If you've had your eye on some PlayStation exclusives but don't have the console, that's no longer a major hurdle. PS Now (opens in new tab) lets you stream hundreds of the best PlayStation games, from PS2 classics to modern PS4 exclusives, straight to your PC, using just a PSN account and a subscription. No PS4 required. The library is overwhelmingly huge, so we've put together a list of the best PS Now games that you can't normally play on PC.
The one caveat is that performance will largely be down to your internet connection, so you might need to accept a hit in quality depending on your setup. As with any game streaming, wired is generally the way to go, though 5GHz wi-fi should also be fine if your router isn't on the other side of your home.
God of War
The latest God of War is also one of the newest additions to PS Now, and playing its predecessors isn't required. Strictly speaking, it's not a reboot, but it does completely reinvent the combat and tone. It's an older, more thoughtful God of War, with fights to match. They're slower and Kratos's strikes are all more deliberate, though no less brutal than they've always been. You're also a dad now, constantly accompanied by your son. Normally defined by his anger, Kratos has finally discovered a few more emotions, and the relationship between the pair serves as the foundation for the series' best and most impactful story.
FromSoftware's gothic game of monsters and curses is one of the greatest action games around and its absence from PC libraries is a tragedy, but at least you can now stream it. It's Dark Souls' faster, more aggressive cousin and blessed with a more memorable Victorian gothic setting. And as you'd expect from the studio, the boss battles are a sight to behold, if you can stay on your feet for long enough. It can be a bit impenetrable at times, but it rewards perseverance.
Red Dead Redemption
While it increasingly seems like the Red Dead Redemption 2 (opens in new tab) is destined for PC, eventually, the original may never leave consoles. The smaller scale—it's still huge—actually gives it some advantages over Red Dead Redemption 2. It has its own problems with pacing, but it generally spins a more cohesive yarn, and like its successor it's still full of colourful characters and diversions. While not essential, you'll also get a bit more out of Red Dead Redemption 2's story if you've played its predecessor.
Until Dawn is a slasher flick transformed into an adventure game that revels in horror tropes. It's a celebration of cheesy B movie horror with a recognisable and likeable cast of soon-to-be dead friends. It's QTE-heavy, with some light puzzles and exploration, but you're not playing it for that. If you've ever thought you could survive in a horror movie where all these teens in peril failed, this your chance to prove it. You get to control several characters, most conforming to a familiar horror archetype, and then you have to keep them alive as they muddle their way through death traps. It's got some top quality jump scares, too.
Gravity Rush 2
Gravity Rush 2 and it's predecessor, originally a PS Vita exclusive, are gravity-defying action-platformers that are to flying what Spider-Man 2 is to web-swinging. It feels wild and exhilarating, and you're always hurtling towards something. It's not simply flying, gravity is an almost tangible thing that you have to work with. In that sense, perhaps gravity-defying is the wrong term—you're a gravity wizard.
Uncharted 2 did the blockbuster adventure so well it became the template for action games for the following five years. None of its imitators matched the wonderful banter between its characters or the balance between quiet moments—exploring a Tibetan village, deciphering puzzles in ancient ruins—and over-the-top action. Controlling a firefight in a collapsing building and jumping along the roof of a moving train are about as Indiana Jones as you can get in a videogame. A bombastic action flick with real heart.
In the opening minutes of Asura’s Wrath, you fight a planet and it only escalates from there. You play as the demigod Asura on a vengeful tirade against the former demigods colleagues that betrayed him in a series of absolutely bonkers combat encounters. The action transitions seamlessly between cinematic cutscenes and light button-prompt-heavy combat sequences, but no matter how simple playing Asura’s Wrath is, the choreography is so comically overwrought that it’s worth seeing through.
God of War 2
While the first God of War reinvigorated action adventures with an accessible combo-heavy combat system and gratuitous Greek god violence, God of War 2 expanded the ideas of the first in all the right ways. It represents one of the rare instances in which ‘bigger, better, and more badass’ is an accurate description. There are more Greek myths to decapitate, more weapons and combos to explore, and Kratos time-travels to prevent his death. It’s all very absurd, and by modern standards a bit immature (boobs, everywhere), but the combat still feels as good as anything out there today.
You can debate whether Ico or Shadow of the Colossus represent the pinnacle of Sony’s arthouse exclusives, but the fact is it’s definitely one of them, and as both were made by the brilliant Fumito Ueda, he’s probably cool with whichever you pick. Ostensibly the tale of a (literally) horny young man’s attempt to liberate his ethereal ladyfriend from a crumbling castle, Ico is a masterpiece of puzzle design, wordless storytelling, and perhaps most of all the ability to evoke emotion with startling art design.
Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time
A Crack in Time represents the oddball action platformer series at its peak, a signature assembly of strafe-shooting with bizarre weapons, endearing cartoon drama, and light puzzle-solving. The formula may have felt exhausted by 2009, but A Crack in Time is one of the shiniest artifacts from an era gone by. Shooter and platforming design has since eclipsed the corridor driven combat of Ratchet and Clank, and yet, nothing out there on any platform feels quite like it. With a weapon that turns enemies into chimpanzees and and another that summons a tentacle monster from another dimension, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
Shadow of the Colossus
I'll never forget watching the opening minutes of Shadow of Colossus, the mystery, the overpowering light, and the seamless transition from cutscene to game. I could control it, just like that? Unbelievable. Even before I took control, it felt like something special. I don't think there will ever be a game quite as majestic as Shadow of the Colossus. It's content to be quiet and still and sad. It's not worried about giving you something to do at every moment, or about making its environment heavily interactive. It's just a place, or a place that once was, and you are there to climb for the sake of a vista, explore for the sense of discovery, and kill a few amazing creatures that do not deserve to die. Somehow that's fun and rewarding, despite the melancholy.
Sly Cooper Collection
The Sly Cooper series has one foot in the character platformer world, placing the player in big environments in which they’re free to tackle a set of challenges or explore at their own leisure. The other foot is a little closer to something like Grand Theft Auto, where big stage stealth systems force the player to pivot in a moment’s notice—if a heist goes wrong, the ensuing chase through the level turns it into a different game entirely. Stealth has since improved quite a bit and traditional 3D platformers aren’t as popular anymore, but the slick cartoon charm of Sly is as strong as ever.
The Last of Us
There’s a strong case for saying that The Last of Us is the best PlayStation exclusive full stop. (The PS3 version currently holds a 95 rating on Metacritic based on 98 reviews.) Essentially, it’s Resident Evil 4 as retooled by Cormac McCarthy, with a none-more-weary old dude helping a teenage girl survive in an America ravaged by the kind of fungal virus with substantially more serious side effects than itchy toes. The Last Of Us opens with the sort of jaw-dropping emotional beat that most games wouldn’t even attempt, let alone be able to recover from, and goes on to deliver a series of dramatic gut punches that will leave key images frozen in your memory. It’s the kind of game where you talk to other players in hushed tones after, asking: “but have you got to that bit yet?”
The only downer is that this isn’t the 1080p remastered PS4 build, but the core hide-and-sneak gameplay is so satisfying, and the combat so brutally crunchy, that it barely matters. And trust me, nothing sounds quite like a molotov torching a screaming mushroom man.
Talking about Tokyo Jungle isn’t easy. I mean, I could spout off a huge list of things it does well without hesitation, like how you can play as a Pomeranian dog in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, and how the bosses you face are cats, and how you get points for stealthily form-tackling pigs, and how you can make incredible Pomeranian love. But how is anyone supposed to get the appeal? Even if the Pomeranian is just one of 80 animals you can play as, there’s just no obvious appeal in Tokyo Jungle. What a shame.
Hot Shots Golf (Everybody’s Golf): World Invitational
Hot Shots is the golf series for people who don’t like golf. It carries a lighthearted, colorful presentation with an approachable swinging system—just eyeball an oscillating power meter and hope for the best. But the systems go deeper than the cheery cartoon aesthetic implies. High-level play requires close attention to weather conditions and minute topography, all of which is all navigable through a huge library of camera and terrain tools.
Sucker Punch’s superhero series was probably always doomed due to the decision to base it off an entirely new character rather than a comic book tie-in. Particularly as its shaven-headed star, Cole, was exactly the sort of generic grumpyman we were already tired of in 2011. Which is a shame, because using superpowers to clamber and fight your way around an open-world New Orleans was more satisfying than the entire Spider-Man back catalogue combined. Cole’s abilities also scale brilliantly, so that by the end you’re a living god spewing electricity and fire. There’s a light smattering of moral decisions to make, though again, these are somewhat undercut by the unlikeability of the main character. Still, definitely worth checking out if you enjoyed or were ever curious about Crackdown.
Third time was very much the charm for Insomniac’s alternate history FPS series in which the allies have to battle an alien invasion in the 1950s. Following two average games (the first was too British, the second better but still a bit bland), Resistance 3 was a triumph. Which, sadly, hardly anyone played. Sony seemed to have given up on the series and barely marketed it. For my dollar it still has one of the best sets of sci-fi weapons in any game—each of which has an inventive alt fire mode—and tons of fantastic set-pieces, including a homage to Half-Life 2’s Ravenholm section. Obviously PC gamers are hardly starved for good shooters, but Resistance 3 is close to being a lost classic. With a vibe redolent of pulp sci-fi, this is a must if you’re looking for a meaty single-player campaign.
Siren: Blood Curse
Some of the best modern horror games play a lot like Siren: Blood Curse. You sneak around dark environments while unkillable horrors hunt you down. It certainly didn’t invent the template, but it’s a prime example of stealth horror for the time, and worth considering in the same lineage as Amnesia: The Dark Descent or Alien: Isolation, if only for its unflinching dedication to oppressing the player. The key difference is that you can "sight jack" the enemies, letting you see from their perspective. If you can get by some dated controls, Siren is a must play for horror diehards.
If you like casual, pretty platformers and music, then Sound Shapes is an easy sell. There really isn’t much more to it either. You play as a small eyeball that can stick to surfaces, jumping and rolling through simple platforming levels. Every screen is populated with enemies, obstacles, and props that pulse and wiggle in time to the music, and keeping the beat makes them all easier to navigate.