The PlayStation 5 has seen some outright bangers land on the system. There have been entirely new titles like Returnal, follow-ups of last-gen series like Horizon: Forbidden West and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and even a good old fashion return to popular franchises like God of War and Final Fantasy 7.
Naturally, among all this hype, some video games get left by the wayside. Whether their reception was a bit harsh or they didn’t receive the buzz they deserved, many may have missed these titles entirely. Let’s look at some of these diamonds in the rough for the PlayStation 5 that never had a chance to shine properly.
Haven was released shortly after the PS5 launched in December 2020, and was quite a unique sci-fi experience. Instead of being chosen to stop ultimate evil, you played as a pair of lovers trying to escape from an authoritarian society in deep space.
Yu and Kay were lovers, which the antagonistic Apiary was against due to its practice of forced marriages. Naturally, the pair board a spaceship, run off to a mysterious planet and deal with the consequences of their decisions back home and what this new world has in store.
The gameplay was an exciting mesh of floating everywhere with anti-gravity boots and defeating enemies with real-time combat in a turn-based aesthetic. Occasionally, this did lead to busy work, but the chemistry and writing of our main heroes easily made up for it. Their relationship was very believable and raw. Something that was a true standout for the title.
9 Terminator: Resistance Enhanced
While one could argue this is just a PS5 upgrade for a PS4 title, Terminator: Resistance Enhanced brought along entirely new story content alongside the updates. Taking place in the Terminator universe, where Skynet has already destroyed much of the world, you play as Jacob Rivers, who starts as another foot soldier in the Resistance. He soon gets tangled up with a group of survivors and learns he is much more important to the cause than he thought.
Terminator: Resistance Enhanced has been politely described as Fallout-lite. It has basic level design and, admittedly, some jank in there, but plenty of options to explore, fight, and upgrade your character in fun ways. However, there’s not really a feeling of being doomed like you’re facing realistic Terminators and that may dissuade some fans of the franchise.
8 Ghostwire: Tokyo
Unlike its predecessor, Tango Gameworks' The Evil Within, Ghostwire: Tokyo did not have an emotional, fleshed-out story. What Ghostwire did right, however, was nail a realistic Tokyo layered in Japanese folklore.
You play as Akito, who is partially possessed by a spirit named KK, slinging out spells and martial arts moves at demons, supernatural creatures, and more. A creepypasta author would have a field day with all the weird, unnerving enemies.
There’s something about saving Akito’s sister, but the bread and butter of Ghostwire: Tokyo is exploring a detailed map by flying, grappling, and chasing down mysterious foes and missions. The mix of action and eerie makes it surprising how under the radar this game feels.
7 Aragami 2
Aragami 2 might have lost some focus and retconned some story details, but inhabiting the shoes of a shadow spirit with ninja abilities proved as satisfying as ever. Sitting in wait while contemplating your next move made every enemy feel like prey that you were stalking, and rewarded innovative thinking instead of brute force action.
Maps may have gotten repetitive after visiting them for the fourth time, but they were almost perfectly designed for solo or co-op play alike.
In today’s gaming world, the names Ape Escape and Pokemon Snap don’t have the stopping power they once did. Had Bugsnax been released almost a decade prior, it may have been a household name, as it’s a weird, beautiful combination of the two.
The Muppet-esque Grumpuses inhabit the world of Bugsnax. A handful of them discover a mysterious island full of the titular Bugsnax – half-insect, half-food hybrids. These creatures can be devoured by the weird but affable Grumpuses to replace their body parts with food.
How anyone would be okay with such a transition is still left up to debate. The rest of the game has you collecting these little buggers in various ways through colorful environments before their cute, innocent ways lead to one of the biggest tone shifts in gaming.
Illfonic has a spotty track record when it comes to video games. When it succeeds in one way (Friday the 13th), they fail another way (Predator: Hunting Grounds). This could be why Arcadegeddon flew under the radar, even with the title launching on PlayStation Plus in July 2022.
Arcadegeddon, at its core, is a roguelike with guns, powerups, and lots and lots of neon. Literal oceans of neon. You control a customizable Osmosis Jones wannabe and dive headfirst into a virtual simulation to save a beloved store owner’s shop. This futuristic world has its currency and, quite frankly, its entire economy in these deep dives.
You then travel across beautiful maps in scale and design, destroying different types of enemies before arriving at a boss. The gameplay loop is compelling, and the combat is expertly crafted so that you’ll want to play again and again, even if you fully complete a run. It’s a shame that the game’s post-launch support has been negligible.
Hoa is a straightforward puzzle platformer that will only take around two hours of your time. What makes it worth your investment is the angelic soundtrack and gorgeous art design. It has been compared to a Studio Ghibli creation, but Hoa stands up on its own two feet and then some.
The main character is very tiny. Trees, bugs, fish, and even some grass will tower over you, but you never feel overwhelmed on the journey to free an old friend. Other than that, Hoa isn’t much in the way of storytelling. The real experience here is just being in the moment and taking one easy task at a time.
3 Evil West
A linear, third-person action game reminiscent of early PS3 titles, with supernatural vampires in the Wild West, and made by the same developers who handled the rebooted Shadow Warrior trilogy. What more needs to be said about this extravagant rebel?
Evil West may not have the best graphics, but it’s an action-adventure romp that is hardly seen in gaming anymore. Its unabashedly B-movie story showcases some unbelievable powers in the gameplay that wouldn’t even be around in modern times. Evil West is a powerhouse in the fun department and makes for a vampire game that doesn’t take itself seriously. After all, you will repeatedly punch vampires in the mouth with metal gauntlets.
2 Valkyrie Elysium
As the first home console release for the Valkyrie Profile series since 2006, Valkyrie Elysium tasks you with being a newly born Valkyrie of Norse legend. The one and only Odin has created Nora as Ragnarok rages, and he needs you to go to Earth to stamp out corrupted souls and retrieve them to prevent the apocalypse. While the plot may be a standard affair, not everything is as it seems.
What Valkyrie Elysium does best, though, is give you wide-ranging areas to explore and enemies to defeat in a style similar to Devil May Cry. There are plenty of weapons to acquire and combos to learn, so the combat does just enough to hold off being stale.
Not to mention it has the color palette of a Soulsborne game. If a touch of being generic here or there doesn’t bother you, Valkyrie Elysium should be a journey taken soon.
This cooperative, action-role-playing shooter takes place near the year 2200, on a planet in far-off space. Outriders’ plot alone introduces intrigue and despair that would have made it a hit as a TV show.
Better yet, Outriders has some solid shooting and gameplay mechanics, some of which harken to the successes of Destiny 2. The fast-moving, frenetic gameplay and customizable skill tree should have made Outriders a bright star in gaming. It’s disappointing that launch woes prevented many from experiencing everything on offer.
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