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The best PS4 games for 2021

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The PlayStation 5 may have dropped, but getting your hands on the device is still as difficult as it was on launch day. As such, you shouldn’t abandon your faithful PlayStation 4. Right now, the device has one of the best catalogues in console history. You should definitely take advantage of that with a new PS4 game or two.

There’s a rich library of AAA games exclusive to the PS4: Spider-Man, Bloodborne, The Last of Us Part 2 and God of War, to name a few. And then, of course, there are the cross-platform titles and indie games. It’s an embarrassment of riches.

Editors’ top picks

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Read more: Best PS4 gaming headset for 2021

So, you’re ready to start gaming. However, before you buy, consider the following:

  • We’ve included links to the digital version of each game at the PlayStation online store, if you don’t want the disc version, which are sold at linked retailers via the red buttons.
  • Apex Legends is free to play (for PlayStation Plus subscribers), just use that digital link to download it.
  • Fall Guys is currently free for PlayStation Plus subscribers.
  • In addition to freebies like Apex Legends, Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone, subscribers to PlayStation Plus get two free games per month. It’s fine, but comparatively stingy when put up against the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate collection, which offers subscribers open access to dozens of games. 
  • Nearly all PS4 games should be playable on the PS5, so any investment you make in these games should transition easily if and when you upgrade to the new console.

With those caveats in place, on to the games.

Ghost of Tsushima

Sucker Punch/Screenshot by Sean Keane/CNET

See digital version at PlayStation Store.

Ghost of Tsushima is yet another open world banger from Sucker Punch Productions, one of the most consistent first party studios under Sony’s vast umbrella. 

Set in Japan during the first invasion of the Mongols in 1270, Ghost of Tsushima may borrow heavily from open world tropes seen in other, superior titles — but it’s still a gorgeously made video game. A real visual swansong for the PS5.

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See Gamespot’s Ghost of Tsushima review.

Fall Guys

Devolver Games

Fall Guys is a battle royale game unlike any you’ve ever played before. 60 players start, but after a cut-throat series of insanely fun, but bafflingly unfair, mini-games, there can only be one winner. Think Ninja Warrior crossed with Peppa Pig. 

This game has taken the internet by storm, and while I expect the hype to die down in a month or so, right now Fall Guys is the most exciting game on the planet. It’s also free on PlayStation Plus right now.

See Gamespot’s Fall Guys review.

Activision

See digital version at PlayStation store

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Endless online discourse about its difficulty aside, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is another masterpiece from Dark Souls creator FromSoftware.

Sekiro shares a little of the DNA that made Dark Souls so compelling, but it’s absolutely a brand-new beast, even more distinct from the Souls series than Bloodborne. It requires learning a whole new skillset (mainly parrying) but it’s worth the initial pain.

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See GameSpot’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review.

Santa Monica Studio

See digital version at PlayStation store

It’s a complete reinvention for one of the PlayStation’s most consistent series.

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God of War is extremely good. The new combat system takes a while to get used to, but once it clicks, it really clicks. God of War is an absolute showcase for the PlayStation 4 (and especially the PlayStation 4 Pro). Get that thing going on 60 frames per second. You’ll have yourself a good time.

See GameSpot’s God of War review.

Respawn Entertainment

See digital version at PlayStation store

Well this game came out of nowhere.

Apex Legends is the game no-one saw coming. In 2018 Fortnite literally ruled our cultural universe, but now its position atop the battle royale genre is being challenged by Apex Legends and with good reason. Designed by the core team responsible for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and, more recently, the excellent Titanfall series, Apex Legends just feels so good minute to minute. Look for this game to stick around.

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See GameSpot’s Apex Legends review.

Guerilla Games

See digital version at PlayStation store

Horizon: Zero Dawn is like Video Games: The Greatest Hits.

It has the sprawling mission structure of The Witcher 3, Metroid Prime-style scanning, Tomb Raider-esque bow and arrows and survival. 

And it has fricken’ robot dinosaurs with fricken’ laser beams. 

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It also — somehow — weaves its ludicrous high concept into a story that not only works, but is actually incredibly compelling, affecting and features great writing and layered characters. 

It’s arguably the best game on the PlayStation 4.

See GameSpot’s Horizon: Zero Dawn review.

FromSoftware

See digital version at PlayStation store

FromSoftware doesn’t make bad video games. It makes classics, stone-cold classics, one after another.

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But Bloodborne might be the best FromSoftware game yet. 

A brand new universe, a faster paced combat style, ludicrously well-designed environments and beautiful enemy design. Bloodborne is difficult, but it’s intensely rewarding. Crucially, it’s a great entry point into the “Souls” genre.

See GameSpot’s Bloodborne review.

CD Projekt Red

See digital version at PlayStation store

The Witcher 3 is glorious.

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A mind-bendingly massive open world that somehow doesn’t sacrifice depth. Visually glorious. It also features surprisingly good writing and a mission structure that makes traditional side-quests feel meaningful.

Prepare to sacrifice much of your life to this behemoth. 

See GameSpot’s The Witcher 3 review.

Kojima Productions/Konami

See digital version at PlayStation store

From a storytelling perspective Metal Gear Solid V is a brutal, unfinished mess.

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But that doesn’t even matter.

Because the absolute core of Metal Gear Solid 5 — the sneaking, the moment-to-moment cat-and-mouse game of evading guards — is just so mechanically dense and polished.

Metal Gear Solid is simultaneously the most accessible Metal Gear game ever made and the most complex. I’m still scratching my head as to how they achieved that.

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Play this video game.

See GameSpot’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain review.

Warner Bros./Screenshot by CNET

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See digital version at PlayStation store

Mortal Kombat is still kicking and, some might say, is better than ever. Ignore. Once upon a time Mortal Kombat was a gimmicky ultraviolent competitor to the sublime Street Fighter II. Now it’s a spectacular fighting game in its own right, with its own set of strengths. This is the best Mortal Kombat game to date.

See GameSpot’s Mortal Kombat 11 review.

Psyonix/Screenshot by Taylor Martin/CNET

See digital version at PlayStation store

Rocket League is soccer with cars and it is so good I can’t even believe it exists in this broken, corrupt world.

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It’s not quite as popular compared to when it was initially released and everyone was going crazy, but Rocket League still has a massive core community.

And the game is just so instantaneously fun. So you should probably play it.

See GameSpot’s Rocket League review.

Naughty Dog

See digital version at PlayStation store

Uncharted 4 isn’t the strongest entry in the series (that’s still the bar-setting Uncharted 2) but it’s still a benchmark in visual storytelling excellence.

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It’s a little bit too long, with way too many shooting sections, but Uncharted 4 does some truly ground-breaking things in terms of video game storytelling.

And it’s one of the most beautiful games ever made.

See GameSpot’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End review.

The Witness

Jonathan Blow

See digital version at PlayStation store

The Witness is designed to make you feel like a complete idiot.

In a good way.

You know how games like Metroid and Zelda sort of guide your progress by slowly giving you items that act like keys to unlocking brand-new areas?

The Witness is sorta like that, only it upgrades your actual brain. With puzzles.

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This game is extremely good.

See GameSpot’s The Witness review.

Bethesda

See digital version at PlayStation store

Doom is extremely good. This is established fact. This reboot had no right being as good as it is. It harks back to a different kind of first-person shooter. It’s about getting up close and personal with monster-demons and spilling their innards on blood-stained floors.

See GameSpot’s Doom review.

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PlatinumGames/Square Enix

See digital version at PlayStation store

Nier: Automata was released in the same calendar year as games like Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey and Horizon: Zero Dawn, but there are people who think Nier: Automata was better than all of those video games.

I disagree, but even coming close to that level of quality is intense. Nier: Automata deserves your attention at the very least. It’s extremely good.

See GameSpot’s Nier: Automata review.

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Capcom

See digital version at PlayStation store

Every so often Resident Evil becomes awesome again. There’s a cycle.

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Resident Evil 2: awesome. Resident Evil 4: very awesome.

Resident Evil 5 through to 6: not awesome.

Resident Evil 7: extremely awesome.

It’s great to see the granddaddy of video game horror series back to its best. This game is wild. Brace yourself.

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See GameSpot’s Resident Evil 7 review.

Respawn Entertainment/EA

See digital version at PlayStation store

Just when you think it’s safe to write the first-person shooter off as a banal genre devoid of innovation, along comes Titanfall 2. Titanfall 2 is like any other shooter except wall running, double jumping, turning into gigantic robots and uh…

Actually it’s not like another shooter at all. That’s why it’s so great.

See GameSpot’s Titanfall 2 review.

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FromSoftware

See digital version at PlayStation store

Dark Souls 3, like all Dark Souls games, is an acquired taste. But once you acquire that taste, everything else is ash in your mouth.

These games are good.

Dark Souls 3 is great because it’s refined and modern and eliminates a lot of the clunk of Dark Souls. It also features some of the best level design in any “Souls” game to date.

See GameSpot’s Dark Souls 3 review.

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Inside

Playdead

See digital version at PlayStation store

Inside is short, disturbing and stays with you long after you’re done.

It really is one of those unforgettable gaming experiences. To explain more would spoil it. Just know that it is polished, smart, unique, interesting: It’s a well-made “thing” that you should experience. (Note that the retail version, linked below, comes packaged with Limbo, another excellent — albeit short — game.)

See GameSpot’s Inside review.

Capcom

See digital version at PlayStation store

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Monster Hunter: World is the new kid on the block.

In a lot of ways it feels like a coming out party for the Monster World series, which has always been huge in Japan, but has only flirted with success in the west.

Now it feels like everyone is talking about Monster Hunter, and with good reason. It takes what we already love about Monster Hunter and makes it more accessible and… bigger. We’ve been used to playing Monster Hunter on underpowered handhelds. Playing it on a big boy console just takes Monster Hunter to the stratosphere.

See GameSpot’s Monster Hunter: World review.

Bethesda/id Software

See digital version at PlayStation store

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Doom Eternal rules. It’s very much in the vein of the Doom reboot that launched in 2016, but that’s a good thing. We say it’s the most metal game ever made.

Cool additions include all-new methods of maneuvering throughout the game’s insanely violent universe. Very cool stuff.

See GameSpot’s Doom Eternal review.

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Next Week on Xbox: May 23 to 27

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Welcome to Next Week on Xbox! In this weekly feature we cover all the games coming soon to Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PC, and Game Pass! Get more details on these upcoming games below and click their profiles for further info (release dates subject to change). Let’s jump in!


Floppy Knights – May 24 – Xbox Game Pass / PC Game Pass

Floppy Knights– May 24 - Xbox Game Pass / PC Game Pass

Available on day one with Game Pass: A fresh take on two familiar genres: Tactics fused with card-game strategy. Join Phoebe and Carlton, a brilliant young inventor, and her robot-arm bestie, as they square off in turn-based battles. Build the perfect deck, execute seamless card combos, and lead your Floppy Knights to victory! 


Hardspace: Shipbreaker (PC) – May 24 – PC Game Pass

Hardspace: Shipbreaker – May 24 - PC Game PassHardspace: Shipbreaker – May 24 - PC Game Pass

Available on day one with PC Game Pass: Equipped with cutting-edge salvaging tech, carve, and slice a variety of derelict spaceships at will in zero-g to recover valuable materials. Be careful with your tools – you don’t want to trigger an explosive chain reaction that could be deadly, or worse, costly! Upgrade your gear to take on more lucrative contracts to pay your debt to LYNX Corporation through a compelling campaign, relax in free play, or compete in timed challenges.


Injection π23 ‘Ars regia’ – May 24 – Optimized for Xbox Series X|S

Injection π23 'Ars regia' - May 24 - Optimized for Xbox Series X|SInjection π23 'Ars regia' - May 24 - Optimized for Xbox Series X|S

Classic survival horror focused on puzzle solving, exploration and strategy. Take control of a person removed from society who searches for his missing dog and finds himself embroiled in a dark conspiracy. Part II of the Injection π23 trilogy.


Spacelines from the Far Out – May 24

Spacelines from the Far Out - May 24Spacelines from the Far Out - May 24

A procedurally generated co-op adventure where you and your friends are the crew of an intergalactic travel company. It’s your job to get your passengers to their location safe, happy, and hopefully with as little vomiting as possible.

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Amazing Superhero Squad – May 25 – Xbox One X Enhanced

Amazing Superhero Squad - May 25 - Xbox One X EnhancedAmazing Superhero Squad - May 25 - Xbox One X Enhanced

A vivid superhero corporation sim. Do you think it’s easy to solve all the problems of a cursed city and not go silly? Lead a team of superheroes, save Storborg City from looming disasters, and beat your dishonorable rivals. Keep your corporation running and don’t let the main stats reach zero. Solve city’s and your employees’ problems.


Blow and Fly – May 25 – Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery

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Blow and Fly - May 25 - Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart DeliveryBlow and Fly - May 25 - Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery

Your owner’s naughty son destroyed your aquarium, and now you’re desperately in need of water! Take on the role of a blowfish and explore physics-based puzzles that require you to move and aim in tandem and roll your way to freedom.


Lab Crisis – May 25

Lab Crisis - May 25Lab Crisis - May 25

A turn-based puzzle game about a robot who’s rescuing scientists from a mutant-infested lab! The more scientists you grab at once, the longer is the chain, so be careful.


Zombo Buster Advance – May 25

Zombo Buster Advance - May 25Zombo Buster Advance - May 25

A tower defense game taking place inside buildings with interchangeable elevators. Players must deploy their troops, swap them, and shoot zombies like a boss! Featuring a vast number of weapons and various gadgets.


Sniper Elite 5 – May 26

Sniper Elite 5 - May 26Sniper Elite 5 - May 26

Available on day one with Game Pass: The award-winning series returns with unparalleled sniping, tactical third-person combat and an enhanced kill cam. Fight your way across the most immersive maps yet, with many real-world locations captured in stunning detail, and an improved traversal system that lets you explore more of them than ever before. Available on Cloud, Console, and PC.

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My Little Pony: A Maretime Bay Adventure – May 26

My Little Pony: A Maretime Bay Adventure - May 26My Little Pony: A Maretime Bay Adventure - May 26

Bring magic back to Equestria and play with the new generation of My Little Pony characters, in an adventure full of fun, fashion and good friends. Earth Pony Sunny wants to make the world a better place by hosting Maretime Bay Day, a forgotten celebration of friendship and magic. But some pony is out to spoil the celebration – and they’re stealing cakes, letting bunnies loose, and even spoiling Pipp’s paintings!


Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers – May 27 – Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery

Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers - May 27 - Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart DeliveryArcade Spirits: The New Challengers - May 27 - Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery

More Than Just a Retro Romance – Balance social life with the intensity of running an esports team in a retro futuristic world where arcades dominate the gaming scene. After the success of the award-winning visual novel Arcade Spirits, Fiction Factory Games are back with a ground-breaking standalone sequel.


Kao the Kangaroo – May 27 – Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery

Kao the Kangaroo - May 27 - Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart DeliveryKao the Kangaroo - May 27 - Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery

Kao the Kangaroo is a beautiful 3D platformer jam-packed with fun, exploration, adventure, and mystery! Join Kao, the feisty furball, as he embarks on an unforgettable quest to uncover the secrets surrounding the disappearance of his father. He’ll traverse rich environments, filled with hazards, puzzles, and foes. Each turn uncovers another clue as well as revealing a secret world bubbling under the surface.


Moo Lander – May 27

Moo Lander - May 27Moo Lander - May 27

A 2D action-adventure RPG with Metroidvania elements featuring an epic story about cows and milk. Together with your faithful ship AI, you will fight and outsmart intelligent enemies, while uncovering the motivation for your character’s journey and the emotional story behind it.

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Pac-Man Museum+ – May 27

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Pac-Man Museum+ - May 27Pac-Man Museum+ - May 27

Available on day one with Game Pass: Pac-Man Museum+ features 14 of the series’ legendary games! Players can enjoy the iconic original arcade classic alongside a variety of other play styles from over 40 years of Pac-Man history! Also includes online leaderboards and the ability to customize your very own virtual arcade room! Plus, Ultimate members can play with cloud gaming and touch controls on day one, no controller needed! Available on Cloud, Console, and PC.


Sword and Bones – May 27

Sword and Bones - May 27Sword and Bones - May 27

The demon world invades humanity every 500 years. The Wolf Demon has been bullying the Kingdom of Vestus and it seems that there is no hope. But there’s one hero who can put an end to it: You, a nameless warrior with a sword in hand. What are you waiting for? Defend the kingdom in an adventure full of action in the spirit of classic retro games.

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