In June Sony rolled out a revamped, tiered version of its long-running PlayStation Plus subscription, combining the benefits of the existing service — free monthly games, cloud saves, online multiplayer access — with an expanded version of its PlayStation Now game library. That library, an ever-growing catalog of nearly 400 PS4 and PS5 games, is available to subscribers of PS Plus’s top two tiers: Extra ($15 USD/month) and Premium ($18), the latter of which also included a Classics library from earlier consoles.
We know it can be hard — stressful even — to sort through that many games and determine which may be worth your time. And so we’ve curated this list of what we consider some of the 33 best PlayStation Plus games available to subscribers of the Extra and Premium tiers, listed alphabetically. (We’re not including those Premium-tier Classics only to focus on the more recent games available to a wider group of PS Plus subscribers.)
*How long to beat (HLTB) estimates courtesy of IGN sister site How Long to Beat. The lowest number represents the average time required to mainline the story; the higher represents the average time required to earn 100% completion.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is Ubisoft’s biggest, boldest take on the series to date. A Viking tale set within England’s Dark Ages, Valhalla “walks a fine line between historical tourism, top-shelf conspiracy theory, and veiled mysticism against the backdrop of a grounded and focused story,” according to IGN’s review. With its campaign clocking in around 60 hours, it’s the longest game to mainline on this list.
What may have been the general consensus pick for best Soulsborne game before Elden Ring, Bloodborne takes the Dark Souls formula (including its punishing difficulty) and adds faster-paced moment-to-moment combat, allowing for a more aggressive playstyle. This, along with its dense, eerily gorgeous world, make Bloodborne stand apart from — and arguably above — its Dark Souls brethren.
Celeste is one of the best modern platformers, thanks to its tight controls, excellent level design, heartfelt story, and Lena Raine’s dynamic soundtrack (which is well worth listening to whether or not you end up trying Celeste). Celeste is the first of three games on this list that IGN awarded a coveted review score of 10.
Concrete Genie comes from one of the smallest studios in the PlayStation first-party suite, but Pixelopus’ latest creation packs as much heart and ingenuity as bigger first-party games. At the heart of what makes it so special is a painting mechanic that prioritizes expression over precision. Don’t worry about being the most exacting artist in the world, or even having all that much artistic talent to begin with — Concrete Genie encourages you to paint scenes and animate the environment with only a few guidelines of what to include, but it never judges you for how you approach those goals. With challenges built around art as a means to success, you literally paint a world back to life and along the way experience a beautiful story, make some genie friends, and try out some pretty clever mechanics that make Pixelopus’ next adventure one to anticipate. – Jonathon Dornbush
Control Ultimate Edition
Control is the full realization of Remedy’s vast potential. An engaging premise, mind-bending story, clever level design, top-tier voice acting, rich storytelling, and an ever-expanding arsenal of abilities that ultimately turn protagonist Jesse Faden into a superhero worthy of the MCU are just a few of the reasons we named Control our 2019 Game of the Year. Taking inspiration from “new weird” literature, creative director Sam Lake has created something truly Lynchian — a work of fiction with an implacable dreamlike quality that inevitably turns nightmarish. The Ultimate Edition bundles the base game with Control’s two excellent expansions: The Foundation and the Alan Wake crossover AWE.
Death Stranding Director’s Cut
The latest game from Hideo Kojima, Death Stranding Director’s Cut largely plays out like a 40-hour series of fetch quests given your role as a delivery person. That gameplay loop may be a non-starter for some, but within those quests, Death Stranding strings together stunning vistas, haunting sci-fi mystique, and a story that walks the line between captivating and convoluted. It’s a Kojima game through and through, and one worth checking out whether or not you plan on committing to seeing it all the way through.
The PS5-exclusive Director’s Cut adds graphics options, quality-of-life improvements, DualSense support, a firing range, and some new weapons, alongside some new missions. But PS4 owners can also download the original Death Stranding as part of their subscription.
Demon’s Souls, a PS5-exclusive ground-up remake of FromSoftware’s 2009 action-RPG, “plays significantly better than it did on the PS3, not only thanks to the graphical power of the PlayStation 5, but because of smart quality-of-life changes and light touches that modernize some frustrating aspects of the original, without ever sacrificing the relentless challenge, puzzle-infused boss battles, and style that made it such a landmark game in the first place,” according to our review. If Souls games aren’t your thing, Demon’s Souls won’t be the one to convert you, yet as part of the PS Plus library, it’s worth booting up as a technical showcase for PS5.
Bethesda Game Studios’ Fallout 4 is a massive RPG set in a faithful recreation of post-apocalyptic Boston and its surrounding areas. All the staple characteristics of a Bethesda RPG are here — eccentric characters, memorable quests, an immersive atmosphere rich with environmental storytelling — along with the introduction of an intuitive base-building system and vast improvements to gunplay.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade
With Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Square Enix breathed new life into one of the all-time great RPGs. FF7R remixes the story of the 1997 original and modernizes gameplay with a shift from turn-based to real-time combat. The full remake will be released over three games, the second of which is called Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.
Intergrade brought FF7R to PS5 with a new photo mode, improved visuals, the Intermission DLC chapter, performance options, and decreased load times. The original PS4 version is available to subscribers as well.
The higher-tier PS Plus options are a great value for Final Fantasy fans: Beyond FF7R, the catalog includes the original Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 8 Remastered, Final Fantasy 9, Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster, Final Fantasy 12 The Zodiac Age, and Final Fantasy 15 Royal Edition.
Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut
Ghost of Tsushima is yet another example of PlayStation Studios’ ability to successfully launch new franchises by meticulously crafting memorable worlds and characters. Based on the Mongol Empire’s 13th-century invasion of Japan, Ghost’s unique setting houses excellent samurai combat, must-see landscapes, and a war story that doesn’t shy away from the human cost of conflict.
God of War
Santa Monica Studio’s fresh take on its iconic PlayStation franchise is arguably the best game from the PS4 generation, and there’s no game on this list we recommend to PlayStation owners more highly. 2018’s God of War tells a familial tale that turns the mass-murdering Kratos into an equally deadly yet more grounded and empathic father. It excels in every respect — story, character development, level design, combat, graphics, performance — earning its designation from IGN as a masterpiece.
A sequel, God of War: Ragnarok, will be released on November 9.
Gravity Rush 2
Look, you should absolutely play Gravity Rush Remastered before you jump into Gravity Rush 2, not just to see the escalation of the franchise but also to fully appreciate the ingenuity this sadly short series had from the jump. But since GRR isn’t included in the Extra tier, we still recommend jumping into Gravity Rush 2 so that you can experience how unique this first-party franchise is. Gravity is in its title for good reason — your protagonist Kat has an incredible ability to manipulate gravity and hurtle around the world. It’s a unique traversal system that falls somewhere in the superheroic realm, but set in a vibrant, stylish world with plenty of secrets to uncover. – Jonathon Dornbush
Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition
Our pick for the best Metroidvania, Team Cherry’s Hollow Knight presents players with the freedom to navigate the labyrinthine kingdom of Hallownest as they see fit. Hollow Knight enables true exploration and therefore delivers a true sense of discovery. The gorgeous hand-drawn style brings beauty and charm to Hollow Knight’s eerie world, which teems with memorable mysteries to unveil and boss fights to conquer.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Another new PlayStation series introduced during the PS4 era, Horizon Zero Dawn envisions a world in which Earth’s prehistoric past meets its dystopian, post-technological future. The captivating premise leads to a satisfying narrative payoff, and in between players are treated to a rich open world, inventive combat, and innovative enemy design/behavior.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy harkens back to the PS3 era, before the world (and subsequently games) became perpetually connected; it’s a standalone, straightforward single-player story absent of online functionality, DLC, and microtransactions. True to its source material, Guardians is “a goofy, action-filled adventure with some genuinely heartfelt story moments, and the choices you’re given can add some surprising personal twists to your particular playthrough,” according to our review.
Marvel’s Spider-Man & Miles Morales
An even stronger recommendation for comics fans is Marvel’s Spider-Man, a web-slinging adventure through New York City that features some of the all-time best traversal in games. Insomniac built off the foundation of Sunset Overdrive to create a fluid swinging system that’s intuitively built around pressing and releasing the R2 button. It’s an immediate thrill, and that joy doesn’t dull throughout the game’s ~20-hour runtime.
The story, meanwhile, features a memorable take on Peter Parker, which you must follow up by playing the impressive and perhaps more personal take on Miles Morales in the standalone followup, Spider-Man: Miles Morales (also available to PS+ subscribers).
Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11 is the lone fighting game on this list, but for good reason: It’s one of NetherRealm’s (and the genre’s) all-time best, thanks to deep, fine-tuned combat; an expectedly absurd story mode; and a solid netcode that enables smooth online play.
A PlayStation console exclusive, Nioh is one of the deepest, most rewarding action-RPGs available on PS4. It wears its Dark Souls inspiration on its sleeve, though sets itself apart by combining “the slow-paced and position-based nuance of Dark Souls and the precise, combo-executing thrill of a fighting game,” according our review. And as the best action games do, Nioh features an impressive, varied lineup of demanding boss fights.
A remastered version of Nioh is also available on PS5, though it’s not included with PS Plus.
Outer Wilds’ purposely obtuse puzzles may be frustrating at first, but given patience and repetition, you’ll discover the reasoning for that design: a rewarding, awe-inspiring sense of discovery. Its world is rich with a mysterious history waiting to be unfurled, and those that do will be treated to one of the best modern adventure games.
Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition
A ‘90s-style isometric RPG from one of the genre’s best developers, Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition is the console version of Obsidian’s 2015 PC RPG. Like the era of RPGs it draws inspiration from, Pillars is a text-heavy adventure with complex RPG elements set in a lore-rich world. Those interested in the excellent story of Pillars but reluctant to invest in learning its combat mechanics can check out Story Time mode, which “uses the encounter composition of Normal difficulty but biases the math heavily in the player’s favor.”
As for the console port itself, here’s what IGN’s Dan Stapleton said in his review: “For an RPG of its complexity, it’s surprising how pleasingly intuitive its gamepad control scheme is, and its easily legible text makes it feel just as good to play from the couch as from a desk.”
One of last generation’s most under-appreciated games, Prey is an immersive sim from the consistently excellent team at Arkane Studios. The game takes place in an alternate timeline where JFK wasn’t assassinated and the U.S. doubled down on space exploration. That setup takes us to the start of Prey, where Morgan Yu finds him- or herself (player’s choice) aboard a space station inhabited by shape-shifting aliens. What unfolds is a captivating, existential tale that may forever change the way you look at coffee mugs.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar’s latest is Red Dead Redemption 2, a western epic of unprecedented polish and depth. Set 12 years before the events of Red Dead Redemption, RDR2 features a deep cast of nuanced characters, led by Arthur Morgan, who’s brought to life in a career-best performance from Roger Clark. As summarized in IGN’s Red Dead Redemption 2 review, it’s “a game that’s sincere instead of satirical, and funny while remaining capable of some supremely well-earned emotional moments.”
Before releasing Returnal, developer Housemarque reigned over the twin-stick shoot ‘em up genre, and among its best was Resogun. The PS4 launch game is a mesmerizing rush of audio-visual stimulation and an excellent shooter to boot. It can be completed in less time than any other game on this list (2 hours), yet those looking for more should have no problem wringing countless hours out of Resogun in pursuit of new high scores.
Housemarque broke from its established mold with Returnal, a third-person shooter/roguelike. While its gameplay, game systems, and narrative structure are substantially more developed than the studio’s past games, Returnal shares that unmistakable Housemarque DNA: combat encounters erupt into a fireworks show of shifting light, color, and shapes.
Shadow of the Colossus
In 2018, the remake savants at Bluepoint Games (also responsible for the aforementioned Demon’s Souls remake) released Shadow of the Colossus, a fresh take on the 2005 PS2 classic. Like the best remakes, Bluepoint’s Shadow of the Colossus is true to the story, gameplay, and overall feel of the original while introducing meaningful quality of life improvements, such as modernized controls and upgraded performance.
South Park RPGs
South Park: The Stick of Truth and South Park: The Fractured But Whole make the dreams of longtime South Park fans a reality: Players join the established group of South Park fourth-graders as The New Kid, a customizable character with a super-powered b-hole. Series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were closely involved in the development of each game, which is evident in their authenticity: Each game plays out like an extended episode of South Park, complete with its construction-paper cutout aesthetic, an authentically recreated layout of the town, and all the characters South Park fans have come to love over the last 25 years.
We’ve covered the best dogs in games, but at long last BlueTwelves Studio has given our feline friends their proper due. In Stray you play as an adorable orange tabby wandering through a neon-lit cyberpunk world. Competent platforming, clever puzzle design, and a surprisingly compelling story make Stray much more than an accurate cat simulator — though if you simply want to knock things over and claw up carpets, Stray also works as just that.
Tetris Effect: Connected
Tetris Effect may be one of the best versions of one of the best games of all time, putting a clever, emotional spin on one of gaming’s classic puzzle games. Rather than just have you play a game of Tetris as you would, Tetris Effect’s main campaign puts you through a series of stylishly different levels, where each move you make affects the way the music track plays and the level around your game field animates. It delivers a sense of authorship as you play through, bringing to life a killer soundtrack. There are bonus challenge modes to discover that are well worth your time, but Connected also adds an impressive set of multiplayer options, which further offer clever new takes on competitive and cooperative Tetris. And if you’ve got PSVR, it’s absolutely worth playing through with the headset on. – Jonathon Dornbush
Throughout the 2010s, Ubisoft released a handful of games built using UbiArt Framework, a development engine specializing in 2D games with a hand-drawn art aesthetic. Child of Light and Valiant Hearts: The Great War are two games developed in that engine, and they remain two of the most visually distinct games available in the PS Plus catalog.
Child of Light features a beautiful, watercolored storybook world filled with whimsical and charming characters and a satisfying active-time/turn-based battle system. Valiant Hearts, meanwhile, is a WWI game that prioritizes puzzle-solving and storytelling above action.
Uncharted 4 & The Lost Legacy
The conclusion to Naughty Dog’s Nathan Drake saga, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a must-play for those interested in Indiana Jones-like adventures and/or the legacy of the PlayStation platform. What Uncharted’s PS4 debut may lack in revolutionizing the series, it makes up for in polish: Uncharted 4 features the series’ tightest gameplay to date along with its most mature story.
Also available to PS Plus subscribers is the standalone expansion Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Its gameplay and structure are similar to that of the mainline series, though it branches away from the core games with a slimmer runtime and its more focused, character-driven story of Chloe and Nadine.
Supermassive’s established formula walks the line between cinema and games with branching, choice-driven interactive horror stories. Its first take on the genre, Until Dawn, remains one of its best. Packed with all the camp and gore you’d expect from a teen slasher movie, Until Dawn pits eight friends against a sadistic killer called The Psycho. The game’s cast notably features Rami Malek, who’s since won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.
XCOM 2 is set 20 years after 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown, in which humanity fell to an alien invasion. Now living on an alien-occupied Earth, humanity is fighting for liberation, and you’re tasked with leading the charge. XCOM 2 comes from Firaxis, the industry’s premiere strategy studio, and as such features a web of deep, rich gameplay systems. It can be a difficult game to jump into, but thankfully Firaxis integrated an expansive, intuitive tutorial to prepare newcomers for the fight.
While initially built for PC, XCOM 2 later came to consoles and is “just as outstanding as the PC version,” according to our review. Should you enjoy XCOM 2, be sure to check out its excellent War of the Chosen expansion (available on the PS Store for $4 at the time of press).
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Despite being the series’ seventh game, Yakuza: Like a Dragon can serve as a great starting point for newcomers, as it kicks off the story of an all-new cast of characters led by protagonist Ichiban Kasuga, a fiercely loyal, lovable goofball. Like a Dragon also takes the series to a new city (Yokohama) and shifts from beat-’em-up action to turn-based, party-style combat. For all that’s new in Like a Dragon, the heart of Yakuza remains, balancing socio-political and interpersonal drama with a healthy dose of kick-ass streetfights and absurd humor. (Like a Dragon is available to Essential, Extra, and Premium tiers in August.)
Those are our picks for the best games available to subscribers of PlayStation Plus’s Extra tier and above. Let us know in the comments what made your list that might have been left off ours!