The Player 2 100% Accurate List of Definitive PS4 Titles
The PlayStation 4 isn’t done just yet, but it’s fair to say that the torch has been passed. Even assuming that a game gets released for the PS4 but not the PS5, it will still be playable on the newer machine, and likely with a more stable framerate.
With that in mind, it feels fair to say that the PS4’s time in the sun is done, and as such we have gone and put together a list of ten games that we feel best define the machine. If you’re curious about how we ended up with a list that includes neither Bloodborne nor anything by Naughty Dog, then boy do we have a podcast just you!
We’ve gone and organised this alphabetically, as it’s not really a top ten as such. These are just (very good) games that we feel are most at home on PlayStation 4… or 5, as may be the case now. If you’ve got one of those big white beasts and don’t have enough to play, then at the very least the following should provide some handy suggestions to take advantage of its backwards-compatibility.
Opinions as to whether or not Death Stranding is actually good will likely be forever divided. What is somewhat less in dispute, however, is that it is a radical, bold, perhaps egoistic undertaking the kind of which simply couldn’t happen under other circumstances. Is Kojima the only man who could make a game this big, brash and bold? Hell, no; but his time within the games industry led to a status that in turn led to Sony basically writing him a blank cheque with which he was always going to do something way off of centre. It’s hard to imagine this game beginning its life anywhere else, at least with this level of polish and production value.
Final Fantasy 7: Remake
The game that people have waited so long for that they’ve gone from stressing over the HSC to raising families since the first time they thought it might happen. Square-Enix once said that a game of FF7’s scope would be impossible to achieve through modern standards, and the end result here speaks to itself – this is but the first few hours of the original story, beautifully fleshed out in a way that at once appeases the fandom while also being fresh and new. Breaking into chapters is wholly justified, although concern over the release schedule is valid. In many ways, FF7:R feels like the Final Fantasy game that 13 wanted to be, finally properly executed, and there’s no single game with more PlayStation in its DNA than this. It really is wonderful.
Ghost of Tsushima
For too long, developer Sucker Punch has existed in the shadows. The stealthy nature of the Sly Cooper games may make that seem thematically appropriate, but the team’s work on inFamous was hardly without merit. That franchise sat for a long time in the land of almost-but-not-quite, and it seems a new focus and setting was what was really required. Tsushima landed not long after The Last of Us 2 and, despite the shadow cast by that game, managed to take the world somewhat by storm. So much so, that we somehow decided to include this instead of Naughty Dog’s magnum opus.
God of War
Well, they did it. They made us care about God of War. They took a franchise that many of us felt was fun but overrated and turned it into something that we legitimately cared about. This was achieved in part by actually fleshing Kratos out as a character, turning the often toxic masculinity that previously drove him into a thing that he instead has to deal with, thanks to now being the Dad of Boy. Oh, and they made it look, sound and play really well, too. At least, we assume it sounded great. Hard to tell over the PS4’s fan. If you’re playing on a PS5 through backward compatibility, perhaps you can confirm that for us?
Horizon: Zero Dawn
If Sucker Punch escaped from the shadows with Tsushima, then Gorilla Games leapt free of a black hole with Horizon. After spending more than a decade developing technically spectacular, mechanically sound shooters that never really caught on, the folk at Gorilla struck absolute gold when they busted out the colours, put their technical expertise into building a shockingly polished open world, and then populated it with robot dinosaurs. It turns out that everything that you thought was legitimately cool when you were twelve may actually be kind of cool after all. Horizon struck a huge chord, to the point where its lead character, Aloy, became the unofficial face of PlayStation this past generation. Horizon may have chosen to refine in a year where Zelda experimented, but it’s polished as heck, and kind of Sony in a nutshell right now.
It’s astonishing that Nier got a sequel. That the sequel is itself a masterpiece is perhaps not a great surprise, but the fact that it caught on with an actual large number of players perhaps is. Leave it to Platinum to take something great and polish it up with fantastic combat mechanics. The noise that Automata’s announcement made wasn’t as loud as that of FF7:R, but it was absolutely on point for the focus of fan appeasement and, Nintendo be damned, it was also clearly the best game released in 2017.
Seeing as we’re likely going to frame this list through a lens of taking advantage of hindsight and the PS5’s better-than-expected backward compatibility chops, putting this on on the list is a little mean. It won’t work on PS5 by design rather than oversight, afterall, but that’s just a continuation of what makes P.T. such an essential part of the PS4 story. Released as a demo for a Silent Hill game that would never materialise, P.T. became a cult hit in its own right even before Konami went to the extent of removing it from the PlayStation Store forever. It’s legit unsettling to play, but the weird fuss about trying to erase it from existence is what has made P.T., ironically, an unforgettable piece of PlayStation history.
Shadow of the Colossus
Seeing Bluepoint’s work on Dark Souls become the shining light of the PS5’s launch has somewhat cemented our decision to put a remake on this list. In some ways, Shadow of the Colossus was the Death Stranding of its time (although perhaps a bit more universally loved), and this remake drips with reverence for the source material. And make no mistake – this is much more than a remake. It deserves to be much more, too. Shadow, it turns out, is still one of the finest, bravest videogames ever made.
The Tetris Effect
Did you know that Open Office doesn’t recognise Tetris as a word? As in, I now have two freshly minted squiggly red lines in my document right now? What the actual heck! Anyway, The Tetris Effect is simultaneously ‘just’ Tetris while also being so much more. This is the purest execution of Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s fixation with synaesthesia to date, executed through a videogame language (Tetris) that literally almost everyone understands already. It’s bloody great, and an absolute pillar for PSVR on the side.
This is becoming an increasingly weird one. Microsoft has grown increasingly fond of this franchise, going as far as to snag the most recent title as a timed next-gen exclusive. Zero is still where the action is, though – a back-to-basics backstory that welcomed newcomers to its world of manly-men soap opera, revelled in the absurdities of the ’80s as it revelled in the absurdities of its own videogame nature, and finally got the then-PlayStation exclusive series some of the attention it had long deserved.