Earlier this year, PlayStation introduced its new PlayStation Plus tier system, offering players access to game trials, cloud gaming, and — finally — a catalog of games to play. It’s PlayStation’s version of Xbox’s Game Pass service, and it’s packed with some excellent games from the last decade.
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 doesn’t offer new, first-party Sony games the day they’re released, its library is in a great place nonetheless. 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 titles.
The PlayStation Plus Game Catalog can be overwhelming to scroll through, though. That’s where we can help. We’ve listed the 16 best games on the service to help you figure out where to start (or continue) your Game Catalog journey.
[Ed. note: This list was last updated on Nov. 25, 2022. It will be updated as new games come to the service.]
Spiritfarer is almost too full of life to be a game about death. The side-scrolling management sim, developed by Thunder Lotus Games, casts you as Stella, a child who’s assumed the duties of Charon (yes, that Charon, the boatman of the damned). Stella and her cat, Daffodil, must find dying spirits, sate their final desires, and ferry them into the afterlife.
The result is a game that mechanically falls somewhere between Animal Crossing and Fallout Shelter. You’re constantly building new structures on your boat, and various facilities to support those shelters, which also means a whole lot of “We’re gonna need a bigger boat”-ing. But the main draw of Spiritfarer isn’t about managing a bunch of anthropomorphic creatures and their mercurial needs (not to mention personalities). Most of these spirits aren’t exactly ready to pass. So between the building and the resource-hounding, Spiritfarer ultimately becomes a meditation about grappling with the fraught reality that life is finite — and it fittingly culminates in one of gaming’s all-time gut-punch endings.
Also: You can tag a friend in as Daffodil in couch co-op. —Ari Notis
Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX
Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX is maybe the most ridiculous video game package out there. Not only is the name complete nonsense, but it’s packed with multiple full-length games and several full-length games that have been bizarrely transformed into full-length movies. It’s essentially the Kingdom Hearts bible, and it’s not to be missed.
If you missed the boat on Kingdom Hearts during its heyday, it’s an action-RPG from Square Enix that’s packed with Final Fantasy characters, Disney protagonists, and worlds based off Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and more. And if you’ve never heard Goofy or Donald say “Sephiroth,” then you need to play these games.
In all seriousness, despite the rap it gets for being extremely extra (which is completely warranted), the Kingdom Hearts series is packed with heart and some excellent gameplay. It tells a delightful and complex story that feels at home in both the Final Fantasy universe and the Disney universes. It casts familiar characters like Donald and Goofy as knights and mages, but it does so in a way that feels charming rather than forced.
Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX is built for Kingdom Hearts obsessives, and is filled with all the pre-Kingdom Hearts 3 stuff fans could possibly want. But it’s also an excellent jumping-on point for newcomers. And with so much to do inside, this package alone will keep you entertained for an entire month of your PlayStation Plus subscription.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: Connected
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.
Naughty Dog’s final adventure with Nathan Drake is its best. Uncharted 4 finishes the tale of the famed treasure hunter and scoundrel by giving him one last swashbuckling adventure to go on with his friends and family.
Notably, Uncharted 4 includes the first open-world-ish area in the franchise. This allows Drake and Co. to really spread out and take things at a more leisurely pace before getting back to the series’ more typical set pieces. But Uncharted 4 is about more than just exciting additions to gameplay, and also has the best story in the series, telling a tale about companionship — be it with friends, family, enemies, or a combination of the three. Naughty Dog takes 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 Nathan Drake is somehow even more charming as a middle-aged, blundering adventurer than he ever has been before.
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.