The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

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.

In the first year of its life, the selection of games on PS4 was a bit limited. The selection of good games? Even more so. But now that we've passed the one-year mark, there are more good games than ever, with new contenders arriving all the time. In fact, there are enough good games that we now think the console is worth getting.

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've capped the list at 12, and in the months and years to come will remove old games to make way for new, better entries. Here goes...

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

You: A beautiful singer without a voice. Them: A weird sentient computer program bent on destroying your beautiful city. Your weapon: A giant sword called The Transistor. A giant sword that talks.

From that setup follows an evocative, exceptionally well-designed action RPG that will challenge you, thrill you, and maaaaybe even move you. Transistor is a marked evolution of the sort of art-driven, musical, mysterious storytelling that developer Supergiant established in their last game Bastion. Come for the great story, stay for the killer soundtrack, stay even longer for the intricately designed action. We're here with you, Red. Fight the Process.

A Good Match For: Cyberpunk fans, tactics RPG fans, anyone who wants a game with a button dedicated to making the main character hum along with the soundtrack.

Not a Good Match For: Those looking for a straight-up action game. Transistor may look like Diablo but it's far less snappy and requires a lot more tactical thinking in order for it to become enjoyable.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available digitally from the PlayStation Store.

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

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."

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 Cry and 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.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

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

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

Few modern games have more baggage than Diablo III. If Diablo III were a houseguest, it would be the sort of houseguest that arrives with half a dozen suitcases and their own washer and dryer. But put the last two years aside, look past the troubled PC launch, initially lackluster endgame and failed real-money auction house, and you'll find Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, a console port that is in many ways the game's best version.

The PS4/Xbox One versions look as sharp and play as snappily as the PC version running on high settings. The controls are a natural fit for a controller. Local co-op is great fun. The games work fine offline, because the game never needed to be always-online in the first place. The single-player campaign is meaty, each of the six playable classes offers a distinct experience, and once the four acts and bonus expansion are complete, there's an enjoyable adventure mode to look forward to. When it was released on PC in 2012, we never would have guessed that Diablo III would end up making a list of the best games on a console. Sometimes it's nice to be surprised.

A Good Match For: Those who like watching tiny people destroy tiny monsters, co-op fans, people who hate goatmen.

Not A Good Match For: Goatmen advocates, those looking for an RPG with tactical combat, a strong story or deep, interactive conversations.

Watch it in action.

Read our review of the original game, and thoughts on the console version.

Study our tips for the game.

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

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

Something is wrong with Isaac's mom: She thinks that she can hear God. And God, disturbingly enough, has instructed her to kill Isaac. The only way Isaac can get out of that hellish situation is by jumping into his basement—which happens to be endless, and full of terrors. Thankfully, these demons can be defeated by directing Isaac's tears, twin-stick shooter style, across Zelda-like dungeons. Well.. they're like Zelda if Zelda was full of horrifying hellspawn, poop, and tons of mysterious items which you don't know how to use...yet.

A Good Match For: Players who like a challenge, especially of the roguelike variety. A lot of the appeal with the Binding of Isaac is that it's full of stuff you don't grok the first time around. Isaac is also one of the best co-op experiences on the PS4.

Not A Good Match For: Players who are sensitive to gross stuff or jokes about religion, or people who are just looking to relax while playing a game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available digitally from the PlayStation store.

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

Who says Mordor is just a bleak, boring place full of sadness? Who says orcs are just dull, evil cannon-fodder with no personalities or defining characteristics? As Shadow of Mordor shows us, Mordor itself is a pretty interesting place, and the uruks who invade it are pretty interesting villains. What could've been a competent, Lord of the Rings-flavored mixture of Assassin's Creed and Batman: Arkham City is substantially elevated by a complex system for tracking and manipulating the ranks of Sauron's army. You'll get to know, loathe, and even kinda like some of the orcs you encounter, as your vendettas against them go beyond the grave and become something weirdly intimate. Shadow of Mordor is easily the best Lord of the Rings game yet made.

A Good Match For: Lord of the Rings die-hards, people who like head-stabbing, anyone who ever wanted to make an orc's head explode using only their mind.

Not a Good Match For: The squeamish. Shadow of Mordor is an often exceptionally violent game, and as the game progresses and players begin to lobotomize and enslave the ranks of the orcs, a morally challenging one. Sure, you're the good guy here. Keep telling yourself that.

Watch it in action.

Read our review.

Study our tips for playing the game.

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

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

In 2010, Square Enix launched Final Fantasy XIV Online on PC, and it was just the worst thing ever — buggy, over-complicated, unfinished — a mess. The developers spent three years rebuilding the game from the ground up, and the end result is one of the finest massively multiplayer online role-playing games ever made. It's everything fans love about Final Fantasy — lush artwork, strong story, gorgeous music — only bigger, all wrapped around a traditional MMO framework. It's that Square Enix polish that sets it apart from other games in the genre. The PS4 version is essentially the same as the PC version, albeit with slightly reduced visual fidelity, and works well with a controller, which makes it all the easier to recommend.

A Good Match For: Fans of fantasy role-playing video games looking to take the massively multiplayer plunge. The original Final Fantasy XIV was a tangled mess of conflicting ideas, when all players wanted was a standard MMO game with the familiar features of a Final Fantasy game. That's exactly what Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is.

Not a Good Match For: Folks afraid of monthly subscriptions. Despite the MMORPG genere as a whole moving towards free-to-play payment models, Final Fantasy XIV stands firm by it's $14.95 monthly subscription plan.

Read our review of the PC version.

Watch it in action.

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

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

Grand Theft Auto V is an impressive game. Not perfect, but impressive, and it becomes even more impressive on new consoles. The open-world crime game gives players one of the richest, most beautiful worlds we've ever been able to play in, and the new-gen versions offer an even better way to experience it all: In first-person. The landscape is a fictionalized version of Los Angeles and the California desert, and you can go anywhere. Grab a car, plane, truck, bicycle, boat or tank. Head off in any direction. You're bound to see extraordinary sights and stumble into some sort of good (and probably violent) time. The game looked amazing even on old hardware, and it looks even better in high-definition. Have you ever wanted to steal a plane, eject mid-flight, and parachute into downtown, all in time to go play some tennis? This is your game.

A Good Match For: Players who like to go into a game to break the rules. GTA is still at its best when it's a playground for virtual misbehavior.

Not a Good Match For: Anyone who can't stomach the game's mockery of, well, pretty much everyone.

Read our review, and our take on the new version's first-person mode.

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

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

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

If you asked me to sum up Wolfenstein: The New Order in two words, I would say, "Max Hass." Who is Max Hass? Well. You might expect a game bearing the Wolfenstein brand to be another anonymous Nazi-shooting game, but Wolfenstein manages to surprise at almost every turn. Its story is a fun bit of dark alternate history that takes itself just seriously enough, its levels are open-ended and fun to explore, and its cast—Herr Hass among them—steals the show. Wish you could get a bit of dramatic musing on the nature of time and consciousness mixed in with your gunfights and explosions? This is your game.

A Good Match For: Fans of late-90s first-person shooters, those who want something a bit smarter than your average linear modern action game…but not too smart.

Not a Good Match For: Those who need multiplayer, Nazi-sympathizers.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

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

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

Combining the PlayStation 3's PixelJunk Shooter and PixelJunk Shooter 2, PJS Ultimate is a two-in-one pack of well-designed, great-looking and great-sounding 2D flying/shooting/rescuing games. You control a little craft that you fly through a series of caverns. Each area contains some people to rescue (use your grappling hook), creatures to kill (use your guns), gems to find (use your brain) and, coolest of all, some sort of incredibly-animated liquid: lava, water and weirder stuff. The fluids are the stars of the game, as they realistically splash, flow, deform, melt, and cool in ways that aren't just special to see but affect gameplay. Both games were created by Q-Games, a Kyoto-based studio that use the Shooter games to demonstrate their mastery of tight, clever level design, one cavern at a time.

A Good Match For: People looking for something hand-crafted and focused, a break from modern gaming's indulgence in open worlds or randomly-generated levels. Play this pair of games to experience the delightful sort of conversation, as it were, that a game designer can have with their player, one full of surprises, teases, challenges and solutions. Co-op is an option.

Not a Good Match For: Those looking for a PS4 original (you might have this on PS3) nor for those looking for a more rapid-fire shoot-em-up, which this is not (you're looking for Resogun).

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available digitally from the PlayStation store.

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

We can't stop complaining about Destiny. We also can't stop playing it—Bungie's MMO/RPG/FPS is has demonstrated remarkable staying power among a good number ofKotaku's staff. What to do with a game that we all really like despite the many, many things we wish it did differently? It can only be included on this list, despite our gripes and caveats.Destiny has already seen a few significant changes since its launch, and we hope that it will continue to be improved upon in the months and years to come. But even now, we keep playing, and for the most part we have a pretty damned good time doing so.

A Good Match For: People who like shooting aliens, people who like shooting aliens with a couple friends, people who like gradually (very gradually) getting new stuff to use to shoot the aliens.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone looking or a game with a coherent story, people who don't like repeating missions, people who want to progress quickly through a game.

Watch it in action.

Read our review.

Study our tips for playing the game, and our guide to life after the level cap.

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

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

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 the tale of the embittered smuggler Joel and his relationship with a young girl named Ellie is 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 quite well-made. It's an often terrifying, 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.

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. This game is also great for those who like cinematic, movie-like games, and it's a good game to show off to your friends, roommates, or significant others. It's the rare game that looks so good (and is written so well) that it's fun to watch as well as play.

Not a Good Match For: Anyone looking for something fun or lighthearted. The Last of Us is a ceaselessly grim, often emotionally wrenching experience. Very bad things happen to good people, and it never gets easier to watch. Its closest literary analogue is Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and in terms of grimness, The Last of Us matches and sometimes exceeds McCarthy's often horrifying novel. The often difficult combat is exceptionally violent, so this game is not for the squeamish.

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

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

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

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

Twenty or so hours into Dragon Age: Inquisition it dawns on you: This game is really, really big. You're in the midst of a philosophical discussion with one of your party members when you remember there's a hidden dungeon way out in the forest that you want to explore, before heading to the desert to take on a dragon. You venture to your war room and dispatch troops to clear a path for you, then stop off to do a little flirting before you head into the field. All in a day's work for the Inquisitor, and all in an hour's play for one of the richest, grandest role-playing games in recent memory.

A Good Match For: Anyone looking for an RPG they can really (really) sink their teeth into. BioWare fans. Dragon Age fans. Fans of flirting with cute dwarfs.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone looking for a tight experience, or a game that can be completed in a few hours. Those who want something tactically difficult, or a battle system that rewards play on higher levels.

Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game, and our lore-primer for newcomers to the series.

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

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

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

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.

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.

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.

The 12 Best Games For The PlayStation 4

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

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.