Even though the PS4’s life-cycle is seemingly winding down as we inch towards the next generation, the constant barrage of incredible-looking games isn’t slowing down at all. When you consider the volume of beautiful works of art that have released in the past few years, it’s really hard to believe that games could look much better. One thing that the PS4 has excelled at is the usage of weather effects across its many titles, ranging from a wide variety of weather types, dynamic weather that impacts how you play, or weather that is downright just good-looking.
That’s why we wanted to showcase some of our favorite examples of weather effects in PS4 games. We have compiled a list of six PS4 games that effectively use weather, either in a mechanical way or otherwise. Enjoy.
As evidenced by our recent report covering Days Gone’s dynamic weather effects, that very notion is one that deserves discussion. Based on marketing, most of what’s being touted in Days Gone seems to be the impressive number of zombies (Freakers) that appear on-screen at any given time. (It is definitely worth mentioning.) But the way weather is implemented is also noteworthy. Watching snow fall to the ground in real-time as it piles up around you is wild and not something we typically see in video games.
Most of the time, games clearly separate snowy sections from regular areas in a way that, at times, doesn’t feel natural. But in Days Gone, you can watch an area become covered in snow from start to finish, all in real time. Not only that, but snow will impact how Deacon maneuvers on his bike, which adds an engaging dynamic to the gameplay. Freakers will also hear Deacon differently, so it might be best to approach cautiously during those harsh weather conditions.
Snow is not the only weather type in Days Gone. You’ll also notice that rain will impact the way sound works, as it will dampen your footsteps, alter movement, and make it harder for Freakers to hear you. It’s quite fascinating to see interesting weather variations in games, but when it impacts the gameplay, it brings the immersion to a new level.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Speaking of immersion, Horizon Zero Dawn has some of the most stunning weather effects available on the PS4. You’ll probably be blown away by the way rain looks or the way clouds move through the sky when rain is near, especially if you use the game’s photo mode. Interestingly, the weather was going to play a larger role by impacting the gameplay. Apparently, there was going to be a mechanic in which lightning would randomly strike a player, but it was ultimately removed because it felt “unfair.”
Much like Days Gone, the snow in Horizon Zero Dawn is equally impressive, particularly in the way Aloy moves while trudging through it in The Frozen Wilds DLC. She moves slowly, much like you would in real life, and brings her arms up to avoid touching the snow. It’s such a subtle detail that you might not spot during the heat of battle. But even when walking through thick of it, you’ll notice the snow react to the movements of Aloy’s body. Or, if she’s sliding down a hill, the bits of snow will bunch up around her and an imprint will be left.
Seeing snow react this way is a testament to the hard work done at Guerrilla Games, and we’re excited for what the sequel will bring.
This might be a weird one, but stick with me: Due to the artistic style of Everybody’s Golf, weather effects may not be as visually captivating as what you’d find in Days Gone or Horizon Zero Dawn. But what it lacks in visual fidelity, it makes up for in the way weather is tied to the gameplay. Most notably, with the way wind is handled.
(For the record, Everybody’s Golf is beautiful, but in a different way than some of those more realistically-rendered games.)
When lining up your shot, it takes a lot of know-how to make sure your ball will land on target. If you’re playing on a predominantly windy course, you’ll have to compensate for it when you hit the ball. It can quickly get way more strategic than you might have expected. Sometimes, the wind can be quite powerful, which is more obvious, but when the wind blows more slowly, the ever-so-slight tap of the directional pad can be the difference between landing on the green and ending up in the bunker.
Combine that with rain, and it will take an especially savvy golfer to make a hole-in-one on some courses.
Red Dead Redemption 2
It’s hard to talk about the implementation of weather in video games without mentioning Red Dead Redemption 2. Not only does it have dynamic weather that impacts the way you play, but the sheer number of weather types alone will probably leave you in awe. You’ll find that rain will obviously impact visibility and change the way your clothes look when wet, but it will also create mud that is noticeably harder to ride through. In addition, Red Dead Redemption 2 includes snow, which reacts to your movement in such a beautiful way.
But rain and snow are quite common in video games. That’s why the inclusion of dust storms is so absorbing, as it adds more realism to the already insanely detailed world. Riding through dust storms will result in limited visibility, and you’ll discover specific animations that Arthur Morgan will automatically perform, like shielding his eyes.
On top of that, you might encounter mist or fog in the early morning hours or by larger bodies of water. These will work the way they do in real life. They’re also great for hunting, since fog will conceal your movements, making it slightly easier to catch your prey. Say what you will about Red Dead Redemption 2 —it’s still an impressive achievement from a technical design aspect.
Much like many games on this list, Marvel’s Spider-Man is a visually stunning work of art. It’s made even better by getting a gorgeous view of the city atop a tall building and watching the rain pour down. Something about the added verticality makes the weather so much more beautiful. While these details should most definitely be acknowledged, the puddles are particularly gorgeous.
Ah yes, the infamous “Puddlegate” sure rustled feathers prior to the game’s release. If you’re unfamiliar, there was some controversy surrounding the size and placement of puddles in-game when comparing footage from E3 2017 to footage of the game closer to its release. To some, there appeared to be a downgrade. Long story short, there was no downgrade, as proven by Digital Foundry. All joking aside, the rain looks incredible, the puddles look realistic, and the way the water hits Spidey’s suit is, dare I say, amazing.
Resident Evil 2 (2019)
While most of Resident Evil 2 takes place indoors, there are short sections across the various campaigns that let you outside for a brief moment. You may hardly remember these sections, but they stand out in a great way because of how they look. (It helps that the game is so easy on the eyes.) An interesting design decision is the fact that it’s always raining when you go outside, almost acting as a subconscious way to keep you within the confines of the RCPD. While the weather doesn’t change or truly impact the way you play, there’s no denying that it looks damn good.
There is a moment when Claire and Leon meet on the outskirts of the police department after being separated for some time, and it’s a heartfelt and serene break from what you just endured inside. The only issue is that the two are separated by a fence as the rain pours down, unfortunately. The way the rain reacts to their hair, the pores in their skin, and their clothes during this short encounter is one of the most visually breathtaking instances of video game rain in recent memory.
Sure, many of the games on this list have weather that impacts the gameplay, which is not the case in Resident Evil 2. But when you’ve got one of the best-looking games of the generation, it’s okay to just look good.
Surely, we didn’t cover all the games that have great weather effects. Which ones did we miss? Let us know!