- Red Dead Redemption
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls
Tiny Brains may not appear to the most sophisticated game for a next-gen console, but it just about does enough to earn its place in the early stages of the PS4's life-cycle. It may be too short, but it attempts to make up for that with a decent variety of extra modes and a very well implemented group dynamic. A decent little puzzler with a good sense of humour and, more importantly, a sense of its own identity, Tiny Brains is worth picking up and blasting through over a weekend or two, but without friends you'll only be getting half the package.
We expected big things from the studio behind Mark of the Ninja and Shank, and in Don't Starve, we got them. It's a wonderfully dark survival-craft game with great scope for emergent, unique experiences, even if it will make you rage occasionally. The UI betrays the PC roots and can be a little hard to use on a smaller TV, and there are those who will find Don't Starve just too mean-spirited to fully appreciate, but as an intentionally unforgiving survival sim with a sinister twist, it absolutely excels.
Without question, the full retail price is too high for a slightly shinier version of a game you clocked 10 months ago, but if you missed the original release for whatever reason, or even played it back in March last year and really feel it's worth another go around, the Definitive Edition is recommended.
Longevity is added by a huge amount of collectibles, from trinkets and rare treasures to documents and newspapers, but if you fancy leaving the story behind for a while you can enter the challenge maps and test yourself against the world in online leaderboards. There's an array of challenges (both timed and otherwise) that will test your skills and earn you bragging rights if you know how to use the shadows right.
Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition is like the utter antithesis of The Last of Us, a top-down Left 4 Dead-alike that ignores pansy ideas like human emotion or common sense in favour of stuff that explodes and makes other stuff explode. It's colourful and loud and a ton of fun either alone or with friends, and is probably one of the best zombie blasters released in recent years. A guaranteed hit for anyone with an itchy trigger finger that needs scratching.
Like any good game in the Metal Slug-style, Mercenary Kings is by turns maddeningly frustrating and wonderfully cathartic. A special brand of distilled mayhem keeps the pace fast and the payback high as Kings rewards you for every foray into its deadly world. But its unwillingness to fully explain its crafting element, the inconsistent mission design and the odd teeny-tiny bug hold it back from perfection. Still, the leaderboard system and simple, gung-ho mechanics ensure that it remains good fun until the over-long campaign eventually out-stays its welcome.
Strike Suit Zero is a solid space shooter that offers a well-crafted balance between arcade blasting and tactical challenge. Unless you're a fan of dog-fights and sci-fi, you're unlikely to give Born Ready's console port a second glance, but if you're after a user-friendly blaster with a decent lifespan and enough variety to stave off the tedium often inherent in the genre, then this comes heartily recommended.
Although a decent jaunt for fans of either franchise, this is an example of a game created purely because the developers had the means to create it. This franchise is no longer essential, and there is serious work to be done if TT want their over-fed baby to remain fresh and current, and not merely soullessly lucrative. An enjoyable romp in of itself then, but by this point no one but kids and fans need really apply.
Square Enix's Final Fantasy-themed MMO doesn't get everything right, even on PS4, but the things it does well outweigh those it doesn't, and the end result is a fun and engaging open world RPG with some great multiplayer options that don't really come into their own until end-game.
Almost as simple as a shooter can get, Puppygames' space blaster owes its success to our inability to be satisfied by a personal best. The premise and genre make more sense on the Vita than the PS4 (though options are always nice to have), but Titan Attacks is charmingly simple and hugely playable on any format.
Like Of Orcs and Men before it, Bound by Flame is an uneven mishmash of decent new ideas and painfully generic genre tropes that struggle to gel, yet somehow it blunders through to deliver a mostly enjoyable adventure. Bound by Flame had a great deal of potential but it feels half-realised, and this is simply not the epic adventure we were promised.
Though it falls foul to the old FPS bane of occasionally stupid AI, Wolfenstein delivers a story-driven campaign experience that manages to be less po-faced than Shadow Fall and more consistently enjoyable than either Ghosts or Battlefield 4. Killing Nazis never looked or felt so good and, let's face it, what else really matters?
For all its shortcomings, Murdered remains an enjoyable romp. The lack of direct combat never becomes an issue, and the pacing of the main plot is just right. What immersion is lost through lazy NPC behaviour and limited interaction with the world is gained back by dint of the wonderfully sinister atmosphere and the likable leads. Not an instant classic but likely to do well in cult circles, Murdered: Soul Suspect is a new approach to an old genre. On the whole, there's not enough substance to make a second playthrough viable, so the value for money is questionable, yet the mystery as it stands is well worth investigating.
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition doesn't get much wrong throughout, and the inclusion of new levels and enemies adds longevity to an already great experience. It can be a little repetitive if played for long periods, but the unique and likeable art-style and effortlessly enjoyable combat carry it through.
MouseCraft is a likeable but simple puzzle game that barely touches the complexity of the two titles it claims to take inspiration from. Far too repetitive and too easy to work out, it's better suited to a handheld than a larger console and isn't likely to hold your interest for long unless you're really hankering after a rodent-based puzzle game and can't get hold of Lemmings. A little darkness and complexity would have gone a long way here, but as it stands MouseCraft just isn't involving enough to heartily recommend.
Sniper Elite 3 is the best example of its genre, full stop. A fantastic sharpshooting experience is interspersed with more considered, more competent stealth and action, and the array of tools and tricks available to Karl Fairburne is impressive indeed. While you're not often able to go for broke and "play your own way", there are enough routes through missions and enough open ground to really use the environment to your advantage. Overall, Sniper Elite 3 is a solid shooter that improves on everything that was good about Sniper Elite V2 and ditches most – though perhaps not all – of the bad. This should go down as a genuine triumph for Rebellion.
If anyone knows how to bring a classic onto modern stage, it's Just Add Water. Not just an excellent port of a great title, but a solid game in its own right, Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty is fully able to proudly rub shoulders with any puzzle-platformer released in the last ten years.
Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition is the game Diablo fans deserve. Granted, there are still areas to improve – Adventure Mode, for example, still feels a little like an experiment rather than the finished article – but this is as close to perfect as we've yet been. Still the undisputed King of the Action RPG lootathon, Diablo 3: RoS adds so many tiny little bonuses alongside the major changes that you can't help but admire Blizzard's dedication and perseverance.