Congrats! You are now the owner of a beautiful, hopefully not bouncing PlayStation 4. You might have a few must-have games in mind, or you might not — the point is, you don't have to worry. We've put together a healthy mix of console titles, from AAA open worlds to bite-sized indie experiences, action to strategy, and so on, to dig through.
Here are some of our favorite PlayStation exclusives (with some bonus multiplatform titles) to get you started.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End: Nathan Drake's (supposedly) final adventure is a beautiful way to say goodbye to the plucky treasure hunter and his likable comrades. Not only that, Naughty Dog's unsurpassed PS4 audiovisual wizardry is a gorgeous way to show off what Sony's console is capable of. If you're new to PlayStation ownership and need to catch up on Drake's adventures, there's always The Nathan Drake Collection, which includes three single-player campaigns in one modestly priced package. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
Bloodborne: From Software's trial by death is a dear friend around these Polygon parts, even snagging our No. 2 spot for 2015's Games of the Year. As a hunter in the Gothic city of Yharnam, you ... actually, you know what? Let's skip all that. The best thing about Bloodborne is learning how to master its difficulty; to become the kind of player who gets knocked down and right back up again. You'll suck at it until suddenly you don't anymore, and that transition is absolute bliss. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
Ratchet & Clank: Relive some classic shoot ‘em up platforming action with Insomniac Games' lavish remake of the original Ratchet & Clank for PS4. It's ideal for old and new fans alike, and it's appropriate for all ages to boot. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
The Last of Us Remastered: In addition to improving the general quality of Naughty Dog's critically acclaimed action-adventure survival game, the Remastered edition of The Last of Us also includes the fantastic Left Behind expansion. This is the definitive edition, one that redelivers one of the best games of the PS3 generation with all its bells and whistles. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
Rocket League: Rocket League may be one of the most approachable sports games ever, because it's about hitting big balls with fast cars. It's as ridiculous as it sounds, and I mean that in a good way. It even manages to make soccer interesting. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
Valkyria Chronicles Remastered: Sega's stylish tactical role-playing game didn't find much of an audience when it was released on PlayStation 3, but thanks to a PS4 remaster, more tactically minded players will have the opportunity to experience Valkyria Chronicles. If you're looking for something a little deeper, give Valkyria Chronicles Remastered a turn. (Buy it on Amazon)
Infamous: Second Son/First Light: Modern-day superhero story Infamous: Second Son continues the series tradition of being a really fun game that lets you blow shit up. There's a choice-and-effect element to it as well, but zipping around the city using powers of smoke, neon and more makes this an enjoyable action game. Its stand-alone DLC, First Light, is equally strong in this sense, but adds an extra bonus of exploring the backstory of one of the game's best characters. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
For something ... a little different
Dragon Quest Builders: Think Minecraft with, you know, goals. Square Enix's action role-playing game pairs resource collecting and block-based building with slash ‘em up exploration in a big, colorful world. This is one of the PS4's overlooked gems from 2016. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
Inside: This dark puzzle platformer is perfect for a weekend play through. Experience one of the most harrowing and surprising games of the year with developer Playdead's follow-up to Limbo. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture: A game for those of you ready for a quiet apocalypse from the makers of Dear Esther. The end of the world has come and gone, and players are left to figure out what's happened through third-person exploration. Everybody's Gone to the Rapture is quiet experience that rewards your attention with a journey that's surprisingly emotional and, at times, personal. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
Until Dawn: Supermassive Games' thrilling piece of interactive fiction revels in every slasher film trope, ever. Players are dropped into a familiar "scary cabin in the woods" scenario, and then charged with keeping a group of friends alive. If you're really bad at it (and you probably will be, at least a little), you'll get everybody murdered. That's what makes it so compelling. Your choices and actions are key to staying alive, making every playthrough a new challenge of its own. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
The Talos Principle: It's hard to talk about how good first-person puzzle game The Talos Principle is without sounding like a snob, so I'll let our reviews editor, Arthur Gies, take the fall for me. It has "a mystery and a secret at the heart of the game, an interesting philosophical debate in its story and even [in] its game design on the rules of a system and what it means to be human." (Read Polygon's review)
For the PC haters
Look, I don't blame you. I'd much rather play a game on my consoles than my creaking, questionably performing computer, too. Although these titles are also PC hits, you can grab them for your PS4 right now.
Overwatch: While PC gaming enthusiasts will swear by mouse and keyboard, Blizzard's hero-based shooter plays just fine on a PS4. Overwatch is wildly popular for a bunch of reasons: it's easy to jump into, its characters are charming and fun to play with, and Blizzard continues to update the game with new heroes, maps and special events months after launch. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
Doom: Again, you could play Doom on a PC, but id Software made sure that the console versions play at a smooth 60 frames per second too — a requirement for playing something this fast-paced and action-packed. Doom honors the original games by focusing on great gunplay and tons of gory action. There's also a multiplayer mode. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
Transistor: Like its predecessor, Bastion, Supergiant Games' Transistor features isometric gameplay and the smooth sounds of actor Logan Cunningham. The game follows Red, a young woman who's lost her voice, as she uses the titular Transistor — a giant talking sword — to fend off enemies and attempt to restore peace. Transistor is a beautiful game with a surprisingly deep combat system and a simple story to tell. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
Soma: Soma is set in a research facility under the sea, where players search for clues to what's happened and how to escape. Unlike most horror games, it isn't about jump scares. Players can't fight back against enemies, meaning they'll have to run, hide and carefully plan how to proceed when they encounter monsters. It also packs one heck of an existential crisis as you start to unravel its story. (Read Polygon's review)
Volume: Volume, the latest from Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell, is both a modern retelling of Robin Hood and an elegant puzzle game. It tackles the big questions about heroism and villainy while offering smart stealth and experimentation. (Read Polygon's review)
The multiplatform hits
If you already own an Xbox One or a PC, or even any of the previous-generation consoles, chances are you might have already picked up one of these games. But we'd be remiss if we didn't offer a few quick words on some of our favorite multiplatform titles.
- Titanfall 2: Respawn packs a lot of punch into Titanfall 2: a strong single-player campaign and a solid suite of online multiplayer modes. Best of all, you can get it pretty cheap, thanks to frequent markdowns. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
- Grand Theft Auto 5: Come on. You know what this is — a sprawling, violent open-world adventure and an ever-evolving online playground where you can attempt elaborate stunts wreak havoc with millions of other players — right? (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
- Destiny: Bungie continues to improve its online shooter, and with the release of Rise of Iron, the game's fourth (and possibly final expansion), there's a whole lot to do in Destiny these days. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
- Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain: There's a lot to love about Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear swan song, from its outlandish action and downright ridiculous characters to its more concentrated, calculated stealth elements. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor: Shadow of Mordor sets up the best Lord of the Rings-driven plot we've ever had in a game, on top of offering endless foes in the form of revenge-seeking AI. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: The Witcher 3 is a beautiful, massive game that offers a considerably better story than its predecessors and a captivating world to sink tens of hours into. (Read Polygon's review | Buy it on Amazon)