It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is tapering off, and the new year is right around the corner. That means it’s time to break out the champagne, but also time to count off the best games of the previous year. This time around, the focus is on my favorite PS4 games of the year that I actually played (and a few I got around to platinuming!)
**NOTE: I have done my best to avoid spoilers of any kind.**
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
If you missed my review of RDR2, click on this guy here to check it out!
There isn’t much more that can be said about Red Dead Redemption 2 other than that it is one of the most realistic, engaging and rewarding experiences I’ve ever encountered in any generation of gaming. Rockstar has really pulled out the stops with this rendition of lasso-wilding, gun-toting adventure, and if the original Red Dead Redemption got a bit of a tepid response (originally, anyway), then the sequel is quite assuredly its redemption (pun shamelessly intended).
Do yourself a favor and give this game a once-over, at the very least., and I can pretty much assure you that you will get roped into sinking countless hours into it. If the story doesn’t do it for you, then the fresh, freedom-enhanced open world experience certainly will.
Recommended for lovers of these genres: open-world, action-adventure, RPG, historical fiction
2. God of War
The God of War series has always been about tough combat and progressively bigger-and-better enemies and bosses in an action-packed adventure setting. In the eight years since God of War III, Kratos has grown out his beard and broken in his Bowflex in preparation for his journey in a new land to bring the ashes of his wife to the top of a mountain. One of my favorite games of 2018, topped only by the amazing RDR2, and one of my most enjoyable to platinum. Earning that shiny trophy is definitely a challenge, especially with some of the solo encounters you will face later in your adventure, but you can definitely feel a sense of pride once it pops.
Recommended for lovers of these genres: open-world, action-adventure, RPG, fantasy
3. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
I’m an Assassin’s Creed junky if one ever existed, and although I’ve stuck through thick and thin with the series (sure was a lot of thin there for a while, it seems), the two latest iterations of the IP have been a true wonder to play. Origins is one of my favorite games in recent memory, and I’m only one trophy away from platinuming it–if you couldn’t guess, it’s the “visit all locations” trophy that I’m lacking.
Origins brought a lot of fantastic new mechanics to the series, and Odyssey has expanded on those while also bringing back some of what we loved in the previous Creed games; like traveling the open ocean with a horde of mangy sea dogs, for starters. The RPG elements in Origins are expanded upon a bit in this title, which I thoroughly enjoyed, as there’s nothing like finding that new shiny weapon or armor piece that makes you look like a deadly, shimmering badass. Definitely recommend it for Assassin’s Creed and RPG fans alike–whatever your flavor, Odyssey won’t disappoint.
Recommended for lovers of these genres: open-world, action-adventure, RPG, fantasy, historical fiction
4. Marvel’s Spider-Man
If you missed my full review for Marvel’s Spider-Man, you can find it here.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is developed by Insomniac Games, which is responsible for the hilariously-unique original Sunset Overdrive and a remake of Ratchet & Clank which I adored (I managed to platinum that one, eventually!) Even though I was a bit cautious about how they might handle such a powerful IP, I was needlessly worried. Insomniac Games took everything Spider-Man, both from the comics, movies and from previous era video game titles, and used it to transform this iteration into a seamless open-world experience.
The mechanics of how Spider-Man should move and flow through the city are arguably the most important aspects of a video game based on the web-slinger’s namesake, and with the PlayStation 4 controller to move him around New York City, he truly feels both weightless and powerful at the same time. Insomniac Games also nailed the combat, and although there were some moves that I never really got around to using, there was a large and unique array of them. The visuals are stunning, to say the least, both in terms of the world around you but also with the spot-on character design. There are some moments when a new villain will come on screen or an action scene takes place, and you can’t help but marvel (another very shameless pun) at the detail put into each frame.
Recommended for lovers of these genres: open-world, action-adventure, RPG, superhero, beat ’em ups
5. Far Cry 5
Far Cry has come a long way since the original jungle concept that birthed it, and each iteration has seen an increase in zany plot points and open-world mayhem. Far Cry 5 is no exception to that rule and showcases a shadowy cult that spews the traditional religion-esque rhetoric while doing anything necessary to further their message. With a large dose of bloodshed, hallucinogenic drugs, and vicious weaponry, the world of Far Cry 5 will test your mettle and challenge you to come out on the other end unscathed.
I fully enjoyed the plotline, and although there were a few tongue-in-cheek moments throughout that had me rolling my eyes, I had a blast learning the fate of everyone in Hope County. The introduction of some new vehicles and the inclusion of the standard crafting and weapon upgrade systems allow you to tackle the cult in any manner you desire, and there are many secrets and side missions to encounter. With one of the most off-the-wall endings in video game history, this is a “don’t miss” for sure!
Recommended for lovers of these genres: open-world, action-adventure, RPG, FPS
6. Shadow of the Tomb Raider
I have been a fan of the Tomb Raider games since the original on PlayStation/PC, and although the new trilogy will never replace the excitement of those original titles, there is something about Lara Croft’s latest iteration that is a sensation all its own. Shadow of the Tomb Raider continues the trilogy from the last two games on the PS3/PS4, and it’s the perfect end to an era.
Although a bit less action-packed than the others–you will rely more on stealth mechanics and remaining unseen in this title–there are still many tense and powerful moments throughout. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say that it won’t take you too long to platinum, and it’s definitely worth playing this one to the max.
Recommended for lovers of these genres: open-world, action-adventure, RPG
7. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
I have always been a super-nerd when it comes to anything RPG/JRPG, especially because I am the type of person that will check every corner for one more potion/gold/dagger/insert widget here. I love becoming incredibly overpowered from hours of grinding, to the point that I can mock puny bosses from my ivory tower.
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom scratches all those itches for me, and was the game that encouraged me to download Dark Chronicle/Dark Cloud 2 for PS4. It’s your standard JRPG fare, although I must say that the story is a bit more on par than some other goofier renditions of the formula that we’ve seen in recent history. I really enjoyed the whole Higgledies thing, and it reminded me of a Pokemon-esque type battle scheme with elements and such coming into play. It is a highly enjoyable game, and if you are a fan of anything RPG, you will find something of value on offer here.
Recommended for lovers of these genres: open-world, adventure, RPG, JRPG, fantasy
8. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
I never had the honor of playing Spyro the Dragon when I was a kid–I didn’t own a PlayStation until I was in my twenties, and I was always either playing competitive FPS games like Goldeneye or Perfect Dark, or spending time basking in the glow of adventure games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I enjoyed games similar to Spyro, such as Gex: Enter the Gecko and Banjo-Kazooie, but only because they were available on the Nintendo 64.
Now, thanks to the wonder of digital gaming (and the cash cow that is remaking older titles for the latest generation of gamers), I can experience Spyro in all his majesty!
I am actually currently working on my first blind playthrough of the trilogy, and you can find a playlist of that stream here if you’re interested.
So far, I am thoroughly enjoying the traditional platformer feel of the game, and I feel right at home with the cartoony and featherbrained art style. The game has turned out to be a bit more of a challenge than I expected, although I am shooting for platinum trophies for all three–eventually, anyhow.
I highly recommend it, especially if you (like me) miss the gaming days of yore!
Recommended for lovers of these genres: adventure, retro, platforming, fantasy