Best PS4 games | Our guide to the top PlayStation titles you can play right now
As the Playstation 4 is set to celebrate its 5th birthday this month, it seems the perfect time to reflect on the best PS4 games that have arrived on Sony’s impressive console. While talk of the gaming town has turned to next-generation consoles like PS5 and the next Xbox, developers are producing some of the best games of the PS4’s lifecycle. Making the most of their experience with the consoles and advancements like HDR and virtual reality, 2018 has added plenty of the best PS4 games to our evolving list of the 25 finest titles the console has to offer. And if you have any to add, let us know your own essential PS4 games in the comments below.
Tetsuya Mizuguchi's synaesthetic spin on the classic puzzle game is a thing of wonder. The timeless, block clearing core of the game remains fully intact, but Tetris Effect somehow builds gorgeous landscapes around those falling blocks; whizzing between space, sandswept dunes, swimming with dolphins and beyond. Despite the beauty of the surroundings, Tetris Effects keeps you in the zone with stunning soundscapes that react to your moves, with the speed of the falling blocks dictated by the tempo of the track. On the TV, it's brilliant. In virtual reality, it is utterly transporting. And, yes, all this from a 35 year old puzzler.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2's reactive late 19th century world is quite extraordinary; a vast, peerless construction of snow-capped mountains, open plains, swampland and cities filled with characters and distraction. With its uncompromising attempts to ground you in its world, few games give such a sense of 'being there', to the extent you can feel the baking heat or smell a storm in the air. Its story, meanwhile, is a vast, slow-burn but often thrilling account of a band of outlaws on the run. A triumph, even with multiplayer Red Dead Online still to arrive.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
While the lack of single-player may make you hanker for the breakneck bombast and ooh-ra melodrama of a Call of Duty campaign, Black Ops 4 allows its three-pronged multiplayer package to breathe. Competitive multiplayer is a blast, retaining much of Black Ops 3’s searing pace, stripping back its excess and adding its own ideas. Zombies is as camp, meaty and messy as ever, while Fortnite-challenging Battle Royale mode Blackout is the headline for good reason. Tense, tactical and given the expensive triple-A sheen its rivals can not compete with. Despite it following the trends somewhat, this is the freshest Call of Duty in years.
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
A stunning virtual reality showcase, Astro Bot is the game that PSVR was made for. A punchy, colourful 3D platformer, Astro Bot has you controlling both a small bot charging around the environment, collecting coins and rescuing his mates and the headset equipped robot following in his wake. You can peer around corners to help Astro Bot on his way, looking back on yourself, or even headbutting through obstacles. The controller is a physical entity in the game too, equipped with special gadgets like a grapple hook to pull down walls and create rope bridges for your little pal. Constantly inventive and backed up by solid platforming fundamentals, Astro Bot is the best of an increasingly excellent PSVR line-up.
Destiny 2: Forsaken
Destiny 2, with its fizzy combat, beautiful vistas and endless challenges, has always been a great game to lose yourself in. But since the release of the latest expansion, Forsaken, Destiny 2 has jumped into exceptional. A host of gameplay tweaks to fine-tune that alien combat, sprawling stories, raids and the addition of the inventive Gambit ‘competitive co-op’ mode has made Destiny the best it has ever been.
A colourful spin on Spidey from the developers behind Ratchet & Clank and Sunset Overdrive. The swinging is sensational as Spider-Man whooshes through the beautifully crafted urban canyons of New York City. Its myriad distractions follow a familiar template at times, but Insomniac give them a fresh twist with its clear understanding of their leading man. It's enormous fun and has a considerable amount of heart, with a surprisingly effective narrative seeing you through to the end.
God of War
Fatherly reinvention of gaming's angriest man as Kratos moves to the Norse mountains in an attempt to escape his past and raise his young son, Atreus. Ends up smacking trolls with a bloody great axe, obviously. The furious combat and gorgeous exploration is the best it has ever been, opening up the land of Midgard for the biggest God of War yet. But in tandem with that is an effecting and deftly-told story, with the relationship between Kratos and Atreus forming its beating heart.
The perfect game for Japanophiles and those who like whacking goons with bicycles, Yakuza has always shone a fascinating light onto the underbelly of Tokyo’s nightlife, weaving a compelling crime yarn with offbeat wackiness and extravagance. Yakuza 0, an Eighties-themed prequel to the long-running tale of Kazuma Kiryu, is arguably the series best, with a thumping combat system, a lot of laughs and a surprisingly grown-up tale of land-grabs and inter-family wrangling. Kazuma remains one of gaming’s most cool and compelling characters, while the chance to control one of Yakuza’s long-time stars in Goro Majima is a treat.
Monster Hunter: World
The spectacular return of Capcom’s giant beast slaying RPG, much has been made of Monster Hunter World’s play for the mainstream; with its thrilling action and giant weaponry opened up beyond its sizable cult following. But while this is a notably more accessible expedition for new hunters, you will still find a complex, wonderfully eccentric and endlessly entertaining adventure. Finally downing a towering beast after an epic battle across World’s gorgeous environments is one of gaming’s most satisfying feats.
What Remains of Edith Finch
Harrowing and surreal series of interactive vignettes as young Edith explores her looming childhood home to uncover the truth of a family curse. Giant Sparrow demonstrate extraordinary skill in storytelling throughout Edith’s journey, harnessing games’ interactivity with diverse tales of death and superstition within the Finch household. From the purely surreal - sharks tumbling down hills in the fevered imagination of a child- to hyperactive comic books, to more grounded and gut-wrenching tragedy; Edith Finch flits between each with real poise. And as it does, it threads together a compelling and often disturbing picture of a most unusual family.
Horizon Zero Dawn
On the surface, this ambitious open-world adventure seems like a jumble of influences but, just like the robot dinosaurs wandering its lands, the game is far more than its component parts. Horizon delivers a gripping story, satisfying combat, and the most gorgeous video game environments we’ve ever seen. Young hunter Aloy is a brilliant protagonist, too, as she explores a post-apocalyptic world in which primitive humans are struggling in a world ruled by murderous machina. Despite its clear influences, Horizon confidently carves out an identity of its own in an overpopulated genre.
A superb action game with fast, frenetic combat that showcases Platinum at their best. Whether you’re fighting giant robots or exploring a devastated world, NieR: Automata brings thrills and melancholy in equal measure. The combat systems are a vast improvement over its predecessor, but NieR: Automata retains the level of introspective weirdness and genre-bending experimentation that made the first game so notable. There’s so much to discover, so many twists and turns, and it’s all packaged together with Platinum’s trademark prowess. Whether you’re a fan of Drakengard and NieR or new to the series, Automata is a must-play.
The Last Guardian
This story of a boy and his beast is one of the PS4’s most singular games, working with the gryphon-esque Trico as you scamper through the ruins of a lost civilization. While it shares some of Ico and Shadow’s DNA, I have not played anything quite like The Last Guardian. Most of this is down to Trico himself, a curiously believable, empathetic creature whose individual mind had me yelling at the TV in equals part delight and frustration. Such impish character is the reason The Last Guardian is a success, while its smart puzzles and breathtaking views make for a tremendous adventure.
While the recurring question as you seek revenge on the coast of Karnaca is ‘to kill or not to kill’, each answer is open to interpretation. Whether it is whispering through areas with mystic abilities, knocking out guards or going full killcrazy and wiping out enemies with spring-loaded razor-mines and muskets, Arkane give you a tool-set that can be experimented and toyed with. Karnaca is a remarkable creation, with tales of a complex city divided by class built into its very walls and hidden in corners. In Kirin Jindosh’s ever-transforming Clockwork Mansion and the time-bending antics of A Crack in the Slab, Dishonored 2 serves up two of the finest video game levels ever.
Playdead’s harrowing puzzle-platformer stamped an indelible impression on 2016. While in many ways it was natural follow-up to the Danish developer’s debut Limbo, with smart environmental challenges and the blackest wit, Inside was a far more accomplished piece of work. The young boy you control was always on the run from … something, scampering through forests and clambering chainlink fences While roiling industry formed the backdrop for many ingenious one-hit puzzles. And then… that ending; a startling, evocative denouement that lingers long after the credits roll.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The final chapter for one of gaming’s best-loved cinematic blockbusters, this is a triumphant send-off for Nathan Drake as he goes in search of the mythical pirate city of Libertalia with his long-lost brother. While its exquisitely directed action is as thrilling as ever, the game shines brightest when it allows you to soak in its gorgeous surroundings, investing you in its warmly written tale performed by a willing and talented cast.
Fast-paced multiplayer arena shooter featuring a diverse range of heroes, Overwatch feels effortlessly good. Blizzard's systems work together to create a deep yet accessible shooter with a twist. Matches are thrilling back-and-forths, and characters are vivid and unique. Most importantly, it is always a joy to play, whichever role you choose to take on.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Following the successful reboot of Lara Croft in 2012, this sequel is a fantastic crystallisation of the new direction. Here Lara is braving the wilds of Siberia in search of the lost city of Kitezh. The game’s gritty combat, with its focus on stealth and survival, is fierce and flexible while the introduction of open areas and more puzzling tombs reward exploration. Follow-up Shadow of the Tomb Raider may have taken a wrong turn, but Rise remains impeccable.
Metal Gear Solid V
A drastic departure for Metal Gear Solid conjures up one of the series' best. This is a sprawling, malleable open-world Afghanistan with Snake exploring and infiltrating at will. You have a vast array of options on approaching each target encampment --stealth, force, distraction-- buoyed by reactive enemies and a formidable arsenal. Away from missions you can build your own army by recruiting enemy combatants and influencing construction on your off-shore base, Outer Heaven. Also you can catapult a sheep back to your helicopter to start a farm.
One of the PS4’s hidden gems, Until Dawn is a delicious subversion of both slasher movies and interactive narratives. A group of friends, all of questionable moral value, travel to an isolated mountain lodge to ‘party like pornstars’, as group leader Josh puts it. But little do they know, a deranged killer is stalking them in the snow. Until Dawn plays to the genre’s cliches as tribute, but smartly deconstructs them, putting you in control of each of the group’s fate. They all might die, they all might live, with seemingly insignificant decisions having fatal ramifications later on. Creepy and clever in equal measure, this is a terrific horror yarn.
It’s car football! A simple and engaging pitch executed to near perfection by developer Psyonix. Rocket League’s sci-fi aesthetic and blistering competitiveness has made it one of the go-to games for online multiplayer this generation, even for players with little interest in either football or driving. It’s the skill involved, the satisfaction of a fantastic flipping-save or a last minute howitzer driven in off the bonnet. All the highlight excitement of real sport with little of the baggage.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
One of the richest fantasy RPGs in an age and the closest thing video games has to its own Game of Thrones. The Witcher 3 once again casts you as the grizzled Geralt of Rivia as he pursues his lost adopted daughter across the Nilfgaardian Empire as a spectral army darkens the land. And despite being the third in the series, it is easy enough for a newcomer to jump into this series based on Andrej Sapkowski’s novels. Fantastic combat and characters, with one of the most stunning game-worlds out there stuffed with distraction, The Witcher 3 is a must. If you have the time to dedicate to it, that is.
From the team that brought you the demanding Souls games, Bloodborne is similarly not for the faint of heart. A grisly, gothic masterpiece that has you prowling the dangerous streets of Yharnam wielding bloody great blades, Bloodborne is brutal and intense. It is more aggressive than the Souls games, which somehow makes it tougher and more bloodthirsty, but strangely more immediately welcoming for newcomers. Don’t get too comfortable though, eh?
Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar's towering technical achievement with Grand Theft Auto V translates to new hardware as well as you would expect. It is sharper and smoother than the PS3/360 version and the first-person perspective is an unexpected revelation. The most important thing, of course, is that GTAV remains a triumph of open-world design. offering the vast city of Los Santos as a playground for your three unsavoury characters -Mike, Franklin and the psychotic Trevor. Its tale is dark and contentious, while the city is packed with detail and distraction. GTA Online, meanwhile, remains a bustling and oft-updated multiplayer treat.
Absolutely one of the most terrifying video games you will ever play, Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation makes HR Giger's xenomorph a constant, unbeatable, unknowable threat. As Amanda Ripley (daughter of Ellen), you will creep through the groaning corridors of the space station Sevastapol, not knowing if the clank you just heard is the metal walls settling or the alien scuttling through the vents above, ready to drop down behind you and put that tail through your chest. It is a tough, uncompromising and unusually stressful video game. But while these things mean it might not be for everyone, they only contribute to its excellence.