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The best PlayStation 4 games of all time
Buying a PlayStation 5? Here are the PS4 classic games you definitely need in your collection
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The best PlayStation 4 games
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
- Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
- Persona 5 Royal
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- God of War
- The Last of Us Remastered
- Red Dead Redemption 2
How did we pick this list?
Our editorial team selected the games on this list based on over 60 combined years of gaming experience. We chose each game based on its overall quality, impact, originality and value compared to other games in the same genre. Find more detail on our methodology below
What you will see below is the crème de la crème of PS4 gaming. Every genre has been sifted through, every game has been finished and weighed against its closest competitor. If you're planning to purchase a PS5 at launch, these are the PlayStation 4 titles that you need to keep in your collection...
Why we chose it
Nobody sculpts living, breathing open-worlds, or hilariously skewers the American zeitgeist, quite like Rockstar Games. Played from either the first or third-person perspectives, GTA V's solo experience offers you either free-wheeling emergent fun, or a riveting, multi-threaded crime drama that lets you switch protagonist perspectives on the fly. The three misfits on offer include Mike, an ex-robber lured back to the life by sheer boredom; Franklin, a gangbanger who's sick of earning scraps for dirty deeds; and Trevor, a lovable and highly-dangerous sociopath who's up for whatever. Essentially, switching between these ne'er-do-wells lets you become the director of your own Michael Mann Netflix drama. And the bank heists you'll plan and execute are still – even years later – some of the most memorable blockbuster set-pieces in gaming.
Speaking of longevity, GTA V's expansive multiplayer suite, Grand Theft Auto Online, has constantly evolved due to frequent free updates since launch. It's overflowing with quirky structured modes, an addictive grind to improve your persistent online persona and some of the coolest online co-op available. Don't let its age fool you – Grand Theft Auto V is still a tour de force.
Why we chose it
It's sad to say it, but 4-person local play on a single TV is a rare commodity in this, the 8th generation of console gaming. Diablo III: The Ultimate Evil Edition flies the banner proud, however, and Blizzard's custom-designed controller interface let's any quartet do some serious action-RPG grinding / leveling / equipping without treading on each other's toes. Your only major concern is what class you're going to pick: Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, Wizard, Crusader or the recently added (and additional costing) Necromancer.
PC folk will hunt me down for saying this, but this feels like the best version of the game one can spend their gold coins on. There's hours upon hours of dungeon-crawling and loot-coveting to be had here, thanks to gift sending, kill-streak rewards, Nephalem "loot run" rifts and nemesis demons (that have murdered somebody on your friends list and now want to drop in to say hi and claim your skull, too). Don't let the age of this 2014 reissuing of a 2012 game fool you. Mowing through hellspawn is a timeless and heavenly experience.
Why we chose it
All good things, even great and beloved gaming franchises, must come to an end – but what a mind-blowing send off Nathan Drake receives in Uncharted 4. This last hurrah offers everything you'd expect from an adventurer who started life as Indiana Jones's spiritual understudy and grew to be a contemporary of equal-standing – ancient antiquity acquisitions, swashbuckling violence and the biggest set-piece moments this side of Señor Spielbergo. The only things missing are Nazis and a whip (though, to be fair, the new grapple hook mechanic is arguably superior to the ol' bull-cracker, and South Africa mercs die just as well).
Naughty Dog also pushes the envelope by taking the linear-design blinkers off to offer levels so expansive a jeep (or boat) is required to get around. That sort of freedom-of approach, combined with a greater emphasis on stealth, makes for a number of tactically-rich encounters. And, obviously, the strategies you pick up here will serve you well in the teamwork-focused, over-the-top online multiplayer. Whether it's kick-arse solo adventuring, intense online headshot-hunting, or co-op survival, Uncharted 4 is a priceless treasure that delivers top-shelf gaming. It belongs in any self-respecting gamer's museum.
Why we chose it
Though the Metal Gear Solid franchise has been steeped in greatness for over a quarter-of-a-century now, gaming's greatest auteur, Hideo Kojima, still managed to outdo himself with this swan song. Leveraging the new and incredibly robust Fox Engine, that classic Snake formula was faithfully transplanted into a huge open-world framework, and the end result was a tactical stealth simulation that redefined the genre.
Basically, this is a constantly surprising experience that has systems upon systems baked into it – if you push it in weird ways, it will almost always push right back. If that sort of emergent super-spy action doesn't hook you in, I guarantee the addictive home-base-building and resource management will. And all that's just the icing smeared on top of a full-featured multiplayer suite, plus a loveably kooky, memorable solo campaign. Make no mistake: this is an apex predator of action-adventure gaming. A big boss in every regard.
Why we chose it
What a masterpiece. Persona 5's claws will sink into you early and deep, thanks to its tale of a group of troubled high school students who live dual lives as Phantom Thieves. The day-to-day drama of being a Tokyo high-schooler must still be navigated, but there's also the need for the Phantoms to undertake fantastical adventures by using otherworldly powers to enter the hearts of people. Needless to say, when their stories start to delve into the dark nature of humanity (while delivering a series of masterful plot-twists that genuinely play upon your emotions) expect Persona 5 to enter your own heart and take up permanent residence.
Oozing with a slick, psychedelic visual style, and a face-melting acid jazz soundtrack, Persona 5 is the most polished JRPGs in years; an impossibly high benchmark set for the genre. The only potential pitfall: neophytes may not set aside enough of their calendar before becoming hopelessly captivated by this game's fast-paced battle system, vibrant world and loveable rogues who demand triple-digit hours of your attention. Upside: you'll love every single second you spend here. If you don't mind spending a bit extra, go for the enhanced port (and PS4 exclusive), Persona 5 Royal.
Why we chose it
Bloodborne is a bonafide exclusive; a Sony / FromSoftware collab that's never going to appear on any platform but a PlayStation. It's also damned good, too – in many ways (arguably) better than the much-beloved Demon's Souls and Dark Souls games that informed its design. The major differences this time around: this brutally difficult action-RPG ditches the swords 'n' sorcery shtick for one of the best modern Gothic horror stories in ages and, in most cases, tactical aggression will trump defensive combat strategies. Oh, and you'll be asked to "parry" the incoming attacks of Lovecraftian horrors with a gun. What's not to love about that?
Give Bloodborne time to infect and grow on you – like one of the huge scrotal-esque sacs that its NPCs sport as replacement heads – and you'll be rewarded with an intricate, skin-crawling challenge that's unlike any other. Better yet, Bloodborne continues to expand with a generous side-dungeon system, PvP invasions and New Game Plus difficulties that'll make all but the finest among you bleed profusely.
Why we chose it
An open-world action-RPG where you stalk ludicrously dangerous dinobots and harvest their innards for precious loot: that's essentially what Horizon Zero Dawn is, and of course the formula works. The icing on the top is Guerrilla Games including a grounded and likeable heroine, a slew of creative weaponry and visuals that consistently put jaws on floors.
Over the course of many centuries, decimated tribes of humanity have clawed their way back to some semblance of civilization, and learning the history of this world and the nature of the aforementioned megafauna machines is a gripping adventure. Finding out how the robo-pooch got this screwed requires many hours of exploration, leveling and sifting through the old world tech that litters the corpse of this world. Indeed, Horizon Zero Dawn itself feels like you're digging through the bytes of gaming's greatest mechanics, too – stealth and platforming harken from the Assassin's Creed series, while the hunt-loot-and-craft shenanigans are reminiscent of Far Cry. But while it may crib from the genre greats, the moment-to-moment action HZD stylishly weaves feels fresh, frenetic and often superior to the source of influence.
Why we chose it
After decades of staying in its action-RPG lane with Diablo, gamers had forgotten how talented and versatile a developer like Blizzard was. When the team announced in 2014 that it was going to try its hand at a first-person shooter – which is the rough, non-gaming equivalent of Harley Davidson expressing an interest in making a supercar – people scoffed. Fast-forward to now, and Overwatch is an incredibly polished, team-based blastfest that's a dominant force in the genre.
Imagine, if you will, a purely PvP experience that revolves around the strengths and weaknesses of a Street Fighter-esque roster of heroes, each with unique skills and an assigned role on the battlefield (offense, defense, tank or support). Discovering your favourite among these 26 radically different characters is a real joy, and trying to hone your skills across a diverse array of gorgeously designed maps and game-types (Escort, Assault, Hybrid, and Control) is hours of fun. Throw in Blizzard's master-level understanding of lootbox addiction (cosmetic gear only) and Overwatch is nigh on irresistible.
Why we chose it
Sliding into the riding boots of Geralt of Rivia – monster-slayer-for-hire and consummate bad arse – is an RPG experience like no other on PS4. The gigantic world of The Witcher III is teeming with side-quests, dungeons filled with horrors drawn from Slavic folklore and a mature, dark-fantasy main-quest that delivers some of the tightest story-telling in gaming. Better yet, you'll never just feel like a player who's mindlessly hacking and magic-blasting their way through a large sandbox set; you're an equal stake-holder here, and what you do matters. Don't believe me? How does 36 game endings sound?
Getting to the best one is going to take you dozens of hours (and that'll head into hundreds if you get the GOTY edition that includes all of the expansion content). That said, the journey is bliss when you're steadily improving your skills, brutally dismembering fools in combat and tripping over plot-twists. The White Wolf may be getting long in the fang, but The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is an epic adventure that's yet to be topped.
Why we chose it
The God Of War series has always been one of the PlayStation's best first-party franchise. It's combination of deep- veined mythology, bone-crunching violence and 3D puzzles made for an enthralling multi-game experience. Putting players into the blood-flecked sandals of series' protagonist Kratos was like the ultimate power fantasy.
For the 2018 reboot, Sony went back to the chiselling table and rebuild the game from the ground up. In addition to an entirely new setting (Norse mythology instead of Greek), the reboot God Of War also introduced players to Kratos' adolescent son. Giving the player someone to protect and care about completely changed the dynamics of the game and made for a more mature and emotionally satisfying story. Plus, the combat and puzzles were better than ever. The game has in all ways evolved beyond the juvenile excesses that earned it a spotlight way back in 2005, but in doing so it's lost next to none of its swashbuckling addictiveness and wow-factor.
Why we chose it
When it comes to richly-painted, emotionally-resonant interactive story-telling, or just pushing Sony's hardware to insane new benchmarks, Naughty Dog are peerless creators. 2013's The Last of Us remains their magnum opus. It's a survival-horror experience that appeared during the final gasp of the PS3 generation, but this incredibly dark tale (of a grizzled survivor escorting a young ward through a post-pandemic America) has been allowed to shine like never before in this PS4 remastering.
Sneaking through environments and desperately scavenging the resources needed to craft the weapons required to survive an encounter – sometimes against hostile survivors, but also freaky cannibalistic mutants – has absolutely stood the test of time. No nail-biting encounter ever plays out the same thanks to some incredibly reactive AI, and this combat seamlessly interweaves with an incredibly well-directed and acted narrative. I honestly cannot say enough good things about this title. It's the sort of game I wish I could erase my memory for, just so I could experience it with fresh, wide-eyed wonder all over again.
Why we chose it
After thirty years of gaming I've played a heap of titles that belonged in a tier I'd call the bottom of the barrel, a whole bunch more are grouped in the O.K ...corral, and then there is a more exclusive herd of must-buys worth a few dollars more. RDR 2 exists in the quality strata above all of these. It's got magic in it that pushes the medium forward. It's in my top three of all time.
Rockstar's epic Western is a watershed moment for two reasons. First of all, this developer has delivered an unforgettable experience in terms of storytelling and sheer player immersion, plus RDR2 is a marvel purely from a technical and visual standpoint. Magical experiences like Red Dead Redemption II come along once, maybe twice in a generation. Intimidatingly large, both in world scale and content offered, this is a masterpiece of story-telling and technical polish. The scariest part: it's an offering that only gets better when you take the experience online.
Amazon prices last updated on 4 August, 2021 at 07:03 am
- Our editorial team considered hundreds of PlayStation 4 games released since 2013.
- We based our findings on our own gaming experiences, as well as the average score from other professional reviewing sites. (Metacritic)
- The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.
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