Now that Ghost of Tsushima has released, all the Playstation exclusives for this generation are out to be compared, discussed and ranked. I have played almost all of the exclusives this generation, but with exceptions like Until Dawn ignored as that game is essentially ‘Jump-Scares: The Game’, which is definitely not for me.
This week let’s run through the best five exclusives that Sony brought this console cycle, and of course this list is personal to me so let me know yours in the comments below. Small disclaimer – I am talking more about games that aren’t available on Xbox One as some of these have received PC support since their initial launch.
5) Detroit: Become Human
I know a lot of people are seeing this game as an entry on the list and dismissing my opinion as simply wrong. Wait! Hear me out..
We all like movies, I think we can agree on that point. What Detroit: Become Human brings is a flexible movie with a great premise that allows you to make it play out as you see fit. There’s no putting the Dualshock to one side and letting the game play itself as you are responsible for almost every step the characters take, and every word that comes out of their mouths.
Flicking between playing as three different androids, each with different struggles and ambitions, players are given absolute power over how each of them reaches or doesn’t reach theirs and the overarching close of the story. I have only completed one playthrough so far but I know that my next is imminent as I thoroughly enjoyed the version of the story I had when I played it originally.
The game is packed with memorable moments such as the tense hostage situation in the game opening, rescuing Alice from her abusive father, clawing Marcus back from the brink of death / android death and literally every interaction between Lieutenant Hank Anderson and Connor (I’m the android sent by Cyberlife (memes are great)).
If you let the memes or the stigma around David Cage games stop you from experiencing this diamond in the rough then it should most definitely be your next game. If nothing else, do it for the memes.
4) Ratchet and Clank
My only real criticism of this game is that it’s too short, which in a way is more of a backhanded compliment. Bursting onto the scene in 2016 as one of the most colourful and fun shooters we had seen in a long time, Ratchet and Clank brought a bombastic arsenal across a variety of endearingly eccentric planets that had gamers playing through it multiple times. They might not have needed to play it multiple times if it had been a better length, but I digress..
Every gun in this game feels incredibly fun, responsive and satisfying to use, and the cartoon critters that you’ll spend most of your time shooting at are equally as fun to dodge the attacks of and to generally make a menace of yourself jumping and flipping all over the place. The story has plenty of funny moments too, even if it is largely based on the original game of the franchise that launched in 2002!
For one of the most fun shooters of the generation, that is suitable for all ages, Ratchet and Clank very much deserves to be on your radar.
3) God of War
This game will be on 99% of lists for the greatest Sony exclusives of this generation, the lonely 1% comprising of those for whom the charm and heartfelt story doesn’t quite come across. (Yes Luke, I’m speaking at you directly in articles now.)
Even though this game only launched in Spring of 2018 I have already played through it to completion three times, with a fourth playthrough on the horizon even as I write this. The combat is so simple yet so deep that I can’t help but keep coming back for more, and the boss fight against the Valkyrie Queen right at the end of the post-game is *chef’s kiss* poetry in motion. The sudden difficulty spike to those who had been cruising through the game until that point gifts you the biggest feeling of elation possible when conquered outside of the Dark Souls series (I am told, again Luke I’m aiming this at you), and is most definitely a gaming memory I will never forget.
The dramatic shift in demeanour and tone in Kratos when compared to previous God of War titles is night and day, and further proof if such a thing is needed that game director Cory Barlog is a gaming treasure and must be protected at all costs. New God of War 2 cannot come soon enough, and I will participate in all the Norse rituals I must in order to bring it closer to release.
2) Horizon Zero Dawn
There is a moment very early on in Horizon Zero Dawn that still gives me chills when I see it. You know the one. Young Aloy is running and climbing across various obstacles, and as she takes a particularly difficult leap as the camera pans across you see her jump as a child but land as an adult. Similarly to playing as Ezio from the second of his birth in Assassin’s Creed 2, this moment of playing as Aloy when she is very young and the sudden jump to adulthood makes players feel invested in her story from the word go.
The open world of Horizon Zero Dawn is full, diverse and gorgeous, and even now at the end of the Playstation 4 era is unmatched for quality. While I concede that Ghost of Tsushima is a flawless visual masterpiece under certain conditions, Horizon Zero Dawn can be relied upon to look breathtaking in every frame no matter what time of day it is, or where you find yourself in its world.
The combat has players covered from every angle. Do you want to play stealthy, stick to the high ground (it’s over Anakin!), and execute enemies with a pinpoint precision, then go right ahead and do that. Would you prefer to bathe all those around you in blood, fire and death (like a Respawning picnic)? If so this is also catered for, and with a diverse and fun selection of weapons, I am yet to reach a point after two full playthroughs of being remotely close to bored of it.
The story is mysterious, deep and massively fulfilling, and I have never met anyone who is in any way dissatisfied with their experience on this tremendous title. For years I didn’t think any game could topple Horizon Zero Dawn from its lofty perch as my favourite exclusive game of the generation, until along came..
1) Death Stranding
Quite possibly the biggest and best surprise of this generation came in the form of the first game from developer and auteur, Hideo Kojima, after being released from the player base hating and unquestionably evil Konami. Surprising nobody, when you let a wacky guy make a game with no supervision you get a wacky game, and so far I confess I am still underselling Death Stranding so allow me to fix that.
With a name that is also his job, and a baby in a tank strapped to his chest that detects ghosts, you play as Sam Porter-Bridges, portrayed by clearly Kojima’s favourite actor, Norman Reedus. Sam is a delivery man on a journey travelling from the west coast to the east coast of a post-Trump, sorry, post-apocalyptic America building bridges as he goes to reconnect a country who has been cut off from each other by nothing less than a second Big Bang.
The open world of Death Stranding is equally as beautiful as it is terrifying, as at various points throughout the story Sam will be set upon by hostile ghosts called BT’s (Beached Things) who would very much rather he didn’t continue building bridges or delivering things. BT’s can be avoided by paying attention to the cries of the baby (called a ‘BB’ in-game) I mentioned earlier, as they can detect BT’s before Sam is attacked by them.
As if further proof was needed that this game is weird, for those who aren’t philistines who disable the speaker on the Dualshock controller, you can hear BB’s cries through the controller itself, adding a whole new level of unsettling immersion only possible by the mind of Hideo Kojima.
The story, which I won’t discuss here, is appropriately as gripping as it is chilling, and I know without a shadow of doubt that those who invest the time and effort into Death Stranding will not be disappointed.
I made Pokemon Shield my game of the year for 2019, but only because I didn’t play Death Stranding until this year, and now not only is Death Stranding my game of last year but it is also one of my favourite games of the last decade.
Thank you for reading my choices for the best five Playstation 4 exclusives. I am very interested to find out what your top five are so let me know in the comments or on my Twitter @MaliceVER. Thanks again for reading and I’ll be back to speak to you soon.