If you can believe it, Sony’s PlayStation 4 turns four years old in November. In that time, 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.
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
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.
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 exclusive 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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