Over the past couple of months, a handful of coworkers and family members have told me they purchased a PlayStation 4.
This makes sense, as most people are staying indoors as much as possible because of the pandemic and stay-at-home orders.
But I was still surprised to hear how many people were only just now, in 2020, experiencing the nearly 7-year-old PlayStation 4 for the very first time (on the eve of the PlayStation 5, no less).
While lots of people are pursuing the Nintendo Switch game console, which has been sold out for months, the PlayStation 4 can still be found easily – and it’s arguably a better bang for your buck than any other piece of technology, period.
Nintendo is hard at work making more Switch consoles. You may find the more affordable Switch Lite variant available, but I wouldn’t recommend it for most people. It’s a handheld-only system, so it lacks the Switch’s signature ability to also be played on the television, its best feature in my opinion.
Meanwhile, I think there’s a better gaming machine out there for most people – something with a deep library of must-play, exclusive games, which can also be used as a streaming device for apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch. It’s a complete entertainment system, perfect for quarantine.
Frankly, the PlayStation 4 is the singular piece of technology that I’ve gotten the most mileage out of – more so than my smartphone, which I replace every couple of years, or my headphones, which I also keep upgrading.
If you don’t own a PlayStation 4, you should buy one. Even if you own another game console, it’s still worth your money. I also own a Nintendo Switch and Xbox One X, but the Switch is almost impossible to find right now, and I barely touch the Xbox. Meanwhile, I’ve dumped thousands of hours into my PlayStation 4, which I’ve owned since 2014. Some of its exclusive games, by themselves, are worth the price of admission.
At first, I bought a PlayStation 4 just to play “Destiny,” a sci-fi game from the creators of “Halo,” with my older brother. (We grew up on the “Halo” series together, so we were all over this.)
But over the years, as the console’s library steadily grew, I started paying more attention to Sony’s exclusives — games you couldn’t play on any other platform. To me, these are the games that make the PlayStation 4 special.
One of the first PlayStation exclusives I dug into was “Bloodborne,” a scary-sounding game that I thought was not for me, but my older brother bought it for my birthday and promised me I was in for a treat. He was right.
“Bloodborne” — from the developers as the popular “Dark Souls” series, famous for its extreme difficulty — is a mountain to climb, but a thrilling one. It’s a masterclass in both game design and challenging players to learn and persevere — important lessons for life in general.
“Bloodborne” is astounding, and it’s only available on the PlayStation 4. This was my entry point to PlayStation 4 exclusive games, and it kept getting better as the years went on.
Many PlayStation 4 exclusive titles are excellent “escape” games, which is perfect for this current quarantine environment.
“Uncharted 4,” for example, is a rollercoaster ride, a Hollywood blockbuster disguised as a video game. It has a deep, rich story, a well-written script, and solid acting. It’s also gorgeous eye-candy. It’s hard to play it without constantly snapping screengrabs.
Another excellent escape, which you can’t play elsewhere, is “Marvel’s Spider-Man.” I played this to completion, and I still revisit the game from time to time just to swing through a virtual New York City in spandex.
But the two games I recommend to absolutely everyone are “Horizon Zero Dawn” and “God of War.” They are reasons unto themselves to buy a PlayStation 4.
Without hyperbole, I think both “God of War” and “Horizon Zero Dawn” are perfect games, seamlessly blending fun-feeling gameplay with exploration, problem-solving, and unforgettable stories. They capture the best of what’s currently possible in video games, but also have tremendous replay value years later. Everyone should get a chance to experience these two titles, in particular.
And on top of all the games — which can easily consume hundreds of hours of your time — the PlayStation 4 is also a complete streaming device, great for watching apps like Netflix, YouTube, or Twitch. Compared to the Nintendo Switch in this way, which only has Hulu and YouTube, the PlayStation 4 feels like a more complete entertainment offering.
I’ve made lots of great tech purchases over the years. But for the better part of my adult life, there’s been no piece of technology that I’ve gotten more out of — more enjoyment, and more time well-spent — than the PlayStation 4. If you don’t have one yet, especially right now, do yourself a favour.