Over the years the PlayStation 4 has seen a flood of quality titles, from both third-parties and first-party. Sony really found its groove this generation, reimagining classic series and introducing quite a few new IPs.
At nearly every point PS4 owners have had something to look forward to, and Sony’s done a good job of stringing its exclusives out across the generation. PS4’s biggest strength has clearly been exclusive experiences.
There are a lot of consoles exclusives from the last few years, but with the PS5 on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to look back at the PS4’s library.
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15. The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian is the long-awaited third game from Fumito Ueda, the creator of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. Like with those games, The Last Guardian is a thoughtful puzzle-solving experience starring a young boy that befriends a creature named Trico. It’s an emotional experience from start to end, and a huge emphasis is put on the relationship between the boy and Trico. The Last Guardian does have a few niggling issues with controls, but it’s an engrossing experience nonetheless.
14. Concrete Genie
Concrete Genie is a gorgeous game with a lovely message about bullying and showing kindness toward others. The game takes place in the small town of Danska and follows a young boy named Ash who’s constantly hounded by the town’s bullies. After Ash’s sketchbook has its pages torn out, he goes on a journey to recover them and discovers a magical paintbrush that lets him bring his creations to life. Most of Concrete Genie is a calming experience that lets players solve puzzles and paint gorgeous murals throughout the town. Later on, the game does introduce a combat system, but the joy of Concrete Genie lies in creation.
13. Gravity Rush 2
The original Gravity Rush was a wildly inventive game that literally let players mess with gravity, and the sequel improves on nearly everything. Gravity Rush 2 picks up right after the first game and starts with Kat, Raven, and Syd getting sucked into a different dimension. The scope of Gravity Rush 2’s world is a massive upgrade over the first game, and the gravity-defying gameplay feels far tighter and more responsive. The game’s gorgeous art style practically makes it look like a Studio Ghibli film in motion, and at every opportunity, Gravity Rush 2 exceeds player’s expectations.
12. MLB The Show 20
MLB The Show is a tried-and-true franchise for Sony, and truthfully any entry on the PS4 could be put on a best-of list. However, MLB The Show 20 represents the most recent, most refined version of the series yet. MLB The Show 20 doesn’t introduce any game-changing additions, but it does refine hitting and field mechanics, and add a host of other small changes that further polish the experience. In short, it’s just about the best Baseball experience fans can get in games.
Dreams is an utterly fascinating game that lets players really harness their creativity. Although there is an original experience, Dreams primarily works as a pseudo engine that lets players create their own video games. Media Molecule was already practiced in player-creation with Little Big Planet, but Dreams gives players an astronomical amount of options. Fans have created first-person shooters, turn-based RPGs, simulations, and more. If there’s one thing for certain, Dreams is a wholly unique experience that simply can’t be seen anywhere else and fully encourages its fans to be creative.
10. Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus is generally regarded as one of the most artistic games out there, and Fumito Ueda’s magnum opus. Bluepoint Games gave Shadow of the Colossus a tremendous makeover on PS4, completely rebuilding the game’s assets from the ground-up. The remake doesn’t add any new content, but it does tighten up the camera controls and gameplay just a bit. It may not be a brand new experience, but the Shadow of the Colossus remake is easily the definitive way to play the game.
9. Ratchet & Clank
The dynamic duo of Ratchet & Clank didn’t get a brand new game on PS4, but they did get a phenomenal remake of the first game. Coinciding with the release of the 2016 film, Ratchet & Clank retells the story of the very first game, along with a few new segments and worlds. The truly impressive thing about Ratchet & Clank is how the game uses gameplay elements from across the series to make for the best experience yet. Ratchet & Clank is easily one of the most visually impressive games on PS4, and a dream to play.
8. Until Dawn
Until Dawn was a breakaway success for Supermassive Games, even leading to Bandai Namco signing the developer on for the Dark Pictures Anthology. Player choice is integral to Until Dawn, as player take control of eight young adults trying to survive supernatural events on Blackwood Mountain. At first glance Until Dawn looks like a stereotypical jump-scare horror game, but it actually brilliantly subverts those tropes later on.
7. Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima marks a massive change for Sucker Punch Studios, which previously worked on inFamous and Sly Cooper. Set on the scenic island of Tsushima, Japan, the game takes inspiration from countless other open-world titles. It doesn’t necessarily do anything unique, but Ghost of Tsushima does everything very well. Players follow the story of Jin Sakai, a fallen samurai working to drive the Mongol invasion off of the island. Ghost of Tsushima features a fantastic combat system that gets even better in its one-on-one duels, and a story filled with tension and emotion. Post-launch, Sucker Punch has also added on a surprisingly robust co-op mode totally for free.
6. Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon: Zero Dawn presents a different post-apocalyptic world, where humanity has reformed into primitive civilizations. Deadly robotic creatures stalk the wilds, and fighting these creatures are the most exciting part of Horizon. The game’s combat feels fantastic with the main character, Aloy, able to use a variety of different arrows, traps, and equipment. Outside of the fantastic combat, Aloy is a well-developed protagonist, and the world is filled with interesting lore and backstory. It’s easily one of the most unique games available on the PS4.
5. Marvel’s Spider-Man
Marvel’s Spider-Man was a massive exclusive for Sony, and the talented team at Insomniac Games did the hero justice. The game creates an entirely new Spider-Man universe, separate from anything Marvel has done before. The story is one of the highlights of Marvel’s Spider-Man, showing an older Peter more settled into his role as a hero. Fantastic voice acting and performances only help to bolster a story already filled with emotion. Luckily, Marvel’s Spider-Man also nails the gameplay front with web-swinging mechanics that feels nearly perfect and combat that feels fast and fluid.
4. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Uncharted has become one of Sony’s premier series over the years, and Uncharted 4 brings a bombastic end to Nathan Drake’s journey. Uncharted 4 opens with Nate trying to move away from the treasure hunter life, but after his long-lost brother reappears Nate is roped back into things, putting a string on his marriage with Elena. Uncharted 4 paced much slower and deliberately than past games, but it still has plenty of explosive set pieces. Nate’s brother Sam is a great addition to the series’ cast, and the performances are top-notch as usual. As a final adventure for Nathan Drake, Uncharted 4 brings the most memorable experience yet.
3. God of War
God of War completely redefines the tone and style of the series, while still having all the hyper-violence it’s known for. The PS4 game takes place years after God of War 3, wit ha much older Kratos who now lives in Norway with his son, Atreus. The story setup sees Kratos and Atreus journeying to scatter the ashes of Kratos’ wife. Of course, things quickly escalate and the pair find themselves in the crosshairs of the Norse gods. God of War’s combat is responsive and visceral, and Kratos’ ax Leviathan opens up a wealth of new options. Despite switching to an over-the-shoulder view, God of War’s combat feels every bit as brutal as before, and the game’s boss battles present a serious challenge. On both story and gameplay, God of War manages to completely reinvigorate the series.
2. The Last of Us Part II
The Last of Us was a stellar swan song for the PS3, and fans had been waiting for years to continue the story of Joel and Ellie. The Last of Us Part II is a relentlessly emotional experience, at every turn forcing players to confront violence and the evil of humanity. This is Ellie’s story through and through, although the game pulls a surprise twist and introduces a secondary protagonist named Abby, who spends most of the game in opposition to Ellie. The sequel drastically improves the stealth and combat of the first game, and it goes to painstaking lengths to flesh out the world even more. The Last of Us Part II sets a new standard for storytelling and performances in a video game, and it’s an agonizingly emotional experience from start to end.
Even with so many amazing exclusives on PS4, Bloodborne stands apart as an utterly unforgettable experience. Set in the Lovecraftian-inspired city of Yharnam, Bloodborne practically perfects the Souls-like formula. It’s an overwhelmingly ambitious game at every turn, and Bloodborne absolutely nails its aesthetic. Combat in Bloodborne requires players to be aggressive, as any health they lose can be partially recovered by attacking. The game’s weapons and builds are focused on encouraging aggression, and the enemy design is equally varied and horrific. The intertwining locations encourage players to explore and discover, and the Chalice Dungeons add a ton of content outside of the main game. Bloodborne is a masterwork of horror and gameplay design, and it truly shows Hidetaka Miyazaki at his very best.
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