Best PlayStation 4 exclusive games
A definitive guide to the PS4 games you won’t find elsewhere
Console wars were great fun in the 90s, but not so much in the modern era, when playground quarrels involve comparing teraflops and frame drops.
Stat-flinging will only get you so far until you realise that the only thing that matters is the games, and thankfully no matter what system you own there are a bunch of great titles available to you: not just multi-format ones, but exclusives you can’t get anywhere else.
Here’s our pick of the best games that are (at the time of writing) exclusive to the PS4.
FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series is often held up as the perfect example of how to make games that are extremely challenging but don’t put players off as a result.
Although Bloodborne isn’t technically part of the same series, FromSoftware has made sure it follows the same principles, meaning it’s essentially a Dark Souls spin-off in all but name.
It isn’t identical, mind you: it plays faster and has a new ‘Rally’ system, where you’re encouraged to have a more aggressive fighting style with the promise of regaining health if you pull it off. This gives its combat – especially during boss battles – more of a risk/reward structure, and it works fantastically.
God of War
It was a bold move for Sony’s Santa Monica Studio to change so much about the tried-and-tested God of War template for this 2018 sequel.
Out went the Greek mythology, the chained blades, the cinematic camera angles. In came Norse mythology, a big axe and a third-person viewpoint, along with the small matter of a young lad accompanying you on your quest.
And yet, all these changes made for something arguably even better than what had come before, particularly that young sprog – Kratos’ son – who gives the story a sense of feeling that previous games in the series had lacked.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
In a gaming landscape where new IPs are often ditched in favour of sequels and remasters, Horizon: Zero Dawn needed to do something pretty special to succeed. Thankfully, that’s exactly what it did.
Set in a post-apocalyptic 31st century where large robot animals wander the Earth and have suddenly started becoming hostile towards humans, the game follows a young hunter called Aloy as she tries to discover more about her past.
Its combat is nothing revolutionary but its incredible open world, engaging plot and brilliant acting (especially by Ashly Burch in the lead role of Aloy) mean its slightly underwhelming elements are more than made up for by its overwhelming ones.
Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far
As brilliant as Square Enix’s JRPG-meets-Disney series is, anyone who claims the story has been easy to follow to this point is nothing more than a stinking, no-good liar.
Thankfully, anyone looking to get up to speed before playing the most recently released Kingdom Hearts 3 will be more than catered for with this PS4-exclusive bundle containing both the sensibly named Kingdom Hearts 1.5+2.5 ReMIX and the similarly well-titled Kingdom Hearts 2.8 FINAL CHAPTER PROLOGUE.
(Extremely) long story short, it contains all nine chapters that led up to Kingdom Hearts 3, meaning you can play through them all and proudly declare that you too have no idea what the hell is going on.
The Last Guardian
Considering it took longer to develop than that lad in everybody’s class with the squeaky voice, there were many who wondered if The Last Guardian was ever going to see the light of day at all.
Eventually though, Team Ico’s last game – the studio was closed during its nine-year development and a new studio was formed – did indeed find its way onto PlayStation owners’ systems: albeit on the PS4 and not the PS3 it was originally planned for.
Although some elements make it clear that this was originally a last-gen game (like your adorable dog-like companion’s ropey AI), the overall experience is one that will stick with you long after the credits have rolled.
The Last Of Us Remastered
Widely considered to be one of the best games of last generation, The Last Of Us on PS3 combined jaw-dropping visuals with a storyline that was at times shocking and heartwarming.
This PS4 remaster improves the resolution, textures, shadows and lighting, while also reducing load times and making the combat controls a little tighter. It also includes Left Behind, the brilliant DLC side-story.
If you didn’t get the chance to play The Last Of Us during the last generation, there’s really no excuse not to play it now.
It could be argued that until recently, there hadn’t been a truly entertaining Spider-Man game since the PS2, Xbox and GameCube game based on the Spider-Man 2 movie.
It’s taken a full decade and half for that iconic title to be outdone, but that’s exactly what Insomniac Games managed to pull off with gusto.
Its swinging mechanic is the stuff of genius, making the process of swinging around Manhattan an immensely satisfying one, and the sheer number of extra bonuses – from the numerous alternative costumes to the superb photo mode – mean you’re likely to still be happily exploring its city long after the story is over.
Ratchet & Clank
HD remasters? Pah! Insomniac had no interest in such straightforward upscalery when bringing the original Ratchet & Clank game to the PS4.
Instead of taking the 2002 original and giving it a polish, Insomniac created a complete reimagining with an entirely new game engine: the results are phenomenal.
This is easily one of the best-looking platformers ever (especially on PS4 Pro), and considering its source material was a complete blast to play way back on PS2, it should come as no surprise that this version is just as entertaining.
Shadow Of The Colossus
Another PS4 take on a PS2 game, this modern rendition of Team Ico’s second game goes for an interesting middle ground that isn’t quite a simple HD remaster, but isn’t completely built from scratch either.
Instead, Bluepoint Games (who’d previously handled a PS3 HD port) took the original codebase from the PS2 version of Shadow of the Colossus and used it as the foundation for the gameplay, but then changed the controls to make them less clunky and drastically improved all the game’s textures.
The result is a game that retains that same momentous feeling of awe you get when encountering, climbing and conquering its series of giant bosses, but does so with a far less annoying control scheme and a level of visual detail never before seen in the PS2 and PS3 versions.
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
If we’d have written a list a couple of years ago called The 15 Biggest Let-Downs In Gaming, Street Fighter V would have been on that list.
Street Fighter V was supposed to be an enormous exclusive for the PS4 but when it launched even the most die-hard fan had to admit it simply felt unfinished. Although the general fighting engine was solid enough, the fact it only had 16 characters and barely any modes (especially if you were a solo gamer) drew harsh criticism from most who bought it.
However, since then Capcom’s continued to add new characters, modes and other features to the game to the extent that in its current Arcade Edition state, it finally feels like a more well-rounded fighting game package with 28 characters (plus another six via DLC), a proper single-player arcade mode and a story mode. Highly recommended for fighting fans.
There have been more Tetris games than there have been Fast & The Furious movies. That’s not a joke, it’s just true.
The point is, Tetris has been done so many times that it would take something truly impressive to bring something new to the table.
That something special is the influence of Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the man behind such musical gaming gems as Rez and Lumines. By introducing his brand of rhythm-based gameplay – where the action is timed to the beat of the music and each track evolves as you clear more lines – Tetris Effect immerses you into the game like no Tetris title before it.
When played in PlayStation VR it’s a zen-like experience, but the fact that it’s almost as compelling on a normal TV shows this isn’t a one-trick VR pony, but one of the best variations on Tetris ever created. The Fast Five of the series, if you will.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The Uncharted trilogy was praised by many as the definitive action-adventure anthology on the PS3 (and if you haven’t played them yet you can get the remastered versions on PS4).
Fans were obviously keen to see how a new Uncharted game would look on the next generation of PlayStation, and A Thief’s End doesn’t disappoint. It’s a visually jaw-dropping game, both in terms of environmental detail and the series’ trademark realistic character animation.
That’s not to say it plays exactly like its predecessors, mind you. Uncharted 4’s more open areas let you explore each stage more than you could before, and the introduction of vehicle sections is welcome. Then, of course, there’s THAT ending.
The idea of interactive movies is a horse Sony’s been trying to back for years: most notably with its commitment to publishing Quantic Dream exclusives like Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human.
It could be argued, though, that game that’s come closest wasn’t a Quantic Dreams production, but rather Supermassive Games’ brilliant slasher movie inspired Until Dawn, which offers a multitude of alternative story paths depending on the decisions you make.
The idea of giving players less control over their character and reducing the game to little more than a glorified Choose Your Own Adventure story may seem like a bad one in theory, but the result is the opposite. This is a game best played with friends.
WipEout Omega Collection
Futuristic racing series WipeOut has been synonymous with PlayStation ever since it launched alongside the original console back in 1995. It was many gamers’ first taste of PlayStation gaming and its use of techno tracks, from the likes of the Chemical Brothers and Orbital, helped convince teens and 20-somethings that video games were still ‘cool’ to play beyond childhood.
Although the PS4 didn’t get its own unique WipEout game, the Omega Collection is a bloody good alternative. It consists of fancy new ports of WipeOut HD (which itself was a PS3 port of PSP games WipeOut Pure and WipeOut Pulse), WipeOut HD Fury and Vita title WipeOut 2048.
What this all means is an absolute ton of tracks, vehicles and gameplay modes, all remastered to run at a full 60fps and native 4K resolution on a PS4 Pro. The definitive WipEout game, then? Absolutely.
Although Yakuza is often wrongly called the spiritual successor to the Shenmue games, there are still a lot of similarities between the two Sega series: they’re both third-person adventure games set in extremely well created Asian communities, where hand-to-hand combat is the best way to resolve problems and mini-games are widespread.
But you shouldn’t play the Yakuza games because of similar or different they are to Shenmue. You should play them because of their outrageous attention to detail, their brilliant plots, their oodles of side-stories and their frequent bizarre moments.
There are four games currently on PS4: Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2 are remakes of the first two games and are the best place to start. Yakuza 0 is a prequel, and Yakuza 6 is the latest in the series. If you want to play 3, 4 or 5 you’ll need to get a PS3 for now, but there should at least be plenty here for you until you get to that point.