PlayStation has been ahead of Xbox for generations when it comes to exclusive games, but Microsoft has been putting the pressure on Sony in recent years with its Game Pass service. In response, PlayStation introduced its new PlayStation Plus tier system earlier this week, offering players access to game trials, cloud gaming, and — finally — a catalog of games to play.
It’s that last bonus we’re here to walk you through today. The PlayStation Plus Game Catalog is a perk in both the PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium tiers, which will run players either $14.99 or $17.99 a month, respectively. The Game Catalog works similarly to Game Pass, with games rotating in and out of the service over time.
While the Game Catalog isn’t going to offer new, first-party Sony games the day they’re released, its library is already starting out in a great place. Sony is offering some of the best AAA games out there for players who subscribe to the higher tiers, taking advantage of the PlayStation 4 and 5’s excellent library of single-player games.
The PlayStation Plus Game Catalog can be overwhelming to scroll through, though. That’s where we can help. We’ve listed the 19 best games on the service — OK, technically it’s 19 — to help you figure out where to start your Game Catalog journey.
[Ed. note: This list was last updated on Sept. 1, 2022. It will be updated as new games come to the service.]
Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade
Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a beautiful reimagining of a video game classic, rebuilt for modern audiences. And with the Intergrade expansion’s stand-alone story (starring future FF7 party member Yuffie), Square Enix adds even deeper wrinkles to its fascinating world.
Both Remake and Intergrade take place entirely inside the industrial city of Midgar, which the Shinra corporation rules with an iron fist. The city is so thoughtfully laid out and detailed that it joins Cloud, Tifa, Barret, and Yuffie as a crucial member of the game’s cast. Its scars help tell the stories of its heroes, the wealthy inhabitants above, and the disposable civilians below; its character colors every aspect of Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
The Midgar saga is just a portion of the original Final Fantasy 7’s story, which will continue with Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion in 2022 and Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth in 2023. Whether you’re replaying Remake: Intergrade as a refresher for the upcoming releases or you’ve never played a Final Fantasy game before, this is well worth your time and one of the best games in the PS Plus catalog.
Stray is a game all about a small orange cat living in a cyberpunk dystopia inhabited by robots. As the cat, you’ll solve puzzles, help robots through their existential crises, and make your way toward escape and the surface above.
As you might expect, Stray is an adorable experience. You can nuzzle up against fellow cats, scratch things, and meow (which echoes out of the DualSense’s speaker). You can also break stuff to serve your own needs, like dropping a heavy object off of a shelf through some glass to create an escape. Or you can break stuff just because you’re a cat, and sometimes, your actions make absolutely no sense at all.
But Stray is also about the dangerous, exposed life of being a cat without a home. The way it manages to express that darkness through the wide-eyed, carefree nature of the cat is what makes it so special and why it belongs on this list.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Batman: Arkham Knight is the conclusion to Rocksteady’s Batman trilogy, and it goes for broke. Arkham Knight is most well known for its addition of the controversial Batmobile to the nearly every piece of the trilogy’s formula. There are still dungeons to delve into and crimes to solve on the rooftops — but the Batmobile helps players break into new areas, rescue civilians, battle remote-controlled tanks, solve puzzles, and traverse Gotham at high speeds.
But despite its notoriety, the Batmobile is not what makes Arkham Knight so good. The third entry explores the relationship between Batman and Joker in surprising ways, and their connection fuels some of the game’s biggest moments and set-pieces.
It’s a worthy finale to the Rocksteady trilogy and a great Batman game to dive into, even if you’ve never played any of the others.
Bloodborne is a PlayStation 4 classic. It takes FromSoftware’s beloved but brutal gameplay and transports it to a gothic Lovecraftian setting. As the Hunter, you must haunt the streets of Yharnam, taking on its hostile citizens and grotesque mysteries.
Much of what Bloodborne does best can also be found in From’s other titles, but unlike Dark Souls and Elden Ring, Bloodborne forces you into an aggressive play style. When you take damage, you can strike the enemy back to regain some health. What’s more, the shields and heavy armor found in similar titles are absent here, so it’s more about careful dodges than making a damage-resistant build.
Bloodborne became an instant classic upon its release, and its still one of the best PlayStation exclusives because it marries near-flawless gameplay with immaculate vibes.
Celeste is a hyper-difficult platformer with a smorgasbord of worlds and mechanics to keep players on their toes. It’s a game that gets brutally difficult over time, and offers even more punishing options once players have mastered its moves. But it’s also an incredible story about mental health, acceptance, and one of the only trans protagonists in video games.
What’s beautiful about Celeste is that it caters to so many different players. If you want to challenge your skills, the game will give you that chance. But if you just want to experience the story and follow the character’s journey, there are accessibility tools to help you overcome the game’s difficulties with ease.
Control Ultimate Edition
Control is like a David Lynch film come to life. It follows a woman named Jesse on her journey into the Federal Bureau of Control. This mysterious, dilapidated building has all the stuffy appearances of a federal office. However, it’s filled with the unexplained — guns that transform, cursed objects, and more.
What makes Control so impressive is how Remedy uses its atmosphere to tell a story. The Federal Bureau of Control feels like a living being, and you’re constantly stuck in situations that require nuanced thinking to escape. With its bizarre aesthetic and mind-bending gameplay, Control is one of the most unique games on this list.
Death Stranding Director’s Cut
Death Stranding is perhaps the strangest game to come out in the past decade, and the Director’s Cut doesn’t change that. However, this edition of the game does smooth its edges a bit, and helps fine-tune the game into a more palatable — but equally glorious — creation.
In Death Stranding you play as a porter named Sam in an apocalyptic world. Your job, for the most part, is to deliver packages around the United States, reconnecting humanity after what amounts to nuclear fallout.
If it sounds odd, that’s because it is, but creator Hideo Kojima’s bizarre genius shines through with incredible progression systems and a story that will keep you guessing until the very end.
2016’s Doom is built on speed, acrobatics, and an absolutely killer soundtrack. Doomguy moves fast and has a huge arsenal with which to devastate the demonic forces. Guns — both simple and absurd — grenades, fists, chainsaws, and the BFG itself will help you burn your way across Mars and through hell.
The game is bloody, metal as hell, and surprisingly funny. Doom makes you feel like a god, capable of clearing any hurdle the game can throw at you, and it doesn’t offer a single dull level in its lengthy campaign.
God of War
God of War is not only the best game on this list, it’s one of the best games ever made. It elegantly mixes the existing God of War universe and characters with a new mythology to build a beautiful tale of childhood, fatherhood, and forgiveness. Its action and puzzle-solving are no slouches, either.
God of War is both intimate and sprawling, with each piece of ambient dialogue pairing perfectly with the vista in front of you. It’s an astounding achievement, and with its range of difficulty and accessibility settings, it’s a must-play for almost anyone.
Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima is a complex action game with an engaging story and a fun cast of characters. It also takes inspiration from 13th-century Japan and the films of Akira Kurosawa.
Exploring Ghost of Tsushima’s open world is fun enough, but the different styles it offers players is its most delightful feature. You can approach a base and fight honorably like a samurai, calling your foes out to battle you one at a time. Or you can take a stealthier path, defeating enemies before they even know you’re there.
This dichotomy plays into the game’s story and world, as the island’s culture changes from one of honor and tradition to that of desperation. And that’s what keeps Ghost of Tsushima memorable in a sea of open-world games.
Hollow Knight Voidheart Edition
Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania set in a tiny kingdom of bugs. You control the titular character, blasting your way through tunnels and taking on increasingly powerful foes. As you go, you’ll collect new upgrades that help you open doors, solve puzzles, and traverse previously impassable landscapes.
Hollow Knight very openly mimics popular classics like Super Metroid. These kinds of throwbacks are popular and have been for some time, but Hollow Knight nails something many modern homages forget: a sense of mystery.
Finding your way through Hollow Knight is tough, and requires not only patience, but a mind for exploration and discovery.
Marvel’s Spider-Man and Miles Morales
Both Spider-Man and Miles Morales nail the feel of their heroes — swinging through New York City, webbing enemies to the wall, etc. The controls are tuned tightly, so you’re able to deftly maneuver the environment and take on baddies with fluid, acrobatic attacks that feel like they belong in a movie trailer.
The MCU is as pervasive as properties come nowadays, but Marvel’s Spider-Man offers a breath of fresh air, taking place in a different universe with different versions of the characters we all know. Miles’ and Peter’s journeys are both excellent and unique, and shouldn’t be missed by Spidey fans or PlayStation Plus subscribers.
Outer Wilds is a giant mystery, and the less that’s said about it, the better.
The gist is that your small solar system resets every 22 minutes. Your job is to discover why that’s happening, and put the clues together so you can attempt to stop it.
In Outer Wilds you’ll spend much of your time gathering information for the game’s central mystery. You won’t be killing creatures or gaining experience points. The only thing there is to gain is knowledge, which will propel you to bizarre and interesting places. And once you’re finally done, you’ll wish you could erase it all from your memory and play it again.
Prey is a tense crawl through a recently collapsed advanced society, built with the creativity of Arkane’s other titles. It starts with one of the best fake-outs in modern games, and continues to push into the bizarre and creepy throughout its run time. With deep progression and crafting systems, as well as fascinating characters, it’s the modern BioShock.
Part of what makes Prey stand out is the constant tension it places you under. Because the primary enemies can blend into the environment, every cup or random item could be a Mimic ready to attack you and take up your precious resources. (Imagine if every cheese wheel in Skyrim could suddenly end your life.) This all creates a feeling of constant paranoia, and it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get a jump scare every time you start to feel safe.
After years creating arcade-y games, Returnal is Housemarque’s first attempt at a “AAA” title. After crash-landing on a mysterious planet, you’ll control Selene, a spacefarer with a mysterious past. As you go on your adventure, you’ll discover that Selene is canonically returned to her ship each time she dies. By battling through various environments, you’ll discover new tools and uncover the game’s abundant interlocking mysteries.
Despite the resources poured into it, Returnal still holds on to Housemarque’s arcade roots. It’s a roguelite that mixes in bullet hell elements to create a cacophony of lights and sound. But as you improve and find better and better weapons and tools, you’ll learn to navigate between the bullets and dodge your way to victory.
It’s Housemarque’s best and most interesting game to date, and it feels great to play with the haptics in the PS5’s DualSense controller.
Tetris Effect is a pretty straightforward recommendation. It’s the Tetris you know and love, albeit with ever-changing backgrounds, music, and visual designs. There’s an intense hypnotic quality to the stages, allowing you to focus on the colorful environments while your brain automatically places your Tetrominoes.
Tetris Effect beats out some other incredible games on this list not because of its gameplay — again, it’s just Tetris — but because of its vibes. A simple shift in the music or the visual language can drastically affect how you play, and when you marry that to one of the best and most classic puzzle games of all time, it’s an incredible win.
Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: Lost Legacy
Naughty Dog’s final two Uncharted projects are its best. Uncharted 4 finishes the tale of treasure hunter and scoundrel Nathan Drake, while Uncharted: Lost Legacy takes players on an adventure with two of Nate’s frenemies: Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross.
Both titles let players freely explore wide areas while also allowing for the series’ classic set-piece moments. There’s plenty of swashbuckling, but Uncharted 4 and Lost Legacy each have more to say than any Uncharted game before them. Both games are about companionship — be it with friends, family, enemies, or a combination of the three. They take a series known for its blockbuster action quality and inject a lot more heart and thoughtfulness than the previous titles.
Uncharted 4 is the perfect finale for one of the video games’ biggest series, and Lost Legacy is a clear indication that Naughty Dog can maintain the magic and charm even when Nathan is gone.
Until Dawn understands exactly what it needs to be. It’s a narrative- and decision-based teen slasher game set on a Canadian mountain. There’s drama, revenge, Saw-like contraptions, and an endless web of character relationships. It’s a game that initially makes you want to find the quickest demise possible for these horrible teens, but gives each of them a reason for redemption by the end.
Without spoiling too much, the thing Until Dawn does best is straddle the line between paranormal and grounded. Until the story’s climax, it’s not clear who or what forces are at play, and that mystery ensures that both the first and subsequent playthroughs are equally enjoyable.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Wolfenstein: The New Order is a reimagining of the classic Nazi-hunting PC games from decades ago. You take on the role of B.J. Blazkowicz after the Nazis have won World War 2 with devastating new technology. It’s a different America altogether, and B.J. joins the resistance to fight back
Wolfenstein: The New Order approaches its subject with surprising tact. It turns famed meathead B.J. Blazkowicz into a real and lovable character, and it works hard to help players understand the crucial role rebellion plays in fighting tyranny. But it also knows when to be silly, and when to let things slow down for a moment, as two characters catch their breath and express their affection for each other shortly before the bullets begin flying again.
In our chaotic modern environment, Wolfenstein strikes a perfect tone.