The PS4 is dead. Long live the PS5.
Late last year, a new generation of video game consoles—namely Sony’s Playstation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X—debuted over the holiday season...and sold out immediately.
If you were one of the lucky ones to snag a console then or in the following months, the library has games for both systems so get your holds in now.
For the rest of us slumming it with last gen’s hardware, I thought I’d take a walk down memory lane with an arbitrary personal top fifteen PS4 game list. Sorry Microsoft fans 😅. That said, many of these were multiplatform releases so plenty are available for the ol’ Xbone anyway.
Speaking of multiplatform games, I didn’t include anything that I played first on PC (Undertale) or Switch (Hollow Knight and Celeste) ‘cause in my brain they aren’t PS4 games…even if they’re on the PS4....it’s an imperfect system!
So without further ado:
15) Destiny - Destiny’s a tricky one. It’s got great gameplay (except when it’s trying to be a platformer in raids) and is a beautiful game with stellar art direction, but man, is it hamstrung by some shady business plans and the worst writing a big budget video game has to offer. That said when it first came out it really felt like it was going to be something special.
14) Overwatch - With its diverse cast, bright futuristic world, and polished gameplay, Overwatch made a huge splash when it released. Sadly, Blizzard just didn’t add enough to the game to keep it interesting (for me at least). Should’ve come with a co-op story mode. The sequel sounds like it's going to address some of those issues though!
13) Metal Gear Solid V: Man, what a mixed bag! MGSV is an incredible looking game that’s so much fun to play (Fultoning man, beast, or machine never gets old), but sadly Konami didn’t bother to properly budget its biggest franchise’s swansong so the game ends without properly ending. So many loose threads!
12) Red Dead Redemption II - basically a Wild West version of Grand Theft Auto. I thought the story of Arthur Morgan and his gang was super compelling and I loved the late wild west setting, but the controls just seemed really awkward to me. I’ve probably accidentally killed a dozen civilians and at least once I tried to tip my hat to say hello to a fella and instead hijacked his horse and set the lawmen after me.
11) Persona 5 - so stylish! There’s so much to love about Persona 5. It’s story, cast, SOUNDTRACK, look, and gameplay (Turn based RPG/dating simulator). Three complaints though: the practically never ending randomly generated dungeon is a slog, a naggy cat sidekick who would tell me to go to bed when I just wanted to HANG OUT WITH MY FRIENDS, and the game is just way too long so long that the wonderful soundtrack actually gets a little annoying!What a shame!
10) Dragon Quest XI S - like Pokémon, Dragon Quest nailed down the essentials decades ago. Each turn-based RPG transports you to a giant fantasy realm full of Akira Toriyama’s (of Dragon Ball fame) classic designs and a whole lotta puns. This game brought the series’ best graphics along with some genuine twists and surprises. I really appreciated the optional endgame to boot.
9) Final Fantasy VII Remake - You know, for a game that had been teased since the Playstation 3’s release, this shouldn’t have been as good as it was. To put it simply, it was a JOY to see Cloud and Co. along with the rest of Midgar remade in high definition. Sure the changes to the story were TRASH, but you know? I really enjoyed myself despite that and I’m genuinely curious to see where they take us from here.
8) Uncharted 4 - a modern day Indiana Jones video game. You’ve got capers, snark, a great supporting case, big exciting set pieces, and the plundering of ancient ruins by a charming guy who seems pretty down to Earth (but is also responsible for the deaths of hundreds of faceless bad guys throughout the game).
7) NieR: Automata - an existential tale of blindfolded humanoid robots in Lolita outfits that alternates between shmup and some slick action RPG gameplay. What’s not to love? The wildest thing about N:A is that once you beat the game, you play it a second time from another character’s perspective, but beat it as that character and you get a WHOLE NEW story. The game essentially comes packed with its own sequel.
6) Crash Bandicoot 4 - Toys for Bob did a great job bringing that late 90s/early 2000s 3D platformer gameplay back to colorful and wacky life. A word of warning though, this game can go from breezy fun to tough as nails, pull out your hair, cursing up a storm difficult depending on whether or not you want to collect all the wampa fruits and smash all the crates.
5) Ghost of Tsushima - You’re Jin, the lone surviving samurai after your island home is brutally conquered by invaders. Ghost let’s you decide how you’ll avenge your comrades and free your homeland and boasts some really brutal, gnarly, and physical action, but in one of the only disappointments of the game, your playstyle doesn’t actually affect the story. That’s okay though, these guys had a story to tell and when a game's as polished as this, I’m willing to let it slide. Ghost felt like the culmination of the open world game gaming trend.
4) Spider-Man - What a great take on our friendly neighborhood webhead! Within a couple of hours, you’ll be web slinging and wall climbing like they’re second nature and zooming through New York just having a blast. The story’s pretty good too with plenty of appearances from Spidey’s friends and foes big and small.
3) God of War - I was very pleasantly surprised with this mature (and bearded!) reimagination of the PS2’s angriest protagonist. Sure there’s still plenty of viscera and violence, but there was also a compelling story and mysterious realms to explore! Not to mention some very fulfilling gameplay, throwing your axe and then calling it back to you never got old.
2) Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order - I’m a super Star Wars fan so after the bust that were the new Battlefronts, I was starving for a good game set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Jedi Fallen Order more than surpassed my expectations, in fact, it’s probably the best Star Wars game since Knights of the Old Republic in 2003. A young Order 66 survivor gets roped into a planet hopping adventure that’s just Star Wars through and through. It’s got Dark Souls inspired methodic combat, a 3D Metroidvania world, and your lightsaber slices through stormtroopers like butter.
1) Yakuza: Like a Dragon - Kasuga Ichiban is a low level, loveable doofus and a grunt in a small yakuza family who ends up in prison for almost twenty years after taking the fall for a clan leader. What follows is the alternatingly hilarious and melodramatic story of a bunch of middle aged misfits finding a place to call home and friends to call family. In a huge departure from the Yakuza series’ brawler roots, Sega made this an old fashioned turn based RPG stuffed to the gills with mini games and sidequests and homages to JRPGs. Yakuza: LaD is a blast to play, has heart to spare, and is so zany that it completely won me over. It might not be the “best” game on the PS4, but I can’t think of one I liked more.
So that’s that! I know I didn’t include some heavy hitters (Bloodborne, The Witcher III, Horizon Zero Dawn). But hey! I just couldn’t get into them. I’m a disgrace!
What were some of your favorite games on the PS4 (or Xbox One)?
-Ian Stepp is the Materials Handling Coordinator at Lawrence Public Library