The PlayStation 4 sits comfortably atop the throne of this generation’s arbitrary console wars. It’s the best-selling platform of the lot, with its early success being pinned mostly to its solid exclusive titles and aggressively-timed DLC deals in the face of the competition. Things have evened out in recent years when it comes to exclusives, but throughout the generation, Sony’s wedge of a machine has built up a healthy catalog of games across every conceivable genre.
With its successor, the PS5, planned for a holiday 2020 launch, we’ve combed through the archives to build this definitive list of the best PS4 games for you to check out before the next generation drowns out the past.
Koei Tecmo’s Nioh 2 is one of the most difficult games in the Souls-like genre, which is already famous for its unrelenting challenge. Nioh 2 does not feel unfair, however, it does give a ridiculous number of options to the player. These include an insane amount of weapon types – swords, double swords, axes, dual hatchets, and switchglaives among them – as well as expanding skill trees filled with abilities to help defeat the demonic yokai of feudal Japan. It follows the same trial-and-error formula of the Souls series, with players returning to a shrine upon death and spending currency to level up, but throws in other players’ spirits to keep things interesting. Depending on the spirit, they can either help with difficult areas of face off in a duel to the death with valuable gear on the line.
Nioh 2 is a sillier game than its predecessor and most hardcore action-RPG titles, which keeps things light in between the brutally challenging moments. One major supporting character uses a monkey spirit as his ally and occasionally mimics his dancing, and a Billy goat spirit speaks English but with a goat-like vocal fry. Given how stressful the game can be, these characters are appreciated and cherished.
PlayStation players couldn’t play Remedy Entertainment’s last major game, Quantum Break, but they have been given something much better in Control. The third-person shooter builds on Quantum Break’s mix of traditional gunfights and superhuman powers, but it trims most of the fat and is set in a much more interesting environment — the titular Federal Bureau of Control.
As new director Jesse Faden, it’s your job to uncover the mystery surrounding your brother’s disappearance and defeat the strange Hiss enemies you come across. This is easier said than done, but with the right abilities and knowledge of the shape-shifting Service Weapon, you’ll be able to save the world from certain doom.
Read our full Control review
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
The Dark Souls formula got a healthy dose of speed and horror when Bloodborne released back in 2015, and From Software has managed to make things even more extreme in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Set in Sengoku-era Japan rather than a wholly original world, the game is nonetheless filled with magic and monsters ready to kill you at a moment’s notice. No enemy is too weak to deserve your attention, and many are formidable in one-on-one fights.
The real meat of Sekiro, however, are the boss fights. They play out like choreographed dances, requiring you to learn a boss’s every move before you’re ready to go in for the kill. With the Posture system becoming more important in most fights than a standard health bar, you need to stay aggressive, but getting greedy will result in a swift death.
Devil May Cry 5
Devil May Cry 5 is a sequel to a game released over a decade ago, but you wouldn’t know that from playing it. The flashy combat is brought to life with the power of the impressive RE Engine – also used for Resident Evil 2 – and with three protagonists using very different combat styles, you never do the same thing twice in Devil May Cry 5.
Nero and Dante both make their return alongside the mysterious V, who makes use of demons to do his fighting for him. Regardless of who you’re controlling, Devil May Cry 5 is an over-the-top adrenaline rush, with plenty of humor and ridiculous weapons that should please longtime fans.
Bloodborne is not for the faint of heart. This action-RPG adventure, a spiritual successor to Hidetaka Miyazaki‘s Dark Souls series, takes the challenging combat and methodical boss encounters of the aforementioned games but speeds up the gameplay for a more frenetic and tense experience.
A dark, gothic setting and Lovecraftian story provide a bleak backdrop for the white-knuckle gameplay. As a Hunter, you’ll make your way through the city of Yharnam, where a strange curse has begun turning locals into mindless beasts. While not technically a horror game, Bloodborne’s setting and high-stakes combat are uniquely terrifying. Be sure to stay alert, because the world of Bloodborne is full of unforgiving monsters and traps around every corner, making it one of the best PS4 games to date.
Read our full Bloodborne review
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
From the mind of designer Hideo Kojima comes Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the fifth (and ostensibly final) entry in the long-running stealth espionage series. The goofy and over-the-top tone the series is known for has been downplayed, and this installment instead delivers a far grittier and more reined-in narrative that follows Venom Snake (Big Boss) as he works to re-establish his mercenary army in his war against the shadowy Cipher.
It’s one of the best PS4 games available and has garnered near-universal acclaim thanks to its meticulously designed gameplay, which allows players to complete missions in virtually limitless ways while recruiting and building a mercenary army. Kiefer Sutherland lends his voice as Big Boss, in what might be the best stealth-action game of all time.
Read our Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain hands-on
Grand Theft Auto V
Don’t mistake the PS4 version of Grand Theft Auto V — Rockstar’s extraordinary open-world opus — for a mere cash-grabbing re-release. The next-gen version of the already impressive game blows the original out of the water, even if the storyline and locales are identical. Rockstar’s unique additions, such as the first-person mode, allow the title to stand out from the crowd, bolstering it more than the updated visuals and expanded heists ever could.
The re-release also allows for larger online matches, adds several songs to in-game radio stations, and even allows PlayStation 3 players to upload their previous characters. Couple all this with some of the finest writing and voice acting of any video game to date, and you have a title that’s the cream of the next-gen crop. There’s a reason that it is the most successful entertainment product in history.
Read our full Grand Theft Auto V review
Director Yoko Taro’s games have always been delightfully bizarre, but their moment-to-moment gameplay had never reached the same heights as Taro’s stories. For Nier: Automata, the semi-sequel to 2010’s Nier, Taro partnered with PlatinumGames to create a game with stylish action, tight twin-stick shooting, and clever perspective shifts.
For the first time, Taro has delivered a game that is just as engaging to play as it is to watch, and it also happens to feature one of the best narratives, and endings, in the entire medium. It takes three playthroughs to see the entire story, but the time you invest will be well worth it by the time the final credits roll.
Read our full Nier: Automata review
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 is the result of decades of development experience, delivering one of the strongest stories we’ve seen from the studio despite often being limited to characters we already know from the original game. Over its long, slow-burn tale, we are shown the heartache and pain that came with the end of the Wild West era, and protagonist Arthur Morgan’s gruff-but-nurturing personality makes him the perfect star during this transition.
If you don’t care about dialogue, however, Red Dead Redemption 2 is just an absolute joy to play. Exploring the open world almost always results in finding something you haven’t seen before, whether it be a new species of animal to hunt or a bizarre murder scene to investigate. Getting lost in the Wild West is easy, so we don’t ever want to leave.
Read our full Red Dead Redemption 2 review
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Respawn Entertainment is known for first-person shooters like Titanfall 2 and Apex Legends, so we weren’t sure what to expect when the studio announced it was making Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a third-person Jedi-focused Star Wars action game. The end result, as it turns out, is actually pretty solid, combining elements from other contemporary action-adventure games while injecting just enough Star Wars magic.
Set after Order 66 that destroyed most of the Jedi, Fallen Order stars a former Padawan who must race to protect a powerful object containing important information valued by both the Rebels and the Empire. The game never lets up from its opening moments to the final credits, and it’s filled with all the Force powers and acrobatic moves you could want a Jedi to use.
God of War
The original three God of War games, as well as the prequel God of War: Ascension, are violent, over-the-top, often ridiculous games that center on anti-hero Kratos and his struggle against the gods and monsters of Greek mythology. After so many games, the formula had grown stale, so developer Sony Santa Monica went back to the drawing board for its 2018 reboot/sequel, simply titled God of War.
The result? A more grounded and intimate adventure that breaks down Kratos’ character and turns him into a more relatable hero. The combat has also been altered drastically, focusing more on strategy than blind button-mashing, and the new two-person encounters with Kratos’ son Atreus guarantee each fight still feels fresh.
Somewhat surprisingly, the game eschews the linear structure of the previous games for the more open-ended Metroidvania-style we’ve seen become so popular in action-role-playing games this generation. It isn’t exactly a fully open-world game, but God of War provides you with plenty of optional areas and secrets to find. God of War is one of the most visually impressive game to hit the PlayStation 4 to date, so you’re going to want to take some time and just look around and take in the developers’ interpretation of Norse mythology.
Read our full God of War review
Naughty Dog is one of the most talented game studios on the planet, and the developer certainly showed that with the Uncharted series. Following treasure-hunting adventurer Nathan Drake in all but the recent Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, the series riffs on the Indiana Jones format, but with an added dose of sarcasm and adrenaline that truly makes it feel like you’re playing a movie.
Over the course of the four main games — the first three are bundled in The Nathan Drake Collection — Drake and partner Sully travel across the globe in search of riches, and they always seem to run into trouble along the way. That leads to plenty of shootouts and skin-of-your-teeth escape sequences, which often offer spectacle rarely seen elsewhere in video games. If you want to try out online play instead, Uncharted 4’s competitive multiplayer is surprisingly engaging, even managing to pack in some of the campaign’s humor.
Read our full Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review
Swinging from skyscraper to skyscraper through a living, breathing New York metropolis is just one of the things that Marvel’s Spiderman does incredibly well. Though the main story is only an estimated 20 hours long, there’s plenty for players to see and do beyond just that. From unlocking really cool Spidey suits and gadgets to taking out your camera and capturing some of the city’s best landmarks, it’s really hard not to feel like the real Spider-Man when playing this game.
Critics have even gone on to say that it’s the best superhero video game of its time (surpassing that of Batman: Arkham Asylum), and we hope that this means we’ll get more games in other superhero universes just like it.
Read our full Marvel’s Spider-Man review
The Last of Us Part II
The release of The Last of Us Part II was uncertain at the beginning of the year. Although the game was hyped up and players were anticipating its release, the Coronavirus pandemic forced Naughty Dog to push the release date. However, the delay wasn’t too long, and the wait was well worth it.
The Last of Us Part II followed Ellie and Joel five years after their initial journey. But a violent event ends up disrupting the peace in their community of survivors, forcing Ellie to embark on a relentless journey for justice and closure. Every choice in this game has a consequence, which makes it more involved than other action-adventure games. These consequences shift the game towards a darker, less forgiving tone throughout.
Mortal Kombat 11
Made famous (or infamous) in the ‘90s for its violent gameplay and ridiculously gory Fatalities, the Mortal Kombat series did not continue for more than 25 years just on shock value. NetherRealm Studios’ turned the fighting franchise into one of the best on the planet by introducing more complex combat mechanics and a cinematic story, and Mortal Kombat 11 builds on that success with more space-focused combat the addition of new Fatal Blows.
Mortal Kombat 11 is also one of the most customizable fighting games we’ve ever played. Alongside cosmetic skins, a gear system allows you to swap out multiple items and weapons on your character, and they can be augmented to alter your performance. Moves can also be swapped out for others to create your ideal fighter, and you can explore the sprawling Krypt to unlock even better rewards.
Read our full Mortal Kombat 11 review
Resident Evil 2 Remake
The typical video game “remake” improves the resolution or updates a few control issues for a new generation of players, but Capcom took things much further with 2019’s Resident Evil 2. Telling the same basic story of the 1998 game but with completely redesigned characters, environments, combat, and conversations, it feels like it used the original game as a framework for a modern take on survival-horror.
Every gruesome creature is brought to terrifying life on the PlayStation 4, and it shines even brighter on the more powerful PS4 Pro system. With some of the best audio design in the medium, you can also hear every grotesque monster’s screams and movements, and that comes in handy when trying to avoid the terrifying, lumbering Tyrant.
Read our full Resident Evil 2 review
Resident Evil 3 Remake
Just a year after the release of Resident Evil 2, Capcom wowed fans of the series again with its follow-up in the form of Resident Evil 3 Remake. This iteration takes place right around the same time as Leon and Claire’s tale in the previous game, but with Jill Valentine returning as the main character from the original Resident Evil.
The same beloved survival horror elements are all here as players have to contend with limited resources and terrifying creatures that are stalking the gorgeously-rendered streets of Raccoon City. And that isn’t even taking into account the relentless, gruesome Nemesis who stalks you with some serious firepower. With a bit more action thrown into the mix than previous titles and an asymmetrical multiplayer mode, you can’t go wrong with this terrific remake.
Read our Resident Evil 3 Remake review
Doom Eternal is one of the smoothest first-person shooters of all time, with the famous Doom Slayer moving between demons and eviscerating them like he is a professional ice dancer who found himself lost in Hell. Ditching the space station setting of the 2016 reboot for an eclectic mix of environments that includes Earth, foreign planets, and Hell itself, Doom Eternal feels like a victory lap for developer id Software. It had little to prove after surprising players with Doom, but it still kicked the action into overdrive with new weapons, even more types of demons, and harder boss fights. Thankfully, there is an extra life power-up scattered throughout each level that make it easier to stay fighting if things get too difficult.
Doom Eternal does put a surprising amount of emphasis on its story in a franchise that has never lingered on minutia, but it doesn’t get in the way. The Doom Slayer’s mythos is only made more interesting by learning bits and pieces about his past, and the new villains in Eternal are among the most fearsome and intimidating in the series to date.
Read our full Doom Eternal review
For a while, it seemed like Blizzard might never make a new game outside of its three major franchises: Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. Then along came Overwatch. A multiplayer, objective-based shooter with a focus on diverse character design, Overwatch is not merely a new direction for Blizzard, but a shot across the bow of the entire genre.
Set in a world where an international team of superheroes once stopped a robot revolution, the game gives players more than 20 unique characters to choose from, each with their own set of abilities. Characters fall into a broad set of roles — offense, defense, tank, and support — and players must cooperate using their particular skills to take objectives and fend off the other team.
The game’s heavy focus on teamwork over lone-wolf tactics is refreshing, and the various abilities make for fights that rarely feel the same. Overwatch is also one of the most attractive games of this generation; each character has a distinct look that suits their personality, and the game boasts a vibrant art style that evokes classic comic books.
Read our full Overwatch review
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
After the uninspired Call of Duty: Ghosts and the hot mess of ideas that was Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, developer Infinity Ward returned to the series that made it legendary: Modern Warfare. In 2019’s rebooted Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward proved that the classic shooter could be re-imagined for the current generation, telling a completely new story that includes some familiar faces alongside new characters.
It feels remarkably different from its predecessors, but with just enough familiarity to trigger your nostalgia. Multiplayer functions similarly, adding new modes like Gunfight and Ground War on top of existing classics, all with a progression system that doesn’t waste your time. With the recently released Warzone, Modern Warfare is even better than ever before with battle royale added to the mix.
Read our full Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review
Rather than develop a full-fledged sequel to Titanfall 2, Respawn Entertainment instead developed the free-to-play battle royale game Apex Legends. Set in the same universe as the studio’s Titanfall games, the class-based shooter retains Respawn’s knack for excellent first-person shooting action, and the various classes’ special abilities offer variety for players bored by the same old battle royale matches.
Respawn also cleverly added its own twists on the battle royale formula by introducing respawning – with its name, how could it not? If killed, a player’s banner can be picked up by a teammate, who can then bring them back to life at a special respawning terminal. There are also special redeployment devices that you can use to launch yourself back into the air as you would at the beginning of a match, and the game’s “ping” system makes it incredibly easy to communicate with teammates who aren’t wearing headsets.
Epic Games’ free-to-play Fortnite battle royale needs little introduction. The game has become nothing short of a worldwide phenomenon, with its dances and mechanics making their way into nearly every facet of pop culture and its addictive battle royale gameplay keeping players glued to their screens for hours at a time.
Building on the formula established in games like The Culling and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite adds buildable structures to the mix, allowing you to create cover and ambush opportunities no matter where on the map you happen to be. With regular updates adding more weapons and vehicles as well as story content, there’s always something in the game that you haven’t seen before.
Read our full Fortnite Battle Royale review
One of the first games to launch on the PlayStation 4, Warframe offers the grind and cooperative action of a game like Destiny 2 without making its players spend a dime, and it has continued to improve over the years into something many of its fans view as their primary hobby. With both melee and ranged attacks and advanced parkour abilities, you’re free to play the game in whatever manner best suits your particular style.
While the game is easy to start playing, it becomes complex quickly as you advance, and eventually evolves into an insanely fast-paced third-person action-RPG. Cleverly combining warframes, weapons, and other abilities to maximize your firepower is the key to victory.
Many publishers use sandbox as a general term for large, open-ended game worlds, but few games deserve that term more than Minecraft. Its premise is as simple as it is inviting — you’re thrown onto a procedurally generated world, and you must survive in any way you can. This includes venturing into the depths of the planet to mine new resources, squaring off against explosive Creepers, and building shelters to protect yourself against the enemies hoping to snack on your brains whenever the sun goes down.
If the survival mode isn’t for you, a creative option is also available, giving you access to all the game’s resources and tools in order to make your dream home. If you want to bring a friend into the mix, there’s a multiplayer option, and tons of special skins are available to give your world the perfect look.
Read our full Minecraft review
Who knew a farming simulator could be such a smash hit? After first-time developer Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone had grown frustrated with the state of the long-running Harvest Moon series, he took it upon himself to create the game he wanted to play. The result was Stardew Valley, a charming love letter to the 16-bit era with a delightful cast of characters to meet, activities to complete, and dangerous areas to explore.
You can turn your land into the farm you’ve always wanted, and there are plenty of customization options for turning your house into a home. You can even start a relationship with several different people in the town, provided you’re able to tear yourself away from your crops long enough to talk to anyone.
No Man’s Sky
The development of No Man’s Sky was a marathon, not a sprint. The insanely ambitious space exploration game was made by a tiny team at the UK-based Hello Games, and it got the gaming community’s attention in a hurry. With potentially billions of planets to explore, each with unique flora and fauna to discover, no two players’ experiences in the game were ever alike.
At launch in 2016, however, it was rough around the edges, but the game has continued to improve over time, all culminating in the July 2018 NEXT update, which expanded on building features and finally added a multiplayer option so players could lose themselves on a mysterious planet with a buddy.
Read our full No Man’s Sky review
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Konami seems more than willing to leave the Castlevania series behind, only releasing older games on the current-generation consoles and supporting the animated Netflix adaptation. However, longtime producer Koji Igarashi knew that fans were interested in a new open-ended action game, and he led the creation of spiritual successor Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
A Castlevania game in all but name, Bloodstained features sprawling levels filled with traps and enemies, upgradable characters, different weapons times, and plenty of dastardly bosses to defeat. It also gives you several magical abilities that can be used in combat, such as a summoned tentacle, and it retains the Castlevania games’ signature cheese.
Looking for a tough-as-nails platformer and rogue-like that also rewards you for each small success? Then you have to check out Dead Cells. This fast-paced game tasks you with exploring levels and fighting vicious enemies to escape a ‘cursed’ island. While the setup isn’t much different from Dead Cells‘ peers, the game’s highly responsive controls take the combat to a new level.
You’ll also come to appreciate the many special abilities your character can acquire across multiple runs. They feel powerful despite the fact that you are, in fact, almost constantly at risk of dying if you slip up. This high-risk, high-reward gameplay creates wonderful tensions and will make you crave just one more run.
The original Spelunky was an early indie darling that proved small indie titles could be just as entertaining as massive games from massive companies. Now, Spelunky 2 has managed to repeat the trick twice, delivering an upgrade to the original for today’s consoles. It’s a fun, quick, tightly designed rogue-like platformer where death comes quickly. Fortunately, you can jump back into the game just as fast. You’ll find yourself in an addicting cycle, always wanting to give it one more try. The game’s solid presentation and attractive graphics help, making the game appeal to players who might otherwise be turned off by its difficulty.
Puzzle and adventure games
Kentucky Route Zero
One of the most-acclaimed narrative-focused games of all time, Kentucky Route Zero finally made its way to the PS4 in early 2020. Set beneath Kentucky in a secret tunnel system, the game stars a truck driver and is heavily centered on dialogue and atmosphere rather than a traditional challenge.
It’s set over five acts, the last of which released simultaneously with the TV Edition that made its way to consoles, and it’s an emotional and gripping ride from start to finish. The game’s simple but distinct visual style serves its themes well, resembling a watercolor painting that has been made with sharp, somewhat drastic lines.
The Witness, the long-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Blow’s 2008 breakout indie platformer Braid, is a beautiful, sedate, first-person exploration puzzler in the vein of Myst. Much like that ’90s classic, you are dropped on a mysterious island with little to no context and tasked with solving a series of puzzles, which in turn allows to you explore more and uncover the island’s secrets.
Unlike Myst‘s wide-ranging environmental puzzles, however, the challenges of The Witness are very clearly defined as panels laced with grids that you must navigate like a maze. Blow has iterated a rich syntax of puzzle mechanics within that consistent framework, which helps keep up the pressure.
Read our full The Witness review
Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 Royal is everything that the original Persona 5 should have been. The fastest turn-based JRPG around, this slick, stylized Atlus RPG is dripping with personality and charm. Playing as one of several high school students who moonlight as the Phantom Thieves, you are there to steal the hearts of villains and save the world.
Or, you can just spend hours going to class, working a part-time job, and romancing your friends, as that is half the fun in Persona 5 Royal with an unbelievable amount of content to do. The Royal version is an absolute masterpiece, adding dozens of hours of new content, a third semester, a brilliant new teammate in Kasumi, and it finally delivers justice to Goro Akechi’s excellent arc. Persona 5 Royal isn’t just the best version of the game (and the only one you should play), but one of the greatest RPG and PS4 games ever made.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake
For decades, one of the most highly requested games was a remake of Final Fantasy 7. It is finally here and it delivers on everything fans wanted and more. Not only is it possibly the best-looking game on PS4, but it tells the tale of Cloud, Aerith, and the Avalanche group in the most well-written and sensible way ever.
Everything about Final Fantasy 7 Remake has been modernized to fit today’s culture while not leaving behind what made it great in the first place. Even crazier still, it somehow made a full-on JRPG out of only a fraction of the original game without ever feeling undercut or hollow. Trading the turn-based format for fast-paced, complex action-based gameplay, this is the best way to experience one of the greatest games ever made.
Read our full Final Fantasy 7 Remake review
Horizon Zero Dawn
From the studio best-known for the Killzone franchise, Horizon Zero Dawn is quite the change of pace. You play as Aloy of the Nora tribe in a third-person, open-world action-RPG across a vast and sprawling post-apocalyptic world overrun by large mechanical beasts resembling animals. It’s an absolutely stunning game with varied environments and complex characters, but Horizon Zero Dawn is much more than just a pretty face.
Engaging, fluid combat makes toppling the wide array of robotic beasts consistently exciting and fresh. The copious scavenging and crafting requirements are rewarding because of the diverse combat. The well-spun yarn is equal parts origin story for the captivating world and coming-of-age story for its brave heroine. Horizon Zero Dawn manages to hold onto its bountiful fun-factor throughout its 30-plus hour adventure, making it a standout within its cluttered genre.
If that isn’t enough for you, a story DLC, The Frozen Wilds, was released to widespread acclaim and offers a whole new area for players towards the end of the game.
Read our full Horizon Zero Dawn review
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
While there are plenty of RPGs available on Sony’s PlayStation 4, CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the best. In the epic conclusion to the adventure trilogy, players once again don the role of Geralt of Rivia, waging battle against the advancing Wild Hunt army in the Northern Kingdoms. Although the title remains similar in style to previous games in the series, CD Projekt Red included new combat mechanics and significantly bolstered the customization, all of which help it improve upon the gameplay and imbue its open-world with a greater sense of depth.
Few games possess the kind of writing present in The Witcher 3, which features an enthralling story penned by regular series writer Marcin Blacha. Perhaps the game’s biggest draw is the fact the main storyline takes players roughly 30 hours to complete. That number balloons to more than 100 hours if you take into account side quests and mini-games, rendering its longevity as attractive as its visuals.
Read our full The Witcher 3 review
Monster Hunter: World
Monster Hunter: World is not exactly the most traditional Monster Hunter game but that’s what makes it so good. If you enjoy a good open-world RPG where you can track rare monsters, engage in tough combat, and craft awesome armor out of their remains then Monster Hunter: World is right up your alley.
Monster Hunter: World modernizes a classic RPG and makes it easy for anyone to jump in. It features beautiful zones that feel alive, monsters with improved A.I., and really cool DLC crossovers with Final Fantasy, Street Fighter, and Horizon Zero Dawn. There’s also a multiplayer mode where up to four players can suit up in their best gear and take down dangerous beasts together. As one of the PlayStation 4’s best selling games, you’d be missing out if you didn’t at least consider picking it up.
Read our full Monster Hunter: World review
Ghost of Tsushima
A PlayStation 4 exclusive, Ghost of Tsushima was the console’s surprise hit of 2020. Set during the Mongol invasion of Japan, it uses the game’s gorgeous island as the backdrop for a gory samurai tale of honor and glory under difficult circumstances. It offers most the usual open-world RPG features, including many side-quests, a huge world to explore, and an extensive leveling system. However, it dials back the annoying, grindy aspects of the genre, which keeps the game from becoming bogged down by its own size. It also offers a fun combat system that success walks a fine line between the simplicity of recent Assassin’s Creed games and the demanding precision of Dark Souls and its successors.
Massively multiplayer games
Though many of us loved the original Destiny, it had a cryptic and confusing story and a surprisingly empty world. These issues were rectified in Destiny 2, a game so content-rich and satisfying that we’ve found ourselves playing for three or four hours at a time without much thought. The buttery-smooth combat of the first game returns, but it’s coupled with a cinematic story spanning four different worlds, a number of extra Adventures to complete, six cooperative Strikes, and a competitive multiplayer component as satisfying as Titanfall 2 or Battlefield 1.
Destiny 2: Forsaken added plenty of worthwhile additions to keep Guardians glued to their controllers. From the excellent Baron boss fights to the new Triumphs and Collections systems to great new environments like Gambit, Forsaken brings the already great Destiny 2 formula to new heights. You can gain access to the entire Destiny 2 experience by buying Destiny 2: Forsaken – Legendary Edition. It comes with the base game, the first two expansions, and the Forsaken makeover.
Read our full Destiny 2: Forsaken review
Final Fantasy XIV
When the MMO Final Fantasy XIV originally launched in 2010, it was derided as one of — if not the — worst games in the entire series. Square Enix wasn’t content to just kill off its enormous online game, however, and instead chose to completely rebuild it into a new version called Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Later shortened to just Final Fantasy XIV, it’s one of the only true MMO games available on the PlayStation 4. But don’t let the MMO aesthetic deter you, as it is one of the greatest games ever made.
Several patches and paid expansions have released over the last few years, including 2019’s unbelievably amazing Shadowbringers, which kept up the trend of new dungeons, a new Nier-inspired raid, new classes and races, several new playable areas, and an increased level cap for every one of its classes.
Read our full Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers review
Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled
We’ve reached the point in contemporary video gaming when spin-offs of classic series are getting remastered and remade. Usually, this would cause us to boo and hiss, but Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled delivers the frenetic and goofy action of the original kart racer with a gorgeous new coat of paint. After the fairly stale Team Sonic Racing, it’s the perfect substitute for a Mario Kart game on the PS4.
With the power of the internet, you can race against your friends online for the first time in Crash Team Racing, and the game also includes some of the content first seen in Crash Nitro Kart. The PS4 version comes with exclusive skins, as well, as the game series comes home to its original console.
Gran Turismo Sport
Polyphony has crafted one of the most realistic and engaging entries in the entire series with Gran Turismo Sport. With support for 4K resolution, 60 frames per second, and HDR, you’ll be able to see the tread of your tires and every drop of rain falling on your windows, and more than 150 different vehicles to choose from.
There are also driving assist functions to enable less-experienced drivers to enjoy Gran Turismo Sport, as well as a “driving school,” and provided that your stomach can handle it, the game also supports PlayStation VR — this isn’t some tacked-on mode, either, but rather a full 360-degree mode showing the entire interior of the vehicle as you race.
Read our full Gran Turismo Sport review
Wipeout Omega Collection
It has been a few years since we’ve gotten a new entry in the science-fiction racing Wipeout series, but several of its best games are available on PS4 in the Wipeout Omega Collection. Bundling in Wipeout HD, Wipeout HD Fury, and Wipeout 2048, the games were remastered to support 4K and HDR on PlayStation 4 Pro, and textures were completely reworked to look much better up close.
It gets even better with a PlayStation VR headset, as the included VR mode moves the action to a first-person perspective so you can truly experience the larger-than-life loops and twists you go through in each race.
MLB The Show (Series)
MLB The Show 20 is the only baseball simulator on the market, but that advantage hasn’t made Sony San Diego complacent. The latest game has received big overhauls to everything from batting to pitching, with more hands-on opportunities for the best players, and the Road to the Show mode has been reworked to be more challenging and rewarding. March to October, introduced this generation, has also been streamlined to deliver the season’s most exhilarating games more quickly.
The MLB series is not a power fantasy, particularly when batting. Getting even a single can be a challenge if facing a talented pitcher, but the thrill of perfectly timing a swing and knocking a ball into the gap makes it all worth it.
NBA 2K (series)
2K Sports has been the king of basketball for years, and the experience has never been more realistic than it is on the PlayStation 4. With player-models that are almost photorealistic, it’s sometimes hard to tell that you’re playing a video game or watching a live NBA game, and there are enough modes included in NBA 2K20 to keep you busy for the whole season.
From the popular “MyCareer” mode — focused on a single player rising through the ranks — to the MyTeam online mode, there’s always something you haven’t done before, and improvements made in each new installment only improve the basketball sim around even more.
Read our full NBA 2K20 review
Pro Evolution Soccer (series)
It isn’t as popular as FIFA, but Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer games still have plenty to offer soccer fans. New features included in recent games include strategic dribbling, which gives you significantly more control over the ball in your possession, as well as more realistic ball movement.
If you prefer to team up with a friend when playing online, you’ll enjoy PES’ online cooperative mode, and the random selection option gives you a chance to play against similarly skilled players in a snap. The game is also visually stunning, with players recreated down to their shirt size, and reworked facial animations tell you exactly what they’re thinking after a big play.
Is it soccer? Is it basketball? Is it something else entirely? It doesn’t really matter in Psyonix’ Rocket League, the hybrid racing game that replaces human players with rocket-powered vehicles capable of soaring into the air to knock oversized soccer balls into the net.
Despite its simple concept, mastering Rocket League demands practice, as the top players are capable of manipulating their vehicles down to the smallest turn in order to deflect a ball or get into position for the perfect pass. With other courses mimicking sports like basketball and a ton of post-launch content already released, you could easily drop everything you’re doing and play Rocket League for weeks on end.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater has restored glory not only to the Tony Hawk video game franchise, but to skateboarding games as a whole. The remake bundles the first two Tony Hawk entries, and tweaks the game significantly. The graphics are brought up to modern standards, as are other important areas like menus, game modes, and characters.
What hasn’t changed? The gameplay. The original games are still remarkably fun to play today, hampered on by their aging graphics and antiquated presentation. If you played Tony Hawk back in the day, you’ll love the nostalgic music. If this is your first time, you’ll love the unique skateboarding gameplay that remains without peer today.