2023 is a year the gaming world will never forget, bringing us lauded remakes, amazing (horrifying?) musical numbers, and endless creativity. With a tremendous assortment of PlayStation hits, where do you begin? Here are our picks for the 10 best PS5 games of the year. I guarantee they’re all bangers.
Top 10 PlayStation 5 Games of 2023 You Must Play
When you jump into a Don’t Nod game, you know you’re in for a beautiful, atmospheric experience. You’ll always get a touch of mystery, too. As such, Jusant feels like a quintessential Don’t Nod title. This meditative puzzle platformer is all about climbing a tall tower, piecing together the lives of its former residents through letters and environmental clues.
I recommend it for its gorgeous world and emotional narrative, but also because the climbing mechanics are excellent on the PS5’s controller. You’ll scale the tower alternating between R2 and L2 to control your right and left hands, adding a bit of complexity and immersion to your upward journey. If you’re looking for a chill, contemplative game that feels smooth to play, this is definitely one to pick up.
9. Street Fighter 6
Crowned the Best Fighting Game at this year’s Game Awards, Street Fighter 6 is undoubtedly a PS5 knockout. With a familiar yet fresh character roster, the new World Tour mode and Battle Hub, and detailed tutorials, long-time fans and newcomers alike will find a lot to love with this installment. It also offers Modern and Classic control schemes, allowing you to tailor your gameplay to your skill level. Whether you’re executing combos with ease or still learning your moves, its fast-paced combat keeps you glued for hours.
Dredge is one of those games that I didn’t know I needed but now can’t live without. In it, eldritch horrors meet cozy fishing to create a truly unique experience.
Your stint as Greater Marrow’s fisherman will introduce you to odd characters, grotesque fish, and strange nighttime terrors. As one of the best indie titles to come out this year, it’s definitely one to add to your collection. It runs beautifully on the PS5, and there’s something especially soothing about sailing the waters of the archipelago from the comfort of your couch. Then, something will slither into your trawler suddenly, reminding you this is indeed still a horror game.
7. Resident Evil 4
Let’s head back to traditional action-horror with Capcom’s hit remake of Resident Evil 4. Playing as Leon has never felt better with modernized controls, new knife parries, and better inventory management. Plus, it looks fantastic on current-gen hardware. The option to experience it all on PS VR2 would certainly take immersion to the next level, but you’ll also get a great survival horror experience via standard PS5 gameplay.
It goes without saying that it’s one of the best in its genre, as the original inspired so many other games to come after it. While this year was jam-packed with remakes and remasters, Resident Evil 4 is arguably one of the best.
6. Octopath Traveler 2
In a sea of sequels, Octopath Traveler 2 is an example of how to make a great follow-up to an amazing game, improving on its non-linear storytelling and giving you much more to do in each area. Aspects we loved from the original are also present. You’ll get to embark on a journey with eight travelers, for instance, and you’ll still get to develop their jobs and skills along the way. The HD pixel art is even more impressive in this latest entry, too, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore this gorgeous world in new ways, such as canoes and other seafaring vessels.
5. Dead Space (2023)
Setting the tone for an amazing year, the Dead Space 2023 remake was an instant classic just like its 2008 predecessor. On the PS5, the graphical update is a standout change, so you’ll see Necromorphs in all their glory with each jumpscare. Of course, you’re not here to bask in the beauty of space. As Isaac, you’ll dismember Necromorphs at every turn as you try to survive the horrors of the USG Ishimura.
Additionally, if you played the original, you won’t find everything is exactly the same. With new item locations to discover, puzzles to solve, and the peeling system to use in combat, you’ll find more than enough novelty amidst the alien-filled nostalgia.
4. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
As a PS5 exclusive, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is able to truly take advantage of the console’s capabilities. With seamless switching between heroes and sprawling boss battles that move through the environments, it’s an experience you have to try for yourself. Of course, continuing Peter Parker and Miles Morales’ journey is a draw, but you’ll stay for the epic web-slinging, redone skill trees, and fresh suits to customize. Like Octopath Traveler 2, it’s a sequel done right, and if you love the superhero genre of games, it won’t disappoint.
3. Final Fantasy 16
I’ll never forget the wait between Final Fantasy XVI’s pre-launch demo and the full release. It immediately shifted the franchise into a new realm of storytelling, bringing political intrigue and narrative maturity we might expect from Game of Thrones or The Witcher series. It’s also action-heavy with Eikon fights exuding epicness through your DualSense controller.
I recommend playing with vibration enabled, as you’ll feel them line up nicely with various sound effects. As far as characters go, you’re in for a treat. Clive, his friends, and even minor characters are unforgettable. FFXVI has definitely earned its spot amongst the best titles to arrive on PS5 this year.
2. Alan Wake 2
It’d be remiss of me to skip this gem of the survival horror genre. Alan Wake 2 surprised us all, swooping in just before The Game Awards nominations to capture our attention with its superb storytelling, terrifying jumpscares, and surreal mid-game musical. It’s no surprise, however, that it went on to win the awards for Best Narrative, Best Game Direction, and Best Art Direction.
In an extremely competitive year, it’s one the most memorable, evoking the feeling that you’ve just stepped into Twin Peaks or The Shining. Long-time Remedy fans and newcomers to this strange world will even find themselves going back down the rabbit hole, searching for connections and easter eggs to previous games. Piecing together the game’s lore is just as fun as its in-game puzzles.
On the PS5, in particular, you’ll enjoy the DualSense vibrations during cutscenes and jump scares, adding an extra layer of eerie (sometimes downright scary) immersion to the experience, which pairs well with its masterful audio design.
1. Baldur’s Gate 3
Baldur’s Gate 3 took the spotlight in every corner of the industry, and its popularity is well-deserved. As 2023’s Game of the Year, it brought players together with chaotic online D&D–esque campaigns, ushered in those who haven’t tried gaming before, and revived the genre of CRPGs.
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to move my campaign from PC to PS5, and how seamless it felt to select abilities from command wheels. It’s a great game on the console, but it’s also just a great title in general. There’s no other game on the market that offers the expansive freedom you’ll have, as it encourages you to be endlessly creative in your playthroughs. From excellent turn-based combat to amazing characters, Baldur’s Gate 3 is simply a masterpiece.
That’s our 10 best PS5 games of 2023. There are plenty of great games I didn’t mention, which is just more evidence of how stacked this year was with titles. 2024 certainly has a lot to live up to! In the meantime, be sure to take a gander at our other end-of-year roundups as we celebrate this epic year of games.