Top PS4 games 2021: Best PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro games every gamer must own
· 28 December 2020 ·
– All the top PS4 games we recommend
(Pocket-lint) – The PlayStation 4 is a fine games console, make no mistake. And the 4K-ready PS4 Pro is an even punchier version still.
But it’s the games that have made either PS4 as popular as it is today. That’s why we’ve put together a list of games we’ve thoroughly enjoyed since the console’s launch in 2013. All of them are well worth adding to your library, with many bargains available, too.
Here, then, is our list of the best games you can get for the PS4 and PS4 Pro, presented in no particular order.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
It may be a more recent addition to the list, but Final Fantasy VII Remake would easily slot into any best PS4 games line-up, even if it was just a top five. The PS4 exclusive is much more than a remaster of the classic PSOne JRPG, it’s almost a new game, having been rebuilt from the ground up, with amazing new graphics and combat system that hold it in good stead with most other games released this generation.
The Last of Us Part II
Naughty Dog returns to its harrowing vision of a post-pandemic world, and picks up the story of Joel and Ellie. This time players will mostly be in Ellie’s shoes, as she treads a path that few would be able to stomach, in search of justice. It’s an absolutely gut-wrenching journey and arguably a new highpoint for cinematic storytelling in games. A must-play for any PlayStation owner.
Ghost of Tsushima
An open-world game that’s about as gorgeous to look at as anything out there on the market right now, Ghost of Tsushima might end up being one of the very last big blockbusters for the PS4. It’s lucky it’s so fun, then, giving you a huge, diverse island full of locales to liberate from invading Mongols.
Media Molecule – the studio behind LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway – have created something rather magical in Dreams. It is an in-depth games development tool, yet is easy enough to use on the surface that kids can get as much fun out of it making their own puppet shows and cartoons. Plus, there is a thriving community of Dreams creators out there building great games you can play. Nice one.
Red Dead Redemption 2
A truly stunning game that provides entertainment and enjoyment for weeks. It starts slow but the amount of depth and variety in mission types will soon have you well and truly hooked. Rockstar isn’t the most prolific of developers but it is certainly one of the very best. There are few open world games around with as much thought and attention afforded it.
God of War
God of War is, quite simply, stunning. Its over-the-shoulder third-person style works well for both emotive storytelling and the intuitive combat system. We particularly like the axe-throwing mechanics and, specifically, the weight of the axe itself as it travels back to your hand Thor’s hammer style. No PS4 should be without easily the best God of War game and one of the best PlayStation games full stop.
If you looked up “odd” in the dictionary you might find a gurning picture of Hideo Kojima underneath. But then, you’re just as likely to see him under “genius”. The Japanese maestro of videogames inventiveness finally finished his first masterpiece since splitting with Konami and Metal Gear, and it is everything we expected. Often baffling, but always stunningly beautiful and unique, Death Stranding is a game that you will either love (like us) or loathe. Either way, you’ll be talking about it.
It is hard to describe just how enjoyable swinging around the streets in Spider-Man actually is, you will find yourself doing that for hours without even needing to complete a mission. But thankfully there is a great story and game in the open world superhero title too. Comic book fans will also thoroughly appreciate the amount of collectables and costumes that can be unlocked. And there are some great character cameos along the way.
One of the best, most unexpected hits of 2019, Control is a paranormal adventure/shooter from the team behind Alan Wake and has similarly become a cult classic. Its art style – full of pastel shades and a purposely grainy overlay – matches the theme well, with an almost dream-like ambience. And, the gameplay mechanics that introduce new weapons and powers as you progress are so finely tuned that you never feel overwhelmed by the increasing difficulty. Superb.
You can’t have a best games list without including Fortnite. For a start, it’s free to play so everyone can get involved, and even its in-game emotes have become real-world dance crazes. It’s rare a game transcends gaming itself, but Fortnite certainly has. The mixture of FPS, base-building and cartoon graphics attract the young and old alike and we heartily approve of PlayStation’s decision to open up cross-platform play on this specific title.
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
The follow-up to one of the best isometric, old-school role-players around is bigger and more expansive than its predecessor and could take you over 100 hours to fully complete. The console version comes with all the original DLC too, so that’s even more missions to take on for the same price. Now that’s what we call value.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Released as either part of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) or available as a completely free download, Warzone is one of the best battle royale games around. It looks superb but is even better in play, with up to 150 person multiplayer matches available. We also love the Plunder mode, where you have to grab as much cash as possible without being taken out. Great fun.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Although it’s not one of the most well-known games, Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the best of this generation. Combining tribal themes with robotics and technology, the setting is as fascinating as it is unique. And in Aloy, we get one of the strongest female lead characters in years. There are many RPG elements and precise action sequences in the massive open world game. It is also one of the best-looking on the PS4, especially when hooked up to a HDR TV.
Borderlands fans will find more of the same here; a great sense of humour, colourful cell-shaded graphics and guns, guns, guns. Borderlands 3 never takes itself too seriously, yet offers a decent challenge as you have to battle across multiple worlds for the first time in the series, tackling all-new enemies and a new threat in the form of the Calypso Twins.
The Outer Worlds
While Fallout 4 also makes this list, there are some that believe Bethesda’s last full RPG in the series wasn’t as tight as previous efforts and, with The Outer Worlds now available – a sort of spiritual sibling – we can now kind-of agree. The 50s-inspired sci-fi role-player was developed by Obsidian, the studio behind, perhaps, the best Fallout of all time: New Vegas. And it borrows enough of its humour and excellent writing to make this all-new, technically unrelated game the first in a, hopeful, new franchise.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
A stunningly beautiful and engrossing adventure, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice tells the story of a Pict warrior slowly slipping into madness as she tries to save the soul of her fallen lover. It uses intelligent imagery and research to convey mental illness and adopts the relatively rare practice of permadeath. If Senua dies in the game, you have to start all over again. It is haunting and will stay with you long after you finish.
A fantastic example of why there is still a place for a single-player first person shooter, Metro Exodus combines large open world areas with linear missions to great effect. It also looks stunning, especially on the PS4 Pro – it’s not quite native 4K but still looks exemplary, with crisp, detailed graphics and a great use of lighting throughout.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
A great remaster of one of the most endearing platform game series of the 90s, Spyro Reignited Trilogy takes the gameplay from Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon but dramatically improves the visuals and audio. Developer Toys for Bob even got the voice actor for the two sequels to revoice Spyro in the first for continuity. It’s a great trio for old and new alike, as there is much to do across each of the games.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
When Electronic Arts secured the Star Wars licence, there was a lot of new hope (pardon the pun) that we’d get games of the quality of Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II and Knights of the Old Republic. Sadly, while Battlefront I and II offered great multiplayer action and authentic visuals, they lacked in story or depth. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order makes up for it in spades, with an expansive single-player campaign and gameplay that feels like a cross between Dark Souls and Tomb Raider. The force is strong in this one.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Uncharted 4 isn’t just the result of Naughty Dog’s learnings throughout the previous trilogy, it also benefits greatly from the developer’s work on The Last of Us. While radically different in tone, A Thief’s End undoubtedly borrows some elements from its enduring horror-based stablemate, resulting in the studio’s most rounded, balanced game yet.
Dark Souls 3
As anyone who has played a Dark Souls game would expect, Dark Souls 3 is huge, gothic, creepy, studded with bosses which, when you first encounter them, seem impossibly daunting, yet irresistibly addictive. At times, you will curse the impulse which propels you back into its fetid world, as you struggle to advance even a couple of hundred metres. But the pay-off is that any small triumphs you manage to pull off will be so hard-won that they feel like mighty victories.
Resident Evil 2
The original Resident Evil 2’s horror dynamics garnered a huge amount of praise at the time. The 2019 remake makes the maximum use of modern technology to take them to an even higher plane. As a result the new Resident Evil 2 is an absolute tour de force – it’s nothing less than an object lesson in how to remake an old game.
We were (and still are) big fans of the first episodic Hitman reboot but the sequel is even better. It is possibly the best stealth game ever, in fact. It requires patience but the sheer number of ways to complete each assassination mission make it a game you will come back to again and again. The game also upgrades the episodes of the first game, so you can revisit them too using the new and improved game engine.
The Last of Us Remastered
With a very tidy graphical overhaul and the Left Behind DLC added as part of the pack, The Last of Us Remastered is easily one of the finest re-released games in the PS4’s line-up. It’s an essential purchase and play for all those who didn’t get a chance to join Joel and Ellie on their post-apocalyptic zombie-style journey on the PS3. Not only does it look beautiful, it is a masterwork of storytelling that resonates long after the game has been completed.
Devil May Cry 5
Devil May Cry 5 is such an extreme joy to play – and is built on such a logical, focused structure – that you’ll find yourself returning to it again and again, whenever you feel the need for a blast of cathartic, cobweb-blowing, spectacularly stylish action.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
Ahead of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End being released, Naughty Dog remastered the previous trilogy of Nathan Drake games to whet appetites. They each star the all-action adventure hero that has become as endearing to gamers as Indiana Jones has to movie fans and are a great intro to his fourth and final (?) appearance. The three included games look better than ever before, in 1080p at 60 frames per second, and even the control system of the first in the series was improved to better match the sequels.
Monster Hunter: World
The first Monster Hunter game to make it onto home consoles is an undoubted success. It proves to be gloriously addictive and endlessly charming and offers an open world experience like few others, with what feels like a living, breathing environment. The RPG elements are great and easy to get to grips with, even if you a newcomer to the franchise. You’ll soon find yourself addicted to both its charm and challenges. Much like us.
By Media Molecule, the developer behind the Little Big Planet series of games, Tearaway Unfolded is inventive and unique on a console dominated by blockbuster action titles. Its art style is fantastic and the platform/puzzle gameplay offers enough variety to have you hooked as you progress through the cardboard and paper-inspired world.
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
There is no shortage of JRPGs available for the PlayStation 4 but one of the very best has to be Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. It retains a unique and very Japanese charm, yet provides all the depth of gameplay and accessibility as the very best Western RPGs. An exemplary battle system underpins the action, while heart and soul exudes from each character encountered along the way.
No Man’s Sky
While No Man’s Sky was criticised a fair amount straight after launch, continual updates and content patches have arrived to turn it into the space exploration game we all originally hoped for. What’s more, these updates are free, so buy the game now and you get a magnificent, huge adventure with variety and surprises in abundance.
Sony’s interactive horror story is very much an unsung hit, presenting a chilling tale where your actions decide how many (if any) of the teenagers trapped with a killer survive the murderous spree. Scary and intelligent, while well acted, Until Dawn has plenty of replay value too as you’ll want to go back to see if you can do things differently.
A PS4 exclusive, Bloodborne is from the same stable as Dark Souls and you can tell almost instantly. It matches its stablemate series graphically, albeit with current generation flair, but the main similarity is that both action-adventure/RPGs are as difficult as each other. Prepare to throw your DualShock 4 around. A lot.
Life is Strange
Without a major licence to hang onto, the original Life is Strange could have escaped your notice, even though it features every bit as engrossing a story as The Walking Dead or other episodic adventure game. The five episodes, which follow teenage girl Max after she discovers she can turn back time, feature fantastic voice acting and twists and turns that will have you guessing until the very end. And the best part about it is that your actions determine the outcome. An excellent sequel has also started recently.
Like many other games available for the current generation consoles today, The Escapists adopts 8-bit graphics, although that hides a cunning level of depth in gameplay terms. It is a puzzle adventure game of sorts where you have to successfully escape a series of more difficult prisons. Where it succeeds is in its sense of humour and simple gameplay mechanics – a trademark of Team 17, also the creator of the Worms series. You probably won’t find many games as addictive as this little gem either.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
This chapter is the third-part in the Dragon Age trilogy and easily eclipses all that has gone before. As with The Last of Us, it is the story that stand out more than any other aspect of the game, and Bioware’s traditional mastery of dialogue helps tell it in a natural a way as possible. It’s also a mighty role-playing game with hours and hours of gameplay at your disposal. Just make sure you’ve got the time to invest in it. You will definitely be rewarded.
Grand Theft Auto V
It took a while to get GTA V onto the PS4 but nobody could complain considering how much extra the improved game offers over the original version. For a start, Rockstar added a whole new first-person mode, which enables the player to experience the game from a different perspective, even if completed before. Plus, the graphics were given a tasty overhaul to make San Andreas look more spectacular than ever. And let’s face it, GTA V was always one of the best games available anyway. Then there’s GTA Online, which constantly breathes new life into the game. Excellent stuff.
Being one of the most sprawling games of all time, Fallout 4 is trickier to get into in comparison with the previous chapters on former generation machines, but it rewards stoicism with one of the biggest role-playing adventures of all time. It also adds a base building mechanic to the gameplay, where you can construct your own settlements for fellow survivors, so adds something new to the first or third-person shooting and looting action of before.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
The first Assassin’s Creed reboot breathed new life into the franchise in fantastic fashion but Odyssey is the game that takes it in an all-new direction. Controls are similar, although the combat system gets even more of an overhaul and the entire shee-bang now seems more like an RPG with interaction options and levelling up on a scale like never before. Ancient Greece is also a great place to explore.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Kojima’s last Metal Gear Solid game for Konami still happens to be his grandest moment yet (until Death Stranding finally sees the light of day). Taking the franchise into the realms of open world seems to have been an inspired decision, with so much to do and missions to complete that you will be playing for hours. We also love the way you can tackle just about everything in multiple fashions – run and gun or sneaking around are just two ways you can complete objectives, each causing different reactions. We also recommend you check out the prequel, Ground Zeroes, too.
With Mad Max: Fury Road being a critical and box office hit, the long-awaited Mad Max game needed to be every bit as good. Cleverly, the massively open-world adventure took the hand-to-hand fighting system from the Batman: Arkham series, which makes being on foot and exploring post-apocalyptic ruins more fun, while the car combat is fluid and great fun. There’s not really much of a plot – you must rebuild your car after the first one was stolen – but then there isn’t in the Mad Max films either. Doesn’t stop us loving them so much.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Arkham Knight wraps up the trilogy in spectacular fashion with a far bigger playground than ever before. Without giving away too many spoilers, the use of the Joker throughout the game is inspired and we think the inclusion of the Batmobile – which hasn’t gone down well with everybody, admittedly – adds variety to missions and the overall gameplay. Plus, the playable areas of Gotham City are so big this time around that it’s a thrill racing around them in the superpowered vehicle.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Not just one of the best games on the PlayStation 4, The Witcher 3 can lay claim as being one of the best of all time. It is an extraordinary feat in game design, where it seems that every action undertaken in the massive third-person RPG has an effect on the game world. Save a merchant from some bandits in a random encounter, for example, you might meet him again many hours later in a city, where he gives you a massive discount on items he has for sale. The world itself also seems alive and vibrant while the game is also capable of testing your skills so you don’t just blitz through it. Superb.
The Gran Tursimo series might be the best known in the simulation driving game genre when it comes to PS4, but the community created Project Cars matches it for realistic driving experiences. In addition, the first Project Cars offers the most amount of customisation for races you are likely to see in a racing game, even down to the ability of choosing how the weather will change with each lap. In our opinion, it’s far better than its own sequel too.
Far Cry 4
Although we love Far Cry 5, the previous outing for the series is one of our favourite first-person shooters and remains the better of the two. Far Cry 4 has everything a modern game should offer. At its heart it’s an FPS, but there are role-playing game elements, driving challenges, wonderful co-op play and one of the largest open world maps we’ve seen in such a game. The mission structure is excellent, while the amount of side missions and other things you can do is almost overwhelming. But perhaps the best thing about Far Cry 4 is the superb villain in Pagan Min. Evil and funny in equal measure and the closest you’ll get to a truly realised Bond-style foe in gaming.
A winner at a previous Pocket-lint Gadget Awards, Alien: Isolation maybe took many by surprise with its adherence to the tone of the first Alien movie, both graphically and thematically. Rather that arm you with hefty weaponry and send floods of xenomorphs in your direction, the name of the game is survival as you are hunted through a destroyed space station by just the one Alien. Cue some pant-wettingly scary moments.
Destiny 2 might have had its critics when it first launched but has improved into a very fine game after numerous expansions. Bungie took a bold step in making the core game free-to-play after it decided to self-publish after years with Activision, but that means you can now get a taste before opting to purchase one of the campaign packs to see if it’s up your alley.
Indie game Transistor is an action role-playing adventure from the same team behind Bastion and it oozes with invention. The gameplay is set on isometric levels as you must guide Red through each, battling enemies along the way. Where it is interesting is that you can freeze time and plan movements in advance to solve puzzles and dispatch foes, which is a talent that is limited, so careful planning is in order.
The downloadable game Resogun was one of the first titles released for the PS4 and, indeed, the first game to be free as part of PlayStation Plus. It’s an old-school sideways scrolling shoot-em-up in the same vein as R-Type or Defender, but with incredible visuals and urgent musical underscore. It won’t tax the brain cells too much but we’ve found ourselves coming back to it often over the subsequent years.
Watch Dogs 2
The first Watch Dogs presented an open world game with an interesting premise – you could hack pretty much anything electronic in the city. The second is a better game by far though, adding social commentary about major tech companies and with more than a little nod to Mr Robot. The graphics are better too, partly thanks to a shift to a sunnier, brighter playfield in San Francisco – from the drab Chicago of before. We can’t wait for Watch Dogs Legion.
A bizarre hybrid of footy, driving sims and Robot Wars, Rocket League in an online multiplayer team game that’s become a massive cult hit. Two teams of up to eight players have to basically use their rocket-powered cars to force a giant football into their opponents’ goal. Bonkers and brilliant in equal measure.We've put together a list of games that are are well worth adding to your library, with many bargains available too.
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