Game industry is a complicated beast, split as it is across many platforms, each with its own offer in place to entice gamers. One aspect of this competition are the exclusives: titles with a limited release excluding one or more platforms.
The three main actors for exclusivity are PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo, each happy to present something its console competitors cannot deliver.
These exclusives are often well-worth the attention. As system-sellers they often enjoy outstanding graphics and visual design, often amaze with their storytelling and narratives, or showcase the kinds of gameplay you are only going to get on the given console.
Some of these games grow to have a significant cultural impact, defining the gaming discussions during each hardware generation and inciting fierce debates in comment sections. Some might even venture into other media,
So let’s add some fuel to the fire, shall we? Let’s take a look at a few of the best exclusives out there. You’ll note that a few of these games have eventually arrived on PC, and it’s not cheating on our part. PC is a neutral ground, but the other consoles still can only look wistfully, excluded from the fun.
|Gears Of War Ultimate Edition||2015-08-25||Adventure||The Coalition||5%|
|Gears Of War 3||2011-09-20||TPS||Epic Games, Inc.||25%|
|Fable II||2008-10-21||RPG||Lionhead Studios|
|God Of War Ragnarok||2022-11-09||Action||Santa Monica Studio||27%|
|Forza Horizon 4 Standard Edition||2018-10-02||Racing||Playground Games||76%|
|The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||2017-03-03||Adventure||Nintendo||26%|
|Animal Crossing New Horizons||2020-03-20||Simulation||Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development||11%|
|Mario Kart 8 Deluxe||2017-04-27||Racing||Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development||18%|
|The Last Of Us Part II||2020-06-19||Survival||Naughty Dog||10%|
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda series has been one of the longest-running video game series in history, dating all the way to 1986. It has, however, always remained on Nintendo’s gaming consoles.
Which is why you need a Nintendo Switch if you want to play TLoZ: Breath of the Wild, and you should want to play it, because it is one of the best open-world action-adventure games of the last ten years.
After a short tutorial familiarizing you with the tools at your disposal, you’re set free on a large, beautiful map of Hyrule, full of enemies to fight, allies to befriend, and secrets to find. Between the simple, but compelling plot, a vibrant world, and a physics system which encourages creative problem-solving, Breath of the Wild is definitely a system-seller.
The Uncharted series is not only one of the best action-adventure game franchises, but also an interactive cinematic spectacle.
And players got to experience this on big TV screens, because the games have been the highlights on PlayStation library ever since 2007. And while Uncharted 4 and Lost Legacy remasters made their way to PC, you won’t see the first three games without a PS.
The series mostly revolves around the treasure-hunting adventures of Nathan Drake. He’s an outstandingly lucky man, who like a less academic Indiana Jones keeps getting involved in supernatural problems caused by ancient artifacts and forgotten cities. Getting in and out of trouble tends to involve a lot of climbing, a lot of shooting, and a ton of amazingly acted great dialogue.
Ghost of Tsushima
|Developer:||Sucker Punch Productions|
Ghost of Tsushima is a rare treat: an action-adventure open-world game set in a historical setting.
It’s based on the Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274. You’re playing as Jin Sakai, a samurai who survived the disastrous first contact and is now on a personal mission to sabotage and terrorize the invaders, by any means necessary.
GoT looks amazing and its TPP gameplay is exciting and polished. Especially the melee combat is great, utilizing several fighting stances and is well-suited both for group combat and cinematic duels. It’s the latest in developer Sucker Punch’s long string of awesome PlayStation exclusives, which include the Sly Cooper series and the superpowered Infamous games.
The Last of Us
Ever since the hit TV show adaptation, it seems almost unnecessary to introduce The Last of Us.
This post-apocalyptic, dramatic action-adventure game has been a PlayStation exclusive since its release in 2013, it was only in 2023 that the remake made its way to PC, while simultaneously skipping Xbox. Despite that, the PlayStation version is still the best experience all around.
The Last of Us comes from the same studio that made Uncharted, Naughty Dog, and enjoys the same level of quality. Even the original, 2013 PS3 version still looks and plays great, and the Remake drastically improves the graphics while leaving the story and gameplay experience intact, which is the best of two worlds. Especially the improved animations have finally caught up with excellent acting.
God of War (trilogy)
|Developer:||Santa Monica Studio|
The original God of Wars games, the ones about the time Kratos murdered Greek mythology, remain pretty cozy on PlayStation and there are no signs of them coming over to other platforms.
Nobody committed to Xbox will ever see Kratos’ abominable optometrist methodology, and PC users won’t get to show Ares that being a scheming bastard is no defense against two angry swords.
Not only the core experience, the trilogy, is confined to the vaults of PS, but the prequel-ish spin-offs are as well, which means other platforms are missing out on a whole lot of excellent hacking and slashing, vicious Quick Time Events, and methodical, if extremely angry, murder of Greek pantheon, bestiary, and a few unlucky bystanders even Kratos eventually grew to regret killing.
Halo: the Master Chief Collection
|Genre:||Action & Shooter|
The original Halo blew people’s minds when it came out, and the series remains one of the finest games in the FPS genre.
The trick is that Halo has never ventured beyond Microsoft’s ecosystems. It began on Xbox and colonized PC after a bit, but PlayStation players don’t get to ride a Warthog or see why Master Chief is such a cool guy who isn’t afraid of anything.
A great way to enjoy the game is to grab Halo: the Master Chief Collection, which gathers several Halo games (Halo 1-4, plus Reach and ODST) under one convenient label. It’s also available on PC, albeit in a somewhat convoluted manner it requires individual (or in a bundle) purchases of constituent games. It is worth it, though, because both singleplayer and multiplayer modes are great.
Demon’s Souls (Remake)
Before Dark Souls, but after Armored Core, developer FromSoftware dipped its toes into the hardcore melee combat genre with Demon’s Souls, by all accounts a direct ancestor of DS and Bloodborne.
Many of the familiar elements are in: a dark fantasy setting, losing EXP (souls) if somebody kills you, and a safe hub where you can recuperate without fear of the game many deadly foes.
The game was originally released back in 2009, but received a substantial 2020 remake, which polished the gameplay a bit, and gave the game a massive visual upgrade, with more detail, better lighting, and all that HD jazz. The sad part, if you don’t own a PlayStation, is that, well, you don’t get to play it. Demon’s Souls, like its grandchild Bloodborne, remains firmly rooted in PS-land.
God of War (2018)
|Developer:||SIE Santa Monica Studio|
Yes, we’ve talked about God of War already, but that was the original series, fully limited to PlayStation.
However, in 2018 GoW got a magnificent sequel, which not only put Kratos in a position to interact with Norse gods, but also let him have another chance at family. It was so far removed from the originals it was basically a soft-reboot, and 4 years after its PS4 launch it found its way to PC.
Not to Xbox or Switch, though, which is a bummer for everyone using these platforms as their only gaming hardware. 2018’s GoW also got a sequel, Ragnarök, moving the story in an epic direction, and at the time of writing it remains a PlayStation title with no announcements regarding its arrival on PC. For now, only PlayStation players get to battle against Thor.
Super Mario Odyssey
Another Nintendo exclusive with zero hopes of moving over to any other platform, Super Mario Odyssey is one of the finest traditional Mario platformers in modern memory.
As a spiritual successor to Super Mario 64 it has a lovely, vibrant 3D world you’re free to explore, diverse locations, and plenty of exciting gameplay quirks, some of which are powered by Cappy, a demon hat.
Well, it’s not actually a demon, but it does allow you to invade the minds of other creatures and even some objects to use them for your platforming purposes. Crushing existential dilemmas aside, Super Mario Odyssey is a ridiculously good 3D platform game, which looks great, plays amazingly well, and will undoubtedly put a smile on your face. As long as you have a Nintendo Switch.
Monster Hunter Rise
To end things on a hopeful note, let’s consider Capcom’s Monster Hunter Rise.
It began its life as a Switch exclusive, something apparent in things like its compact maps and fast gameplay perfect for a commute or a work break. However, due to popular demand, especially from PC players who’ve greatly enjoyed the multiplatform MH World, Rise was ported over to PC almost a year after Switch launch.
The PC release came with a host of technical improvements such as higher resolution, making the game look much better on large screens than it otherwise would. Another year later, MHR also visited PlayStation and Xbox. So sure, MHR doesn’t technically fit on a list of exclusives anymore, but it’s a proof that a positively passionate fanbase can sometimes change things for the better.
This concludes our look at some console games which have remained committed to a specific console and have no plans to change that, even if some of them made an exception for PC. Hopefully, you now know what your console of choice is going to be and are already planning to populate its library with top-tier productions.