The best games on PS4
From blockbusters to indies, over-the-top action rollercoasters to contemplative explorations, these are the best games available right now for Sony’s PlayStation 4, as selected by the voracious gamers of VG247. We’ll be checking back in with new games on the regular, as old favourites are succeeded and new challengers rise above the pack to win a place in our hearts.
And now, in alphabetical order: the best games on PS4.
A stand out both for the horror genre and the Aliens property, Alien Isolation came out of left field. A first-person adventure from a team near synonymous with real time strategy? A really, genuinely good licensed game? Who could have predicted this?
Alien Isolation isn’t a shooter – it’s a stealth game, and an unusual one in that the Alien AI is very hard to predict. Although it ruffled the feathers of those who like to “win” games by playing the system, for those in it for the atmosphere nothing beats the dread of having no clue where the creature might pop up next, or if it’ll sniff you out this time.
After the clumsy release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, Syndicate jettisons a lot of the fluff that muddies Ubisoft’s action adventure series and goes back to basics. Almost.
It’s helped by having two protagonists explore London, both with different approaches to goals. The environment feels fresher too, with roaming gangs and other ne’er do wells colouring the Big Smoke. If you do opt for Syndicate, we highly recommend getting the Jack the Ripper DLC too. It’s horrific, gripping and probably the best expansion the franchise has seen to date.
This really is the definitive Batman game and it feels like it’s taken a long time to get here. Not to take anything away from Rocksteady’s previous (great) efforts, but Arkham Knight is not only the end of their trilogy but also the pinnacle of the studio’s work to date.
Gotham is alive and seedy, the Batmobile is a tank, the rogue’s gallery of villains is dripping with hatred and menace. And you are the Batman; conflicted, committed, lethal. Batman: arkham Knight is quite possibly the best superhero fantasy committed to games.
A cult-favourite indie from one half of the Super Meat Boy team, The Binding of Isaac is available on a number of platforms but gets a nod in our PS4 list as one of the games we come back to time and time again – usually while an update is downloading. The old-school style twin-stick shooter (more like twin D-Pad, really; it feels pre-analog) was repackaged with loads of addition content for release on new-gen consoles, including the addition of co-op.
It’s the rogue-like aspect that’ll have you hooked – that and the dark themes running through Edmund McMillen’s art. The recent arrival of the long-awaited Afterbirth DLC has brought this excellent port up to speed with the mothership, too.
One of the most triumphant of PS4 exclusives, Bloodborne is a From Software and SCE Japan production in the same family line as Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. A new, faster-paced take on the genre that proves no less welcoming to newcomers, it has all the hallmarks of a Hidetaka Miyazaki title: steep challenge, a restrained sense of narrative and a world you don’t want to lose yourself in because it’s full of monsters.
Although Dark Souls 3 has stolen a little of its thunder as the first new-gen Souls family game, Bloodborne more than deserves the accolades on its own merits. Believe the hype, and prepare to die, again and again and again.
Of all the remasters on the market, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is perhaps the most welcome. The compulsive, near endless delights of the Borderlands formula are otherwise not available on new-gen consoles, and The Handsome Collection presents pretty terrific value for money by bundling up the absolute lashings of DLC released for Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
If you’ve never tried Borderlands then you’re in for a treat at a discount ticket price. If you missed The Pre-Sequel due to its late launch last generation then this is the best way to get back on board the series at one of its highest points. And if you’re a diehard fan you already own and love this, because you know all too well that there’s always time for another Borderlands playthrough.
Magnificent. Very probably the franchise’s swansong, as creator Hidetaka Miyazaki is well and truly over it after five games, but what a way to go out. Packed with cheeky references and another episode of the baffling, looping lore fans love unpacking and recombining, it’s a Souls game for Souls fans as well as being the most accessible entry to date.
We say accessible, but we mean “fair”: bonfires are closer together, summoning works, upgrades are no longer potentially disastrous one-way horrors. But the challenge is still there, and PvP is even better than ever. Very much worth the effort.
Destiny has a large fanbase on all four platforms but you almost wouldn’t know it; the PS4 is very definitely the home of this generation’s biggest new IP. Sony threw itself into partnership with Activision in a relationship that is increasingly bearing fruit for PlayStation fans, with the result that Xbox fans are still waiting for content the rest of us have been enjoying since launch.
Writing about Destiny is almost redundant at this point. Part shooter and part MMO, controversy-ridden, punctuated by dazzling highs and grinding lows, Destiny is not a game any more: it’s a way of life. The Taken King just put the cherry on it.
Diablo 3 faltered out of the gate but by the time it made the leap to consoles it was up and running, having ditched a number of systems, rebalanced everything, gained a bunch of new content and evolved into an ARPG worth investing in. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition is particularly special because it represents the most complete and feature-filled version of Diablo 3 to date.
To our surprise, Diablo 3 works really, really well on PS4. Perhaps we should have expected this given the popularity of earlier series entries on consoles, but I doubt anybody really appreciates just how well Blizzard managed the transition to control pads until they actually have it in their hands. Co-op this with your buddies for best results – from the comfort of your couch.
The best BioWare game for new-gen, until it does another one. Dragon Age: Inquisition is absolutely huge, representing hundreds of potential hours of gameplay for the really keen, and despite a tendency to edge towards filler content it delivers with scaling challenges (lower difficulties are button mashers; higher settings require minuscule tactical control and serious preparation legwork) and a plethora of interacting RPG systems.
As usual, BioWare’s writing and especially its characters and dialogue are superb, and while you may pretend it’s all about the politics we know you’re in it for the kissing scenes.
A somewhat surprising inclusion, and not one we would have predicted back when TechLand parted ways with Dead Island and Deep Silver to make a new kind of zombie sandbox. A much less silly take on the zombie apocalypse, Dying Light is filled with moments of genuine horror, but it’s the process of levelling up and upgrading equipment that makes it so compelling. Every venture in the dark brings risk and reward – and the opportunity to return with an enormous automatic weapon and take revenge on the scary monsters. Take advantage of the new parkour system to explore the open world in every direction.
The Following, which was rolled into the base version as a re-release, is an excellent expansion building on months and months of lauded free support. It’s a great place to jump in.
A controversial inclusion, with half of Team VG247 giving way to allow Shinji Mikami’s latest to take the place of Resident Evil HD Remastered. There’s much to be said for The Evil Within’s attempts to simultaneously keep it old school and move the genre forward, and for Bethesda’s bold bet on an unforgiving survival shooter.
Armed with a spooky and continuously present villain, astonishingly topped by its own DLC packs and quite, quite bonkers, The Evil Within is a divisive experience – half retro and half modern, not quite as terrifying as more minimal modern horror simulations, yet miles and miles ahead of recent Resident Evil efforts.
Old-fashioned and a little ugly, but still so damn essential. Fallout 4 has faults and it doesn’t look very pretty, but it’s an open world ripe for exploring, for building, for creating and surviving.
You can craft weapons and gear or scavenge whatever you find. You can follow the story or go your own way. There’s so much packed into Bethesda’s Boston Commonwealth it will keep you busy for months on end. From romancing companions to butchering whole factions, it’s never dull, often hyper-violent, funny and life-consuming. DLC to date has been rad, and we have great hopes for the next few packs.
Possibly the best traditional shooter of the generation so far, Far Cry 4 pops you down in an oven world with a toolkit full of deadly devices and a zillion things to do. Whether you go in stealthy with bow, silenced rifle and knife or strap C4 to an elephant and run into it in a car covered in land mines, you feel like a total badass – until you are savaged to death by a honey badger.
It’s pretty much Far Cry 3, but even more gorgeous and over the top. The mysticism-fuelled visits to Shangri-La don’t quite live up to the drug trips of its precursor, and Pagan Min is no Vaas, but on the other hand the charismatic villain doesn’t bugger off while you still have half the game in front of you and Far Cry 3 doesn’t let you fight alongside a tiger buddy, so.
Sorry, PES – FIFA is the best football series. If you want to play virtual soccer, FIFA is the place to do it. Of the three games available on PS4 so far FIFA 16 is the superior offering, although as is the nature of annual sports games that may be because it has the most up-to-date roster; we won’t really see the franchise shine on new-gen until we ditch the old set of hardware completely. That’ll probably be in 2024, when the next-generation starts, given how recently we were getting a PS2 version (FIFA 13).
If you’ve been away from FIFA for a few years you may not be aware that the actual sim itself has been somewhat upstaged by FIFA Ultimate Team. There’s a whole new world of fanatical obsession awaiting you.
Very probably the best console MMORPG, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn is a triumph. Astoundingly playable with a control pad and populated via full cross-play with PC, the PS4 version of Final Fantasy 14 is in no way an embarrassment to its Windows sibling.
This game is so beautiful and so playable that you’d almost never guess the same title was once applied to the financial and moral embarrassment that was Final Fantasy 14 Online. A compulsive life-eater, as all successful MMORPGs are, Final Fantasy 14 has years of life left in it.
There’s no question of leaving GTA 5 off any best of list, even though it did launch last generation. You’d never guess it; Rockstar’s done an uncannily good job of brushing up its already astounding tech for newer hardware.
What can be said about the juggernaut of our times? Should we highlight the multiplayer suite that provides endless hours of dicking about and fantasy fulfilment? The sprawling campaign with its multiple playable characters and on-the-fly character switching? The sheer pleasure of cruising the streets of faux-LA with no purpose in mind at all? There’s a reason everyone and his dog played GTA 5, and you should, too.
Yes, it’s a re-release, but since Naughty Dog had pushed the ageing PlayStation 3 to its wheezing, gasping limits, The Last of Us Remastered is a better experience than the original. In any case, the father-daughter story of Joel and Ellie is one of the great tearjerkers of gaming, not just the generation that birthed it, and left many a hardened gamer swiping angrily at their brimming eyes, both at the tragedy of a post-apocalyptic world and the thought of an end to the hours spent in Ellie’s company.
The Last of Us Remastered also includes the absolutely wonderful Left Behind DLC, which is packed full of even more feelings to make up for the absence of gun battles.
Lego Dimensions is expensive. Let’s get that out the way first. But it’s easily the best toys-to-life game out there, and the best Lego minifigures game in a portfolio full of quality competition. The portal is what you’re paying for, as it becomes an extra controller asking players to build real-life Lego models, and that’s all very cool.
But the real pull here is the freedom of not being stuck with one theme. Dimensions is where The Simpsons meet Dr Who meets Scooby Doo meets Portal, Ninjago, DC Comics, Back to the Future and more. It’s not a clumsy mash-up, it’s a genuinely hilarious game that isn’t just for kids, but for families as a whole. It’s as essential in a family home as Monopoly and a Sunday roast.
A challenger to Telltale’s hold on the episodic adventure crown, Life is Strange boasts a much more dynamic approach to the formula – not to mention a much less buggy and stiff engine underpinning Dontnod’s efforts. Subverting the consequential choice trope with a time reversal mechanic, offering clearly defined borders and puzzles more involved than “click on the thing”, Life is Strange outshines its rivals in the space.
But it’s the atmosphere that really gets us, tugging at a deep-rooted nostalgia for adolescence – or perhaps just for the media that celebrates it. Max and Chloe’s creators may not have got the hang of natural-sounding teenage dialogue, but they nailed the rest of it.
Despite the post-launch fallout that has seen visionary creator Hideo Kojima leave his baby behind, The Phantom Pain is still a fantastic game – one of the very best on this generation of consoles.
That’s because it’s a bizarre and unique, hilarious, violent, exhilarating stealth sandbox. It offers an almost overwhelming amount of choice to tackle missions, and throws out a bunch of boring stealth cliches we’ve become numb to over the years. The story is uncharacteristic in that it’s subdued, but the meta game of building Motherbase will keep you busy for months. The only downside is that we’re pretty sure there will never be another game like Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.
So here’s the situation: you’ve got a highly customisable character with a bevy of growth options. You’ve got an enormous open world navigable by stealth, parkour and all-out battle. You’ve got a hell of a license. How do you convince jaded players to dive into the oodles of content you’ve packed into this weighty adventure?
The answer is Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’s award-winning Nemesis system, which has semi-randomly-generated mini-bosses standing between you and your final goals. Taking these foes down, manipulating the command structure of Sauron’s army, and watching the consequences of your kills unfold is a fascinating and very personal piece of organic story telling unique to every playthrough.
The slickest fighter of the generation, Mortal Kombat X does a great deal more than just turn the franchise’s trademark gore up to 11 – although that definitely happens.
Perhaps the most interesting new addition (besides Johnny Cage and Sonya’s daughter, a baffling development to a plot already stretched thin to breaking) is the addition of multiple fighting styles for each character. Essentially expanding the roster of fighters, the ability to select different approaches with a single character means you can never quite be sure what you’re facing until the action kicks off, complicating the meta and putting the emphasis back on emphasis and on-the-fly tactics rather than tried-and-tested strategies.
The scariest game on PS4 now that Silent Hills teaser P.T. has been pulled, Outlast is a mostly combat-free survival horror in which running and stealth are your only defence. You think you’ve seen enough spooky abandoned psychiatric hospitals in your time to be immune to the horrors of a new one, but you are wrong.
A more polished effort than Zombie’s Daylight, Outlast is memorably terrifying. The plot and events are absolute nonsense, but you won’t care, because you’ll be shitting yourself. Highly recommended, except for pregnant women and people with heart conditions.
Hands down the best racing game on any platform – something Sony and Microsoft ought to be worried about, given they both front big first-party exclusives in the genre.
Project CARS isn’t everything we hoped for from the crowd-funded and crowd-sourced racer (the rest of the roadmap appears to have been earmarked for the sequel) but even if it didn’t live up to Slightly Mad’s wholly insane ambition, it’s incredible. Nothing else looks this good, handles this well, or provides you with as much customisation of your experience.
Fast cars playing football. Okay, flying fast cars playing football. Rocket League is instantly and infinitely playable, whether in couch co-op or online. Like the best arcade games, you’ll pick up the premise quicker than a click of your fingers, racing for the ball and smacking it into the back of the net.
Which is all very satisfying. And then you realise the clever physics system can be worked to your advantage and the next thing you know you’re trying all kinds of crazy stunts and tricks. Some work spectacularly and others fail miserably but at no point will you stop grinning. Developer Psyonix continues to add modes and fine-tune the gameplay, giving us every reason to believe Rocket League will continue to be played for years to come.
If Arkham Knight is the best Batman experience you’ll find on consoles today then Battlefront is the Star Wars equivalent.
Despite coming from DICE it has no intention of being another Battlefield. This is about accessibility and that 30-second combat loop. You die, respawn, kill and die again. DICE has nailed it. Add to that all the Star Wars fan service you could ask for – 40-player Empire versus Rebels showdowns on Hoth! – and it’s a whip-crack fast shooter dressed in the best pop culture clothes you could ask for.
A technical marvel almost certain to be a new benchmark for this generation. Naughty Dog’s first proper PS4 release shows the wizard crew still has the same paradigm-shifting magic it employed back in the PlayStation 3 era. We merrily bumped The Order: 1886 off the list now that we have a new winner of the “best looking game on PS4” crown.
Although the series may never be as groundbreaking as it was back in the Uncharted 2 days, this is Nathan Drake’s best adventure to date. A new creative team at the helm hasn’t done Nate and pals any harm, and as for the rest of it – well, it’s Uncharted, innit, only bigger and better than ever. If that’s your cup of tea you’ll be burning your throat trying to get it down ya.
Remember Watch Dogs? One of the most exciting properties of the brand new generation, it couldn’t quite live up to its own hype. Then again, what could? Anticipation for a new Ubisoft open world was absolutely sky high, and the publisher would have had to ship Watch Dogs with a second PS4 to strap to the first one in order to power the over-promised vision many of us expected to turn up with new hardware.
This disappointment aside, Watch Dogs is a great big open world Ubisoft game with tons of content, pretty graphics and cars instead of horses. It’s everything the modern gamer wants, apparently.
The winner of the all-star 2015 open world championship, The Witcher 3 beat all who came before it and has set a bar for every game to follow. Nobody but CD Projekt RED has produced such a large world of such incredible detail, nor found a way to populate it with things people actually want to do, as opposed to collectibles.
There are hundreds of hours of things to do in The Witcher 3 and all of them revolve around a central narrative studded with moments of high-tension drama, political intrigue and genuine human warmth. Geralt’s adventures may be drawing to a close with this one, but he’s going out in better form than ever before.
The release of The Witness will be looked upon as the next great leap forward in video game puzzles in a few years to come.
It’s a game that flips the player’s emotions from infuriated to elated within seconds, as the seemingly impossible goes *ping* in your brain and the next thing you know you feel like the cleverest person on the island. When baffled you’ll do well to wander away from one puzzle and explore the others, because the secrets to unlocking this massive conundrum lie all over the beautiful landscape. Surrender to the world of The Witness and you’ll eventually escape. Eventually.
We won’t lie: this one took us by surprise. Despite Bethesda’s cautious approach to publishing, we didn’t really expect farming iD Software’s venerable properties out to other studios to pay dividends, and we were utterly wrong.
Machine Games crafted an absolutely superb old-school linear shooter, resisting the temptation to shoehorn in an unnecessary multiplayer mode or network features or RPG systems or an enormous cluttered open world. In doing so it uncovered a treasure trove of fun that has been obscured by the guff of modern gaming, and we will always be grateful. Not sure why sequel The Old Blood sank without a trace, to be honest, but this one is superior.