The PlayStation 4 is a machine of real beauty. Released in 2013 to critical acclaim and noted for its glorious technical performance, it’s sold over a hundred million units in under a decade.
And while its successor, the PlayStation 5, launched last year, the PlayStation 4 still offers a vast and intricate library of excellent games. All of which are of course, compatible with the PlayStation 5.
These include the likes of eerie cosmic horrorBloodborne and soulful apocalypse simulator The Last Of Us. Not just a place to play the latest AAA games, PlayStation has also crafted a multitude of platform-exclusive releases, including the otherworldly God of War – which sees you battling gods and monsters alike in a Norse mythology-inspired world.
One of the main advantages of PS4 gaming over using a PC is ease of access, whether you download titles or buy physical copies of games.
Unlike a PC, you won’t need to upgrade a PlayStation 4 with gear to keep it up-to-date. It’s one of the fastest and easiest ways to get gaming out-the-box.
We’ve tested a swathe of titles to put together our round-up of the best PS4 games out right now. In order to make the list, games had to exhibit a wide range of gameplay, while also showcasing the most majestic aspects of the console’s technical capability.
Whether you’re looking for grisly Old West antics, haunted soul-searching, or tentacled horrors from the beyond, we have the PS4 games for you.
The best PS4 games 2021
Best free PS4 game (with PlaystationPlus) – God of War: £24.99, Playstation.com
Best RPG game – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: £32.95, Amazon.co.uk
Best VR game – Resident Evil 7: Biohazard: £15.99, Playstation.com
Best action-adventure game – Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice: £24.99, Playstation.com
Best survival game – Red Dead Redemption 2: £24.99, Argos.co.uk
Best co-op game – Bloodborne: £20.18, Amazon.co.uk
Best shooting game – The Last of Us: £15.99, Playstation.com
Best single player game – NieR: Automata: £34.99, Playstation.com
Best multiplayer game – Until Dawn: £11.97, Currys.co.uk
Best open-world game – Ghost of Tsushima: £30, Amazon.co.uk
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
‘God of War’
Best: Free PS4 game (with PlaystationPlus)
Mythological hack-and-slash adventure series God of War has entertained the console crowd for years with seven titles. But none were truly prepared for its latest offering, which delivered emotional complexity and soaring one-shot cinematic nature along with captivating gameplay.
Set in the world of Norse mythology – and all the vast serpents, tricksy gods and epic ice-capped mountains associated with it – you play ex-Greek god of war Kratos, whose wife has just died. Your young son, Atreus, accompanies you on a journey to fulfil her last wishes. Over the course of the quest, stoic, rage-fuelled Kratos works through his grief and grows genuine affection for his boy, as he teaches him the art of fighting (and chatting to) monsters and gods alike. You’ll meet all sorts of interesting characters, included but not limited to a decapitated head that talks, all while releasing god-like fury upon your foes.
Buy now £24.99, Playstation.com
‘The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’
Best: RPG game
Met with universal acclaim from the games critics,The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the finest role-playing games (RPGs) available on PlayStation 4 right now. You play the silver-haired Geralt, a grizzled fighter who uses the dark arts to slay monsters. You must traverse a colourful yet dark fantasy world inspired by Slavonic mythology to find your missing daughter, who is fleeing the mysterious and deadly Wild Hunt. An enthralling action game, you’ll find yourself battling monsters and upgrading otherworldly skills.
As an RPG, the game also features a maze of different choices and open-world exploration. Your decisions will determine one of numerous endings. Additionally, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is up there with Western classic Red Dead Redemption 2 in terms of sheer scale: we sank hundreds of hours into its mammoth fantasy world.
The Witcher 3 currently has £10 off at Amazon.
Buy now £19.99, Amazon.co.uk
‘Resident Evil 7: Biohazard’
Best: VR game
Among one of the most horrifying entries of the wildly popularResident Evil series, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is essentially a grim slasher movie. A survival-horror, it sees you playing a non-distinct chap named Ethan, who is searching an abandoned and derelict mansion in the swampy, fly-infested backwaters of Louisiana for his wife. The house is, predictably, filled with cannibal maniacs fuelled by sadistic glee, and their curious “inventions”. You’ll have to survive the mansion, while also investigating a horrible mystery, and grabbing whatever weapons you can.
Genuinely terrifying and beautifully directed, Resident Evil: Biohazard is sure to please fans of horror games and films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre alike. It’s challenging but also thrilling, its terse atmosphere builds near constant tension. Honestly, it’s one of the scariest experiences around.
Buy now £15.99, Playstation.com
‘Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice’
Best: Action-adventure game
A deep and moving adventure game that explores everything from Celtic mythology to mental health and the nature of grief, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a game like no other. It follows Pict warrior Senua, on a stygian odyssey to save the soul of her lost lover Dillion from the Norsemen that killed him. You’ll roam strange plains, battle folk-horror style monstrosities and face off Darkness itself. We found it to be a truly intense experience, and one of those rare PS4 games that moves into art.
An action-adventure, the protagonist suffers from psychosis, which she believes to be a curse. One of the ways this is represented is through an eerie and compelling narration, as all the voices inside her head speak over the gameplay, and visual hallucinations. They are brutal and ceaseless, a constant chatter that permeates even in battle. Senua’s tragic backstory is also revealed throughout, making the game a very personal, empathetic experience overall. At its centre, is the raw and vulnerable performance of its heroine.
Buy now £24.99, Playstation.com
‘Red Dead Redemption 2’
Best: Survival game
The finest cowboy simulator around, Red Dead Redemption 2 takes you on a gigantic tour of the Old West, complete with plenty of bandits, shoot-outs and hungry wolves. It’s a bleak tale that serves as a prequel to the original Red Dead Redemption. You play as Arthur Morgan, a gang enforcer trying to keep the Van der Linde gang alive after a heist goes wrong and they find themselves on the lamb.
As well as its savage narrative, morality plays a key part in Red Dead Redemption 2, with your actions affecting your honour rating. You’ll have to make tough decisions at times, whether that’s what to do with hostages or ways to keep your group alive.
We love that the world is one of the biggest ever seen in games, with a treasure trove of side-quests along with a cinematic ongoing narrative. There’s a real joy to be found galloping on its sun-drenched, sometimes bleak and snowy, plains. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a visceral, yet hugely polished experience that takes you to another world.
Red Dead is currently £22.99 at Argos – the cheapest it has ever been.
Buy now £22.99, Argos.co.uk
Best: Co-op game
A cosmic horror nightmare from the same folks that created the legendary Dark Souls game series, Bloodborne is a punishing dark-fantasy action game steeped in miles of eerie, grimly captivating lore. You play a hunter, seeking the cure for a horrible plague that is destroying the decrepit (and delightfully gothic) town of Yarnham.
Along with the disease, come an array of hideous and deadly monsters. You’ll fight these with a range of increasingly deadly weapons, while also unravelling the secrets of the dark and terrible world you’re trapped in through exploration. You’ll need a lot of patience, determination and attention to detail to stay alive in its haunted reaches.
Inspired by the likes of HP Lovecraft and Bram Stoker, Bloodborne is a compelling action-game that also packs incredible storytelling, whether through its rich atmosphere, or its wild and weird mythology. Cursed town Yharnam is exquisitely rendered, and we found it a sinister joy to explore. Be warned though, it’s a hard game that requires time to master – but the payoff is totally worth it.
Buy now £29.99, Playstation.com
‘The Last Of Us’ Remastered
Best: Shooting game
InThe Last of Us series, the world is overtaken by a grisly mutant fungus that turns folks into hostile killing machines. The first instalment’s opening is a front row seat to the end of the world, and things only get more intense from there. An action-adventure, there’s lots of brutal combat, head-pounding escapes and a soulful story to boot.
The Last Of Us is generally considered one of the best games of all time, and its epic story continues with its direct sequel, The Last Of Us 2. We found it to be utterly heart-rendering, its narrative quality on par with a dark sci-fi film. The main story follows what happens 20 years after things go under. Protagonist Joe, now a smuggler, is charged with a very important cargo indeed: a young girl, who he must escort across what’s left of the US. The world now is formed mostly of quarantine zones crawling with cops, nomadic groups and occasionally, friendly settlements.
Buy now £15.99, Playstation.com
Best: Single player
On first appearance, NieR: Automata looks a little too much like a kinky-anime RPG, complete with doll-faced protagonist. However, it’s actually an existential tale drenched in ultra-violence, philosophy and pitch black humour. It follows the wild journey of a combat-android and her companions through a world ruled by machines. Beset by aliens, humanity has scarpered off to the moon, leaving an android army to fend off the invaders.
A genre-bender: it predominantly features action, but through different playthroughs, switches into other genres, including brawler and text adventure. It’s not always the most seamless transition, but captivating nonetheless. Curiously, you have to play through it multiple times, the game changing on each play. The battles themselves are frenetic, smooth and jam-packed with enemies. Overall, NieR: Automata is a gorgeous, and rather strange, experience.
Buy now £34.99, Playstation.com
Best: Multi-player game
A choice-based adventure game where your actions tend to have terrible and unforeseen consequences, Until Dawn sees you controlling eight young adults desperate to stay alive in a mountain lodge and its surrounding, definitely cursed, woods. It also includes a captivating storyline steeped in everything from native mythology to college politics.
Cinematic (it comes complete with movie star voice actors) Until Dawn runs along at break-neck pace, and actually feels like you’re playing your very own horror film. Along with making dialog decisions for the characters, you’ll also need to work out how they navigate through the world and what general actions they take. These decisions are often under high pressure, with timers and expert button mashing required to instil tension. These will also culminate and cause other events later down the line. You will reap as you sow.
It’s no easy task to keep them all alive, as the doomed youngsters find themselves preyed by some hideous threats. Most likely, plenty of your characters will die, and you’ll get to one of the unique endings with only a couple left in tow.
Buy now £12.95, Amazon.co.uk
‘Ghost of Tsushima'
Best: Open-world game
Set in 13th century Japan, Ghost of Tsushima is the perfect PS4 game for anyone who’s ever dreamed of being a roaming samurai. Drawing from the cinematic epics of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, you play Jin Sakai, a samurai charged with protecting Tsushima Island from the relentless and brutal invading Mongols. In order to do so, you’ll need to master underhanded tactics that are apparently at odds with the honourable ways of the samurai.
What follows is cinematic gameplay with a unique fighting system that sees you using wild new tactics to fend off the Mongols once and for all. As well as stealthing and assassinating, you’ll also enjoy intense one-on-one duels reminiscent of films likeYojimbo.
Ghost of Tshushima is an atmospheric deep-dive into the world of feudal Japan, and an excellent homage to samurai tales generally. An open-world action game, it has sold over five million copies thus far, and was met with critical acclaim.
You can currently get Tsushima for £20 less at Amazon right now.
Buy now £54.99, Playstation.com
PS4 games FAQs
When did the PS4 launch?
The PS4 is the successor to the PS3 console and was first launched in North America on 15 November 2013. It was then released in Europe, South America and Australia on 29 November 2013.
What is PlayStation Plus?
PlayStation Plus is a subscription service that can run across one-, three- or 12-month payment plans. With it, you can access exclusive monthly games such as Fortnite and Apex Legends and use its online multiplayer service so you can play with friends (even if they don’t own the game themselves) along with 100GB of cloud storage which will save your game progress.
Monthly payments are £6.99, or £19.99 every three months, or you can pay a single, annual fee of £49.99.
Can you play PS4 games on PS5?
Yes, the new PS5, launched on 19 November 2020, has been made to be backwards compatible with more than 4,000 PS4 games, however, some functionalities that were available on the PS4 console may not be available on PS5 consoles. As a result, some PS4 games may display errors when played on a PS5.
Therefore it’s recommended to make use of the PS5 console's “game boost”, which will allow PS4 games to run with a smoother or higher frame rate and make for easier play.
Can you play PS3 games on PS4?
The PS4 on the other hand is not backwards compatible and so you cannot play PS3 games using a disc or download from the PlayStation Network Store.
A way around this is by using PlayStation Now, which is a streaming service that allows you to play PS3 games on PS4 over a wifi connection. In order to do this, you need to download the PlayStation Now app from the PlayStation Network Store with an internet connection of 5Mbps or faster.
How do you delete games on PS4?
To free up storage space on your PS4 to make room for new games, you will need to uninstall them. This can be done by finding the game you want to delete on the games menu and select delete in the options menu and simply confirm.
How to gameshare on PS4
If you want to share your gaming experience, progress or score with others, you can use the “share” button on your PS4 controller to do so.
This will allow you to screenshot or capture video content mid-game and share on social media before picking up where you left off. You can access all your screenshots and video clips in the capture gallery.
If you want to gameshare with friends and family, you can select settings in the PS4 menu, scroll to “account management”, pick “activate as your primary PS4” and select “activate”. In order to do this, you will need to deactivate your own PS4 console as the primary console. Doing this will allow access to all the games in your library on your friend’s console.
How to get a refund on a PS4 game
If you are unhappy with a game you’ve purchased, you can claim a refund within 14 days. However, you will not be eligible for a refund if you have already started to download or stream what you’ve bought unless it is faulty.
In order to request a refund, you will need to fill out this form on the PlayStation website.
Are PS4 games still being made?
PS4 gamers rejoice! Although everyone is scrabbling to get their hands on the elusive PS5, it seems that PS4 games are still going to be made and released by Sony. A number of PS5 games, like Spider-Man: Miles Morales will also be released on the PS4. As for new titles, Hideaki Nishino, Sony’s head of platform planning, implied in an interview with AV Watch that new PS4 games will be made for at least two more years.
The verdict: PS4 games
God of War is among one of the finest games ever made, and draws you into an epic odyssey that’s just as gripping as it is deep. The rich rendering of Norse mythology is a treat in and of itself. Special mention goes to Bloodborne, which creates a distinct, dark fantasy world that is as unnerving as it is beautiful, and complements its bleak gothic charms with hard action gameplay that is a grim delight to master.
For a game that’s easier to play, but comes with all manner of vicious consequences, horror adventure Until Dawn is absolutely the best – and just as fun to play by yourself as it is with friends, despite being a single-player game.
We also reviewed the best PC games to play right now