20 best PS4 games ranked, from Grand Theft Auto V to Marvel’s Spider-Man

A countdown of the greatest games to grace this beloved Sony console

Saturday 29 February 2020 09:09 GMT
Clockwise from top left: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Control, Shadow of the Colossus, God of War
Clockwise from top left: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Control, Shadow of the Colossus, God of War (Naughty Dog/Remedy/Sony)

With more than 102 million units sold, the PlayStation 4 is one of gaming’s biggest success stories. Look at it; isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t it sexy? We haven’t heard of anyone actually marrying their PS4, but it would be hard to judge them if they did. And yet we find ourselves at the very end of our love affair with Sony’s eighth-generation console.

With the PS5 announced (and believed to be with us anywhere between October and December this year), it’s only a matter of time until we upgrade to a new model. And so, this seems the perfect time to attempt to rate and rank the 20 greatest games the system has to offer. What follows are those 20 games, from Grand Theft Auto V to Red Dead Redemption 2. Jump in, revisit an old favourite or find a new one. You’ll miss the old girl when she’s gone…

20. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017)

After the generic Resident Evil 5 (2009) and the sprawling mess of Resident Evil 6 (2016), Capcom’s veteran survival horror series felt staler than the contents of the Baker family’s fridge as the end of the last decade approached. But this is a series that had reinvented itself before – with the classic Resident Evil 4 (2005) – and sure enough, the seventh game in the series did just that, adopting a first-person, exploratory format and a vibe that was pure southern gothic. Sure, the last few hours fell away significantly, but the first couple? Those are as petrifying as any video game has managed to be, ever.

(House House)

19. Untitled Goose Game (2019)

‘It’s a lovely morning in the village and you are the horrible goose,’ declared the marketing for this innovative puzzle-stealth video game. Which is the perfect synopsis of House House’s wonderfully unique… um, goose simulator? To expand on the succinct brilliance of the Australian developer’s description, you are cast as said goose, you’re cranky, the inhabitants of the nearby village are getting on with their day and having a nice time, and you must ruin it. Some people unwind after a long day’s grind by shooting aliens or playing Fifa. Some do it by commandeering a mean goose.

(Naughty Dog)

18. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (2016)

If Naughty Dog’s conclusion to treasure hunter Nathan Drake’s story really is the end, then the developers did themselves – and said character – justice with the series’ final instalment, with blockbuster storytelling and perhaps the most beautiful visuals Sony’s eight-generation machine has ever seen. The genius of the Uncharted series has long been the quality – of the writing, of the direction, of the experience given to the player – but also their very existence in a world where there’s never been a particularly good action-oriented Indiana Jones licence (LucasArts’s 1992 Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis RPG was very good). Part four was this and then some.

(Electronic Arts)

17. Titanfall 2 (2016)

It’s no exaggeration to say that EA’s sequel to their 2014 sci-fi shooter might just be the best game you’ve never played. Released in the same month as high-profile FPS Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, the game sold extremely badly. It’s worth bearing in mind, too, that this was a sequel to a game that was an Xbox exclusive. Either way, the new game aligns hulking mecha-style exoskeletons with the narrative of the strangest buddy cop movie of all time. The result is an orgy of twisted metal and furious action. If you missed out first time, you have no excuse doing so now.

(Bandai Namco)

16. Dark Souls III (2016)

Of course, by the time Dark Souls III came into view, we were all well aware that the games that made up Hidetaka Miyazaki’s series were wretchedly difficult and agonisingly claustrophobic – games we learnt how to play by failing. And somehow, we loved them for it. But where we knew what we were getting by the time of the third game, the sheer quality of the franchise’s last ride out still managed to leave us feeling awestruck. This is the definitive game of a magnificent series.

(Microsoft Studios)

15. Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)

Another former Xbox exclusive that eventually made it to the bigger selling system, out of the three games that comprise Square Enix’s stunning reboot of the Lara Croft character – this, Tomb Raider (2013) and Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) – game two is undoubtedly the best. Set in Siberia, the story deals with Lara’s ascension to the “tomb raider” she’s destined to be. The game is often deeply moving, sometimes scary, and frequently very challenging. It’s a masterclass in how video games can tell mature, nuanced stories.


14. Monster Hunter: World (2018)

A phenomenon in Japan ever since Monster Hunter debuted on the PlayStation 2 in the mid-Noughties, Capcom’s action role-playing franchise long struggled to make anything like the same impact within western markets. That all changed in 2018 with the release of the stunning fifth title in the (main) series. Knowing that World was likely to be the first Monster Hunter game many in the west would play, Capcom succeeded in not sacrificing the series’ core formula while also opening it up to new players. The result was a cool 14.9 million units shifted. No title had ever sold more than 4.9 million before.

(Sony Interactive Entertainment)

13. Shadow of the Colossus (2018)

Released in 2005 on the PlayStation 2 (is anyone feeling mild deja vu?), Shadow of the Colossus is widely considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time. Its story is deeply emotional. Its visuals are beautiful in their minimalism. It possesses a stirring soundtrack that knows when to be quiet and when to soar. Oh, and hulking great monsters roam throughout it. This would be a winning combination at any juncture, and yet the addition of redux graphics and a more intuitive control system sees the games remaster make this list two whole system cycles after Shadow debuted.

(Sony Interactive Entertainment)

12. Marvel’s Spider-man (2018)

Much like no game had succeeded in capturing the essence of Batman before Rocksteady’s Arkham series (that being “hiding in the dark and beating terrified bad dudes up”), prior to Insomniac’s Spider-Man title everyone’s favourite webhead hadn’t enjoyed much success when it came to video games. All players wanted was an open-world New York to swing around and solve crimes within. Maybe the title’s most iconic characters to scrap with. In 2018, we got all that and more.


11. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (2018)

As good as 2017’s Assasin’s Creed Origins was (and it was, surprisingly so) Ubisoft’s veteran stealth series was starting to feel in need of a fresh coat of paint. And then came Odyssey, a game so big, it’s unlikely that anyone other than the most devoted/deluded of players will see all of it. It not only introduced genuinely satisfying RPG elements to the series but also gave us Kassandra, one of the coolest characters games have ever seen (NB: you could also play as Georgios Samaras-lookalike Alexios. Nobody did. Sorry Alexios).


10. Persona 5 (2016)

Atlus’s role-playing game is one of the finest examples of the genre any console has ever seen, and yet it’s more than that; the game features elements of the dungeon-crawling genre, of social simulation scenarios, while sometimes it feels like you’re controlling the narrative of an actual anime. At the heart of it all is a point being made about freedom and the rigid nature of modern society. Which sounds boring. It’s really, really not.

(Remedy Entertainment)

9. Control (2019)

The plot of Remedy’s Control concerns itself with the Federal Bureau of Control, a secret US government agency tasked with containing and studying paranormal phenomena. As you might imagine, what follows is a somewhat trippy experience – for fans of Remedy’s previous titles Alan Wake (2010) and Quantum Break (2016), that will come as no surprise. It’s also a game that makes the most of the relatively new innovation of ray tracing. Make no mistake, Control looks beautiful. The best news is it plays as good as it looks.


8. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)

Hideo Kojima’s final work before flying the Konami nest was one of his very best. The ninth instalment in the classic stealth series to be directed, written and designed by him offered a new lick; largely open-ended missions, meaning they could be approached in no set way. This new sense of freedom breathed new life into a series now 33 years old. Sure, a host of inconsistencies with the plot (as well as evidence of removed content) spoke a lot to the reported tensions between the outgoing Kojima and his former home, Konami. But even unfinished, MGS5 is a classic of the stealth genre.

(Sony Interactive Entertainment)

7. Horizon Zero Dawn (2017)

Much of the PS4’s success can be attributed to the incredible array of exclusives offered to users. One such game was this action-oriented RPG brought into the world by Guerrilla Games. Within a union of combat and exploration, you play the hunter Aloy (whom you might recognise as Life Is Strange’s Chloe Price). Aloy must navigate a post-apocalyptic world overrun by robotic dinosaurs… wait, this game has robot dinosaurs in it? Why didn’t you say?! Take my money!

(Sony Interactive Entertainment)

6. God of War (2018)

The last decade saw another beloved, but ailing franchise being given a bolt in the arm, this time by relocating the Spartan Kratos to ancient Scandinavia, giving him a son, a dead wife, a whole load of muted feelings and putting an adventure ahead of him stuffed with Norse mythology. Pitting screen-splattering hyper-violence with a sort of gruff-parent simulator, God Of War was to the series what the film Logan was to the X-Men. All together now: “Atreus, go to your room…”

(Sony Computer Entertainment)

5. Bloodborne (2015)

One day, video games genius Hidetaka Miyazaki woke up and thought, “You know those Dark Souls games I created? The ones that have had millions of players tearing their hair out at the sheer difficulty of the wretched things? Yeah, I don’t think they’re hard enough. Or unsettling enough. Or as frightening as they should be...” And lo, on that day, Miyazaki began work on Bloodborne, a Dark Souls game in all but name. During the game, you – a “Hunter” – must defeat hordes of fantastical creatures in your quest to rid the world of plague. And yet, the real star of the show is the mythical city of Yarnham, where the game is set; think Victorian London at its most gothic, only dragged through the depths of hell.

(Rockstar Games)

4. Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

These days, it seems like Rockstar have retired from making new video games, preferring to while away their time swimming in the vast profits made by Grand Theft Auto V online. We jest, of course, but whether that transpires to be true in any way is something only time will tell; company co-founder Dan Houser, the man responsible for writing the GTA titles, recently walked away from the company. Still, he went out on a high, with GTA V being the best game he’d ever put his name to. At the time of the game’s release, you could have made a claim for it being the best video game ever made, too – certainly based on the criteria of look, feel, design, etc. That claim doesn’t ring as true seven years on, but GTA V remains an absolute marvel.

(Naughty Dog)

3. The Last of Us Remastered (2014)

Released in 2013, Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic adopted daughter and reluctant father drama The Last of Us was the best game of the PS3 era – so what’s it doing in this list? Well, a year later, the Santa Monica developer took the game, spruced it up, added the DLC Left Behind (which repositions the viewpoint of the story from a male to female perspective – something the forthcoming The Last of Us II will further) and created the definitive package of the game. If only they could have found a way to make our DualShock tear proof too…

(CD Projekt)

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)

Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher series created a universe of moral ambiguity, dark fantasy and incredible world-building detail that fans have dwelled within for decades. And so, when the opportunity for fans to explore that world for themselves presented itself via studio CD Projekt’s licence to adapt Sapkowski’s stories for a video-game audience, fans were understandably excited… and cautious. Of the latter, they shouldn’t have worried. All the games in the series are worth a look, but chapter three is a colossus of an RPG.

(Rockstar Games)

1. Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018)

What can be said about the third title in Rockstar’s epic Western series that hasn’t already been expressed via the many, many Game of the Year write-ups that followed RDR2’s release? Well, how about this; two years on from release, after finishing the game numerous times and witnessing different outcomes, we’re still having new experiences with Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang. Red Dead Redemption 2 is not only the most magical game that runs on the PS4 – it’s also proof that actual magic exists…

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