There are too many good games on the PlayStation 4. If you’re one of the over 70 million PS4 owners, it’s hard to know where to start.
That’s why we put together the list below, full of only the greatest bangers worth spending your time and money on.
Of note: The list is not ranked. There is one exception, as “Horizon Zero Dawn” is clearly the best game on the PlayStation 4 – thus, it’s in the first spot. Otherwise, these are the 29 best games on the PlayStation 4 (in no particular order).
29. “Rocket League”
What is “Rocket League?” It’s a madman’s vision for future soccer. It’s soccer with rocket cars, played three vs three or four vs four. Yes!
You can make your car jump, and flip, and you’ve got rockets that offer a massive speed boost for limited periods of time. It’s simple to pick up and play, surprisingly deep to master, and always a tremendous amount of fun. Will you get to the ball fast enough to beat out the competition, and ultimately get the ball away from your goal and toward theirs? This is the basest level question you seek to answer at any given second in “Rocket League.” Good luck!
28. “Final Fantasy XV”
If you’ve never played a massive Japanese role-playing game, this is a good place to start.
“Final Fantasy XV” is a gigantic, gorgeous, sprawling role-playing game set in a futuristic/fantasy world. It’s kind of a road story, kind of a hero story, and entirely bizarre. When you’re not rolling around in the sweet ride above, you’re cavorting around on massive birds (chocobos) and defeating bizarre monsters.
27. “Grand Theft Auto V”
“Grand Theft Auto” has never been better than the latest entry: “Grand Theft Auto V”.
In “GTA V” you can play as one of three different main characters, carrying off major heists and doing all manner of other madness. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you already know what you’re getting into with “GTA V.” It’s a satire of modern American life set in an enormous open-world.
26. “Uncharted: The Lost Legacy”
“The Lost Legacy” is a short story set in the “Uncharted” universe. Nathan Drake is replaced by a duo: Chloe Frazer, whom you play as, and Nadine Ross. Their relationship is complicated, and offers a surprisingly fresh experience in a series that otherwise feels a bit too familiar.
The gameplay is the same third-person, action-adventure fare that previous “Uncharted” games offered. The big twist in the gameplay department is the inclusion of a (relatively small) open-world – another nice twist that helps distinguish “The Lost Legacy” from previous games in the series.
“Journey” is a must-play for people of all ages. It’s a beautiful third-person game that’s playable, in entirety, in just a few hours.
The “story” of the game isn’t so important – what matters is what happens between where the game begins and where you end up. There’s not a lot that can be said about “Journey” without potentially ruining the experience. Do yourself a favour and set aside a free morning to enjoy the whole thing in one sitting.
24. “Until Dawn”
Looking for horror but hate zombies? “Until Dawn” is the horror game for you. Think: “Saw.”
Rather than scouring the world for ammunition, you’re one of the several teens simply trying to survive – often by escaping rather than fighting. Will you make it through the night? Here’s hoping!
23. “Sonic Mania”
“Sonic Mania” feels blessedly modern in how it plays; it’s delightfully nostalgic in how it looks and sounds. “Sonic Mania” is the Sonic game that Sega’s been trying to make for over 20 years, and it’s the first Sonic game I can unequivocally recommend to anyone who likes games. You don’t need to be a Sonic devotee, or a superfan, or an apologist – you just need to be someone interested in playing good games.
22. “Battlefield 1”
In “Battlefield 1,” the long-running series is set against a fictionalized backdrop of World War I.
That means trench warfare, mustard gas, gangrenous appendages, and battle on a scale previously unseen on Earth. It also means older weaponry and older vehicles (horses! prop planes!), which fundamentally changes the series’ landmark multiplayer mode. The game has received a variety of add-ons since launching in holiday 2016, and it maintains an active player base.
21. “Axiom Verge”
“Axiom Verge” features a large 2D world that’s unlocked through exploration. If you’ve ever played games like “Metroid” and “Castlevania,” you’ll feel right at home. It’s got the 16-bit graphics to match the games it pays homage to, yet it evolves many of the concepts that made its predecessors so great.
20. “Dishonored 2”
The “Dishonored” series is a perfect blend of action and stealth elements, which lets players execute missions in any way they choose. The combination of gadgets and supernatural abilities you use in those missions are entirely your choosing. Oh, and this is all happening in a gorgeous steampunk setting.
In “Dishonored 2,” you can choose whether to play as the original game’s protagonist (Corvo) or the now-adult-aged Emily from the first game, who has her own unique set of abilities. If you like sneaky, tactical games with a lot of character, this is the game for you this holiday.
“Prey” is a first-person character action game, where you explore a beautiful, isolated world that’s falling apart. It’s riddled with story clues, unique characters, and stuff that wants to kill you. It very much feels like “BioShock,” but in space (which I mean as a compliment).
The game’s world is based on the concept that President John F. Kennedy survived his assassination, and advanced the human push into space dramatically. An alien force, known as the Typhon, saw humans as a threat and attacked. The US and the Soviet Union joined forces against the threat, defeated it, and built a space station to imprison and study the aliens. But something has gone wrong on that space station, and it’s up to you to solve the problem.
18. “Persona 5”
Devotees of the “Persona” role-playing game series aren’t saying “Persona 5” is the best the series has to offer – that distinction tends to rest with the third game. Instead, fans are calling “Persona 5” a strong new entry in a beloved series. It’s not without its flaws, but there’s plenty to love.
As with previous games in the series, the story of “Persona 5” focuses on a Japanese teenager. Also like previous games in the series, there’s much more to the story of “Persona 5” than what’s on the surface. You’ll explore the confines of high-school life during the day, making friends and completing various tasks. When night comes, you’ll head into battle with those friends in a turn-based RPG format.
If you’ve enjoyed the “Final Fantasy” series or have a particular fondness for narrative-driven, quirky games, you’ll want to check out “Persona 5.”
17. “Injustice 2”
There are few things as enjoyable as punching Batman square in the face, and “Injustice 2” is dead set on making that happen for you. As the title implies, “Injustice 2” is the second game in the “Injustice” series – a fighting-game franchise that is essentially “Mortal Kombat” with DC Comics heroes and villains. That comparison isn’t too reductive, as “Injustice 2” comes from the same Chicago-based NetherRealm Studios.
When you get tired of beating up Batman, there’s a delightfully silly campaign mode to blast through as well as a robust online multiplayer (where Bats will assuredly punch back).
Gluttons for punishment will flock to “Nioh,” a gorgeous, fast-moving third-person action game that’s available only on the PlayStation 4. After over a decade of development hell, the game finally launched this year to critical acclaim.
In “Nioh,” you’re a samurai struggling to defeat an endless stream of monsters, during a fictionalized period of Japanese history (think: 1600s). Like the “Souls” series, “Nioh” demands practice and close attention if you’re going to survive (let alone progress). It’s the kind of game a perfectionist loves, built to reward mastery and brutally punish anything less.
15. “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End”
The culmination of years of work by Sony’s all-star studio Naughty Dog, “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” is a gorgeous thrill ride. You play as Nathan Drake, the long-running protagonist of the “Uncharted” series.
It’s essentially the video game version of Indiana Jones, as you trot around the globe avoiding bad guys and stealing long-hidden treasures. The “Uncharted” series is the gem of Sony’s PlayStation game line-up for a good reason: it’s tremendous.
14. “NieR: Automata”
To call “NieR: Automata” a strange game is to vastly undersell its bizarreness. It has a few dozen possible endings, features a cadre of robot protagonists, and is a rare open-world game developed by Japanese game makers.
It’s not a straightforward action game. Instead, it’s a mix of RPG elements and action gameplay. Forgive my lack of detail: To describe too much about “NieR: Automata” is to ruin it.
13. “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”
Though it’s over two years ago that “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt,” the sprawling third-person action epic is as impressive as ever in 2017.
That’s because “The Witcher 3” is a gorgeous, gigantic game that does more with storytelling in sidequests than most games do with their main plot. If you’re looking to sink dozens, or hundreds of hours into a game this year, “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” is a great way to do it.
12. “Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus”
“Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus” supposes an alternate history where Germany won WWII, controls Europe, and occupies the United States. It’s set in the ’60s, and you’re in charge of sparking the uprising in the US – at least that’s the premise for “Wolfenstein 2.” The game spends more time exploring societal capitulation than it does levelling up your weapons.
Though “Wolfenstein 2” will scratch your itch for aggressive first-person shooting, it’s a surprisingly cerebral, often outright depressing game. On the flipside, it’s just as often making dark jokes at the expense of the Nazis. To that end, “Wolfenstein 2” pulls off what few games do: It presents a wide-ranging emotional experience, like the world’s greatest art.
11. “Assassin’s Creed Origins”
“Origins” is sharply focused on assassination and sneaking, as it should be.
Across the past decade, “Assassin’s Creed” has gone in a half dozen different directions. Whether directly participating in the American Revolution – darting around historic battlefields – or engaging entire armadas in ship-to-ship battle, the series had seemingly moved on from its roots.
With “Origins,” though there are plenty of meaningful changes and additions, it feels like the purest “Assassin’s Creed” game in years.
10. “Watch Dogs 2”
“Watch Dogs 2” is an open-world, third-person action game with a delightful main character and a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a kind of different spin of a “GTA” game essentially, set in a near-future, believably modern San Francisco Bay Area where the game’s main character, Marcus, roots out evil corporations through hacking.
If it sounds like the plot to 1995 movie “Hackers,” that’s because it’s very much like that – and I mean that in a universally positive way.
“Firewatch” isn’t a game about exploring an open-world looking for secrets (though you’re welcome to do that), nor is it about perfectly-timed actions.
“Firewatch” is about storytelling – the story of Henry and Delilah and their summer together in a national forest – and what you bring to that story. Player choice in “Firewatch” isn’t about choosing a way to play, but about choosing your own way to tell Henry’s story. Like “Journey” and “The Witness,” “Firewatch” is a perfect game for experienced and inexperienced players alike.
8. “The Last Guardian”
In “The Last Guardian” you play as a small boy from the third-person perspective. The game focuses on solving puzzles to progress forward, which you’ll do by working with the massive cat-bird creature seen above.
More importantly, it’s a subtly-told story of friendship and adventure – more reminiscent of a Miyazaki animated film than a video game.
7. “Ratchet & Clank”
Few games are as gorgeous and joyous as “Ratchet & Clank,” a beautiful re-mastering of the original game.
The game is essentially a traditional third-person action game, with silly guns and lots of platforming (jumping from platform to platform). What makes “Ratchet & Clank” stand out is its bizarre, goofy world, its iconic characters, and how those pieces interact. If you’re looking for a good game to play with kids, you could do a lot worse than “Ratchet & Clank” – though you’re just as likely to have a blast if you’re playing exclusively with adults.
6. “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard”
“Resident Evil 7: Biohazard” is one of the best “Resident Evil” games ever made, and you can play it entirely in virtual reality on the PlayStation 4 (using the PlayStation VR headset). As someone who did just that, I can attest that it’s the most unique experience you can have in modern gaming.
Unlike most “Resident Evil” games, “Biohazard” isn’t focused on shooting down zombies. Instead, you’re being chased relentlessly by a single, horrifying family, through a disheveled house. There are guns, and you can fire them, but you really should just run. The game is about survival, and it does a great job of keeping that the focus.
5. “The Witness”
You’re on an island, completely alone, and it’s a beautiful day. There are structures all over the island that appear to be human-made. There are also puzzles everywhere, and they all employ the same solution mechanism: a single line, drawn by you, from a beginning point to an end point.
This is “The Witness” – a relaxing, challenging puzzle game set in first-person. There are few better games on this list.
“Overwatch” is a fantastic first-person shooter from the brilliant minds at Blizzard Entertainment (the same studio that created blockbusters like “World of Warcraft,” “Hearthstone,” and many others).
It’s got a glorious, colourful cast of characters that each plays dramatically differently. It’s not your average shooter, though – it’s a “class-based” team game, meaning that you play one of four “classes” that acts complimentary to the others. For instance, if you’re playing as a “tank” class, your focus is on absorbing damage and dishing out just as much. Another character on your team should be a “support” class, offering an extended line of health to your tank. You protect the support character, and he/she supports you in return. It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship! How this plays out in-game feels like a combination of tug of war and rock/paper/scissors. It’s fast, tactical, smart, and gorgeous.
3. “Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain”
For the series’ swan song, “Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain” certainly takes the franchise out with a bang. It’s a terrifically long study on the nature of open-world games and what they mean to players. Few games have gone farther to enable endless player freedom. And fewer games have gone farther to enable vast, unrestricted silliness like “Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.”
On paper, “The Phantom Pain” is a mixed first- and third-person shooter with a focus on stealth. In reality, it’s a surreal trip into a classic game creator’s subconscious.
Listen, “Bloodborne” is not for the faint of heart. In “Bloodborne,” you’re a hunter taking on a world that wants you dead. In practice that means you’re playing a third-person action game where constant death is pretty much an expectation.
That said: “Bloodborne” is gorgeous/gruesome, tremendously challenging, and easily one of the best games on PlayStation 4.
Oh, and to be clear: You can only play “Bloodborne” on the PlayStation 4. Here’s a review-y thing my colleague Dave Smith wrote about the game – it goes into far more depth on why “Bloodborne” is so fantastic.
1. “Horizon Zero Dawn”
In 10 years, people will still be talking about innovative things that “Horizon Zero Dawn” does. They will still be talking about how gorgeous it is, how smart and funny its main character is, how it succeeded commercially in the shadow of a new Nintendo console and a new “Legend of Zelda” game.
While playing games, I often experience a small handful of emotions: frustration, accomplishment, fear. While playing “Horizon Zero Dawn,” that list expanded dramatically – outside of delighting in the graceful, smart gameplay systems that underlie the game’s narrative focus, I often laughed out loud at Aloy’s smart quips (she’s the protagonist you see above). I found myself endlessly curious about the surprisingly deep lore of the game’s world, its people and religions, and the main character’s story arc. Perhaps most important, I actually cared about the main character, believed her motivations, and wanted her to succeed.
“Horizon Zero Dawn” is a magnificent accomplishment of a game that stands out among standouts. And I didn’t even mention the giant metal dinosaurs.
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