Released in 1994, the PlayStation was a pioneering video game console that paved the way for modern home gaming. The PlayStation was one of the first consoles to use compact disks instead of cartridges, making games easier to store, transport, and swap. The PlayStation evolved over its lifespan. Despite its launch in the mid-1990s, late-model PlayStation controllers have largely the same form factor as their more modern PS5 counterparts.
Over the course of the PlayStation’s lifespan, over 962 million copies of various games were sold. Many of the platform’s top games spawned franchises that continue to this day, including FInal Fantasy, Gran Turismo, and Tekken. Here’s a quick rundown of the platform’s bestsellers, including everything you need to know about sales, reviews, and the legacy of the games.
The 10 Best PlayStation Games of All Time
10) Metal Gear Solid
Released on PlayStation in 1998 and Windows PC in 2000, Metal Gear Solid sold more than 7,000,000 copies around the world. Metal Gear Solid is a stealth-focused action game in which the player controls Solid Snake and infiltrates a nuclear base to prevent terrorists from launching a nuke. Gameplay involves lots of third-person action, with Snake doing his best to remain undetected and dealing with the consequences of being spotted as he tries to make his way deeper into the base. Metal Gear Solid helped set itself apart from its peers via a strong story, told by in-game cutscenes and plenty of expository dialogue.
Metal Gear Solid was incredibly well-received. It holds a 93% aggregate rating on GameRankings and won PlayStation Game of the Year from multiple outlets, including Electronic Gaming Monthly and the Official US Playstation Magazine. Multiple journalistic reviews gave the game the highest score possible, including GamePro, OPM, and GMR.
Metal Gear Solid is cited as being the pioneer of many techniques used by today’s game developers. It was responsible for launching the “stealth game” genre in general, while the cinematic techniques and storytelling methods have influenced virtually every game released since.
Metal Gear Solid is a sequel to earlier games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. A direct sequel to Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, was released in 2001 for the PlayStation 2. Further sequels and spinoffs were released for multiple consoles, including 2015’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
9) Tomb Raider
Released in 1996, Tomb Raider was available on the Sega Saturn, the PlayStation and MS-DOS. The iconic action-adventure game features archaeologist Laura Croft traversing archaeological sites while solving puzzles and defeating enemies to retrieve priceless artifacts. Tomb Raider’s third-person camera meshes perfectly with its innovative level design, making it incredibly popular among gamers.
Tomb Raider sold just over seven million copies, making it one of the best-selling video games of its time.
Tomb Raider was generally well-received by critics. The PlayStation version of the game has a Metacritic score of 91/100, with a 9.3 out of 10 review by GameSpot. The PlayStation version of the game was thought to have slightly better performance than the Sega Saturn version. Since 1996, the game has been adapted to a number of more modern devices, including smartphones.
8) Crash Bandicoot: Warped
The sequel to #7 on this list, Crash Bandicoot: Warped was released in 1998. A PlayStation exclusive platform game, it focuses on the titular character and his quest to save the world from cartoonish villains. Crash Bandicoot: Warped perfected gameplay elements from previous titles in the series, making it a hit among fans of 2.5D platformers all around the world.
Crash Bandicoot: Warped sold just over seven million copies. Despite the title’s universal critical acclaim and improvement over its predecessor, it sold slightly less than Crash Bandicoot 2.
Critics in 1998 almost universally loved Crash Bandicoot: Warped. It has a 91/100 score on Metacritic, with multiple 5-star reviews from outlets like GamePro and OPM. The game’s stylistic graphics, excellent sound, and refined gameplay were standout features that separated it from other games of its time.
7) Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
The predecessor to element #8 on this list, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is the second entry in the Crash Bandicoot series. Like its sequel, this PlayStation exclusive platformer focused on the cartoonish
adventures of a bandicoot named Crash. Players navigate platform-based puzzles in a 2.5d environment, collecting crystals in order to thwart an evil plot. The game was released in 1997.
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back sold seven and a half million copies.
Critics were generally fans of Crash Bandicoot 2, although they preferred its sequel. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back has an aggregate score of about 89 / 100, with IGN giving it 8.5 / 10. Reviews mentioned that the game was much, much better than the previous game in the series, but some critics found the game a bit too boring and repetitive for a perfect score.
6) Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Released in 2001, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is an action-adventure game that was released along with the first film in the Harry Potter series. The game was released on multiple platforms, including Game Boy Color and Advance, PlayStation, and Windows. Unlike most other games, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone differs greatly based on the platform. The PlayStation version is a 3D third-person adventure game that involves scripted events and hunting for collectibles.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold 8 million copies.
Critics generally were lukewarm on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The PlayStation version holds a Metacritic score of 64 / 100. GameSpot gave the game a 4 / 10, while IGN offered an 8/10. Reviews mentioned that the overall graphics, narration, and Quidditch gameplay were great, but the framerate, camera controls, and issues with music and the graphics in certain spots detracted from the game.
5) Tekken 3
Released in 1996 in Japanese arcades and on PlayStation in 1998, Tekken 3 is a fighting game that focuses on three-dimensional movement. It built upon gameplay elements from its predecessors, Tekken and Tekken 2, introduced new characters, and placed a much larger emphasis on players’ ability to sidestep their opponents’ attacks. The core gameplay of Tekken 3 has since been iterated on by further games in the series, while games like Soul Calibur have emulated the three-dimensional movement pioneered in Tekken 3.
Tekken 3 sold 8.3 million copies.
Critics loved Tekken 3, giving it impressively high scores in most reviews. Metacritic gives the game a 96/100 by aggregating multiple reviews, including a 9.9/10 from GameSpot and a 5-star review from OPM. Reviews loved the game’s “easy” controls, snappy responsiveness, and graphics.
4) Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy VIII is a role-playing game released in 1999. It follows the adventures of a group of mercenaries in a fantasy world as they fight against an evil sorceress. While Final Fantasy VIII was initially released on the PlayStation console, it was ported to PC in 2000 and has since been released on multiple more modern systems. It’s split into three “modes:” a giant world map, a smaller map of individual areas, and a battle mode where players fight against their foes in turn-based combat.
Final Fantasy VIII shares themes, gameplay elements, and other ideas with other games in the Final Fantasy series, but it is narratively unrelated to other games in the Final Fantasy franchise.
Final Fantasy VIII sold over 8.5 million copies.
Critics generally liked Final Fantasy VIII, giving it a Metacritic score of 90/100. GameSpot gave the game a 9.5/10, while IGN offered a 9/10. Reviews tended to speak positively of the game’s music, visuals, and storytelling, with gameplay often being the reviewer’s least favorite part of the game.
3) Gran Turismo 2
The 1999 racing game Gran Turismo 2 isa PlayStation exclusive. The game allows players to control cars and race them against AI opponents in multiple modes on multiple tracks, either in individual races or as part of a larger campaign that spanned multiple races. The game was praised for its vehicle handling, graphics, and overall smoothness. It spawned many further sequels, including 2022’s Gran Turismo 7.
Gran Turismo 2 sold 9.3 million copies.
While Gran Turismo 2 was generally well-reviewed, multiple bugs and glitches marred the game for several reviewers. Metacritic gives the game an aggregate review score of 93/100 despite these bugs, as players enjoyed the improved braking, new cars, and new tracks.
2) Final Fantasy VII
Released in 1997, Final Fantasy VII is a role-playing game in the Final Fantasy franchise. While it was initially released on PlayStation, Final Fantasy VII was ported to PC in 1998 and has been ported to several other systems and operating systems since. Like FInal Fantasy VIII, the role-playing game allows players to take control of a band of adventurers tasked with saving the world, controlling them on both a large world map, a small area map, and a turn-based battle arena.
While most Final Fantasy games are distinct from each other narratively, Final Fantasy Vii has spawned a handful of games in the same world with the same characters, a sequel movie, and a very modern remake for the PlayStation 5.
Final Fantasy VII sold over 10 million copies.
Critics were big fans of Final Fantasy VII. IGN gave the game a 9.5/10, while OPM gave a 5/5 star review. Critics felt like the graphics were among the best they’d ever seen up to that point. They also praised the characters, the writing, the music, and the gameplay. Some reviews mentioned that the game’s English translation was imperfect, while a handful thought the game’s story progression was too linear or too slow during some parts of the game.
Here’s The Overall Best PlayStation Game of All Time!
1) Gran Turismo
While its sequel, Gran Turismo 2 takes the #3 spot on this list, it failed to outsell the original. Gran Turismo was released in 1997 as a PlayStation exclusive. The racing game was well-loved due to its car handling, the level design, and the incredible (for the time) graphics. Gran Turismo’s innovations in the racing game genre
persist to this day, with modern games emulating things like UI elements and gameplay concepts. While modern racing games have come a long way in terms of car simulation, designers still draw from Gran Turismo’s vehicle simulation for inspiration.
Gran Turismo sold 10.8 million copies, making it the best-selling PlayStation game of all time. Reviews loved Gran Turismo, giving it accolades for its incredible graphics, slick controls, and fun
gameplay. Metacritic gives the game a 96/100. GameSpot gave the game an 8.5/10, while OPM gave it 5/5 stars. Modern reviews still look at the game favorably. The television program Top Gear awarded the game with the “best driving game of all time” in 2017, while IGN claimed it was the second most influential racing game ever in 2015.
Many of the best-selling PlayStation games were innovators in their field that have legacies that survive today. Games like Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, and Tekken have blossomed into franchises that are loved by both die-hard fans and casual gamers alike played way back when the first Playstation was launched. While the original games are often playable on things like phones and handheld game consoles today, they’re very much relics of their time. Gameplay systems, graphics, and controls have evolved quite a bit since 1999, meaning the original Tomb Raider game can seem a bit clunky and lacking compared to modern titles. In 1999, however, the game was very much cutting edge. And Yes, you might say recent Playstaion 4 (PS4) games like God of War, Bloodborne, Spiderman, Horizon Zero Dawn, or the great Uncharted series to be the best Playstation games due to gameplay, graphics and advanced technology. While these elements might have progressed in the intervening decades, without the innovations from the games on this list, we’d never have gotten to where we are today.
What do you think about the list? Did it remind you of the good ol’ days of your childhood? Let us know in the comments!
Also Read: The Best PC Games of All Time