What are PlayStation's most difficult games?

From action RPGs to side-scrolling shooters, PlayStation has plenty of games that will put you through your paces. If you're looking for the ultimate gaming challenge, then step right up.

You against the world

From slick sci-fi horror to bold new twists on literary classics, get ready for the fight of your life.

Devil May Cry V Special Edition

The fifth entry in Capcom's larger-than-life action series continues its reputation for epic-scale boss battles and immense technical depth. Winning in DMCV simply isn't enough: earning 'SSS' rankings in every area of demands an expert understanding of the game's combat mechanics along with effortless timing and a genuine sense of style.

While it's true that the main game is no cakewalk, it should be manageable for the majority of players. The unlockable 'Dante Must Die' difficulty mode, however, is truly something that only a handful will be able to beat.

Your best approach is to work on mastering DMC's signature combo-driven combat. Work on chaining together rapid series of attacks and combining ranged gunplay with close-range melee to control the flow of combat and keep from being overwhelmed. 


A novel evolution of its arcade shoot 'em up legacy, Housemarque's PS5 exclusive pulls no punches. Designed to intensify the main character Selene's ongoing struggle for freedom, Returnal's world and enemies transform every encounter into a desperate, fast-paced fight for survival. 

Returnal is definitely out to challenge the player. Some of its tougher segments will see the play area absolutely filled with dangerous projectiles, brutal teleporting enemies, and environmental traps. Staying alive requires concentration and finesse.

As a roguelike, perseverance is baked into the design. The cyclical nature of the game welcomes experimentation: play around with different weapons, tackle objectives in different orders and build your familiarity with how all the games different interlocking systems can work to help or to hinder you.

Lies of P

Lies of P is a brutally challenging, but exquisitely executed action adventure that celebrates the very best of the genre. Fast-paced, precision combat, colossal boss battles and sprawling interconnected environments strewn with hidden secrets and deadly traps lie in wait for all who dare enter.

There's no doubt about it: Lies of P is a tough cookie, with a particular emphasis on the multi-phase boss fights. These encounters will test your ability to dodge, parry and attack fiercely aggressive enemies with huge health pools and devasting attacks.

Paying careful attention to your build is key to victory: each of your main components can be swapped out to improve your resistance to varying damage types, weapons have their own unique damage types and combat styles and amulets offer additional perks that can very much even the odds. If you're struggling, then careful planning can often trump bloody-minded determination.

Nioh 2

The sequel to Team Ninja's ruthless samurai adventure ups the ante in every department, featuring enormous bosses, fiendish level design, and nuanced combat that offers a wealth of options depending on your playstyle. You'll need to hone your skills if you're going to see the end credits – prepare for the fight of your life.

Team Ninja deliberately design their games to push players and Nioh 2 is no exception. Its most basic enemies can easily cut you down, while its bosses can often flatten you in a single hit. Though the challenge is never unreasonable, it's often considerable.  

There's a dizzying amount of variety in Nioh 2 and as much of the game's mastery comes from outside of combat as in it. Regularly review your weapons and armour. Take full advantage of the blacksmith to forge new equipment and alter equipment attributes - also, pay attention to the benefits added by Soul Cores and Guardian Spirits - everything adds up!  

Monster Hunter World

Play online with a bunch of friends in tow, and Capcom's extraordinary beast-hunting blockbuster can be a relatively comfortable and collaborative experience. Go it alone, however, and the New World is a thoroughly inhospitable place, filled with enormous fanged creatures itching to turn you into a light lunch. Worry not, though – there's a huge, welcoming online community ready to help you out.

There's an awful lot going on under the hood of a Monster Hunter game. Really understanding the underpinning systems is a big task in itself, matched only by the skill required to translate that knowledge into effective combat in-game.

Never underestimate anything, particularly your own equipment. You might think a sword is just a sword, but in Monster Hunter World, weapons are complex, layered systems unto themselves. Spend time learning your weapon's many combos and how to get the most out of every attack - it'll make a huge difference in battle.

Veterans of hardcore action

The Tokyo-based developer behind the 'Souls' series has forged a fearsome reputation for itself amongst gamers - it's time to 'get good'. 

Elden Ring

Building on over a decade of experience designing hardcore fantasy roleplaying games, FromSoftware returns in collaboration with George R. R. Martin, author of The New York Times best-selling fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, with a sprawling adventure set in a fantastical new world known as the Lands Between. Elden Ring combines stealth, action, character building and open-world traversal to deliver their most ambitious game to date - all with their signature style of brutal difficulty.

While it's probably not FromSoftware's most challenging game, it's by no means a pushover. While Elden Ring's open-world design does make it a little easier to pick your fights, you'll eventually have to face down some daunting enemies.

There's a lot to be said for taking your time in Elden Ring. It's a huge game and while you can follow Sites of Grace directly from one boss to the next, you're far better served exploring the world. There are dozens of armour sets, unique weapons and amulets to acquire that will improve your chances - and a great deal of practice to be had!


Bloodborne is a stand-out among the studio's celebrated output, trading dark fantasy settings for a more modern, gothic feel. Taking on the role of a lone hunter in foreign garb, you must explore the blighted town of Yharnam and its surrounding locales in search of the cure to a terrible blood curse. Filled to bursting with grisly body horror and monstrous foes, Bloodborne is every bit as challenging as its siblings. 

For sure. Its fast-paced combat and huge enemy variety drive a much more aggressive style of play that will be a difficult adjustment for Dark Souls veterans. Beyond the many encounters and bosses around Yharnam, there are still more to conquer in Bloodborne's Chalice Dungeons: fiendish labyrinths filled with traps, unpredictable enemies and intimidating bosses.

The trick is to be aggressive. Bloodborne employs a special mechanic known as 'rallying' that means if you retaliate quickly enough after taking damage, you'll regain some of your lost health. The side-step maneuver (replacing Dark Souls' dodge-roll) also means that you're more mobile and can benefit from moving quickly around enemies and landing hits from all angles. 

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

From the same merciless team behind Bloodborne and Dark Souls, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a meticulously crafted ninja adventure that demands concentration, patience, and precision. What's more, you'll be suffering alone – unlike its forebears, you can't call on other players to help take down bosses. The rewards are worth it, though: brilliant combat, extraordinary enemy design, and a huge world to explore.

Many have argued that Sekiro is FromSoftware's toughest game to date and there's plenty to support the assertion. While the world does have challenging moments, Sekiro's duel-style boss encounters demand a level of concentration and finesse not often seen in games.  

Don't play it like other FromSoftware games. Sekiro's unique combat puts a strong emphasis on blocking and deflections. Whilst some attacks have to be dodged, there's much more to be gained by deflecting - done repeatedly it will push the enemy off balance, leaving them vulnerable to devastating Death Blows. 

Dark Souls III

Devotees can argue for days over which is the most challenging entry in the ground-breaking Dark Souls series, but the third instalment makes a very convincing claim for itself, featuring some of the series' most complex environments and demanding boss encounters. An unapologetic celebration of the influential series, Dark Souls III features a huge array of build and weapon choices, some truly enormous areas to navigate and more than a few familiar faces.

As the third title in FromSoftware's notorious Dark Souls series, it should come as no surprise that Dark Souls III is a challenging game, though perhaps not as difficult as some others on this list. The combat is finely tuned and excellently paced throughout, making for an experience that avoids excessive difficulty spikes.

Keep an eye on your weight. While donning a suit of inch-thick steel plate might seem appealing, it'll severely hamper your combat options. Don't be afraid to ditch a helmet or pair of gloves and gain back a little mobility - armour can only reduce the damage from a blow, getting out of harm's way lets you avoid it altogether.

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon

The first new entry in the long-running Armored Core series in over a decade, Armored Core VI reunites the veteran developer and franchise in a brutal, brilliant combination of classic mech combat and modern production values. As a merc for hire, players control the ‘AC’ (Armored Core) that they can customize to their liking by assembling it with a wide variety of frames and weapons, repainting individual parts, and engage in fast-paced battles across the battlefield.

Though it's far removed from the 'Souls' style formula, Armored Core VI remains an intimidating game. For most, the very three-dimensional approach to combat (which involves both grounded and aerial tactics) is an extra level of demand, alongside the huge number of weapon options, masses of incoming projectiles and fast-moving foes. 

Your Armored Core (or AC) is almost infinitely flexible and there's a huge variety of options in how it's built and outfitted. If you're riding the same loadout into every mission you're likely making life harder than it needs to be. Consider the challenges of each mission, the types of enemies you'll be up against and outfit your AC to give you the advantage.

Big challenges from small teams

As one of the most diverse spaces in gaming, indie development has something to offer everyone - including those looking to test themselves.

Blasphemous 2

The sequel to Game Kitchen's arresting action platformer expands and improves upon everything that made the original such a break-out hit at the time of release. The art direction is sublimely grotesque, the combat deliberate and visceral and the level design truly masterful. Moreover, it packs a real punch when it comes to difficulty, building an atmosphere of dread that perfectly complements the world's characters and setting.

Featuring a cavalcade of challenging enemies, tough platforming puzzles and some fearsome boss fights, Blasphemous 2 is without a doubt a tough game. It might not be the most brutal on this list, but it will most certainly give you a run for your money. 

Don't be afraid to explore around. There's more than one direction to venture in Blasphemous 2. If you're struggling with one area, it's sometimes best to try your luck elsewhere. You might find additional weapons and items, or unlock new abilities that will come in handy in overcoming earlier difficulties.


Despite deriving its striking art style from 20th-century children's cartoons, Cuphead is anything but child's play. Beyond the colourful, characterful facade is a brutally challenging bullet-hell shooter. You'll need patience, careful timing and deft thumbs to overcome the many, multi-stage bosses, some of which comprise whole stages by themselves.

Do not be deceived by the sumptuous stylized visuals - Cuphead is anything but child's play. There's an old-school run-and-gun sensibility to the game's combat that harkens back to the hard-as-nails shoot 'em ups of the arcade scene. If you were playing this on an arcade cabinet, you need a lot of quarters.

If you want to make life that much easier, then take time to master Cuphead's 'Parry Slap' mechanic. This insanely useful and relatively straightforward ability will allow you to avoid damage from a whole assortment of projectiles (look out for anything pink), whilst also filling up your Super Meter. 

Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition

Beware the stylish presentation here - the denizens of Hallownest might not look all that threatening, but don't let that fool you. An award-winning action platformer, Hollow Knight is famed as much for its high level of difficulty as it is for its outstanding art direction, brilliant level design and snappy combat. There are cunning bosses and hidden challenges everywhere and your primary means of defence is a nail - best of luck!

Cutesy though some of the design might be, make no mistake, Hollow Knight is a genuinely uncompromising game. From tight, perilous platforming to brutal bosses, the developers at Team Cherry have crafted an experience designed to put the player through their paces.

Don't sweat the little things. Trying to collect and conserve every piece of Geo you come across can be exhausting and you might find you end up with more than you need. Hollow Knight's real reward is the play itself. Discovery is your greatest treasure and the really valuable things to be found in Hollow Nest can't be dropped or lost.

Dead Cells 

French studio Motion Twin deservedly found a huge audience with its phenomenal procedurally-generated action platformer. Progress can be slow in its unforgiving world, but it's the journey, not the destination, that counts – moment-to-moment, Dead Cells is a joy to play. And while death can come quickly, you'll always want to jump straight back into the fray for just one more try.

While things start off at a manageable level, the later stages you'll visit in Dead Cells can be intensely hectic and very difficult to overcome if you haven't prepared.  

A flexible arsenal is your best friend in Dead Cells. You can carry both melee and ranged weapons as well as two 'trap'-style devices. While it might be tempting to focus on the more immediate melee and ranged weapons, traps make a huge difference when the difficulty spirals, so make sure you're investing in these and you'll find things much more manageable.

The Witness

This sophisticated puzzler from Braid creator Jonathan Blow drops you on a mysterious island without context or explanation, and points you in the direction of a simple grid-based brain teaser – the first of many, as it turns out. As you explore, the puzzles escalate in complexity and difficulty. Can you solve them all and unravel the island's secrets?

There are dozens of puzzles built into The Witness - some that are very straightforward and others that are mind-bending difficult. While other games on this list focus on finesse and timing, The Witness will tax your gray matter harder than any of the others. 

Give everything a try. All the puzzles in The Witness have a shared sense of logic, so the more you explore and try different puzzles, the more you'll come to appreciate the differing ways in which the logic is applied, and the more immediately you'll be able to discern solutions.