The PS4 has been one of the most spectacular consoles to have ever been brought onto the market and it’s continually rising sales figures only serve to further the point. The PS4 has transcended the stigmatization around consoles and has become a central icon in the future of gaming. Sony is entering at the forefront of VR technology for consoles with the PlayStation VR and there are rumors of a new and improved version of the console in the works. It’s a really exciting time to be both a gamer and a PlayStation fan. Some of the greatest games I’ve ever played have been on the PS4, and today I’d like to commemorate Sony, the developers, and the games themselves. The games I’ve chosen today are extremely well crafted in their gameplay, their story, or both. Even if you disagree with this list it is undeniable that these are some of the most polished games available on the console.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the Souls franchise. Their concepts and art designs are obscenely beautiful with some of the most detailed world design ever placed into a game. Yet, the staggering difficulty of the games always seemed nigh on insurmountable for me. I have no doubt in my mind that I suck at these games. But something was different about Bloodborne. Everything about it fascinated me from the cryptic story, to the stunning representation of a dystopian Victorian society (filled with monsters and baddies looking to slay you at every turn; a.k.a 18th century Europe). It’s really fascinating how the very gameplay that actively pushed me from Souls only managed to bring in and invest me further in Bloodborne. The enemy designs were frightening and grotesque which only furthered me into the clutches of battle. I finally understood the thrill that accompanies defeating wild and crazy bosses, a sensation that had evaded me for some time. The game is challenging and will brutalize you at every possible turn but if you manage to fight your way through the pain there is a type of masochistic satisfaction. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best PS4 games to have come out on the system.
4. Rocket League
It isn’t often that I can say the best racing game I’ve ever played is the same as the best sports game I’ve ever played. Luckily, Rocket league was willing to deliver something I had never realized I even wanted. Like many people, I picked this game up during the PlayStation Plus craziness. I had only heard of the game in passing but had never really thought much of it. Unbeknownst to me I had a true gem of the sports genre within my library. It’s the high octane, fast paced and frenzied action of a racing game coupled with the objectives of soccer (basketball, hockey). I dumped at least forty five hours into the game, alternating between multiplayer matches, cooperative and couch competitive matches, and single-player. The controls are like butter, complete responsiveness alongside refreshing combos which allow you to backflip, front flip, or barrel roll. It still has an active community that is always willing for new players to jump in. This is the quintessential local coop game. It doesn’t require you to be a sports fan or a racing fan; it just wants you to have fun.
3. Until Dawn
Talk about the surprise of the generation. Until Dawn was one of the most surprising games to come onto the PlayStation 4. This is another game that I hadn’t heard much about in its initial release. It seemed to garner a cult following which boosted its popularity but at the launch date it wasn’t met with a lot (or any) form of hoopla. I picked this game up about a month after its release and left it sitting in a corner for a good few days, after all I wasn’t expecting much. Once I’d finally set aside the time, I delved into the bizarre world of Until Dawn and to say I wasn’t disappointed is an understatement. Until Dawn absolutely blew my way in several aspects. The butterfly system, which was touted as creating a thoroughly dynamic world which reacted to your decisions, was actually incredibly intuitive. I really enjoyed the decision making in the game; it offered moral dilemmas fit for a slasher flick. The characters were written appropriately to their specific archetype, most of them being unlikable teenagers that you still manage to root for when placed in this situation. There were many times that I was clutching my controller, holding my breath, out of the fear of being caught by the antagonists. This is a really great game to play in either single player or switching off controllers with a friend or girlfriend. I played through the game twice and saw different events and deaths, which is different from the telltale way of choice (essentially giving the player different choices but bottlenecking the story so it’s never to radically different). It’s not a long game, it can be finished in about 6 hours but it’s a ton of fun.
This is easily the oddest choice on this list since P.T. isn’t even available to play anymore, yet its impact has been undeniable to the industry, and it essentially revitalized the horror genre. When this teaser was released it was the hottest thing available, everyone wanted to play this game and understand the secrets that shrouded both the game’s story and its actual development. P.T. was the scariest gaming experience I have ever had and one that I may not ever have again, it changed the game for me and helped me fall in love with the horror genre (even though I’m still a big wimp). The interesting thing about P.T. is that it left a lasting impact on the industry. Developers tried so hard to recreate the magic that was P.T. to no avail. This is why we have hundreds of clones trying to attain that level of horror… and ultimately failing. The most recent example that comes to mind is the Resident Evil VII teaser. A traditionally third person franchise alternates to the first person and sticks you in a haunted house with cryptic clues, a greater story, and spooks galore… sounds familiar doesn’t it? While the Resident Evil VII teaser was good, it doesn’t even come close to the level of hysteria built around P.T. For such a short game, clocking in at around an hour if you really stretch the game and look for everything, it has been quintessential to the genre and to the PS4. If you haven’t played P.T. then you missed out on a phenomena that we may not see again for some time.
1. Uncharted 4
I may get a lot of flak for putting this as the number one game but trust me when I tell you that I truly believe it. This is one of the greatest games I have ever played. As a lover of the Uncharted series I went into this game with extremely high expectations, and somehow it managed to surpass every possible expectation I had set. Uncharted 4 transcends gaming for me and enters a very select group of exceptional pieces of art. I saw the capabilities of video games as a storytelling medium, not to say that no game has ever told a great story because many games have (some of the best stories are from Video Games) but this managed to change everything. The beauty lies in its subtlety, for a game known for being large and bombastic I feel that it truly shines in its quiet moments. When it just wants you to explore the lovingly detailed world, and to further unravel the history of these characters is when this game sets itself apart from others. I wrote an editorial a while ago discussing the house sequence in Uncharted 4 and why I believe it’s one of the best moments in video game storytelling; in short I discuss how the detail of their house (notes, pictures, clothes on the floor, the overall cleanliness of the house, etc.) helps to further develop Nathan and Elena’s relationship both independently and as a couple. I believe that this moment alongside many others in the game show how masterfully crafted Uncharted 4 is. Here’s the simplest way to describe it: Poetry in motion.
If you have a game that you think deserved to be in the top five than hop on over to the comments and let us know. Thanks for reading!
Michael Soriano is an amateur blogger and writer with a passion for video games. He has been playing games for over 12 years and some of his favorite games include Kingdoms of Amalur, Painkiller, DOOM, The Witcher 3, and The Uncharted Series.