According to some names in the industry, single player games are dead and nobody wants them anymore. It’s all about the live service these days, the multiplayer games that can retain players and keep them coming back day after day. A cursory glance at the best PS4 single player games proves that that’s absolute nonsense.
Sony have really been pushing to maintain the fun for solo players this generation with most of their biggest and best exclusives being geared towards offline play. In fact, the best PS4 only games are all single player in nature and have far more renown than their live service or battle royale counterparts, which are almost never essential from day one. Single player games don’t have that defect: they, by and large, ship complete and tell their stories without having to make compromises.
That ethos has paid dividends for Sony this generation. From a technical perspective, the PS4 and Xbox One aren’t really that far apart, so the “superiority” comes down to mainly the games on offer. The PlayStation 4 is leaps and bounds of the Xbox One in this regard, which has struggled to provide many great exclusives, let alone those that are single player.
Sony started slowly after the PS4 launched before really ramping it up with a single player focused strategy consisting of fresh spins on beloved franchises, long-awaited sequels, and even new IP. They’re still not through, either.
If you’re tired of the way the industry is going, there’s no shortage of brilliant single player experiences for you to enjoy on your PlayStation 4. We’ve gone for an eclectic mix of first-person shooters, roguelike throwbacks, and open worlds in this list, which is in alphabetical order and is not a ranking. We’re also excluding remasters for the sake of variety.
Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft Exclusive? No
Trurthfully, we could include just about any AC game here (apart from maybe Unity and the patchy III) and it would fit right at home, such is the breadth and scope available in each of the historic open worlds Ubisoft have to offer.
But Odyssey lets you kick dudes off of Ancient Greek mountains like in 300, so it automatically earns itself a spot over the others.
The most expansive and content-packed game in the franchise, Odyssey almost completely ditches its stealth origins for something more akin to an action RPG. Though Origins may have started the formula shift, Odyssey totally embraces it, floating damage numbers and grinding and all.
If that doesn’t sound like it’s up your alley, check out Black Flag and get sailing instead.
2. Astro Bot Rescue Mission (PSVR)
Developer: SIE Japan Studio Publisher: SIE Exclusive? Yes
Yes, while not everyone can play Astro Bot as the adoption rate of the PSVR isn’t that high, it deserves to be here regardless as it’s a shot of sugar and happiness straight to the veins. There’s a reason why so many people compare it to Mario.
A platformer that makes innovative use of the PSVR headset to allow you to see your surroundings and secrets, Astro Bot tasks you with making your way through some gloriously vibrant worlds as you save your equally miniature friends. There’s a tonne of content, which is made all the more appealing by just how inviting it is to dig into as you never know what kind of surprising delight is around the corner.
Astro Bot is a wonderfully simple game that will appeal to anyone who grew up on a steady diet of Croc and Crash. May just be worth picking up a PSVR headset on its own for.
The most infamously punishing single player PS4 game there is, Bloodborne does allow you to depend on other players in some sticky situations, but true Hunters stay the gruesome course all on their lonesome.
Bloodborne is part of the Soulsborne family, which means one thing: death. This eldritchian horror is not for the faint of heart, but once you master the rhythm of combat and the necessity to be aggro over conservative, Bloodborne really comes alive.
There are rumours of Bloodborne 2 at some point in the future that refuse to go away, but with the original now being down to a very fair price indeed, it’s still a worthwhile purchase for those who haven’t played it since it came out in 2015.
It’s okay. You have to face your fears.
4. Concrete Genie
Developer: Pixelopus Publisher: SIE Exclusive? Yes
Sony have been all about creativity this generation, Concrete Genie a cousin of Media Molecule’s incredibly expansive Dreams that allows you to paint a town back to life.
You paint by using the DualShock 4’s motion controls while selecting from preset designs earned by exploring the world. The real highlight of the game, however, are the eponymous genies, who follow you everywhere as long as they have a wall to be on.
Part-puzzler, part-platformer, Concrete Genie is a heartwarming game about friendship and overcoming darkness that features some of the cutest characters of 2019, as well as a deep well of customisation to make it truly your own canvas.
Concrete Genie may have flown under many people’s radars, but it really shouldn’t.
“Concrete Genie paints a pretty picture that’s hard to resist. Here’s hoping Sony continue to support smaller, more creative ventures like Concrete Genie again as we move into the next generation and beyond.”
5. Days Gone
Developer: SIE Bend Studio Publisher: SIE Exclusive? Yes
Probably the “roughest” entry on this list of PS4 single player games, Days Gone isn’t what you would call a perfect game. It has flaws that threaten to derail it early on, but stick with it and you will be rewarded.
Playing as Deacon St. John, a nihilistic drifter, you must do odd jobs for different camps after the world ends thanks to a virus turning most people into crazed “Freakers”, who want nothing more than a nibble.
Deacon is a complex and evolving character, someone you may go from hating to loving within the game’s robust playtime — it’ll take you 40-50 hours just to get through its story.
The critical reviews weren’t great, but Days Gone can just go down as an underrated gem as a result.
“Sure, it’s clunky at points, has enough rough edges to cut someone, and is perhaps too slow in getting to the good stuff, but give Days Gone and Deacon a chance and they will win you over.”
6. Dead Cells
Developer: Motion Twin Publisher: Motion Twin Exclusive? No
A “roguevania” long in the making, Dead Cells may be the very best example of a modern game being inspired by the classics. It lacks the visual oomph of the rest of the PS4 single player games here, but it makes up for it with the most important thing of all: the gameplay.
You play as a suit of worms as you make your through increasingly difficult, randomised levels. That’s about as simply as we can describe Dead Cells, but there’s actually a lot going on under the surface of this indie gem. The sense of progression is palpable, you capable of defeating bosses on repeat runs to the point where they’re like every other enemy.
Whether you’re grinding out for better upgrades or just fancy one more run (that turns into twenty), Dead Cells may just be the most replayable game on this list.
“An utterly compelling and challenging ride, Dead Cells is a dense and consistently evolving game that is what every budding Early Access game should aspire to become.”
7. Devil May Cry 5
Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom Exclusive? No
To say that not everybody saw eye-to-eye on DmC, the previous entry in the series, would be an understatement. Learning from some of the game’s harshest critics, Capcom and series mainstays took over development of the franchise once again with the hugely impressive Devil May Cry 5 in 2019.
With three playable characters and an attitude that belongs in the pages of an early noughties comic book (in a good way), Devil May Cry 5 is about as bombastic and outright fun a single player game you can get on your PS4. If you’ve been having a bad day, the game really excels at making you feel like a badass.
“Multiplayer and loading screens aside, Devil May Cry 5 is exactly what it was meant to be and more. With a great plot, beautiful visuals, and near perfect gameplay, Capcom delivers possibly the best Devil May Cry to date.”
Developer: id Software Publisher: Bethesda Exclusive? No
After the beta for its multiplayer failed to impress many, DOOM 2016’s single player came in clutch to remind everyone just how damn good shooting demons and punching them in the throat can feel.
Hailed as the renaissance of id Software (and the franchise as a whole), DOOM 2016 has no pretensions about what kind of FPS it is. There’s no cover, no automatic healing, and no gimmicks beyond the ones that have been a part of the franchise since it started.
It is DOOM at its purest, a tour de force of violence and metal that makes you feel like peak Dolph Lundgren riding a polar bear into the battle. Sure, it’s short, but if it’s cathartic demon slaying you want, there’s no reason why it can’t be a stress reliever you dip in and out of.
“Doom is brilliant. As a shooter it’s a breath of fresh air that, rather than being in thrall to recreating the second hand spectacle of blockbuster movies, succeeds because it wholly embraces its gaming heritage and puts the spectacle in the hands of players to create themselves.”
9. Dying Light
Developer: Techland Publisher: Techland Publishing/WB Games Exclusive? No
Listen, right, we aren’t going to stop singing the praises of Dying Light until someone physically makes us. While not necessarily a “cult” game in the traditional sense, Dying Light hasn’t achieved the amount of love and attention it deserves since launching in 2015. How can a game featuring parkour and zombies not have all of the love?
Dying Light chucks players into an exotic, overrun city by the name of Harran as they look to find a cure for the zombie virus that’s made everyone a bit nibbly. While the days are fairly sedate, allowing you to dropkick bastards like there’s no tomorrow, Dying Light turns into one of the PlayStation 4’s best horror games at night.
With meaty side-content to tuck into once you’ve dusted off the main campaign and a hugely ambitious looking sequel on the horizon for sometime soon, you can pick up Dying Light for relative pennies, so there’s no excuse not to try it.
10. Fallout 4
Developer: Bethesda Publisher: Bethesda Exclusive? No
Yes, it’s nowhere near New Vegas and streamlines some things it shouldn’t, but at least it’s not Fallout 76, which is the prime example of why single player is sometimes better.
When the bombs fall, you and your family escape to a fallout shelter and are frozen to be awoken when things settle down. Partway through, your wife is murdered and your son is captured, leading you to chase down the culprits in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
The dialogue options may not be as robust and the lore slightly more on the shallow side, but make no mistake: Fallout 4 is still a great Fallout game and a great game overall.
There are potentially hundreds of hours of content on offer, so much in fact that you could be forgiven for just playing it like a rockstar widower and forgetting about your son altogether.