- Shenmue II
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Super Mario 64
Konami is effectively taking a year off because it knows it has the basis of something special here and it wants to ensure it makes an effective transition to the PlayStation 5; we can respect that. But with barely any changes and the abovementioned licensing shortcomings, we’d recommend you just pick up last year’s game for a couple o' quid instead.
In pursuing pro players, NBA 2K21 may be a little too intimidating for more casual players. Nevertheless, this is an obscenely detailed simulation that captures the ebb-and-flow of real-world basketball with unrivalled authenticity. It's also enormous, and while some aspects have been left untouched, the likeable story and revamped MyTeam modes mean that it's worth the upgrade. The in-game economy, which is heavily influenced by lucrative microtransactions, continues to be a sour spot – and it remains to be seen how much life this release will have with a next-gen successor right around the corner. Still, even with all of these drawbacks, it's comfortably one of the best sports games available on the PS4.
Madden NFL 21 is stagnant, and while football fans will find things to enjoy, it's not like there's an alternative option available. The Yard is a genuinely promising addition, and we're looking forward to seeing how it evolves over the course of this season – and future games. But an embarrassing story and an untouched Franchise mode mean that it's the only real reason to upgrade. And while Madden Ultimate Team continues to be a time sink, the stale state of the on-field simulation means that this year's game fails to find its intended receiver.
Train Sim World 2 is unquestionably an acquired taste, but even if you're not a railway enthusiast, there's a relaxing release here that we recommend. Once you get to grips with how to operate the various locomotives, there's a tangible satisfaction to kicking back for 60 minutes with the hum of the engine in the background, as you travel cross-country through urban and rural routes. We've already lost dozens of hours to this title, and with the base package merely representing the beginning of its journey, we suspect we'll be spending a lot more time behind the controls of some of the world's most famous trains.
PGA Tour 2K21 is the best simulation golf game on the PS4, and it represents a real evolution for The Golf Club franchise as a whole. While it retains many of the features from previous instalments, it's much better presented than ever before, and it finally includes a career mode that's worth your time and attention. There are still improvements to be made here – the licensed courses lack character and the visuals are static – but if this were a long par five tee shot it'd comfortably find the fairway.
EA Sports UFC 4 is not a massive departure from its predecessor, but it's a significantly better game. EA Vancouver has successfully recognised the way fans want to play, and with its array of arcade-inspired options and emphasis on Career mode, it will appeal to casual fans of the sport as well as MMA obsessives alike. While the ground game still needs work, it's much more approachable now, and we really like the fast-paced Blitz Battles as an accompaniment to the more traditional online ranked matches. The presentation has stagnated somewhat, but combat still feels appropriately crunchy, and with rotating challenges to hold your attention, we can see ourselves sticking with this brawler for some time.
Once you overcome Skater XL's learning curve there's some fun board-based entertainment to be had here. But this is a lightweight package with subpar presentation, and unless you're so deep into skater culture that you absolutely need a simulation for your PS4, we'd recommend either waiting for this to be updated – or pre-ordering Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 instead.
The Last of Us: Part II adds a couple more inches to the already outrageously high bar that Naughty Dog has set for itself. This is the developer's crowning achievement to date, expanding and improving upon the concepts that it's been iterating on for over a decade now. Unparalleled presentation combines with an engaging gameplay loop that puts you in the shoes of its characters – and forces you to feel all of the tension and misgivings of its cast. It's uncomfortable and not everyone will necessarily enjoy its direction, but that's ultimately what makes it so essential.
You may be tired of open world collectathons, but Maneater bites back with more than enough novelty to make the format feel as fresh as Port Clovis' well-populated oceans. A moreish gameplay loop with a well-designed sandbox mean there's some-fin special here, and while it makome as a surprise, not even control and performance issues will deter you from flashing your teeth.