‘God of War’
The original three God of War games, as well as the prequel God of War: Ascension, are violent, over-the-top, often ridiculous games that center on anti-hero Kratos and his struggle against the gods and monsters of Greek mythology. After so many games, the formula had grown stale, so developer Sony Santa Monica went back to the drawing board for its 2018 reboot/sequel, simply titled God of War. The result? A more grounded and intimate adventure that breaks down Kratos’ character and turns him into a more relatable hero. The combat has also been altered drastically, focusing more on strategy than blind button-mashing, and the new two-person encounters with Kratos’ son Atreus guarantee each fight still feels fresh.
Somewhat surprisingly, the game eschews the linear structure of the previous games for the more open-ended “Metroidvania” style we’ve seen become so popular in action-role-playing games this generation. It isn’t exactly a fully open-world game, but God of War provides you with plenty of optional areas and secrets to find. God of War just might be the most visually impressive game to hit the PlayStation 4 to date, so you’re going to want to take some time and just look around and take in the developers’ interpretation of Norse mythology.
Read our full God of War review
‘Shadow of the Colossus’
Originally released for the PlayStation 2, Shadow of the Colossus has since enjoyed not one but two remakes. That should tell you how good it is. The PlayStation 4 version rebuilds the game for the modern console, upgrading the visuals so they’re on par with many newly developed games.
It’s more than a pretty face, though. The brief, punchy campaign pits you in epic fights against Colossi hundreds of times your size, while the huge, desolate world enthralls you. It’s not a long game, and it offers little replay value, but the awesome scale of the game’s fights remain without peer. Everyone should play it once.
Read our full Shadow of the Colossus review
‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’
Following the success of Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider, the end of Lara Croft’s origin story, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, is an epic adventure that shows us a different side of our hero. Set across beautiful landscapes in South America, Shadow of the Tomb Raider both ups the scale of the series and the emotions.
This is an edgier Croft, one whose decisions sometimes bewilder but always entertain. With great stealth and third-person shooting mechanics and tons of hidden treasures and mysteries to uncover, Croft’s origin story is as fun as it is narratively satisfying.
Read our full Shadow of the Tomb Raider review
Naughty Dog is one of the most talented game studios on the planet, and the developer certainly showed that with the Uncharted series. Following treasure-hunting adventurer Nathan Drake in all but the recent Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, the series riffs on the Indiana Jones format, but with an added dose of sarcasm and adrenaline that truly makes it feel like you’re playing a movie.
Over the course of the four main games – the first three are bundled in The Nathan Drake Collection – Drake and partner Sully travel across the globe in search of riches, and they always seem to run into trouble along the way. That leads to plenty of shootouts and skin-of-your-teeth escape sequences, which often offer spectacle rarely seen elsewhere in video games. If you want to try out online play instead, Uncharted 4’s competitive multiplayer is surprisingly engaging, even managing to pack in some of the campaigns’ humor.
Read our full Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review
Swinging from skyscraper to skyscraper through a living, breathing New York metropolis is just one of the things that Marvel’s Spiderman does incredibly well. Though the main story is only an estimated 20 hours long, there’s plenty for players to see and do. From unlocking really cool Spidey suits and gadgets to taking out your camera and capturing some of the city’s best landmarks, it’s really hard not to feel like the real Spider-Man when playing this game.
Critics have even gone on to say that it’s the best Superhero video game of its time (surpassing that of Batman: Arkham Asylum) and we hope that this means we’ll get more games in other superhero universes just like it.
Read our full Marvel’s Spider-Man review
In this Dishonored sequel, players can choose to play between revived protagonist Corvo Attano or his daughter, the Empress Emily Kaldwin. While the story you get for each is largely the same, they both have their own supernatural powers that make combat between the two exceptionally varied. Dishonored 2 allows players to choose how they want to play.
You’ll be rewarded for your efforts if you choose to remain stealthy or you can take the more confrontational route if that’s what you’re into. We would say that this is the best Xbox One game for pacifists since it’s possible to beat the entire game without killing anyone — an impressive feat you may want to attempt, if not only for infinite bragging rights.
Read our full Dishonored 2 review