The 10 best single-player PS5 games

PS5

The next generation of consoles is now officially in full swing, with PS5 players everywhere hungry for exciting experiences that showcase the power of their new tech. We may still be early on within the PlayStation 5’s lifecycle, but already it’s obvious that this is a platform perfectly capable of catering to solo-driven players as well as those looking to duke it out online. That said, you may still be asking: what are the 10 best single-player PS5 games available to play in 2021?

You might think that the crop of these story-centric titles is relatively small, but already there are plenty of engrossing narratives and characters worth investing in on PlayStation 5. Whether you’re in the mood to become the world’s best dressed stealth assassin, want to play the role of hungover detective or fancy a nostalgic trip through the veins of PlayStation’s 30-year history, this is the perfect ranking list for you. These are the best single-player PS5 games currently out there…

10. Control: Ultimate Edition

Remedy Games’ time-bending third-person adventure may have originally released on last-gen consoles, but the so-called ‘Ultimate Edition’ released for PlayStation 5 turned out to be more than a simple port or upgrade. Containing both the main campaign and both previously released expansions (The Foundation and AWE), Control: Ultimate Edition is one of the best single-player PS5 games because it justifies a next-gen play through, offering players the ability to enjoy either 60 fps gameplay or full ray-traced visuals, both of which bring added immersion to the Federal Bureau of Control’s inherent brutalist architecture.

This is still the same twisted and pulpy action adventure, following Jesse Faden’s superpowered journey to find her long lost brother as she battles “hiss” creatures that have ventured through from their own world. Control: Ultimate Edition makes these combat scenarios thrilling by letting you blend traditional third-person shooting with a suite of supernatural abilities, providing options as tougher enemy types are introduced. If you have a PS5, the Ultimate Edition is the best way to experience Control.

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9. The Pathless

The Pathless is a PS5 indie exclusive that casts you in the role of an archer who must survive and explore within a vast forest. Developed from the team behind ABZU, it’s your job to hunt down corrupted spirits alongside your eagle companion and take them down with your masterful bow skills. It’s the perfect single-player PS5 game for those craving something other than a traditional blockbuster Triple-A game, setting a relaxing scene and letting you endlessly explore as you perform exciting trick shots and aim effortlessly while always on the move.

The Pathless is available on PS4 as well, true, yet PlayStation 5 players get do enjoyed enhanced immersion thanks to Dualsense haptic feedback support that offers added realism to the act of archery. Only on PS5 can you feel the tension of the bow string whenever you line up your next shot, releasing arrows as necessary. The Pathless might not be the most graphically intensive game but it looks like nothing else on PlayStation 5, acting as an open-ended action adventure full of mysteries and secrets to uncover.

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8. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

It was a genuine surprise to hear early on in 2020 that we’d be venturing back to the world of Black Ops for the next Call of Duty instalment. Woods, Mason and other fan-favourite characters would once again be back in the limelight, jetting players off on another period-set adventure set against the backdrop of the Cold War. It’s on our list as one of the best single-player PS5 games because it features one of the best Call of Duty campaigns in recent years. It’s the same explosive set piece-driven rollercoaster ride fans have come to know, only with a smattering of espionage and stealth sprinkled in.

Here you take on the role of Bell, a mysterious secret agent working with an elite unit of solders tasked with capturing a Russian tyrant in the aftermath of World War Two. You’ll venture to the very heart of the Soviet machine, making choices and undergoing stealth operations in one of the most varied and pared-back Call of Duty campaigns ever. This is the true extension of the original Black Ops game’s narrative series fans have been waiting for, playing gloriously in full 60 fps visuals on PS5 with Dualsense haptic feedback support. Guns will feel differently to fire in the palm of your hand, making this not just a multiplayer behemoth, but one of the best PS5 single-player games, too.

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7. Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time

After almost 20 years on from when the original platforming trilogy released on PlayStation One, Crash Bandicoot spun his way back into our lives in a big way in 2020 with a brand new fourth entry. Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is another one of those games that’s also playable on PS4, but 60 fps and 4K support is enough to make the recent PS5 version the preferred way to play. If you’re an avid fan of 3D platformers seeking an old-school challenge, new developer Toys For Bob has you covered with this physics-defying adventure centred on gaming’s most beloved marsupial.

Crash Bandicoot and Friends may have been confined to portal hopping before, but this time they must journey throughout time itself to prevent Neo Cortex’s latest plan. Featuring levels set across pirate islands, the desert future and lots more, this is one of the most challenging and therefore best single-player PS5 games because it tests your ability to keep calm under pressure. Jump over platforms, spin away enemies, and use the all-new mask powers on Crash’s craziest adventure yet.

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6. Returnal

After single-handedly dominating the twin-stick shooter genre with its efforts in the last generation of consoles, Housemarque chose to take a different route with PS5. Returnal is an explosive shooter that still tests your ability to survive in bullet hell, only now it takes place entirely from a third-person view and with light rogue-lite elements sprinkled in. You play as rogue space marine Selene, who must traverse the volatile planet of Atropos while fending off legions of enemies in the hopes of escaping.

Every run in Returnal you start out with basic weaponry and a finite number of resources. From here you’ll work your way through the various different biomes, defeating bosses and discovering answers as to this time loop you’re stuck in. This repetitive nature lends itself well to the type of shooter Housemarque has perfected, letting you approach scenarios differently each time to always keep the action fresh. No on playthrough of Returnal is ever quite the same, hence why it makes our list of the 10 best single-player PS5 games.

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5. Immortals Fenyx Rising

2020 was a massive year for Ubisoft, even with a global pandemic going on. The Triple-A publishing giant released no less than three big games during the height of the holiday period. And while Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs didn’t disappoint with their new series entries, what surprised everyone was just how enjoyable Immortals Fenyx Rising turned out to be. An open-world game heavily inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you play as the titular Fenyx who must bring peace back to this land of myths and monsters using a variety of god-like powers.

Much of the appeal found in Immortals Fenyx Rising comes from how you can go anywhere in almost any order. Unlike traditional open world games which sees you follow a pre-set path, here you can use your special abilities to travel wherever you want. Once there you’re sure to find one of the game’s many puzzle, combat or exploration opportunities, all of which combine to make you a better, more powerful Greek warrior. It’s a no brainer as one of the best single-player PS5 games.

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4. Hitman 3

Having previously revitalised the franchise with a totally new premise and open-ended format, with Hitman 3 the goal was admittedly open for developer IO Interactive to ends its modern trilogy of assassin simulators on a high note. Agent 47’s third adventure takes full advantage of the PS5’s extra oomph, too, rendering locations like Dartmoor and Dubai in jaw-dropping 4K visuals. Killing targets as creatively as possible will have never looked more stunning. Hitman 3 is one of the best single-player PS5 games because it’s the most refined take on the format yet.

Hitman 3 brings the so-called “World of Assassination” trilogy to a close, picking up directly where the previous game left off with Agent 47 and handler Diana Burnwood on the run from their employer. Taking them down from the inside requires taking down high-profile targets as covertly as possible, creating the perfect structure for calamity and then silently slipping away unnoticed. Few third-person games are as suave or sophisticated as Hitman 3, making it a must-play for solo fans.

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3. Resident Evil: Village

Hot on the heels of 2017’s Biohazard, Resident Evil: Village continues the Ethan Winters story by setting him loose within a creepy Eastern European in search of his stolen daughter. Rather than fending off against undead zombies or sludgy moulded, however, he’ll need to fend off werewolves and vampires while traversing castle to coast. This is first-person survival horror at its finest. Village is one of the best single-player PS5 games because it takes full advantage of the hardware and constantly turns the scares up to 11.

Ethan’s hunt for daughter will see him go up against a shady bunch of villainous individuals, all of whom preside over their own domain you’ll need to venture to. One minute you might be exploring an unsettling dolls house, while the next you’re trying to escape a factory manufacturing mechanical death machines. Resident Evil: Village is one of the most varied series entries in a long time, meaning that every survival horror fan with a PS5 should play it.

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2. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Insomniac’s open-world Spider-Man game from 2018 was such a critical and commercial hit, it was always inevitable that PlayStation players would eventually get to revisit that world. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales may not quite be a full-fledged sequel, but this standalone spin-off centred on the ultimate version of Spider-Man is still full of heart. You’ll play an original storyline that takes place after the main gaming, swinging through New York in a combination of silky 60 fps and ray-traced 4K visuals.

The baddie this time around is none other than the Tinkerer, a tech-based criminal who has closer personal ties to Miles and his family than he initially thinks. The 8-10 hour storyline does all it needs to cement this open-world superhero format as an absolute winning formula, drenching the city in a layer of snow to give this side story a distinctly wintery feel. Whether you’ve played the first game or not, don’t miss out on one of the best single-player PS5 games in Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

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1. Demon's Souls

Single-handedly revolutionising how modern gamers come to think of action role-playing games, Demon’s Souls was a cult classic PS3 game that kicked off a whole new sub-genre. Eventually going on to inspire the fabled Dark Souls spin-off series, players on PS4 and PS5 had no way of playing the original game until BluePoint games released a Demon’s Souls remake as a PS5 exclusive at launch. Built from the ground up for this new next-gen hardware, getting your butt kicked in a gothic medieval setting has never appeared so stunning.

Fully playable in full 4K visuals or 60 fps, the 2020 remake of Demon’s Souls is one of the best single-player PS5 games because it’s a faithful reimagining that simply upgrades the aesthetic to look and feel like a modern Triple-A game. You’ll traverse iconic environments like the Boletarian Palace and Valley of Defilement and experience them like never before, fending off against hard-as-nails enemies while trying to survive. Don’t miss out on this revitalised action game that spawned the whole Souls-Borne genre.

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Honourable mentions

Maneater

Looking for a different style of open-world game to invest in? Maneater is the zany ShaRkPG to prove it. You play as the titular ocean predator plotting against the fisherman who have done you wrong, slowly getting bigger and stronger over the course of a playthrough as you try and take bloodthirsty revenge. You’ll need to manage your instincts and take on other sea life to do so, all while exploring seven large regions and choosing the specific paths useful for evolving your shark. It narrowly misses our list of the top 10 single-player PS5 games.

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Dirt 5

Dirt 5 is easily the most accessible entry in the longstanding racing series yet, taking a much more fun and arcade-centric approach that makes it ideal for both newcomers and driving veterans. You’ll get behind the wheel of various real-world vehicles, taking them on and off road as the weather elements change and you’re forced to adapt in order to win. Race through beautiful sights like Nepal, Italy and Morocco in a satisfying single-player racer that never punishes you for playing alone.

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Subnautica: Below Zero

Below Zero is the long-awaited sequel to one of the most recent examples of excellent open-world survival games. However, whereas the original Subnautica tasked you with navigating alien planet 4546B primarily in the ocean, now you can explore ice caverns and abandoned shelters located above ground. That alone gives Subnautica: Below Zero a unique vibe, as does the new frozen temperature metre that you’ll constantly be forced to manage. It looks and plays great on PS5.

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