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.
We may have drifted away from the game in recent months, but we had a lot of love to give it in our 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.
17. Persona 5
Developer: P-Studio Publisher: Atlus
The wait was worth it: Persona 5 dropped early 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.
18. Red Dead Redemption 2
Developer: Rockstar Games Publisher: Take-Two Interactive
Red Dead Redemption 2 promised to show that Rockstar were no longer content to sit around on their laurels with GTA Online, but did it deliver? Apart from some controls that take some getting used to and a couple of straight up bizarre mechanics, Red Dead Redemption 2 may well just provide the best open world to explore in all of gaming.
When you’re done skinning everything or completing the side quests, the story of Red Dead Redemption 2 is also something that you won’t want to miss. Arthur Morgan is an exceptional protagonist and every inch the perfect stand-in for John Marston as he anchors a haunting tale of the end of outlaws that is surprisingly emotive. Once RDR2 has you, say goodbye to pretty much everything else.
“Despite it having some wrinkles, Red Dead Redemption 2 introduces more than enough innovations to provide one of the most immersive and captivating open world games ever made.”
Buy if: you loved the original game and just want the next evolutionary step. Avoid if: Rockstar controls deeply upset you.
19. Resident Evil 2
Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom
It’s hard to get remakes right, especially those for properties that are basically untouchable. Luckily for us, Capcom approached the Resident Evil 2 remake with as much care and attention as a brand new game while also staying close to what made the original game such an undoubted favourite.
A major overhaul sees Resident Evil 2 looking every inch the modern game while also playing like one of the most frightening games of its generation — no easy feat considering you’re a lot less vulnerable this time out. Treasure the time you have before Mr. X lifts up that helicopter and stomps his way towards you.
“Resident Evil 2 is, quite simply, one of the best remakes of all-time. Capcom have nailed their new vision of a classic just like they did back in 2002 by modernising a decades old game to feel like something completely fresh. Whether you want to take a trip down memory lane or are just experiencing the disconcerting decadence of the police station for the first time, Resident Evil 2 is the first essential purchase of 2019.”
Buy if: you want a faithful refresh of a Resident Evil classic series that’s showing age. Avoid if: tank controls are vital to your love of Resi.
20. Rocket League
Developer: Psyonix Publisher: Psyonix
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.
Quite how Tetris became cool again is something that only Tetris Effect can answer: a stylish and emotive ride through existence that will have the hairs on your arms on end while your head bops along to its beautiful beats.
While the main Tetris experience is the same, it’s in the presentation and overall mood of the game in which Tetris Effect excels. If you’ve never played Tetris (somehow) or just want to possibly reconnect with a childhood favourite, this is the perfect way to do so, whether in virtual reality or not.
“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.”
Buy if: you have some pent-up feelings you need to unleash. Avoid if: you want to be the best at a game. Somebody will always be better than you at Tetris.
22. Titanfall 2
Developer: Respawn Publisher: EA
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, making it one of the best PS4 FPS games in the process.
And it kept on giving once the credits rolled on the story, too. Its multiplayer offers some of the purest, most addictive shooting we’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. We 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: We genuinely can’t think of any reason why you would swerve this. Not an FPS fan, we guess?
23. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Developer: Naughty Dog Publisher: SIE
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, making Uncharted 4 one of the best PS4 games at showing off the console’s potential.
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.
24. What Remains of Edith Finch
Developer: Supermassive Games Publisher: SIE
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 we played it, and yet it’s never far from our minds. 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 we could look past that in our 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.
25. The Witcher 3
Developer: CD Projekt Red Publisher: CD Projekt
As a game so densely packed with content (and sex), The Witcher 3 is a role playing game that’s 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, we don’t have to say goodbye to Geralt anytime soon. Which is good, because we managed to get the worst possible ending. It’s nearly four years later and we’re still not over it.We 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.