You'll be thankful for every minute you spend in the beautiful, full, and surprisingly chill world of Ghost of Tsushima. Sucker Punch's latest takes an Assassin's Creed-style Japan, adds a Red Dead Redemption 2-sized world, and blends in an entire library's worth of Akira Kurosawa movies to create this tribute to the Japanese culture is so clearly reveres. This is a fantastic swan song for the PS4.
The latest game to join this exclusive club, Detroit: Become Human is a tour de force of storytelling. It follows the story of three Androids, who all break their programming to become 'free' in the year 2038. As well as looking insanely pretty, this game does some interesting things with player choice - not only do you genuinely feel in control of the destiny of each character, but you're also made aware of the different story paths you could have taken at the end of each level. It's light on action, but heavy on talking, but that's the point here. Once you invest in the various characters, and their struggles, you'll be hooked... and you'll genuinely fret over some of the game's tougher moral choices.
Playing Persona 5 borders on overstimulation due to its sheer sense of style, where everything from the colorful visuals and snazzy soundtrack to the vibrant menus and peppy voice acting is vying for your rapt attention. This accessible-yet-deep JRPG is like a playable anime, following a group of Japanese high schoolers who become empowered as the Phantom Thieves, bettering society by stealing the coveted items corrupting the hearts of delusional adults. Whether you're infiltrating the psychological palaces of your chosen target or simply hanging out and building friendships via a wide variety of after-school activities, Persona 5 offers over 100 hours of joy to anyone with even the slightest affinity for JRPG adventures. And yes, you can technically play it on PS3 - but then you'd be missing out on that sweet, sweet 1080p resolution.
Fumito Ueda's games are renowned for the way they stir the player's emotions and sense of wonderment, and after years of waiting and wondering if it would ever see the light of day, The Last Guardian lives up to the same high standard as Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. You play as a young boy marooned among ancient ruins, befriending a humongous bird/dog hybrid named Trico as the two of you make your way towards freedom. Trico's unique, at times disobedient, AI makes him feel like a truly living creature you need to coax and cooperate with in order to solve a variety of third-person puzzles, creating a bond between player and animal that's not unlike the companionship of a real-world pet.
Like all the greatest action movies, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End knows when to balance explosive set-pieces and riveting car chases with quieter moments of human drama and warmth. Nathan Drake's still a lovable modern-day Indiana Jones, hunting for treasure and evading armed goons with panache, but watching him interact with his loved ones - Elena, Sully, and even his newly introduced brother Sam, all brought to life via fantastic mocapped performances - is more rewarding than the discovery of any ancient secret. Uncharted 4 is a fitting end for Nathan's story, and playing it feels like completing the satisfying final chapter in a beloved adventure book that's made an indelible mark on your heart.
The night is dark and full of terrors, the majority of which will mercilessly kill you in seconds if you're not careful. But that's a risk you'll just have to take to explore and experience Bloodborne's gorgeous gothic city of Yharnam, the setting for From Software's brilliant spin-off that experiments with the studio's own Dark Souls designs. This elegant third-person action RPG opts for a quicker pace of play compared to classic Souls without devaluing the need for constant caution and alertness, lest you fall prey to a diverse range of horrific monsters lurking through the Victorian-era environments. The dual forms of each melee weapon, mixed with the careful timing of pistol-enabled parries, gives you even more room to express your preferred fighting style as you claw your way from one memorable boss encounter or picturesque vista to the next, guided (or hostilely invaded) by the ghosts of other players.
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Easily the best superhero game of recent years, Spider-Man is an absolute storming exclusive for PS4. It looks incredible, is stuffed full of things to see and do, and it feels glorious to play. From the moment you take your first swing around NYC, to the later stages when you're mixing together movement, combat, and powers this is an absolute delight to just sit and play. The story is gripping, funny, and genuinely surprising in places, and the presentation is slick as hell. It very much captures the spirit of both the comics and the new Marvel versions of Spidey. If you're looking for something brand new, which will wow your friends and keep you playing for weeks and weeks... this is the one for you.
We've seen far too many desolate, lifeless, post-apocalyptic wastelands in games, to the point where they've become as dreary as the crumbling world they portray. But Horizon Zero Dawn dares to push far, far beyond the fall of modern society to give us a glimpse at a new chapter for humanity, where primitive tribes have slowly begun to rebuild among unique species of sentient, robotic wildlife that roam and own the now-verdant ruins of metropolitan areas. You explore Horizon's expansive, enchanting open world as Aloy, an instantly likeable lead who's a capable and courageous hunter in this far-future frontier. Establishing diplomatic relations with other human tribes, exploring the breathtaking environment (and capturing Kodak moments with the delightful photo mode), hunting down every last secret tucked away in the sprawling landscape, trying to bag yourself a massive dino-like Thunderjaw - whatever you set out to do in Horizon Zero Dawn, it's going to be incredible.
Yes, it's that good. The latest God of War, which essentially reboots the franchise and takes it to a whole new setting, is the best game you can play on PS4. And that's something we may well be saying until PS5 inevitably rolls out. Ditching the linear action structure of the originals, this outing lets you explore a fully realised, utterly beautiful Norse world, picking fights and solving puzzles as you go. The story is both well written and well paced, with Kratos far more than a one-dimensional murder-machine now. Enemies are well constructed too, and the combat is just as fluid and thrilling as it always was. There are heaps of things to discover, and each new area is more jaw-dropping and feature-packed than the next. Only Horizon comes close to showing the power and versatility of the PlayStation in the same way, making God of War an essential purchase for anyone with a Dualshock in their hands and a hankering for a fresh experience.
Naughty Dog has closed out the PS4 generation with its most ambitious game to date. Not only does this exclusive justify its existence as the sequel none of us thought we needed, but it's an outstanding achievement in its own right. Visually astonishing, absurdly ambitious, and utterly epic in scale, The Last of Us Part 2 is a game that will be a part of you for many, many years to come.
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