Top 10 PS4 Exclusives You Should Play Right Now
Can you believe the PS4 is now in its third year? By this time in the last generation we’d seen the 360 and PS3 sprout the likes of Gears of War, Crackdown, Metal Gear Solid 4 and the phenomenal Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, but for this generation it’s been a slower build, with only 2015 and now 2016 providing a defining ramp-up in quality.
Thankfully we’re now at a time where you can comfortably look at the PS4’s output and champion it accordingly. Not only have Naughty Dog knocked it clean out the park and into the stratosphere with Uncharted 4, but there are a bevy of indie titles providing solid foundations for innovation and progression too.
10. Until Dawn
Story pathways snake off and a present day recanting of the horrors you’re witnessing by an unknown character only deepens the mystery of what’s really going on.
Something of a cult success that nowhere near enough people played, Until Dawn is like old-school PS2 horror Obscure, mixed with David Cage’s game design on a good day.
9. Invisible Inc.
Variety is the spice of life, and when you’ve got one of the best developers in the industry bringing games to your console, it’s also hugely inspiring.
As such, Klei Entertainment decided to mix XCOM/Fire Emblem’s turn-based tactics gameplay with stealth, resulting in randomly generated interiors and spy-themed levels you’ll slink through, square by square.
Guards can be taken out, cameras disabled, computers hacked and everything in between – if you’ve ever been the person to play something like Metal Gear Solid, Splinter Cell or Hitman and form a plan in your mind before executing on it, Invisible Inc. is the embodiment of that entire mindset.
Another fantastic indie dev, SuperGiant games brought you 2011’s Bastion, only to then take their gorgeous, hand-drawn animation style and spin a completely different, sci-fi tale instead.
Taking place in a utopian data-driven city gone awry (as they always do), you play as Red, an opera singer wielding a talking sword (yes really). It gets better from there though, as combat plays out like PS2 gem Alter Echo, seeing you plan multiple moves as time stands still, only to hit a button and watch them all play out.
Weapon upgrades come in the form of various mods combining to create unique abilities, and as the world’s lore is also tucked away behind using said abilities, you’re actively encouraged to experiment just to get the full picture. Genius.
Sometimes you just want to blow the living hell out of everything. DOOM more than realised this, and on the 2D plane, Broforce does to.
Playing as every last action hero or awesome pop figure you can imagine, your goal is simple: Explode, detonate and punch your way through enemy soldiers and vehicles. Simple as.
One bullet and you’re dead, but for every time you respawn you’ll get a new character with a different weapon and ability. The roster includes Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator and Commando variants), John McClane, Predator, Ellen Ripley, Macguyver, Robocop and a TON more, all given brilliant pixellated makeovers and name-changes to avoid any whiffs of copyright.
A love letter to action cinema, Broforce is the ethos of the Expendables x1000.
The latest narrative adventure to make waves, Campo Santo (a supergroup developer comprised of members from Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Mark of the Ninja and Double Fine) put out an experience all about isolation, connection and introspection.
You play Henry, a man who’s taken a job in the middle of the Wyoming wilderness, simply to escape from his unfortunate life. You’ll then make a connection with Delilah, a fellow ‘fire-watcher’ stationed across the valley. From here let’s just say many things happen, but the crux of the game explores that human desire to either be around other people, or distance ourselves from them.
It asks many questions as to our fascination with the wider world, with media, with stories not our own, and how that shapes us as people. Naturally I’m staying very vague here, but as a goodhearted experience with a few twists and turns, and a thoroughly interpretative ending, Firewatch is one hell of an achievement.
Who knows where Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki is going to go from here, but Bloodborne was a fantastically solid statement of intent, showing he and his team at FromSoftware are more than capable of branching away from swords n’ shields fantasy.
As such, Bloodborne is ‘Souls by way of H.P. Lovecraft, it’s steampunk by way of the Babadook. By taking the open-world stylings inherent to how we explore Soulsian worlds, Miyazaki drops you into the city of Yarnham, one rich with demons and monsters that need slaying, with a far larger story backing it all up.
You’ll get torn down (the studio’s difficulty curve isn’t any less devastating), you’ll rank up and you’ll specialise in a ton of fancy, cobbled together weapons. In the end though it’s the world that you’ll drink in, and for that Bloodborne will forever be one of the PS4’s finest achievements.
4. Hotline Miami & Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Large open worlds are one thing, but simple controls and fun excuses to act on them is where the purest of gameplay experiences lie. To that end, Hotline Miami is quite possibly the most fun you can ever have when gameplay perfectly matches impeccable audio design.
Creators Jonatan Söderström and Dennis Wedin hand-picked all the game’s synthwave songs, to which the second title, Wrong Number, has the best collection of tracks this side of GTA: Vice City. Gameplay is a top-down ultra violent twin-stick shooter, challenging you to wipe out all sorts of locations filled with enemies in the fastest, most blood-soaked ways possible, but you’ll do all of it in time with the beat.
3. The Last Of Us: Remastered
As gaming’s ‘Citizen Kane’ moment, The Last of Us truly proved Naughty Dog are the finest developers working right now. Their tech is just on another level for one, and even on PS3, TLoU’s graphics are outstanding.
Putting you in the shoes of father Joel and asking you to take care of Ellie (the girl with the only cure for the zombie-like infestation ravishing the globe), you could’ve predicted the “And they became best friends” arc a mile off.
What nobody predicted however, was the ending. A plot twist so severe and so human in its execution, that it divides all who experience it. At the heart is the question of who’s more important: Your loved ones, or the millions around you, but the execution of this idea by piloting Joel through one of the most harrowing final levels of all time is just sublime.
The Last of Us hits harder than anything else I’ve ever played, and the sheer balls of its final shot before the credits kick in is the stuff gaming history is made of.
2. Ratchet & Clank
It’s hard to go from such gushing praise of what’s clearly a very mature title to Ratchet & Clank, but occasionally you just want a game to be a game, y’know?
Sometimes you don’t need grand arcs, character development and discussions online about what a line of dialogue truly means. Sometimes, you just wanna smash through waves of enemies with a wrench, collect hundreds of shiny bolts and get a gun that fires discoballs every few minutes.
Sometimes, you just need a 3D platformer like Ratchet & Clank to rekindle your childhood, reminding you of a time when the genre was everywhere, and that underneath all the cinematic grandeur that comes with blockbuster action adventures, solid mechanics and loveable characters can stand toe-to-toe all the same.
1. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
All those lovely words for Ratchet & Clank and I still went back to Uncharted? Well, yes, hell yes, because what Naughty Dog have done with the character of Nathan Drake isn’t something I ever thought possible. They grounded him, made him human, made him more relatable than you thought before, and crazier than ever – they reframed all three past Uncharteds as flights of fancy; youthfully exuberant adventures we’ve all done as part of growing up, perhaps now yearning to do so one last time after settling down.
By making Drake the man first and the adventurer second, you look at the near-death experiences he just barely scrapes through under a whole new light. A Thief’s End does all this before introducing Nate’s brother from years gone by and asking you to then go on one more adventure, too – and you feel the weight of that situation through every subsequent step.
Uncharted 4 might not be the landmark success The Last of Us was in terms of holding up one version of morality and forcing you to live with it, but it is the natural evolution of the blockbuster action flick – one with brains, brawn, and a ludicrous amount of heart.
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