16 Games With The Best Graphics for PS5
When the lead architect for the PlayStation console line, Mark Cerny, first publicly described the ninth-gen PlayStation 5 in April 2019, there was a lot to be excited about.
The specifications of the new console were announced a few months after that, and more hype was generated as a result. It had been six years since the PS4 was released, and an upgrade felt long overdue.
The PS5 was worth the wait, at least in terms of raw processing power and graphical capabilities. The console can push native 4K resolution at up to 120 frames per second, and additional features such as adaptive triggers and improved haptic feedback on the DualSense controller took immersion to the next level.
Following the official launch of the PS5 in November 2020, some games have attempted to push the new tech to its limit with feature-packed upgrades. This includes older PS4 games upgraded for the PS5 and newer titles developed exclusively for the PS5.
In this guide, I’ve compiled a guide to sixteen games with the best graphics on the PS5, taking into consideration maximum resolution, framerate performance, texture and shadow quality, ray tracing, and many other little details. Let’s get into it!
Horizon Forbidden West
I’ll start off by getting the most obvious inclusion out of the way. At the time of its release, Horizon: Forbidden West was arguably the best-looking game on the PS5. The game does have some competition in that aspect, but more people are likely to agree than disagree.
Forbidden West is a 2022 sequel to 2017’s Horizon: Zero Dawn, which was also one of the best-looking games on the PS4. The game was developed by Guerilla Games and backed by the financial muscle of publishers Sony Interactive Entertainment. It is, by all accounts, a triple-A title.
Forbidden West is set in a post-apocalyptic version of the 31st century United States, a country still reeling from a massive extinction event that brought with it a rogue robot swarm to planet Earth.
The main character remains Aloy, and she has the massive open world to herself to do as she pleases (without getting killed, of course). That world is as gorgeous as it gets and contributes significantly to making this easily one of the best open-world games for PS5.
Let’s talk about the graphics though.
The in-game descriptions of the available graphics modes are a bit vague. You get to choose between “Favor Resolution” and “Favor Performance”. The former offers higher fidelity with a lower frame rate while the latter offers lower fidelity with a higher frame rate.
What it means in technical terms is that you can run the game in native 4K with 30fps in Resolution mode or 1800p resolution with 60fps in Performance mode.
If you want to enjoy the crispiest possible levels of detail in the visuals, down to the colors on each flower and the details on each rock, then Resolution mode is the way to go. However, if you’re more concerned about the smoothness of the gameplay and don’t mind sacrificing visual detail for it, then Performance mode is a better option.
In reality, the game looks stunning either way. The textures are brilliant and the colors are vibrant. You’ve probably never been entranced by a running river in a game before, but you will be when playing Horizon: Forbidden West. It is a truly stunning game.
Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut
Ghost of Tsushima was developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment just a few months before the PS5 was officially released. It was one of the last triple-A titles of the PS4 era, and definitely one of the best-looking throughout the generation.
When the PS5 was finally launched, the developers got to work building an upgrade for the game. This upgrade added some exciting new content, but also performance updates to take advantage of the PS5’s improved processing power.
The game itself follows the story of a samurai named Jin Sakai that sets off on a mission to protect his land, Tsushima Island during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. Jin, on horseback, has a massive open world to explore, and a trusty katana sword to bring down enemies blocking his path.
Ghost of Tsushima looks and runs amazing on the PS5. There is so much attention to detail in the environment, down to the complexity, patterns, and behavior of foliage. Particle effects, blood sprays, and sparks flying from clashing swords are rendered at a maximum 4K resolution, and they look fantastic.
The Director’s Cut upgrade for PS5 has two graphics modes – Resolution and Performance. The former runs a checkerboard 4K resolution with a 60fps target while the latter runs a checkerboard 1800p locked to 60fps.
Ghost of Tsushima would still be a worthy contender in this guide to the best-looking PS5 games even if the Director’s Cut had never happened. It was always a gorgeous game, and there was only so much that could be improved in that department.
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut
Another Director’s Cut that did not do too much to further improve the chances of getting the game on this list is Death Stranding: Director’s Cut. The game was developed by Kojima Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2019, so it is also technically a PS4 game.
Like Ghost of Tsushima, the developers did not need to do too much in terms of improving the graphics. Instead, they focused on adding content and performance upgrades.
New content includes previously-PC-exclusive content, new rest points for the main character, and a deeper combat system. Performance upgrades also came in the form of a smoother 60fps framerate and DualSense controller support for adaptive triggers.
Let’s talk briefly about the story. You play Sam Porter Bridges, a “delivery boy” in the post-apocalyptic United States that has been overrun by shadow monsters. It has become unsafe for people to go out, so you take on the task of delivering important packages from point A to point B to keep things ticking as much as possible under the circumstances.
The mechanics of the premise are deeper than that brief description suggests, but that’s the overall idea. Death Stranding can be a pretty lonely game, especially in the early episodes, so much so that it has been dubbed a “walking simulator” by some, albeit unfairly.
This is a Hideo Kojima game, so it naturally features some of the best character detail rendering for those close-up shots. There is perhaps more focus on the quality of the character models than the environment, but that is not to say that the environment textures don’t look good too.
The Director’s Cut offers three graphics modes on PS5 – Performance, Quality, and Ultrawide Quality. All three modes target 60fps so the difference is in the resolution.
Performance mode offers 1800p upscaled to 4K; Quality mode offers native 4K, while Ultrawide Quality mode offers 3840 by 1620p with letterboxing on the top and bottom of the screen. You’re likely to get more consistent 60fps performance from the Quality and Ultrawide Quality modes, but all three modes look really good in terms of detail.
Technically, Demon’s Souls is the oldest game on this list. I say that because the original game was published as far back as 2009 for the PlayStation 3 before the PS5 remake was published as a new-gen launch title in 2020.
That said, this is one of the best remakes ever. It is a fantastic effort from Bluepoint Games, and clever use of funds by publishers Sony Interactive Entertainment. A lot of praise should go to fromSoftware Games too, as they were the developers of the original game and laid the foundation for this brilliant piece of art.
The game is set in a fantasy kingdom called Boletaria. The kingdom is overrun by a dark force that was unleashed as a result of the use of forbidden magic known as the Soul Arts. That dark force is known as the “Old One”, and is very crucial to the story.
You play as a hero brought to the kingdom to help the people defeat King Allant, a tyrannical ruler who had brought back the Soul Arts and awoken the Old One from its slumber. Your defeat of the king is expected to pacify the Old One and save what is left of the nearly-ruined kingdom.
On the PS5, Demon’s Souls offers two visual modes – Cinematic Mode and Performance Mode. The former offers native 4K resolution with 30fps performance, while the latter offers 1440p resolution upscaled to 4K and targets 60fps.
With the rich history that Demon’s Souls has in the gaming industry, it is easy to see why Sony felt the need to create a refreshed version, and they obviously spent a ton of money doing so. The visuals are incredibly detailed, with brilliant lighting and dynamic range that screams “ray-tracing what?”.
There are several dark scenes, but even these are ingeniously illuminated in a way that only increases the terrifying mood that Demon’s Souls is about. It is a true masterpiece, by all standards.
So far, I’ve discussed four games that are technically PS4 releases. Returnal is the first PS5 exclusive, so it’s natural to expect that it takes full advantage of the graphical capabilities and extra features of the new-gen console.
Returnal is a third-person roguelike shooter developed by Housemarque and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment in April 2021. That’s up to six months after the PS5 was released, so it’s not exactly a launch title.
The story follows an astronaut named Selene Vassos as she lands on the planet Atropos on a mission to find the “White Shadow”. Selene soon discovers that she has more pressing immediate concerns when it turns out that she’s stuck in a time loop.
Now she has two missions, search for the White Shadow and figure out what the hell is going on with time on this strange planet.
Returnal features various gameplay elements across shooter sub-genres. You have the typical aim and fire encounters, but there are also bullet hell sections with brightly colored bullets coming at you from every angle.
This is all rendered in stunning dynamic 4K resolution targeting 60fps with ray-traced lighting. Needless to say, that combo ensures that those neon-lit projectiles at least look damn good while trying to end your life.
From dust clouds and fog effects to beautifully rendered rain, there is a lot to admire about the details in this game – so much that it can be a distraction.
Returnal is one of the best roguelike games on PS5, and a large part of that is down to how stunning the game looks.
Gran Turismo 7
You know I had to have a sports game on this list, and if we’re talking about beautiful graphics, what better sport is there to show it than car racing?
Gran Turismo is one of the most popular franchises in console racing. The racing simulator series has been running since ’97, but the first release after the launch of the PS5 in 2020 was Gran Turismo 7, the eighth mainline installment.
The game was developed by Polyphony Digital and published by – you guessed it – Sony Interactive Entertainment in March 2022. That is almost two full years after the PS5 was released, so you bet the developers had enough time to fine-tune the details.
If you’re familiar with the series, then you may know of the fact that the developers make a conscious effort to achieve a good level of realism – both in gameplay and in the assets of the game itself.
That remains the case here, and the cars in GT7 look stunning and almost true to life. Smooth gameplay is crucial in any racing game, so Polyphony Digital understandably had to make some concessions in the visual details department to achieve consistent 60fps performance.
However, you may not even notice unless you’ve read about it somewhere and are actively looking for it (sorry!).
One particularly interesting update in the graphics department compared to previous games in the series is the new motion-blur system. It looks much smoother and more accurate due to the per-pixel implementation compared to per-object in the older installments.
A lot of attention to detail was clearly paid to the crafting of every single car in this game, and there were up to 420 at launch. The textures are fantastic, down to the details in the reflections, and the lighting system flatters the models even further during races.
I could go on and on about everything that Polyphony Digital got right with the graphics in GT7 (the weather effects, for instance), but you’ll be here all day if I do. The point is, this is one of the best-looking games on PS5 and any other console we’ve seen so far.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is the sixteenth installment in the popular Ratchet and Clank series. The game was developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2021, and it is another one of the best-looking PS5 games out there.
In case you’re not familiar with the series, here’s a quick summary. Ratchet and Clank is a platform shooter game played from a third-person perspective, and it follows the adventures of the titular Ratchet and his accomplice, Clank.
Like Returnal, Rift Apart is a PS5 exclusive. Don’t be fooled by the friendly-looking animated characters, this is a game that’s just as good for adults as it is for kids.
You can enjoy the game in three graphic modes – Fidelity mode, Performance mode, and Performance RT (ray-tracing) mode.
Fidelity mode caps performance at 30fps and offers a dynamic resolution of up to 4K. Here, the details and quality of images are boosted, but you may experience the occasional jittering that results from the lower framerate in intense action sequences. This mode also uses hardware-accelerated ray tracing though, so it might be a worthy sacrifice.
Performance mode sacrifices ray tracing for a smoother experience that targets 60fps. Considering the nature of the game, you will notice the difference between this and 30fps. However, you’ll have to make do with less sharp image quality and a lower resolution no higher than 1800p.
If you don’t mind sacrificing even more detail to get smooth performance with ray tracing turned on, then Performance mode RT is for you. The resolution drops within 1080p to 1440p, but you get the 60fps target with ray-traced lighting and reflections.
Marvel’s Spiderman: Miles Morales
The Spiderman series needs no introduction to anyone that takes gaming remotely seriously. Marvel’s Spiderman: Miles Morales is a spin-off to 2018’s Marvel’s Spiderman, but it is by all accounts its own game, and it certainly looks the part.
Miles Morales is another result of a collaboration between developers Insomniac Games and publishers Sony Interactive Entertainment, and there are actually quite a lot of similarities in the approach to graphics compared to Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart.
The game has the same three graphics modes that Rift Apart does: Fidelity modes for the people that love detail and ray tracing, Performance mode for the people that prefer smoother gameplay, and Performance RT for the people that want a semblance of the best of both worlds.
It might seem like a straightforward decision, but I strongly recommend that you actually test all three modes before you make a decision. Seriously, it’s a tough one.
If you can spare the extra cash, it might be worth getting Marvel’s Spiderman: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition. The collection contains a remastered edition of 2018’s Spiderman which is also a gorgeous game in its own right.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the first Assassin’s Creed game to be released since the launch of the PS5. Technically, the game was published two days before the official PS5 release date, but you get what I mean.
Valhalla was developed and published by Ubisoft. It’s the first game so far that isn’t a Sony release but make no mistake, this is still a big-budget title.
The game is set between the years 872 to 878 AD, and the story is centered around the time when the Vikings were expanding into the British Isles. The main playable character is Eivor, a Viking raider who gets caught in the middle of the Assassin Brotherhood conflict.
Speaking of the graphics though, Valhalla was the best-looking Assassin’s Creed game as of the time that the PS5 was launched, and even years after that.
Assassin’s Creed games all previously ran at 30fps, but the PS5 switches things up with Valhalla. There are two graphics modes to choose from – Performance mode for a smoother framerate targeting 60fps while adapting a lower resolution and Quality mode for maximum resolution and crisper image quality while maintaining 30fps.
The next-gen tech of the PS5 makes the open world pop so much more, with better lighting and shadow rendering even without ray tracing. The characters look more life-like than ever, and you feel as though you’re actually within a living, breathing world.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade
If you’re a fan of anime-style games, then you won’t find many PS5 titles with better graphics than Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade. The title alone already shows how much updating has taken place since the original Final Fantasy 7 was released, but it is all well worth the effort from developers Square Enix.
The original Final Fantasy 7 was released in 1997 (I guess Demon’s Souls is not the oldest game here after all), and Final Fantasy 7 Remake was published in 2020, a few months before the PS5 was released.
A year later, FF7 Remake Intergrade was released for the PS5 and Windows PCs, and it brought with it next-gen features and improved graphics.
The game is set in the cyberpunk metropolis of Midgard, and the reimagined visuals constitute a complete, impressive overhaul of the outdated ones from the original release all those years ago.
You can play the game in “Performance” or “Graphics” modes, depending on personal preference. The former runs at a smooth 60fps with a maximum 1440p resolution while the latter offers a high-fidelity 4K resolution locked at 30fps.
Considering the fact that there are hectic combat sequences in the game, the Performance mode is the more popular choice. Either way, you’re in for a treat.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is one of the best fantasy games on PS5, and worthy of its place among the best-looking games on the console too.
The game was developed and published by Ember Labs, which in itself is impressive because it is their first official effort as a studio to build a game of this caliber. It goes to show that even without the humongous budgets that big-time studios throw at developers, one can still create something that looks fantastic.
Kena is an action-adventure fantasy game that was published nearly a year after the PS5 was released. The game follows the story of a young spirit guide named Kena who possesses magical abilities that allow her to communicate with spirits and guide them to the spirit realm.
Kena is played from a third-person perspective, so you can see the fantastic animation of the character herself. The environment is not an open world, so I imagine that must have helped the developers to focus on making what is actually accessible look as lively and vibrant as possible.
The game features two graphics modes – Loyalty Mode and Performance Mode. Loyalty Mode offers 4K resolution at 30fps while Performance Mode offers 60fps with upscaled 4K.
Uncharted: The Legacy of Thieves Collection
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection contains two of the franchise’s best installments: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy remastered for the PS5. These two games already looked pretty nice on the PS4, but the remaster takes that to a whole new level, firmly establishing the collection as one of the best-looking games for PS5.
The collection was published by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2022, six years after the original release of A Thief’s End and five years after The Lost Legacy was first released as a standalone expansion to A Thief’s End.
Compared to the original versions, you get three graphics modes in both games here – Fidelity Mode, Performance Mode, and Performance Plus Mode.
Fidelity Mode offers 3840 by 2160 resolution targeting 30fps, Performance Mode offers 2560 by 1440 targeting 60fps, and Performance Plus focuses almost completely on smooth gameplay with 1920 by 1080 resolution targeting a whopping 120fps.
Apart from the little details, you won’t tell too much of a difference between these modes in terms of visual clarity, so you probably want to go with one of the Performance modes. Unless, for some reason, you’re very particular about shadow definition and seeing foliage in the sharpest detail possible.
The PS4 versions were only 1080p anyway, so the trade-off for 120fps shouldn’t be that big of a deal.
Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition
Metro Exodus is a first-person shooter developed by 4A Games and published by Deep Silver. The game is the third installment in the Metro series, and it stands as one of the few options among the best-looking games for PS5 with no involvement from Sony Interactive Entertainment.
The original game was released in 2019, so an enhanced version was deemed necessary when the PS5 was launched a year later. That version arrived in mid-2021, and it was worth the wait.
The first point that immediately stands out is the fact that Metro Exodus was built from the ground up for the PS5 just so ray tracing could be added. It does make a huge difference too, and you’ll absolutely love the way reflections are presented, and how light shines and bounces from and off surfaces in this edition.
The game uses a dynamic resolution with a minimum of 1080p, but the PS5 will generally operate between 1296p and 1512p which is plenty to achieve the 60fps target as consistently as possible.
It all works together really well to bring the post-apocalyptic wasteland that the game is set to life, even more than the original game already did. The game is that extra bit more immersive, and you’re likely to find yourself stopping briefly to take in the environment more often.
Resident Evil 8: Village
Here’s another survival horror game that’s not too dissimilar to Metro Exodus in some ways.
Resident Evil 8: Village is the sequel to Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. The game was developed and published by Capcom in 2021 on the RE (Reach for the Moon) Engine.
Here’s a one-sentence summary to provide a background to the story. The main character, Ethan Winters, finds himself in a mysterious village with his daughter missing and sets off to find her amidst hordes of mutant creatures.
Following in the path that Resident Evil 7 beat, Village is also viewed from a first-person perspective which, in my opinion, makes the game even spookier when you encounter any one of the countless creepy creatures in there.
Resident Evil 7 already took things up a notch with character detail, and RE 8 simply follows through while improving other elements of the game too. Exterior environments look much better in this version, and the subtle incorporation of ray-traced global illumination and reflections add further depth to the atmosphere.
These differences are noticeable even when comparing RE 8 on the PS5 to the PS4 version, which confirms that the improvements are not just the function of a newer game but more about taking advantage of the capabilities of the new-gen tech.
This is definitely one of the best-looking games on PS5, and if you’ve got the console, it is the best way to enjoy the spooky thrills of Capcom‘s masterpiece.
God of War: Ragnarok
Roughly two years into the new generation of the PlayStation cycle, God of War: Ragnarok arrived to remind gamers that it remains one of the very best games of our time.
If you played the 2018 version of the game, then you may recall how good the graphics were when the game was first launched. In fact, they still look pretty nice compared to Ragnarok, but the newer title definitely has some bells and whistles that make it a proper next-gen title.
The feeling remains that there is yet some untapped potential in terms of just how much the developers can improve the game visually, especially because its sustained availability on old-gen limits how much better the graphics can get.
However, even with what we have, this is a truly stunning game. The introduction of Kratos’ son into the series and the subsequent emotional plot lines involved further increase the appeal of having improved levels of detail in the character models.
You can see and almost feel emotion from the characters just by looking at them, and the detail in the environment around you is a real sight for sore eyes as well. You can toggle between graphics and performance modes to find what works best for you, but Ragnarok looks beautiful either way.
The Last of Us Part 1
When The Last of Us 2 was released in 2020, seven years after the first game and a few months before the launch of the PS5, it was one of the best-looking games on PlayStation.
The trusty collaboration of Naughty Dog and Sony Entertainment has produced a few absolute bangers over the years, and the 2014 remaster of The Last of Us in particular was a real looker.
That, among other reasons, made fans of the franchise wary when Sony announced that The Last of Us would be remade and released in 2022. The plan was to rebuild the game from the ground up in the graphics department so it would look much closer to a new-gen title.
If you ask hardcore fans of The Last of Us, many of them might still say that the Last of Us Part 1 was unnecessary, but there is no denying that the game looks absolutely fantastic.
The choice of colors in the newer release is noticeably different with a more conservative color palette and a generally darker tone. However, the quality of textures, the vibrancy of bright colors, and the character models all look much more polished and better than the remaster.
The game features two graphical modes – Fidelity and Performance. Fidelity Mode offers 4K image resolution with a locked framerate of 30fps while Performance Mode offers dynamic 4K with 60fps.
If you did not play the original release, then this is the perfect opportunity to live that experience in an improved format. If you did play it, the appeal might not be so strong.
If you’re interested in reading more about studios building remakes and remasters, you should check out the best remastered games on PS5.