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.
- Read our Sony Playstation 5 review
How to choose the best PS5 games for the ultimate picture and sound
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. 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 each game you buy will have its own performance settings and capabilities that vary from one release to the next.
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 PS5 games 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.
There’s little question that God of War: Ragnarök, a genre-defining epic that blew most of its competitors out of the water and served as one of the featheriest feathers in the PS5’s well-adorned cap, is one of the best-looking games ever created. The Xbox/Playstation rivalry continues to chunter away in a battle that rivals the Nordic apocalypse for its ferocity and intensity, but the release of Ragnarök surely delivered an axe blow to the former’s bid for market supremacy.
With more than five million units sold in its first week and over 11 million copies now shifted worldwide since its release in early November 2022, the long-awaited sequel to Kratos and Atreus’ journey earned relentless acclaim from gamers and critics alike, drowning in accolades and barely able to move for constant five-star and 10/10 reviews.
Much of this acclaim (aside from the game’s story, plot, mechanics, characters, world-building, writing, integration of Norse mythology, maturity and scope) surely owes to Ragnarök’s impeccable presentation, an absolutely knockout piece of work that genuinely straddles the line between art and gaming with its stunning realisation of the fabled Nine Realms.
The game itself was released with four different modes: 4K res and 30FPS, 1080p and 60FPS, 4K res and 40FPS (if you’ve got HDMI 2.1) and 120FPS (also requiring HDMI 2.1). However you choose to play it, God of War: Ragnarök gleams and shimmers like dwarven steel, its pristine worlds enveloping you in a sea of colour, detail and contrast, while combat and action utilised with higher frame rates may as well be replicating scenes from a Hollywood movie.
Forget the quests, you’ll spend half your time picking out each individual hair in Kratos’ bristling, bushy beard.
The confusingly named The Last of Us: Part I received considerable attention following its announcement and subsequent release in 2022. A ground-up remake of The Last of Us, a game that was itself remastered from its original PS3 version to become more compatible with the subsequent PS4, TLOU Part I is now the most up-to-date incarnation of either game in Naughty Dog’s acclaimed two-part series when played on the PS5.
Part of the game’s aforementioned attention came thanks to the announcement of its full-whack price tag, despite being a remake of a title that was soon to be celebrating its tenth birthday. Let’s be clear, though, that this isn’t just the usual lick of paint and obligatory lighting tweaks you’d associate with a mere remaster. Naughty Dog rebuilt the entire game from the ground up, its presentation and aesthetic fidelity now matching, even outstripping, those of the original’s 2020 sequel, The Last of Us: Part II, itself one of the most visually remarkable outings of recent years. We know, it’s very confusing.
All you need to know for the purposes of this list, however, is just what a remarkable job Naughty Dog did with the remaster. Improved gameplay aspects aside, the far superior character models, lighting, sound design and facial animations, not to mention sound, all contribute to the definitive experience of what was already an unequivocal landmark in gaming history. With five visual modes, including 4K fidelity at 40FPS and performance at 1440p moving up to 60FPS, Part I is a massive improvement on the 2013 and well worth checking out if you adored the grim beauty of the original.
Not to be confused with the 2009 release of the same name, CoD: MW II is the follow-up to Activision’s 2019 reboot of the hugely popular Modern Warfare brand.
Once again developed by Infinity Ward, MW II was yet another massive release for the FPS juggernaut, a sleek, smooth experience that offers relentless replayability thanks to its burgeoning multiplayer platforms, including access to the hugely popular Warzone 2.0 battle royale mode. Special Ops mode also returns, although it’s mainly set up as an online/cooperative mode rather than the lone wolf format of old.
Released for both the eighth and ninth generation of consoles, Infinity Ward’s AAA release obviously runs far more smoothly, and sharply, on the updated generation of hardware. Most players will end up enjoying the game in its standard 4K resolution at a nice and steady 60FPS (not bad, mind), but you can opt for higher frame rates if you go for 1440p at 120FPS. If you do really want to put your console through its paces and prioritise framerates above all else, MW II can be set to 120FPS by selecting 120Hz Output in the settings menu, if your display actually has the refresh rate speeds to support it.
There have been royal babies whose entries into the world have not enjoyed the same hype and publicity as 2020’s flawed titan Cyberpunk 2077. CD Projekt’s huge open-world title was supposed to be a generation-defining epic, a game so big, so immersive and so complex that it would blow everything before it out of the water. CD Projekt also promised unparalleled choice and autonomy in-game, although this mainly involved an overdone customisation menu in which you could scroll through dozens of hairstyles and choose the size of your character’s appendage.
Cyberpunk’s eventual debut ended up as one of the most publicised in history, although not always for the right reasons. The game was plagued by rendering issues, scenery clipping, bugs, glitches and any other technical issue you can think of.
The time since release has been kind, however, with critics and players gradually coming to realise just what a whopping epic Cyberpunk 2077 actually is. Thanks to numerous patches, tweaks and updates, CD Projekt’s huge project has become a powerhouse of a title thanks mainly to its engaging narrative, player choice and open-world setting, the futuristic Night City.
It also allows your PS5 to flex some of its bigger technical muscles. Multiple patches mean that performance mode can manage 60FPS for the most part, while ray-tracing mode gives you native 1440p at a more measly 30FPS, but you’ll get better lighting, contrasts and shadows as a result. When performing properly and tweaked to your liking, there are few games that look as impressive, or immersive, as Cyberpunk 2077.
Despite being released nearly seven years ago (!) at the time of writing, Naughty Dog’s final entry in the Uncharted saga remains one of the most startlingly photorealistic gaming experiences around today. The game’s various worlds are lush, vibrant and teeming with life, but it's with character models and nuanced human expression where the acclaimed studio really excels. Every bead of sweat, every sly grin courtesy of protagonist Nathan Drake, every fleck of sand and dirt, it’s all there in perfect detail. Even now, even on a primitive PS4, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is an absolute treasure.
The Legacy of Thieves edition though, exclusive to the PS5, pushes that envelope even further. Bundling together Uncharted 4 (AKA Uncharted: A Thief’s End) and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (another pristine diamond of game) into one cohesive package, Legacy of Thieves remasters both titles so that they’re running more smoothly and satisfyingly than ever before thanks to the PS5’s updated hardware and more high-end capabilities.
The PS5 version starts things off in pristine native 4K resolution with a 30FPS target framerate, whereas Performance Mode doubles up to deliver an ice-rink smooth 60FPS.
Those players with a compatible TV will get 4K resolution upscaled from a 1440p base resolution in Performance Mode, while 1080p TV users can receive 1080p res supersampled from a 1440p base.
Whatever your setup (within reason) and however you choose to enjoy it, the Legacy of Thieves collection is an essential purchase for seasoned treasure hunters and first-time explorers. The price of the bundle has also plummeted in recent months, making two of the finest games of the past ten years an absolute steal at their current bundled price.
Elden Ring, Elden Ring, Elden Ring. Logging onto any gaming website in 2022 was sometimes like being stuck in a lift with your fantasy-obsessed neighbour until you became hard-wired to shudder at the mention of the Tarnished, The Lands Between or George R.R. Martin like one of Pavlov’s dogs salivating at the ring of a bell.
The hype, unusually, was justified in this case, with critics almost unanimously consenting to consider the sprawling open-world fantasy epic to be one of the definitive titles of its generation thanks to its astonishing world-building, meaty combat, huge player choice and terrifying bosses. It even sounds great thanks to its gorgeous sound design and Yuka Kitamura’s sweeping orchestral score. There have, in short, been very few games this century that have had such ambition yet still managed to pull off their vision with such aplomb.
Elden Ring’s art direction, heavily inspired by gothic fantasy and various mythological influences, is one of its many, many trump cards, so it needs decent performance specs to match the vision of its creators. Some reports from PS5 users have been less than complimentary regarding dropping frame rates and other graphical issues, but Sony’s console should be able to keep up with the best of them most of the time. The PS5 should support 60FPS and 4K, even if users have complained about the game dropping into lower rates during more complex scenes and scenarios.
When Elden Ring is running smoothly, though, it’s a gorgeous, brooding epic almost without parallel, and one of the definitive open-world experiences you can have right now.
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 the best PS5 games for picture and sound
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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