14 Next-Gen Launch Games to Go With Your New Console

(Photo by Sony Interactive Entertainment/Microsoft Xbox)

By Josh Broadwell and Josh Chesler

The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S are here, but even if you were lucky enough to score yourself a console on launch day, choosing your system is only the start. Unless you want an expensive next-gen decoration for your entertainment center, you’ll need some games to go with that shiny new console.Fortunately, there’s no shortage of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S launch titles to choose from. Some are releasing on current platforms as well, while others are exclusive to the new hardware. Regardless of how you’re playing them, all of these games were built around getting the most out of what next-gen consoles have to offer.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Ubisoft's Assassin’s Creed Valhalla promises a pleasant trip through "Merry Olde England" — as long as you're one of the Viking invaders hell-bent on finding a new home and conquering their Anglo-Saxon rivals.

As Eivor, a Viking clan leader, you take part in a massive quest spanning everywhere from the Norse homelands and early medieval England to the unseen spirit world and even North America (or “Vinland”) — and that’s just the start. 

The game's narrative revolves around Eivor (whose gender is selected by the player) and their clan finding a new home in England and getting caught up in power struggles with the Anglo-Saxons, meaning that there will be no short of alliances formed, betrayals experienced, and unceremonious early retirements for unlucky military leaders.

Combat and exploration will provide the next level of what players loved about recent Assassin's Creed games like the Egyptian-themed Origins and Greek Odyssey, but while bringing back a touch of the classic Assassin’s Creed formula of yesteryear. Although Valhalla still maintains a massive and gorgeous open world brimming with people and quests, there’s a greater emphasis on stealth than there has been recently within the series. From hidden knives to blending in with the crowd, long-time Assassin's Creed fans may notice quite a few sneaky similarities to the original games.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Of course, in addition to the updated gameplay, Valhalla will utilize the next-gen consoles' improved spatial audio features to help bring their settings to life. After all the numerous NPCs [non-player characters] play an important role in making the game feel like it takes place in a living, breathing city.

“We recorded the civilians and guards in Old English, Old Norse, Latin and Old Welsh,” said Aldo Sampaio, Valhalla’s sound director. “We also created a dynamic 'walla' [crowd noise banter] system that dynamically adjusts the crowd noises depending on what’s around the player in terms of crowd size, ethnicity, gender and age percentage.”

Ubisoft also promised a year’s worth of post-launch support with free updates to further enrich Eivor’s world and the people in it, plus two paid DLC expansions taking the Viking leader to Ireland and war-torn Paris.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Coming fresh off of the success of 2018's award-winning Marvel's Spider-Man by Insomniac Games, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales charts the rise of a new hero with some special powers that just so happen to show off the new features of the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller.

Following his father’s death, Miles Morales moves to East Harlem with his mother, aspiring politician Rio Morales. One freak accident with a genetically modified spider and a mentorship from Peter Parker later, Miles is Harlem’s newest superhero in the highly anticipated PlayStation exclusive. For instance, Miles uses electrically-charged venom blast attacks to deal with enemies, and the DualSense lets players feel the pulsing directly in their hands thanks to the controller’s haptic feedback. 

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

The high-tech gadgets and web-slinging traversal that made the PlayStation 4's Spider-Man so exhilitaring make their return as well, but the real headliner is Miles' crowd-pleasing helper known as Spider-Cat.

As much as Miles Morales is about seeing East Harlem rendered in glorious detail to show off the PS5's visual capability, it’s also a lot more personal than some of the other titles. When Miles isn’t stopping a nefarious company from draining the city, he’s just trying to find a place to belong and figuring out what he has to offer even when he's not Spider-Man.

Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition

On the surface, Capcom's Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition may seem like the same top-notch action game from the previous generation. However, the enhancements for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S are far more than just a visual upgrade.

In short, Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition finally adds Vergil as a playable character. That might not mean much if you’re new to the series, but veteran fans know that he’s a long-awaited vehicle for even more over-the-top action with a new playstyle that should offer a refreshing change of pace. 

Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition

DMC 5 SE also packs in a new difficulty mode, the Bloody Palace DLC expansion, a turbo mode for (even) faster gameplay, and a slew of visual enhancements on both next-gen platforms. 

“Ray tracing, framerates up to 120fps, enhanced 3D audio, instantaneous loading times and Legendary Dark Knight are only possible on console thanks to the power of PS5 and Xbox Series X|S,” producer Matt Walker said.

Both the PS5 and XSX|S versions even let players tailor performance to their needs with settings that prioritize framerates over graphics or vice versa, which is a serious blessing for those who may not own a 4K TV just yet.


Bugsnax is a special PlayStation 5 launch game, because not only is it the most adorably terrifying (or terrifyingly adorable) game you've likely ever seen, but it's also free at launch if you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber.

However you play it, Bugsnax looks like a unique adventure from Young Horses (the makers of Octodad, in case you're wondering what levels of body horror to expect). You’re sent to Snaktooth Island to investigate reports from Lizbert Megafig about mysterious creatures called (you guessed it) Bugsnax.

Whether these critters are real or just a tourist trap dreamed up by the locals, there’s definitely something sinister lurking under the island’s cheerful surface.


The island’s main settlement, Snaxburg (no, really), is in shambles once you arrive. Grumpuses (that’s Bugsnax's post-apocalyptic lingo for islanders) are scattered about the island’s various biomes, and they need a helping hand — preferably one full of Bugsnax — to make it back home. 

You’ll need every resource available to capture 100 different species of Bugsnax, bring Snaxburg back to life, and hopefully escape with your sanity.


Godfall from Counterplay Games and Gearbox was the first PlayStation 5 game announced, and it’s shaping up to be an interesting one. 

It’s a tale of knights and magic, but also with a touch of futuristic alien worlds. While story details are a bit thin for now, you don’t really need a story to enjoy a looter-slasher game where your goal is carving through enemies like butter and using the items found along the way to craft better gear.

The real interest in Godfall comes in the combat, which promises to make every hit matter and rewards aggressive combat tactics and wise skill use. As per usual in titles like this, the best gear sets will be hidden behind the strongest foes, but there will be just enough stepping stones along the way to get there.


What may very well set Godfall apart from previous titles in the genre is the attention to detail and environment the developers delved into.

Composer Ben MacDougall described the game as “a next-gen console experience in a bold, beautiful new world, that has color, depth and rich cinematic weight. Vicious combat encounters are set against a backdrop of mighty structures, awesome vistas and breathtaking natural settings.”

From Senior Producer Travis Fox's point of view, Godfall is "an intense, fast-paced action combat experience that... is filled with challenging bosses and deep lore that we believe will provide an engaging experience from your first step in Aperion all the way through your showdown with Macros’ army and every playthrough after."

As a PlayStation 5 console exclusive (meaning it'll be on PC, but not Xbox), the DualSense's new features help to pick up on environmental cues in addition to the standard combat feedback.

But as Gearbox's Borderlands series showed so many, looting is more fun with friends. That's why Godfall features a dynamic multiplayer mode where the enemies adjust to accommodate more players. That doesn't just mean additional enemies or larger health pools either, as bosses will have special abilities and attack patterns that only kick in when more than one player gets involved.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Yakuza 7 (or Yakuza: Like a Dragon if you want to be official) takes the beloved Ryu Ga Gotoku long-running series in a bold new direction. Ichiban Kasuga (Kaiji Tang) takes over as the central protagonist for the first time ever (not including the online card game spinoff), but series fans will still see plenty of cameos and callbacks to previous games.

The story starts in the early 2000s when his clan boss and father figure Masato Arakawa (George Takei) frames Ichiban for a crime he didn’t commit.

When he finally gets out of jail in 2019, Ichiban barely recognizes Yokohama after 18 years. For fans of the series, that might sound like Yakuza's origins all over again, but Like a Dragon features some crucial differences.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

For starters, Ichiban sees his new world through the filter of his great passion, Dragon Quest. Battles are turn-based for the first time in the series and focus on character job classes and special skills rather than the series' traditional brawling moves. Also, unlike former protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, Ichiban isn’t a lone hero. The bonds and relationships he forms with other outsiders become just as important as the gritty crime story (a topic that isn't new for Yakuza games) surrounding their struggle.  

Like a Dragon is still Yakuza through and through with its quirky mini-games and off the wall sub-stories abound. With a new protagonist, a new combat style, and a new generation of consoles to spiff it up more than ever, it seems to be a perfect time for fans new and old to jump into the mature SEGA series that's recently skyrocketed in popularity outside of its Japanese roots. Plus, equipping your character with a killer sex toy is a legitimate path to victory.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is an XSX|S launch title. Although it'll also be launching on the PlayStation 4, the PlayStation 5 version is planned for a March 2021 release.


Demon’s Souls

Ask any "hardcore" gamer what the first title they'll be playing on their new PS5 will be and you'll likely always get the same answer: Demon's Souls. When FromSoftware released the original Demon’s Souls on PlayStation 3 in 2009, it earned a cult following and paved the way for its successor, Dark Souls to change how people viewed difficult video games. Unfortunately, time hasn’t been the kindest to the game that started it all (particularly due to its dated visuals and clunky movement), so now the PS5 is getting a stunning remake of Demon’s Souls built from the ground up by PlayStation's remake experts at Bluepoint Games.

The story (such as it is) remains the same high fantasy from before, with a foolish king summoning an ancient demon who ends up spreading madness across the land. Of course, your knight is predictably the only one brave enough to enter the fog and put the demon to rest. That said, the story and general world are pretty much the only thing brought directly over from the PS3 days.

Demon’s Souls

As for the new improvements, the visuals are the most obvious difference. Demon’s Souls lavishly elaborates on the 2009 release in several ways, from bringing incredible detail to the bleak environments and enemy designs to new animations and subtle changes to the knight during combat.

Of course, one of the other major benefits to this particular remake is the shortened load times made possible by the new hardware. As anyone who's played a FromSoftware game before knows, you will die (a lot) in Demon’s Souls. It’s a fundamental part of the experience, and it means a lot of time spent staring at lengthy loading screens before trying (and probably failing) again in the past. The PS5’s solid state drive puts you back in the game almost instantly, and the console's new "Activities" center offers over 180 help videos to get you through some of the tougher areas.

Gears Tactics

Gears Tactics for the XSX|S turns the acclaimed third-person shooter series on its head by transforming it into a squad-based strategy game. Set 12 years before the first Gears of War, Gears Tactics follows Gabe Diaz on his mission to recruit a resistance force and track down the leader of the invading monster army.

It plays similar to XCOM, where positioning and movement determine success almost more than having the right team. But Gears offers players even more variety in how they approach each scenario. 

Gears Tactics

Each encounter requires careful planning both on the battlefield and before the mission starts, making sure your loadouts match the impending threat. That goes double for Gears Tactics’ boss fights against massive monsters taking up entire swathes of the battlefield. 

The Xbox Series X|S version brings with it the usual improvements over the existing edition, including 4K visual support for the Series X, “unparalleled” load times, and framerates up to 120 frames per second. Your careful preparation paying off or spectacularly failing has never looked better.

Sackboy: A Big Adventure

The LittleBigPlanet games always prioritized creating your own inventive levels for Sackboy to romp around in, but Sackboy: A Big Adventure for the PlayStation 5 is the reverse. In this instance, you guide the now-iconic Sackboy through a series of 3D stages created by Sumo Digital’s professionals because the adorable mascot is on a mission.

Vex, the jester-like evil spirit of chaos, kidnapped all of his friends, so now the Knotted Knight must save the day and restore order to Craftworld (which makes it sound as if Demon's Souls and JOANN Fabrics had a baby, but we're pretty sure it'll work). Of course, even in all of the kid-friendly "chaos," Craftworld (complete with demon toys) looks pretty fantastic in its disordered form.