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.
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.
“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, ease of accessibility, and a trope-poking script make this an essential horror.
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.
What makes Bloodborne so brilliant is that while it may initially appear similar to Dark Souls, they’re actually different beasts when you pick apart their bones. Bloodborne is a far more aggressive time with a Lovecraftian slant, though they both share the hallmarks of a FromSoftware game: punishing, unrelenting difficulty.
If you’re a PlayStation 4 owner and don’t have Bloodborne, I am reporting you for console negligence and abuse, especially with it previously being free on PlayStation Plus. 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. Once you’ve finished it off, the DLC is worth checking out, too.
“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.”
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. With the PS4 nearing the end of its life, few PS4 games have been 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.
While not a revolution for the franchise, it’s the sheer spectacle of Uncharted 4 that makes it such a compelling bay. From historical architecture to pirate havens (and all the destruction Drake brings with him), Uncharted 4 is a worldwide adventure that serves as a brilliant end to Nathan Drake’s story.
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.