After one year, these are the best games for the PlayStation 4

Posted: November 16, 2014 in Game Articles

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by Britton Peele

It’s kind of hard to believe that Sony’s PlayStation 4 has already been out in North America for an entire year. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve, anxiously waiting for the next generation of video game consoles to arrive.

But a year has indeed passed, and for Sony it’s been a pretty good one. The PS4 passed the important 10 million units sold milestone back in August and continues to sell very well. And for good reason. It’s a solid console with a solid library of games — even if we’ve seen some of them before on other systems.

Maybe you bought a system a launch. Maybe you waited until more games were available. Maybe you’ve been putting it off and it’s at the top of your Christmas list this year. Whatever the case, if you’ve got one or are in the market for one, you need games to play on it. So here are the games that I, personally, think are the best games available for the PS4 at its one-year anniversary mark.

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inFamous Second Son– “Infamous: Second Son is the PlayStation 4′s first truly great exclusive.

It’s not that the system doesn’t have good or even great games, but this open-world, super powered adventure is the first game that I’ve loved that isn’t available on any other platform. And while its gameplay basics might not demand a lot of power from the PS4′s hardware, Second Son is also one of the first games on these new consoles where it was easy for me to say, “Yes, these graphics are a lot better than what they would have been on the PS3.” I’m not usually one who cares much about how games look, but at several points during playing Second Son I just had to stop and say, “Dang, that looks so good.”

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Wolfenstein: The New Order — “Without playing it, The New Order might look like any other first-person shooter, and in some ways it is. The weapons you would expect (shotguns, assault rifles, etc.) are all here, you can lean out of cover, you can dual wield guns and toss grenades… Nothing especially revolutionary there. But it’s a great blend of those modern shooter conventions with a mix of classic FPS sensibilities and a few newer twists that help keep things strategic and fresh.”

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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – I’m pretty sure Shadow of Mordor was made after someone looked into my brain and said, “This guy sure likes Lord of the Rings and Assassin’s Creed a lot. Is there a way to put those two things together?”

And it worked. Shadow of Mordor is not only a fantastic open world action game, but it’s also got a unique hook in its “nemesis system,” which results in personal feuds with a bunch of high-ranking orcs that each have their own traits and personalities — and they’ll remember you as much as you remember them.

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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – Coming off of the relatively disappointing Assassin’s Creed III, Black Flag surprised many by just how good it was. It’s a pretty big departure from the earliest games in the series, which focused on cities dense with buildings and crowds, but this seafaring pirate adventure is a blast from beginning to end.

In an ideal world I’d be recommending Assassin’s Creed Unity here, which just came out this month. And honestly, I like Unity quite a bit (more than some other reviewers, apparently) and think it’s worth playing. But it’s got quite a few problems (both technical issues and in problems with design), and as a whole, Black Flag is a better game. No, it won’t blow you away with the kind of “next-gen graphics” you might expect out of your new system, but it’s a highly enjoyable time.

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Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition – The reboot of the Tomb Raider series really caught me off-guard when it debuted on the last generation of consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3). I was never been a huge fan of Lara Croft’s adventures, and honestly I didn’t expect much from this fresh take. But Tomb Raider hooked me quickly with great exploration, satisfying combat and a story I actually found relatively interesting. Turns out I’m capable of caring about Lara Croft after all. Who knew?

So it’s not a new game and may not be worthwhile for old fans, but Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition earned its title with improved graphics and new features that made me more than happy to play the game again.

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The Last of Us: Remastered – Like Tomb Raider, The Last of Us isn’t new… But dang it, it’s still good. Leave it to the people behind Uncharted to make a game about zombies (more or less) that doesn’t feel horrifically tired or cliched. It may have the good dose of action like you’d expect from most major video games, but The Last of Us really shines in its quiet moments — moments that have more emotion than you might expect from the medium.

If you missed this one while it was exclusive to the PS3, now’s your chance to see what the fuss was about.

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Transistor — “The second game from small, independent developer Supergiant Games, following in the footsteps of their hit Bastion (one of my favorite games of 2011), Transistor is a sci-fi RPG that in many ways is better if you don’t know much going in. The story in particular — one of the main draws of Transistor as it was for Bastion – works better if you learn as you go. It begins in the world of Cloudbank with a girl, Red, who appears to have lost her voice. The very first action of the game involves picking up a talking sword-like weapon, the Transistor, which serves as your friend, instructor and narrator, all to great effect.

And then you run. What are you running from? Why can this sword talk, and how does it know you? Who took your voice, and why? These are all questions the game throws at you immediately, and it’s worth answering them at the game’s own pace.”

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Destiny — This one comes with some caveats: From a pure gameplay standpoint, Destiny is outstanding. Bungie took everything that made Halo’s combat a blast and ramped it up, making moving and shooting feel great. But its multiplayer-focused gameplay runs into some issues of repetition, and if you can’t stand playing through the same environments (and fighting the same enemies) over and over again, Destiny might not be for you.

If you’ve got a good group of friends, though, and want a little MMO in your FPS, you could certainly do worse than Destiny. It’s the kind of game that’s good if you need something you can stretch out for hours — not if you want something with a simple beginning and end.

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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – It feels a little weird to be recommending, as a console game, a PC RPG that originally came out in 2012. But the console version of Diablo III is fantastic, and the Reaper of Souls expansion pack content makes the entire experience much better than it was two years ago.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare — If you had told me a year ago that a Call of Duty game would be one of my favorites on the PS4, I would have looked at you funny. The series is wearing a little thing for me, and last year’s entry, Ghosts, was pretty average.

But Advance Warfare pushes all the right buttons for me. The near-future technology that gives you skills like a dash and a double jump makes the mere act of getting around the environment a blast, and the gameplay overall is nice and fast. Furthermore, the story (starring a virtual Kevin Spacey in a role that he nails) is more interesting than I expected it to be.

Other worthwhile games:
Velocity 2X
The Binding of Isaac
Alien: Isolation
Minecraft

Family friendly games:

Getting a PS4 for the whole family? Here are a few games that are more aimed at all ages.

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Skylanders: Trap Team — This year’s Skylanders game is the best yet, though it might feel like more of the same if you’ve been playing them to death with every game in the series. If you need a break from the tried-and-true adventure, though, Trap Team also includes a new tower defense-esque mode that focuses entirely on fighting enemies.

The only downside? Even compared to previous Skylanders games, buying everything in Trap Team is very expensive. This is due in part to the elemental traps — small, $5 toys that can be used to trap different boss monsters in the game — as you’ll need a variety of them if you want to catch all the different types of bosses out there.

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Disney Infinity 2.0 – “If you are someone who liked the original Disney Infinity and loves the Marvel universe (or have a child who does), then this sequel is a no-brainer. It’s a big improvement over last year’s solid foundation, and the character roster this time around will appeal strongly to a different kind of nerd.

It’s still not perfect. For one thing, load times for Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes tend to be exceptionally long, at least on the PS4 copy I’ve been playing on. Many of the missions in the play sets (including one based on The Avengers, which comes with the game’s starter pack) can also get repetitive, boiling down to similar “Run here, fight enemies, maybe solve a very simple puzzle” quests that don’t offer a ton of depth or originality.

But it would be hard to deny that all the improvements in this 2.0 edition of Disney Infinity, of which there are many, make for a better experience overall.”

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Lego: The Hobbit — I’m naming The Hobbit here because it’s my personal favorite of the recently released ones, but really any of the Lego games are worthwhile.

Things to look forward to:

Dragon Age: Inquisition — Dragon Age just missed the “one year” window (it comes out November 18), but it’s received a great deal of critical acclaim and looks to be the a fantastic RPG for the PS4.

Far Cry 4 — Like Dragon Age, Far Cry is releasing just after the PS4′s one year anniversary. Also like Dragon Age, reviewers seem to dig it so far, though they’ve noted that it’s very similar to Far Cry 3 (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

Bloodborne — The spiritual successor to Dark Souls just got pushed back from early February to March 24, 2015, but it has the potential to be one of next year’s first great releases.

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