When Steve Race came to the podium at E3 in 1995 and unveiled the original PlayStation’s price point, Sony instantly became a hit in the video game industry. 25-plus years later, PlayStation’s first-party exclusives have inspired joy and more. So we took a look at every first-party game that Sony ever released, and here are the best 10.
With more than 85 million copies sold, no first-party PlayStation franchise has been a bigger hit than Polyphony Digital’s acclaimed Gran Turismo series, and Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec might just be the most magical of the bunch. It’s a little hard to appreciate how astonishing the GT3 looked back in 2001 through a modern lens but, at the time, its never-before-seen level of fidelity truly stopped players in their tracks, completely resetting the bar for racing games. While the generation hops from PlayStation to PS2 left GT3 with a slimmer selection of cars than the extremely succulent GT2 – something Sony fixed with the magnificent GT4 – Gran Turismo 3 is the definition of a system-seller. After all, the most prosperous first-party game ever on the best-selling video game console of all time is not an accolade you earn by a fluke.
Infamous 2 is a great setup of the original and improved on it in almost every possible way, with a delightful story and elevated gameplay mechanics and graphic designs. The faux New Orleans city of New Marais is a bright playground for series hero Cole McGrath to climb, jump, and grind across – or explode and wreak havoc in, depending on how you choose to use your powers – and his arsenal of new abilities are still satisfying.
The original Ratchet & Clank proved to be a grand blueprint for a now-iconic PlayStation series. It comes with more guns. more planets. insane enemies. Giant Clank sections that let you topple enemies with ease. Up Your Arsenal isn’t as pretty as Rift Apart or other more recent Ratchet games, but it remains the apex of a series loaded with fun and, most significantly, potty humor title puns.
Shadow of the Colossus has a daring concept; there are no rank and file enemies, deep progression mechanics, skill trees, or level-ups. Instead, there are boss fights against 16 giant colossi, and each one is unforgettable. One moment you’re desperately trying to get out of the way of a massive sword attack so you can run up it and start your climb towards the huge creature’s neck; the next you’re desperately trying to hold on to an aquatic monstrosity that shakes you off by diving deep underwater, and the next you’re on horseback trying to catch up with a flying beast so you can put arrows in its air-packed sacs that keep it afloat. On top of that, its story packs an incredible punch. Shadow of the Colossus is one of the most memorable games you can have on a PlayStation 2 or PlayStation 4.
It was something of a surprise when developer Guerrilla Games’ first new IP after ten years of Killzone was a third-person open-world adventure featuring robot dinosaurs, but Horizon Zero Dawn quickly proved any concerns we may have had were unfounded when it launched on PlayStation 4. A clever take on post-apocalyptic stories – or post-post-apocalypse in this case – Horizon’s world is both absolutely gorgeous and filled with opportunities for adventure. Whether you’re hunting for treasure in the ruins of the old world or duking it out with one of the massive dinosaur-esque machines that roam the land, you’ll be hard-pressed to find yourself bored over the course of the dozens of hours it takes to reach the end – even more if you tack on the excellent Frozen Wilds expansion.
Ghost of Tsushima is a milestone within the open-world action/adventure genre. Sucker Punch created this amazing Tsushima’s immaculate combat mechanics, which brilliantly mimics the Kurosawa movies that inspired it and remains fresh and entertaining throughout the whole of its 25 to 40-hour adventure. And if that’s not enough it’s a free multiplayer add-on, Ghost of Tsushima Legends, adds thoughtful and fun coop multiplayer missions, and deep, brilliant mechanics for the most hardcore of players.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves took the charming characters, brilliant writing, and stunning adventure-packed world from the original and doubled down on it. With its memorable moments, gripping will-they won’t-they love story, and smart dialogue, Among Thieves is a globetrotting adventure that rivals classic adventure movies. Uncharted would go on to get larger and more attractive, but Among Thieves is still awesome.
Insomniac’s Spider-Man is one of the finest open-world games ever made. Sure, it’s got your typical open-world goodies: tons of side quests, collectibles, and unlockables. But most notably, the minute to minute thwapping around NYC, swinging, and wall running to the tops of its most towering skyscrapers, and dive-bombing into the streets to take down a group of enemies without ever touching the ground is a total blast. It’s a gorgeous and frenetic ode to the character and the city that got him to life that still manages to tell an endearing, genuine story in between its considerable action sequences and fierce boss fights. And if you’re still looking for more after the credits roll, 2020’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is an amazing, albeit smaller follow-up game that works to simultaneously continue the feel of the 2019 game while also bringing lots of awesome new characters and gameplay to the format.
The Last of Us is one of the best action-adventure games of the last decade. It comes with the most touching, unexpected friendships in the medium to date between Ellie and Joel, tense survival-horror-esque gameplay, and an end that is still remembered to this day. It’s truly a unique experience, so it took shock, everyone, that the team behind Uncharted had another franchise of this caliber up its sleeve with its sequel.
Connected with its memorable supporting cast, gorgeous art design and an interesting take on team-based multiplayer, the Last of Us is hands-down one of Naughty Dog’s most awesome games.
Santa Monica Studio’s God of War is a masterwork that is symbolic of PlayStation’s pursuit of first-party quality. It tells a lovely story, anchored by the delicate, ever-evolving relationship between Kratos and his son Atreus. It incorporates that story through a layered world dense with fascinating characters and locales, providing every step of the journey holds new wonders. The realms the duo travel to also serve as fantastic battle stages that allow God of War’s deep action systems to shine. Kratos’ Leviathan Axe is one of the most enjoyable weapons to wield in any video game, and it’s associated with branching skill trees, armor sets, and dashingly integrated Atreus AI to provide every fight is unique. The most recent God of War works so well not just because of all of these specialties, but because rather of forgetting its past, it keeps it, then refines and updates it. God of War is forever.