The PlayStation 5 features a handful of excellent games, such as Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Returnal , but the system itself is extremely hard to purchase for many reasons. Thankfully, the PlayStation 4 is far easier to come by, and it has a top-tier library that’s still worth exploring.
In 2013, the PlayStation 4 blitzed the then-new console generation to become the hottest video game machine on the market. The system’s approaching eight years old, but there are still many games coming out for it. And if you happen to own a PlayStation 4 Pro , you can experience 4K graphics, HDR , and improved frame rates (depending on the game). The PS4 isn’t obsolete, by any means.
Look at the cornucopia of riches available. There’s Bloodborne’s gothic horror, Hideo Kojima’s last Konami hurrah in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and two excellent Spider-Man titles from Insomniac Games. 2022’s Horizon Forbidden West will hit the console, too.
The PS4’s lack of backward compatibility was an issue when the console launched, so Sony created PlayStation Now . The streaming service lets you play hundreds of PS2, PS3, and PS4 titles. It’s also available on PC. Naturally, once you stop paying for access to these games, you can no longer play them. The $9.99-per-month PlayStation Plus adds online multiplayer and two free games per month.
Long story short, there’s a lot to like about the PlayStation 4. Check out the list below for the full rundown of our favorite PS4 games and let us know your favorite picks in the comments below.
Bloodborne, the successor to FromSoftware’s Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls games, steps away from the sword and sorcery that defined those action-RPGs. Instead, Bloodborne delves into the macabre, alien, and grotesque, with aesthetic and story parallels to H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard’s fiction.
Bloodborne’s controls are similar to the Souls games, except that they feature enhanced evasion, a health-regeneration system, and abundant healing items; the game’s a very different beast than its predecessors. Plus, Bloodborne’s Gothic and horror inspirations create fantastic world lore.
Doomguy and his insatiable thirst for indiscriminate violence against demons return in Doom Eternal , as he fights a god, an even more powerful god, and the legions of heaven and hell to save mankind.
Doom Eternal is a fast-paced power fantasy that offers all the thrilling action from Doom (2016) , but with even more polish, shine, and gloriously gory gameplay. It’s not only one of the best PS4 games, but it’s also a landmark first-person shooter that stands alone at the top of the genre.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Developer Square Enix rose to the challenge and reimagined an icon. Final Fantasy VII Remake takes players back to the depressing and eccentric city of Midgar, where a group of eco-terrorists wage war against a ruthless power company hellbent on destroying the planet for profit.
You follow ex-SOLDIER Cloud and his misfit allies through the pseudo-futuristic cityscape, fighting security grunts, robots, and mutant monstrosities using an all new hybrid turn-based/action-combat system. Of course, the RPG ‘s versatile Materia skill system is back, delivering dozens of ability options to choose from for tremendous character build variety.
Final Fantasy VII Remake also boasts outstanding presentation, with visuals and music that are second to none. It may only be episode one of a much larger story, but it delivers a hell of a package in spite of it.
Ghost of Tsushima
Sucker Punch Productions steps into the past and brings medieval Japan to life. Ghost of Tsushima is the story of Jin Sakai, an honorable samurai who is forced to become something else when his people are attacked by the Mongols. A samurai always faces their enemies head-on, but guerilla warfare will be needed to win this war.
Ghost of Tsushima is one of the last PS4 games released and it’s a stunner. The island is bathed in bright colors, with fields of red flowers swaying in the breeze, stark white blankets of snow, and shining golden sunsets. You’ll journey across this island, reliving the samurai fantasy. There’s even a Kurosawa mode, if you want to enjoy the entire game in black-and-white.
God of War
The God of War franchise is Sony’s premier action-adventure series, one that has delivered over-the-top action, a free-form combo system, and inspiring fantasy settings for multiple console generations. The series was never particularly technical in terms of combat, but the games offered enough abilities for players to fool around with without being too overwhelming or demanding.
The new God of War reboots the series. It streamlines the combat and controls, while also radically expanding the scope of the game world. God of War doesn’t reinvent the action genre, but its polished gameplay borrows elements from popular action-RPGs to create something unique, yet pleasantly familiar.
Grand Theft Auto V
Set in present day Los Santos, a fictitious city in the fictitious state of San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto V is a tale of gangsters doing gangster things in pursuit of the American Dream. As in previous GTA games, GTA V lets you explore a thriving open world while jacking cars, busting caps, fleeing po po, and causing general mayhem. You can participate in leisurely activities like playing golf or tennis, too. It’s simply one of the best games to arrive this console generation.
Craving an isometric, roguelike, action-RPG filled to the brim with Greek mythology? Yes? Then check out Supergiant Games’ ultra-polished dungeon crawler. In Hades , you control Zagreus, the son of Hades, as he attempts to escape from the Underworld to reach Mount Olympus, aided by gifts bestowed on him from the other Olympians.
If you haven’t heard of this critically-acclaimed roguelike you must be living in the deepest, darkest regions of the underworld. Hades’ fast-paced gameplay is accentuated by its stellar art design, rich storytelling, and superb soundtrack. In short, Hades is an excellent PS4 game, and a gold standard of its genre.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Guerilla Games’ action-RPG follows Aloy, a hunter in a machine-riddled, post-apocalyptic world who sets out to learn about her past. Horizon puts Aloy’s hunting and gathering skills in your hands, as you take down the mechanical monsters that roam the wilds.
As you explore the vast and dynamic game world, you meet plenty of NPCs to interact with and aid, as well as challenging ruins to explore. Horizon also has an expansion, The Frozen Wilds, which adds new abilities, machines, and game regions.
The Last of Us Part II
With The Last of Us Part II, you’ll play for the zombie shooting , but stay for the captivating characters and heartstring-tugging narrative. A mutant fungus has ravaged mankind, transforming humanity into cannibalistic, spore-bearing vessels. The infection has fractured the country, forcing survivors into isolated quarantine states and hostile nomadic bands eking out a living however they can, morals-be-damned.
The sequel picks up years after the first game, with Ellie as the new protagonist. She’s carved out a life in this infected world, but events conspire to pull her back into the violence, fighting mutated monsters and humans alike. How far would you go for revenge, and does that cycle ever end? The Last of Us Part II is all about answering that question.
Peter Parker, since his debut in the 1960s, has endured as one of the most beloved characters in pop culture history. After all, who can’t relate to a down-on-his-luck kid who rises above his circumstances to become a hero?
Marvel’s Spider-Man, a PlayStation 4 exclusive title, captures the essence of the web-slinging hero. It boasts an engaging story, new spins on a familiar cast of characters, and a fun combat system that sees Pete punching, flipping, and webbing in a open-world version of New York City.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Insomniac Games returns to its Spider-Man universe. Everything you loved about Marvel’s Spider-Man is back for the sequel: excellent web-swinging, acrobatic combat, and a new spin on Peter Parker you’ll love. Even the amazing recreation of Manhattan is still here.
What’s changed is a focus on Peter’s protégé Miles Morales , a younger hero struggling to live up to the mantle of Spider-Man. Combined with another fantastic story, this game is buoyed by Miles’ unique, electric-style Venom powers. It’s a shorter experience than its predecessor, but Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales still stands as one of the best games on PS4.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
What exactly is the source of the phantom pain that permeates this game’s multilayered, but incomplete narrative? Snake’s lost forearm? Mother Base’s destruction? Creator Hideo Kojima’s separation from the franchise that he transformed into a AAA display of excellent game design and ingenuity?
Regardless of how you view Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ‘s open-world stealth, army-building, and compelling mysteries, it all adds up to an absorbing experience that will be spoken about for years to come.
Monster Hunter: World
If you enjoy the thrill of the hunt, then look no further than Monster Hunter: World . Capcom’s genre-defining action-RPG tasks you with hunting monsters, crafting their parts for better gear, and hunting even bigger monsters.
Monster Hunter: World is the most accessible game in a notoriously challenging series, yet has the same charm and satisfying gameplay as its predecessors.
Nioh is an action-RPG set near the tail-end of Japan's Sengoku period. The story depicts the struggles of various warlords as they attempt to conquer and unify Japan, but with a supernatural twist that pervades every gameplay facet.
Nioh 2 improves upon the original game in virtually every way. It expands and streamlines skill growth, introduces new weapons and gives returning ones new moves, greatly fleshes out weapon and armor customization options, and adds numerous Japanese monsters to the already beefy enemy roster. The result is a complex, engaging action game that contains various RPG elements.
Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 Royal is an update to the vanilla Persona 5 that follows Joker, a delinquent teen who transfers to a new school due to probation. He and several other students awaken to special powers and form Phantom Thieves, a group that ventures into adult minds to remove the malice they contain.
Everything from the turn-based combat to everyday schoolwork oozes style and personality, and the unique Japanese school atmosphere makes for a great change of pace from your standard save the world plot. This Royal edition includes a longer campaign, as well as new characters, mini-games, and dungeons.
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir
Graphical fidelity has come a long way, especially when looking at some of the visual powerhouses on this list. But sometimes it’s nice to sit back and enjoy some of the more artistic games the PS4 has to offer, and the gorgeous Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is definitely one of those games.
Leifthrasir is a remake of Odin Sphere, an apocalyptic action-RPG that gained a cult following on PlayStation 2. It contains numerous fresh features, including stages, offensive skills, evasion techniques, and enemy AI. That said, the new game carries its predecessor’s wonderful, painting-like visuals.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Last generation, Rockstar Games struck cowboy gold with Red Dead Redemption, an Old West, open-world action game. So, it was inevitable that the developer would produce a sequel, and what a sequel it is!
Red Dead Redemption 2 expands many of its predecessor’s gameplay mechanics, including gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, and Honor System. New features let you dual-wield pistols, hunt for sustenance, and swim across bodies of water. If you ever wanted to live the life of a cowboy, Red Dead Redemption 2 is as good as it gets.
Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
The haunting Resident Evil 7: Biohazard evokes the harrowing frights and methodical gameplay of the first game in the long-running franchise, rather than the series’ more action-oriented sequels. The result is a survival-horror game that’s both fresh and nostalgic.
Resident Evil 7 could use a greater diversity of enemies and weapons, and the lack of additional game modes is disappointing. But on the whole, Resident Evil 7 is a survival-horror game that dials back the action in exchange for white-knuckle thrills, and is all the better for it.
Resident Evil Village
Resident Evil Village is a direct Resident Evil 7 follow-up that continues Ethan Winters's story by dropping him in a new locale. It walks like a remix of Resident Evil 4, with gameplay that hews closer to RE2 or Code Veronica, and carries the first-person viewpoint of RE7. Capcom has crafted a game that looks forward, but honors the past of the franchise.
Face off against the Lords of the village, the four leaders of this weird cult hidden with a small, unnamed Eastern European town. You’ll fight vicious lycans, creepy dolls, and sinister vampires during your quest to retrieve Ethan’s daughter. If you can survive the experience, you’ll find a game that improves upon its predecessor.
SNK revived its cult classic fighting game franchise for current-generation consoles, giving the new game a stylized graphical look, while retaining the series’ brutal and unforgiving simplicity.
Samurai Shodown’s warriors hit hard, and the combat has a heavy focus on singular, well-aimed weapon strikes rather than multi-hit combos in games like Dragonball FighterZ or Street Fighter V. But the truth is, you don’t need long combo strings here, as a single chunky strike can eat 30 percent of your opponent’s health and super attacks can take as much as 70 percent.
Shadow of the Colossus
Simple, haunting, and beautiful, Shadow of the Colossus is a Sony classic. The game was remade from the ground up for the PS4, delivering spectacular high-definition visuals while retaining the simple movement, climbing, and fighting mechanics of the PS2 original.
You play as a nameless warrior who trespasses through a forsaken land in search of a sealed power. To earn it, you are tasked with destroying sixteen stone colossi that roam the lands. With nothing more than a sword, a bow, and your trusty horse, you set out to explore these vast environments and defeat the behemoths.
Combat is relatively simplistic, but the action is demanding all the same, pushing you to master the climbing and platforming systems to scale the giants and earn your victories.
Street Fighter V
Street Fighter V arrived on PlayStation 4 with many flaws that detracted from the stellar gameplay, including awful server instability, no true single-player mode, and a surprisingly limited multiplayer Battle Lounge. However, over the course of the last few years, developer Capcom released several updates that addressed (most of) those issues while also adding new stages and playable characters.
Street Fighter V, with its fresh and returning characters, new fight systems (like the cool V-Skills and V-Triggers mechanics), interactive stages, Cinematic Story Mode, and cross-platform play with PC owners, finally makes the one-on-one fighting game a title to pick up even for gamers who don’t have Evo dreams.
Tekken 7 is an incredibly tense game of jabs, feints, reversals, and sidesteps that sees combatants delivering the series’ renowned meaty strikes and spectacular juggling combos. However, this series entry stands out from its predecessors by offering some truly fascinating crossover DLC that may attract people who aren’t typically Tekken fans.
Where else can you pit Heihachi against Street Fighter’s Akuma? Or, Final Fantasy’s Noctis against The Walking Dead’s Negan? And Fatal Fury’s Geese Howard has never been as good as he is here. Simply put, Tekken 7 is aging like a fine wine.
Enhance Inc.’s Tetris Effect combines Tetris’ beautifully simple puzzle action with legendary game producer Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s aesthetic vision to craft the most mesmerizing, subconsciously satisfying, and addictive game to come along in some time.
Tetris Effect features familiar block-dropping gameplay, but heightens it with dancing landscapes, fireworks, and geometric shapes, and music that matches each level’s vibe. In short, Tetris Effect is a masterpiece, an example of a game being a work of art by sensation rather than story.
Yakuza 0—the prequel story that shows how series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu rose through the ranks to become the big boss of a Japanese crime syndicate—is more than just knuckles, guns, illegal rackets, and vendettas. At the heart of the gangsterism is empathy and honor, be it between bro and bro, an orphan and his surrogate father, or well-dressed hoodlums and the desperate strangers they meet.
Yet, Yakuza 0 is also an action-packed beat-’em-up game title that sees you wrecking goons and bosses in a small open-world environment. As you progress through levels, you select new moves and weapons for the two playable characters to customize the violence as you see fit.
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Mike Williams and Gabriel Zamora contributed to this story.
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