Since its release back in 2013, the PS4 lineup of consoles has become the hardware to own in the gaming world.
Having come hurtling off the starting line with an excellent launch proposition, Sony kept the momentum going with exclusive release after exclusive release, creating a console ecosystem of must-have games to sell its hardware.
2017 has been a particularly strong year for gaming in general, but Sony’s PlayStation 4 has excelled in delivering experiences you can’t get elsewhere too. From ultra-violent first-person shooters to intricately detailed open-world adventures, here’s what we reckon are the best releases of 2017.
Horizon: Zero Dawn: £29.99, Amazon
The first truly next-gen game for PS4 and PS4 Pro, Horizon: Zero Dawn proved the potential of 4K visuals and HDR gaming. It’s a stunning open-world adventure that’s more than just pretty graphics, with great combat and a thoughtful, emotional story, which all creates one of the most memorable experiences of the year. It was a surprise – developer Guerilla Games is best known for its shooter series Killzone and the pivot to the open-world genre could’ve proved difficult. However, the studio pulls it off amazingly well and Horizon is a fabulous exclusive PS4 experience, whether you’re playing on base hardware or the upgraded console.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: £19.99, Amazon
A superlative narrative-driven shooter, the follow-up to 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order is a rollercoaster ride of crazy proportions. Developer MachineGames ups the ante considerably in this sequel, which is bigger, braver and better in every respect. Throughout its 10- to 12-hour campaign you’ll witness things you’ve never seen before in a game, and all of it serves the incredibly well-written plot, which sees multiple characters fighting it out against Nazi oppression. It feels like a relevant take on today’s political climate, and it’s all compounded with ultra-violent FPS gameplay. An absurd, unforgettable must-play.
Prey: £9.99, Amazon
Immersive sims are hard to come by nowadays but developer Arkane is at the forefront of the genre. Off the back of last year’s immense Dishonored 2, Prey is a similar first-person game in a very different setting. Sacking off the steampunk world of Dishonored for something more sci-fi, Prey heads to space and sets you free within a persistently evolving space station. After an alien outbreak you have to uncover the mysteries surrounding the disaster, and the game offers up tons of freedom to play your way and experiment with the myriad systems at your disposal. It’s full of inventive ideas and surprises that come about because of your actions, and it’s a testament to games about agency.
Resident Evil 7 Biohazard: £15, Amazon
Terrifying from the off, Resident Evil 7 is a gruesome and macabre first-person horror experience. Making full use of PSVR, too, it’s a game that toys with your fears as it leads you through its incredibly detailed and unsettling, unpleasant locations. With a family of actual mad men chasing after you, Resident Evil 7 is packed full of terrifying encounters as you tip-toe around a ranch in the middle of the Deep South. Its first-person perspective makes for an even more claustrophobic horror game, and it’s a return to form for the series after a couple of lacklustre, more action-rooted efforts in the last few years.
Destiny 2: £28.99, Amazon
The massively anticipated sequel to the original, Destiny 2 makes good on its promise of improving pretty much everything that was iffy about the first game. The gunplay is still the best in the business, with a satisfying feedback loop that makes every new gun feel like a discovery, and there’s a sense of power to each of the game’s individual and unique classes that makes you feel like a complete badass. A better story, bigger and more impressive set-pieces, and an all-round better progression system make Destiny 2 one of the most content-rich multiplayer shooters out there – it’ll likely keep you entertained for hours.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins: £39.99, Game
After two years off, Ubisoft returned in 2017 with Assassin’s Creed: Origins. The brief pause on the series gave the studio time to rework what had become dull and repetitive about this franchise. Following on from 2015’s poorly received Syndicate, Origins is a return to form in almost every way. Not just artistically – although the truly overwhelmingly large world of ancient Egypt is an absolute treat – but in terms of gameplay too. It’s a better structured game with more cohesive writing and a plot that makes sense this time around. Origins is a game to sink 40-plus hours into over Christmas – and you get to climb the pyramids. What more can you ask for?
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider: £9.99, Amazon
Another of Arkane’s games on the list, Death of the Outsider is a fantastic expansion to last year’s Dishonored 2. With a new protagonist, Billy Lurke, Death of the Outsider takes players to all new locations within its colourful, vibrant yet still miserable world. It thrives off of the same attention to detail as its predecessor, delivering tons of gameplay options that encourage experimentation and invite multiple replays. It’s a great send-off to a series that defines the immersive sim genre.
Little Nightmares: £24.86, Amazon
Little Nightmares is a big delight. With an unforgettable art style and a wonderfully dark, foreboding sense of dread, this little adventure delivers more than its fair share of memorable moments. It’s consistently creepy (and often terrifying) as you skulk around its beautifully detailed and subdued locations. There are a couple of standout moments in the adventure that are up there with the best of short, bite-size indie experiences. Like Limbo and Inside before it, Little Nightmares proves that you don’t need huge budgets to make a big impact.
Persona 5: £41.82, Amazon
One of the best J-RPGs in years, Persona 5 is one of the most ostentatious games you can play on PS4. It’s defined by a stunning block colour art style that pops with an insane level of detail in every single frame. From its beautiful dungeons to the school ground, to the characters themselves, all the way to the individual menu screens, Persona 5 is an artistic masterpiece. It helps that its plot and combat are some of the most inventive in the business, too, delivering a huge, bold role playing game from start to finish. It’s by far the longest game on the list, too, and could easily keep you entertained for upwards of 70 hours.
Nioh: £24.99, Amazon
By far the toughest and most challenging game on this list, Nioh takes cues from the cult classic Dark Souls and its sequels to deliver a punishing romp through ancient Japan. It’s full of mystery and magic, and comes armed with a best-in-class combat system that hands a lot of customisable control to the player. Whichever style you choose to play, Nioh will push your patience to its limits, but the euphoria of coming out on top once you’ve bested the latest boss is without parallel. Just prepare to die, a lot.
The Verdict: PS4 games of 2017
With hours and hours of great adventuring, interesting quests, an intriguing story and undoubtedly the best graphics in the business, Horizon: Zero Dawn delivers an experience you can’t play anywhere else. It’s one of the great exclusives of the generation, and will entertain you from its humble start to its climactic finale.