The best action-adventure games on PS5 — February 2023

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,

The best PS5 games are full of fantastic titles, but PlayStation exclusives have a great foothold in one genre: action-adventure. These games are full of wonderful narratives, combat, puzzling, and fantastically created worlds.

Joining the list of best PS5 games is a hard task given how saturated it is by fantastic games, but the best action-adventures games on PS5 have had an exceptional run. From Uncharted and God of War to The Last of Us and It Takes Two — these are the best action adventure games playable on PS5.

The best action adventure games on PS5The best action adventure games on PS5

What is an action-adventure game?

What defines an action-adventure game? It's one of the trickiest questions in gaming because most games include both action and adventure in some capacity. However, we have made a bit of an executive decision to exclude fully open-world, rogue-like, or RPG-influenced titles — so no Marvel's Spider-Man, Ghost of Tsushima, Returnal, or Shadow of Mordor. We're sorry — those games are utterly superb but we're looking for pure action-adventure games that feel unencumbered by other genre influences, games that are linear and place the emphasis on new places, spaces, and fun combat or puzzling. Finally, if you can play the game on a PS5, then it qualifies for this list.

Best action-adventure games on PS5

A Plague Tale: InnocenceA Plague Tale: Innocence looks great on PS5

A Plague Tale Innocence — PS5, PS4

If you haven't yet snuck through the French countryside for the A Plague Tale Innocence trophies, have a think about it. This is a very pure action-adventure title with linearity pushing you through stunningly created environments. Taking on the role of Amicia de Rune during the 100 years war, you'll need to look after your ill brother Hugo as thousands of merciless rats begin spreading a plague. While the game begins bright, the narrative slowly fades into horror trappings and uses religious overtones to really bring an element of creepiness.

The gameplay uses stealth to bolster that sense of dread, with a few limited means to combat enemies in contained encounters. The story is superb, especially once alchemy comes into the picture and the cast grows broader — then it really begins feeling like a childhood adventure book for adults. It's the environmental storytelling really bumps this into the 'best' category, though. It nails the medieval time and places expertly with castles and villages really proving spectacular. Clocking in at 12 hours, it's still a little long in the tooth for us and we could hack out 3 hours quite happily — padding is something that nearly derails the sequel, too. However, don't let that small quibble dissuade you — this is superb adventuring.

Batman Return to ArkhamBatman Return to Arkham is simply outrageous

Batman: Return to Arkham — PS4

Anyone going for the Batman Arkham Asylum trophies will need to put a grade in, but we hardly think you'll mind. It's maybe a well-trodden path of critical thinking by now, but Arkham Asylum is probably the best of the trilogy for our money. It's super contained to just one creepy island with plenty of mysteries to unravel, villains leaping off the screen, and an environmental design that will melt your mind in its glory.

With rhythmic combat filled with gadgets and combos to keep Batman cracking and snapping through enemies, it's no wonder everything for the following ten years would take inspiration from Arkham Asylum. We haven't even mentioned Batman or the overarching narrative yet, but yes — they help amp this action adventure up to 11. Playable on PS5 as part of the PS4 Return to Arkham collection that also includes the nearly equally good Arkham City, don't miss out.

Definitive 7/24/15 Screen 1Dishonored Definitive Edition can be mind-bending, but it's great

Dishonored Definitive Edition — PS4

Collecting the Dishonored Definitive Edition trophies is a hard task, but this puzzle box from Arkane Studios is an absolute belter. The steampunk trappings of the city of Dunall, combined with magic and alchemical elements, fully envelop as you seek revenge for a mysterious murder. Unfortunately, protagonist Corvo is framed for said mysterious murder because he was supposed to be said the victim's — Empress of the Isles' — bodyguard. From there, wide-linear levels take the fore as you hop, skip, and stealth around the city tracking down clues. You can complete your tasks violently or peacefully, choosing a magic path as you go. It's a stunning gameplay and environmental design that is matched by the sequel — but you should start with this remastered PS3 classic available on PS4, and thus PS5. Outrageous game design from Arkane.

God of War RagnarokGod of War Ragnarok is a masterful action-adventure

God of War Ragnarok — PS5, PS4

Go and grab those God of War Ragnarok trophies right now... but please, try and do it on a PS5. Finishing the Norse saga with this demolition job of action-adventuring is a bit of a mic drop for Studio Santa Monica. The story made me cry a few times while playing for our God of War Ragnarok review and I still get funny feelings about the mature father and son relationship between Kratos and Atreus now. It's beautifully told and perfectly continues the story once it gets going, using Norse mythology to enhance a breathtaking world.

Then you have the combat. It juggles the greatest weapon in video games in the throw-and-retrieve Leviathan Axe with some other satisfying weaponry to create a collage of satisfying movesets. Add in massive enemy variety, wicked bosses, fun combat arenas, high skill and reward situations... well, you have yourself a winner. Exploration in the hub worlds is really solid and well-controlled, nearly veering into the full open-world territory but keeping just enough restraint. Add in incredible PS5 performance and I think we are home free on calling this a best-in-class action adventure.

screen2Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice is fantastic

Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice — PS4

It took a little while for this action-adventure to raid gaming, but once players started popping Hellblade Senuas Sacrifice trophies they couldn't stop. We aren't quite sure if 'hidden gem' applies because this game has had plenty of awards and flowers tossed dramatically toward it, but we think it's a beauty. Wielding a world of Norse and Celtic mythology on one hand and the psychosis-troubled Pict protagonist Senua on the other, Hellblade creates a unique and haunting dark fantasy tale.

It's a pretty plain action adventure — it's not really mixing other genres in. You'll be exploring the scenery and solving puzzles, all making use of our unique protagonist's condition. She can see things others can't, giving us looks at the gods of Norse and Celtic myth in a delightfully innovative way. We also feel the need to praise the lack of a HUD which allows the player to soak up the gorgeous world without distraction. The combat is a touch shallow, but lead actress Juergens' performance is terrific. A special game, this.

It Takes TwoIt Takes Two is absurdly good

It Takes Two — PS5, PS4

The co-op GOTY that blew everyone away, you and a buddy will be collecting It Takes Two in utter joy as you and your two humans-turned-dolls jump and battle through level after level of creative co-op perfection. Let's pause there, at that word 'creativity.' That's what really helps this action adventure shine above most others — one moment it's a third-person shooter, the next it's a side-scroller, then a Diablo-lite. It never runs out of ideas, but nor does it run out of narrative weight. As our trusty duo try to reach the finish, it unspools tales of relationships so often cliche-ridden that it does the full loop back to insightful. Hop in with someone and soak it up!

ratchet & clank rift apart new lombax gameplay trailerRatchet and Clank is a phenomenal PS5 showcase

Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart — PS5

Collecting those Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart trophies was an absolute video game vacation. After all these years, the rich genealogical heritage of the Spyro games, with their focus on collectables and exploration and very light character quests, can still be felt in the latest PS5 entry of Ratchet and Clank.

The important difference is that where Spyro let you chill out and just collect at your own pace, Ratchet and Clank remains a tense, bombastic action-adventure series at its very core. Light exploration is all well and good, but if you think for one second you won't have to circle-strafe blast your way through ever tougher hordes of enemies and bosses just to see those end credits, you clearly have this series confused with Astro's Playroom or something.

Outer WildsOuter Wilds is one of the greatest games of all-time

Outer Wilds — PS5, PS4

Outer Wilds is one of the best games of all time. It features a sun repeatedly exploding and a 20-minute time loop. You wake up to an alien spaceship exploding and it's your job to travel to space and work out the mystery behind it all. It then plays out in a 20-minute sandbox, where you fly to different planets and behind unrevealing a tale through puzzles and spacefaring action.

With creativity abound — you'll see a typhoon-ridden planet, delve into space fish, and more — the production value isn't in the graphics or the performances, but in the sheer writing and unabashed heart with which this game delivers groundbreaking environmental design. It's so powerful by the end, it'll have you consulting the meaning of life while you sob to one of the best soundtracks in gaming, The adventure aspect, is pretty clear — the action here revolved around spaceships and puzzles. If you want more shooting, look away — but at least try and get yourself engrossed in this superb voyage in the stars.

the last of us Part 1The Last of Us Part 1 is a perfect PS5 version of a perfect game

The Last of Us Part 1 — PS5

The Last of Us Part 1 trophies will be, frankly, the last of your concerns on your first playthrough of this remastered classic. As we discussed in our The Last of Us Part 1 review, there's a shockingly decent parallel to be made between Joel stealthing his way through Clicker-infested suburb in Wyoming and Pac-Man chomping his way through a ghost-filled maze.

If that sounds like a slight against The Last of Us, think about Pac-Man for a second — that is a game that is literally nothing but action. There's a touch more restraint and patience required to best TLOU P1, but you'll still be twitching and ducking corners just to avoid the ravenous hordes like you just used your last Power Pellet. As cinematic and as sedate as The Last of Us Part 1 can be, this is absolutely a game that knows the finer balance of an action-adventure masterpiece.

Tomb Raider DE Launch Trailer ScreenTomb Raider is a gratifying PS4 experience in action adventure

Tomb Raider Definitive Edition — PS4

The Tomb Raider Definitive Edition trophies add an extra element of fun to this incredible reboot of the Tomb Raider series. Dare we say that it is the best of the recent trilogy we received by a landslide? Absolutely. Seeing Lara's new origin story was awesome, her growth throughout the game, and witnessing her become an absolute badass was a treat. The bow was a fantastic new piece of kit — though the dual pistols will always be the MVP.

Our only real criticism is actually with the trophies and the inclusion of a plethora of multiplayer-based ones. Tomb Raider, in our eyes, is a single-player experience that gives you a solid narrative, fantastic combat, and intriguing exploration. Multiplayer is just a tad tacked on for this title. At the same time, it doesn't diminish the breathtaking world of Tomb Raider, nor does it take away from this being one of the best action-adventure games you can play! If you're yet to experience this game, treat yourself and go and give it a whirl. You will not be disappointed!

unchartedUncharted

Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection — PS5

Uncharted Legacy of Thieves is just a sensational remaster of two of the best action-adventure titles ever made — Uncharted 4 A Thief's End and Uncharted Lost Legacy. In our review, we noted: "these two Uncharted games are no doubt a 'genre-defining release' for third-person action-adventure and a pinnacle of what gaming can offer — a ten it is for the utopias of gaming adventuring!" If that doesn't speak volumes about how good these games are, we can't help you.

With an iconic IP, you should ideally play The Nathan Drake Collection on PS4 first, a game that contains the first three games. All three are fantastic and Uncharted 2 Among Thieves, in particular, is probably one of the biggest reasons the PS3 generation didn't flop. However, with the double billing in our recommendation, you are getting the two games that perfected the formula. From Nathan Drake's hilarious banter with Sully to his relationship with Elena Fisher that fuels the gamer through the game. These games define action-adventure.

What did you think of the list? What action adventures are we missing? Let us know in the comments, and I'll see you there!
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about PS5 exclusives like The Last of Us and Horizon, PS Plus news, and his favorite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and God of War — before an evening swim.
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