by the Kotaku staff | shared from kotaku.com
You’re heading to the store to get a PS4 right now, and need to know which games to get. (Keep your eyes on the road, please!) Or you’re home, all set up, realizing you want more stuff to play. Or maybe you’re suiting up for a battle in the console war, applying your facepaint and trying to remember which games will best help you make the argument for Sony’s new console. We are here to help.P
As with most new consoles, the selection of games on PS4 is a bit limited. The selection of goodgames? Even more so. Below, find a list of the games we recommend for Sony’s machine. We will, of course, be updating this list regularly as more games are released for the PS4. We eventually cap these lists at 12 games, adding and subtracting as need be. For now…
Assasin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
After years of changes both minor and major, the Assassin’s Creed series had begun to feel in a rut. Finally this year, with the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, the series has taken a major and unequivocal step forward. It doesn’t lose all of the series’ bad habits—hello, follow missions—but it improves many longstanding problems with better stealth, easier-to-navigate cities, and sidequests that actually feel like they help make your character more powerful. Best of all, it adds naval combat and a vast Caribbean overworld that make the game feel like, in the words of Luke Plunkett, “Wind Waker for grown-ups.” P
The next-gen versions of the game look incredibly good, particularly the PS4 version, which runs in beautiful 1080p resolution. Add on the excellent single-player expansion Freedom Cryand Assassin’s Creed IV becomes a cinch to recommend, and easily one of the very best games on PlayStation 4.
A Good Match For: Pirate fans; history buffs; anyone who’s ever wanted to pull up alongside a British frigate, grab a rope and swing from one deck to the other before fighting their way up the deck to take on the captain. Basically, anyone who’s ever wanted to be a pirate.
Not a Good Match For: Those who demand precision controls. The on-foot controls in Black Flag are probably the best of the series, but they’re still a far cry from where a third-person stealth/platformer should be. It’s time for a crouch button, Ubisoft.P
Need for Speed: Rivals
Need for Speed: Rivals takes the trademark speed-obsessed arcade racing of the Need for Speedseries and dials up the jerk-o-meter, casting players as either a street-racer or a cop out to ruin one another’s fun. It’s one of the most gorgeous next-gen games out there, offering solid performance and beautiful 1080p graphics, sure. But the real draw is the gameplay, that trademark sense of speed that’ll have you whooping and fist-pumping as you pull off impossible jumps and daring escapes. Easily one of the most flat-out enjoyable next-gen games available, and a great showcase for new gaming hardware.
A Good Match For: Speed freaks, jerks, people who like ramping a car off of a cliff while pop music plays, anarchists.
Not a Good Match For: Anybody who wants a game with characters they care about. Everyone in Rivals is a jerk, and the dialogue is just so, so awful.
Strider isn’t really one for ceremony: You’re thrown into the action with essentially no narrative BS or tutorial, nothing like that. You’re a guy with a sword, your job is to wreck all the cyber-soldiers and other various bad guys in your way. Then again, do you really need any more story than that? Not really, not when the game is as fundamentally enjoyable as Strider—which really just feels right. It plays like a particularly groovy memory of the classic NES version, a sort of Ninja Gaiden meets Super Metroid thing that, well, is about as cool as that description sounds.
A Good Match For: Fans of ninjas, fans of robots, fans of Strider.
Not a Good Match For: Those looking for something casual to pick up and play; Strider is never unfairly punishing, but it can be a difficult game.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
We’ve seen superhero fighting games before, but nothing nearly as ambitious as Injustice: Gods Among Us. Where other games fumble for clumsy excuses as to why Superman and Batman find themselves at odds, Injustice features an extensive, multi-character, alternate reality story mode supported by a 12-issue comic book series. The planet shakes as iconic DC Comics powerhouses do battle, all using a balanced fighting system crafted by the studio responsible forMortal Kombat 9. With an extensive challenge mode, numerous arcade-style battles and an extensive online multiplayer mode, getting 100% completion in Injustice is a Herculean task. The PlayStation 4 gets the Ultimate Edition of the game, packed with all of the game’s downloadable content. The graphics might not be “next-gen”, but there’s so much satisfying content packed into Injustice: Gods Among Us the visuals hardly matter.
A Good Match For: Fighting game fans (it’s currently the only fighting game on the PlayStation 4), comic book geeks, and every combination of the two.
Not a Good Match For: Pacifists, Superman purists.
Doki Doki Universe
Doki Doki Universe is a game a robot who has to learn what it means to be human. It is also an interactive personality test. It’s not a very challenging game. It mostly involves chatting with odd characters in weird worlds, conjuring gifts for characters from an expanding inventory of buildings, bands and other stuff (“poop” might be one of those other stuffs). There is also a cute messaging program that you can use to communicate with the game’s characters and real people, but the weirdest of all might be the asteroids you can fly to to answer questions about such identity-revealing quandaries as whether you would side with the utensils or the dessert.
Given that you can experience a sampling of that for free on any PS4, there’s no good reason not to try it. Given that the game, such as it is a game, is funny, refreshing and a good palette cleanser to access on the harddrive between playing bigger PS4 games, it’s easily one of the PS4’s early Bests.
A Good Match For: People who are interested in an adventure in which you can fly on a chunk of cheese and talk to a toilet.
Not a Good Match For: Those who want a traditional video game, since some won’t define this Animal Crossing-like experience as a game at all.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
We were expecting LEGO Marvel Super Heroes to be a lot of fun; the LEGO games’ brand of chaotic action and meta-humor seemed a good fit for the sprawling Marvel universe. What we weren’t expecting was a game this massive in scope, this ambitious, and this impressive. Not only does Super Heroes let you swing through an open-world Manhattan as Spider-Man or tear through the air as Iron Man, the game’s hub is on the SHIELD Helicarrier, and you can play as Squirrel Girl. Super Heroes provides the freedom of a Grand Theft Auto with the characters of Marvel comics, with a seemingly endless supply of in-jokes and references for true believers.
A Good Match For: Comics fans, people who liked the Avengers movie, anyone who’s ever wanted to fly around New York City as Iron Man, LEGO enthusiasts.
Not a Good Match For: Fans of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, people who hate The Avengers, and those who want precision controls, particularly in the air.
Launch games have a unique responsibility. Not only do they have to be good games on their own accord, they’ve got to showcase the console for which they’ve been designed. Resogun is a great example of a game that executes both of those missions successfully. It’s a solid twin-stick shooter that takes place in a chaotic, cylindrical map full of tons of different kinds of enemies. You’ll have to protect helpless humanoids from this surge of colorful, bug-looking creatures. What makes Resogun stand out as a shoot ’em up—you know, besides looking gorgeous—is just how much control it gives you. There are so many ways to rack up points, all of which send you on a more aggressive path to kill enemies. Enemy choreography is damn near Broadway-worthy, too. Watching your foes bend and weave in groups is pretty, but it’s also tied to gameplay, as you can learn to adapt to through practice. And when thousands of blocky bits are exploding all over the screen, the graphical power of the PS4 comes through, too.
A Good Match For: People who like to be challenged and enjoy a fast-paced, action-packed experience full of pretty colors.
Not A Good Match For: Gamers who get easily discouraged by death. Some of Resogun‘s boss fights hurt, and it takes a while to really get the hang of your abilities and learn how to use them to their fullest potential. There isn’t much substance outside of obsessing over leaderboards and redoing levels for practice, so if that’s not your thing you might get bored easily.
Who needs arms and legs to be the star of a brilliant platformer? Not Rayman. The second game in the resurrected cartoon action franchise still sports an incredibly lush art style but also shows off sharp ideas and a ton of variety. It makes the leap to next-gen consoles in predictably fine fashion, with an absurd amount of slappy, goofy game to go around.
A Good Match for: Co-op fanatics. Legends is a very good game for solo play but it’s great for folks to team up and take on.
Not a Good Match for: Those wanting turn-your-brain-off platforming. Rayman Legends‘ occasionally challenging difficulty requires quick reflexes. For the most part, there’s no coasting here.
Sometimes a name says it all. In the case of Don’t Starve, the name says most of it, though it really could’ve been called Don’t Die. Or maybe even Have Fun Dying! The game, which tells the story of one man (or woman)’s fight to survive a deadly, Edward Gorey-influenced fantasy world, is often brutally difficult. You may not always starve, but you will most certainly perish, and you’ll perish a lot. But therein lies Don’t Starve‘s appeal—like Minecraft before it, the game allows players to explore and gradually master the various interlocking ecosystems of a complicated and mysterious world. All of the smart and addictive design of the PC version is present in the PS4 version, and the controls translate well to a controller.
A Good Match For: People who like deep, uncompromising games; masochists, survivalists, anyone who wishes people’s voices sounded like weird brass instruments.
Not a Good Match For: Anyone looking for a game they can easily sit down and have fun with. Don’t Starve is a punishing experience that only opens up after hours of play, and the steep initial difficulty curve can be off-putting.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
Everyone likes Die Hard, right? What if instead of a dangerous skyscraper with a Japanese name, that movie had taken place on a dangerous island with a Japanese name? What if instead of John McClane with no shoes, it had starred Lara Croft with no sleeves? “Now I have a bow and arrow… ho ho ho.” And so we have Tomb Raider, an action-minded reboot that forcefully injects new life into the beleaguered Tomb Raider franchise. The “definitive” next-gen version of the game is just that, a better-looking version of last year’s already good-looking game.
A Good Match For: Bow-hunting enthusiasts, wolf-haters, anyone who wants a game that’ll show off the graphical prowess of their new next-gen console.
Not a Good Match For: The squeamish, wolf-lovers, those who have already played the 2013 game. The Definitive Edition is lovely looking, but it doesn’t add any new gameplay or feel all that different from the game that came out last year.
Nightmare fans rejoice: Your game is here. Outlast is a nasty, often terrifying piece of work, a game that’ll have you leaping back on the couch, crying out in fear and clutching the controller with every muscle in your body tensed. Its story, setting, characters… none of those things matter all that much, not when your character is hidden under a bed, peering through your camera’s blurry infrared lens, hoping that the deadly psychotic who’s been following you won’t look down. Previously only available for the PC, Outlast has made the hop to PS4 without breaking a sweat, and while it’s not the prettiest game on the system, it was never all that concerned with looks to begin with. Bonus: There may be no better game with which to take advantage of the PS4’s streaming capabilities—the only thing more fun than fearfully shouting and cursing in your living room is inviting the world to watch you do it.
A Good Match For: Horror buffs, people who like having the shit scared out of them, anyone who hears that this game has a button for looking over your shoulder at whatever’s chasing you and thinks “That sounds like the game for me!”
Not a Good Match For: The faint of heart. If you can’t take some jump-scares and gore,Outlast will probably be a bit much for you.