The console gaming market undoubtedly became more competitive in 2021, especially as Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription service continued to offer some huge value to players willing to shell out for it each month. In response, Sony continued to leverage its might to bring exciting and innovative games to the PlayStation 4 and 5. This was yet another year in which “exclusive” was the name of the game for Sony, and that strategy continued to pay off–some of the best games of the year held the title of “PlayStation Exclusive.”
This year, Sony brought more first-party games to bear that showed the capabilities of its new-generation technology, while also suggesting where games are headed in the future. But while its big-budget first-party games, like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, might have made the biggest splash, they’re not all that PlayStation had to offer. Sony also continued seeking out fascinating new experiences from developers of all sizes to bring to its consoles, and that helped to make 2021 a strong year for Sony–even if not everyone who wanted a PS5 could find one.
Despite the fact that old-gen consoles continue to march on, we saw games this year that simply couldn’t have existed on the PlayStation 4 the way they do on the PS5. Though many titles continue to straddle the gap between old and new, there were experiences in 2021 that feel like they’re pushing gaming into the future as they leveraged the power of Sony’s newest machine. Below you’ll find our list of the year’s five best PlayStation exclusives, but don’t forget to also check out our top 10 games of 2021 as well.