The time-warping Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and the mechanical dinosaur-infested Horizon: Forbidden West are some of the most anticipated PS5 games. Other games, such as Deathloop, Gran Turismo 7, and the God of War sequel, only add to the list. These big-ticket games often overshadow remakes, indie games, and new IP.
The following games are not underrated per se, but they may get overshadowed by PlayStation’s bigger Triple-A titles. Sackboy: A Big Adventure got little attention while Spider-Man Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls took all the press. Many other PlayStation games may get the same treatment. Even so, there’s potential to make a major yet surprising impact on the games industry.
Nioh Collection – February 5, 2021
Nioh is a popular Souls-like game that tasks players with rigorous combat, a slurry of intimidating inventory items, and frustrating boss fights. For its fourth anniversary, every Nioh game is getting remastered, in one collection, for the PS5.
The collection includes the original Nioh, the sequel, and all the DLC. Slaying demons will never feel better with 120 FPS and 4k Resolution. In comparison, Demon’s Souls, a similarly brewed game, offers 60 FPS at a lower resolution.
Destruction AllStars – February 2021
When Destruction AllStars was announced at the PlayStation Showcase, gamers did not know what to think. The trailer showed people, with attire straight out of Cyberpunk, running around while vehicles crashed all around them. It’s a demolition derby where drivers can escape their ruined ride, and find another vehicle to hijack.
Originally, Destruction AllStars was a $70 launch title, but it was pushed to February and became a PlayStation Plus game. The PlayStation Plus treatment may be exactly what Destruction AllStars needs. Spending $70 on such a peculiar and unspecified experience was a hard sell, but the 41.5 million PlayStation Plus users will likely check it out.
Returnal – March 19, 2021
Selene, a woman with two colored pupils and a futuristic astronaut outfit, crashes on a dangerous shapeshifting planet. Returnal is a roguelike by Housemarque where players survive a frantic, bullet-ridden gameplay loop.
The planet is riddled with floating tentacle monsters and laser shooting behemoths. Survival requires fast-paced movement and quick dashes around the environment. The player will relive procedurally generated journeys only to die and start a different path.
Disco Elysium – The Final Cut – March 2021
Console players missed a gripping murder mystery when Disco Elysium was released on Steam in 2019. The main character is an amnesic detective who is heavily influenced by his inner voices.
Disco Elysium is a top-down role-playing game with branching storylines and morality infused choices. Whereas the original was reading heavy, The Final Cut is fully voiced. It also adds Political Vision Quests, which opens a new area to explore.
Guilty Gear Strive – April 9, 2021
The Guilty Gear franchise is a dominant attraction at EVO and a prevalent fighting game for the past 20 years. The next entry, Guilty Gear Strive, releases for the PS4 and PS5 this year. It brings the same four-button layout and colorful graphics that fans have come to expect.
Returning fighters such as Sol Badguy and Milia will join new faces, such as Nagoriyuki, a vampire samurai with an oversized sword. Guilty Gear Strive will be a hit among the fighting community, but it will make a little splash in the game industry bucket.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits – 2021
Ember Labs is the animation studio behind shorts for The Coca Cola Company, Hisense, and MLB. It is translating its animation experience into the video game world. In Kena: Bridge of Spirits, Kena guides spirits, named Rots, through a desolate yet beautifully crafted village.
These Rots are more than rotund creatures with plants growing out of their heads. The more Kena collects, the more they can manipulate the environment and participate in combat. We do not know what to expect from Ember Labs, but their animation experience is irrefutable. It looks like something straight out of a Pixar movie.
Ghostwire Tokyo is one of those weird Microsoft-published games that have timed exclusivity on PS5. Hopefully, for meme purposes, the Microsoft logo will appear when loading up the game. This turn of events has not changed our excitement for Ghostwire Tokyo, which looks to be a haunting, magical, and trippy experience.
One scene has the player shooting fire out of his hands while a headless school girl attacks him. Another scene tasks the player with fighting a black blob wearing a raincoat. The goal: discover why Tokyo’s population suddenly disappeared and the supernatural remained.
Stray – 2021
In video games, players can explore an existence outside of their own. They can embody a shark, a bandicoot, and made-up creatures like Kirby. Cats are common in video games, but they are almost never playable.
In recent memory, they have been used as backpack companions in Spider-Man: Miles Morales and symbols of a decaying world in Cyberpunk 2077. In Annapurna’s new game, Stray, a small, orange cat explores a robotic world. There are not many details about Stray, but the first trailer is enough to keep us intrigued.
Little Devil Inside – 2021
Little Devil Inside got started through a Kickstarter by developer Neostream and it garnered over 5,000 backers. It struck an agreement with Sony to make Little Devil Inside a timed PS5 exclusive. The indie is an action-adventure RPG in a surreal yet familiar setting.
The trailer was a confusing assortment of varying scenes. The character was fighting a werewolf, using penguins to slide down dunes, hunting a bear, and scaling a mountain. These adventures were contrasted with the seemingly boring life of an older man.
Solar Ash – 2021
Hyper Light Drifter, a 16-bit inspired role-playing game, was a major success in 2016 for its minimalistic storytelling, gorgeous pixel art, and difficult combat. Solar Ash is the second game from the minds of Hyper Light Drifter.
It trades the 16-bit top-down design for third-person gameplay and painting infused graphics. Solar Ash promises swift traversal and deep character design. Since Hyper Light Drifter had a profound story inspired by the creator’s heart disease, Solar Ash is bound to be a meaningful experience.
While new console owners may be experiencing a dry season, they can patiently wait for the diverse lineup of 2021 PS5 games. In the meantime, there are several PS4 classics bundled with the PlayStation Plus Collection and sidelined games like The Pathless.