If you’re looking to judge a console’s worth, it helps to look at its best exclusives – and the PS4’s got a lot of pull when it comes to stellar games you can’t play anywhere else. The following titles are a big part of what makes a PS4 worth owning, and those looking to experience the finest that Sony’s latest console has to offer can’t go wrong with these picks. But first, a few qualifiers: we’re steering clear of remasters that have previously thrived on other platforms, so excellent PS4 picks like , , and don’t make the list. And while the majority of these games are completely exclusive to the PS4, you’ll find a couple that are ‘merely’ console exclusives (meaning they’re also playable on PC). We’ll keep updating this list as more phenomenal exclusives are released – but until then, these games are absolute essentials that stand proudly among the and could easily justify the price of a PS4 or PS4 Pro.
10. Yakuza 0
Cheaper than a trip to Tokyo and lacking the legal consequences of real-world gang activity, is the perfect entry point into the long-running series that’s essentially Sega’s eccentric take on Grand Theft Auto’s crime-ridden, open-world action. It’s also something of a time capsule of the late-’80s Japan, as players control leading man Kazuma Kiryu and his associate Goro Majima early on in their Yakuza careers circa 1988. The flashy third-person brawling is top-notch, and there’s a staggering collection of side activities to pursue when you need a break from beating up bad guys. Possible leisure activities include (but are no means limited to) fishing, bowling, playing classic Sega arcade games, and running your very own hostess club.
9. Until Dawn
manages to play off your favorite horror movies tropes and cleverly subvert them in equal measure, following a group of teens with a shared dark secret as they try to survive a cabin trip that quickly descends into a living nightmare. The choices you make throughout the story determine whether these nuanced characters make it out alive, which lends itself to plenty of replayability: maybe you’ll do your best to prevent any bloodshed, or perhaps you want to see a particularly annoying character meet an appropriately gruesome death. Whichever path you choose, prepare to be scared out of your wits (or at least grossed out) along the way.
When the studio that rebooted Ninja Gaiden decides to do its own take on the Dark Souls framework, it’s safe to say that you should expect a somewhat hard game. But rather than lazily reskinning Souls gameplay with a samurai-filled setting, builds on its third-person action RPG inspiration with a complex combo system, where our hero William must switch stances mid-fight (with precise timing, no less) to maximize his damage and survivability. Between the nuanced, fast-paced brawling and the imaginative designs of the monstrous enemies and bosses straight out of Japanese folklore, Nioh carves out its own identity despite the familiar, death-and-difficulty-laden foundation.
7. Street Fighter 5
It might’ve launched in relatively rough shape, but after over a year of additional content, new characters, and countless refinements, has realized its full potential as a phenomenal fighting game. Its ever-growing roster of unique characters has the perfect fit for any playstyle, and the inventive V-Skill and V-Trigger systems add another layer of excitement and strategic depth to each intense match. Whether you go with an old favorite like Ryu or opt for an oddball newcomer like Necalli, Street Fighter 5 delivers more of the infinite replayability and limitless skill ceiling you’ve come to expect from Capcom’s fan-favorite fighting game series.
6. The Last Guardian
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, 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.
5. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Like all the greatest action movies, 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.
4. Nier: Automata
Playing the cult-classic action RPG Nier isn’t a prerequisite to loving – if anything, you’ll be all the more surprised and delighted by this sequel’s hauntingly beautiful post-apocalyptic world, unique character designs, moving orchestral music, and intricate, philosophical, emotionally stirring storyline. But where Nier: Automata really stands out from its predecessor is in its super smooth, fast-paced brawling developed by PlatinumGames, the studio renowned for its mastery of flashy, combo-centric third-person combat. As the sword-wielding android 2B, you’ll fight hulking robots on humanity’s behalf in a war rife with existential paradoxes and gripping, 60fps skirmishes, with shifting perspectives that mix things up, and near-limitless possibilities for how you want to dice up your metal opponents.
3. Persona 5
Playing 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.
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 ‘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.
1. Horizon: Zero Dawn
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 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 ), 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.
Looking for more PS4 greatness? Be sure to check out our lists of the best PS4 games and the upcoming PS4 games for 2017 and beyond!