief, death, war, and cruelty while still managing to have entertaining gameplay. The characters feel as real as people we know, with real problems, realistic goals, and actions that have consequences. It’s not often we play a video game that makes us think about the human condition, but the Last of Us Part 2 manages to pull it off in a beautiful and bittersweet fashion.

Flaws: For some, the gameplay and especially the combat will be just too much. We’re not going to sugarcoat it: The combat is absolutely brutal. There’s nothing cartoonish about slicing an enemy’s throat open with a knife or watching them die painfully from a shotgun blast to the chest. This isn’t a game for the faint of heart and definitely not for children.

2. Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2

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On release, Red Dead Redemption 2 was one of the most anticipated games of all time. What’s even more surprising is that it managed to outdo the hype surrounding it and earn its place among the pantheon of truly great video games.

Why we like it: Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the most perfectly crafted games we’ve ever played. It sets the new standard for open-world RPGs and does it while still managing to tell a story of loss, displacement, regrets, and survival that rivals the best Hollywood has to offer. It’s a little slow to take off, but once you’re free to roam the vast open-world map, you can truly make the story your own and explore a version of the American West that peels back the mythic image we all hold and lays bare the hard reality of life in an unforgiving frontier.

Flaws: One word: Prologue. The introductory chapter of RDR2 doesn’t drag, and it can be quite interesting, but it certainly takes its time to get you into the freedom and loaded choices that make open world RPGs so incredible.

3. God of War (2018 – PlayStation Exclusive)

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God of War is the latest installment in a sprawling franchise that stretches back more than 15 years. It makes significant changes to the setting, tone, and gameplay of its predecessors and introduces a totally new element in Atreus, son of the Ghost of Sparta.

Why we like it: God of War is a series that many of the current generation of gamers grew up playing. The newest entry in the franchise builds on what came before it, gorgeous graphics, epic gameplay mechanics, and enthralling storytelling, with a twist. Vengeance, power, and a heady brew of intensely violent action have always been hallmarks of the series, but the latest chapter introduces something new. Kratos is still Kratos, gruff, quick to fight, and as willing to solve any problem with a blow from his battle-ax as ever, but the relationship with his son and the move to Norse settings subtly change his views. As many of the early generations of console gamers have grown into their responsibilities as adults, so too has Kratos begun to learn that retribution isn’t the only thing in life. 

Flaws: God of War is that rare game with almost no flaws or failings. If we could criticize anything, it’s that there aren’t the same kind of epically unique bosses found in previous titles.

4. Ghost of Tsushima (PlayStation Exclusive)

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Ghost of Tsushima puts the player squarely in the action as a samurai-turned-ninja defending his homeland from Mongol invaders. It uses a skill-based upgrade system that emphasizes player development rather than character leveling and gives you plenty of combat options to make each playthrough feel like your own.

Why we like it: Ghost of Tsushima takes the best features of the open-world stealth/action and adventure genre and places them squarely in one of the most exciting parts of history. We play as Jin Sakai, a young member of a Samurai clan who discovers that the honor and dignity of samurai warfare may need some tweaks. Explore a vast open-world version of Tsushima island in the prime years of the Kamakura Shogunate. The gameplay itself incorporates an easy to learn mix of sword stances and other weapons that nevertheless become incredibly rewarding to master. With practice, Jin will be dancing his blade through enemies to a cinematic worthy score. Add in some of the best character development we’ve seen in a stealth action game, and you’ve got a heady mix indeed.

Flaws: The enemy AI needs some tinkering, particularly as it relates to stealth. There are plenty of ways to use stealth in the game, but we frequently encountered immersion breaking reactions to discovery in stealth that didn’t make sense in the context of your actions.

5. Nier Automata: Game of the YorHa Edition

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Nier Automata: Game of the YorHa Edition is an action-packed hack-and-slash set in the distant future where alien machines have overrun the earth. You play as 2B, a melee proficient humanoid android, fighting to reclaim the Earth for the last survivors of humanity, at least you do at the start.

Why we like it: Nier Automata is a hodge-podge of genres, gameplay styles, and quirky storytelling tricks that nonetheless provides a compelling experience. Ostensibly a hack-and-slash following a human-made android fighting alien machines, as you dig deeper into the game you uncover an intricate web of side plots, deception, and downright lies that put a different spin on everything you’ve done and all your accomplishments. It’s one of the deepest plotlines we’ve seen in a genre more acclaimed for gratuitous violence than philosophical explorations of meaning, existence, and purpose. 

Flaws: Not everyone will be willing to devote multiple playthroughs to truly experience the story of Nier Automata. Without providing spoilers, the first ending is interesting, but it gets remarkable as you learn more and more about the events leading up to the war being fought and the ultimate futility of battles fought.

6. Persona 5 Royal

Persona 4 royal

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Persona 5 Royal is an updated and remastered version of 2017s beloved Persona 5. It follows a group of high school students battling literal and figurative demons while dealing with all the personal and relationship pitfalls of that age. For fans of anime, manga, or JRPG veterans, it’s a can’t miss experience.

Why we like it: The original Persona 5 was lauded as one of the greatest JRPGs ever made, with Royal effectively remastering and polishing the few rough edges it had. The gameplay, plot, and deep character development are all still there, as are the main storyline’s dark and weighty events, but all are slightly tweaked and improved. Where things heat up is the new Third Semester. It adds in entirely new villains and a set of new playable party members to fight them with. With well over 100+ hours of gameplay available, there’s tons to do in Persona 5 Royal.

Flaws: If you’ve never played a JRPG before, Persona 5 will be….interesting. Whereas traditional RPGs focus on combat, leveling, and general adventure-seeking activities, JRPGs often add in such tasks as part-time jobs, juggling relationships with friends, photography activities, and more. There is action and adventure aplenty, but it can be a difficult transition.

7. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

sekiro shadows die twice

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A new entry from the celebrated creator of the Dark Souls and Bloodborne franchises, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, provides fans with the brutal combat and crushing difficulty they’re used to with a few new twists. Set in the Sengoku era of Japan, you take on the role of a shinobi (ninja) known only as Wolf who sets out on a one man mission of vengeance against a samurai clan.

Why we like it: While Sekiro is remarkably similar to its brethren in level design and overall gameplay, the combat itself has been reworked and improved upon with the addition of a few critical movement perks and stealth mechanics. The main character’s near-supernatural prosthetic arm provides a host of useful tools and weapons, including a grappling hook that lets  you scale buildings, run across rooftops, and quickly position yourself for some truly epic stealth assassinations. It also incorporates a fascinating in-game resurrection logic that puts real penalties on dying that most games don’t provide. 

Flaws: Sekiro is a skill-based game all the way. The difficulty is brutal, with new players likely to die multiple times within the first hour of playing the game. If you aren’t looking to study the mechanics of combo timing and movement skills, it might not be for you.

8. Control: Ultimate Edition


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When we picked up Control, we weren’t sure exactly what to expect. Billed as a supernatural action-adventure game, it quickly subverted our expectations and demonstrated a level of uniquely ambitious gameplay and setting standards we really got into. 

Why we like it: Control was a total wild card. The setting, the Oldest House, is downright eerie, with changing pathways and the very walls themselves rebelling against the order of things. Add in the constant low-level Hiss and appearance of floating bodies, and you get a visual effect that’s thrilling, bordering on horrifying. The gameplay is some of the most inventive we’ve seen in a while, incorporating psychic and supernatural abilities with a powerful and customizable Service Weapon that allows you to mow down your enemies. Once you dig into the story you’re sure to be hooked, with engaging and oddball characters flowing through rich internal lore that explores the very foundations of reality.

Flaws: The enemies themselves become the most noticeable flaw for Control. They start off strong and develop through the mid-game, but after you’ve fully come into your abilities and leveled up the Service Weapon, it becomes relatively easy to match and best the patterns of even “tough” enemies. 

9. Apex Legends

apex legends

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Apex Legends is a free-to-play battle royale first-person shooter set in the Titanfall universe. It stood out early on as a strong competitor to other wildly popular free-to-plays and has demonstrated a remarkable staying power with a robust community of players.

Why we like it: Apex Legends has somehow found a way to combine the best features of the battle royale format with an exciting hero/legend system for building player and character recognition. You play as a mandatory team of two or three with either friends or random pairings, something Apex does exceptionally well, across a beautifully designed map with plenty of weapons and gear to scrounge. It hits all the high points of a free-to-play battle royale game while avoiding many of the stumbling blocks that have relegated older games to niche status (looking at you PUBG). The non-verbal ping system is a marked improvement in other squad coordination methods we’ve used, allowing teammates to flag items of interest, signal rally points, and identify enemy positions. It will enable even randomly generated squads to work to the same objectives intelligently mostly.

Flaws: We’re not always huge fans of the ‘free-to-play’ model. It can be great if you just want to enjoy the game’s standard features, but there’s significant pressure to purchase in-game items, skins, characters, etc.

10. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

asassin's creed valhalla

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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla takes the storied franchise to uncharted territory: Viking era Norway and Britain. You take on the role of Eivor, a Viking raider fighting for the betterment of their family and people in a land embroiled in a heaving sea of conflict, death, and change

Why we like it: Valhalla lets you truly make the game your own. Its open-world map is massive, with a total land area of over 100 square km and a vast range of side quests, achievements, and collectible items out there. At this point, most gamers will be at least passingly familiar with the backstory of Assassin’s Creed and the struggle between the Assassin’s and Order of the Ancients. It’s essential to the core storyline, but there’s just so much to do that it doesn’t dominate things the way it has in games past. The world itself is stunningly rendered in up to 4K HD, and the gameplay is everything we’ve come to love from Assassin’s Creed with some tweaks and modifications that actually work as improvements. We especially loved the ability to customize your longship and go A Viking to raid along the shores of England.

Flaws: After the initial period of upgrading and unlocking new merchants and perks in your settlement, it started to drag a bit. You went from meeting interesting new characters to making marginal upgrades to your brewery’s productivity.

Who should buy PlayStation Games? 

Well, PlayStation players, obviously, but this is more a question of should you pick up the console to buy the games.

Online Gamers – PlayStation offers one of the largest and most diverse online communities of gamers out there. You can play and chat with tens of millions of gamers across thousands of different titles and skill levels.

Exclusive seekers – PlayStation has some of the hottest and most critically acclaimed exclusive games out there, several of which top our list. If you want to play those incredible games, you can only do it on a PS4/PS5.

How we ranked 

We used five key metrics to rank our list of best PlayStation games. These include plot, gameplay and playtime, genre, immersion, graphics, and price and value.

Plot, gameplay, and playtime – Plot and gameplay are what make or break a good game. The top-ranked PlayStation games offer compelling plotlines, exciting characters, engaging gameplay, or a combination of all three.

Playtime was a lesser factor here, as we didn’t want to penalize genuinely great games that happen to be less replayable or shorter in general.

Genre – There are as many PlayStation genres out there as there are gamers. We tried to pick a good mix of titles from the hottest ones, including action/RPGs, First-Person-Shooters, action/adventure, and many more. 

Some of the titles are nearly their own category, with franchise histories that stretch across the introduction and development of whole play genres. 

Immersion – This one’s hard to put your finger on, but as any veteran gamer can tell you, some games just ‘get it’. They have that particular combination of features, gameplay, story, and graphics that let you live inside the game for a while.

PlayStation games that can do that are sterling examples of what video games are capable of.

Graphics – Sony has a well-deserved reputation for producing some of the most epically powerful video gaming consoles in history. The PS4 pushed the envelope of how realistic and lifelike video game graphics could be, and the PS5 is taking it to a whole other level.

Top PlayStation games are available in 4K HD with frame rates as high as 120fps. That makes for visually stunning gameplay, and cinematic scenes you could almost believe were real life.

Price and value – AAA titles are slowly beginning to raise their prices, or switch to pricing models that add on extra costs while you play. The games on our list represent some of the best values out there for any video game, including some titles from indie studios and those that are free-to-play.


Q: Do I need a PlayStation account to play games?

A: Yes. You’ll need a free PlayStation Network account at the very least to download and play games, even single-player ones. You may also benefit from a paid PlayStation Plus membership, allowing you to play online multiplayer and get exclusive discounts on monthly specials (1).

Q: Is there a charge for online multiplayer?

A: Yes. You cannot play online multiplayer with a PS4 or PS5 without a PlayStation Plus membership (2).

Q: Should I buy a PS5?

A: It depends. The PS5 is a marked improvement on the PS4 in all meaningful categories, and it’s backward compatible with all PS4 games. If you’ve got the money and want to continue to have access to the latest and greatest games it can definitely be a good idea.

Q: Can I play PS4 games on a PS5?

A: Yes! The PS5 is backward compatible with PS4 games, meaning you can play all your old favorites if you upgrade your console (3).


The PlayStation is one of the best gaming consoles on the market today, offering a huge selection of games spanning every genre imaginable. The best PlayStation games aren’t all AAA titles either, with many excellent indie games, RPGs, and other awesome games out there.

For Hastings #1 PlayStation game recommendation, click here.

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