The 36 best PlayStation games of all time, according to critics

·10 min read
The Last of Us
"The Last of Us."Naughty Dog
  • Insider turned to review-aggregation site Metacritic's list of the greatest video games ever to determine the best games on PlayStation that were in the top 100.

  • The games didn't necessarily have to be PlayStation exclusives; the critic scores are for the version of the game on a PlayStation console.

  • But we didn't include repeats — if the same game was on Metacritic's list for multiple PlayStation consoles, such as "Grand Theft Auto V," we only included the version with the highest grade.

36. "Street Fighter IV" (2009) — PlayStation 3

street fighter iv
Capcom

Metacritic score: 94

"This is an excellent return to form for a series (and genre) many had written off as dead." — Wired

35. "Madden NFL 2004" (2003) — PlayStation 2

Madden 2004
EA Sports

Metacritic score: 94

"Adding a mind-boggling level of depth is the Owner Mode, which lets you negotiate salaries, build a stadium, and — for the detail obsessed  — even set prices at the concession stands." — Entertainment Weekly

34. "Mass Effect 2" (2010) — PlayStation 3

Mass Effect 2
EA

Metacritic score: 94

"That's what makes Mass Effect 2 great. Not the outstanding action, the compelling story, the huge depth of interaction, or any of the other ways in which the game demonstrates its outrageous surfeit of quality. It's because this is a game so coherent, you start to believe that you could actually live in it." — Guardian

33. "BioShock" (2007) — PlayStation 3

"BioShock"
Irrational Games

Metacritic score: 94

"Really, though, the only glaring weakness we can find in BioShock is that it may be too unusual, too original, too artistic and too genius to be embraced by the general public. Please don't let this game become that forgotten, one-of-a-kind masterpiece. We need sequels. We need more." — GamesRadar

32. "Chrono Cross" (2000) — PlayStation

Chrono Cross
"Chrono Cross" / Square Enix

Metacritic score: 94

"A truly epic role-playing game experience that has cemented its place in the annals of RPG history." — IGN

31. "Madden NFL 2002" (2001) — PlayStation 2

"Madden NFL 2002"
"Madden NFL 2004"/EA Sports

Metacritic score: 94

"Madden is even deeper this year with the return of the Create-a-Team and the Two-Minute Drill, but that's not why my jock is still on the field. Tiburon could have merely made these additions, but it went the remaining nine yards to make a football game that is that much closer to perfection, if it hasn't already got there." — Game Informer

30. "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" (2007) — PlayStation 3

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Activision

Metacritic score: 94

"Start to finish, online or off, Call of Duty 4 is solid gold. Some might decry the single-player's short length or that it's more of the same, but its amazing quality and the Arcade mode...more than make up for it. Infinity Ward has delivered on every front, and there is no question in my mind that this is the best action shooter that I have ever played." — Game Informer 

29. "Devil May Cry" (2001) — PlayStation 2

Devil May Cry
Capcom

Metacritic score: 94

"Every bit of Devil May Cry's been carefully orchestrated, and the effort pays off — there's rarely a dull moment." — GamesRadar

28. "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4" (2002) — PlayStation 2

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
Activision

Metacritic score: 94

"Easily the best Tony Hawk game yet, and online multiplayer makes it the best complete package in the genre." — IGN

27. "God of War" (2018) — PlayStation 4

God of War
"God of War"/Sony

Metacritic score: 94

"In crafting a thoughtful fable about a man contending with surpassing his sins to keep them from his child, the new God of War has already transcended its bloody roots." — Slant Magazine

26. "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" (2009) — PlayStation 3

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty Modern Warfare II / Activision

Metacritic score: 94

"Modern Warfare 2 is a masterpiece of careful iteration, with an unmatched presentation and a well of content that will take months to run dry." — Game Informer

25. "Final Fantasy IX" (2000) — PlayStation

Final Fantasy IX
Square Enix

Metacritic score: 94

"Final Fantasy could go on forever re-creating its particular spin on the traditional heroic quest, and it would be a success every single time, but I can't help feeling as if something that features this kind of majestic visual craftsmanship ought to host a story built with equal care." — IGN

24. "BioShock Infinite" (2013) — PlayStation 3

bioshock infinite
Irrational Games

Metacritic score: 94

"While it was a risk to move away from the depths of Rapture and into the clouds of Columbia, Irrational Games has once again crafted a dazzling new world, which succeeds in taking the franchise to stunning new heights." — Digital Spy

23. "Portal 2" (2011) — PlayStation 3

Portal 2
Valve Software

Metacritic score: 95

"The game's quality stays consistently outstanding throughout; there isn't a minute of filler content to be found anywhere in single-player or co-op." — Game Informer

22. "The Last of Us Remastered" (2014) — PlayStation 4

the last of us remastered
Naughty Dog

Metacritic score: 95

"Like the best visual updates, Remastered plays like you remember it. If you played 2013's Game of the Year near release and have been dying to return to the dark tale, then this is a great opportunity. If you never played The Last of Us at all, this is absolutely the way to do it. But be careful — you'll never want to go back to the PS3 original again after reveling in all the improvements." — Game Informer

21. "Persona 5 Royal" (2020) — PlayStation 4

Persona 5 Royal
Atlus

Metacritic score: 95

"Is Persona 5 Royal enough to justify purchasing a game fans have already played? Yes. The amount of change brought to the title is significant, and it all feels like a marked improvement." — Screen Rant

20. "Madden NFL 2003" (2002) — PlayStation 2

Madden 2003
EA Sports

Metacritic score: 95

"A can't-miss because it accurately simulates NFL gameplay, NFL commentary, NFL uniforms, NFL stadiums and NFL players and that's what football gamers are looking for." — IGN

19. "The Last of Us" (2013) — PlayStation 3

"The Last of Us"
Naughty Dog / Sony Computer Entertainment America

Metacritic score: 95

"The Last of Us is visually arresting, mechanically solid, maturely written and by turns heart-rending, tense, unnerving and brutal." — Guardian

18. "Gran Turismo 3" (2001) — PlayStation 2

Gran Turismo 3
Sony

Metacritic score: 95

"The feeling of jubilation once you have Gold awards for every area of every test is immeasurable." — Eurogamer

17. "Red Dead Redemption" (2010) — PlayStation 3

red dead redemption
Rockstar Games

Metacritic score: 95

"Red Dead Redemption is a masterpiece. This game is the perfect example of how a developer should work to create the best atmosphere and to represent a beautiful historical situation. The graphics, the gameplay elements and everything else is at top level." — Eurogamer Italy

16. "LittleBigPlanet" (2008) — PlayStation 3

littlebigplanet
Sony

Metacritic score: 95

"LittleBigPlanet is effectively 'The Next Big Thing' in the video game's world, a game where the imagination, the feelings, the cooperation, friendship, beauty and genius are hand in hand." — Eurogamer Portugal

15. "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" (2002) — PlayStation 2

"Grand Theft Auto: Vice City"
"Grand Theft Auto: Vice City"/Rockstar Games

Metacritic score: 95

"Helicopters make traversing the 13-section city a breeze, and there is a superb collection of motorcycles for Vercetti to fire an Uzi from." — Entertainment Weekly

14. "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" (2004) — PlayStation 2

Grand Theft Auto 3: San Andreas
Rockstar Games

Metacritic score: 95

"With Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Sony's PlayStation 2 has its own hot sequel of the season. The latest of the driving-and-killing games by Rockstar Games, San Andreas goes further than Halo 2 in introducing new features." — New York Times

13. "Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty" (2001) — PlayStation 2

metal gear solid 2
Konami

Metacritic score: 96

"From the attention to detail that went into the graphics to the sophistication of gameplay, Hideo Kojima and his team set out to create the perfect game, and the result is nothing short of this." — Game Informer

12. "Gran Turismo" (1998) — PlayStation

Gran Turismo
"Gran Turismo" / Sony

Metacritic score: 96

"One of the most exquisite racers ever to hit the PlayStation. Its alluring features will keep you glued to your seat for months, if not years. In fact I haven't driven my real car in three weeks." — IGN

11. "Resident Evil 4" (2005) — PlayStation 2

resident evil 4
Capcom

Metacritic score: 96

"It's easily one of the top 10 PlayStation 2 games you can lay your hands on. For me, it's probably one of my top 10 games of all-time. There's so much to enjoy, and even though PS2's visuals aren't quite as good as they were on GCN, my jaw still drops at the art design and how immersive the worlds are." — IGN

10. "Tekken 3" (1998) — PlayStation

tekken 3
Namco

Metacritic score: 96

"The only gripe that we'd have with it is that Namco's set the bar so high that we shudder with anticipation and dread over what the designers'll have to do to top this." — IGN

9. "Elden Ring" (2022) — PlayStation 5

Elden Ring
Elden Ring / FromSoftware

Metacritic score: 96

"Elden Ring is FromSoftware taming the monster they created, not by filing down its teeth and claws, but by giving players the weapons and armor to endure it." — Slant Magazine

8. "Batman: Arkham City" (2011) — PlayStation 3

arkham city batman
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment / Rocksteady Studios

Metacritic score: 96

"This game could be one of the biggest and most enjoyable time sinks of the year. Arkham City not only lives up to the standards set by Arkham Asylum, it bests its predecessor in every way and stands tall as one of Batman's greatest moments." — Game Informer

7. "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves" (2009) — PlayStation 3

uncharted 2 among thieves
Naughty Dog

Metacritic score: 96

"Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. It looks amazing, plays like a dream and the voice-acting/story-telling will hook you in right from the off." — GamesRadar

6. "Grand Theft Auto III" (2001) — PlayStation 2

Grand Theft Auto 3
Rockstar Games

Metacritic score: 97

"A luscious, sprawling epic of a game and one of the most complete experiences I have ever encountered. If this is what I've waited a year to see on my PS2, then I would have waited ten. Magnificent." — Eurogamer

5. "Red Dead Redemption 2" (2018) — PlayStation 4

Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar Games/Take-Two Interactive

Metacritic score: 97

"A titanic videogame, a masterpiece that, like everything, will have passionate lovers and other players who will not get too caught up. Everything also depends on thematic genre and preferences. Maybe not everyone likes stories of 'Indians and cowboys'. But this interactive universe created by Rockstar tells a fantastically-constructed story and allows us to live a unique adventure." — IGN Spain

4. "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3" (2001) — PlayStation 2

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Activision

Metacritic score: 97

"Should go down in history as one of the best twitch-fests on PS2. Yes, TH3 is that good. The perfect skating game remains just a tiny hair's breadth out of reach, but if you are not satisfied with your purchase of this game, head examinations are recommended." — IGN

3. "Grand Theft Auto V" (2013) — PlayStation 3

grand theft auto v
Rockstar

Metacritic score: 97

"GTA5 does much more than repeat the San Andreas model, introducing many new features in the franchise. From those, the one that adds a whole new dimension to the game is the fact that for the first time we have three main characters instead of one. GTA is the king of controversy ... long live the king." — Eurogamer Spain

2. "Grand Theft Auto IV" (2008) — PlayStation 3

Grand Theft Auto IV
Rockstar Games

Metacritic score: 98

"The single-player game, which you can still play long after you complete the story, is the series' best by far, and the multiplayer features are good enough that you'll likely have no problem finding people to play with for many months to come." — GameSpot

1. "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2" (2000) — PlayStation

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
Activision

Metacritic score: 98

"If I ever wind up stuck on a desert island with nothing but a PlayStation and a few select games, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 is one game I will definitely own." — IGN

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