Developer: Sega Publisher: Sega Release date: 2018
Ever played a Yakuza game and felt like there was about 100% too little in the way of exploding heads? Say hello to Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, which combines the classic and beloved ultraviolence of the anime with the stylings of Sega’s beloved flagship open world series. It’s about as bonkers as you would expect.
Featuring combat that is beyond making any logical sense and plenty of quirky humour, Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise revels in its absurdities and creates something that’s sure to appeal to series fans and newcomers. It has a brand new storyline set in the Fist of the North Star universe, so this many be the perfect introduction to those new to the Church of Kenshiro.
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions Publisher: SIE Release date: 2014
Expected by many to be the PS4 game before release, Infamous Second Son never quite managed the greatness of those in the series before it, probably because its protagonist, Delsin Rowe, is an annoying dweeb. If you can look past the melodrama and angst, Second Son is an essential game for the PlayStation 4.
Looking undeniably beautiful and handling like a charm, Second Son’s gameplay picked up where its predecessors left off, as well as adding some interesting ways to make use of the DualShock 4. It has been sort of forgotten about now, but there’s no doubting Sucker Punch’s open-world is one worth exploring if you’re yet to.
18. MLB The Show 19
Developer: SIE San Diego Studio Publisher: SIE Release date: 2018
It’s kind of bananas that a sports franchise is exclusive to one platform, but Sony have almost always hit out of the park (sorry) with MLB The Show, which strikes (again, sorry) a fine line between being a simulation of the real thing and just plain fun. Even people outside of the US, which is basically the only place where baseball is popular, might find something to love with MLB The Show 19.
Coming packed with modes (including a “casual” way of playing a season by just taking part in the important parts), welcome updates to Road to the Show, and a few key tweaks in important areas, MLB The Show 19 has plenty to offer baseball fans and maybe even the unconverted. Sure, it’s limited by its annual releases, but MLB The Show is a great deal less demanding on your wallet than many of its competitors in the sports game scene.
Developer: Evolution Studios Publisher: SIE Release date: 2014
It takes something special for a racing game hater like myself to drop some serious hours into one. Punishingly difficult yet rewarding, DriveClub is one of the best racing games on PlayStation 4 and potentially across all platforms, though there is some seriously stiff competition.
Nothing quite compares to being behind the wheel of a monstrously, superbly detailed car while you careen around the track, listening to your perfectly curated Spotify playlist. I am no master at the game (fairly sure I have only won a handful of races), but it’s still some fantastic vehicular escapism whether you’re good at it or not.
Developer: Ryu ga Gotoku Studio Publisher: SEGA Release date: 2019
The old saying of “if it ain’t broke, change the gangsters for private detectives and make it every bit as weird” certainly applies for Judgment. While those who have travelled to Kamurocho many times before in the Yakuza games might initially find themselves disappointing not to be travelling somewhere new, Judgment’s slight reimagining pays off for it — even if we do and always will miss Kazuma.
You play as Yakayuki Yagamai, a former lawyer turned private detective who is just as punchy as Kazuma, as he gets swept up in a gritty noir following murders in the criminal underworld. The story is great, but it’s the veritable Ryu ga Gotoku Studio madness you’re here for. Tuck into some great minigames, take a few selfies, and hunt down some suspects as you lose yourself in one more trip to Kamurocho.
“While mechanically flawed, Judgment bridges the gap between new and old Yakuza fans marvellously and points towards a confident future for a new franchise. Court adjourned.”
15. Ratchet & Clank
Developer: Insomniac Games Publisher: SIE Release date: 2016
Probably PlayStation’s most unfairly unsung mascots, Ratchet & Clank were a mainstay of the PS2 platformer but didn’t quite have the same impression during the next generation — they didn’t really seem to connect with an audience as much, for whatever reason.
Luckily, the bizarre decision to turn it into a film meant that a new generation of gamers would have the chance to experience a piece of PlayStation history.
A tie-in for the critically panned (but actually not terrible) movie, Ratchet & Clank is a re-imagining of the original game with updated visuals and more contemporary controls. It’s a faithful rework of what made the series so special to begin with in the first place.
Here’s hoping the influx of new players from it being on PlayStation Plus brings it more attention and the fully-fledged sequel we all so dearly crave.
14. Concrete Genie
Developer: Pixelopus Publisher: SIE Release date: 2019
Whether it’s allowing you to mold your own worlds or bring derelict towns back to life, Sony have really tried to get players to be creative this generation. Dreams is probably the most famous example, though Concrete Genie deserves a lot of attention, too.
You play as Ash, a young boy who travels to a town filled with happy memories of his childhood but one that’s seen better days, an oil spillage unleashing darkness and leaving it almost empty. After finding a magic paintbrush, it’s up to him to bring Denska back to its former glory, one stroke at a time.
The real stars of Concrete Genie are the eponymous genies, them following you around Denska and helping you on your mission while also being very adorable indeed. You can even customise them, something you will discover as you put four arms in the wrong place.
While admittedly short, Concrete Genie’s unique hook, depth of content, and low price make it irresistible.
Developer: Polyphony Digital Publisher: SIE Release date: 2017
The Gran Turismo series took a more competitive turn with the release of Sport: Sony and Polyphony’s attempts to nail a corner in the racing eSports market. Ultimately, you will get out of GT Sport what you put in, which can see you rise up the ranks online with some dedication and perseverance. For offline players, though, it may leave you wanting more.
While it may divide its playerbase into two different camps, there’s no arguing that Gran Turismo Sport offers some of the most exhilarating racing around, helped in no small part thanks to its beautiful presentation and precise controls. Driveclub is a more arcade-y (and in some ways, more enjoyable) experience, but GT Sport offers a racing simulator that will have purists panting.
“While Gran Turismo Sport may not be the Gran Turismo some were expecting, it’s still a wholly enthralling racing game that wants to make you become a better driver along the way. The big question has to be whether it was a risk worth taking, to effectively divide its playerbase. For serious racing gamers, Gran Turismo Sport could be the perfect choice, but for those who want the ultimate offline racing experience, Sport may come up short.”
12. Days Gone
Developer: SIE Bend Studio Publisher: SIE Release date: 2019
Days Gone is what you would call an epitome of a diamond in the rough. It certainly has its issues, which hints at an up-and-down development with some features pulled back or just dropped, but once it gets going, it really gets going. The difference between its first ten hours and the rest of it is pretty staggering.
You play as Deacon St. John, a biker drifter struggling with grief after the end of the world by way of a virus that turns the infected into “Freakers”: I Am Legend-esque zombies that travel in huge packs. A gorgeous open world is yours to coast around in, or if you’re feeling slightly more violent, you can try to make a dent in Freaker numbers by taking on some hordes.
With a protagonist who grows significantly as time goes on and lore that demands you dive in, Days Gone is an underrated gem.
“Sure, it’s clunky at points, has enough rough edges to cut someone, and is perhaps too slow in getting to the good stuff, but give Days Gone and Deacon a chance and they will win you over.”
11. The Last Guardian
Developer: Team Ico Publisher: SIE Release date: 2016
When The Last Guardian was first announced back in what feels like 1882, it caused quite the buzz as the new game from Team Ico, the geniuses behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Originally set to release on PS3, things were looking promising, as if the Japanese developers had struck gold again.
And then nothing was heard for years. It looked dead in the water until a surprise reveal at E3 2015 showed that it was alive and well, and quite different from the early first impressions we had. It looked like it belonged in this new generation, but how did it play? Well, it was good, but it could have been far better.
Some of its mechanics are beyond frustrating and your companion’s AI often lacking, but if you can deal with some of its antiquated aspects, there’s a beautiful story of a boy and his bird-dog waiting for you to weep over.
“What it may lack in variety (and tension, for the first half of the game) The Last Guardian provides a meditative experience that rewards patience and gifts a genuine feeling of exploration and discovery quite unlike a lot of quote unquote similar adventure games.”
The next page is the big one: the top 10 best PlayStation 4 exclusives your money can buy.