The best PS4 games in 2021

Best PS4 games: Ghost of Tsushima

The best PS4 games run the gamut from pensive, surreal experiences to action-packed epics. Whether you’re looking for immersive single-player adventures, chaotic multiplayer matchups, or engaging cooperative experiences, the PS4 has a game with your tastes in mind. Of course, it’s not hard to understand why. The PlayStation 4 has been out for seven years, and during that time, it’s built up a library containing thousands of games. Not only that, but Sony has led the way in exclusive titles, so the PS4 is the only way to experience new classics like God of War (2018), Spider-Man, and Bloodborne.

Of course, the PS4 can’t last forever, and the PS5 is already here to replace it. Don’t worry, though; thanks to widespread backward compatibility, the vast majority of PS4 titles are playable on Sony’s new console. Whether you want to play these games now or save them until later, you’ll have the tech to do so.

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Read on to learn about the best PS4 games, and see which ones you think you’d enjoy. And if you want to share some of these games with your friends, then here’s how to game share on PS4.

What are the best PS4 games?

As with any other platform, it’s very hard to quantify the best PS4 games. One man’s masterpiece is another man’s clunker. Even so, it’s possible to make some broad recommendations, based on the types of games that players generally enjoy.

For action-adventure games, it’s hard to beat God of War (2018), which casts players as Greek demigod Kratos on an exciting quest through the mystical Norse lands. Not only is the gameplay tight and replete with customization options, but the story is legitimately heartfelt and touching. This one is an easy recommendation, particularly if you’ve played the rest of the God of War series up until this point.

Superhero fans need to check out Spider-Man, which is one of the absolute best adaptations of the classic Marvel comic. Unlike some of the recent movies, Spider-Man on PS4 emphasizes Peter Parker’s New York roots and his interesting supporting cast. From Otto Octavius to Mary Jane Watson to Aunt May, Spider-Man’s story is full of three-dimensional renditions of the characters we’ve come to love from the printed page.

The Ratchet & Clank series has always offered some of the best platformers around, and Ratchet & Clank (2016) is no exception. This game is a reboot that ties into the thoroughly disappointing animated film, but don’t worry; the video game adaptation got the better part of this deal. Ratchet & Clank feature tough platforming, satisfying combat, and a story that will have both kids and adults in peals of laughter.

The best PS4 games also include multiplatform titles to enjoy, from RPGs like The Witcher III: Wild Hunt to fighting games like Mortal Kombat 11.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for multiplayer titles, check out the best split-screen PS4 games. Or, if you don’t want to spend any cash, you can grab one of the best free PS4 games. And if you need more storage space for all these new games, you can invest in one of the best external hard drives for PS4 and Xbox One.

The best PS4 games you can buy today

 Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the latest entry in Ubisoft’s long-running action/stealth series, and it’s another solid one. This time, you’ll take control of Eivor: a Viking warrior in medieval England, who must establish a new home for his clan. You’ll explore a variety of warring kingdoms, assassinate key targets, do battle against dangerous Saxons and even participate in Viking rap battles known as “flyting.”

While Assassin’s Creed Valhalla looks and plays wonderfully on the PS4, your copy will also entitle you to a PS5 version, which has better lighting, richer HDR colors, and a smoother frame rate. You save data will carry over, too, but be warned that transferring achievements can be a little wonky.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla won a “highly recommended,” honor for “best PS5/Xbox Series X game” at the Tom’s Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.

 Death Stranding

Death Stranding is undoubtedly one of the weirder games to come out in 2019. But it’s also one of the best PS4 games, particularly if you enjoy Hideo Kojima’s unique brand of unhinged futurism. In the game, you take control of Sam Bridges, who delivers supplies to survivors on a post-apocalyptic Earth. The titular “Death Stranding” unleashed a race of extradimensional creatures, which raise some extremely existential questions about life, death, and the nature of power in the post-apocalypse.

One of the interesting things about Death Stranding is that the gameplay is extremely understated. A lot is simply traveling from one place to another, and creating infrastructure to make your trips easier. How well your deliveries go will influence how you can build up to Sam’s abilities, which can help you carry more items and build your reputation with non-player characters.

Devil May Cry 5

Eleven years after Devil May Cry 4 hit shelves, Capcom has finally released a sequel worth waiting for. Devil May Cry 5 is a confident, stylish action game that’s satisfying for long-term fans and welcoming to newcomers. Playing as supernatural warriors Dante, Nero, and V, you’ll fight enormous, grotesque foes with a gorgeous combination of gunplay, swordplay, and platforming. It can be a difficult game, but once you find your rhythm, combat is its own reward.

The gameplay is particularly satisfying since as you rack up higher combos, the soundtrack will change and become more elaborate to reflect your success. Devil May Cry 5 is a gorgeous, rewarding experience, and well worth a look if you’ve ever had an affinity for the series. And if you’re a newcomer, you can catch up with earlier titles in the Devil May Cry: HD Collection, also on PS4.


LittleBigPlanet is great, but what if you could make your own entire games instead of just platformer levels? That’s the idea behind Media Molecule’s Dreams: a robust creation suite that lets you craft characters, structures, pieces of music, short films, and even full-length games. While Dreams is arguably more of a development tool than a full-blown game, there’s still plenty of fun to be had crafting the surreal gaming experiences you’ve always wanted for yourself.

The game’s rich editing tools are complemented by handy tutorials, whether you’re looking to make a simple platformer or a deep multiplayer role-playing game. And if you’d rather just play, Dreams serves up a nonstop buffet of fresh community experiences, many of which are curated by Media Molecule itself. As with any user-generated content, there’s more chaff than wheat, but the Media Molecule team does a good job highlighting the interesting stuff.

 Ghost of Tsushima

The pitch for Ghost of Tsushima makes it sound like an Assassin’s Creed game. It’s an open-world action/stealth game with a story based on real-world history. You take control of Jin Sakai: a samurai who fights against the Mongols during their 13th-century invasion of Japan. Where Ghost of Tsushima distinguishes itself from similar open-world adventures, though, is in its incredible sword fighting. The combat in the game is simply superlative, with lots of techniques to employ, gadgets to use and strategies to learn.

Admittedly, the game can drag a bit toward the middle, as it leans hard into familiar sandbox tropes: collecting doodads, solving mild platforming puzzles, riding from place to place on a horse, and so forth. But even though the game is broad, it’s still admirably deep, with plenty of ways to customize your character. It’s also got a thoroughly decent story about honor, duty, and sacrifice — all fitting themes for a samurai narrative.

Ghost of Tsushima won “best story” and “best boss level” at the Tom’s Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.

God of War

After a five-year hiatus, the God of War series is back, and it’s very different. Kratos, formerly a living ball of rage, is now a family man, trying to balance his deicidal past with his devotion to his adolescent son, Atreus. Leaving Greece behind, Kratos now occupies Scandinavia — and that means, among other things, that there’s a whole new host of mythical beasts to slay. From trolls and ogres to undead horrors and even Norse gods, Kratos’s new enemies put his skills to the test constantly.

While the story questions whether Kratos’ violent past was fully justified, the gameplay is as satisfying and visceral as ever, pitting the demigod against all manner of trolls, sea monsters, and dragons. It’s a bold new direction for a beloved series, and easily one of the best PS4 games you can buy.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn has it all: an interesting open world, a creative story, a relatable protagonist, a variety of challenges, and, of course, a whole host of giant robot dinosaurs. You’ll be able to topple these massive beasts, as well as a variety of human enemies, with a bow and arrow and plenty of other melees and ranged weapons.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world that has had time to become lush once again, Horizon Zero Dawn tells the story of Aloy: a pariah from her tribe, who nevertheless becomes a master of the bow and spear. As she explores the dangerous world around her, she learns that she may play a pivotal role in changing it for the better. It’s one of the best PS4 games that’s exclusive to the system, although it’s now available to play on PC as well.

 The Last of Us, Part II

The Last of Us, Part II is an ambitious sequel to a beloved game. As such, it was always going to be divisive — and that’s probably just what the developers intended. In this post-apocalyptic action/adventure game, you take control of Ellie, who embarks on an epic quest for revenge across the remnants of the western United States. Grown-up and elevated from “sidekick” to “protagonist” status, Ellie has to rely on her own skills and decide when (or if) revenge slips past “necessity” and into “obsession.”

The story in The Last of Us 2 has quite a few interesting twists and turns, but the gameplay supports it beautifully. With lots of ways to customize and upgrade Ellie, and a bevy of options for stealth, combat, and exploration, The Last of Us 2 makes use of big, creative levels and intelligent enemies of both the human and Infected varieties. With gorgeous graphics and moving voice acting, it’s not hard to see why The Last of Us 2 is one of the best PS4 games you can buy.

The Last of Us 2 won a “highly recommended” honor for “best story” at the Tom’s Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.

 Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat has had its ups and downs over the years, but Mortal Kombat 11 demonstrates that the series still has plenty of surprises to offer. In addition to a solid story mode and tons of unlockable single-player content, Mortal Kombat 11 offers refined, strategic one-on-one fights. Instead of testing who’s memorized the most super-moves or how quickly players can mash an attack button, this game prioritizes distance, variety, and judicious application of limited super-moves.

Of course, Mortal Kombat’s hallmark gore is back in full force, with some extremely over-the-top fatalities, sure to test even the most hardened stomachs. This may be a selling point or a deal-breaker, depending on your tolerance, but it’s good to know that the series hasn’t toned itself down over the years. Overall, MK11 is simply an excellent fighting game, with a little something for everyone

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

You may have played the games in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition before, but never with this level of polish. This remastered collection includes Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3, as well as almost all of their associated DLC packs. (Pinnacle Station for the first game seems lost to the caprices of time, but everything else is present and accounted for.) If you’ve never played the Mass Effect games before, now is the perfect time to start — and if you have, this is a good excuse to revisit them.

For those who aren’t familiar with Mass Effect, it’s a trilogy of sci-fi RPGs from BioWare. You customize a military hero called Commander Shepard, then recruit a team of human and alien experts from all around the galaxy. Together, you take on a race of synthetic organisms called the Reapers, intent on wiping out all sentient life in the Milky Way galaxy. How the story goes is largely up to you, depending on whether you want to play as a rule-abiding Paragon or a vigilante Renegade.

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition won a “highly recommended” honor for “best story” at the Tom’s Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.

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The Outer Worlds

For those who pine for the days of Fallout: New Vegas and the Mass Effect trilogy, there’s The Outer Worlds. This first-person RPG casts you as a colonist in the Halcyon solar system, pitted against a handful of powerful corporations that will do absolutely anything to maximize profits, no matter who suffers along the way. With action-packed gameplay, tons of options to resolve quests non-violently, an affable cast of party members, and a story that reacts profoundly to the choices you make, The Outer Worlds is one of the best games of its type in years.

One thing that separates The Outer Worlds from similar titles is that your party members aren’t just there to help in battle; you can customize your character to fall back on their abilities, both in and out of combat. Various skills and perk


Overwatch isn’t just a PC gaming sensation; it’s also available on PS4. Just in case you’ve missed the massive hype: Overwatch is a multiplayer FPS, with a huge, colorful cast of characters. Whether you like diving headfirst into a firefight, setting up traps to confound your enemies, or keeping your allies alive and healthy, there’s a character to suit your tastes perfectly. Maps are large, and each one gives you a different objective, whether it’s escorting a moving payload, capturing a flag, or conquering enemy territory.

Overwatch is quite remarkable in that it appeals to the hardcore esports crowd, the everyday multiplayer crowd, and the Tumblr fanfic/fan art crowd in equal measure. If you haven’t tried it yet, the PS4 version has a vibrant and active community — although you’ll need a PS Plus subscription to play.

 Persona 5

When it comes to RPGs, there simply isn’t anything else out there like Persona 5. From its gorgeous anime cutscenes to its smooth, jazzy soundtrack or even little things like the in-game UI and battle menus, Persona 5 is dripping with style. Unlike a lot of other RPGs stuck in fantasyland, Persona 5 is set in contemporary Japan with all the trappings of modern society, and its story is exquisitely crafted too. And with Persona 5 only available on PS4 and PS3. this game is an exclusive treat that PlayStation owners would be foolish to ignore.

More recently, Atlus released Persona 5 Royal: a slightly updated version of Persona 5 with smoother gameplay and a few additional challenges to tackle. If you’re a newcomer, Persona 5 Royal is arguably the version to get — and if you’re a veteran, you may want to check it out to see what’s changed.

Persona 5 Royal won a “highly recommended” honor for “best music/sound” at the Tom’s Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.

Ratchet & Clank (2016)

Don’t let the abysmal film spoil your enjoyment of the game. Ratchet & Clank (2016) reboot the classic platformer series in style, pitting intergalactic adventurers Ratchet and Clank against the nefarious Chairman Drek and his planet-destroying weapon. No, this game doesn’t continue the excellent, ongoing space opera that the previous Ratchet & Clank games set up, but it’s an excellent place for newcomers to start.

With tight controls, a variety of goofy weaponry, and a thoroughly enjoyable story, Ratchet & Clank is a perfect entry point for both kid and adult newcomers to the series. From ray guns to rocket launchers, to weaponized disco balls that make everyone dance, the weapon variety alone is enough to carry the game. Ratchet & Clank is also a Sony exclusive, meaning that it’s one of the best PS4 games that you can’t get elsewhere.

Red Dead Redemption 2

It’s been a long time coming, but Red Dead Redemption 2 is finally available on the PS4. That means dozens — maybe hundreds — of hours spent wrangling horses, gunning down outlaws, chasing bounties, and generally exploring the Wild West as bank robber Arthur Morgan. As a member of the deadly Van der Linde gang, Morgan must evade federal agents while carving out his own piece of history during one of the most tumultuous eras in the United States.

There’s a ton to do in Red Dead Redemption 2, from engaging in firefights with outlaws, to exploring the wilderness, to taming horses, to undertaking quests for various townsfolk and settlers. With deep gameplay systems, an ambitious story, and a fully-realized setting, Red Dead Redemption 2 demands a lot of time but offers plenty of satisfaction in return.

 Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2 was a well-received game back in 1998, combining survival-horror, exploration, puzzle, and combat elements to create an experience greater than the sum of its parts. However, the game was also saddled with difficult controls, punishing difficulty, and pixelated graphics. A new remake changes all of that and makes Resident Evil 2 one of the best PS4 games. The Resident Evil 2 remake features tight gunplay, intense scares, and plenty of rewarding opportunities to replay one of the games that first made Resident Evil into a favorite series.

For those who haven’t played it, the game stars Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, who must fight their way through an ongoing zombie apocalypse. The story is the stuff of high camp, but the implacable Mr. X, who hounds you throughout the whole game, can be legitimately terrifying.


There have been a handful of good Spider-Man games over the year, but the wall-crawler’s most recent outing on the PS4 blows just about all of them out of the water. Marvel’s Spider-Man is everything fans wanted it to be. Not only is it a huge, open-world recreation of New York City with plenty of landmarks to see and doodads to collect, but it also features a thrilling web-slinging system and fast-paced, finely-tuned combat mechanics. Best of all: By completing optional challenges, you can deck out Spider-Man with dozens of costumes from fan-favorite movies and comic book arcs.

Throw in an original story that puts a new spin on beloved Spidey friends and foes, like Mary Jane Watson, the Kingpin, and Norman Osborn, and you’ve got what’s easily one of the best games of 2018 — and one of the best PS4 games, period.

 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

It’s been a long time since we had a great Star Wars game, but Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order seems to fit the bill. The game stars Cal Kestis: a Jedi Padawan who managed to survive the murderous Order 66 in Episode III. Cal can topple imperial foes with his lightsaber and an array of Force powers. With tight gameplay and an affable cast of supporting characters, Fallen Order is a throwback to the kind of Star Wars games we used to get: creative, inventive, and fun.

Fallen Order is also a treat for fans who are just starting to get invested in Disney’s new Expanded Universe canon, since the game fills in gaps between films that future movies, TV shows, books, and games can build on. If Star Wars is going to build up a robust library of Apocrypha, games like Fallen Order may well provide a backbone for it.

 Tetris Effect

Tetris, the classic puzzle game, might not seem like it’s in need of an upgrade. After all, the premise couldn’t be much simpler: Use a variety of shapes to complete an entire row, clearing it and paving the way for new shapes. The more you play, the faster it gets. What could Tetris Effect add to a concept that was arguably perfected back in 1989? Well, for starters, it can add VR support, a variety of colorful effects, a subtle rhythm-based musical component, and a variety of special skills that can make your combos even more exciting.

Tetris Effect is one of the few variations over the years that adds, rather than detracts, from the original formula, and once you start, it’s hard to get it out of your head. Since the game is in VR, it will take up your whole visual range, and make you feel more immersed in the action than ever before.

Uncharted 4

In Nathan Drake’s final adventure, he pursues pirate treasure, evades a ruthless villain, and throws his personal life into chaos — and that’s just the setup. Uncharted 4 is the last, and arguably the best, a game in the Uncharted series, combining a delightful historical mystery with top-notch gunplay and vehicular exploration sections. Not only will you engage in some of the toughest firefights in the series, but you’ll also check out beautiful African vistas, track down hidden artifacts and puzzle out some intricate brainteasers.

If you haven’t already played the first three games, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is also worthwhile. All told, The Uncharted saga comprises some of the best PS4 games you can get exclusively on the system.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Toss a coin to your Witcher, O valley of plenty! If you’ve been marathoning The Witcher on Netflix, then you owe it to yourself to check out the excellent games as well. While the first two Witcher titles aren’t available on PS4, you can play the biggest and arguably best of the bunch: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. (But seriously, if you have a gaming PC, the first two titles are well worth your time.)

This game takes place many years after Geralt’s adventures in the show. Nilfgaard is waging another war on the Northern Realms, and only Geralt can stop the threat — if he can track down his wayward ward, Ciri, first. With a huge world, tight gameplay, and plenty of opportunities to shape the story, The Witcher 3 is one of the very best games of the last decade.

How to choose the best PS4 games for you

There’s no special trick to selecting the best PS4 games. It all comes down to which genres you like the most. A lot of the best PS4 games skew toward the action/adventure genre, including God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Ratchet & Clank, and Spider-Man. Many of these games have open-world elements; others are more linear. Either way, if you pick up a first-party, third-person game, you’re almost guaranteed to get something good.

Beyond that, there’s no foolproof method or special tricks. Find a game that sounds interesting, read its synopsis, find some reviews and see if you can get a good price. Newer games are more expensive than old ones, which means that if you haven’t played many of these games before, you can build your library easily by focusing on older titles. Or you could buy long games, which will last you a while before you need to move on. Open-world games are generally longer than their linear counterparts.

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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom’s Guide, overseeing the site’s coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.


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