Illustration by Sam Woolley

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 console. We’re here to help.

These days, there are more good PS4 games than ever, with new contenders arriving all the time. Below, find a list of the games we recommend for Sony’s machine.

We will, of course, continue updating this list regularly as more games are released for the PS4. We’ve capped the list at 12, and in the months and years to come will continue to remove old games to make way for new, better entries. Here goes...

At a cursory glance, Horizon Zero Dawn may seem overly familiar. It’s got Uncharted platforming, a Far Cry open world with stealth and crafting, Tomb Raider third-person bow fights and Monster Hunter-style battles against massive robot dinosaurs. Wait a minute, did we say overly familiar? Because that sounds great. Horizon actually manages to simmer those promising raw ingredients into something that works even better than we’d hoped. It’s got a steady stream of exhilarating gameplay and awe-inspiring sights all wrapped up in a surprisingly engrossing and satisfying story. As a bonus, it’s one of the most most technically advanced, gorgeous games you can play on a PS4.

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A Good Match For: Fans of the games mentioned in the description above, anyone who’s ever wanted to go toe-to-toe with a robot velociraptor.

Not A Good Match For: Those looking for an easy time. Horizon is a bracingly difficult game, and you’ll have to play smart and aggressively to make it through alive.

Read our review.

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Study our tips for the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Inside is the rare game that’s so good we don’t want to tell you anything else about it. It takes the framework of a 2D puzzle-platformer and wrings it for three hours’ worth of gobsmacking surprises. Horrifying, engrossing, brilliantly constructed and perfectly paced, Inside is one of the best games in recent memory. Just go play it.

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A Good Match For: Anyone who liked the developer’s last game Limbo, those looking for something they can finish over the course of an evening but which will stick with them for much longer.

Not A Good Match For: Those who need their games to be lengthy affairs; anyone freaked out by the monstrous and the deadly.

Read our review.

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Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available on the PlayStation store.

You’re alone on an island, surrounded by puzzles. That’s The Witness, an extremely complicated game that is really very simple. Some of the puzzles are obvious: They’re on screens right in front of you, stacked in orderly rows. Other puzzles are much less easy to find. All of them will stymie and confound you, but over time you’ll gradually dismantle them until the game’s grand design is laid out in front of you like the workings of a finely crafted watch. Some games make you level up your character to access new areas; this one makes you level up yourself. There are few more satisfying feelings in gaming than when you finally realize the solution to a puzzle in The Witness. With a click, a new door opens.

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A Good Match For: Puzzle fiends, people who like a challenge, anyone who liked Myst and wants to see what a modern evolution would be like.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone wanting action, the easily frustrated, people who don’t like puzzles in games and generally just go look up the answers.

Read our review.

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Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase From: Available on the PlayStation Store

Nier: Automata will probably surprise you. It starts out as a fast-moving action game in the vein of Bayonetta or Devil May Cry, telling a story about hot robots exploring a ravaged future earth. And until the first time the credits roll, that’s what it remains. Keep playing, though, and Nier will begin to open up and transform. It shifts viewpoints and twists inside of itself, eventually unfolding in a spiral of revelations that crescendoes all the way to the grand finale(s). Yes, you must “finish” Nier: Automata five times to get the complete story. But like the rest of this fantastic game, that doesn’t mean what you think it means.

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A Good Match For: Fans of narrative mindfucks like the first Nier or the Metal Gear Solid games; people looking for something ambitious and unapologetically weird.

Not A Good Match For: People who like their game stories straightforward, anyone who doesn’t like beat-em-ups or shoot-em-ups.

Read our review.

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Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Car soccer. I’ll say it again: Car. Soccer. It’s such a good idea it’s strange more games haven’t tried it. Fortunately, Rocket League’s creators at Psyonix have basically perfected the idea, leaving us with one of the most raucous and enjoyable competitive games in recent memory. Rocket League is also the rare competitive video game where you don’t have to be all that good to have fun. We can only hope for more car-sports games in the future. Car tennis, anyone?

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A Good Match For: Anyone looking for a wacky, chaotic good time; people who want a game to play with friends in short but gratifying bursts.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who truly hates competing online; people who need precise controls; car-haters.

Read our review.

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Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase From: Available from the PlayStation Store.

There’s no shortage of ambition in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Geralt of Rivia’s latest adventure is massive, a world you can get lost in for hours and still have plenty to do. And while many games these days have sprawling landscapes, The Witcher 3 is utterly dense. Every nook and cranny is filled with memorable characters, clever writing, and rewards for curious players. The main story is as thrilling as it is emotionally draining, and the side quests are actually worth doing! Best of all? You don’t need to have played a Witcher game to enjoy the heck out of the third.

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A Good Match For: Open-world fans, especially those who enjoyed Skyrim but were disappointed by the combat. In The Witcher 3, fighting is nearly as enjoyable as exploration.

Not a Good Match For: People who value their time and social life, or those who prefer their games hyper-polished without any framerate drops or other nagging technical flaws.

Read our review, and thoughts on the game’s (excellent) free DLC.

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Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game, and catch up on The Witcher lore.

In Hitman, a simple setup paves the way for an unusually complex game. You enter a level with a target. You can eliminate that target in any way you see fit. Maybe you’re in a Paris fashion show, maybe you’re in the market outside a Moroccan embassy. Maybe you’re in a sprawling Italian villa, maybe a posh Bangkok hotel. Wherever you are, you’ll likely be impressed by Hitman’s painstakingly detailed clockwork communities as they tick along, inviting you to explore and exploit them. The main story assassinations are the tip of the iceberg here, as repeatable escalations, player-made challenges, and miss-and-you-fail elusive targets round out a supremely satisfying collection of sneaking, costumery, and espionage challenges. Yes, Blood Money was great, but this new Hitman represents a pinnacle for the series.

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A Good Match For: Fans of classic spy movies, people who like playing dress-up, meticulous folks who love hatching a plan.

Not A Good Match For: People hoping for a good straight-up action or straight-up stealth game—Hitman has elements of both but is kind of its own thing.

Read our review.

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Watch it in action.

Purchase From: The PlayStation store, boxed game coming early 2017

It’s a fan-art generator. It’s pure cosplay fodder. It’s a meme machine, a water-cooler mainstay, and a cultural obsession. Overwatch is all of those things, but above all else it’s a finely tuned competitive video game that manages to encourage pitted competition and enthusiastic teamwork while ensuring everyone is having a good time.

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A Good Match For: Team Fortress 2 fans, people who liked banging action figures together as a kid, people who’ve wanted to try a competitive first-person shooter but haven’t yet found the right fit.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who wants to play offline, or who is hoping for a substantial single-player story campaign. Overwatch is strictly multiplayer-only.

Watch it in action.

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Study our tips for the game.

Read our review.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

The seventh proper Resident Evil game boldly reinvents the 20-year-old horror series by… well, by returning to what made Resident Evil good in the first place. Again there’s a house, filled with mystery and menace. Again you can never guess what horrors might lurk around the corner. Again there are special keys, and terrifying bosses, and hidden secrets. Again you always wish you had just a few more shotgun shells. But while RE7 succeeds by channeling the first game in the series, its creators have also clearly learned from the best recent contributions to the horror genre they helped create. Resident Evil 7 a striking mix of old and new, and a hell of a good horror game. Most importantly, it will scare your pants off.

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A Good Match For: Horror fans, those who’d grown sick of Resident Evil’s increasing action focus, people who like watching grindhouse horror films and exploring spooky basements.

Not A Good Match For: The easily frightened. Seriously. This game is very scary, particularly in its first couple hours. It’s also exceptionally gory. While there are ways of alleviating that scariness somewhat, this probably just isn’t the best game for the faint of heart.

Read our review.

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Study our tips for playing the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

If we had to sum up Bloodborne in a single phrase, it would probably be “There’s blood everywhere.” The newest game from Dark Souls maestro Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team at From Software, Bloodborne represents both a careful iteration of the Souls formula and a significant departure from it. The games’ fundamental structure and signature difficulty remains, but everything has been intensified, with knife-cuts and quicksilver bullets flying faster than your eye can track. Bloodborne is a gore-soaked masterpiece.

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A Good Match For: Fans of From’s other games like Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, people who like tough games, H.P. Lovecraft buffs.

Not a Good Match For: Anyone who gets easily frustrated by difficult games, people looking for a more traditional RPG with a more traditional story.

Read our review.

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Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

What if you could do relive high school but do it way, way better? That’s the promise of Persona 5, and Atlus’s killer social sim + dungeon crawler more than delivers. You’re a high school student spending a year at a new school in Tokyo, but you’re anything but ordinary. You and your motley crew of friends have the ability to infiltrate the subconscious “palaces” of the various villains and tormentors who challenge you in the real world, changing their hearts and bringing them to justice. As the days tick by, you’ll spend your afternoons deciding whether to go shopping, hang out with your friends, or head into a dungeon to slay some demons. The more you play, the more the cast expands, the story unfolds, and the mystery deepens. What’s really going on? Where do these mystical powers come from? How’s it all gonna end? And will you finally be able to get Makoto to go out with you?

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A Good Match For: Fans of previous Persona games, along with anyone who likes stylish art and killer music. Persona 5 is overflowing with both.

Not A Good Match For: People who hate turn-based JRPG combat, people who don’t like games with a lot of text to read, anyone looking for a game they can finish in a single weekend.

Read our review.

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Study our tips for the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

Naughty Dog’s violent, heartfelt, emotionally exhausting epic The Last of Us is the studio’s crowning achievement, and was easily one of the most impressive games on the PlayStation 3. Its story of survival in a post-apocalyptic world may be built on a foundation of zombie-movie clichés, but its characters are so full of heart and wrought with such subtlety that any concerns about overfamiliarity quickly fade away. Better still, in addition to its beautiful art, gorgeous soundtrack and eye-popping cutscenes, the game itself is well-made. It’s an exhilarating mixture of stealth, action and horror that plays out over sprawling levels and is unafraid to make the player feel disoriented and disempowered. The new PS4 version of the game is a marked technical improvement, with a smoother framerate and higher-res visuals. It also includes the terrific Left Behind DLC, as well as a bunch of maps for the game’s largely underrated online multiplayer.

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A Good Match For: People who like their games intense—The Last of Us is relentless, and the intensity of its narrative is matched by its discombobulating, often panic-inducing combat.

Not a Good Match For: Anyone looking for something fun or lighthearted. The Last of Us is a ceaselessly grim, often emotionally wrenching experience.

Read our review, our review of the DLC, and our thoughts on the PS4 version.

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Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop


How has this list changed? Read back through our update history:

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Update 6/2/2017: We’ve removed Uncharted 4 to make room for Nier: Automata.

Update 4/19/2017: We’ve added Persona 5 and removed Destiny, which Bungie has been winding down in preparation for a sequel.

Update 3/8/2017: After much debate we’ve added Resident Evil 7 and Horizon Zero Dawn, while removing Diablo 3 and Grand Theft Auto V. These cuts are getting harder and harder, people.

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Update 12/09/2016: We’ve added Hitman to the list and retired Metal Gear Solid V.

Update 9/23/2016: Inside makes its way onto the list, while Until Dawn departs.

Update 7/27/2016: Overwatch joins the list; Assassin’s Creed Syndicate comes off.

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Update 5/26/2016: Welcome, Nathan Drake. Goodbye, Batman. We’ve replaced Arkham Knight with Uncharted 4 this time around.

Update 2/11/2016: The Witness makes it in, and Fallout 4 heads out. Also, we’ve added a video version of this post up top!

Update 11/26/2015: Fallout 4 and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate hop onto the list, knocking off Final Fantasy XIV and Assassin’s Creed IV.

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Update 9/18/2015: The list gets another update: The Binding of Isaac, Transistor, and Dragon Age: Inquisition clear out to make room for Rocket League, Until Dawn, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Update 7/16/2015: These swaps are getting harder. After much deliberation we cut Wolfenstein: The New Order, despite our affection for the surprisingly good story-driven first-person shooter. We’re also saying goodbye to another over-achiever, Shadows of Mordor, whose best trick, the Nemesis System, isn’t enough to keep it on our ever more competitive top 12.

Update 04/07/2015: Bloodborne slices its way onto the list while Pixeljunk Shooter Ultimate says goodbye.

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Update 11/25/2014: The fall has arrived, and with it a bunch of great games. Dragon Age: Inquisition, GTA V, PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth edge out Resogun, The LEGO Movie Videogame, Don’t Starve and TowerFall Ascension.

Update 10/21/2014: We’ve added Destiny and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor to the list, and removed Infamous: Second Son and Need for Speed: Rivals to make room.

Update 8/28/2014: Two games enter, two games leave. Outlast and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition make way for Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition and The Last of Us: Remastered.

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Update 6/18/2014: Change is in the air, as Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Fez, and Injustice: Gods Among Us clear out to make room for Wolfenstein: The New Order, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and Transistor.

Update 4/14/2014: Our PS4 list has hit its 12-game ceiling, and we’ve added (and removed) more games than in any other single update so far. Rayman: Legends, LEGO Marvel Superheroes, Doki Doki Universe and Strider all clear out to make room for Infamous: Second Son, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Towerfall: Ascension, The LEGO Movie Videogame, and Fez.

Update 3/10/2014: Two more games make it onto the list: Last year’s fine Rayman Legends and the satisfying remake of the NES classic Strider. One more and we’ll be at 12, after which we’ll have to start cutting games to make new additions.

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Update 2/14/2014: Our second update brings with it two games: The graphically enhanced Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and the pee-your-pants-scary Outlast. Only three more additions before we hit our ceiling of 12 and have to start cutting games to make room for new ones.

Update 1/27/2014: Our first addition to the PlayStation 4 Bests list is Klei’s excellent survival game Don’t Starve, which brings the total number up to seven.

Want more of the best games on each system? Check out our complete directory:

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The Best PC GamesThe Best Xbox One GamesThe Best Wii U GamesThe Best 3DS GamesThe Best PS Vita GamesThe Best Xbox 360 GamesThe Best PS3 GamesThe Best Wii GamesThe Best iPhone GamesThe Best iPad GamesThe Best Android GamesThe Best PSP GamesThe Best Facebook GamesThe Best DS GamesThe Best Mac GamesThe Best Browser GamesThe Best PC Mods

Note: While some games on this list are download-only, all of them can be purchased on the PlayStation 4’s online store. If you buy any of these games through the retail links in this post, our parent company may get a small share of the sale through the retailers’ affiliates program.