Yep, another EDF game, which is sure to perplex anyone who just doesn’t “get it”. The EDF franchise is basically the spirit of 1960s b-movies in video game form, which makes it one of the biggest and best guilty pleasures you can have with a DualShock in your hands. Iron Rain does actually make some significant strides for the series as the most ambitious entry to date, though.
Things are slightly more serious this time out with a storyline (!) actually worth spending your time on, as well as customisable characters and a stripping back of the classes system to make it far more accessible overall. Yes, it can still run with about as many frames as something on a floppy disk, but EDF would weirdly lose some of its magic if it ran smooth as butter.
Iron Rain is a great entry point that you shouldn’t overlook.
“Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain shakes up the series at its core, and still manages to be a decidedly great EDF game. Character creation and the PA-Gear fit right in and offer a newfound sense of personalization and freedom, while the grim presentation and heightened difficulty will keep you engaged throughout. It’s a real gem.”
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.”
13. 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.”
12. 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. You will get lost, and you will get occasionally frustrated with your companion. But, between the stellar visual effects on display and the world-class soundtrack, the ultimately heart-wrenching story and the love between boy and beast, I’m finding it extremely difficult to not recommend this to absolutely anyone and everyone.”
11. Gravity Rush 2
Developer: SIE Japan Studio, Project Siren Publisher: SIE Release date: 2017
The original Gravity Rush was a fantastic game that “failed” because of the commercial limitations of the hardware it was found on. The PS Vita has had one of the most drawn out funerals in gaming history, but despite this, Gravity Rush still managed to find its way into cult and critical adoration. It even managed to get itself remastered for the PS4.
Fastforward a few years and with Sony still forgetting that the Vita exists, Gravity Rush 2 exclusively came to PS4 early in 2017. It does a lot of the same things as the original while also adding a few neat gameplay tweaks, but the main gimmick remains the same: being able to fly around the air like a balloon with the air going out.
Kat and Raven returned and brought with them just as much acclaim. If you’re put off by the “Japaneseness” of it all, don’t be – it’s just part of what makes it so great.
Developer: Media Molecule Publisher: SIE Release date: 2018
While technically still in early access (a typical cause for disqualification from lists like these), Dreams is such a replete and resplendent game that can only get better and better as time goes on. While the game continues to grow and expand, it looks like the only thing that will hold you back is the limits of your own imagination.
Effectively a starter kit for game development, Dreams gives you all the tools you need to make something totally new or a homage — if you managed to miss out on P.T., Dreams has you covered, Hell, you don’t even need to make games thanks to the games’ music production side. Basically, if you can think it, you can make it.
Look, if you’re going to remake Big Rigs but as an arena fighter within Dreams, nobody here is going to judge you.
Yes, really: Tetris on PS4 is better than the twenty other games that preceded it on this list. While you may baulk at the idea of reshaping descending blocks being one of the most life-changing experiences of this generation, it really is. Tetris Effect is more than its simple origins: it’s a meditative slice of optimism in an increasingly cynical world.
What makes Tetris Effect really stand out, however, is playing in in virtual reality. Without the headset, a simple pair of headphones and a few hours to spare provides an incredibly therapeutic time that you would usually have to pay by the hour for. Plus, its music absolutely bangs. If you aren’t that bothered by Tetris, give this a whirl and see if it changes your mind.
“An absolute delight, Tetris Effect twists and bends the mind of the player like few other games are capable of. While not quite a revolution of the classic premise, Effect provides players of all experiences the chance to discover what has made the franchise so iconic while also pointing towards the future.”
8. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Developer: Naughty Dog Publisher: SIE Release date: 2017
A spin-off in a series that we’re going to see again later on in this list, The Lost Legacy proved that Naughty Dog don’t cut any corners. Despite the reduced price, this is every inch the cinematic spectacle we’ve come to expect from the minds behind Uncharted and the peerless The Last of Us.
Switching protagonists for the first time in series history, TLL sees you take the role of Chloe Frazer with Nadine Ross providing back-up. It was a gamble to make it quasi-open world, but one that certainly works in its favour, offering a sumptuously dense playground with more than enough puzzles than you can shake your head at in frustration without getting whiplash.
If this is an indication of where the series goes from here, the future looks bright indeed.
“Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a genuinely brilliant addition to the series. Naughty Dog has, again, crafted a nimble little action-adventure game worthy of the Uncharted name and one of the series’ best. Chloe Frazer deserves her own full-on game down the road. Uncharted: Frazer’s Fortune, perhaps? Yes please.”
7. Until Dawn
Developer: Supermassive Games Publisher: SIE Release date: 2015
Its detractors might say that it isn’t much of a game, but don’t listen to them. Until Dawn is one of the greatest horror games ever made and easily the best you can find on PlayStation 4. An engaging storyline and trope-poking script make this an essential.
Gameplay is basic, which might dissuade some people, but it actually aids your investment in what’s going on in Supermassive Games’ intricate, insular world. If you’re ever in the mood for a horror game that can tell as good a story as it can make you revert to the foetal position, Until Dawn should certainly be at the top of your list.
6. Shadow of the Colossus
Developer: Bluepoint Games, Team Ico (original game) Publisher: SIE Release date: 2018
Previously given a small lick of paint as a remaster on PS3, Shadow of the Colossus finally received the full makeover it deserves with its remake for the PS4. Bluepoint, who previously worked on the Uncharted remasters for the same platform, paid a lot of respect to the source material and didn’t deviate too far away from what made the original such a classic.
However, while trying to bridge a gap between old players looking for a nostalgia buzz and new players who had never had the pleasure of guiltily stabbing wondrous creatures in the brain, it did carry over a lot of the, erm, design “quirks”. Regardless, Shadow of the Colossus may not be 2018’s biggest PS4 exclusive, but its grandeur and heartbreaking themes haven’t lost any of their sheen.
“While it may lack the initial wow factor by way of being a remake, Shadow of the Colossus on PS4 does the original justice, and then some. It cements the legacy of Team Ico’s classic while bringing a few new things to the table, creating the perfect introduction to a masterpiece in design and understated storytelling in the process.”
From Software know how to create gruelling masterpieces and Bloodborne is certainly no exception. Separate from the Dark Souls games with the same unmistakable formula of trial, error, and reward, Bloodborne is simply one of the best exclusive PS4 games there is.
A nightmarish Yharnam is yours to explore and be killed in (lots and lots) with it having a fascinating story to uncover behind its walls, nooks, and crannies. The uninitiated might struggle with the insane difficulty spikes and unconventional combat, but once Bloodborne has you, it refuses to let go. Even when you’re visiting the same bonfire for what seems like the hundredth time after yet another death, it’s irresistible and euphoric once you finally make some progress.
If you’re a PlayStation 4 owner and don’t have Bloodborne, I am reporting you for console negligence and abuse. Rumours persist of a sequel, though that’s more likely for PS5 at this point.
4. Horizon Zero Dawn
Developer: Guerrilla Games Publisher: SIE Release date: 2017
Coming out against Breath of the Wild meant that Horizon Zero Dawn would always have a fight on its hands as comparisons were inevitably going to be made. Despite being the first in a new series, Zero Dawn more than confidently stands it own against the latest adventures of Link with the wider console adoption helping it to a sales victory.
An amalgamation of all of your favourite open-world games with enough personality to make it its own thing, Zero Dawn is an absolute delight. Playing as huntress Aloy, you’re tasked with uncovering the secrets of a post-apocalyptic world with robotic animals. How you approach these fascinating (and sometimes jaw-dropping) beasts is up to you – the game is suited well to role-playing.
Guerrilla Games recovered well from the relative disappointment of Shadow Fall to deliver an enthralling experience that must go down as one of the PS4’s best.
“It should be plainly obvious by now; I love this game. Horizon is a triumph of worldbuilding and storytelling by any measure, and on top of that Guerrilla Games took a genre they had never worked in prior and not only succeeded, they brought something new to the table with their unique blend of strategy and frantic action against overwhelmingly superior foes. Horizon is a breath of fresh air, a proud notch in Sony’s exclusive belt and, most importantly to me, a reminder about why I play video games and what they are capable of.”
3. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Developer: Naughty Dog Publisher: SIE Release date: 2017
We all knew this would place highly and rightly so. Even though the system is still young, it’s hard to believe that any PS4 game still to come will be able to squeeze every drop of life out of it quite like Uncharted 4 does, its cinematic scenes dripping with visuals that will remind you why you fell in love with gaming to begin with. The set-pieces are jaw-dropping, the narrative compelling, and Nathan Drake’s dad jokes just as awful.
Don’t just take my word for it, either. It’s one of only an elite few games to get a 10/10 on Cultured Vultures with Kieran McLoone being full of praise and love for Naughty Dog’s last foray into the series:
“Once the curtains close and the credits roll, you’ll be left with a certain sense of melancholy. Yes, it’s likely that this will be the final instalment in the Uncharted series, but Naughty Dog certainly know how to end on a high, and I cannot wait to see what they start working on next.”
2. Marvel’s Spider-Man
Developer: Insomniac Games Publisher: SIE Release date: 2018
Marvel’s Spider-Man feels like a throwback in the best ways. Packed with content not locked behind a paywall, players can earn upgrades through just playing the game, which itself is a remarkable thing. We can stop looking back on Spider-Man 2 as the pinnacle of the Spidey adaptations.
With an attention to detail that is second to none, a fun and fluid combat system, and a refreshing hybrid of ideas old and new, it’s quite simply the best superhero game ever released. There’s so much to see and do in Marvel’s Spider-Man long past the point of its story wrapping up, including just swinging around for hours and appreciating just how damn great it feels.
“With all the freedom it gives you to web-sling through New York City and stick goons to walls, Spider-Man for PS4 is the best Spider-Story I’ve had the pleasure to experience, and even on its own is a brilliant game.”
1. God of War
Developer: Santa Monica Studio Publisher: SIE Release date: 2018
God of War has changed, and so has its protagonist — and all for the better, too. Kratos’ debut on the PS4 was a long wait, but boy, was it worth it. It feels like the culmination of the series, the zenith of multiple games in a beloved franchise and the biggest example of why drastic changes aren’t always something to be worried about.
You get the sense that God of War is squeezing every drop of power out of the PS4; it’s almost staggering what the guys at Santa Monica were capable of with hardware that is pushing half a decade in age. It all takes place in one glorious shot, including the side quests, a movie of redemption that you’re front and center for.
With a combat sysem that evolves as the game progresses, stunning spectacles (especially on a PS4 Pro), and a feel of final polish that is missing from so many big games, God of War is the best PS4 exclusive there is and a testament to the power of single-player games, but it could also just prove to be the game of its generation.
“Gone are the combo meters and the landscapes of ancient Greece, replaced by more grounded combat and the beauty of the Norse wilds. These changes may be too jarring for some, but God of War stands as the jewel in the series and arguably the best game released on PS4 to date.”
It’s hard to think of any other PS4 exclusive games that might capture as many plaudits as God of War – the thing has been a phenomenon, a title that’s earned so many rave reviews from critics and gamers alike as the best PS4 game released to date, possible even to the surprise of Sony themselves. There might be one contender to knock it off its perch, however.
New Upcoming PS4 Exclusives
Medievil – October 25th 2019 Death Stranding – November 8th 2019 Concrete Genie – Q3 2019 Ghost of Tsushima – Release date TBC The Last of Us: Part II – Release date TBC
So, there you have it, the essential exclusives for the PlayStation 4. Agree with my choices? Should Knack have even been mentioned? Is God of War the best? Leave a comment below.