In Memoriam: The Weirdest, Worst, and Best PS4 Games
It's sad to accept, but the age of the PlayStation 4 is coming to a close. Sony has decided that, whether or not you've managed to catch a PS5 before they all fell in the hands of devious scalpers. Luckily, the PS4 still boasts a library that you might still want to experience before you finally join the several dozens of players who've secured a PS5 in the year since its release. We picked out 20 masterful titles from that library … as well as five shitty ones.
Best Overlooked Games
Honorable mentions: Gravity Rush 2, Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments
A Way Out
How many people out there can honestly say they never wished they could share a prison cell with a good friend? Most of you?! Ok, good, because A Way Out is actually about escaping prison. What's great about it is that while there are many cooperative games out there, most go for a more casual fun experience, whereas A Way Out focuses on a tight narrative that can only be beaten by a strong bond between two people – literally, you can only play it in co-op mode.
From the people who made A Way Out, you can also check out the more critically acclaimed and commercially successful It Takes Two, which is about more or less the same thing minus the prison. If you're not interested in either of those, you should at least watch the creator of both games giving the most passionate speech in the history of video game awards.
… and good luck not wanting to play his games now.
Any game made to bank on a big film license is probably goin to suck. Mad Max doesn't, and that's quite a feat on its own. In fact, it'd be seen as a masterpiece if the game that inspired it was any less than Mad Max: Fury Road – say, if had been a tie-in to something like Mad Max 3.
The game was made by the team behind the bonkers fun Just Cause series, so it's no surprise that the gameplay is on point, but what's surprising is the game's neat grasp on what makes the source material resonate with fans. The team was so confident that even though it takes place in the same world as the film, the game does its own thing instead of just lazily replicating the film's story beats.
The sequel to EA's awesome Titanfall got sandwiched between competing juggernaut Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare, as well as EA's own Battlefield 1. This case of self-sabotage or at least accidental suicide left Titanfall 2 remembered only by a select few who are lucky enough to have played what is by far the best out of the three titles.
Titanfall 2 not only introduced various mechanics that reinvigorated the by-then stale state of FPS games, but it also paved the way to the massively successful Apex Legends. Oh, and did we mention it also features one hell of a single-player campaign that won't feel like just the usual military playbook because it takes place in its own fully realized and unique sci-fi world? Hell yeah, the campaign is so good, it's totally capable of kicking Half-Life, Half-Life 2, or even Daikatana off the ultimate FPS podium.
Remember all the fun you had growing up with ultra-fun 2-D sidescrollers like Super Mario 3 and Sonic The Hedgehog? Well, now you can have the adult version of those with Inside, which replaces the fun with an ever-present sense of dread, and the happily scrolling right part with still scrolling right, sure, but while also constantly descending, in an honest reminder that things will never stop getting bleaker. Despite featuring a silent main character in a mute world, Playdead's superior follow-up to the already great Limbo still manages to tell a story that your brain probably won't get, but your heart will (get traumatized by).
Inside wasn't unsuccessful or unfairly maligned by critics – certainly not, but for the masterpiece that it is, it certainly should have influenced more 2-D sidescrollers coming out these days.
The Last Guardian
The making of The Last Guardian featured as many obstacles as the game itself. Originally meant to be a PS3 title, it went comatose and then only resurfaced years later on the PS4. While it looked just great, fans were afraid it was but a PS3 game sold with a brand-new coat of paint. They were proven mostly right, actually, but that's more of a problem when you're talking about an average team, less so when you're talking about the visionaries who made ICO and Shadow Of The Colossus. While arguably not as good as its predecessors, Guardian still features a good campaign that's either destroyed or elevated by Trico, the game's most divisive character/feature.
Trico is an AI partner made unique by the deliberate unpredictability of his actions. He loves the main character but won't blindly follow his every command. It's just like an online cooperative game with a partner who won't randomly spout hateful bullshit – at least we assume, as we don't understand anything Trico says.
Best AAA Games
Honorable mentions: Horizon: Zero Dawn, Persona 5, Uncharted 4
Back in 2009, Demon's Souls threw away the most important convention of the action genre – mindlessly relentless action – replacing it with the need to count your stamina, to shield yourself, or to at least dodge enemy attacks. In no time, the mechanic went from quirky and complicated to the dominating genre convention. Then, in 2015, Bloodborne dared to kick it up a notch once again by giving players a gun, and telling them that that was their shield now. Gone was playing safe. Now players had to move their asses away from enemy attacks or shoot them in a way that would stagger them mid-attack to create a slashable opening. For a reasonably hard game that requires a bit of strategy, Bloodborne still managed to feel every bit like an action title, in a way that retroactively makes most other action-oriented titles feel lacking.
Before Batman's Arkham series came along, Spider-Man was the only superhero legally allowed to have really good video game adaptations. In 2019, the people from Insomniac games set out to spitefully (we assume) put the bat back in his cave and came up with Spider-Man PS4 (not the actual name, but that's what everyone calls it, and this is the PS4 list, so deal with it). The result is such a blast that even its flaws are fun.
We knew Nier Automata had to be on this list, we just didn't know exactly where to put it. Don't get us wrong – that's a testament to its quality. It's incredibly rare to find something so bizarre and complex getting such AAA treatment. Nier Automata is a total slam dunk that manages to feature combat worthy of the best entries in the Devil May Cry series, with a story that no game in the Devil May Cry series is worthy of.
It's also just gorgeous to look at …
Not bad for a game that nearly got canceled because its director didn't want to wake up early.
God Of War
This is the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful title on the ps4, so we're probably preaching to the choir here, but this is arguably the most successful reimagining of a game series to date. All Sony Santa Monica had to do (on top of probably working their asses off) was to take a page out of the Last Of Us book and replace the tale of a man on a quest to evict Mythological Greece of human life with a father and son adventure – about murdering all of Norse Mythology.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
You've probably heard high praise and even higher frustration coming out of people who've played Sekiro. The game's most interesting aspect is its successful blend of elements from the Souls games and the elements of Tenchu, the pre-MGS stealth title that put the company on the map for PlayStation users. Sekiro is a surprisingly successful mesh of old and new, as well as a testament to resilience of such magnitude that it sparked important debates on whether challenging games should feature lower difficulty settings or cheats.
We're fine with either side of that debate. Just don't take away the possibility of tricking bosses into committing suicide.
Best Bizarre Games
Weird mentions - Goat Simulator, Guts and Glory, Death Stranding
The small game that could. Undertale came out of the hands of just one man to become one of the most innovative and popular games of all time.
Don't let its cutesy look throw you off, it can get as dark as you want it to – something you probably should be more worried than happy about, as it reinvented the concept of narrative through a metagame that won't let you wash the blood off your hands if you turn bad. Are we sounding too cryptic? We sure are, but we just don't want to spoil it for you because it is that good.
Even with all that's great about Undertale, its greatest achievement is probably turning both the Papyrus and Comic Sans fonts into something you'll somehow remember fondly forever after
While not a full game, the playable teaser for the now-canceled new title in the Silent Hill series turned out to be the most memorable and popular horror experience on the system – or on any system, for that matter.
The demo tasked players with uncovering the dark mysteries lurking in an ever-looping corridor before losing their minds. It's pointless to try to convey how eerie it is through words. Or even through video, but here it goes:
The seemingly simple corridor where the entire adventure takes place was more than enough to launch years of gaming discourse over how to really complete the game. It took over 5 years for players to find out that the only way to actually finish it was to literally talk – or scream – at the game. The developers knew that was more than enough to satisfy anyone's desire for unrelenting terror, so they didn't even bother revealing to players that they're constantly getting followed closely by a murderous ghost.
P.T. is now an elusive artifact of the past that you can no longer reach through natural means, a sad result of bad management that resulted in rendering the entire thing even creepier.
Gone Home was a unique title at the time of release, but the most bizarre thing about it is the ruckus it caused by “not actually being a game” – which it totally is. A game is anything you can dare to win or lose, and you're sure as hell to be on the losing side if you're to pass up on this one. Gone Home spearheaded a whole genre of games that dared to put an emphasis on storytelling and exploration rather than on trying to pull out sweet 360 no-scopes, which was apparently a bad thing. This probably wouldn't have happened at any other point in time, but it originally came out in late 2013 for the PC, a perfect target for Gamergate, the shitsunami disguised as culture crusade. Gone Home's success caused many other incredible titles such as Firewatch and The Stanley Parable to be derided as “walking simulators” by people who call themselves true gamers.
Pretty sure that's the only reason Gone Home got crap, and not because of its fully realized and endearing LGBTQ characters.
The Talos Principle
Back in the early '00s, small Croatian developer Croteam took the gaming world by storm by creating Serious Sam: The First Encounter, a game whose premise was pretty much “Duke Nukem but dumb instead of stupid.” It spawned a successful series whose arena-based gameplay would end up inspiring the DOOM reboot from 2016, so most players probably thought the dev team would stick to that. Instead, the people responsible for this …
… came out with The Talos Principle:
… an ultra-smart puzzler that also doubles as a deeply (serious) philosophical experience. And if our selling of it as Portal-but-serious doesn't hit the right notes, let us assure you that there's still plenty of actual fun to be had with it.
Do you feel you'd fare better at dating if you were to feel more confident? Then what better way to improve on that than a dating simulator that replaces hot contenders with weird-ass birds? That's Hatoful Boyfriend, the dating sim where you get to be a human being who hits on birds. The best part is that this sounds pretty weird as is (we hope), but that's not even where things start to get like real weird. You see, Hatoful Boyfriend also does players the service of showing them the dangers of dating birds, and does so by having them interact with a bird that will feed the main character dead birds, then murder her as well.
Best Bad Games (so bad you can't miss 'em)
Dubious mentions - Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, Dying: Reborn
When you take a look at the titular Knack from Knack, you'll get the distinct feeling that someone designed it in the hopes of having it become PlayStation's new mascot, taking the mantle that once belonged to Rabid Marsupial from the Crash Bandicoot series, Bag kid from Little Big Planet, and Dude Raider from the Uncharted Series. When you play the game, however, you'll easily understand why Sony nixed those plans.
On top of simply not being a very fun platformer, Knack had an even bigger problem. While it was meant to showcase the PS4's sweet new processing capabilities via awesome new particle effects, the game's framerate stumbled at every step of the way. To put things into perspective, imagine Sega coming up with a Sonic game that was anything other than excellent. Oh, wait, that's exactly what Sega did.
Life Of Black Tiger
Ever played a game whose graphics don't seem on par with the tech it's running on? Well, Life Of Black Tiger would have looked bad even by PS2 standards.
And while there are as many bad-looking games out there as ones that play like crap, this one actually got promoted on the official PS4 channel, causing an internet-wide gasp. Despite the confusion and outrage, Sony never took the video down.
No words, real or made up, can describe the gall of the people behind what you're about to watch.
Maybe the real black tiger is the resilience Sony made along the way
The Quiet Man
This title feels like the polar opposite of Life of Black Tiger. Don't get us wrong, the spectrum in question is one of end-to-end awfulness that we've just made up, but whereas Life of Black Tiger feels like it was made by a team of babies or actual tigers, The Quiet Man seems like it was made by a team specialized in bringing the worst possible experience to near-playability. In this messterpiece, we enter the shoes of Dane, the titular quiet man, as the game makes use of the PS4's mighty hardware to make us watch baffling story cutscenes which are then interrupted by fights where we finally get to play.
But enough trash-talking this game -- by which we mean we'll honor its quiet nature by further trashing it via imagery
Back in the early '00s, Silent Hill 2 revolutionized horror storytelling by immersing players so deeply in the main character's all-consuming guilt that it made the supposedly scariest of towns seem pretty cozy in comparison. Good times. Well, Agony awkwardly tries to retread that ground and ends up making its setting, literal hell, feel quite nice after you notice the game is actually all about dehumanizing women.
We can't really show you many images of the game because it's mostly either bad or straight-up hell-porn, but if you want further proof of how weirdly dedicated to a dumb cause the devs got, just notice how the "O" in the originally intended logo …
… got turned into a goddamn vagina dentata
Huh, how the hell did the biggest game of all time end up here? This was probably on the “actual best” part of this article, but the idiot who conjured this list didn't admit to his mistake, so we're just gonna have you swallow it -- y'know, just like Cyberpunk 2077's devs did to the PS4 owners who bought the game.
From the get-go, Cyberpunk2077 was an extremely ambitious endeavor, something we both respected and even needed from CD Projekt Red – they couldn't slow down after the incredible The Witcher 3. But one thing is ambition, another is overdosing on hubris – and dishonesty. The game was always just too much for the PS4 to handle, and the result was a megacity populated by more glitches than people. Yes, really. Don't take it from us, take it from the people at Sony who first straight-up pulled the game from its digital store over a dispute with the publisher over refunds, then reinstated it but advised players to avoid it on the system.
One thing we can't deny, however, is the amount of laughter the people who didn't waste $60 on the game got out of it.
Best Franchise Games
Historic mentions: Metal Gear Solid V, Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age, Tekken 7
Resident Evil 2 remake
While we should thank the Resident Evil 7 developers for bringing the series back
to life in the limelight, it was the remake of the ‘98 classic that brought it back to the top. Not only is it a mostly spotless update of the classic, but it also perfectly addresses the complaints fans threw even at the most popular titles in the series. Even amongst die-hard Resident Evil fans, there are those who prefer the survival horror nature of the first games and those who prefer the more action-focused gameplay introduced by Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil 2 REmake masterfully does away with all the problems by having an updated gameplay style that’s closer to that of RE4, but without allowing players to either roundhouse or suplex the virus out of every enemy.
Red Dead Redemption 2
We were tempted to go with Grand Theft Auto V for this one, but this sort of high praise from a very serious gaming outlet may be why they're just re-releasing it once again for the PS5 instead of coming up with GTAVI, so we'll hold back.
In seriousness, Red Dead Redemption 2 deserves all the praise that it gets (unless that praise goes towards the not-so-cool working conditions forced upon some devs). We're talking about a game that could have been a safe hit from the get-go, but Rockstar went bolder. Players had been asking for it for a long time after the unexpectedly amazing first game in the series, and Rockstar was just living off of the success of GTAV, so they could have just gone with the same game plus cowboy hats. Instead, they came up with a deliberately slow-paced experience which allows players to pay attention to the smallest of details.
Or biggest, depending on the weather.
The Last Of Us Remastered
You got us, this serves as a dig at The Last Of Us Part 2, the sequel that somehow required the physical and psychological sacrifice of most people working on it, and still resulted in a messy product, but it's also a serious testament to the quality of the original. The original Last Of Us is a much better game that features a much tighter story as well as warmer character relations, and the PS4 is the best way to play it. Yeah, while it's not originally a PS4 title, it was too much for the PS3 hardware to handle smoothly, resulting in a framerate not befitting a AAA title. The PS4 grants Naughty Dog's emotional masterpiece all the processing power it needs, allowing for better graphics at a silky smooth 60 frames per second. It's a near-perfect experience for most, and a perfect one if you enjoy a few hilarious AI glitches.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
With the only one mainline title coming out on the PS3 being one so bad even its own devs admitted to its suckage, it's safe to say the series was at an all-time low during the PS3 era. Luckily, the PS4 more than made up for that.
Players had been obsessed with the idea of an actual remake of FFVII ever since ‘05 when Square Enix showcased how sexy Cloud from Final Fantasy VII would look like on PS3 hardware. Unfortunately, it was a tech demo that Square Enix had made to hype up the surprisingly disappointing capabilities of the PS3 without any intention of following up on it. And they didn't.
Just kidding. Though it took them 10 goddamn years to make it, and it's only the first chapter in who knows how many, the result is a technical marvel that does the original justice while also steering the story towards surprising new directions that we sure won't spoil here.
Dark Souls 3
We've lost track of how many Dark Souls 3 stories we've told, and of how much fun we've had just finding its weirdly hilarious gameplay aspects and glitches in the past. That alone should have earned it a place on this list. But Dark Souls isn't just about fun. Actually, it's not about fun at all. It's about getting players addicted to that chemical our brains produce when we get teased by the (maybe deceptive) chance of overcoming insurmountable odds. Good thing it also has that in spades. Despite being arguably the least “souls-y” title in the series, much due to the influence of From Software's more action-oriented Bloodborne, DS3 still manages to have an identity of its own all the while deserving its name by way of some of the most memorable boss fights in the series -- like that time you kill Shrek
Tiagosvn is on Twitter eagerly waiting to hear about that game he's dumb for not including.