A toast to those unmissable blockbusters currently available on (and exclusive to) PlayStation 4.
First released: May 10, 2016
We begin with Nathan Drake's finale. After 10 years and four mainline titles – six if you count the Vita game Golden Abyss and the Vita card game Fight for Fortune – Naughty Dog bid adieu to its wise-cracking treasure hunter with A Thief’s End, the fourth (and final?) chapter in Drake's story.
It also marked the character’s big debut on PS4 – save for that remastered collection, of course – and the pitch-perfect storytelling and blockbuster set pieces were those of a studio that had all but mastered its craft. It was a truly thrilling finale for Drake, Sully, Elena, and all of their many friends and foes, granting Uncharted 4 entry into the pantheon of must-play PS4 exclusives.
First released: February 16, 2016
Though it was mired by technical issues and a scant character roster at launch, on a purely mechanical level, Street Fighter V was an incredible, pulse-pounding fighting experience; the kind that still attracts hundreds – if not thousands – of players to this day.
Thank the heavens that Capcom kept one ear to the ground, as the recently-released Arcade Edition fixes a lot of the inconsistencies and bugs that plagued the original release, resulting in a suitably epic fighting experience replete with all your favorite characters.
First released: March 24, 2015
Bloodborne is a punishing, tough-as-nails RPG with atmosphere to spare, so it’s small wonder that it can be traced back to FromSoftware, the Japanese dev responsible for the equally punishing Souls series.
What makes Bloodborne so special, though, is its gothic, labyrinthine level design. It’s the kind of world that completely envelopes the player to the point where you’re wandering the environment in search of clues and other trinkets. Elements of Lovecratian horror are also scattered across Yharnam and its cobbled streets – cobbled streets that were smeared with our own blood far too often.
A direct sequel is practically a no-brainer, and we were surprised to see that Bloodborne 2 (tentative title) missing from Sony’s eclectic E3 2018 presser.
Granted, FromSoftware already has its hands full with Shadows Die Twice, so perhaps that fabled Bloodborne sequel has been earmarked for PlayStation 5. And how exciting is that?
First released: February 28, 2017
Guerrilla Games is a long way from the warring factions of Killzone. For the studio’s maiden voyage on PS4, Guerrilla ventured boldly into uncharted territory. The result? Horizon Zero Dawn, a sprawling open-world epic that is undoubtedly one of Sony’s crowning achievements.
The story begins in Guerrilla’s post-post-apocalypse in that Zero Dawn thrusts players into a world overrun by bleeding-edge machines. The pillars of society have collapsed, and in their place, mechanised dinosaurs have inherited the Earth.
We follow Aloy, a flame-haired outcast from the Nora tribe who must journey across the wilderness to answer that million-dollar question: just where did the machines come from? And, perhaps more importantly, what do they want?
Water-tight combat, compelling side-quests and a remarkably beautiful, preternatural landscape only added to Horizon's charm, and there’s no better thrill than toppling a Thunderjaw while roaming Guerrilla’s wasteland.
First released: April 4, 2017
PS4 owners in the West were left waiting for Persona 5 for far too long, so it’s a testimony to the sheer quality and so-pretty-it-hurts art direction that few were left complaining when Atlus and Deep Silver's JRPG finally reached these shores in April of 2017.
Critics gushed over the animation and water-tight gameplay, even if the English localization left much to be desired.
But make no mistake, with its sprawling story and effortless sense of style, Persona 5 very much belongs among the PS4’s biggest ever releases, and even now, more than 12 months after release, we're still tapping our fingers in tune with Shoji Meguro's soundtrack.
First released: April 12, 2016
You know them, of course – they’re one of PlayStation’s original platforming mascots. But it’s fair to say that Ratchet & Clank had fallen on hard times, what with games like Full Frontal Assault struggling to capture the essence of the original series.
Leave it to Insomniac, then, to roll back the years and give Ratchet & Clank the homecoming party they deserve. The result? A total reimagining of the first game and a true showcase of what makes this franchise so special – a clever, charming story, gorgeous worlds to explore, and a suitably epic arsenal of weapons each more mind-bending than the last.
All in all, Ratchet & Clank PS4 was a triumphant return for one of PlayStation’s greatest double acts, and long may they reign.
First released: January 24, 2017
There’s an unholy terror coiling within the depths of Louisiana, and it’s up to Ethan Winters to solve this most terrifying of mysteries.
Welcome to Resident Evil 7, Capcom’s back-to-basics reboot that ditched the blockbuster spectacle and relentless action of previous instalments in favor of a distilled, potent blast of old-school horror.
The crooked Baker abode is also similar to the Spencer Mansion of Resident Evil in that there are many nooks and crannies to explore, as you rummage through old drawers and chests in search of precious bullets and maybe – just maybe – some gasoline for your flamethrower.
This is the Resident Evil we know and love. Oh, and did we mention it's playable from front-to-back in virtual reality? Just when you thought the Baker’s residence wasn’t disturbing enough.
First released: April 10, 2018
Who would’ve thought that Kratos, the one-man wrecking ball known for his uncontrollable rage (and little else), would headline one of the best-told PS4 exclusives yet?
Such is the case with Sony Santa Monica’s God of War, a “reimagining” of the long-running action series that shifts the focus from Ancient Greece to the Nordic wilderness. It totally reinvented the character of Kratos, adding parental layers to a PS4 icon who was once little more than a hot-headed god slayer capable of slaughtering the entire Greek pantheon with fire and fury. Making that evolution all the more apparent was the decision to relocate Kratos to the Nordic wilderness, where he’s introduced as the reluctant father to Atreus, a young, wide-eyed archer with god-like powers of his own.
Not unlike Uncharted 4 before it, the game’s ability to bounce between eye-popping spectacle and heartfelt character moments is one of SSM’s finest achievements, and, in the words of PSLS’ own PMC, God of War is an epic reboot of an epic franchise, one that very much belongs in the top-tier of PS4 exclusives.
We’d be remiss if a "Best of PS4" list didn't make room for Until Dawn. Supermassive’s story-driven exclusive had the potential to be a top-selling title if it wasn’t for Sony’s botched marketing, which resulted in the spooky horror title being buried. It soon gained a cult following, and the branching narratives and white-knuckle storytelling were a perfect draw for Twitch streamers hoping to carve our their own unique route up Blackwood Mountain.