Console launches are often exciting until you start playing those launch games. Most systems take at least a year to get going, at least on the software front. Sure, sometimes you’ll get a Halo: Combat Evolved or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but you usually have to wait a bit for the truly great games.
That’s what makes the PlayStation 5‘s launch lineup so awesome. On its very first day, PS5 has a great library of exclusives, first-party games, and notable third-party titles.
It’s the best launch day lineup we’ve seen so far this century.
Games for days
Four games, all from Sony, make up the core of the PS5 launch lineup: Astro’s Playroom, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure. Astro’s Playroom comes on every console. It’s something of a showpiece for the PS5’s controller, the DualSense, touting its special features like the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback. But Astro’s Playroom is also an amazing 3D platformer that is brimming with charm and creativity. Its only real problem is that it’s short.
If you’re looking for a more full-length 3D platforming experience, you can grab Sackboy: A Big Adventure. I’ve spent a few hours with it so far, and I’m impressed. It may not be quite as pretty or imaginative as Astro’s Playroom, but it’s a meaty platformer with lots of levels. It also supports up to four-player co-op, which helps it stand out from the other launch games.
Then you have Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls as the big triple-A exclusives. I reviewed Miles Morales and adore it. It does a great job showing how the SSD makes load times just about non-existent on PS5. I’m a few hours into Demon’s Souls, and it’s another gorgeous game.
Now, you could argue that you should dock points from Miles Morales and Sackboy because they are also on PS4. You don’t need to have the new console to play them. But after enjoying a steady 60 fps experience with Miles Morales on my PS5, with the fast load times and fun controller features, I don’t ever want to play a game on my PS4 again. Besides, Breath of the Wild also launched on an older console, the Wii U, at the same time that it debuted along with the Switch. That didn’t hurt its effectiveness as a launch game at all.
Bugsnax also deserves a special shoutout. It’s probably the most interesting indie game that’s debuting with the PS5. Again, it will be available on PS4 (and PC, in this case), but Sony is giving the PS5 version away to all PlayStation Plus members.
You also have a few of big third-party games, like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Dirt 5, along with enhanced versions of older games like Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition, and No Man’s Sky: The Next Generation.
It’s a lot. And a lot of it is great.
It’s an amazing launch lineup. I have to go back decades to think of one that was better. Sure, Switch had Breath of the Wild. But outside of that masterpiece, the launch was a bit sparse. PS5’s debut sure beats what the PS4 offered (no offense to the Knack and Killzone fans out there).
I do have a fond spot for the GameCube launch lineup from 2001. You had a lot of fun games like Luigi’s Mansion, Super Monkey Ball, Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, and Wave Race: Blue Storm. A couple of years before that, the Dreamcast launched with big games like Sonic Adventure, Soulcalibur, Power Stone, and Ready 2 Rumble Boxing (man, that launch sure was heavy on fighting games).
The only thing I can say against the PS5’s first games is that none of them are transformative. You don’t have a launch game here that is going to shake up the industry, like Super Mario 64, Halo: Combat Evolved, or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
But that isn’t stopping me from having a good time with the PS5. I think all of those early adopters are going to agree. Even if you just buy one extra game — like Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls, or Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla — to go along with Astro’s Playroom, you’re going to have an amazing first week with your new console.
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