The PlayStation 4 is now into its seventh year since release, and history dictates that the end is coming for this generation’s best selling console. Its last two predecessors were both replaced in their seventh year, while the original PlayStation barely made it to five in North America.
There’s a good reason why the PS4 has excelled too. A lower initial base price over its American rival and a higher number of quality games, including console-exclusives, meant fans were enamored with it from the start.
But even with the end in sight as the PlayStation 5 hits the horizon, the light from the PS4 continues to shine brightly. The number of quality games available for it means that you shouldn’t hesitate to add it to your hardware collection if you want to get your fill of some top gaming action. The end of a cycle is the best time to get involved. You get the cream of the generational crop, and we’re here to make sure you don’t miss out on its sweet delights.
We are only including games that you can play today; unfortunately, the likes of P.T. Silent Hills won’t be included (even if it would otherwise be on this list). There will also be no re-releases if they aren’t PS4 original games, so the likes of The Last of Us Remastered, Grand Theft Auto V, and The Nathan Drake Collection won’t be here either, but complete remakes are eligible.
With that said, here are the best PS4 games that you can play in 2020 (in no particular order).
One of the greatest action games of the modern era, God of War took the classic formula of Kratos as a blood-crazed maniac, added one “boy,” and gave him a proper story seeped in Norse mythology to add to his repertoire of a deadly axe and anger attacks.
The action is intense, the character progression of both Kratos and his son Atreus is masterfully told, and the visuals are so stunning that you’ll be shocked that a PS4 can output such detail. It’s a fantastic adventure that anyone with even a slight interest in should play at the next opportunity.
For two generations, Dutch first-party studio Guerrilla Games worked on Killzone, the “Halo killer” with a color pallet so brown you’d think they were permanently stuck in the mud. However, Horizon Zero Dawn proved that their talents were worthy of breaching that generic shooter typecast.
An action-adventure game in a world under threat from extinction by mechanical dinosaurs, its world is vibrant, and action varied as you take control of Aloy as she attempts to uncover the truth about her past. It’s a stunning adventure, and with the expansion, The Frozen Wilds adding even more content, it will keep you going for some time.
Tetris has been around for a long time. Alexey Pajitnov’s original game is over 35 years old, and it’s seen enough remakes and presentations in its lifetime to make Bomberman and Pac Man blush. Chances are if you’ve played a Tetris game, you’ve played them all unless you’ve yet to pick up Tetris Effect.
As much of an experience as it is a Tetris game, Tetris Effect is what you get when you give the franchise to a man crazy enough to make a game like a rhythm action classic like Rez. Naturally, Tetsuya Mizuguchi is an immensely talented developer, and you can see his influence here as you’ve never played a Tetris game like this. Best played with VR but still stunning without, it’s difficult to describe in words why you should play this new take on the humble puzzler. But we recommend not watching any gameplay prior and go in with an open mind. You won’t regret it.
The PS4 release of Shadow of the Colossus is one of the two best examples in this list of a game that was recreated to such high quality. It’s arguably better than the game it was based on. The original Shadow of the Colossus was an amazing experience of scale and determination as you look to take down huge colossal beasts to bring your friend back from the brink. It was clear that the game was a labor of love from the developer Team ICO.
The 2018 release from Bluepoint Games took what made the original so amazing and modernized it without breaking the foundation. It results in one of if not the best remake of a classic game of all time.
A visual feast for the eyes, undeniably difficult, but at the same time immensely satisfying and rewarding, Bloodborne is about as good as third-person action RPG can get. In truth, any of From Software’s PS4 releases could be here in its place, as Dark Souls 3 and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice were also fantastic games that could also have been on the list in their own right.
However, when the genre that you created goes from “Souls” games to “Soulsborne,” you know it’s a testament to the quality of Bloodborne. As far as we’re concerned, it’s the pinnacle of From Software’s library.
Developer Playdead is not known for the speed at which they output games. The studio was founded in 2006, and yet it has only released two games in that time. Limbo was one of the best indie games to release in the previous console generation, and arguably one of the best examples of indie talent. Inside is even better.
Following a young boy, as he struggles to evade capture in a dystopian, monochromatic world, you must do what you can to survive as you grow a connection to the world that you’re forced to escape from and the “people” that you encounter. It would be easy to spoil the game, so we won’t dive into any further details, but suffice to say that if you love games that allow you to embrace yourself in the story and the characters that tell it, then you must play Inside. It’s wonderful and harrowing all at once.
Rockstar these days is also not famed for being particularly speedy with their releases. Red Dead Redemption 2 was its first new game in five years after Grand Theft Auto V in 2013. But holy moly was it worth the wait.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was a spectacle, a shining example of a game that prides itself on attention to detail, and one of the vastest open-world experiences ever made. Being a cowboy has never been this much fun, and with a brilliant lead character in Arthur Morgan, you’re sure to be the deadliest gringo in the west.
Video games have tried to embrace the feel of the cinematic experience for decades, with varying levels of success. What makes Uncharted such a special video game series is not what it does or how it does it. It’s that it does it so effortlessly that you’d think that Naughty Dog has a complete developer template for it that they paste the characters and story onto, and it makes a fantastic Uncharted game.
In truth, they are simply masters of their craft, and the final chapter of Nathan Drake’s story in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End demonstrated that even new hardware can’t stop the studio’s continued rise as possibly the greatest game developer of all time.
In the same way that From Software helped build the foundation of what became its own genre, Media Molecule has a reputation for making games that allow you to, well, make games yourself.
There was nothing like Little Big Planet before its launch on PS3, bringing accessibility like never before to game making. While it’s taken longer than they might have expected, Dreams is doing the same thing for the PS4 generation. Its extensive creation tools allow gamers to demonstrate their creativity and skill in making their own experiences. Quite literally, Dreams are what dreams are made of.
When it was confirmed that Insomniac Games were taking a punt at the Spiderman universe, it’s easy to see why there was excitement. For years, Spiderman releases were in the hands of developers or publishers who didn’t see enough value in the brand to put the extra resources into it to maximize its potential. Considering that the character can swing around an entire city at will should have made creating games for him easy, but you have to go back to 2004 to get that same level of freedom and quality in one Spidey-shaped package.
Enter Marvel’s Spiderman in 2018. Galvanized by the hands of a top independent developer at the time and renewed interest following the acquisition of the character within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the game made it possible to feel like you’re Spiderman again, swooping around the city, fighting crime on the ground, and taking on the biggest and baddest that Manhattan has to offer. Is it the best superhero game ever? The Batman Arkham games might have it beat on that front, but the best Marvel game ever? It’s hard to argue otherwise.
Blood and Truth (VR Only)
When it comes to VR, if we were looking at games that are the best on a technical level, then Astro Bot would probably be here. But the VR experience isn’t about that. It’s about taking an experience where you previously only had a presence with the controller or a keyboard and mouse and making it about what you see and do when you move. You become the character that you play.
The excitement of VR is placing you in a situation that you otherwise can’t directly experience yourself. Blood and Truth is a VR game that takes the experience of watching an intense action film and makes you the main character for five hours. That’s something that nothing else can replicate, and for this reason, it deserves a spot on this list.
Capcom had a stunning 2019, producing many excellent titles and directly causing the resurgence of Resident Evil and its classic formulas. Remember when we mentioned earlier that Shadow of the Colossus was one of the two best examples of remakes in this list? Resident Evil 2 is the other, and it’s superb.
Technically excellent, with many serious quality of life improvements, this remake of an already classic game follows the recent trend of Capcom output of Resident Evil games steering back to the survival side of survival horror. Gone are the soulless rehashes of Resident Evil 4, replaced with developers who it’s clear to see love the franchise. If you have any inclination to test your scare threshold, start with Resident Evil 2.
Considering the number of talented developers over at Platinum Games, it’s amazing to think that only one of its games has made it to the PS4 this generation (we refuse to acknowledge the existence of the poor Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan). Thankfully, Nier: Automata is arguably one of the best games that they have ever created.
Nier: Automata is not only a fantastic spectacle fighter RPG but also a melancholy story and world that connects with the player much closer than you might expect from a Platinum Game story. Add to that a soundtrack that is in the mix for one of the greatest of all time, and you’ve got yourself a must-play experience.
If we’d have told you in 2007 upon the release of the first Witcher game that the Polish franchise would have spawned one of the most successful games of the generation while also serving as a record-breaking TV series on Netflix (which itself is the biggest video-on-demand service in the world) by 2020, we’re sure most people, including author Andrzej Sapkowski, would have recommended us for admission to a crazy house.
And yet The Witcher has become a global franchise, and a huge part of that is The Witcher III. A stunning action-adventure following the infamous Geralt of Rivia, the game is a masterpiece of design, storytelling, and execution of its source material, and it’s made developer CD Projekt RED a household name. The hype for their next game, Cyberpunk 2077, is immense, but it’s also off the back of their success with The Witcher franchise, and more specifically, Wild Hunt. We won’t know for some time whether it was worth the 8-year wait, but in the meantime, do yourself a favor and play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and its expansions, because it doesn’t get much better than that.
Due to the sheer number of top games on the PS4, there are, of course, going to be some that couldn’t quite make the list. There are plenty of honorable mentions, including (but not limited to) Persona 5, Monster Hunter World, Shovel Knight, Overwatch, Astro Bot, Divinity: Original Sin 2, XCOM 2, Titanfall 2, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Celeste, Dishonored 2, and Sonic Mania. You really can’t go wrong with any of these PlayStation 4 titles.
This article includes affiliate links, which may provide small compensation to Gamepur.