The PS4 is famously home to a series of excellent exclusives, with the various studios under the PlayStation banners rarely delivering sub-par titles. But what are the top 6? That’s the purpose of this article, to determine the best PS4 exclusives! Let’s get into it.
Quick note, I thought about making this all about my opinion, having played most of the big boys by now. But instead I’ve decided to head over to Metacritic and see what those had to say. So these top 6 aren’t decided by me, they’re decided by the internet! As of writing this sentence, if The Last of Us Part 2 isn’t #1, this whole list is a sham. Also, unlike our personal review list last week, I’m allowing remasters. I make the rules, no further questions.
Metacritic Scores (Average Overall Score of 92.5):
6) Astro Bot Rescue Mission (90/100)
PSVR has been somewhat of a mixed bag for PlayStation. A few killer apps, like Beat Saber, Blood and Truth, Tetris Effect, and a few more besides, makes the budget VR headset a worthy purchase, but PlayStation has a low attach rate of 5-6 million sales, out of 120 million PS4s. Yeah that’s a wild percentage.
But Astro Bot Rescue Mission is a true shining light for PSVR, providing a top shelf hardware exclusive. It’s also the reason that the wonderful Astro’s Playroom exists as a PS5 title. This cutesy little platformer has you guiding a robot through 20 levels and a number of mechanics inspired by the DuelShock 4 and its motion capabilities. A deserved #6 on this list of the best PS4 exclusives.
I didn’t actually PLAY Astro Bot Rescue Mission, so I’m pulling a quote from Dan Crowd’s review at IGN:
“It’s hard to overstate how incredibly different and exciting Astro Bot Rescue Mission’s new perspective is for the platform genre. The depth of the PSVR’s 3D leads to some truly incredible moments, like when Captain Astro leaps from eye level down to a trampoline metres below, only to bounce up and over your head.”
“The challenging platforming and natural implementation of VR make it one of the most interesting and genuinely new-feeling games in recent memory. Astro Bot Rescue Mission delivers on the potential of PSVR and is a must-buy for owners of the device.”
5) Shadow of the Colossus (91/100)
Originally released in 2005 for the PS2, this PS4 remake was developed by Bluepoint Games. The same Bluepoint who recently gave the same treatment to Demon’s Souls.
The remake was home to completely new assets, made from the ground up, while Bluepoint largely left the gameplay untouched, and produced one of the best ps4 exclusives.
Based around a quiet character named Wander, you spend the game trying to take down Colossi to save the life of a girl called Mono. The original Shadow of the Colossus is widely regarded as one of the best games ever made, and incredibly influential for many modern games.
The remake justified its existence with an overhauled control scheme, and completely updated visuals, music, and general presentation. It also reminded people why the game from 2005 is so universally loved. Again, this is one I sadly haven’t had the chance to play, but I’m pulling a quote from Marty Sliva’s review over at IGN:
“Shadow of the Colossus for PlayStation 4 is a stunning return to the classic that first wowed us on the PlayStation 2 in 2005. With completely redone art and spectacular lighting, it expertly captures the original’s unique beauty, awe-inspiring scope, and absolutely heartbreaking story while simultaneously fixing a handful of imperfections.”
4) Bloodborne & Journey (92/100)
Bloodborne was the first PlayStation exclusive FromSoftware title since Demon’s Souls in 2007, and boy was it a winner. Featuring zero negative reviews on Metacritic, and only one ‘mixed’ review, to call Bloodborne a universal success, and one of the best ps4 exclusives, would be understating the situation.
Featuring the low-key storytelling that made their previous games so popular, Bloodborne is filled to the brim with Lovecraft inspired writing, creepy enemies, and a gorgeous artstyle quite unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere.
Following up Dark Souls 2, which hasn’t aged very well, Bloodborne is nearly timeless, performance aside. People are still crying out for a patch to bring the game up to current standards, especially on PS5. The fast paced action-RPG gameplay swung the Dark Souls formula upside down. By ditching defensive gameplay, and introducing reactive counter-play, Bloodborne introduced a new range of fans to FromSoftware products forever.
Kyle reviewed Bloodborne for our website, so I’m pulling this from that article:
“Bloodborne is a dark and daunting experience that’s home to some of the most challenging boss fights throughout video games. With the gothic victorian inspirations lending a hand toward its gorgeous visuals, Bloodborne is an infinitely repayable experience, that’s only bolstered by its addictive combat loop.”
Journey originally released in 2012, to a crescendo of positive reviews and experiences by reviewers and consumers in equal measure. It’s one of the first examples of “passive cooperation” I remember seeing in video games, not unlike the mechanics in Death Stranding or Dark Souls.
Using a matchmaking mechanic that allowed players to find a partner at the same stage in their journey, it also prevented you from sending messages to them, chatting to them, or even seeing their name until the end credits. Players can co-operate to progress through the levels until the end, or even complete it solo.
Making “greatest games of all time” lists worldwide, Journey is repeatedly lauded for its artstyle, score, and cooperative nature. Journey won awards everywhere, including 2012’s Game of The Year at the DICE Awards. The 2015 remaster just brought this wonderful experience up to date, and allowed PS4 owners the chance to play it as it was meant to be played, all over again. Describing one of the best PS4 exclusives around, here’s an excerpt from Kevin VanOrd’s review over at Gamespot:
It was my eighth playthrough and the tears still streamed, almost inexplicably; Journey is a song without words, reliant on its rapturous presentation and liberating movement to stir your mind and move your heart. With many games, I have wished that I could play them again for the first time–to experience that buzz that inevitably diminishes with each return visit. I will never need to waste this wish on Journey, however: each pilgrimage is as bittersweet as the last. How appropriate, given the game’s theme of death and rebirth, that it feels so sorrowful, so joyous, and so true, each and every time.
3) Uncharted 4 & The Last of Us Part 2 (93/100)
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The Uncharted games are famous for doing what Tomb Raider games periodically failed to do – provide a cinematic, fun, satisfying third person action-adventure title. In many ways, Uncharted 4 is the peak of that sentiment. It’s in no way a believable game, or even a game that makes a whole lot of sense, but it’s a real testament to the level of polish and detail that can be achieved in a video game. This isn’t the only Naughty Dog game on today’s list, not by a long shot, so buckle in.
Following the closing chapter of Nathan Drake’s life, this last game is a high stakes, high action jaunt around the world, complete with larger than life risks, characters, and set-pieces. Incredible visuals and acting, combined with rock solid third-person shooting mechanics, make Uncharted 4 a video game to be appreciated, and certainly one of the best PS4 exclusives. While I don’t personally rate it as highly as many people do, and that goes for the Uncharted series in general, the sheer quality throughout is undeniable. I’m pulling this quote from Mike Mahardy’s review over at Gamespot:
“Yes, this is a thrilling adventure through exotic locations, with spectacular action sequences and a pacing that pulls you through with ease. I had a smile on my face the second it began. But it’s also a story about family. It’s a story about self-examination. It’s a story about making sacrifices for the ones you care about.
And most of all, as its final moments make clear, this is a story about storytelling–the importance we lend our idols, legends, and myths. How we pass down the ones that inspire us. How an old photo of three friends sitting on a pile of gold can unleash a flood of memories. Uncharted 4 is a challenge to the medium. In its writing, in its design, in its understanding of what makes games unique, Uncharted 4 is something to aspire to. It’s a shining example. And we’ll be talking about it for years to come.”
The Last of Us Part 2
See? Like I said at the start, this game isn’t at the top which makes this entire article a sham. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.
I’m joking, of course. The Last of Us Part 2 didn’t land as completely with critics as the original in 2013, and then the remaster in 2014. That’s fine though, you can read my 98/100 review if you wanna find out how much I loved it, and why I obviously think it’s one of the best PS4 exclusives.
Simply put, I think The Last of Us Part 2 is Naughty Dog’s magnum opus. The video game that best showcases all of their talents within one product. It’s gorgeous, brilliantly written and acted, and puts on display a sheer level of overall quality that no game has matched. I’m seriously itching for a next-gen patch as an excuse to go and play it again, and again, and again. The only example of a sequel that makes the original worse (except Mass Effect 2), The Last of Us Part 2 is a must play. Here’s an excerpt from my review:
“The Last of Us Part 2 is a bold and unique step forward in both storytelling and gameplay for Naughty Dog, and video games in general. Contesting for not only the best looking, but also the best directed video game of the generation, Ellie’s and Abby’s tale is one that might be hard to experience, but one that you’ll be glad you did.”
2) God of War (94/100)
God of War. Before 2018 the name invoked memories of a button mashy, DMC-lite action game about Greek mythology. Post-2018, and the game brings thoughts of a top tier story, wrapped in a near-perfect combat and general gameplay loop, with some of the most immersive directing of any game in memory.
To say that Sony Santa Monica outdid themselves would be the understatement of the decade. God of War 2018 opened up the franchise to a group of gamers who have become accustomed to huge cinematic epics, and brought with it the deep lore retained by Kratos’ story. Not only that, they managed to make having a sidekick not annoying. A true miracle in video games.
If there was one game that could compete with my high thoughts of The Last of Us Part 2, it’s God of War. Everything from the tight and varied combat, to the meticulous one-shot camera, to the clever manipulation of Norse mythology, it all works so damn well. Far better than it ever had any right to. If you haven’t, play God of War, it’s an unforgettable experience, and truly one of (possibly THE) best PS4 exclusives. Here’s the header from my review:
“A game years ahead of its time, God of War 2018 is a fantastic meld of everything you loved about the original titles, but matured and improved up to today’s standards, and then beyond it. Surpassing almost all expectations, God of War is a system seller for the PS4 and an absolute must-play for anyone who owns the platform”
1) The Last of Us: Remastered & Persona 5: Royal (95/100)
The Last of Us: Remastered
To say that 2013’s The Last of Us is a popular game is like saying Football is a popular sport, or that Game of Thrones did ‘pretty well’. The Last of Us is the game I remember making people look around at Xbox and Nintendo and go “no-one else is doing this”. That’s also the same sentiment that carried the PS4 through its vastly successful 7 years.
The Last of Us is one of the greatest games ever made and is still utterly brilliant even now. Back in 2013 the third-person action and stealth was up there with some of the best, the acting was on a level that no-one had seen in a video-game, and the focus on quality was evident from minute one. Zombies were fast becoming an old commodity, something that studios leaned into when they were out of ideas. Franchises like Dead Rising and Left 4 Dead were dead or dying.
The Last of Us took the ideas, and crafted them into something that made sense in a modern video game and something that, ultimately, stood the test of time. It’s still a game that, 8 years later, I would be happy to sit down and play. That’s a huge achievement, and one that deserves respect. Here’s an excerpt from my “Gem Vault” review:
“Complex character relationships and decisions are hard to craft in a video game. Creating a story that’s emotionally relevant, sensitive, and believable, while still juggling a post-apocalyptic scenario in a videogame is an achievement that cannot be understated. Doing all this while avoiding cliches and predictability is something else entirely.
The Last of Us is one of the best narratives to grace video games, and arguably Naughty Dog’s greatest achievement. It really is a real gem.”
Persona 5: Royal
Fun fact, I actually had Persona 5 on this list tying at #3 with The Last of Us Part 2 and Uncharted 4. At a cool 93/100 on Metacritic, that’s a score worthy of respect. But then I remembered that Persona 5: Royal exists – the game that somehow charges full price for some extra content on top of the original game and no-one bats an eyelid.
Of course that version is at 95/100, which places it at #1 along with The Last of Us: Remastered. I’m sure Kyle will be very happy with this turn of events.
The long running JRPG series, developed by Atlus, is one known for its deep relationships, questionable imagery, and huge focus on visual style and flair. It says something that, despite never playing one in my life, I just know that Persona is a good series. That takes some doing. It could be said that Persona 5 was the peak of the franchise back in 2017 and, by extension, that means that Persona 5: Royal is, what, one of the best JRPGs ever made? Well, yes, apparently so.
Featuring a bunch of extra content, like new characters, a new palace, a playable third semester, and native support for the capabilities of the PS4 Pro, this version is the most ‘complete’ version of Persona 5 – a big screw you to purchasers of the original in 2017. Except no-one cares, because that’s just what Atlus does apparently. What a weird world we live in. This is an excerpt from Leana Hafer’s review for IGN:
“Persona 5 was already a strong front-runner for being the best JRPG ever made, and Royal really gets me wondering what else could even compete. The excellent story and its lovable, multidimensional characters along with the challenging, tactical combat are all refined and back for another round with new surprises and new friends in tow. There are new areas to explore and new twists to leave your jaw on the floor. Very little has been left untouched, and just about everything that has been touched is better off for it. The Phantom Thieves have stolen my heart all over again, and I don’t really want it back.”
Well that cuts it for the Metacritic scores, not bad at all. Worth mentioning now that I also checked out OpenCritic for THEIR highest rated PS4 exclusives, just for the purposes of being thorough, you know? Also, bear in mind that Metacritic converts all scored and even unscored articles to their 100 point system – something I’m still against.
1 – God of War (95/100)
2 – The Last of Us: Remastered & Persona 5 Royal (94/100)
3 – Journey & The Last of Us Part 2 (93/100)
4 – Shadow of the Colossus & Uncharted 4 (92/100)
5 – Bloodborne (91/100)
6 – Dreams (89/100)
Safe to say that’s a list of games that could keep you busy for as long as it takes to find a PS5 on the market huh! Only a few differences between OpenCritic and Metacritic this time around, with God of War taking the top spot, and Dreams entering at 6th. Other than that the lists are near identical.
So, onto the big question! If YOU were to name the best PS4 exclusives, what would they be? Let us know in the comments! The Xbox edition of this article will be out on Wednesday, so until then, have a fantastic week!
I’ve been playing video games in some form or another for nearly two decades. My favourite campaign of all time is Halo: Combat Evolved and my favourite multiplayer of all time is Overwatch, with a dash of Halo 3. Huge lover of everything gaming, no matter the platform or source, and I enjoy a story driven campaign like nothing else!