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.