The PS4 is a bit like wine. As it ages, the games get better and better, improving in graphics and gameplay quality. 2018 was an absolutely vintage year for the best PS4 games, as it delivered God of War and Spider-Man PS4 in one calendar year, along with third party greats like Red Dead Redemption 2.
When deciding the best PS4 games we consider how these games are to play right this very minute, because, if you have spare cash to spend, you want to know what offers the best value for time and money today, not two years ago. And you need to know if something is genuinely worth playing and if it adds something to your PlayStation experience – or if you’d be better off saving your money for one of the big upcoming PS4 games on the horizon. What follows, then, is our take on the best PS4 games out there – be they the best PS4 exclusives, big AAA cross-format games, or surprise indie hits that you can grab off the PSN store.
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10. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Uncharted 4’s true successes lie in the details. Oh, sure, you have the big action set-pieces that the series is known for, where everything hero Nathan Drake touches falls apart around him in Michael Bay levels of destruction. And the attention to detail in those moments – how wood splinters into pieces under gunfire, or how Nathan’s clothing gets caked in mud during a high-octane car chase – certainly makes it shine as a bit of impressive tech to show off to your friends. But it’s how Uncharted nails the small moments that makes it truly great. For the first time in the series, Naughty Dog has given the series’ characters some room to grow as actual people, filling in the details where you least expect them to, and these smaller moments make the big ones feel all that more impactful. As explosive as Uncharted 4 is, it’s also deeply personal – and it’s a hell of a showpiece for your PS4, to boot.
9. What Remains of Edith Finch
Sure, by now you’ve probably heard all the hype, and it might have even put you off slightly in that weird hipster way that hype always manages, but What Remains of Edith Finch is one of those beautiful reminders that games can make you feel everything. Exploring her family home, the titular Edith Finch gradually uncovers the stories of the Finch’s through the ages, each one opening up a new experience and story. From exploring a Halloween horror adventure in a graphic novel to simply flying a kite, every chapter is a new surprise. To give away any more is to spoil the magic of this walking sim but yes, it will break your heart and make you cry, but only in the best possible way. What Remains of Edith Finch is a beautiful experience that never feels emotionally manipulative, only ever incredibly human and a poignant reflection on the stories that make us who we are. Even if we didn’t always know it.
8. Grand Theft Auto 5
The magic of Grand Theft Auto 5 – our favourite PS3 game – and its reappearance on current-gen hardware isn’t in the improved textures, shinier cars or even the brilliantly executed new first-person mode. It’s in the way each addition and improvement combines to enthral and seduce you all over again to sink another blissful 50 hours into Los Santos without it ever feeling like a re-run. Also: an unhealthy dose of first-person cat-stomping. If tabby-kicking isn’t your thing, GTA: Online – with its mega online Heists, improved character creator and, y’know, end of the mystery of Mount Chiliad – is sure to gets it claws into you. Quite simply, it represents the definitive edition of the greatest open-world game ever made, which hold up well in 2018.
Fortnite is the most fun you can have on PlayStation 4 for free – and I do mean totally free, because you don’t even need a PS Plus subscription to play online. Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode has taken the world by storm, enchanting players with intense shootouts and towering build battles as they compete to be the last of 100 standing. Regular developer updates add new weapons, modes, and thoughtful tweaks to baseline mechanics every week, keeping the game fresh even if you already have a few dozen wins under your belt. And don’t forget about Save the World mode if you’re in the mood for something more cooperative, though you will have to pay to play that one (for now).
6. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The White Wolf himself finally rides onto PS4 in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and brings with him one of the most diverse and challenging RPG worlds ever seen. Mesmerising to look at and utterly engrossing to play, CD Projekt RED’s farewell to Geralt is a new high for the genre. What really impresses are the genuinely entertaining missions, and the eclectic cast of characters that bring the world to life. While combat can be challenging at first, once you get into it, there’s enough depth here to keep you interested for the duration. Not to mention it’s been further bolstered by the often-astonishing Blood And Wine expansion DLC. Essential in every way.
5. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
Konami might try to scrub Hideo Kojima’s name from the ultimate in tactical espionage action, but it’ll never remove his fingerprints. While retaining that distinct storytelling and sense of wonder that defines the Metal Gear series, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain offers a level of freedom and creativity unheard of in any sandbox. It’s something to be explored for days, weeks, months – each little secret and hidden slice of gameplay just waiting to be found and to make players rethink the way they approach the game. Plus, it’s got a killer ’80s soundtrack, and some wonderfully gruff voice-acting from Kiefer Sutherland. Grand, majestic and bittersweet, this is an instant classic and one of the finest things you can shove into your PS4. It’s also been re-released as MGS5: The Definitive Experience, which contains prologue MGS5: Ground Zeroes plus all the Metal Gear Online DLC items, so that’s definitely the version to go for.
4. Marvel’s Spider Man
Swinging straight into the top 3 (sorry, yes, that’s the most played-out pun ever) Spider-Man PS4 is one of the most fun, immediately joyful games you’ll ever pop into your PlayStation. It looks incredible, sure, and the game itself is massive, but what impresses most is the feel of swinging around New York as the web-slinger himself. There’s plenty to do, and the variety of non-story stuff is impressive, but the real beauty lies in the slick, free, and utterly wonderful swinging. The fact that the story has all the heart and humor of Spidey’s latest Marvel outings only enhances an already brilliant super-hero game. With a neat Photo Editor included, and a stack of DLC on the way, you could be playing Spider-Man for months… and still have a grin on your face when you’ve finished.
3. Red Dead Redemption 2
Everyone knew that a brand new Rockstar game on PS4 would cause a major earthquake in the gaming scene, and oh boy has it. Red Dead Redemption 2 and it’s glorious open world that’s filled with things to do, and people to meet/rob/kill, is quite the masterpiece of game making. The world is so realistic you may have to pinch yourself that its not real as the morning mist rolls in, or the sun breaks through the clouds in the afternoon. And the story. Oh boy, the story. Obviously we won’t be crowned the sheriff of spoilertown here, but it’s as gloriously epic as you’d expect from a Rockstar game – even if the opening few hours are a little slow. It’s a wonderful world to live in for a few weeks / months, because there’s so much to see and discover that you’re going to be wondering what the heck that thing is on that mountain for a while to come.
2. Horizon: Zero Dawn
2017’s biggest surprise from Killzone devs Guerrilla fully deserves the number two slot on in our best PS4 games. As beautiful as it is deep, Horizon: Zero Dawn creates an astonishingly rich world to explore and get lost in. On top of the all that post apocalyptic prettiness (especially in the PS4 Pro enhanced version) the core gameplay loop of hunting and taking down various mechanical creatures is the real draw here. The use of slower weapons like bows creates a far more tactical take on the action – you have to think about your strategies and consider your options rather than just charge in blasting. As well as learning how to get by in a world that hates you, there’s just so much to see and do as you chase side quests, meet new factions and try to unravel the compelling mystery behind corrupted machines and a lost past. Once you’re done with the main game, there is a sizeable, challenging expansion with The Frozen Wilds. Easily one of the best games of this generation.
1. God of War
The new God of War is – in many ways – a complete fresh for this action series. While Kratos is still very angry, the game still features moments of horrific violence, and the action continues to be smooth and brutal, the whole structure and pace has been completely revamped. Now you’re free to explore the world and unearth all its secrets as you go through, and there are so many layers to this game. Puzzles are incredibly smart, set-pieces impress, and Kratos is a much more rounded character – especially when it comes to the interactions with Atreus, his son. It also helps that the game looks staggeringly good, from scripted scenes to the way combat flows freely, all taking place in a world that feels alive and historied. There’s no better showcase game for PS4. It’s a gorgeous exclusive that reinvents one of the console’s longest-serving, most loved characters. It’s heaps of fun to play, and the game just keeps inviting you to dig deeper and deeper to discover all its goodies. And you will. You’ll be playing this for a long, long time.
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