According to some names in the industry, single player games are a thing of the past 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, even with the release of a brand new PlayStation.
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. Bear in mind that all of these games will also work on PlayStation 5 thanks to backwards compatibility.
BEST PS4 SINGLE PLAYER GAMES: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey | Astro Bot Rescue Mission | Batman: Arkham Knight | Bloodborne | Concrete Genie | Days Gone | Dead Cells | Devil May Cry 5 | DOOM Eternal | Dying Light | Fallout 4 | Final Fantasy VII Remake | God of War | Horizon Zero Dawn | The Last Guardian | The Last of Us Part II | Ghost of Tsushima | Marvel’s Spider-Man | Nier: Automata | Persona 5 | Red Dead Redemption 2 | Resident Evil 2 | Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice | Shadow of the Colossus | Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order | Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End | Until Dawn | What Remains of Edith Finch | The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt | Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
1. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
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. Origins and Valhalla are also worth checking and also absolutely massive open world RPGs.
2. Astro Bot Rescue Mission (PSVR)
Developer: SIE Japan Studio
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, and you can even pick up Astro’s Playroom for completely free on PS5.
From our Astro Bot Rescue Mission review:
“Don’t let Astro Bot Rescue Mission pass you by: it’s one of the most innovative and downright fun PlayStation VR games you’re ever likely to play.”
3. Batman: Arkham Knight
Publisher: WB Games
While, yes, Arkham Knight seems to be too gleeful in stuffing you in the Batmobile every chance it gets, few games showed off the graphical power of the PS4 as early on in the console’s life as Arkham Knight.
And it still looks amazing to this day. Whether you’re punching hapless goons with Arkham’s signature combat system or surveying the landscape of Gotham City from a suitably gothic rooftop, Arkham Knight is a real looker.
It, of course, doesn’t hurt the game that the aforementioned combat is so satisfying and that there’s plenty to see and do around Gotham. It’s not a perfect game by any means (especially on PC), but as a conclusion to a fantastic franchise that put Rocksteady on the map, it did much more right than wrong.
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.
5. Concrete Genie
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.
From our Concrete Genie review:
“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.”
6. Days Gone
Developer: SIE Bend Studio
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.
From our Days Gone review:
“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.”
7. Dead Cells
Developer: Motion Twin
Publisher: Motion Twin
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.
From our Dead Cells review:
“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.”
8. Devil May Cry 5
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.
With crazy combos (especially with Dante) to discover, stylish points to constantly go after and beat, and the Bloody Palace introducing after launch, Devil May Cry 5 is easily one of the best hack and slash games money can buy.
From our Devil May Cry 5 review:
“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.”
9. DOOM Eternal
Developer: id Software
After DOOM 2016 reminded so many that the franchise and id themselves still had a lot left to give, many FPS fans looked to DOOM Eternal with expectant eyes. And, oh boy, did it deliver.
One of the most rewarding and deep FPS titles of the last ten years, DOOM Eternal empowers the player to feel like an absolute god. There’s no cover and no automatic healing, just a whole load of ripping and tearing.
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. DOOM Eternal is such a frenetic, fluid step up that it even makes DOOM 2016 hard to go back to, the new mechanics that essential to the fun.
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. You can even collect a bunch of toys and cheat codes, if that’s what you’re after from your FPS games.
From our DOOM Eternal review:
“DOOM Eternal is a bloody masterpiece of glorious violence that may well be the best the series has ever been.”
10. Dying Light
Publisher: Techland Publishing/WB Games
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.
11. Fallout 4
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.
12. Final Fantasy VII Remake
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Exclusive? Yes (timed)
Square Enix could have probably just updated the visuals for Final Fantasy VII, pushed it out of the door, and earned stacks upon stacks of cash. Not only did they go the whole hog instead, but they also created what many might view as the definitive remake.
As well as remixing the original game, Final Fantasy VII Remake also adds tonnes of content on top, including brand new side distractions out in the world of Midgar and fresh looks at characters. Even some of the original’s least likeable characters get their time in the sun here (and remain a bit annoying).
The craziest thing about this remake? It’s only a slice of the original with more parts on the way. While some may baulk at having to pay extra for the complete experience, if they’re as fleshed out and “complete” as the first part, we are more than okay with that.
From our Final Fantasy VII Remake review:
“Better than players could have ever hoped for, Final Fantasy VII Remake strikes a fantastic, resonant chord that will leave long time fans and newbies alike wholly satisfied.”
13. Ghost of Tsushima
Developer: Sucker Punch
The last big PS4 exclusive was perhaps the perfect way for people to say goodbye to the PlayStation 4. Almost like a greatest hits compilation of modern open world games, Ghost of Tsushima doesn’t stray far from a familiar formula, but it improves what’s worked so well for other games in the past.
It also gets bonus points for being set in ancient Japan during a Mongolian invasion, which is just about the coolest setting ever. You play as Jin Sakai, a young samurai who must balance his honor code with survival in a narrative that, while not immediately that engaging, will have you gripped by its final clashing of swords.
Also, it’s a game in which you can make friends with foxes and live out your Kurosawa fantasies. What’s not to love?
From our Ghost of Tsushima review:
14. God of War
Developer: SIE Santa Monica
God of War hasn’t exactly been lacking in admirers since it released with more than a handful of awards to its name. It’s acclaim it deserves, too, a technical powerhouse that uses every last drop of power the PS4 has to give it.
Taking place entirely in “one shot” (think Birdman, sans the nonsense), God of War returns to Kratos, but not the Kratos of old who destroyed entire civilisations without blinking. A much more reserved character this time out, he takes on a quest to spread his wife’s ashes and take some names in the process.
The combat transitioning to an over-the-shoulder perspective may not have been endearing to everyone, but the overhaul makes God of War feel like something completely new and a successful refresh for the franchise.
God of War may just be the best PS4 game there is.
From our God of War review:
“While the changes brought around for God of War may rankle some, it feels like the natural evolution for a series that you wouldn’t believe is now seven games deep, judging by just how re-energised it feels in its latest incarnation. Kratos is back, and so too is one of PlayStation’s least heroic heroes with great aplomb.”
15. Horizon Zero Dawn
Developer: Guerrilla Games
You would have loved to have been in the room when Guerrilla pitched Horizon Zero Dawn to Sony: “Okay, so it’s not Killzone, but we’re thinking of an open world with robot animals and tribes that’s also post-apocalyptic. Thoughts?”
Such a bizarre concept shouldn’t work on paper, but it gels together so well in the final product. Basically Zelda meets Monster Hunter, Horizon Zero Dawn offers a gorgeous world to explore at your own pace with a great deal of wiggle room for role playing. Want to be a solitary warrior who hunts to survive? You got it.
We are bound to see many new entries in the series before long, possibly to coincide with the launch of the PlayStation 5. For now, though, HZD is a PS4 single player game that’s more than worth picking up on the cheap, especially with its Frozen Wilds expansion.
From our Horizon Zero Dawn 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 IPs in years.”
16. The Last Guardian
Developer: Team ICO
Whether it was worth the wait or not is up for debate (we were left waiting for a really long time), but Team Ico’s slice of lovely fantasy is as charming, if not more so, than any of their work to date.
That’s all down to the bond shared between the young protagonist and Trico, the bird-dog-thing who is your companion as you platform and puzzle your way through The Last Guardian’s sumptuous levels.
While it’s true that the AI shows signs of being a game long in the making, there’s no resisting the duo dynamic at its core. The Last Guardian will make you feel things that you didn’t know you could.
From our The Last Guardian review:
“But, between the stellar visual effects on display and the world-class soundtrack, the ultimately heart-wrenching story and the love between boy and beast, I’m finding it extremely difficult to not recommend this to absolutely anyone and everyone.”
17. The Last of Us Part II
Developer: Naughty Dog
Though we may not have been too fond of The Last of Us Part II in our review, there’s something worth lauding about it — all this time later and people are still talking about it. It’s a game that you have to really try for yourself.
That’s especially true if you want to see how Naughty Dog squeezed every single bit of power out of the seven year old PS4 to make one of the most visually stunning games ever made. The performances are so true to life that they may even ruin conversations in other games for you in terms of realism.
And the gameplay? That’s not too bad, either, thanks to just how visceral and troublingly satisfying it is. The Last of Us Part II makes a meal of violence being a pretty uncool thing, though you may struggle to care when mayhem feels this good.
18. Marvel’s Spider-Man
While our childhood memories may tell us that Spider-Man 2 is the best adaptation of the webcrawler to date, it’s realistically the recent PS4 exclusive instead. It captures the slaw-jacked wonder of swinging around New York City while also adding plenty of new quirks.
A technical beauty, Marvel’s Spider-Man boasts fairly deep combat that feels lifted straight out of movie cutscene; the cutscenes themselves are nothing short of gorgeous, either. Adding to that, the storyline is surprisingly emotional and full of funny moments.
There’s a great wealth of content to be had with Spider-Man on PS4 as a brilliant throwback to when games were just games, as well as the ability to just swing around the city never truly getting old. Plus, it has a Platinum trophy that every PS4 owner should own by law.
Now go and play this game or we will tell Spider-Cop.
From our Marvel’s Spider-Man review:
“With all the freedom it gives you to web-sling through New York City and stick goons to walls, Spider-Man for PS4 is the best Spider-Story I’ve had the pleasure to experience, and even on its own is a brilliant game.”
19. Nier: Automata
Publisher: Square Enix
Trust PlatinumGames to somehow make the newest entry in a barmy series that never really had that much love one of the most critically acclaimed single player games on PS4.
While it’s not for everyone owing to how “unconventional” it is, Nier Automata is a wild, seriously imaginative ride for those who are willing to have their expectations subverted. You won’t play anything else quite like Nier: Automata.
With many different endings and gameplay mechanics that barely settle for more than a second, Nier: Automata tries many different things and nails almost every single one. Which other games change perspectives seemingly just because they can?
From our Nier: Automata review:
“I encourage you to try Nier: Automata. It’s unique and quirky, dark and exciting. It’s a challenge but not one so hard to put you off trying one last time.”
20. Persona 5
Exclusive? No (also on PS3)
Hey, you like going outside, talking to real people? Too bad: here comes Persona 5 to engulf your entire person. You belong to it now.
Persona 5 is a highly stylish JRPG with over 100 hours of playtime, and that’s just if you’re in a a bit of a rush. It’s simply overflowing with content and patient storytelling; you could almost view it as two different games.
One part social simulator and one part dungeon crawler, Persona 5 asks you to flip between building relationships during a school year and taking on beasties as your alter-ego. There’s a tonne of flair and depth to its combat system, but you may just be tempted to keep pausing in and out to take in the best menu system in any video game.
Persona is weird and not like much else out there, but that’s why we love it. If you want a version of the game with more content, Persona 5 Royal is absolutely worth checking out.
From our Persona 5 review:
“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.”
21. Red Dead Redemption 2
Developer: Rockstar Games
Publisher: Take-Two Interactive
Rockstar were radio silent for a long time on new games, them seemingly content with the mountain of gold that GTA Online had produced for them. Was Red Dead Redemption 2 worth the wait, and did it prove that the developer still had it in them?
Yes. Red Dead Redemption 2 may be the most expansive and ambitious single player open world game out there, it not afraid to do things very differently to its peers. While you could argue that some of them are flashy for the sake of being flashy (animated horse balls, for instance), there’s no denying that the breadth and scope of Red Dead Redemption is almost unmatched.
It may also feature the best protagonist in any game to date. Arthur Morgan is a complex “hero”, someone who is a bad dude but has a lot of good in him. Once this epic is over, you just have to sit and absorb it all.
If we had to pick between playing Red Dead Online and another adventure with Arthur, we know what we’d pick.
From our Red Dead Redemption 2 review:
“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.”
22. Resident Evil 2
There a reason why there aren’t that many remakes in gaming: you don’t want to mess with the classics. Following the success of the GameCube remake of the original game, it was a long old wait before we finally saw the remake for the second game in the series.
Our patience was rewarded with an utterly terrifying trip back to Raccoon City that stayed respectful of its origins while also bringing its own new ideas to the fore. Purists may hate that the Resident Evil 2 remake smoothens out the original’s less friendly aspects, but these just serve to make the zombies more of a terror than the outdated mechanics.
With four different playthroughs to deal with and a bunch of extra side content that actually comes bundled with the game instead of as DLC, Resident Evil 2 is one of the best video game remakes ever and a more than worthy refresh of a classic that may actually be the superior game.
From our Resident Evil 2 review:
“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.”
23. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
From the minds behind Dark Souls and Bloodborne comes something that hates its players’ mental wellbeing just like the rest of their games. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a tough game that will damn you if you don’t learn the value of patience.
Sekiro is all about the art of combat, whereas Soulsborne is about rolling until you can roll no more, which is only really a half-joke. Using inch-perfect deflections and genuine strategies, you are able to become the ultimate shinobi. It’s hard not to feel empowered when you can grapple from rooftop to rooftop.
Sekiro also represents From embracing more story in their action games. Without wanting to spoil anything, it really is some of their more affecting and sombre work yet. Many might give up before the narrative even really starts to unfold, but they shouldn’t.
From our Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review:
Although not for everyone due to its difficulty, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a truly great game that will have you coming back for more.
24. Shadow of the Colossus
Developer: Team ICO/Bluepoint Games
Exclusive? Yes (even if it is a remake)
From one remake to another, Shadow of the Colossus is a light rework of the original classic that doesn’t drift too far from its source material, but that’s because it doesn’t really need to.
Tasked with felling giant beasts to save the girl you love, Shadow of the Colossus is a platformer by any other name, but instead of jumping on blocks, you climb up the insanely detailed fur of the Colossi.
The scale of these Colossi is just as breathtaking as it was back on the PlayStation 2, them ranging from hulking warriors to dragons and so much more in-between. The simplicity of climbing Colossi before plunging your sword into their weakspots also still appeals, especially the first time one of them dives underwater with you in tow.
It’s a deeply affecting game, too, so you better bring some guilt snacks for when you play and end up feeling like the biggest piece of work in the world.
From our Shadow of the Colossus review:
“Shadow of the Colossus on PS4 does the original justice, and then some. It cements the legacy of Team Ico’s classic while bringing a few new things to the table, creating the perfect introduction to a masterpiece in design and understated storytelling in the process.”
25. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Respawn really can kind of do it all, can’t they?. Their very first third-person game and an adapatation of the most beloved license in pop culture to boot, few were predicting they would nail Fallen Order like they did in 2019.
You play as Cal Kestis, a young Jedi on the run from the Empire following the events of Revenge of the Sith. After his abilities are discovered by Inquisitors, Cal must traverse the galaxy to complete his training and try to piece back together the broken Jedi Order. No pressure.
Taking inspiration from plenty of beloved franchises, Fallen Order is part-Souls game, part-Metroidvania, part-Zelda game, but it’s all pretty dang fun. If you can get past that initial giant frog, that is, who is basically the game’s gatekeeper.
26. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Developer: Naughty Dog
A few years after release and few games have managed to even come as close to the beauty of Uncharted 4, a game so pretty that you could invite it out to dinner after staring at Nate’s wrinkles for an hour and a half.
In terms of gameplay, there’s not much here to discuss if you’ve ever played an Uncharted game in the past, except for the exceptionally cool grappling hook. It’s more about the spectacle, how close Naughty Dog can bring a video game to the cinema screen.
There’s also a great story here to uncover with fantastic performances at its center. The dynamic between Nate and Sam is one of the most natural and lovable in all of gaming, as well as Rafe being someone who you just to hit in the face with a heavy object so much that it compels you to keep playing to give him his comeuppance.
From our Uncharted 4 review:
“Naughty Dog certainly know how to end on a high, and I cannot wait to see what they start working on next.”
27. Until Dawn
Developer: Supermassive Games
It feels a little like Until Dawn is being forgotten in the annals of great PS4 exclusives, this despite it being one of the only good PS4-only games at a time when Sony were struggling to make their exclusives count.
Years later, Until Dawn is still a hell of a ride, one that can even be played by those without much gaming experience, which isn’t to say that it’s a “walking simulator” or something lacking gameplay. Far from it.
Until Dawn is a horror classic that tasks you with making hard decisions as a bunch of teenagers are stalked at a ski lodge. One mistake and a character is gone for good.
What this results in is a charmingly twisty and fun time that isn’t afraid to get dark. Featuring great performances from the now Oscar-winning Rami Malek, Hayden Panettiere, and Jordan Fisher, you have to play this if you haven’t yet.
28. What Remains of Edith Finch
Developer: Giant Sparrow
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
What Remains of Edith Finch may be shortest game on this list, but it’s certainly one of the most memorable — we couldn’t shift the memories of its stories for months after our playthrough.
Investigating the Finch family curse, you travel to their abandoned household and discover tragic tales aplenty, each told in different ways. One features you swinging up and down while another takes you on the journey of an imaginary king, with this kind of variety always making to feel like a new game with each tale.
There are those who may erroneously call What Remains of Edith Finch a walking simulator as an insult, and while it lacks the action or high stakes of its peers on this list, it’s arguably just as essential as any of the others.
See what remains of your tear ducts after the credits roll on this masterpiece. It’s more than just a “walking simulator“.
From our What Remains of Edith Finch review:
“At the end of its scant two hours of gameplay, What Remains of Edith Finch will likely leave you feeling a range of emotions. Hope, sadness, almost apathy. For delivering all of that while offering something new to the much-maligned subgenre it belongs to, it’s easy to call Giant Sparrow’s game the new standard-bearer for interactive storytelling, even if it stumbles along the way.”
29. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Publisher: CD Projekt
Hailed as the best game of its generation by many (alongside basically all of the superlatives and awards you can think of), The Witcher 3 is often held up as an example of the value of single player games.
An utterly gigantic adventure that will end all your social commitments if you allow it, The Witcher 3 is the final hurrah for Geralt of Rivia and, most impressively, so good that you don’t need to have played the previous two games to enjoy it.
While modern western RPGs just keep on taking features out to streamline the experience, CD Projekt Red keep putting them back in. This is a dense, supremely layered RPG with questing that’s the emphasis, not an afterthought.
30. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
The Yakuza series, despite being pretty widely available over here thanks to remakes of its older titles, still feels like a bit of an underrated cult franchise in the West. Yakuza 6 may not have won many new fans, but it was quintessential and essential Yakuza at the same time.
The final ride of Kazuma Kiryu was just as ambitious and crazy as many Yakuza fans hoped it would be. The combat feels just as great and ridiculous as always as you punch your way through Kamurocho one last time, but the mini-games and wild plot are what most come to Yakuza for.
Featuring the same bonkers attitude but with an emotional core it leans on when it needs to, we can’t sing the praises of The Song of Life enough. Yakuza: Like A Dragon is its sequel and a pretty big departure, though still worth your time.
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