The Ultimate PlayStation Exclusives Based on Sales and Metacritic by@blakeelon

The Ultimate PlayStation Exclusives Based on Sales and Metacritic

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Blake Cram

(he/him/his). Recovering English graduate. Avid gamer, reader, and general nerd.

Sony has gradually amassed arguably the most diverse and extensive catalog of exclusive video games on a console. Since the release of the PS4, Sony has shown a commitment to making best-in-class single-player AAA video games, and it shows on this ultimate PlayStation exclusives list. Fans of the console and newcomers have plenty to sink their teeth into on what is becoming the place to play exclusive games.

What Counts as a PlayStation Exclusive?

At the time of writing, all of these games are exclusive to the PlayStation console–meaning, they are unavailable on its direct competitors, the Xbox Series S/X and Nintendo Switch.

Some games, like God of War and Horizon, have been made available on PC. As this is a gray area in terms of the console wars, these games are still included on this list.

It should also be noted that both first and third-party exclusives are included in this list.

How the Ultimate PlayStation Exclusives Are Ranked

This rating system is based on metrics like Metacritic scores and sales, in order to objectively rank the best exclusives, PlayStation has to offer. Only games that have sold 1 million or more copies have been included in this list.

Because there can be a disparity between critical reception and sales numbers, I added a half-point per million sales to the Metacritic score to compensate relatively fairly for games that sold well.

For example, Persona 5 has a higher rating than God of War on Metacritic by one point, but God of War has 4x the sales numbers. Therefore, God of War is ranked higher.

These rankings are also not necessarily a reflection of my personal rankings.

Now, onto the PlayStation exclusives.

The Ultimate PlayStation Exclusives List

1. God of War

  • 94 on Metacritic
  • 20 mil  in sales

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God of War (2018) is the gold standard for franchise reboots. The rage-filled, testosterone-pumping anti-hero from the God of War series transformed into a multi-faceted character–communicating depths of emotion in an epic father-son tale.

Of course, the rage is still there.

Ripping demons to shreds with Kratos’ bare hands has never felt so satisfying. This time around though, Sony Santa Monica focused that angsty aspect of their game into a beautifully complex narrative. And, to pull this game off with zero cutscenes in one long take in order to further immerse gamers in the narrative is just icing on the cake.

2. The Last of Us Remastered

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The Last of Us is a game that needs no introduction.

This was the game I heard about as an Xbox 360 owner that inevitably pulled me into the PlayStation ecosystem after my second “red ring of death” meltdown. The Last of Us commanded the attention of gamers everywhere as a new tier of video game storytelling that could be deeply compelling.

While the brutal story doesn’t particularly encourage casually replaying this game, The remaster generally holds up. And, the narrative is up could still be considered the best in video games, depending on who you ask.

3. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End bookended the Nathan Drake saga with about as epic a finish as you could ask for. For a game that feels more like a trope-filled summer blockbuster flick, Uncharted 4 manages to do just enough to make this game feel fresh.

Nathan Drake’s traversal definitely feels samey as you climb more epic set pieces and hunt for those ever-present bright yellow handholds, while its linear progression feels a bit long in

the tooth for a 15-hour campaign. Regardless, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is well worth the playthrough, and considered one of the best PlayStation exclusives for good reason.

4. Persona 5 Royal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lpu7q2G93qs

Metacritic has my back. Persona 5 Royal is the best-rated playstation exclusives on Metacritic and still criminally underplayed.

The daunting 100+ hour campaign is understandably a turn-off–but how can you not at least give the best rated Playstation game on Metacritic the ol’ college try? Persona 5 Royal is often on sale and vanilla Persona 5 is included in the PS+ Collection (also consistently on sale otherwise), so you have no excuses, my dear friends. Play this game.

5. Marvel’s Spider-Man

  • 87 on Metacritic
  • 20 mil  in sales

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Marvel’s Spider-Man could have cashed in on simply existing as a Spider-Man web-swinging sim and we all would have been wildly content.

Insomniac kicked the door down on the superhero video game scene by emphasizing the sheer pleasure in traversal as our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. On top of this, there’s a genuinely good story, solid acting performances, and a flat-out fun video game here. Besides the Arkham Asylum series, I can’t think of a better superhero game out there.

6. The Last of Us Part II

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vKTikTO4dE

The polarizing follow-up to the Last of Us is impossible to sum up in a mere paragraph.

The Last of Us Part II, while divisive, opens up a whole mess of narrative discourse for gamers after the credits roll. Naughty Dog created a story that challenges gamers to reconsider stereotypes of heroes and villains (which is common in literature and film btw) in a more open way that hasn’t really been explored in video games.

For better or worse, the narrative is exactly that–challenging. I believe the challenge is well worth it as The Last of Us Part II offers a masterful blend of storytelling, with more polished gameplay than its predecessor, in order to create an experience that transcends its medium.

7. Horizon Zero Dawn

  • 89 on Metacritic
  • 10 mil  in sales

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Guerilla Games created what might be THE quintessential video game: hunting robot dinosaurs in a speculative future where humans have reverted to the role of cavemen in a post-prehistoric world. Even though this sounds like satire, Horizon is avery good video game not to be taken lightly and is perhaps the most exciting new IP for PlayStation.

Horizon has already won over a loyal fan base. Protagonist Aloy is one of the coolest new characters in video games. Combat feels creative as players try to figure out which arrows to use and where to find weak spots on imposing robotic creatures in what feels more like puzzle-solving than direct combat. The world feels both alien and familiar, making Horizon Zero Dawn a captivating one to explore.

For the first game is what will absolutely lead to more PlayStation exclusives, Guerilla Games has set a high bar for themselves. And, they’re just getting started.

8. NieR Automata: Game of the YoRHa Edition

  • 91 on Metacritic
  • 6 mil  in sales

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p68k3U8WzRU

The NieR franchise is the Swiss Army Knife of video games. Developer Platinum Games has a knack for creatively fusing genres like hack and slash, shoot-em-up, JRPG number crunching, and platforming mechanics into their melancholic narrative-driven experiences. NieR Automata is arguably the series best.

NieR keeps players on their toes with ever-fresh evolving gameplay and genuinely surprising plot twists that tell a complex tale of shifting perspectives. Don’t let the drab art direction and deceptively samey JRPG themes fool you, fans of NieR Automata know this game has one of the best stories in video games.

9. Bloodborne

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The horribly wonderful Lovecraftian hellscape of Bloodborne has won over casual gamers to this punishing genre of games left and right.

Developer FromSoftware games are not for the faint of heart. The Dark Souls series became a genre unto itself and championed the battle cry to “Get Gud” because of their difficulty.

Bloodborne has a more enticing art style that makes outside observers curious, and the faster tempo to the combat is arguably easier than the slower, methodical Souls games. Although easier doesn’t seem like a great word to use. Due to these factors, more gamers who would previously shudder at a Souls game have given Bloodborne a shot, leading to high sales for such a niche game. Hell, even I tried Bloodborne.

Bloodborne is also surprisingly deep in its world-building and story. Don’t let its rough exterior offend you, there is a beautiful game here. And, is often recommended as the best Souls game for newcomers.

10. Demon’s Souls

  • 92 on Metacritic
  • 1.4 mil in sales

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiqGi3GMTko

The Demon’s Souls ground-up remake was the big horse Sony brought to the PlayStation 5 launch. The sense of scale and graphical prowess was like nothing else compared to Sony’s full-length titles, which is a bold move seeing that Demon’s Souls is for a very specific gamer.

Demon’s Souls sets a high bar for remakes as the original is lovingly interpreted in some of the best fidelity possible. The difficulty is still there, so folks who want to play a new nice-looking game on their new PS5 might want to consider how much emotional turmoil they want to put themselves through. Nevertheless, the appeal of Demon’s Souls has never been harder to resist when it looks and plays this good.

11. Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut

  • 88 on Metacritic
  • 8 mil  in sales

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5gVt028Hww

Ghost of Tsushima is truly one of the best surprises of the generation.

With the ever-growing popularity of Marvel and DC properties being shoehorned into practically every medium under the sun, it’s refreshing to see Sucker Punch change gears from their beloved (and underrated) Infamous superhero narratives to historical fiction about feudal Japan.

Sucker Punch masterfully created a combat system that allows players to oscillate between stealth and head-to-head combat on a whim to defeat the Mongol hordes invading Tsushima.

The progression of skills and abilities allows both approaches to improve fluidly together, allowing for satisfying improvisation on the part of the player.

You can use smoke bombs, poison darts, and grappling hooks to effortlessly take out your enemies one-by-one from the shadows… or kick the front door in with a little “f*ck around and find out” flair. Both power-fantasies feel just as satisfying.

And, damn. The art direction and graphics are some of my favorites on the PS5.

12. Final Fantasy VII Remake

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One of the best JRPG’s on PlayStation got a modern facelift, what’s not to love about that?

Final Fantasy VII Remake is the first part of a series of games re-telling the heroics of Cloud and Co., expanding on the original cannon. While there are slight changes to the story, Final Fantasy VII Remake sticks to its roots following the FFVII story up until leaving Midgard and has earned high praise from fans and critics alike.

The game also eloquently riffs on gameplay. FFVII Remake integrates action RPG elements that help the game feel fresh and modern. It became one of the fastest-selling PlayStation games on its release and its Part 2 follow-up is hotly anticipated.

13. Astro’s Playroom

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu5VXrEqgco

Okay, so this is cheating a little bit.

Technically, because Astro’s Playroom is generously included with the PlayStation 5 a la Wii Sports, copies sold are matched with the astronomical PS5 sales as long as the game remains a complimentary add-in–which is fortunate for Astro’s sales.

Fortunately for gamers, Astro’s Playroom is more than just a tech demo, it’s a nostalgic jaunt through PlayStation’s rich history and a surprisingly fun way to spend 3-5 hours experiencing the PS5’s new features.

It’s highly rated on Metacritic for a reason and is a “must-play” if you have a PlayStation 5.

14. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

  • 88 on Metacritic
  • __1.1 m__il in sales

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Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart took all the prowess of the mighty PS5 to create what could be the perfect 3D platformer. Insomniac didn’t try to reinvent the wheel with too many bells and whistles in its follow-up to its wonderful Ratchet and Clank (2016) remake but instead perfected every phase of execution.

Rift Apart has jaw-dropping graphics, snappy gameplay, and instantaneous load time–which makes this admittedly dated genre of video game feel novel on the PlayStation 5. And, as per Insomniacs MO, the traversal and overwhelming arsenal of wacky guns make this game a joy to play from start to finish.

15. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

  • 85 on Metacritic
  • 6.5 mil  in sales

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Spider-Man: Miles Morales brings back everything you loved about Insomniac’s Spider-Man and arguably improves the formula in every way. You might scratch your head at the ambiguous $40 price tag and shorter campaign, but this has all the intention and love behind it that OG Spider-Man did.

Miles Morales gets sweet new abilities, new enemies, a great story, in a fresh wintry take on the familiar Manhattan. These revamped qualities make this Spidey anthology game feel much more substantial than its 8-ish hour campaign would imply. It’s far more robust than mere DLC, while being bite-sized enough to tease fans for what’s to come in the upcoming Spider-Man 2.

16. Death Stranding: Director’s Cut

  • 85 on Metacritic
  • 5 mil  in sales

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlLEmu8c-Vk

Leave it to Kojima to make a AAA video game revolving around a futuristic mailman using baby energy to navigate an apocalyptic wasteland infested with ghouls. Okay, maybe that was oversimplified and exaggerated. But, this game is weird. Even for Kojima.

Death Stranding isn’t for everyone, but successfully challenges the blurred lines between video games and arthouse projects. The game’s main mechanics revolve around carefully balancing haphazard boxes to be delivered to stations across treacherous terrain. Even though this seems like a recipe for a boring-ass video game, it’s far more interesting than you’d think.

“Fun” may not be the right word to describe the experience of playing Death Stranding, but it is meditative, thoughtful, and poignant…as long as you can handle around 40 hours of what amounts to glorified fetch quests.

17. Uncharted: Lost Legacy

  • 84 on Metacritic

  • 1+ mil in sales

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Uncharted: Lost Legacy is a robust side story to Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4. Lost Legacy set the stage for games like Spider-Man Miles Morales–offering more content and polish than mere DLC, while being priced at $40 and being much shorter than a full game.

This experiment has its hits and misses.

For fans of Uncharted this game is more of the same, for better or worse. You do many of the same things you’ve been doing throughout Uncharted 1-4, and while Lost Legacy plays around with open-world aspects, it ultimately feels empty.

Where Lost Legacy shines is in its characters, story, and gorgeous environments. The game follows Chloe and Nadine on their own adventure in India. The relationship between these two characters is perhaps the best in the series which has its fair share of dynamic duos. The story and cinematic moments are also worth experiencing despite the tired gameplay.

18. The Last Guardian

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The Last Guardian was almost the comeback kid story of the century.

Stuck in development hell for almost a decade, Team Ico overcame delays, technical difficulties, and staff departures to release this ambitious game against all odds in 2016.

Unfortunately, it seems the turmoil wasn’t kind to the Last Guardian’s final landing, as the gameplay was highly criticized for being dodgy at best. Despite feeling like a game that should have come out on the PS3, the Last Guardian is absolutely worth playing for its charming world and thoughtful narrative.

The relationship between boy and bird-dog is genuinely compelling, backed by a convincing environment and some of the best music and sound design in video games. It’s just a shame that the gameplay effectively obstructs players from these transcendent gaming experiences.

19. Days Gone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKtaOY9lMvM

Days Gone is a bit of an enigma on this list.

While not entirely a flop, Days Gone was met with a resounding shrug by critics and gamers alike upon release. The unfair and unfortunate comparison with its alter ego The Last of Us Part II may have played some part in the game’s reception as both games came out a mere year apart and revolve around post-apocalyptic zombie narratives in the Pacific Northwest.

However, while controversy has surrounded the actual sales numbers, Days Gone has found fans due to its creative zombie horde mechanics and Sons of Anarchy in the Apocalypse tone. I know it’s trite to play another zombie game, but Days Gone doesn’t deserve the shade it got, and I think it could be one of the more underrated games on this list.

Final Thoughts on the Ultimate PlayStation Exclusives

There’s plenty to get excited about if you’re a PlayStation fan. Sony has proved time and again their commitment to creating high-caliber games that range from epic, whimsical, to straight-up bizarre. Their track record for making hit PlayStation exclusives is just getting better and better.

You may notice that PlayStation trends almost exclusively towards third-person action-adventure games, but they are by no means monotonous. Many of the games on this list tell some of the best narratives in video games and command attention with art direction.

With sales data still coming in for recent exclusives and plenty more games in development, one thing is certain: this list is only going to get longer and more impressive.


The future’s bright, friends.

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