Best PlayStation games — from PS3 to PS5 and everything between (2024)

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,

PlayStation has a long and fabled history that defies the grasp of any single console, be it PS3, PS4, or PS5. This is our list of the best PlayStation games.

Update: We've added the Mortal Kombat series to the list.
This is a list made of the best PlayStation games and series from across the PS3, PS4, and PS5 generations. That means our list is made up of games that retained their quality across multiple eras: games that could all have been contenders for the best PS5 games, best PS4 games, or best PS3 games lists, but stand out for having some of the most successful ports on PlayStation.

Best PlayStation Games — from PS3 to PS5Best PlayStation Games — from PS3 to PS5

As with all of our 'Best of' lists, let us outline our methods here. We wanted this list to cover the games and game series that span the PlayStation generations and are eligible for trophies. The rules are slightly loose here, but the core idea is that the game or games must have been a major part of multiple generations and been released natively on more than one console. This means we can give you some of the best, most important, and most popular games to catch up on regardless of what device you have been playing on. These are all games that have been threads in the tapestry of PlayStation history and have shone brightly for a long period.

The best PlayStation games too good for a single PlayStation console
The best PlayStation Games from PS3 to PS5 and everything in-between
Kes

GTA V

An easy place to begin, Grand Theft Auto V trophies have now graced the PS3, PS4, and the PS5. It is a very different game on each system given all the technical restraints of the old hardware, but no less of an absurdly good experience in its latest, loadless form. The single-player GTA V is timeless thanks to the craft and guile of the development team at Rockstar North.

Its well-designed open world of Los Santos is dense and full of secrets and satire of modern-day America and capitalism. The main missions have some incredible set pieces, none more so that the heists you can plan out with individual modules to change the way it gets played. From stealthy to all guns blazing, it's quite the ride. Then you have the writing which, in single-player, is often hilarious, sometimes tightly wound like a thriller, and often razor-sharp with its social commentary on itself, you, and everything Hollywood.

GTA OnlineGTA Online is massive... ceaselessly massive

The massive and endless GTA Online no doubt misses some of that laser accuracy that the single player has, but it makes up for it by rolling a thousand dice and landing enough of them to succeed. It's incomprehensively massive, with your sole aim being to get enough money to buy the things you want. Bigger apartment? Do a heist, to get the money to do a bigger heist, that affords you a better apartment that lets you do more heists, that lets you get the cars you need to... you get the point.

Within that, though, you could be a part of a racing community that adores cars, a member of a chaotic crew that like going for bounties on other players' heads, or a stuntperson pulling tricks off of the fabled Mt. Chiliad. You name it, there is a group of players into whatever weird stuff you want to get up to in this virtual world (even the foot stuff, probably). It is ludicrous, endless, with subsects of things to do within subsects. It defies time and any single PlayStation era in a way that leaves you respectful of its success, and thus it enters the list without a second thought.

Skyrim is kind of just a whole load of thisSkyrim is kind of just a whole load of this

SeanL

Skyrim

Ah, Skyrim, a game that has been memed to death at this point due to the insane amount of re-releases the game has received since its debut on the PS3 back in 2011. Over 10 years later the game is still getting re-released onto PS4 and PS5 consoles with some extra content or updated visuals — and we are still buying it every single time. Why is that? Because it’s a bleeding good game, that’s why.

Something about the world that Skyrim offers up is so inviting that you can find yourself devoting hundreds of hours exploring everything the game has to offer, starting multiple new playthroughs, beating the game multiple times, and yet never finding yourself getting bored. Skyrim is a fantastic RPG that has stood the test of time and is still a burly warrior fighting in the gaming market today. We can’t wait to see what the next Elder Scrolls game offers up — hopefully, it’s just as impactful as Skyrim.

Kes

The Bioshock Collection

So you like shooting, huh? Well, one of the best FPS games on PlayStation just so happens to be available on all the home consoles. With a triplet of Bioshock and BioShock 2, as well as the sequel Bioshock Infinite in the mix — the collection should be your port of call especially since it has the clean PS4 port (playable on PS5) from the PS3 version. The first and third games are written by Ken Levine, depicting trippy and dystopian cities in the sea and in the clouds, respectively. All three shine a light on the human condition and, arguably more importantly, the social structures that bind us. They are no morality tales with death and horror around a few creepy corners in all the games, but they do make you think while you shoot. You aren't topping the Bioshock games, so get on it now!

uncharted legacy of thieves collection ps5 pcUncharted spans every modern PlayStation console

Kes

Uncharted series

So, you have the PS4 collection with the PS3-era games called the Nathan Drake Collection, as well as the PS5 port of the PS4 games Uncharted 4 A Thief's End and the oft-forgotten A Lost Legacy with the 2022 release called Uncharted Legacy of Thieves. That means if you are playing on PS3, PS4, or PS5 you have access to the mainline Uncharted games, and so you should: Nathan Drakes's adventures for old things in distant lands are legendary.

All the games offer a lesson in story-telling mastery, with the first three games emphasizing humor and fun before the fourth game wraps up the series with a bit more human drama. Then you have the set pieces and general sense of awe — from the train sequence in Among Thieves to finding a pirate city in A Thief's End. Your jaw will drop, but your finger will be well-satiated with the linear level design that funnels you in just the right way while teasing your brain with fun puzzles. Then you have the characters — bundles of fun, all. Nate's wisecracking is matched by Sully's old man gruff act, while Chloe is a smartass and Elena a smarter ass. They are games that define PlayStation history and several console generations, so set foot on the path to adventuring heaven!

the last of us Part 1The Last of Us Part 1 is only the latest version

Lee

The Last of Us

As we learned with The Last of Us Part 1, sometimes there can be a negative connotation to being considered an intergenerational PlayStation game. The Last of Us was already a high-profile intergen game before the 2022 re-remaster’s release, what with The Last of Us Remastered released on the PS4 only a year after the original game helped bid the PS3 adieu.

With fans looking for a good reason to jump aboard the Sony fun-time train and pick up a PS5, it was undoubtedly frustrating to see effort poured into remastering the same game for a second generation in a row. “The Last of Us Part 1 is a cash grab”, they would say — and it might not have made any sense, but you could understand their frustrations over the game’s worth.

In my The Last of Us Part 1 review, I was keen to look at the game a touch more acontextually — both in terms of its design and from the perspective of people who would someday be looking to pick up an excellent PS5 game when all the pressures of it being an excellent new PS5 game have washed away. That day will inevitably come, and all we will have left is the knowledge that three PlayStation consoles in a row all featured uniquely brilliant versions of The Last of Us.

Assassin's Creed IV Black FlagAssassin's Creed IV Black Flag is our highlight of the series

Kes

Assassin's Creed series

Since it debuted with the first PS3 game in 2007, the brotherhood of Assassin's has spread its message across every PlayStation platform released. You can dive into a variety of periods on any device and find yourself in the Golden Age of Piracy or the Italian Renaissance, in a sprawling RPG, platformer, or open-world action adventure. While some games are better than others — check out our Assassin's Creed ranked article to see our favorites — you can be assured that any of the 13 or so game will offer you a touch of history and some cool Assassin vs Templar antics. We think that this is a series you should consider as a staple of the industry, and as a staple of third-party PlayStation releases.

Mass Effect™ Legendary EditionMass Effect Legendary Edition is a trilogy that deserved the rerelease

SeanL

Mass Effect Legendary Edition

Mass Effect Legendary Edition is without a doubt one of the best games out there, something RPG lovers will attest to without fail. The game allows you to harness your potential and be the hero the galaxy needs — or its anti-hero. With so much content spread across three separate games that all come together in an epic culmination where it feels as though your choices matter — thanks in part to the director's cut that was released after the backlash Mass Effect 3’s original endings received.

Travel across the Milky Way and discover an unstoppable threat — we’ll see about that — that is set on wiping out all intelligent life. While you prepare for war against these beastly robotic spider-squid things, you can complete an abundance of side quests that help build upon the world and the lore around you, find love in space from an eccentric and loveable cast of characters and see through the impending apocalypse with one another. There is o much to do and see that you need to witness it all yourself. So go, quick.

You also have the ability to earn three separate platinum trophies thanks to three separate trophy lists in the form of the Mass Effect trophies, Mass Effect 2 trophies, and Mass Effect 3 trophies. All of these games have very simple platinums for you to earn as well, with the more difficult trophies having their own separate list with the Mass Effect Legendary Edition trophies (which doesn’t have a platinum trophy). So, just a lot of positives all around.

Lee

Batman Return to Arkham

It was mighty tempting to just put either or both of these titles on the best PS3 list and call it a day — but, if we’re honest, Batman Arkham Asylum and Batman Arkham City just feel bigger than one console. Not necessarily because the bundled Return to Arkham sold exceptionally well, but because you can feel Arkham’s game mechanics in just about every modern title right now.

Had Arkham Asylum not utilized “detective vision” so effectively, would Geralt’s Witcher Senses have played such an integral part in The Witcher 3’s design? Had Arkham City not posited gliding as a necessity for having fun in a vertically-demanding open space, would Breath of the Wild have included a glider, to later be shamelessly copied by Horizon Forbidden West? Alright fine, Wind Waker had gliding too, but were it not for Batman, would it have been as fun in BOTW?

Then there’s Batman Arkham Asylum’s combat which, aside from Warner Bros. Interactive games like Middle-Earth and Mad Max, we can see bleed into Marvel’s Spider-Man, inFamous, and Assassin’s Creed. It’s not exactly Dark Souls in terms of ubiquity, but there’s enough on to list to say “nah” — in some small way, we’ve been playing the early Batman Arkham games on every PlayStation console since they came out.

APSTomb Raider has a trilogy running over the PS3 and PS4 generations

SeanL

Tomb Raider trilogy

Tomb Raider is a series that has been thriving on multiple platforms for over 25 years at this point, selling millions of copies around the world to devoted fans of this incredible action-adventure series. The most recent trilogy — the Survivor Trilogy as fans call it — made the leap from PS3 to PS4 flawlessly, with the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition trophies amplifying the already incredible Tomb Raider reboot for newer console generations with a fresh list. Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider further cemented the leap to PS4.

It’s not just the Survivor Trilogy that Tomb Raider was able to implement on multiple PlayStation platforms, but also the Legend Trilogy — which was a soft reboot of the original franchise. The Legend Trilogy features Tomb Raider Legend, Tomb Raider Anniversary, and Tomb Raider Underworld which all provide players with incredibly addictive and fun experiences on PS2 and PS3 consoles. This further proves why the Tomb Raider series and Lara Croft deserve to be on this list.

Lee

Final Fantasy VII Remake

There are a number of games that this list was made for, and Final Fantasy VII Remake was absolutely one of them. Launching in 2020, the final year of the PS4, and ported swiftly to PS5 in 2021, it’s as close The Last of Us as third-party limited PlayStation exclusives get. More than that, while Remake played fine on PS4, most players could look at those loading screens and know that this was a game ready for the next generation.

What’s especially wonderful about Remake, however, is that its entire theme and concept is centered on an intergenerational PlayStation game. Not only is this game not a simple callback to a classic PS1 title, but it attempts to reach back in time within its own history and reexamine that PS1 history. Remake openly ponders what it is to be the remake of a PlayStation game that has lived in the heads of PlayStation owners since 1997.

final fantasy vii remake boxartFinal Fantasy VII is probably the intergeneration game

In many ways, it’s the most intergenerational PlayStation game, both for its own launch and in how it seeks to address the nature of a piece of art that belongs to another generation in another form. It also helps that Remake is a fantastic game — a genuine joy to play and experience, and not quite like anything else out there at the moment. Whether you’re on PS5 or PS4, you really should check it out.

Yakuza KiwamiYakuza is a long, long series to plow through

SeanL

Yakuza series

Yakuza is a series that has been going on for quite some time now, longer than many may even realize. The first ever Yakuza game launched onto PS2 consoles back in 2005 and is one of the console's greatest little hidden gems. Thankfully, Sega continued to create stellar sequels and the franchise has now amassed quite a number of entries, all of which have made their mark on multiple platforms.

The most obvious comes from all the titles that were released on PS3 and then made the jump to PS4 in some form of remastering — most notably Yakuza 3-through-5. Yakuza and Yakuza 2 received remasters for the PS4 as well as bringing these iconic PS2 games onto the newer-gen consoles. PS Plus is likely a factor in all of this as well, as the entire series is now available for PS Plus Premium and Extra subscribers to playthrough.

Dark Souls 2Dark Souls is a beast... get in there!!

Lee

Dark Souls series

If we thought Batman Arkham Asylum was too entrenched in modern gaming to be considered a PS3 game, then it’s unfathomable to imagine Dark Souls anywhere near it. Sure, some games copied Batman’s example; but every game copied Dark Souls. You’ve got Dark Souls in your PlayStation exclusives with Returnal and in your Star Wars with Jedi Fallen Order. Dear god, even Sonic the Hedgehog caught some Dark Souls in Sonic Frontiers.

Dark Souls Remastered, the PS4 version of the game, was just an excuse to make modern gaming make sense to people who were unaware that, for the last ten years, it’s been Dark Souls every time all the time. Sure, there’s no Dark Souls on PS5 just yet — or isn’t there? Elden Ring is Dark Souls, and now you know there is no escape, soon Sony will unveil the PlayStation 10 which will drop the brand for good and simply be known as Dark Souls 4 machine.

Kes

Death Stranding Director's Cut

Our time trodding through the
Death Stranding Director's Cut trophies was well spent and gives us our cheekiest entry, given that it has only appeared on two consoles (PS4 and PS5) and doesn't have the legacy of our other bi-console entries. However, it hasn't made our best PS5 or PS4 games lists, so we find it here because it is too good not to be regarded as one of the most bizarre gaming experiences in recent memory. Taking on the role of Sam Porter Bridges, you must trek through the remains of post-fallout America to rebuild the country by creating links between people. Part Fed-Ex simulator, part hiking simulator, all parts Kojima — we think that the innovation here is that the scaling environment is the gameplay loop.

There is more than a little pretentiousness here — from Kojima's name popping up six times in the opening credits to the insane distances the game expects you to travel in order to, you know, have 'an experience, dude' — but we think it is unique and enjoyable. Death Stranding isn't perfect, but it is a marker of the variety that games can provide. While the combat doesn't quite feel well-rounded, the satisfaction of creating an easily traversable network with our tools is unlike anything else. The story is bizarre and fun, occasionally incomprehensible, and it looks gorgeous. This is a game that comes by once a generation, so we are more than happy to let it on this list for coming to two.

Lee

Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition

Look, 2012 was a busy year — too busy for you to pick up Sleeping Dogs on the PS3. Mass Effect 3 was out, as was Assassin’s Creed III — you were busy, and that's okay; Square Enix understands. No one buys the rights to the True Crime series just to leave its name off the box, right? Especially if you don’t think you have just as much chance of selling a brand-new IP instead of said completely underloved IP. It was all part of the plan.

Just to be clear though, you did pick up Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition on PS4 two years later, right? You know, one of the best action sandbox games in years, primed and ready for a console with no discernably good new games on it — you bought it right? You didn’t buy something ridiculous like Knack instead, did you? I’d like to believe that you did, but you see, there hasn’t been a sequel to Sleeping Dogs ten years later and I trusted you before with the wacky and weird True Crime. You failed me then, don't fail me now. Look, I know the developer’s defunct and all but just — just please play Sleeping Dogs now. Please.

Borderlands Free Play DaysBorderlands makes our list

SeanL

Borderlands series

Borderlands first catapulted onto PS3 consoles back in 2009 and as a series is still going incredibly strong now. There is no argument that Borderlands as a franchise has managed to provide players with incredible experiences on multiple platforms. Borderlands trophies released on PS3 and PS4, Borderlands 2 trophies released on PS3, PS4, PS VR, and PS Vita, and Borderlands the Pre-Sequel has found itself on PS3 and PS4 as well. Each release provides players of both platforms an abundance of fun, perfectly cementing itself as one of the best series’ on both PS3 and PS4.

Most recently we have collected the Borderlands 3 trophies which were released on PS4 and provided another great experience to PS5 players later down the line. Who knows what will happen with Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands? Maybe we will see that getting released onto the PS6 and we can add that one to our list as well — though we expect a bit of delay on that front.

Kes

Mortal Kombat series

Well, we had to choose a fighting series and — between Street Fighter, Tekken, Guilty Gear, and Mortal Kombat — there are simply too many to choose from. With its latest entry cementing itself in the history books as a superb fighter — go and get those Mortal Kombat 11 trophies! — it feels like Mortal Kombat is a great archetype for the modern fighting game and a great entry point into fighting games for newbies.

These games are hilariously gory, which gets people through the door, but also have plenty of technical prowess. If you are going to get good, the time sink is worth the effort with a highly skilled and engaged competitive field. In addition, you've got a fun story, plenty of bonus modes, solid online play, and more. From the PS3 reboot until now, NetherRealm has pretty much nailed every gaming combo you could ask for, making the Mortal Kombat series a champion fighter from the PS3 era until the upcoming PS5 entry Mortal Kombat 1!

Lee

Pinball FX3

Now that the big-budget players have all been accounted for, it's time to expand our list to consider titles that carry perhaps a little less brand recognition than Batman. Or, at least, that's what we would say if those Pinball FX3 trophies weren't also loaded with the combined brand power of Darth Vader, Indiana Jones, and Spider-Man.

What helps Pinball FX3 claim a spot on the list ahead of other worthy competitors is not just how consistently the game and its predecessor Zen Pinball 2 play across various PlayStation consoles, but how they use that intergenerationality to their advantage. Purchase a table in Pinball FX3 and it comes with you whether you're on PS5 or PS4. Purchase a compatible table (on the correct console) for Zen Pinball 2, and it can even upgrade for free all the way from PS3 to PS5 on Pinball FX3.

Sure, the fun has stopped with the latest PInball FX, which won't let players reclaim their past tables on the service, but there are still plenty of table choices available to pinball fans in Pinball FX3, and it works on all the same consoles. It might be a fraction behind the latest graphics and physics, but Pinball FX3 still plays brilliantly today and is plenty worthy of a spot on the best PlayStation games list.

What do you think of the list? If you have any series or games that you think could make the cut, let us know in the comments!
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and Sony news. He writes about PS5 exclusives like Horizon, The Last of Us, God of War, and Death Stranding 2 using experience from years of playing PlayStation games. He also covers PS Plus and trophy news, as well as his favorite games — The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed, and some indie gems — before an evening swim.
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