When it comes to exclusive games, the PlayStation 4 is at the top of the console heap. It’s the runaway leader in sales this generation, effortlessly surpassing its Microsoft and Nintendo competitors. It begs the question — does it really come down to the games?
Whether you’re into sports games like MLB: The Show 18 and Gran Turismo Sport or action games like The Last of Us and Uncharted, there’s a game on Sony’s platform for you. Here’s our list of the best PS4 exclusives as well as a handful of games that are also available on PC.
God of War
Sony Santa Monica managed to turn God of War from a dated action series on its last legs into one of the most acclaimed games of all time with 2018’s God of War. The soft reboot didn’t erase any story threads from previous games, but by placing protagonist Kratos in the land of Norse mythology rather than rehashing Greek monsters, it managed to simultaneously feel fresh and familiar. The addition of Kratos’ son Atreus and a focus on open-ended exploration make for a more atmospheric and alive game than its predecessors, and God of War is among the most impressive-looking games on the console.
But one can’t discuss God of War without mentioning how downright brilliant the combat is. The new Leviathan Axe controls perfectly, with a neat “recall” ability allowing you to summon it back into your hand after throwing it, and the moves you can pull off after filling out your skill tree only make each encounter feel more varied and unique.
Read our full God of War review
With the Dark Souls series at the height of its popularity, From Software and director Hidetaka Miyazaki worked with Sony to offer the PlayStation 4 its own exclusive take on the formula. Bloodborne is a faster and more aggressive type of Souls game, prioritizing quick movement and nearly constant attacks in order to take down the many terrifying enemies plaguing Yharnam. Though the game only really supports one play-style, it’s balanced so well – and the bosses are so entertaining – that you won’t notice the loss of variety.
It helps that Yharnam is the most creative and gorgeously realized world From Software has ever created, blending Victorian-era architecture and classic enemies with Lovecraft-inspired monsters that are nothing short of terrifying. Even when you win a battle, you’re always scared of what’s around the next corner.
Read our full Bloodborne review
Nioh (also on PC)
Finish Bloodborne but still need more monster-killing Souls-like action? Team Ninja’s Nioh might seem like a simple imitator at first glance, but the game builds on From Software’s framework with a ton of customization options, optional abilities, and inventive monsters to fight. Set in feudal Japan and starring an outsider named William, Nioh blends historical events and locations with fantastical “Yokai” monsters that test every skill you’ve learned along the way.
Nioh is a brutally difficult game, but it always feels fair, with enemies that make use of telegraphed moves that you can learn to counter if you’re paying attention. As you progress and get more comfortable with combat, you’re able to pull off some incredible feats, and even the most enormous and nasty monsters will be no matchfor your sword.
Read our full Nioh review
Infamous: Second Son
One of the earliest PlayStation 4 exclusives, Sucker Punch’s Infamous: Second Son took the superhero powers of the previous two games and went nuts with them, giving protagonist Delsin Rowe access to Smoke, Television, Neon, and Concrete abilities. The powers allow Delsin to quickly zip around Seattle and take out the nefarious government workers hoping to imprison or destroy all “Conduits” wielding superpowers, and he can easily outrun or hover over most of them if things get too hairy.
As with the first two games, Infamous: Second Son lets you play as a good hero or an evil supervillain, with your look gradually changing if you plunge into the moral abyss. The story will change as a result, as well, making a second play-through essential.
Read our full Infamous: Second Son review
Infamous: First Light
One of the more interesting supporting characters in Infamous: Second Son was the neon-wielding Fetch, but her backstory wasn’t properly explored during the events of that game. Instead, Sucker Punch gave her the spinoff title Infamous: First Light, which touches on her family and the abuse she has suffered at the hands of the government.
First Light limits you to the neon powers available to Fetch rather than the different types Delsin has access to in Second Son, but it’s still a ride worth taking – if you are a longtime PlayStation Plus subscriber, you likely have First Light on your account already, as well.
Read our full Infamous: First Light review
There are a surprisingly few number of Diablo-like, loot-filled action games on the PlayStation 4, but Housemarque’s Alienation is one of the best. The alien-invasion game sees you – and possibly your friends – as you battle your way through urban and rural environments filled with dangerous enemies, but your high-powered weapons and armor suits give you the tools you need to take them down.
Alienation is brutally difficult, especially near the end, and all but demands a cooperative partner to enjoy it properly, but it definitely scratches the same loot itch as Diablo III or Path of Exile, and its science-fiction setting is a nice change of pace from the fantasy and magic of those games.
Ignore the memes and jokes you’ve heard about the original Knack for just a moment, and you’ll realize that Knack 2 is a genuinely well-designed family-friendly action game. Building on the barebones gameplay from the original, the sequel allows you to temporarily shrink the titular hero in order to make it through a puzzle, only to grow massively in size when it’s time to beat up a particularly tough enemy.
Though the story isn’t on par with something from Pixar, Knack 2’s humor is written well enough to please both children and their parents, and its challenge is balanced enough to keep older kids playing for hours on end without their younger siblings losing interest. Knack is most certainly back, and he’s a whole lot better.
Read our full Knack 2 review
Ratchet & Clank
Though technically a new version of the original PlayStation 2 game Ratchet & Clank, Insomniac’s 2016 version was remade from the ground up. The humor, characters, and story threads you remember from over a decade ago are all still present, but the platforming and third-person shooting controls feel completely modern. It’s a perfect choice for introducing kids to games you played back in the day, but even those completely new to the series will have a blast with it.
Perhaps one of Ratchet & Clank’s more underappreciated qualities is its brevity. There are plenty of side activities to do and collectibles to find, but if you just want to stick to the critical path and make it to the end of the story, you can easily do so in a weekend.