The Best PS4 Games 2018: All The Essential PlayStation 4 Games

We counted down over fifty of the very best PS4 games there are to play right now. If you have the console, you need to own at least some of these gems.

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If you can believe it, Sony’s PlayStation 4 turned four years old in November 2017 and churned out plenty of contenders for the best PS4 games since. Since 2013, it’s climbed to the top of the console hill, helped in no small part thanks to its wide variety of out-and-out exclusives. Adding to that, 2018 looks like being a banner year for the console with titles like God of War already confirmed, and release date dodging games like Days Gone and Insomniac’s Spider-man almost certainties to drop during the course of the year.

But what if you just want to collect a whole bunch of great games, no matter the exclusivity? More and more games are available on multiple platforms (just because it makes financial sense), so if you’re looking to amass quite the haul of possibilities for your PS4, you’re in for quite the fine selection to choose from.

As we gear up to recommend some of the best PS4 games to you, bear in mind that these aren’t exclusives, neither are they in any order. We’re also excluding remasters and ports from older generations for the sake of variety, so don’t be sad when you notice that The Last of Us Remastered and GTA V aren’t included. Oh, and when new games come out and blow our tiny little minds, they will get added to the list.

Want more PS4? Check these out:
Best Free PlayStation Plus PS4 Games So Far
Best PS4 Exclusive Games
Best PS4 Horror Games
Best PS4 Indie Games
Worst PS4 Games
Biggest Upcoming PS4 Exclusives

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1 Battlefield 1

Taking war back to more primitive days before it was cool, Battlefield 1 was a shot in the arm for a series that might not have really needed it. Battlefield’s brand of mass murder has been in vogue for years and doesn’t look like letting up, so DICE’s decision to take the action back to the Great War is more about creative flexibility than desperation.

With some liberties taken in the historically accurate firepower department, Battlefield 1 proved to be an effective and often galling look at the horrors of war, particularly when it came to the story department. War Stories might not have offered a rich dynasty of storytelling, but the short bursts of narrative worked wonders to grab the attention of jaded FPS players. Just don’t make me play The Runner again. I may openly weep.

Here’s an excerpt from my review:

“…after a few hours spent in this harrowing replication of the War To End All Wars, try your best to tear yourself away from it for the next thirty. War is hell, but Battlefield 1 is FPS heaven.”

Buy if: you already like Battlefield and want to feel some new emotions.
Avoid if: you can’t work as a team online.

 

2 Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider
Source: PC Gamer

The only glaring negative to report about Rise of the Tomb Raider is how long it was held back by its timed exclusivity for Xbox One. Once it did land on the PS4, however, it proved to be worth the wait – Rise of the Tomb Raider is an absolute triumph in almost all of the things it tries.

Endlessly beautiful to look at and almost irresistible to not explore its many nooks and crannies, Rise’s depth is something that kept me hooked for hours upon hours. Not only that, but the sheer scale of its spectacle and set-pieces makes it more than a worthy successor to the games which Tomb Raider made its name on. The only downside to it? The story is a little weak in places, but nu-Lara remains a likeable, grounded heroine.

Buy if: Uncharted is your bag, but you just want more freedom.
Avoid if: you’re coming to Tomb Raider for the story.

 

3 Nioh

Nioh

Calling rock-hard action RPG games “Dark Souls But In/With [insert USP]” is a little lazy, but it speaks more for just how damn good a job FromSoftware have done with the series that its influence is felt so keenly. Another developer who have been an inspiration for many is Team Ninja, so when they took some ideas from Dark Souls and put their own spin on them, all the signs pointed to success.

And Nioh proved to be just that. With a more comprehensible story and its own unique aesthetic style (as well as arguably offering more complex combat), this PS4 game is ideal for anyone who just wants to be punished. If you aren’t in the mood to be greeted by your own incompetence on a regular basis, you might want to look elsewhere.

Buy if: you like Dark Souls.
Avoid if: you don’t like Dark Souls.

 

4 XCOM 2

XCOM 2

The game which taught me to stop getting so close to people, XCOM 2 took what its underrated predecessor did, tweaked it, and made everything come together in one nice, mentally draining package. If war is hell, what is it like when you’re part of a guerrilla war against your alien overseers?

Boasting one of the most immersive single-player campaigns of this generation, XCOM 2’s unique brand of progress by the inch means it’s going to require all of your attention. This isn’t a turn-based tactics game that you can simply dip in and out of. No, you have to live in it, saving the world one step a time. Word of warning, though: the timers can feel a little too oppressive.

Buy if: you like tactically wiping out alien scum with some digital soldiers who you love very much.
Avoid if: you cannot deal with the same digital soldiers dying at the drop of a hat.

 

5 NieR: Automata

NieR: Automata

A bewilderingly dense game with more layers than an onion wrapped up for winter, NieR: Automata is a real joy. You’re always bound to come across something unexpected as once you think you’ve got it all figured out, it changes itself. It’s basically a chameleon of a video game.

Blending several genres and styles into one wild experience, Automata is an easy recommendation, even if you haven’t played its cult predecessor. Better yet, it keeps on giving, so once those end credits roll, be prepared to for another go-around. Our own WB Mason was smitten with it in his review:

“While not without its faults, Nier: Automata is an incredibly well made, beautiful and challenging Japanese action-adventure RPG.”

Buy if: traditional AAA games bore you.
Avoid if: you aren’t capable of getting weird.

 

6 The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3

As a game so densely packed with content (and sex), The Witcher 3 is going to tide you over for a long, long time. Having sunk 100 hours into the main game with Blood and Wine -its second expansion- still to tuck into, I don’t have to say goodbye to Geralt anytime soon. Which is good, because I managed to get the worst possible ending. It’s two years later and I’m still not over it. I will never be over it.

If you like anything Bethesda have ever done but just wanted it to be better, take a look at CD Projekt Red’s fantasy epic and prepare to say goodbye to your family for a couple of months. Be sure to check out the Family Matters sidequest as soon as you can – that thing is a masterpiece.

Buy if: you just want to get lost in a fantasy world.
Avoid if: you have any kind of social obligations.

 

7 Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7

If you’re a resolute Resi purist, you probably aren’t going to like Resident Evil 7 – its sales figures prove just that. But if you’re after a polished action horror which has the bloated lore of Capcom’s lucrative franchise as more of an afterthought than anything that drives the action forward, you’re in luck.

Critical acclaim poured in for Resident Evil 7, Cultured Vultures included. While it isn’t without its faults (it loses a lot of steam towards the end), our own Kieran didn’t hesitate to recommend it:

“This is the most impressive return to form I’ve seen in a long time. With heart-pounding scares, clever puzzles, and formidable enemies; Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is one of the best horror titles I’ve ever played.”

Buy if: you want a refresh of the Resident Evil series that achieves most of what it tries to do.
Avoid if: tank controls and a third-person perspective are vital to your love of Resi.

 

8 Persona 5

Persona 5

The wait was worth it: Persona 5 dropped earlier in 2017 to the sound of jubilant tears. A massive success, Atlus’ massive RPG balances outright weirdness, a gripping story, and some seriously unforgiving gameplay to make it one of the most addictive games on the market.

Our reviewer, Leon, who sunk over 100 hours into his simulated second life, hasn’t been seen since awarding it a 10/10. We’re worried about him.

“With a gripping story, quirky characters, witty writing, and everything that you need to make a good game, Persona 5 will take hold of you for its 100+ hours of gameplay and have you wishing you didn’t need to take a break.”

Buy if: you want to get utterly lost in a game.
Avoid if: you have children to feed.

 

9 Horizon: Zero Dawn

Horizon: Zero Dawn

A game so good it could get away with having a terrible name, Horizon: Zero Dawn looked like it could at least be pretty interesting, but it wasn’t expected to be this beloved. It feels and sometimes plays like Breath of the Wild’s cousin, which isn’t meant as an insult. Horizon wears its influences proudly.

If you want to know what Horizon is all about, here’s the simple version: you hunt dinosaur robots in a post-apocalyptic setting as a warrior with great hair. If that hasn’t sold you enough, here’s what Nick thought in his glowing review:

“Horizon Zero Dawn boasts a stunningly realized vision of the post-post-apocalypse, accompanied by a fascinating and chilling mystery surrounding the fall of civilization and surprisingly deep and strategic combat which combine to create one of the best new IP’s in years.”

Buy if: hunting robots even sounds remotely cool to you.
Avoid if: open-world fatigue has set in.

 

10 Overwatch

A game so popular that it became cool to hate on it within a couple of weeks of it being out, Blizzard’s Overwatch is a simple, addictive team-based shooter with bags of personality. It may not agree with all gamers, but once its cartoonishly appealing visuals and tight gameplay has you, you will struggle to want to play anything else.

It’s not perfect, however. What’s holding Overwatch back is it lacking in modes and making its players put the pieces of its narrative together instead of stitching together any cohesive itself. That being said, when what’s on offer is this good and replayable, it makes a mighty fine case for quality over quantity.

I may have drifted away from the game in recent months, but I had a lot of love to give it in my review:

“Magical. Ridiculous. Exciting. Infuriating. Overwatch is all of those things and much more that’s hard to define. One of the first essential gaming experiences of 2016.”

Buy if: you think Team Fortress 2 should have been made by Pixar.
Avoid if: you need a million modes from your multiplayer games.

 

11 Bloodborne

Bloodborne

FromSoftware’s Bloodborne was one of the first essential PS4 games and it still is, so much so that expectations for a rumoured sequel are astonishingly high. You know your game is good when you punish your players so much that they want to come back for seconds.

Although not a million miles away from the Dark Souls experience we know and love/hate, Bloodborne took what made the series so great, gave it a quicker, more ruthless edge and made something that felt different but absolutely still belonging to the FromSoftware school of pain. If you haven’t played it yet, be sure to pick up its GOTY edition, which comes with DLC to extend your suffering.

Buy if: you like Dark Souls.
Avoid if: you don’t like Dark Souls.

 

12 Inside

Inside

When Playdead released Limbo, it was an indie delight, a dark and challenging puzzle platformer with a tone rarely seen in games before. I mean, you could cause the death of a child over and over and over again. So when Inside came around, we all knew what to expect. But that didn’t stop us from being surprised by just how much better it was.

With an unforgettable aesthetic and minimalist storytelling, Inside gets under your skin. No matter how hard you scratch, you will never be able to get rid of it, whether it’s the scenes of being chased down by dogs or the unsettling use of mind control. Our own Kieran McLoone was smitten with it:

“Inside is definitely a worthy successor to Limbo, and a mesmerising experience throughout. It takes the platformer genre, and propels it far beyond anything you’ve tried before.”

Buy if: you liked Limbo, or just want games to make you feel uncomfortable.
Avoid if: you need every piece of a game to be broken down for you.

 

13 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Nobody’s going to claim that MGSV delivers in the story department. It’s pretty hands-off throughout, leading to arguably one of the weakest (and most confusing) endings in gaming history. If you’re coming to The Phantom Pain looking for a rich soap opera of tactical espionage action, you’re going to leave it feeling very disappointed.

But if you wanted to slide down a hill in a cardboard box before unleashing hell? You’re in for a treat. TPP offers the best gameplay of the series to date, a heady mix of open-world mayhem and straight up nonsense – you can extract animals with balloons, for crying out loud. It’s like a more polished, expansive Far Cry, so if that at all sounds fun to you, say goodbye to Kojima’s Metal Gear series in style.

Buy if: you want to mess around in the desert for dozens of hours.
Avoid if: you think MGS characters should be screaming about Shalashaska every few minutes.

 

14 Titanfall 2

Even if it might not have hit sales expectations, it’s hard not to look at Titanfall 2 as anything but a success. Respawn’s follow-up managed to win back a lot of goodwill that its predecessor squandered, helped in no small part by one of the best FPS single-player campaigns seen in years.

And it kept on giving once the credits rolled on the story, too. Its multiplayer offers some of the purest, most addictive shooting I’ve ever had the pleasure of hollering with joy through. It does a wonderful job of making you feel like an utter badass – zipping through the air and wreaking destruction inside a Titan always feels fresh and exhilarating. I gave it a positive review at launch:

“A passionately produced FPS that shows 99% of the opposition how it should be done, Titanfall 2 deserves to rank alongside the year’s very best.”

Buy if: you want to tuck into some supremely smooth shooting, inside a giant robot or out.
Avoid if: I genuinely can’t think of any reason why you would swerve this. Not an FPS fan, I guess?

 

15 Uncharted 4

Uncharted 4
Image source: YouTube

Perhaps it leans too heavily on its cinematics over gameplay, and maybe it doesn’t do anything new to further the gameplay of the series, but there’s no denying that Uncharted 4 is an awesome spectacle. Naughty Dog seem to revel in throwing gorgeous vistas and extravagant set-pieces at players every few minutes.

With perhaps the strongest story in the franchise to date, it’s easy to get sucked into the family drama of Uncharted 4. There’s also the traditional amount of death-defying stunts and jumps to make, but the game’s highlight? Definitely playing Crash Bandicoot. Here’s Kieran with the verdict, a rare 10/10:

“From every single standpoint, Uncharted 4 is the pinnacle of the series, a technical masterpiece, and one of the best games that I’ve ever played.”

Buy if: you want a satisfying conclusion to Nathan Drake’s arc.
Avoid if: lengthy cutscenes aren’t your thing.

 

16 DOOM

DOOM

There’s a moment early in DOOM where any worries long-time players had were put to bed. As soon as the booming soundtrack synchronises perfectly with Doomguy’s cocking of his shotgun, every single one of the game’s doubters came aboard the ride and refused to get off.

DOOM is everything you could want from a modern reimagining of a series that acted as a template for countless others to follow. It’s breathless, dizzying in the amount of action going on at once, rarely giving the player a second to recuperate before the next batch of bad bastards need their face kicking in. We fell utterly in love with it, as you could probably tell from our review:

“Doom was a revolution in 1993 and in 2016 it has emerged from development hell to pick up exactly where Id left off. It’s a masterful return to form and essential.”

Buy if: you don’t like naughty demons.
Avoid if: you’re too used to modern FPS games to consider an alternative.

 

17 Injustice 2

Injustice 2

It’s quite remarkable how much an improvement Injustice 2 is over the original, which is not meant as a slight at all – NetherRealm Studios somehow added to the overall experience across all departments without taking away a thing from the frenetic, inch-perfect gameplay.

So stuffed with modes and content that it’s like we’re in an earlier generation of gaming, Injustice 2 is just about the most accomplished fighting game currently on the market. Our own Ashley Bates certainly thinks so, going on to give it a pretty super 9/10:

“With its content-rich Multiverse mode and the boundless possibilities of the gear system, the thrilling Story experience, and the superlative game mechanics under the hood, Injustice 2 proves why NetherRealm are setting the pace for all fighting game developers.”

Buy if: you liked Injustice but want it turned up to 11.
Avoid if: you’re allergic to microtransactions.

 

18 What Remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s short and fairly basic in the gameplay department, but if you can allow it, the game will leave a lasting impact on you. It’s been a long time since I played it, and yet it’s never far from my mind. Edith Finch is a modern fable, a bittersweet tale of family and loss.

While you could easily pigeonhole it into the “Walking Simulator” genre, that doesn’t really do it justice. It’s a moving, deeply affecting few hours with so many stories -all beautifully told- that seem like they come from a personal place of the developers. It isn’t technically without fault on PS4, but I could look past that in my review:

“…it’s easy to call Giant Sparrow’s game the new standard-bearer for interactive storytelling, even if it stumbles along the way. Just like the tall tales passed through generations of the Finch family, What Remains of Edith Finch will stay with you for a long time.”

Buy if: you want to lie down, try not to cry, cry a lot.
Avoid if: walking simulators just aren’t your thing.

 

19 Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III

The last goodbye for one of the most infuriating, astonishing series’ ever made proved to be an absolute triumph. By making up for some of the mistakes of the second game and tweaking the experience to take some inspiration from Bloodborne, it’s hard to see how much better FromSoftware could have signed off than they did with Dark Souls III.

All the ingredients of the classic Souls experience are here. Death is more common than breathing, the world’s alive of little details you will never notice the first time around, and the bosses are just as hideous and challenging as ever. It also stands up remarkably well to repeated playthroughs, so sink your teeth into this wonderful nightmare if you haven’t yet.

Buy if: see Bloodborne.
Avoid if: see Bloodborne.

 

20 Dishonored 2

Dishonored 2

The original Dishonored quietly became one of the most beloved games of the last generation, a masterful stealth action title beloved by anyone who’s ever wanted to basically be a Vertigo comic book character come to life. Remarkably, the second game in the series improved on the experience with tighter gameplay and an even more gripping, fantastic visual style.

Just as before, Dishonored 2 flourishes by not holding the hand of the player. Instead, it gifts huge levels to explore at will, allowing players to approach the goal in whichever way they see fit. Our own Nicholas Monahan found it to be a slow-grower, but still a supremely easy game to recommend:

“…Dishonored 2 continues the series tradition of providing addictive, compelling gameplay in a fully realized, incredibly immersive setting.”

Buy if: Metal Gear Solid, Tenchu et al are your bag.
Avoid if: failure isn’t an option for you.

 

 

21 Hitman

Hitman

Decry the episodic format all you like, but IO Interactive’s newest sojourn into bald assassination feels like the freshest the series has been since its Silent Assassin days. Bursting with content, there’s an almost endless amount of ways to stealthily take down a target across the game’s many detailed levels – or you can just be a dick and go full Rambo.

One of the better examples of post-launch support out there, IO have tirelessly worked to add to the Hitman experience over time, regularly adding new Elusive Targets and ways to approach your goals. Apart from possibly Colorado, all of the levels feel like tight, expansive playgrounds to explore murder in at your leisure. Better still, its first level is currently free so you have absolutely no excuses to not give it a try.

Buy if: you want to be a shapeshifter.
Avoid if: you have peladophobia.

 

22 Hyper Light Drifter

Hyper Light Drifter

Cooler than Kurt Russell on a hoverboard with several cigars in his mouth, Hyper Light Drifter is a visual delight with the gameplay to match. Many indie games try to replicate the basic beauty of NES-era titles, but few do it with quite as much aplomb as this gorgeous romp.

If you’re looking for a narrative that throws all of its thread in your face, Hyper Light Drifter may not be for you. Instead, it opts for the abstract with the player’s own creativity needed to fill in the blanks. It’s a retro-soaked dream, and one that is almost irresistible once it gets going. Seek it out.

Buy if: you wondered what would happen if Link had an acid trip.
Avoid if: minimalist storytelling grinds your gears.

 

23 Nex Machina

Nex Machina
Source: PS Blog

Housemarque do what they do better than almost anyone: making twin-stick shooting feel as fresh as always. While Nex Machina might not offer a drastic change in the format, it does what it does so well that it’s easy to just sink into your chair and try not to get overwhelmed with the mess currently unfolding on screen.

Once you think you have the game figured out, it flips the tables and turns the difficulty up to another level. It reminds me a lot of Furi in that the screen fills up with a nearly insurmountable amount of projectiles and enemies. The going will be tough and failure will come frequently, but I will be damned if it isn’t near euphoric every time you get over the many hurdles it throws your way.

Buy if: you like twin-stick shooting. Pretty simple.
Avoid if: you don’t like twin-stick shooting. Pretty simple.

 

24 Fallout 4

Fallout 4
Image source: wall404.com

As polarising as it turned out to be, there’s still quite a lot to like about Fallout 4. There’s a huge amount to see, do, and shoot, so there are at least of few dozen hours of immersion to get lost in here. Sure, a lot of it may be streamlined for a wider audience, but if you can look past that and accept it for what it is, there’s a great deal of fun to be had.

Fallout’s all about the memorable moments, and 4 has them in spades. Nobody will ever forget their first Deathclaw encounter, or some of the lovable companions you will meet along the way, but don’t let any of this distract you from the fact that another settlement needs your help.

Buy if: you just want to explore a post-apocalyptic world.
Avoid if: you can’t live with Bethesda branded bugs and glitches.

 

25 The Talos Principle

The Talos Principle

A puzzle game so good that it easily made me look past my hatred of the genre, The Talos Principle just works. It’s sumptuous to look at, full of little story details that add to the picture, and replete with genius puzzles that will have you scurrying to YouTube in no time at all.

Even as you struggle through the game’s many chin-strokers, it’s nigh on impossible to tear yourself away from it, just because you don’t want to miss out on what the devilish minds at Croteam have to taunt and frustrate you with next. It’s getting a sequel, and I can’t wait to delve back into the world that contributed to my positive review:

“By staying true to itself and the story it’s telling, the game approaches puzzles in a way that is more engaging than it has any right to be, especially for puzzle haters like myself. If you’re looking for a game with a bit more under the hood, look no further.”

Buy if: you want a puzzle game with meat on its bones.
Avoid if: you’re lacking B vitamins. This game will mentally beat your ass.

 

26 Tales From the Borderlands

I could just quite simply drop an embed of the finger gun scene and call it a day here, but I won’t. Tales From the Borderlands is a game of such constant laughs and heart that it deserved to rank alongside the best that Telltale have ever produced. Not bad for a spin-off that many people didn’t even know they wanted.

Boasting a great cast of characters, some of the most varied gameplay you will ever see in a Telltale game, and a story that boasts enough twists and turns to make your head fall of, Tales From the Borderlands is essential. It managed to make a believer of me, and I can’t even say that I have much fondness for Borderlands as a whole. It’s just that damn good.

Buy if: you want to laugh for hours.
Avoid if: Telltale’s brand of storytelling rubs you up the wrong way.

 

27 Destiny

Destiny

Wait, wait. As wildly polarising as Destiny is, the recommendation here comes with a caveat. If you’re going to pick it up, make sure you get its full edition otherwise you might be left a little underwhelmed. The vanilla days of Destiny were dark days indeed.

It’s impossible to say that Bungie’s space epic lived up to the hype, but it can still be an absolute blast with friends in tow. The gunplay is satisfying and the freedom of exploration is relatively well released, making Destiny the perfect game to relax with some friends with. Between you and I, though, you may want to wait around for its sequel.

Buy if: you have friends to play with.
Avoid if: you don’t want to essentially do the same thing over and over.

 

28 Rocket League

Rocket League
Image source: Kotaku

The best game ever given away for “free” with PlayStation Plus, Rocket League is one of the biggest success stories ever seen in gaming. It went from a surprise hit to a worldwide phenomenon and shows no signs of slowing down. Once you’ve sunk an hour or two into it, you’ll know why.

Football (or soccer, to you American sorts) with cars is an idea so simple that you wonder why someone didn’t come up with it sooner. Well, Psyonix actually did with Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, but they refined the formula for Rocket League and made it just about most addictive game on the market. Flip, spin, and boost your way to victory, or completely miss the ball and have your teammates swear at you. It’s one or the other with this game.

Buy if: you want fast-paced multiplayer fun that’s tense as heck.
Avoid if: you aren’t willing to put in the practice.

 

29 Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

What’s this? A licensed game that’s actually worth your money? To say that Shadow of Mordor was a pleasant surprise would be an understatement: it was easily one of the best games of 2014. It borrows a lot of its ideas from other established franchises, but it all comes together in one immensely satisfying brew of swords and orcs.

What makes it stand out from the rest, however, is its Nemesis System. An inventive way of varying the gameplay, Nemesis creates nemeses for Talion (the game’s gruff, bereaved protagonist) to battle against on multiple occasions with interesting twists each time. While this might not sound all that amazing, it is when you couple it with the smooth, killer combat.

Buy if: you want to be Legolas sliding down the stairs in Two Towers.
Avoid if: Tolkien’s lore is really special to you; this kind of takes some liberties.

 

30 Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4
Source: Ubisoft

Don’t fix what ain’t broke, just give it a next-gen polish and a bad guy in a pink suit instead. That was pretty much Ubisoft’s thinking when it came to Far Cry 4 after the rampant success of 3, proving that wholesale change isn’t always required. FC4 is just more of the same open-world collecting and murdering, but this time there’s elephants.

Pagan Min might not hold a candle to Vaas in the villain department, but so few can. It all feels slightly less essential than it did last time out, though it’s hard not to enjoy the ride all the same. Get ready to collect some plants, shoot some defenseless animals, and marvel at crab rangoon.

Buy if: you loved Far Cry 3.
Avoid if: Ubisoft’s open-world template doesn’t do it for you.

 

31 Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2

The traditional Ubisoft sequel renaissance, Watch Dogs 2 took the parts that made Watch Dogs good, tweaked all the bad, slapped on a coat of neon, and produced something that the first game seriously lacked: fun. Gone were the dour story and bland characters, replaced with bright colours and perfect jump-in-and-out gameplay.

Everything the first game should have been, Watch Dogs 2 won back plenty of fans for the series and shows that every dog has its day (sorry). Our own James Thomas had a lot of fun with it, but admitted that some of the dialogue is vomit-inducing:

“A solid game that is worth dipping in and out of. With an interesting storyline and rich game world, it offers a new and unique style of play that we haven’t seen very often.”

Buy if: you need a fun open-world to unwind in.
Avoid if: you can’t deal with some cheesy “hip” dialogue.

 

32 Thumper

Thumper

Long live the rhythm game: a genre so stuffed with quality that we could all be excused for wanting to quit our jobs and become full-time bassists instead. Along with games like Aaero, Thumper is leading the charge for new, inventive wave of rhythm titles, but it’s the mayhem and edge-of-your-set nature of Thumper that helps it make the cut here.

Timing perfection is required if you want your little jumping beetle to come out unscathed, but Thumper never really splits its players in terms of difficulty enough to make it a hindrance – with enough practice, even the most beat-deficient of players will be able to feel musical magicians. Be warned, though: this might not be a game you want to play while one any kind of drug.

Buy if: Dance Dance Revolution is too tame for your tastes.
Avoid if: you are high as a kite in the sky.

 

33 Batman: Arkham Knight

It may come with 99% too much Batmobile and its storyline may err on the obvious side, but Arkham Knight continues to succeed in making you feel like the goddamn Batman. The smooth combat and absolutely beautiful visuals make it almost too tempting to don the cowl as you break bones and stop crime.

It’s basically The Dark Knight Rises of the Arkham: it makes some pretty silly decisions and may even annoy you the closer you look at it. But make no mistake, the first time you glide through the air feels just as satisfying as it did in the seminal Arkham City. Give up on even trying for the Platinum this time out, though: the frustration of the Riddler challenges just isn’t worth the hassle.

Buy if: you’re not a PC gamer.
Avoid if: you’re a PC gamer.

 

34 Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Disappointing to some, wonderful to others, the third Dragon Age game absolutely splits opinion. Some decry its busywork while others applaud it as more content to sink your time into. The only way to find out for yourself is to give it a try; it’s dirt cheap these days.

BioWare’s jaunt into Thedas comes with plenty of political shuffling and social commentary, but is overall just a solid, worthwhile RPG. The combat is dense but not too complex, its characters memorable and likeable, and its depth of gameplay will allow you to sink hours into it without even realising it. Just remember that Iron Bull is the best and you should have a whale of a time here.

Buy if: you like your RPGs to come with an almost unending supply of sidequests.
Avoid if: you’re no fan of BioWare’s sometimes patchy writing and questionable plots.

 

35 Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley
Source: YouTube

Tired of the real world? Want to dive into a pixelated full of wonder (and various flowers)? Stardew Valley is the game for you, the perfect antithesis to the stresses of the 9-5 and all the bullshit that comes with it. If you aren’t careful, though, you might find yourself caring about your crops more than your actual loved ones – this game will suck you all the way in.

The most appealing thing about Stardew Valley is the pace it allows you to set. You can either go hell for leather in your quest to become the greatest farmer who ever farmed, or you can take a much more scenic route to agricultural fame, making friends with the local townspeople with daily supplies of vegetables as bribes. It’s one of the most relaxing games you will ever play and an easy recommendation for anyone just wanting something a bit different.

Buy if: you ever wanted to move to the country but the logistics of doing it for real makes it impossible.
Avoid if: you’ve played Harvest Moon before and didn’t like what you found.

 

36 InFamous: Second Son

InFamous: Second Son
Source: mattbrett.com

Poor Second Son, the PS4 exclusive that everyone seems to forget about. Much like Dead Rising 3, it was lumped with plenty of gimmicks to push the “innovations” of the system that now just feel antiquated. Still, what you will get with Second Son is what all the previous inFamous games offered: the chance to be a superhero.

Its city might often feel a little dead and the story leaves a lot to be desired, but Second Son is good fun if you want to leap around at will and occasionally spray some graffiti. The guys at Sucker Punch have been mighty quiet for a while, so here’s hoping the series gets another shot in the arm sometime down the line. As long as they can get a protagonist that everyone can agree on, they should do just fine.

Buy if: you liked the previous inFamous games but wish they had a spit polish.
Avoid if: affable protagonists are important to you.

 

37 Gravity Rush 2

Gravity Rush 2
Source: Polygon

The original Gravity Rush was unfortunate in its circumstances, landing on a portable console that was never shown enough love by those who made it. With its remastering for the PS4, however, a broader audience was found and its sequel’s success on the system was almost guaranteed.

Gravity Rush 2 isn’t a major overhaul of the gravity-defying madness found in its predecessor, but it does offer new ways to play and the endearing strangeness which won it so many fans the first time around. It’s more ambitious, larger, and simply still fun to mess with perspective on a whim. If you want a massive open-world game that doesn’t feel like it fits in a template, give Gravity Rush 2 a try.

Buy if: you want to enjoy some unique ideas well realised.
Avoid if: it may just be too damn quirky for some.

 

38 Until Dawn

Until Dawn
Image source: PlayStation

Supermassive Games’ Until Dawn is an absolute hoot, a delightful subversion of the trope-tastic genre it belongs to and a worthy showcase for the power of the PS4 – Rami Malek’s expressionless expressions look completely realistic and a little unnerving.

To categorise it neatly, you would have to say that Until Dawn graduated from the same school as most Telltale games, but that doesn’t really do it justice. It has many winding narrative paths and decisions that can mean life or death, making it one of the best examples of its kind in this current generation. It might not appeal to everyone, though you should at least play it with some friends before you knock it.

Buy if: you want a different kind of horror game.
Avoid if: gameplay-lite, narrative-driven stuff isn’t your thing.

 

39 Wolfenstein: The New Order

Wolfenstein: The New Order

If DOOM was a revelation, Bethesda’s earlier bullet massacre masterpiece laid the foundations for its success. MachineGames’ The New Order proved to be a joyously successful return to the early roots of FPS games: guns, guns, some more guns, and lots of Nazis to use them on.

Despite arguably only needing a shooting gallery of nasty men to kill to make itself a great game, the return of Wolfenstein also brought with a pulpy yet grim narrative to make it all make (sort of) sense. Even with such a depressing tone, The New Order still feels like a worthwhile palate cleanser, something to dip in and out of while you relieve stress and retrieve Gnatzi scalps.

Buy if: you like guns. Lots of guns.
Avoid if: you think Nazis are misunderstood.

 

40 The Sexy Brutale

The Sexy Brutale

An ideal game for people who hate puzzle games, The Sexy Brutale is a macabre little adventure into a hotel where all the guests are being killed off. If that doesn’t instantly get you intrigued, I don’t know what will – this is a game bursting with originality.

Whether it’s the black humour, interesting time-bending mechanics, or the only obvious solutions to puzzles once you’ve mastered them, The Sexy Brutale stands out. It’s immaculately designed and has a pitch-perfect tone, which all combines to help you forget that it’s a puzzle game when all is said and done. If you haven’t checked out this gem yet, check out my review:

“The perfect puzzle game for people who hate puzzle games, The Sexy Brutale is a darkly comedic adventure that will hook you throughout the headaches it brings.”

Buy if: you’ve ever wanted a Monty Python-esque game of Cluedo.
Avoid if: you don’t want to feel like an idiot.

 

41 Alien: Isolation

Alien: Isolation
Image Source: GameZone

An idea so simple yet effective that you have to wonder why someone didn’t do it sooner, Alien: Isolation pits you as the daughter of the infamous Ripley aboard a space station with a bit of a violent guest. A xenomorph is lurking in the darkness, always ready to eat your face off and just generally be a bit of a dick, owing to just how solid its AI is.

The constant threat of death isn’t the only incentive to creep through this tense horror game from Creative Assembly, though. It’s a faithful replication of the aesthetic seen in Ridley Scott’s celebrated movie that kicked it all off. If you’re a long-time fan of the franchise, you’re going to be totally in your element here.

Buy if: you’re any kind of Alien fan.
Avoid if: you struggle with trial and error gameplay.

 

42 Dying Light

Dying Light

Dying Light is a game that just won’t die. Despite releasing right at the start of 2015, it’s had a constant stream of updates pouring into it in the years since with developers Techland only just recently revealing that more was yet to come. If you’re looking for the complete zombie game package, look no further.

Exhilaratingly fun and nail-bitingly tense at the same time, Dying Light mixes an open-world, the undead, and parkour into something quite unique and a game that not enough people appreciate. Sure, its story isn’t amazing and its conclusion leaves a lot to be desired, but for the sheer amount of content and different ways to dispatch of zombies, it’s hard to beat. I reviewed The Following edition of the game and fell in love:

“If you’re yet to check out the original Dying Light, this Enhanced Edition is the perfect way to introduce yourself to what could be the start of a phenomenal franchise.”

Buy if: you want to dropkick zombies off of a bridge.
Avoid if: zombies aren’t your thing.

 

43 RiME

RiME

A game long in the making, but was it worth the wait? Well, its inclusion on this kind of makes that obvious – RiME is a charming, delightful platformer with enough personality to see it past any of its missteps. It’s serene and relaxing to unwind with, sitting back and watching as the Boy traverses the game’s gorgeous scapes.

Heavy on exploration, RiME doesn’t like to hold the hand of the player, instead taking the minimalist approach by showing them a vista and seeing if they can reach it. Our own Mieke swooned over the game, calling it one of the best of the year already:

“…this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly was mine. With a magnificent soundtrack, stunning visuals and a compelling story, it ranks amongst the most memorable games I have played this year and probably will for a long time.”

Buy if: you’re a sucker for a good landscape.
Avoid if: you want something just a little less “indie”.

 

44 Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Nobody’s going to claim that Mankind Divided is a masterpiece, or even the best Deus Ex game of the past two generations. It’s much too short, ending abruptly without warning and nudging players in the direction of DLC for the whole picture. Not ideal, but when you focus on what the game does well, it’s absolutely still worth a look.

It retains a lot of what made Human Revolution so good without particularly advancing it, instead just giving more powers to the player and (somehow) even more oppressive playground to use them in. Still, if you’re looking for a decent stealth action RPG which lets you approach scenarios as you see fit, it does a great job. Just don’t put it on a pedestal and you should find something to enjoy in what might be the last Deus Ex game for quite some time.

Buy if: Human Revolution made you feel like a gruff robotbro in a good way.
Avoid if: you like satisfying endings. Weirdo.

 

45 The Surge

The Surge

Another “Dark Souls But In/With [insert USP]” game, The Surge did its very best to convince people than it was more than what it looked like, succeeding in doing so for the most part. It’s its own thing, a painfully difficult sci-fi game with some (not all) ideas originating from the Soulsborne School of Hard Knocks.

If you take it at face value, you might be missing out: The Surge offers slick combat, a satisfying crafting systems, and mechs to bludgeon stuff inside of. It certainly scratches any itch you may have to be utterly punished by a video game, something which Dean alluded to in his review:

“It is a punishingly difficult game, but failure rarely feels unfair. It is certainly not one to be overlooked, especially if, like me, you are looking for your latest Dark Souls or Bloodborne fix.”

Buy if: you like Soulsborne.
Avoid if: you don’t like Soulsborne.

 

46 Tekken 7

Tekken 7

The ultimate fighting series for anyone to pick up and play, Tekken has been offering approachable gameplay for years, a tradition which Tekken 7 gladly keeps. Its simplicity is its biggest selling point: even the most gnarled of grandmothers could probably cheese a win over their grandson.

But it’s not without a couple of problems, namely the lightness of its content. If you’re also coming to Tekken for the gripping storyline, you’re probably in the wrong place for that to begin with but you’re still going to be a little disappointed. Still, get the family around and kick seven shades of shit out of them with this satisfying fighter all the same. Ashley Bates enjoyed it for his review:

“The meagre selection of modes and underwhelming story in Tekken 7 might put off the lonesome player, but if you’ve got two controllers and a friend/sibling/partner to play with, Tekken 7 will keep you occupied forever. Besides, where else are you going to see a bear smack seven shades out of a vampire wearing a Bullet Club t-shirt?”

Buy if: you have a grudge with your brother dating back to Tekken 3.
Avoid if: you’ve been utterly spoilt by the content on show in Injustice 2.

 

47 The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian was never truly going to live up the lofty expectations that were thrust upon it after years and years of waiting. Team ICO are fantastic developers, but even they can’t bring a game out of development hell without some problems – The Last Guardian certainly shows its age in some areas.

If you can look past some of its awkwardness, though, The Last Guardian will totally charm you. The tale of a boy and his birddogthing, it’s an emotional, strangely relatable game with a good heart. Dan Solomon, when he managed to stop weeping, reviewed it for us and rated it highly:

“If you think the Uncharted series features too many humans and has too much story, give this sparse game about a boy and his oversized companion a spin.”

Buy if: you want a beautiful platformer with tonnes of love poured into it.
Avoid if: shonky companion AI is your weakness.

 

48 Prey

Prey

It may not have been the next Prey game we wanted, but Bethesda and Arkane’s sci-fi shooter impressed nonetheless. Just like Arkane’s Dishonored, Prey is a slow-grower, meaning some of its missteps become less important as you get sucked further and further into its intrigue.

Prey shows its hand early in the gameplay department so some of its shocks wear off after a few hours, but it’s the story where it truly shines. Nicholas Monahan was quick to acknowledge its faults and equally fast in praising what Prey does right in his review:

“It is marred rather significantly by stale combat, a few easily-broken quests that snuck by QC and a clear preference in its intended playstyle, but Prey’s story, setting and unmistakable character nonetheless make it well worth a run through.”

Buy if: you want Dishonored and Bioshock to have a baby.
Avoid if: repetitive gameplay wears on you particularly quickly.

 

49 Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon

Quick tip: do not play Darkest Dungeon if you’re at a low ebb in your life. It’s a seriously misanthropic experience, ridding you of characters you love with all the sensitivity with chainsaws for horns. The dark in the title means something, you know.

If you’re ready to get dragged down in the mire, however, Darkest Dungeon seriously shines. Thanks to its unique approach to mental health, this is an RPG that asks you to balance the wellbeing of your party and the allure of the loot. Can you risk them losing their minds for a shiny thing? Of course you can and you probably will, but you should rightly feel like an asshole immediately afterwards.

Buy if: you wondered what a Square Enix and Tim Burton collaboration would like.
Avoid if: you’re quick to get stressed over the lives of digital people.

 

50 Little Nightmares

Little Nightmares

Tarsier’s grim platformer might look like it’s trying to ape Playdead, but Little Nightmares goes to some even more shocking places. As horrifying as some of its scenes may be, its sumptuous and distinctive art style means it’s nigh on impossible to tear your eyes away.

Much like Inside and Limbo, Little Nightmares makes you feel extremely vulnerable, chucking stuff your way that could kill you without hesitation. It’s Tarsier who win out on character design, though, its “boss” characters and evil ship lurkers more twisted and ghastly than even the most unsightly of old oil paintings. It’s quite short, something which I mentioned in my review:

“With minor gripes to consider, Little Nightmares is still one of the easiest recommendations I’ve ever made. It’s utterly distinctive, gripping, and darker than it lets on, but it’s over much too soon, whether that’s a fault of the pacing or myself just becoming too immersed in the squalor.”

Buy if: Inside and Limbo just aren’t dark enough for you.
Avoid if: the above games didn’t do anything for you.

 

51 Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV
Source: Gamespot

A radically different Final Fantasy to anything we’ve seen before, Final Fantasy XV proved to be a divisive but satisfying (car) journey. It was stuck in development for years upon years and looked like it may never come out, but the crazy amount of ambition poured into this game turned into one of the most expansive, content-rich RPGs on the market.

As far as its story goes, XV doesn’t enrapture as much as it arguably should with such a large cast of characters at its disposal, but you will struggle to not be enamoured by the Boys On Tour all the same. With decent post-launch support, it’s definitely worth a look. Our own James Thomas enjoyed what he found:

“A fantastic new instalment to the revered Final Fantasy series with some amazing new characters, a mind-blowing new world to explore and some amazing characters. This is a gem for both new players and veterans of the series alike.”

Buy if: you wanted Zoolander to have swords.
Avoid if: you aren’t keen on action-oriented RPGs.

 

52 Driveclub

Driveclub
Source: gearnuke.com

There’s definitely no glut of racing games on this list; fans of the genre seem better suited to the Xbox than PlayStation. But too many people have been overlooking one of the best racing games of this generation, myself included when I wrote this list. And I’ve played Driveclub for hours and hours, totally failing to master corners and screaming with joy when I manage not to crash for twenty seconds.

Quite why Driveclub is seen as a failure by many is a bit of a mystery. It certainly didn’t prove to be an outright flop, but it never reached the heights as a Gran Turismo and Forza competitor that Sony no doubt hoped it would. Still, thanks to some excellent post-launch support, Driveclub is one of the most complete racing games on the market. It also seems premade to sell Spotify subscriptions – there’s nothing quite like cruising around corners to some synthwave.

Buy if: racing games are your thing but you’re sick of the competition.
Avoid if: Mario Kart is your level.

 

53 God of War

God of War

This generation of gaming has been all about revitalising old franchises, putting a spin on well-worn conventions and delivering something completely different. God of War is possibly the most successful and accomplished example of that, a game that not only does its name justice but also stands above as the best entry in the series to date.

If this was a list in any order, God of War would be the best PS4 game there is. Featuring a storyline worth investing your time and heart into, a massive overhaul of combat, and a father/son dynamic at its center that’s completely captivating, God of War on PS4 should be your first buy of 2018. Hell, it might be a ballsy call, but God of War could go down as the best game of the year already.

Buy if: you love Kratos and his fatherly ways.
Avoid if: you work for social services.

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