The PlayStation 4 has been on the market for four years now and in that time, has accrued an impressive library of games. First party exclusives such as Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Bloodborne are legitimate system sellers and offer some of the most compelling reasons to own Sony’s console. However, we’re at a point where it’s getting difficult to keep up with the sheer volume of releases that make their way to the PS4 each year, let alone a given week, and while games such as the ones listed above are obvious hits that many PS4 owners will likely have played by now, there are also many that have flown largely under the radar. If you’re looking for some new, great games to play on the PS4, you could do much worse than the following awesome titles!
15. Mad Max
While there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Mad Max game already — in fact, it’s a game we’ve actually highlighted in the past as an overlooked PS4 title — you may not be aware of just how good Avalanche Studios’ 2015 open-world action game really is. For whatever reason, publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment decided to release this on the same day Metal Gear Sold V: The Phantom Pain came out and months after the release of the film Mad Max: Fury Road, so it ended up getting lost amid the usual rush of games that come out each Fall. The critical consensus on Mad Max was that it failed to stand out from the pack of other similar open-world games packed with all sorts of side quests and busy work, and while it’s true that Mad Max does have its fair share of repetitive tasks, there’s just something compelling about the way Avalanche presents it all.
This is one of the better licensed games released in the last few years, as it not only does a great job of translating the Mad Max universe into video game form, but ties it all together with some compelling, fun gameplay systems. Vehicle and on-foot combat are both well-implemented and while you could easily just plow through the story missions, there’s a surprising variety of things to do in a post-apocalyptic environment. Considering this game can now be found at a budget price, it’s an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a fun open-world game to get lost in.
14. Shadow Warrior 2
The PS4 is home to some stellar first-person shooters, especially when it comes to single player-focused ones. Titles such as Wolfenstein: The New Order and Doom have proven that there is still a place for FPS games with lengthy campaigns, but one shooter series that may have flown under your radar is Shadow Warrior 2 from indie studio Flying Wild Hog. Shadow Warrior takes its inspiration from the crass and juvenile Duke Nukem school of FPS design but unlike the trash pile that is Duke Nukem Forever, Flying Wild Hog’s game is both funny and well designed.
Originally released on PC, Shadow Warrior 2 took a step back in the technical department in its transition to the PS4, but it’s still an impressive-looking game graphically. In terms of gameplay, Shadow Warrior 2 is actually quite similar to 2016’s Doom at its best moments and actually does that game one step better in the violence department with its procedural damage system, which allows players to cut and blow off enemy limbs and body parts. With an arsenal of over 70 weapons, non-linear open environments, and a fun 4-player co-op mode, Shadow Warrior 2 may not quite live up to the PS4’s best shooters, but it’s one that fans of the genre owe it to themselves to check out.
13. Valkyria Chronicles Remastered
First released on the PS3 in 2008, Valkyria Chronicles is a tactical RPG set in the fictional region of Europa and is heavily inspired by World War II’s European theater. The game features an interesting hybrid design, where you control your troops from an overhead map, but can take direct control once the battle starts, transitioning into a third-person shooter where you line up headshots and run for cover. While the presence of shooting mechanics may give the impression that Valkyria Chronicles can be bested with raw shooter skills alone, the game’s tactical elements are actually very important for success, as you will find yourself losing battles fast if you don’t take the time to plan accordingly.
The game’s difficulty overall is a bit high, but not unfair, making Valkyria Chronicles ideal for those who don’t want their hands held throughout. The art direction is still impressive almost a decade after the game’s original release and is made even better now that it runs at 1080p and 60 frames-per-second. While this re-release is rather bare bones in terms of additional content, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is incredibly easy to recommend for anyone who missed the game the first time around.
12. Trackmania Turbo
If you’re anything like us and are disappointed by the lack of good Hot Wheels video games out there (barring the excellent Hot Wheels DLC for Forza Horizon 3, of course), then Trackmania Turbo could be your jam. An arcade racer with a heavy focus on speed and stunts, Trackmania Turbo gets a lot of mileage out of its over-the-top track designs, as part of the challenge is just trying to stay on the track when you’re contending with all sorts of twists, turns, and loop de loops. Throw in a four-player split-screen mode (a rarity these days) and a budget price, and you’ve got yourself a fun addition to your PS4 library that’s easy to pick up and hard to put down.
11. Dragon Quest Builders
Dragon Quest Builders is a genre mash-up we didn’t even know we wanted but are glad exists, as Square Enix takes the familiar story-driven RPG formula of their long-running Dragon Quest series and mixes it with a sandbox design heavily inspired by Minecraft and other building sims. The game casts you as a character simply known as “the Builder” and it’s your job to mine and gather resources in order to craft all sorts of different things in a world that has literally forgotten how to create anything (thus putting a clever twist on the “heroic destiny” trope found in many role-playing games). While you’ll probably want to stick to Minecraft if social sandboxes are your thing — Dragon Quest Builders has no multiplayer component — RPG fans in general are sure to get a kick out of this surprisingly engaging game.
10. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
One of the more recent releases on this list, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a psychological horror action game developed by Ninja Theory, the same studio behind other underappreciated gems such as Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and DMC: Devil May Cry. Tying in elements of Celtic and Nose Mythology, the game follows the titular heroine Senua as she travels to the homeland of the Northmen, taking her through a land called Helheim, essentially the Norse version of hell. Throughout its six-to-eight hour story, Hellblade is an overwhelmingly sensory experience, to the point where the game actually recommends that you wear headphones while playing.
The use of audio and visual distortion in Hellblade is truly something to behold, as the game smartly uses these elements to convey Senua’s psychosis and delusion as she further descends into a nightmarish world where what you don’t see is almost more terrifying than what you do. Hellblade may not be an overly long experience but in terms of the way it blends its atmospheric narrative elements with more traditional action mechanics, there are very few games that rival it on the PS4.
The latest release from Supergiant Games, the acclaimed studio behind indie hits Bastion and Transistor, Pyre is something of a departure from those games and is best described as an action role-playing sports title. Set in a high fantasy world, players control a character who parties up with a group of exiles as they travel through a purgatory of sorts in an effort to cleanse their souls by defeating other exiles. Like Supergiant’s other games, Pyre is worth the price of admission just for its exquisite art direction, but the core combat system is the true star here.
Featuring a top-down perspective reminiscent of MOBAs like League of Legends and DOTA 2 and presenting it as a sport that feels a lot like Rocket League of all games, Pyre’s three-on-three battles are fun and addicting, to the point where it feels like a missed opportunity that Supergiant didn’t include an online component (the game supports local multiplayer for two players). Really though, that’s about the only knock one can level against Pyre, as it excels in nearly every area of its design and tells a surprisingly emotional story to boot. This is arguably Supergiant’s best game to date and it would be a true shame to miss out on it.
Housemarque made a name for themselves during the PS3 generation as one of the console’s best indie developers, delivering addictive, action-packed titles such as Super Stardust HD and Dead Nation. That tradition has only continued on the PS4, but while many PS4 owners are well-acquainted with the studio’s impressive launch game Resogun, it feels like many ignored Housemarque’s next release, 2016’s Alienation. In some ways, Alienation feels like a summation of Housemarque’s achievements in the third-person action space they’ve worked almost exclusively in for the last decade, as it features the same finely-tuned arcade action of their previous games, but adds another level of depth with its RPG progression system.
While the character classes and skill trees are nowhere near as complex as something like Diablo 3, they’re a welcome addition that help keep Alienation from devolving into just another shooting gallery experience. The addition of random weapon drops and the collection of various resources that can be used for re-rolling stats on weapons is what will keep you coming back for more, given that the relatively short campaign is designed for multiple playthroughs. Alienation is also a game that has only gotten better with time thanks to multiple free updates and the addition of local co-op (which was conspicuously absent at launch) and is a must-play for fans of twin-stick shooters.
7. Tearaway Unfolded
First released as a Vita exclusive, Tearaway Unfolded is an enhanced port that retains the whimsical charm of the original while taking full advantage of the DualShock 4 controller’s touchpad features. In some ways, the two games can be viewed as complementary experiences as even though they are largely the same game, they offer different perspectives on the same papercraft world Media Molecule has created thanks to the differences in the Vita and PS4’s features.
For those who haven’t played Tearaway before, it’s a third-person platformer with a heavy emphasis on environmental interaction and just generally soaking in the adorably creative world Media Molecule has created. Tearaway Unfolded includes new items and areas to explore, so there’s enough here to warrant a double dip if you’ve already played the Vita edition, but in a market dominant by violent games, it’s nice to see one that truly is made for anyone to enjoy.
6. Until Dawn
The PS4 is known for having great exclusive games like Uncharted 4: A Thief’s Ending and Horizon Zero Dawn, but one of the console’s best first-party offerings that tends to get overlooked is Until Dawn, the 2015 survival horror game from Supermassive Games. Featuring a cast of big-name actors, including Hayden Panetteire (Heroes, Nashville) and Rami Malek (Mr. Robot), Until Dawn is a single player, story-driven horror game that puts you in the shoes of eight friends stuck on a snow-covered mountain on the anniversary of two of their friends’ deaths.
The story itself is good enough to be its own slasher movie, but is enhanced considerably by its branching narrative paths, as you’ll constantly be making decisions that affect the outcome of the game and the fates of individual characters. Ideal for multiple playthroughs (it can be tough to get an ending where everyone survives!), there simply aren’t many other games like Until Dawn on the PS4 and considering it’s been featured as a free PS Plus game in the past, you have little excuse for not checking it out by this point.
5. Sniper Elite 4
World War II games are only now just starting to come back into vogue with Call of Duty’s long-awaited return to the bloodiest conflict in human history, but Rebellion has quietly been pumping out WWII games for years with its Sniper Elite series. Ditching COD’s epic scale approach, Sniper Elite still follows the one man vs. everyone model seen in countless shooters over the years, but in this case it’s because you play a stealthy sniper behind enemy lines. It’s an interesting take on empowerment, as you will die in seconds if you try and run n’ gun approach, but if you’re careful and methodical, you can set up some incredible combat encounters in Sniper Elite.
The series hasn’t really evolved much over the years, so you really can’t go wrong with either Sniper Elite 3 or 4, but we’d lean toward picking up the latter because its mission structure is more diverse than its predecessors and it’s easily the most polished. If you don’t have a patient bone in your body, Sniper Elite 4 probably isn’t for you, but if you’re a fan of taking your time and setting up the perfect combat encounter, there are few games that offer as rewarding a stealth-based experience as Sniper Elite 4.
4. What Remains of Edith Finch
One of the most popular genres to evolve out of the indie scene in recent years are first-person narratives, alternatively known as the somewhat derogatory term “walking sim.” Titles such as Gone Home and Firewatch have earned rave reviews from critics, but have been criticized by some as not being “real” games, since they don’t contain much in the way of traditional gameplay mechanics and don’t have fail states.
Setting aside the issue of whether or not something like What Remains of Edith Finch — the latest title from Giant Sparrow — a “game” or not, the truth is that it offers one of the most affecting narrative experiences on the PS4 and that’s not something that should be so easily dismissed. Following the multi-generational history of the Finch family, players explore the family’s massive, labyrinthine home, learning about each family member at a rapid pace. Although What Remains of Edith Finch only lasts a few hours, it’s a beautiful game that would be a shame to overlook.
3. Velocity 2X
Very few games successfully jump back and forth between two different gameplay formats as well as Velocity 2X. Featuring a mix of Galaga-esque ship combat and 2D platforming levels, Velocity 2X is, at its name implies, a game focused on speed. You gain new abilities as the game progresses that put an emphasis on rapid movement and attacks, and while it can all be a bit overwhelming at first, the game’s intuitive, responsive controls become second nature before long.
One of the most clever components of Velocity 2X’s design is its sliding difficulty scale. Each level has a running timer and to achieve 100%, you have to not only finish in a specific amount of time, but hit other specific milestones as well. However, these objectives are entirely optional, meaning you can take your time with each level if you so desire. This is also a cross-buy game on Vita, making it a no-brainer pick-up if you own Sony’s handheld as well.
Playdead made a name for themselves with their fantastic side-scrolling platformer Limbo back in 2010, and while it would be easy to write off their latest game, Inside, as spiritual successor that doesn’t really do all that much different, that would be a massive disservice to what the studio has crafted. Simply put, Inside is not only a worthy follow-up to Limbo , but is arguably even better than its predecessor. Although it retains the same try-and-die learning curve, Inside’s world feels more fleshed out than Limbo’s and is darkly disturbing in all the right ways.
Themes of slavery and conformity run throughout and while some players likely took issue with the game’s vague narrative, we adored how open to interpretation everything is, especially the game’s third act, which features one of the best twists of the year. It’s hard to really talk about Inside without giving much of it away and considering it’s a relatively short experience, it would be a real shame to have this game spoiled. All you really need to know is it’s a must-play and arguably the best indie title of the year.
Released in early 2017, it was hard to not know anything about this action role-playing game from Team Ninja considering the rave reviews and hype it received at the time. However, given the flood of other incredible games that would end up being released over the course of the year, it feels like Nioh was quickly forgotten about, which is a shame because it’s still one of the best games of its kind on the PS4.
Set in a fantastical version of feudal Japan, Nioh owes quite a bit of its design philosophy to FromSoftware’s Dark Souls, as this is another third-person action game with tough but rewarding gameplay and a wealth of conflict to explore. However, describing Nioh as a Dark Souls clonet does a disservice to what Team Ninja has accomplished here, as Nioh actually plays quite differently, opting for a faster, more aggressive combat style in comparison to Dark Souls more methodical approach. This is a special game and without a doubt one of the PS4’s best exclusives to-date.