Playstation’s roster of first-party games is truly stellar and a key reason why Sony has experienced such a profitable and successful console generation. Microsoft has canceled some of their most anticipated first-party games, which has allowed Playstation exclusives to shine. Despite being resigned to one console, these games have had a massive impact on the games industry as a whole.
Therefore, I take it upon myself to rank the best PlayStation exclusives ever made. That’s right, that includes games made for any PlayStation console, not just the Playstation 4. However, I am going to pick only one game from each series. So, from the first PlayStation to the powerhouse that is the Playstation 4, here are the best exclusives ever to grace the consoles.
10. Infamous: Second Son
The Infamous series has always been underappreciated, especially when people discuss Playstation exclusives. True, the first game wasn’t perfect, but it was a great time, but each game improved upon what had come before. Soon enough, the Playstation 4 has come out, and it needed a big exclusive. Enter Infamous: Second Son.
The game was beautiful; futuristic Seattle was incredibly designed, and it really demonstrated the power of this new console generation. The combat was delightful, with Delsin’s powers, which changed depending on whether you chose to be good or evil, being a joy to utilize. And the story was incredible, which was something most people did not expect. The characters were relatable, the plot had engaging twists and turns, and it was all supported by a stellar soundtrack. It’s time to get the news out: Infamous: Second Son is one of the best PlayStation exclusives ever made, and people need to stop forgetting about it.
9. Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal
I couldn’t create a list of the best Playstation exclusives without including Ratchet and Clank. Any game in the series could have earned a spot on this list, but Up Your Arsenal, in addition to having a hysterical title, is the best game in the series. Released for the Playstation 2 in 2004, Up Your Arsenal is the third entry in the Ratchet and Clank series. So, why does it get a spot in this list and not the others?
It simply improves upon everything the other games did, and the other games did a whole lot right already. Mission variety was better than ever, and the guns were more fun and wackier than in other entries. I mean, there’s a black hole gun. Could you need anything else? The voice acting was on point, the humor was the best it’s ever been, and the multiplayer included in the game was, surprisingly, really quite good. It looked great, and it felt even better to play, making it one of the best Playstation exclusives of all time.
8. Persona 5
Sony’s exclusives tend to be games with more focused, shorter narratives, but Persona 5 is an exception. It has a fantastic plot, but this is your typical massive JRPG, where you can log hours and hours of time into this game. I shouldn’t use the word “typical,” though because Persona 5 is anything but. The art style is incredible, reminiscent of comic books and anime. The score is also a highlight; catchy, haunting, and memorable, the soundtrack is versatile as to fit the needs of every situation.
The combat is true JRPG heaven. It is turn-based, but complex, and benefits from wonderful and interesting animations for all attacks and moves. Persona 5‘s most significant accomplishment, however, is making school fun. You attend class during the day as well as participate in a wide array of side-activities. You can get a part-time job to earn some extra cash or spend more time with friends at coffee shops, the movies, etc. Half of the fun of this game is maintaining your relationships with others by partaking in various activities with them in your free time. It sounds like it wouldn’t be fun since it’s just like real life, but it really is. Person 5 is one of the greatest JRPGs ever made, and, by extension, it also one of the greatest Playstation exclusives.
7. Marvel’s Spider-Man
The Marvel Gaming Universe has had a tremendous start with an excellent game from Insomniac Games featuring our favorite web-slinger. Although the combat takes a lot of cues from the Batman: Arkham series, Marvel’s Spider-Man is very much so its own game. First, the combat is much quicker; Spider-Man is much nimbler than Batman, and the combat reflects that with a collection of flexible combos, creative gadgets, and elaborate movements.
Also, web-slinging has never been better, and New York has never looked more real. If you have been waiting to live out a superhero fantasy, this is the game for you. What was most surprising, however, was how compelling and impactful the story was. Prepare to be entranced by the plot and to cry as the credits roll. It isn’t just a spectacular Playstation exclusive: it may be the greatest superhero video game ever made.
6. Shadow of the Colossus
Traveling a vast world to slay giant creatures sounds like a great time, right?
Wrong! It’s tragic, and you are a horrible person!
In all seriousness, Shadow of the Colossus defied expectations by bringing into question the relationship between video games and art. Released in 2005 for the Playstation 2, this game simply features a series of fights that occur on a massive scale. After all, you are slaying colossi, massive creatures that require you to climb them in search of weak points. However, slaying them does not bring you any sense of victory; instead, you question the morality of your actions as these creatures, beautiful in their own way, perish.
The world is gorgeous (the remaster looks even better), and the soundtrack is incredible. Somber and reflective, Shadow of the Colossus changed the way we view video games because it proved that video games don’t have to be purely entertaining: they can be art. This game can easily take your breath away, and you should let it. It’s an experience like no other, and it is only available on Playstation.
5. Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn is a video game that already works on paper – fight robot dinosaurs in a beautiful, vast open world. Sign me up! Regardless, the game blew people away with how good it actually was. Horizon Zero Dawn was released in 2017, the same year as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, so people were divided over which open-world game was superior when it came to the game of the year. If I had to pick, I’d say Horizon is the superior title.
Its graphics were incredible, the controls were extremely tight, and fights were as exhilarating as they were dangerous. As well, for a game about fighting robot dinosaurs, the story was really good. Like really, really good. The conclusion of the game isn’t satisfying because you fight the biggest robot dinosaur of them all but because the plot ends in an emotional and impactful way. Aloy is an amazing character, and it was a joy to uncover the secrets of this crazy world with her. As well, the game’s DLC is incredible, which is just icing on top of an already incredible cake. If we were to divide these games into their respective genres, then Horizon Zero Dawn would be the greatest open-world game Sony has ever released.
4. Uncharted 4
The conclusion to Nathan Drake’s story is also the series best game. Nathan Drake is, in many ways, the face of Playstation, with the Uncharted games spanning two console generations. Each game is spectacular, but the fourth is quite simply incredible. The story is poignant and unique, with our favorite adventurer torn between two contradictory ideals: settling down and reckless adventure.
The series has never felt better: the gunplay is tight, the parkour is the best it has ever been, and the mission variety makes everything feel fresh even after four games. The set-pieces themselves are nothing quite as flamboyant or immense as what has come before (looking at your Uncharted 3), but the more grounded tone of the game makes everything more intense and fun. If you are looking for a spectacular action game, Uncharted 4 is the title to play. But play the whole series, too. It certainly doesn’t hurt.
With Bloodborne, FromSoftware took the combat system they created with Dark Souls and turned it up to 11. Combat is incredibly fast, delightfully gory, and incredibly difficult. You are rewarded with health recovery if you attack your enemy right after they hurt you, but you lose that health if you don’t take immediate action. This seems like a simple concept, but it changed the very way you approached every battle. In Dark Souls, you learned not to try and go for that one extra hit – it wasn’t worth the risk. In Bloodborne, it might be.
Outside of the combat, the game is also perfectly designed. The world is connected in innovative and creative ways, and its Lovecraftian themes make it a macabre delight to explore. The soundtrack is incredible, making every boss fight an intense, terrifying, and awe-inspiring experience. Additionally, the boss design in this game is horrifying in the best way possible. In any case, FromSoftware has made one of the best action games of all time, and Sony owns it.
2. God of War (2018)
It was very difficult to not put God of War as number one on this list. The game is stellar in almost every single way. One reason the game is so incredible is how it reinvents Kratos, taking the angry, murdering God and making him a father, which is a more vulnerable, human role. It doesn’t sound like it would work on paper, but it does spectacularly. This game has one of the greatest plots in the history of video games, and the ending will make you cry, gasp, and crave for a sequel.
The combat has also never felt better. The Leviathan Axe is an absolute joy to use, and the incorporation of Kratos’ fists into the equation to inflict stun damage makes combat more nuanced than it might be otherwise. The game could’ve easily felt like a glorified escort quest as you travel the world with your less than capable son, but Atreus contributes to combat in many important and unique ways, making him incredibly useful. He is still vulnerable enough that you feel a strong desire to protect him, but as he grows more capable as the game goes on, you also feel proud of how independent he is. God of War represents a perfect combination of story and gameplay to create what is simply one of the greatest games of all time.
1. The Last of Us
Could it be anything else? The Last of Us released for Playstation 3 in 2013, a time where both the video game and film markets were becoming oversaturated with zombie-oriented plots. Therefore, The Last of Us had quite a challenge; it needed to stand out amongst the swarm of zombie video games. Of course, it did, and it did so spectacularly.
The zombies are actually called infected, and they are based on a unique, real fungus that hijacks the brains of its victims and controls them. That wasn’t the only way that The Last of Us avoided cliches: the story was the real draw here, not the zombies. This is a game that will certainly make you cry again and again and again. The plot is incredibly powerful, with writing that brings the world to life and characters that seem real. The acting is superb – it feels like you are watching a film, everything looks, feels, and seems so real.
And it’s not like the combat isn’t excellent, as well. Although it takes cues from cover-based shooting, which could be viewed as overdone, The Last of Us shines through with its brutality. Bullets are scarce, so when you run out, it is time to smash and stab your way to victory. However, The Last of Us begs the question: does anyone win in this desolate world? Are you a good person? With every skull you bash in, that question nags at your conscience. In short, The Last of Us is simply the greatest Playstation exclusive ever made.
So, that’s my list. What do you guys think? Are there some games you think should be on here but aren’t? Or would you change the order? Let us know in the comments below!
I am an English (Writing Specialization) major at the University of Nevada, Reno, and I also LOVE video games. I’ve been playing everything I could get my hands on since I was a kid playing my Nintendo GameCube. When I’m not playing the latest titles or replaying Dark Souls for the umpteenth time, I am usually trying to write my novel or write and edit for clients as a freelancer.