Microsoft may have owned the console market during the seventh generation, but Sony returned with a vengeance once the next evolution of in-home gaming machines was released back in 2013. The Xbox 360 may have flaunted awesome first and second-party franchises like Gears of War and Halo, but they did little to stem the absolute avalanche of epic exclusives the PS4 had lined up.
From artsy indies like Alone With You and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture to triple-A blockbusters like Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and The Last of Us Remastered, Sony’s console has yet to stop hosting amazing experiences that can’t be played anywhere else.
10 Ratchet & Clank
2016’s PlayStation exclusive Ratchet & Clank is a quintessential action platformer in a generation nearly devoid of notable titles in that genre. It feels like a manifestation of everything the series has been striving for since it first debuted on the PS2 back in 2002.
The visuals are absolutely eye-catching and perfectly represent that cartoonish, stylized vibe for which the Ratchet games have always been known, and the gameplay is as rewarding as it is fluid. Though the series was at one point thought to have been a casualty of the hyper-maturation of the industry, it came back with a title which redefined what gaming can be in the modern era.
Some PlayStation fans will remember Super Stardust HD, a unique twin stick shooter which was offered to all PSN subscribers for free following Sony’s infamous personal information leak back in 2011. It was definitely a fun little distraction at the time, and Resogun feels like a spiritual successor to that title.
Skilled players will no doubt be familiar with the game’s fast, frantic gameplay, and its detailed backgrounds and eye-popping particle effects helped to attract players when it debuted in November of 2013. A launch title for Sony’s fourth iteration of the PlayStation brand, Resogun’s engaging arcade format has kept players attached to their PS4s since the very beginning of the console’s lifespan.
8 Horizon Zero Dawn
Quirky name aside, Horizon Zero Dawn was a welcome surprise for PS4 owners when it dropped back in February of 2017. Developed by Guerilla Games, the studio behind the Killzone titles on both the PS3 and its successor, some were skeptical about the game’s quality pre-release because of the somewhat underwhelming state of Killzone: Shadow Fall, the developer’s previous release.
That said, Horizon went on to be an award-winning success which was often tossed around in Game of the Year conversations during its release year. It takes the standard sandbox formula which has become so popular among developers and builds upon it to create one of the most fleshed-out free roam games of this generation.
7 Tearaway Unfolded
Released in 2013, Tearaway was a PlayStation Vita exclusive developed by Little Big Planet makers Media Molecule released with the intent of showcasing just how innovative Sony's handheld could be in terms of control. Though it was a hugely enjoyable and ultra-cute experience, it failed to capture the attention of most gamers because it was held hostage by a console which few people actually owned.
Fortunately, in 2015, and expanded version titled Tearaway Unfolded was released on the PS4 to critical acclaim. It’s an inventive title with a distinct Media Molecule feel, and PlayStation fans who haven’t yet played it owe it to themselves to pick up a copy.
6 Persona 5
One of the most captivating JRPGs of all time, Persona 5 is one part Japanese School Life, one part Final Fantasy XV, and one part Psychonauts. That may sound like an utterly bizarre mishmash, and that’s because it totally is. Yet, Persona 5 is so engaging and dripping with personality that even anti-JRPG stalwarts are bound to have an affinity for it.
Though seeing it through to the finish requires some serious dedication and an inordinate amount of free time, the experience is so varied that it very rarely feels stare or tired. This really is one for the record books, and it’s only available on the PlayStation 4.
5 The Last of Us Remastered
Initially released on the PlayStation 3 at the tail-end of the console’s lifespan, Sony affiliate Naughty Dog ported the critically lauded title to the PlayStation 4 in July of 2014. A gripping, emotionally crushing narrative woven around the fabric of a post-apocalyptic American road trip, it’s the sort of heartrendingly awesome narrative that makes films like Schindler’s List so compelling.
With a highly anticipated sequel slated for release at some point in 2019, now is the perfect time to experience what was one of the defining video game experiences of its release year.
As we’re all no doubt aware, games based on popular movie licenses are very rarely anything other than total dreck. However, though that practice has by-and-large gone by the wayside, there were a handful of worthwhile movie-based titles released over the years, Spider-Man 2 on the PS2 being one of them.
Though it isn’t directly tied to any one movie, Insomniac’s 2018 superhero epic Spider-Man was the best game to be based on Marvel’s famous wall-crawler since the aforementioned PlayStation 2 title dropped back in 2004. Never before had the experience of being Spider-Man been so fully realized, and here’s hoping it won’t be the last.
3 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
While Sony partners Naughty Dog tend to move on to a new IP with the introduction of a new console generation, such was not the case with their Uncharted PS3 trilogy. In 2016, the Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter devs released a follow up to November 2011’s Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
Subtitled A Thief's End, Uncharted 4 was a cinematic masterpiece that truly utilized all of the new console’s capabilities. While so many FMV-laden games from the’90s tried desperately to make the user feel like they were playing a movie, the final Uncharted installment absolutely succeeds in pulling that off.
Developed by Dark Souls creators From Software, 2015’s Bloodborne was less of a spiritual successor to their previous franchise and more of a direct spinoff with no coinciding elements of lore. Famous for its indescribably punishing gameplay and ruthless, far-past-unforgiving checkpoint and item management systems, Bloodborne is the sort of game publishers like EA and Activision want to pretend that nobody likes anymore.
The fun of this horrific, Lovecraft-inspired adventure is in the feeling of accomplishment brought by making it that extra bit further with each attempt. Death is all but inevitable in Yarnham, but competent players will grow to be transfixed should they manage to persevere.
1 God of War
Every PlayStation 4 owner knew that this was coming; released in 2018, SIE Santa Monica Studios' God of War was the perfect next step in a series which many fans thought couldn’t possibly be continued. Though the series first got its start on the PlayStation 2, it grew to widespread appeal with the release of God of War 3 on the PS3 and has now captured the hearts of Sony fans the world over.
Not quite a reboot, yet not exactly a full-on sequel, God of War weaves a surprisingly cunning tapestry which will keep players intrigued throughout the game’s twenty-odd hour campaign of brutality.