The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt sets a new standard for open world RPGs. Its shockingly cohesive world is as beautiful as it is demanding, and it's packed full of mature content that throws you from one emotional response to the next. Its storytelling is superb, its combat is grippingly refined, and its often unforgiving nature only lends itself to a brilliantly rewarding experience. In an industry that's flooded with so many by-the-book open world titles, Wild Hunt stands out as a true labour of love from a developer that's uncompromisingly passionate about its creative freedom. Geralt's incredible adventure is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Journey remains one of the most cohesive titles to grace PlayStation. A sumptuous art style and a stunning soundtrack fuse to create an experience that's flawless from start to finish. Its story never utters a word, yet it has more to say than most scripts, and its handling of social interaction eschews tradition in favour of eye-opening anonymous bonding. Enhanced visuals and a silky smooth framerate made possible courtesy of the PS4's power make this the definitive edition of the release, and put simply, Journey is still one of the greatest games ever made.
Persona 5 sets the benchmark for modern Japanese RPGs: it oozes style, charisma, and polish quite unlike anything we've played. With this fifth entry, the series' trademark formula of dungeon delving and socialising has been perfected. Addictive, engaging gameplay, incredibly endearing characters, and a consistently rewarding narrative loop combine to create a spectacularly cohesive whole – whether or not you're already a fan of Persona. A masterpiece from top to bottom.
An utterly engrossing slice of content, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone is a superb addition to an already incredible RPG, and is further proof that developer CD Projekt Red is at the absolute top of its game.
CD Projekt Red has released three masterpieces within the space of a year. Alongside Hearts of Stone, Blood and Wine ensures that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is, without question, the role-playing game to beat going forward. Toussaint provides a gorgeous new location that's a joy to explore, and the sun-soaked land houses enough engrossing content to put many fully priced retail releases to shame. Geralt's last hurrah is a pleasure to experience; a fitting end to a stunning achievement.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is Rockstar's best game, and it's gripping from start to finish.
God of War Ragnarok is phenomenal. Even amongst PlayStation Studios' typically stellar output it's a showpiece - a masterfully crafted game that smashes expectations at almost every turn. The sheer, often ridiculous scope of Ragnarok makes 2018's God of War feel like a prologue - and that's perhaps the highest praise we can bestow upon a sequel.
Set aside a good few weeks of your life, because the Inquisition takes no prisoners when it comes to your free time. An RPG that manages to successfully tie an engrossing, engaging narrative to a vast, explorable world, BioWare's fantasy epic is one of the studio's greatest achievements. With superb writing and rewarding gameplay, Dragon Age: Inquisition offers just about everything that you could want from a genre that's been sorely missed on the PS4.
It comes as no surprise that Grand Theft Auto V on the PS4 is the same great game that millions of us have already played, but thoughtful additions, both big and small, mean that it's easily the definitive edition of Rockstar's stellar creation. Los Santos feels more alive than ever, and whether you're a frequent visitor or not, we'd recommend booking a seat on the next-gen flight if you haven't already.
Bursting back onto Sony platforms with a vengeance, Samurai Warriors 4 cuts down Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition and KOs Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate. Boasting a superb story mode, a delightful cast, and countless improvements to the Warriors formula, musou fanatics shouldn't even blink before buying. Move over Lu Bu, the Demon King won't be beaten any time soon.
Several small gameplay niggles and the unexpected absence of a couple of modes prevent FIFA 14 from attaining the perfection of Barcelona's passing statistic – but that doesn't stop the series' PS4 debut from sitting at the top of the league in terms of atmosphere, immersion, polish, and attention to detail. This is not only the most well-realised soccer simulation on the market, it's also one of the best launch titles available for Sony's next generation system.
Fallout 4 is a masterclass in open world design. Consistently engrossing and absolutely stuffed with intricacies, it's a title that'll keep you enthralled for hours at a time as you gradually unravel its desolate yet hopeful post-apocalyptic portrayal of Boston. Although it's let down by some disappointing frame rate issues, it's not enough to detract from what's otherwise one of the most atmospheric and beautifully brutal games on the PS4. Significantly improved combat, a constant wealth of gameplay options, and a heavy emphasis on player choice combine to create an adventure that's truly memorable.
An incredibly enjoyable action RPG, Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below is easily one of Omega Force's most polished productions, as it oozes charm that's amplified by fantastic presentation. Combat is accessible, satisfyingly punchy, and hides depth at higher levels of play, while there's plenty of content to keep you busy after you've seen the well paced story through. Even if you're not a fan of Warriors-style gameplay, we'd still heartily recommend Dragon Quest Heroes to anyone on the lookout for a joyous jaunt in a lovingly made fantasy world.
Tearaway is a handheld masterpiece, and a shining example of how unique hardware features should be handled. Its short running time is mostly overshadowed by its compelling mix of platforming, combat, and personalisation – a brilliantly crafted gameplay combination that'll keep you glued to the wonderful world that Media Molecule has created. This papercraft adventure is easily one of the best that you'll unfold on Sony's portable system.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a near perfect reworking of a PS2 masterpiece. The game's not without its minor flaws, but overall, this is a startling reminder of how magical Square's beloved series can be.
Not all aspects of Final Fantasy IX hold up perfectly in 2017, but the PSone swansong is still a stone cold classic. Although you could argue that the PS4 port should do more to enhance the experience, the adventure's core strengths in world building and storytelling remain, and they're as flawless as ever. When all's said and done, masterpiece is still a word that we'd use to describe Final Fantasy IX.
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life tells a truly gripping tale – a story that blows most games out of the water. Combine that with a refined combat system and a new engine capable of making the game's world feel more alive than ever, and you've got a stellar Yakuza title. Although the experience does feel a little stunted in places outside of the main plot, this is still a fitting final chapter. Yakuza 6 is a gloriously dramatic send off for one of the greatest characters in modern gaming.
Utterly stunning in motion and effortlessly capturing the essence of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a masterful video game adaptation. Its combat system is relentlessly entertaining, fusing anime sensibilities with traditional, competitive fighting game mechanics, and its accessible controls allow anyone to get in on the action. If the online portion of the release holds up, then we'd dare say that this is just about the best anime fighting game ever made.
Dragon Quest XI sticks to what it does best, offering a traditional Japanese RPG experience that's simply a joy to be a part of. It's an old school adventure wrapped up in gorgeous current-gen visuals, but it's the lovable characters that win the day. The game's fit to burst with personality, wit, and charm, superbly localised and meticulously crafted. It may not push the genre forward, but it's peak Dragon Quest, and it's absolutely one of the best RPGs on PS4.
Devil May Cry 5 is quite easily one of the best action games on PS4. Flawless in the execution of its often jaw-dropping combat, it's a masterfully crafted title that begs to be played over and over again. Stunning presentation helps sell some of the coolest cutscenes going, and the story ties the series together with style. Among a sea of uninspired open world outings, Devil May Cry 5 is an explosion of character and laser-focused excellence. Capcom is well and truly back.