The best games on PS4

Wednesday, 5 April 2017 13:12 GMT By Staff

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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.

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Alien Isolation

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.

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Battlefield 1

The king has returned, although for some younger players this may be their first taste of a DICE game releasing in a decent enough state for unhesitating recommendations.

When EA announced Battlefield 1’s WWI setting, we all sucked in our breath and glanced at each other uncomfortably. Whether the campaign is poignant and educational or exploitative and shallow is a matter of opinion, and we’re all a bit tired of the painful mental acrobatics we need to do to justify our discomfort with historically-informed virtual warfare versus modern or future warfare. But if you can switch that part of your brain off, wow: fantastic action.

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Bloodborne

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.

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Dark Souls 3

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.

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Destiny: The Collection

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. Rise of Iron and Age of Triumph await those of you who have lapsed; get it done before Destiny 2 drops.

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Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition

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.

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Dishonored 2

Someone has to keep the dream of immersive sims alive, and with Eidos Montreal’s Thief and Deus Ex efforts falling a bit flat, it’s a good thing Arkane is standing strong with its whalepunk stealth-em-up series. Building on the very solid foundations of the first game, Dishonored 2 adds a second protagonist and a suite of new powers to the mix.

Although the mixed-era aesthetic and quiet little lore details are a joy to explore, it’s Arkane’s level design that really shines in Dishonored 2. The Clockwork Mansion folding and unfolding around you is as unforgettable as it is initially daunting, and it’s only the best known of a number of warren-like arenas through which you hunt, a shadow with a single target.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition

Even with the launch of Mass Effect Andromeda, this is the best BioWare game for current-gen. 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 BioWare A-team effort, as opposed to Andromeda’s B-team.

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Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition

In the year 2017 we are puzzlingly if delightfully blessed with a significant number of old-school style western RPGs. While the big triple-A brands move into 3D space action, a counter-revolution brings us a stack of retro releases like Torment: Tides of Numenera and Wasteland 2. Our pick of the bunch is Larian’s absorbingly self-aware fantasy RPG.

There is so much to discover in Divinity: Original Sin. The dev team’s commitment to simulation is unrivalled, so that very often the question “I wonder if I can do this?” is a resounding yes, and it’s one of the game ever to live up to the promise of freedom of play style and full systemic combat. Absorbing and entertaining solo, hilarious in co-op. pro tip: take the animal speech skill.

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DOOM

Look, no, it’s not the esport scene creating multiplayer banger Bethesda obviously hoped it would be, and you should feel free to completely ignore that part of it. But DOOM is something way more important than the publisher’s wet dream of a money spinning multiplayer game: it’s an incredible shooter that understands what made the original special and builds on that foundation rather than continuing on the path the genre has taken in all the year’s since.

DOOM’s single-player campaign plays so much faster than other FPS story modes, and totally eschews cover and hitscan in favour of rapid movement and real projectiles. You’ll lead your fire, you’ll dodge, and you’ll think about positioning as you master each enemy type’s attack patterns – and eventually you’ll get right up in their faces and melee them for that sweet health boost. You won’t ever stop moving, and that is the real winner here.

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Dying Light: The Following Enhanced Edition

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.

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The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim

One of the best games of the last generation remains one of the best games in this one, and now you can have slightly better visuals to go with it. What’s not to like? Bethesda made Skyrim Special Edition because it used Skyrim to figure out its new-gen tech for Fallout 4, and having done half the work already, it went ahead and finished the port. This is unlikely to happen again (sorry, Morrowind) fans, so it’s a good thing every Elder Scrolls RPG has an almost unlimited amount of content, isn’t it?

Skyrim set a new standard for RPGs and is still having enormous impact on the industry today. Without Skyrim, we wouldn’t have The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. We wouldn’t have Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect Andromeda. We wouldn’t have Horizon Zero Dawn. If you don’t know why, it’s time to check back in with Tamriel.

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Fallout 4

A bonkers number of hours later, we still haven’t seen everything Fallout 4 has to offer. The weak main plot proves Bethesda should leave well enough alone when it comes to the franchise’s trademark freeform campaigning, but carving out your own adventures is as absorbing as ever if you can ignore the critical path.

This is alarmingly easy to achieve, and if your goal is to finish Fallout 4 you’ll have to put your blinkers on and ignore its many tempting distractions. Whether you’re hunting down all the companions and pursuing their romances, taking in the stories hidden among bandit gangs and ruins, creating a money-generating settlement utopia or just building giant dicks, there’s something for everyone here.

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FIFA 17

Sorry, PES – FIFA is the best football series. One year on from our last PS4 games check in, this still holds true, and we must resign ourselves to crossing at all the “FIFA 16″s and replacing them with “FIFA 17”. Once again, the annual release outdid its competitors.

This year’s edition does more with Frostbite than ever before, so you can marvel at authentic details from your local pitches at higher fidelity than ever before. Also there’s a new Premiere League story mode called The Journey, because no modern sports sim is complete without a soap opera. Oh, and Ultimate Team is still there, ready to help you embrace your compulsive tendencies.

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Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn

Very probably the best console MMORPG, and indeed only really rivalled by the increasingly good The Elder Scrolls Online, 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.

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Final Fantasy 15

Some games simply cannot be separated from their history, and you can see the long, tortured development of Final Fantasy 15 in its abbreviated story, the sudden wonkiness of the final few acts, and the way it never quite puts it all together. Also, the in-game advertising.

But if you can forgive these foibles and accept that patches and additions Square Enix is hurriedly applying, there’s a lot to love here. Road tripping with your Best Boys is the heart of the experience, and the smashingly gorgeous world is just there to be a nice background to the fake Instagrams you take of your fake life. If this is royalty in crisis, it’s a wonder Noctis cares enough to pursue his destiny. (You may not).

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GTA 5

There’s no question of leaving GTA 5 and GTA Online 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.

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Hitman

Astonishingly good, Hitman is the first game to make us sit up and say hey, maybe episodic really can work for triple-A experiences. Hitman has always been about exploring each level, replaying over and over again to unlock the potential crammed into every corner, discovering new ways to infiltrate and execute. Challenges and checklists are all very well, but dropping one level at a time was a fantastic way to ensure more players enjoyed this intended experience.

IO Interactive upped its game with the excellent Elusive Targets, too. These time-limited, one-try-only events rewarded those who’d put in the hours to learn the material in advance, while remixing levels in ways that felt fresh and challenging again. But even now, when the dust has settled, Hitman is a hell of a stealth action game.

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Horizon Zero Dawn

One of the most technically perfect open world games ever made, Horizon Zero Dawn represents a startling transition for developer Guerrilla Games, previously best known for its grim shooters, Killzone. A team known for its technical wizardry did not disappoint, pulling off a huge and beautiful landscape with a fraction of the resources of competing titles, and giving itself comfortable breathing room to nail down everything else.

And nail it, it did. Horizon Zero Dawn manages to present a focused narrative that pulls the player along several threads at once without dropping momentum, painting in the background of its post-post-apocalyptic world setting poignantly and potently, in a way that makes you want to dig into the codices rather than mark them as read. Plus, the combat is absolutely banging and it’s full of robot dinosaurs. Hard to argue with robot dinosaurs.

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Inside

Remember when Limbo came out and it was amazing and it took you on an emotional journey and stayed in the back of your mind for years? Inside is that, again, only this time PlayDead had so much money it was able to sit on it and refine away until what it got was so close to perfection as set a standard for everything else.

Forgiving puzzle platforming that demands problem solving rather than split-second timing, a carefully and deliberately unexplored setting, and an atmosphere fine tuned to the emotional breaking point (the game’s haunting score was recorded through a real human skull) make Inside an experience you should not sleep on.

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Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes

Okay, so: one of you is wearing a VR helmet, and the other is not. One of you has a bomb. The other one has a manual on defusing bombs. Neither of you can see the other’s screen. Hilarity (and occasional fistfights, if your friends are competitive) ensues.

Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes is so much fun that it’s almost a good enough reason to buy a VR headset on its own. It’s a great argument for VR as an enabler of social experiences, rather than an isolating display system. It’s challenging, it’s very funny, and it will make you value you and your besties’ communication abilities.

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The Last Guardian

The AI in The Last Guardian has been described as buggy, but there’s some reason to believe that Trico’s occasional bouts of stubborn rebellion are intentional; The Last Guardian is not about solving puzzles and fighting baddies as efficiently as possible, but about coming to care for a creature with its own independent existence.

If that was the aim, The Last Guardian succeeds spectacularly. Patiently winning Trico’s trust, forging a bond between you, and having that bond overcome obstacles is a story masterfully told through gameplay rather than cutscenes. The usual Fumito Ueda tactic of only vaguely sketching the setting and background lore once again captures a powerful mystique, but it also serves as a beautiful background to the real story, never distracting from you and Trico.

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The Last of Us Remastered

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.

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Lego Dimensions

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.

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Life is Strange

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.

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Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

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.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

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.

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Nier Automata

It’s impossible to talk about what makes Nier Automata so bloody special without spoiling it, so let’s just say that, like its predecessor, it should not be written off as just another action RPG until you’re tens of hours in and it hits you between the eyes with something startling and heartbreaking that simply could not have worked without the preamble.

We can talk about the gameplay, though. Platinum’s stylish action is very much in evidence, but the degree of difficulty customisation is unrivalled. On the easiest setting you can make the game literally play itself; on the highest, one hit kills and you can dump out all those HP boosting skills in favour of pure damage output. A masterful balancing act between accessible and very, very deep.

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Night in the Woods

This is a story for anybody who’s ever gone back where they came from and found it changed – or found themselves changed. There’s a narrative in there, with a dark secret and a disappearance to tackle, but there’s also a series of quiet moments between you and whichever of the varied cast has caught your interest in that moment, in which hearts will be broken.

Night in the Woods is probably a platformer, although it isn’t about jumping so much as just engaging with the world and characters around you. Imagine a BioWare game, but you can skip trawling the open world for fetch quests and get right back to the banter. Fewer laughs, more staring at the wall and holding your breath, then sighing it out with a welling sense of weary sorrow, though.

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Nioh

Unfairly written off as “Dark Souls, but Japanese”, Nioh is the result of a long, long collaboration between hardcore action developer Team Ninja (Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive) and the estate of filmmaker Akira Kurosawa; it is based on an unfinished script. More than a decade after it got started, Koei Tecmo clearly realised it was sitting on something hot, and signed the project to Sony to ensure it didn’t end up on the same bargain bin pile as the likes of Toukiden and Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Thank goodness for that! The changes Nioh makes to the Souls formula – the introduction of formal stances, the stamina regain system – seems small at first, but a few bosses in the game stops messing about and demands you really learn how to play the damn thing, and from then on you’re in a white-knuckled world of hurt. The gorgeous feudal Japanese flavour is just icing, honestly.

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Outlast

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.

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Overwatch

Overwatch was born when Blizzard axed an MMO that had been in the works for a decade, and the surviving team had to find something to turn their frowns upside down. A first person quad shooter with MOBA-style hero balancing may not have been the obvious development, but in the face of all doubters Overwatch became an overnight sensation with its strange genre blend.

Despite the laughably slim meta-narrative, Overwatch won hearts and fired loins with its cast of characters. The friendships, enmities, familial and potentially romantic relationships between the cast are told in animated shorts, comics, and subtle in-game hints, with each new droplet falling on the fandom like water on a Mad Max: Fury Road extra.

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Persona 5

The best JRPG in a decade and one of the best-reviewed games of the last few years, Persona 5 is exactly what Atlus said it would be: the pinnacle of the series. Every system has been refined and fine-tuned to perfection. The writing and characters are more compelling than ever. The stakes feel incredibly high.

Moreover the challenge has not been toned down for modern sensibilities. This is not a game that encourages casual play, but one that demands forethought and strategy to navigate many conflicting pressures. This is 100% On Theme, too, which is a nice bonus.

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Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

When Capcom started touring a VR horror demo, we all made jokes about how amazing it would be if Resident Evil 7 took some cues from cancelled Konami project Silent Hills. We didn’t expect Capcom to actually do it, but Resident Evil 7: BioHazard is indeed a first-person creep through a closed location.

Somehow or other many gameplay systems survived this transition, reminding us that third-person shooting was never the real heart of Resident Evil, while terrified hoarding of green herbs against the possibility of whatever is around the next corner most definitely is. It could be longer. It could be scarier. But it could also actually kill you with fear, especially in VR, so maybe Capcom drew a sensible line there.

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Rez Infinite

Nothing approaches Rez Infinite for pure rhythm action bliss. If you’re ready to chill out, contemplate the universe, and groove to pretty colours, look no further. Ever.

This isn’t an all-new game, but rather a resurrection of Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Dreamcast-era classic. The vanilla remaster is pretty good, but by all the gods in virtual reality it becomes precisely what it was always meant to be: a superb, mind-bending trip of synesthesia in which you become one with the music. If you have a PlayStationVR and you don’t have Rez Infinite, correct this. You won’t be sorry.

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Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20th Anniversary Edition

Yes, Xbox got it first, but Square Enix’s sensible financial decision meant it could pop back up on a moe significant date with a new and improved expanded release packed with special bonuses and classic throwbacks for longterm fans on the platform that has always been Lara Croft’s domain.

Rise of the Tomb Raider builds on Tomb Raider’s foundations with exciting combat, spectacular landscapes and better puzzles. But it also throws in a huge stack of weird ideas, like an endless, procedurally generated survival mode; gameplay-changing challenge cards; and interactive Twitch streaming. There’s no multiplayer this time, which is probably a good thing, and yet you could keep playing this game pretty much forever. Amazing.

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Rocket League

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.

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Star Wars Battlefront

Star Wars: Battlefront is the best Star Wars experience on consoles today.

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.

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Street Fighter 5

Oh, no, don’t get us wrong – at release, Street Fighter 5 was absolute rubbish. The single-player content was an absolute joke, made even funnier when online services proved about as reliable as a carpenter who turns up and bangs your water pipes with a wrench, asking where the leak is.

Months and months later, it’s finally become a pretty solid package. Updates have filled out the gaping holes in its content, balance is constantly adjusting in-line with high-level play, and it doesn’t fall over every six seconds. Most importantly, at its heart it is Street Fighter, and that’s the fighting game that sets the bar for all others. Thanks goodness Capcom finally managed to clear away the crap disguising that.

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Tales from the Borderlands

Gearbox freely admits it’s kind of rubbish at doing anything interesting with the hugely potent Borderlands setting, but Telltale has no such problem. Expertly honing in on key story hooks, tugging heartstrings and proving wickedly funny, Tales from the Borderlands ought to make Gearbox take a long, hard look at its own efforts and pull up its socks.

Somehow or other, Telltale managed to tell a story completely separate from the main Borderlands series so that anyone can enjoy it, while still tying back firmly to existing canon and even pushing the meta-narrative along. Maybe the new season of The Walking Dead will change our minds, but for now, Tales from the Borderlands is the best Telltale game of this generation.

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Titanfall 2

Releasing disastrously close to bigger shooter brands in the crowded 2016 holiday season, Titanfall 2 has not received even half the credit it deserves. Although fans of the original complained about what Respawn threw out, the sequel still packs in so many new ideas and features that there’s no cause for complaint beyond adjustment disorder.

Technically stunning, Titanfall 2 presents one of the best single-player FPS campaigns of the decade, while pushing fast-paced, agile combat further than ever. Competing shooters simply cannot boast this flow, and the ace in the hole – the massive disruption of the Titans – has only improved now that everyone gets a decent go at it.

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Thumper

Described as “rhythm action violence”, Thumper is the blood-red answer to Rez Infinite’s soothing blue glow. Thumper is a rhythm game so intense that playing it inside your PlayStationVR can honestly be a bit too much. When marketers call a game visceral, they better check themselves; does it make your guts squirm the way Thumper does?

If you ever enjoyed pressing buttons in time to a beat, you owe it to yourself to check out Thumper. This is the other side of the coin, the dark shadow of chill-out trance, the training tool of the warriors of the future. It will hurt you.

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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

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.

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Watch Dogs 2

If you are sick of open world Ubisoft games nothing is going to reconcile you to this one, but if you can stave off cynicism a little longer then Watch Dogs 2 is a great deal of fun. Dropping the grimdark nonsense of the first one, it embraces a more light-hearted, semi-cyberpunk aesthetic, engaging fully with the whole millennial thing so that your fashion choices and selfie snaps are fully as polished as your hacking and action adventures.

The San Franciso Ubisoft presents here is a delightful playground, and one which exists uneasily alongside looming privacy and security concerns as Silicon Valley looks set to swallow the whole of California, if not the world, and the hippie homeland of America fights back. Many of the questions raised by Watch Dogs 2 are birthed in your own brain rather than by anything Ubisoft put in there, but it’s still worth a look.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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. The DLC only improved on this strong beginning. Geralt’s adventures may be drawing to a close with this one, but he’s going out in better form than ever before.

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The Witness

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.

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XCOM 2

Turn-based strategy is not naturally at home on consoles, but as with the first in Firaxis’s alien-hunting series XCOM 2 makes the transition to console with laudable grace and style.

It helps that XCOM 2 is such a good-looking game, zooming effortlessly from the necessary battlefield view down to an almost cinematic third-person view of the actual action, allowing you to take in all the tiny details that give it so much charm. It also helps that XCOM 2 is so bloody more-ish; one more turn, one more go, one more save scum while you try to get through this level without losing your favourite soldier guy and his souped-up gun.

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Yakuza 0

After years of languishing in cult obscurity, we were delighted to see Yakuza 0 go viral thanks to a chicken. The chicken, received as a prize in a memorable and highly shareable scene, is a recruitable team member. This is nowhere near the weirdest or most delightful thing to happen in Yakuza 0, let alone the rest of the series, and a welcome wake up call for those who’d written off the open-world beat-’em-ups.

Yakuza 0, like its siblings, balances a very Japanese hyper-drama set in Tokyo’s notorious criminal underbelly with just – total nonsense. It oscillates wildly between very serious business and utter playfulness; these are games made for playing with, by people who enjoy play as much as they enjoy the organised crime, action hero power fantasy – and the cities of Japan.