DualShockers ranks the Top 10 essential games for every PS4 owner in our DualShockers Definitive series — did your favorite make the cut?
Welcome to the first official DualShockers Definitives list! This week has been a hard one for DualShockers staff, thanks to much arguing and nit-picking over which games in the amazing PS4 library make the Top 10.
If you missed the original post, here is a quick TLDR on what this is all about:
The DualShockers Definitives series is a living list, updated annually, where we hash out which ten essential games are must-buys for each platform — the ones we would put in a time capsule today if we were making one. The list is intended to grow over time as new releases take the spotlight or older games age like fine wine.
With all of the introduction out of the way, here are the Top 10 Essential games for the PS4 (as of Fall 2020):
Yoko Taro’s NieR: Automata is an exceptional title, with Platinum Games creating a masterclass work with both exceptional story, a memorable cast of characters, and tight hack-and-slash gameplay to tie everything together. Even if you are a newcomer to the NieR universe, you will without a doubt be pulled in by the game’s soundtrack, visuals, and the multiple endings that create an emotional roller-coaster.
While not being a PS4 exclusive title, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt set the bar early this generation on what Western RPGs should be. Filled to the brim with gameplay, story, and heart, it isn’t out of the question to spend over a hundred hours in the Continent. However, the game is still unsurpassed by RPGs that have come after it, mainly thanks to CD Projekt Red’s dedication to world-building, fleshed-out side stories, and open-world game design.
Red Dead Redemption 2 may have been divisive for some when it released in 2018, but what can’t be denied is just how impressive the game is in nearly every way. Rockstar created a world in RDR2 that felt more lived-in and real than perhaps any other video game in history. While it has a slower pace at times, that more methodical approach has allowed it to become one of the more unique titles in the PS4 generation. This is one world and story that are more than worth your time to get lost within. Outlaws to the end.
While The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt may take top honors for the best Western RPG this generation, developer Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn is a must-play experience on the PS4. Pairing the novel futuristic, pre-historic setting along with fantastic characters like Aloy bolsters a title that already leads the fray when it comes to impeccable visuals and addictive and satisfying gameplay. Like other games on this list, Horizon Zero Dawn is a technical powerhouse and an essential pick-up for the PS4.
There are few projects more ambitious or more anticipated than Final Fantasy VII Remake — and it’s even more surprising that Square Enix was able to meet (if not beat) expectations. Even more important, there is something about this game that feels so uniquely central to the PlayStation identity, it is easily a must play for anyone making a jump to PS4 or PS5.
There is something magical about Bloodborne — sure, Souls-like games have become a trend this generation with many excellent copycats coming from developers that aren’t from Software. However, Bloodborne hits a rare nerve, offering both thoughtful gameplay, novel environmental storytelling, and chilling scenery that is unlike anything else on PS4. Sure, a Souls-like game may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Bloodborne is a title you need to play, regardless. As far as the subgenre goes, it’s very likely the best of the bunch.
You heard it here — the latest PS4 exclusive is one of our chart-topping must-buy games on the PS4. Marvel’s Spider-Man already has a ton of huge names behind it: Sony, Marvel, Disney, and Insomniac Games. Thankfully, the super-powered team has managed to craft a masterpiece title that sets a benchmark for not only super-hero games, but open-world titles as a whole. Whether or not you consider yourself a Spidey fan, Marvel’s Spider-Man is an essential pick-up on the PS4.
No Top 10 PS4 list would ever be complete without mentioning Persona 5 — arguably the best Persona game in an amazing franchise. Whether you are a series veteran or this is your first time hearing of the Velvet Room, everything about Persona 5 oozes style, finesse, and charm in a way unmatchable by most JRPGs. Whether you are living out your life as a Japanese high schooler or fighting to steal the hearts of monsters, you are going to love this 100-hour story.
The Last of Us franchise has become something of a swansong for PlayStation generations, with The Last of Us: Part II capping off an excellent few years with the PS4. Despite some controversy that stirred among select audiences, it’s hard to see this adventure as anything less than another feather in the Sony narrative camp. Naughty Dog continues to be unmatched in much of their skill and character development, and it shows.
Last but not least, the DualShockers staff near-unanimously thought that God of War is the top game to grab on the PS4. Sure, both Sony Santa Monica and the series itself has a strong lineage to draw from. But more important than that, Kratos’ new adventure is both a revolution and improvement of the God of War franchise, inserting both emotional depth and combat nuance in a beautiful Nordic backdrop. God of War is far from the longest game on the list with a nearly 20-hour story; however, you will be mesmerized through your entire time with Kratos and Atreus.
As it stands, that is our current DualShockers Definitives ranking of the Top 10 games for PS4; for an extended rankings chart, make sure to check out our dedicated page.
Changes to the List
November 4, 2020: Both DOOM (17th) and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (13th) fall out of the Top 10 list, and onto the Extended list. The Last of Us: Part II (2nd) and Final Fantasy VII Remake (6th) are new additions to the list.
Bloodborne moves down the list to 5th (from 2nd); Marvel’s Spider-Man moves down the list to 4th (from 3rd); Red Dead Redemption 2 moves down the list to 8th (from 5th); The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt moves down the list to 9th (from 6th); NieR: Automata moves down the list to 10th (from 7th).
Horizon: Zero Dawn has moved up the list to 7th (from 8th); Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal have collectively moved up the list to 3rd (from 5th).
November 1, 2019: Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age fell out of the top 10 and Red Dead Redemption 2 joined the list at number five.
Bloodborne moved up from fifth to second; Marvel’s Spider-Man fell from second to third; Persona 5 went from third to fourth; Uncharted 4 went from fourth to tenth; Horizon: Zero Dawn fell from sixth to eighth; NieR: Automata moved up from ninth to seventh; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt moved up from seventh to sixth; DOOM moved back from eighth to ninth.