20 Best PlayStation Exclusive Games

PlayStation Exclusive Games

PlayStation versus Xbox is a debate that has raged across schoolyards, offices, and living rooms for almost two decades since the introduction of the original Xbox in 2001. While Sony may have gotten a headstart in the console space (they were on the PlayStation 2 by that stage), the playing field in terms of exclusive titles was pretty level by the time the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 arrived in 2006. While Xbox fans were singing the praises of the Halo series, we’ll take a look at the 20 best titles only available to PlayStation loyalists.  

20. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Street Fighter 5

Street Fighter
Credit: YouTube/J Burke

When Street Fighter 5 first landed on our PlayStations in 2016, it felt a little unfinished, like the skeleton of a great fighting game that hadn’t really been fully fleshed out. However, several updates, refinements, and some pretty nifty DLCs really helped revitalize the classic title and provide us with a much more complete fighting game. The expanded roster of unique characters provided much-needed depth to the already excellent playstyle, and the inventive V-Skill and V-Trigger systems brought strategy, intensity, and, importantly, longevity. 

The introduction of the Arcade Edition as a free download almost two years later really gave the fans what they wanted. A fully formed, well-rounded gaming experience that paid dutiful homage to the series’ rich history and lasting legacy, which also somehow offered something new and exciting. It was the perfect fit for Street Fighting diehards and curious newcomers alike. A series for genre enthusiasts suddenly became a title for the masses. 

19. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Tearaway Unfolded

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While it had huge potential, the PS Vita never really caught on and was instantly blown out of the handheld space by the launch of the Nintendo Switch. But that’s not to say there weren’t a few hidden gems only available on the Vita. With its wide array of inputs and sensors, Tearaway Unfolded was one of the few games to take advantage of everything the Vita had to offer. Whether it was a drum of the rear touchpad or prodding and pulling at the touchscreen, Tearaway introduced us to an entirely unorthodox gaming experience. 

While it was visually appealing and physically immersive, Tearaway had a pretty decent story too. You control iota or atoi, who is both messenger and message (his head is really an envelope), and you’re tasked with seeing paper boy through a world filled with obstacles, puzzles, and sidequests. It’s as simple as stories tend to come, but the commitment to imagination and ingenuity is a joy to behold. It might be short, but it’s very special.

18. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Wipeout: Omega Collection

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The futuristic anti-gravity racing game was an instant hit when it landed way back in 1995. The distinctive year 3000 graphic design, an incredible soundtrack featuring some of the greatest electronic artists of all time, and the overall concept of floating ships racing through a new-age city were pretty revolutionary. It was one of the definitive titles of the PS One era, but sadly one that always appeared to be rooted in that time. 

That is until the Omega Collection brought everyone’s favorite Bladerunner-inspired racer to the PS4 in 2017. Running at 1080p and 60 frames per second on the PlayStation 4, fans of the series were finally granted their wish of experiencing one of the most futuristic PlayStation titles on the most futuristic console to date. These games exude style and stimulation and showcase the best elements of the racing genre in a totally unconventional manner. 

17. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

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Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a really interesting concept for a game and one that could only come about as a result of Sony’s faith in smaller studios to do as they please. As a player, we’re tasked with exploring a small, quaint English village that looks like a Jacquline Wilson novel brought to life, only all the inhabitants have mysteriously disappeared. Floating lights are placed around the village of Yaughton, which, when interacted with, reveal further details of a deceptively philosophical plot. 

If this game is anything, it’s brave. It challenges gamers to take the initiative themselves, not really setting out a goal but more leaving the player to their own pursuit of knowledge. The overall premise is notably dark, and while paring dark themes with a relatively joyous and aesthetically pleasing gaming environment can often backfire, they complement each other marvelously in this game. Featured on nearly every yearly “Best Of” list in 2016, this is one title Xbox connoisseurs are certainly sick to have missed. 

16. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Warframe

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While many saw Fortnite a forerunner in the free-to-play category, Warframe had firmly established that release model several years earlier. While initial growth was slow, with a low player count and tepid reviews, the game gradually progressed over the years thanks to the ongoing efforts of developer Digital Extreme and saw nearly 50 million players in 2019. 

Set in a dystopian future, players control members of the Tenno, a race of ancient warriors who have awoken after centuries far into Earth’s future to find themselves at war in the planetary system with different factions. The Tenno use their powered suits known as Warframes, along with a variety of weapons and abilities to complete missions. It’s a sprawling world, with plenty of stories to tell and loot to steal, and while the scale may be daunting, it’s also incredibly fun. 

15. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Death Stranding

Death Stranding
Credit: YouTube/GameSpot Trailers

Iconic studio Kojima Productions, led by Hideo Kojima, who masterminded the Metal Gear franchise, shut its doors in 2015 following a lengthy corporate battle with Konami. Fans were initially left devastated, fearful that we may never get another game like Metal Gear or Silent HillThose fears were short-lived, however, as Kojima was reincarnated as an independent studio a few weeks later with the promise that something big was on the horizon. 

That promise finally arrived four and a half years later in the form of Death Stranding, Kojima’s first game as an indie label. Given the massive level of expectancy on the game, it could have very easily been a flop. Thankfully, flop isn’t in Kojima’s vocabulary, as it produced arguably its best game to date. In Death Stranding, we take on the role of Sam Bridges (Norman Reedus) as we are tasked with delivering cargo through a post-apocalyptic US, which relies on porters like Bridges to take on the ghastly creatures that now rule the roost. 

14. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Lost Legacy
Credit: YouTube/RobinGaming

Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series has become a staple of the PlayStation catalog, and its exclusivity to Sony has no doubt ramped up console sales massively. In the process, Nathan Drake has become one of the most instantly recognizable protagonists in modern gaming, which is why his exclusion from the standalone expansion to Uncharted 4 makes the strength of Lost Legacy’s performance all the more admirable. 

While no one should play Lost Legacy without being familiar with the previous games, that does have the implication of removing any sort of freshness from the most recent title. However, it is still packed with stunning landscapes, tense action, and memorable characters that have made the series such a PlayStation mainstay. The benefits of such a game play to the strengths of the series, while simultaneously trimming the fat on some of the more tedious mechanics of Uncharted 4. 

13. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Detroit: Become Human

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While we know Detroit as the birthplace of Motown and the Motor Capital of the US, in 2038, it has been reinvigorated as the center of the android industry. However, the rise of android technology has left many humans out of a job, despite most having bots as household servants. It’s a curious dynamic, and one that feels incredibly real throughout the length of the game, boosted by a very Heavy Rain-inspired aesthetic. 

This interesting dynamic between human and android, master and slave, leads to a variety of moral dilemmas and ethical issues, with physical abuse of the bots a rampant issue. As a player, we are placed into the metal castings of three androids, all of whom suffer terribly under the ire of their respective masters. Detroit: Become Human treads a moral tightrope, asking the prescient question of “when does Artificial Intelligence become sentient?” but asking it from the outlook of the AI. It’s undoubtedly one of the finest games in its field in recent years. 

12. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Gran Turismo Sport

GT Sport
Credit: YouTube/PlayStation

Racing games are easily some of the most overlooked titles in the gaming industry, and perhaps a little undeservedly so. Granted, the formula for a solid racer has already been perfected, and as a result, it can be a little hard to distinguish the good from the bad. But, when a great racing game comes along, you know it’s a great racing game. Gran Turismo is one of the perennial franchises in the genre, and one of the pillars holding up Sony’s dominance in the console market in the late nineties and early noughties. 

The 2017 reimagination of the iconic speedster series rekindles all the things that made us go crazy for racing games fifteen years ago, while still advancing the series with the help of the vastly improved technologies currently available. It looks incredible, the cars sound vastly better than previous games (which is a huge bonus for car enthusiasts), and the addition of the well developed online mode means GT Sport is arguably the best racing game on this generation of consoles. 

11. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Ratchet and Clank

Ratchet and Clank
Credit: YouTube/GameNewsOfficial

There are few games that did as much to advance the prestige of the PlayStation like Ratchet and Clank. The 2002 original has remained a fan favorite almost two decades later and was pivotal in introducing a generation of young fans, this writer included, to the thrills and joys of gaming. When the PS4 was launched, it felt like an ideal time to get a remaster of the classic series, and Sony duly obliged in 2016. 

This game, however, is more than just a remaster of the original game. It’s a reinvention, taking the original plot but building the gameplay up from the ground again. Taking advantage of some of the best features from the whole series, with the addition of some nifty new stuff, Ratchet and Clank is a tribute to everything that made the game great over the previous 14 years, while still looking toward its place in future generations. 

10. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: inFamous: Second Son

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The inFamous series is somewhat of a sleeper hit for the PlayStation, a franchise that, while brilliant, never really stood out among the throng of comic-book themed titles available. However, Second Son definitely looked to buck that trend and help the franchise stand out on its own a little more. A departure from the colorful, stylized cartoon superhero theme might have tanked with hardcore fans of the series, but the new transition to a weightier, more realistic tone ultimately paid off. 

Everyone loves a good open-world game, especially one set in a real-life city. Think about the endless enjoyment of cruising through the streets of Los Santos (Los Angeles) in a very realistic Ferrari knockoff that GTA V gave us. Now, if there’s anything more fun than that, it’s being set loose on a major city—with superpowers. That’s exactly what Second Son does, only this time, it’s the streets of Seattle. While the story may fall down a little bit, the whole experience of traipsing across a big, beautiful playground with a set of delightfully fun and powerful toys is too good to miss.

9. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Until Dawn

Until Dawn
Credit: YouTube/Christopher Odd

Horror games, like films, are notoriously hard to get right. It’s dangerously easy for developers to lean too heavily on jump scares, making them all the more predictable, or they can overdo it with the subtle nuance and end up with an incohesive mess. Thankfully, Until Dawn strikes a perfect balance, and while it may appear over-the-top cheesy, it is actually a truly brilliant homage to some of the classic 20th-century horror flicks. 

The game is riddled with movie cliches, but they’re crafted and amplified to such an extreme extent that it nearly brings a greater sense of originality to the game. Eight gorgeous stereotypes, filled by a fantastic cast including Rami Malek and Hayden Panettiere, are gathered together in a remote cabin on a snowy mountain to mark the anniversary of their friend’s death, with a broken cable car as the only access. Sounds a little familiar, right? That’s probably because it is, but hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Plus, these characters’ lives are in your hands—literally.

8. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: The Last Guardian

Last Guardian
Credit: YouTube/videogamwdunkey

Fumita Ueda’s third title in a 25-year career was long-awaited, after the overwhelming surprise success of 2005’s Shadow of the Colossus, which prompted iconic director Guillermo del Toro to describe it as the medium’s sole masterpiece. It’s easy to see why del Toro would be so bashful in his appraisal, given the striking similarities to his magnum opus Pan’s Labyrinth. The Last Guardian was released in 2016 after a decade in production, with Ueda consistently discontented with the animation. 

Instead, he chose to allow the technologies available at the time to catch up with his vision for how the game should look, and it’s absolutely worth the wait. The Last Guardian is a masterful homage to the big backdrops of games like God of War while employing subtle hints of anime and a sprinkling of the abstractness of a del Toro film to create something totally unique. The story itself is a lightly told tale of a therapeutic friendship and rehabilitation through kindness and companionship, with an emotional impact compounded by a rich orchestral soundtrack. 

7. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Bloodborne

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Undoubtedly one of the most iconic PlayStation games of the last decade, Bloodborne has taken a firm grip on the title of the most difficult game ever made. However, this has led many to often overlook some of the game’s finer, more nuanced qualities. The sound design is immaculately immersive, while the artwork and overall ambiance draw heavily on the neo-Gothic works of Bram Stoker to create the dark, disease-riddled world of Yharnam. 

Bloodborne is essentially one long, exhausting pilgrimage from a decrepit dungeon through a gorgeous land that imposes the feeling of approaching the bottom of a descent into madness. It’s an intensely challenging game of two steps forward, ten steps back, but this creates an immense feeling of satisfaction upon completion that you won’t find in any other game. There’s an unbelievable power to unlocking Bloodborne’s mysteries, despite its demand for a pound of your flesh.

6. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Shadow of The Colossus

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The 2005 original of Shadow of The Colossus has already been mentioned in this list, but the 2018 remake is simply too endeared to PlayStation fans to leave off this list. While the gameplay and story are largely identical to the original, the graphics have been stunningly reworked with the use of modern technology to create one of the most mind-bending visual experiences in gaming history. Rather than being a remake of the former, this game is much more an evolution of an already tried and tested hit. 

Shadow of the Colossus is a tremendous journey and one well worth taking and retaking. For a game built entirely upon ritualistically finding the weak point in 16 different monsters, it could be argued that there is an element of repetitiveness, yet it’s hard to really find a weak point in the overall game. The beauty of the new Shadow of the Colossus is not as a replacement, but rather it offers its own voice to tell a story worth telling. 

5. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Uncharted 4

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As exciting as Nathan Drake’s arrival on our screens was with 2007’s Drake’s Fortune, few could have imagined that a decade later, the fourth entry of A Thief’s End would be one of the most anticipated and iconic games in PlayStation history. It’s a thrilling, joyous ride in the theme park of unbridled adventure, and while it may be easy to get caught up in the thrill, the level of craftsmanship on display from Naughty Dog cannot be overlooked either. 

A Thief’s End is packed with a staggering level of detail, awe-inspiring visuals, thrilling shootouts, and mesmerizing sound design. It’s the perfect intersection between supreme game design and a blockbuster story that makes it feel as much a Hollywood hit as PlayStation perfection. The last game in the story of Nathan Drake, Uncharted 4 is a worthy send off to the rag-tag band we’ve come to know and love over the past decade. 

4. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Spider-Man

Credit: YouTube/Marvel Entertainment

Few games must thread the tightrope of expectation versus execution quite like comic book games. So many have been hyped massively, only to fall flat and be forgotten about within a week of release. However, one game, which set the tone for how to perfect a game about an already iconic comic book superhero, was 2002’s Spider-Man, loosely based on the first Tobey Maguire film, which was a perfect showcase on how much fun was to be had swinging from the peaks of New York. 

So, 2018’s reincarnation, which followed a different story but largely the same format, had a pretty momentous task ahead of it. Insomniac Games’ first foray into the world of Marvel expertly delivers on every kid’s wish to feel like they are Spider-Man, but it does something even more intriguing. Few expected to walk away from this game feeling equally as fulfilled to have inhabited the life of Peter Parker, meaning that not only does the gameplay match the ambition of a game, but the story equates to the emotional journey of a film. One that Xbox fans will be sore to have missed. 

3. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: God of War

God of War
Credit: YouTube/GameNewsOfficial

It’s always a daunting task to reboot one of the most iconic series to ever grace the PlayStation, particularly with an entire thematic shift from the gods of Ancient Greece to the amphitheater of Norse mythology. However, the series was always going to be in safe hands with Santa Monica Studios behind the wheel, delivering a more refined, purposeful entry to the series than the previous gory, debauchery-filled romps we’re used to. 

Employing the same director who made the God of War franchise so synonymous with the PlayStation in Cory Barlog and bringing with him largely the same theme, this game borrows from the best of the past, breaks it down, and blends it into something entirely new. This game is the prime example that a powerful narrative and gorgeous art direction are the two key factors in developing a game for the ages. God of War is still heavy on the gore, but now the guts have extra weight. 

2. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn
Credit: YouTube/GameNewsOfficial

The upper echelons of this list may be saturated with PlayStation 4 titles, which might be somewhat of a disservice to the earlier games that preceded modern game engines, but sometimes it’s just too hard to ignore just how far the PlayStation has come. Horizon Zero Dawn is a shiny, sparkling example of Sony’s flagship console at the peak of its powers. Using the Decima engine favored by Hideo Kojima on Death Stranding, HZD pushes the limits of what can be achieved via the medium of gaming to their very extreme. 

Assuming the role of Aloy, outcast from birth from the primitive remnants of society in a futuristic Jurassic age, we watch as our hardheaded hero develops a stubborn sass and sheer determination that make her one of the most magnetic protagonists in gaming history. On top of an excellent story of self-fulfillment played out in a truly unique environment, Horizon Zero Dawn is packed with thrilling scraps, sprawling adventures, thumping explosions, and, of course, robot dinosaurs. 

1. Best PlayStation Exclusive Games: The Last of Us

Last of Us
Credit: YouTube/Markiplier

Unlike Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last of Us is not a game that set out to test the constraints of the console it was released on, nor did it intend on pushing the limitations of our imagination. But, it still bears with it a freshness that is almost unbefitting of the world of death and decay in which it exists. TLOU is a triumph in storytelling, doing what all the best games (or any other medium for that matter) should do, and that’s making us care for characters we never met, and even mourn a world we never saw.

The Last of Us is also a masterclass in pacing, seamlessly interweaving a beautiful narrative with impactful choice-based gameplay. It never slows down, it never lets up, and it never disappoints. Regularly featured at the summits of “Best Of” lists, The Last of Us has quickly cemented its place in PlayStation folklore and transcends the world of video games in a way only achieved by the greats like Mario, Marston, and Co.

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