Best PS5 games Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?’s round-up the best P55 games you can buy in 2023.
While the PS4 launched with something of a whimper in technical terms, boasting support for neither 4K nor HDR (in the beginning), the new PS5 is vastly more cutting edge (here's where to buy a PS5).
Impressively, even though the PS5 is still practically a newborn in game console terms, there are already a number of games available for it that leverage its power to deliver true next-generation experiences guaranteed to put the best TVs, surround sound systems, and headphones through their paces.
We've played through the PS5’s current gaming crop in search of the most dazzling AV experiences the console has to offer. Get a few of the games we recommend here in your collection and any residual guilt you may be feeling about splurging so much money on your new PS5 will instantly evaporate into the 4K mist. Just don’t blame us if you end up deciding you need to upgrade your TV as well.
Your guide to finding the best games for the ultimate picture and sound
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Whether it's music, movies, games, or any other art, how beautiful you personally find a certain work is relative. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all. However, gaming is a unique, thoroughly modern art form. Games are coded, engineered, and designed; they're a split between art and science.
As a result, many technical factors can make one game look and sound worse than another game totally outside of an appreciation for the artistry on display. Plus, many games support certain sets of graphical features you may or may not be able to take advantage of with your particular setup.
What games will look best for you personally depends not just on your preferences but on your audio system as well as your TV. For example, your TV may not support 4K but it might support HDR, while your games might support Dolby Atmos but not 3D Audio. Your personal mileage is inevitably going to vary.
Our advice at What Hi-Fi? is to start with your TV and move on from there. What resolutions does it support and at what framerates? Then, check out a game's performance on your console. It's best to play at the native resolution of your display, but you may not always be able to do that.
Finally, think about display technologies like HDR or audio technologies like 3D Audio. If you can take advantage of these features, you should, but if you can't or aren't interested, you won't benefit much from a game supporting them.
And before you pull the trigger and actually buy a game to look and sound great, watch some gameplay online first. It's not going to look or sound as good as it will actually running on your own hardware, but it can give you a basic idea of what to expect from a game's AV setup.
Below is our round-up of the very best games on PS5 for the ultimate in picture and sound...
Horizon Forbidden West is in many ways the PS5's biggest next-gen showcase to date, bringing mind-bogglingly gorgeous visuals at 60FPS, depending on your graphics mode, to PS5 gamers everywhere.
Whether you're running the game at native 4K/30FPS or a dynamic 4K/60FPS that hovers around 1800p, the world of Horizon is lush, detailed, colorful, and vibrant; plus, it's brimming with particle effects, high-res textures, and lifelike materials and facial animations.
Running the game in 4K really lets the densely packed detail of the game's environments shine, but the combat of Horizon is fast-paced and action-heavy, so the increase in fluidity at 60FPS is going to be the way to go for most gamers. Thankfully, a decrease in resolution from 2160p to 1800p that's then upscaled is far from a night and day difference.
The enemies of Forbidden West are machines that are themselves collections of moving parts and effects, and these machines are constantly flying at you and moving at inhuman speeds, so a great 3D Audio mix helps to keep combat sounding clear and the player grounded in the world.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is Treaych's 2020 reboot of the Black Ops series akin to what Modern Warfare (2019) did for the Modern Warfare series. Cold War is a boots-on-the-ground Call of Duty set primarily during the 1980s.
Visually, Cold War might not be as advanced as Modern Warfare (2019), but it's still a gorgeous game. You can play at a dynamic 4K/60FPS with ray-tracing, which adds depth and texture to the game's lighting, or you can opt for an around 1080p resolution at a mostly stable 120FPS without ray-tracing. Plus, Cold War also supports HDR and the PS5's 3D Audio.
A 4K presentation highlights the game's high-resolution textures and accentuates the detail of Cold War's often beautiful maps, while the 120FPS mode makes for an excellent, buttery smooth multiplayer experience. We recommend sticking with the 120FPS mode for multiplayer and trying out the 4K mode for Zombies and Campaign.
Cold War continues to be supported into 2022 with new maps and weapons, and since launch, the game's roster of Zombies and Multiplayer mode content has been massively expanded. Now, there's more Cold War content than ever, and you can play it all at high resolutions and framerates with HDR and a 3D audio mix on PS5.
Demon's Souls is a ground-up remake of the 2009 PS3 exclusive of the same name that kicked off FromSoftware's Souls franchise. Demon's Souls has been completely modernised by Bluepoint Games, delivering a truly next-gen 4K/30FPS or upscaled 1440p/60FPS experience.
Effects and materials look particularly exquisite, and high-resolution textures bring exponentially more detail to the world of Demon's Souls than the PS3 original ever could. And while the game looks fantastic at native 4K, the true star of the show is the game's 1440p/60FPS mode that still looks great but also makes FromSoftware's tight, punishing combat feel much more responsive.
On top of its beautiful visuals, there's a fantastic 3D Audio mix to go along with it. In Demon's Souls, positional audio is a big deal, often alerting you to enemies creeping up behind you and keeping you alive.
While the game can regularly be dark and gray, Demon's Souls is still a feast for the eyes and ears, and its challenging, addictive combat will keep you coming back for more for years to come.
Insomniac's long-running Ratchet & Clank series is back on PS5 with Rift Apart that's by all accounts on the same technical level as Pixar, delivering a gorgeous, detailed animated world as rich and textured as you might find in the cinema.
Environments are colourful and lush; characters are exquisitely detailed and expressive; and the game's absolutely full of particle effects and lots of flashy animations. Plus, you have full control over how you want to play the game with three different graphical modes.
You can enjoy a dynamic 4K presentation at 30FPS with ray-tracing for the best image quality possible (which looks especially stunning on an HDR TV), or you can opt for one of the 60FPS modes, choosing between either resolution or ray-tracing in exchange for the fluidity of an increased framerate.
Rift Apart has a great story and crunchy, satisfying combat, too, making it altogether a beautiful, fun game to campaign through that really takes advantage of the power of the PS5.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a spin-off of Marvel's Spider-Man designed to be something of a showcase of the power of the PS5 (while still coming to PS4 for fans who weren't able to locate a PS5 in time) and, as a short but satisfying return to the Spider-Man world, Mile Morales doesn't disappoint.
Swinging through a densely-packed, highly-detailed city in 4K or at 60FPS with ray-tracing enabled for all the glorious window reflections your PlayStation can handle is a sight to behold. Most will prefer the added responsiveness of the game's 60FPS 1440p mode, but for all the pixel gluttons out there, the game's 4K presentation is crisp and detailed.
Mile Morales is a colourful, vibrant game, making it a great showcase for 4K HDR TVs, but it also comes packed with a detailed and immersive 3D Audio mix that makes every New York City noise come alive.
It may not be a long game or a true next-gen sequel to Marvel's Spider-Man, but Miles Morales is a pretty, action-packed, and satisfying Spider-Man game well worth a look for anybody that likes third-person action-adventure games.
Assassin's Creed games after Assassin's Creed: Origins have more of an open-world RPG slant to them in the general style of the Witcher games, and Valhalla takes this to the next level, delivering a massive open-world action-RPG experience filled to the brim with quests, things to discover, and loot to collect.
The world of Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is bright, colourful, and huge, spread across lush forests and wintry mountains alongside imposing castles, dark caves, and many different locales to explore. Materials look excellent, and the game's lighting is particularly impressive, creating lots of lush contrast and picturesque moments.
Assassin's Creed looks a lot grander and the world feels a lot bigger on next-gen consoles than earlier games on previous console generations did, and the ability to play at a dynamic 4K/60FPS as opposed to Assassin's Creed's traditional 30FPS console lock is much appreciated, making combat far smoother.
Unfortunately, Valhalla generally reviewed worse than Origins and Odyssey with many criticizing the game's narrative, emphasis on grinding, and recycled content, but many others still enjoy the game's gorgeous world and punchy combat.
Final Fantasy VII is one of the most beloved games ever made, so the Final Fantasy VII Remake had big shoes to fill, but by all accounts, the game put a new spin on a classic experience that was well worth the time and money. Now, the PS5 version is the definitive way to play on console.
Pop-in is almost entirely gone, textures have been upgraded, effects are now more detailed, and higher resolutions allow the quality of the game's assets to truly shine. Plus, you can choose to either play at a crisp near-native 4K/30FPS, or you can get a buttery smooth 60FPS at a dynamic 1440p. Both modes have a nearly locked framerate.
The 60FPS mode in the Final Fantasy VII Remake has become the fan-favourite mode, though, as it makes the game's combat feel significantly more responsive and fluid while still offering an upgrade in visuals over the game's last-gen version.
However you play, the Final Fantasy VII Remake is a gorgeous, colourful game filled with fantastic locales to explore, smooth animation, and highly-detailed environments that really feel next-gen when displayed on a 4K HDR television.
Gran Turismo has been around for decades now, and its the simulation counterpoint to a lot of the arcade action of many mainstream racers, offering a more serious racing experience built for car-obsessives and racing fanatics.
Only a few games on PS5 target a native 4K/60FPS presentation, and Gran Turismo 7 is one of them. Accordingly, the game looks crisp and detailed and feels smooth and responsive. One of Gran Turismo's greatest strengths is in its vehicle textures and materials, and a 4K presentation of these assets makes them look and feel like real life more than any game before it.
Tracks are also packed with more detail than ever before, and lighting has gotten a massive upgrade over earlier Gran Turismo games. Gran Turismo 7 has densely detailed environments and a robust volumetric lighting solution that makes the different tracks feel like real-life locations with personality.
As a simulation racer, there is tons of attention to detail in the sounds of Gran Turismo 7's cars, and with an excellent 3D Audio mix, every fine detail of the world around you, and the vehicle beneath your feet, is clear and understandable, rooting you firmly in whatever race you're in.
Pack-in games, like Wii Sports, are a relic in the modern-day, but Sony has brought the tradition back with Astro's Playroom, a platformer included for free on PS5 that celebrates PlayStation history.
Essentially, you go through a variety of PlayStation-themed levels and platform your way across a colorful, charming world that looks amazing rendered at a native 4K/60FPS. Visuals are clean and crisp, effects pop, and animations are smooth.
Plus, Sony's 3D Audio mix for Astro's Playroom is top-notch, too, demonstrating the power of PS5's spatial audio tech by immersing you in an often noisy, whacky world filled with interactable pieces of PlayStation lore.
In a time where games often dynamically scale their resolutions and rely heavily on post-processing effects, Astro's Playroom is a clean, clear, crisp, and beautiful game that's great to try out on your new 4K HDR TV.
How we pick games for the ultimate sound and picture and how we test
We don't formally review games at What Hi-Fi? like we do a host of other AV products, but over the course of testing TVs and projectors alongside headphones and speakers we do regularly play games. Some in the What Hi-Fi? family have worked in games media before as reviewers, too.
When we put together a gaming buying guide, we're looking for awesome games, yes, but we make our selections based off a particular game's AV experience. Does it run in 4K or at 60FPS? Does it support spatial audio or VRR, and what about HDR? And beyond raw features, how does the game actually look and sound when playing?
At What Hi-Fi?, when we do play games, we usually play them in our state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Reading, or Bath where our reviewers test the majority of hi-fi kit we get our hands on. We compare products not just against one another but up against the best-in-class versions of each product.
We strive to make sure every review at What Hi-Fi? is impartial, which is why we review products as a team to try and minimize any possible individual bias as much as we can. Plus, this system is a great way to go over our work and catch mistakes. As the tech landscape changes, how we do reviews will evolve, too.
Buying guides, like this one, are themselves often the result of collaboration in order to make sure we cover a variety of different games with different AV features in our quest to find great-looking games of all kinds and genres. Whether you're a sports fan or somebody who only plays Call of Duty, we try to find games with great AV features you'll love.
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