So it’s the end of another year. That means we’re recapping the year for each of the video game consoles. Last week we talked about the year for the Nintendo Switch.
This week we’re talking about the PlayStation 5.
The first full year of release for the PS5 may have been marred by supply shortages, but it’s still somehow selling well for Sony regardless.
And the lineup of games for its first year is solid, but lacking Sony’s true exclusive heavy hitters. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of love out there for Returnal, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Kena Bridge of Spirits, and Deathloop (also on PC), all of which look and run great on the PS5. It also added an indie exclusive late in the year in Solar Ash, the new game from the developer of Hyper Light Drifter.
However, in a perfect world, Sony would have been able to release either Horizon Forbidden West or God of War Ragnarok (or both) this year to bolster its lineup with a true console seller and one of its biggest flagship franchises.
As it stands, both games were delayed out of 2021 (if God of War was ever truly a possibility for 2021 in the first place) and PlayStation gamers were left looking for multiplatform games to find something new to play on their expensive new hardware. For example, I played two of the year’s biggest JRPG’s on the PS5 in Tales of Arise and Scarlet Nexus.
Elsewhere in Sony’s lineup, it’s a similar story to Nintendo. Some great games got re-releases on the PS5.
The Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Ghost of Tsushima, and Death Stranding all got re-released for PS5 with visual upgrades and additional content. Third parties also brought upgraded versions of their games to the new console. Games like DOOM: Eternal, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Destiny 2, Immortals Fenix Rising, and Control all got PS5 versions released in 2021.
Big games from years past like Alan Wake and the Mass Effect Trilogy also got remastered versions (though Mass Effect Legendary Edition is just a PS4 release that’s playable on PS5), and Nier Replicant came out as something of a middle ground between remaster and remake (but again, only as a PS4 release that’s playable on PS5).
They’re great games to have on the platform, especially for anyone new to PlayStation, but they’re not game of the year contenders in 2021 (at least not for me). And Sony’s botching of the upgrade path from PS4 versions to PS5 versions of games has been a bad look for some time, even if Sony is starting to relent on some of those bad practices.
Nevertheless, despite its lack of a true flagship title, Sony had a good showing at the Game Awards this year. Death Loop, Returnal, Rachet and Clank: Rift Apart, and Kena Bridge of spirits were all nominated for numerous categories. Deathloop even took home best Art Direct, Returnal took home best Action Game, and Kena: Bridge of Spirits won best Indie Game.
I may have been eyeing a different lineup of games when I bought my PS5, but the haul they had available in 2021 was nothing to sneeze at. In fact, when taken with the re-releases of other recent Sony exclusives, the PlayStation 5’s launch lineup actually looks like a good launch lineup overall, especially for anyone who didn’t own a PS4.
And the Dual Sense controller is a fantastic controller. It’s not the most ergonomic, or comfortable controller to hold, but the futuristic tech it brings to the table is the most next-gen thing about the new consoles (that goes for both the PS5 and Xbox Series X). Returnal, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and the free download Astro’s Playroom are all excellent showcases for both the power of the PS5 console and the incredible haptics and adaptive triggers of the Dual Sense.
In fact, the controller’s tech is so impressive that Head of Xbox Phil Spencer praised the controller. He even went as far as to say Microsoft is likely to release an upgraded model of the Xbox Series X controller at some point that takes some pointers from the Dual Sense’s feature set.
It may be hard to deny that Sony’s 2021 has suffered from the chip shortage limiting PS5 supply and the pandemic causing delays in game development, but it’s been a solid year regardless.
Looking forward, Sony’s biggest upcoming games that missed 2021, are likely to release in 2022. We know Horizon Forbidden West is set for a February release. Babylon’s Fall and Gran Turismo 7 are expected to release in March. Forspoken and Ghostwire Tokyo are also expected to release at some point in 2022. And though it’s not confirmed, I suspect God of War Ragnarok is likely to release in the fall to compete with Microsoft’s big release of Starfield, and potentially Nintendo’s big release of the sequel to Breath of the Wild.
There are a lot of games without release dates, and the second half of 2022 is still a big question mark in terms of what will get released. But between Sony’s flagship franchises and some big multiplatform games coming to the console, Sony could have an even better year next year.