Well, apparently it’s already July, which means that half of 2017 has already gone. And what a six months it’s been on the PlayStation 4: the software schedule has been so strong that we really had to work to whittle down a list of the top ten titles – and even then we’ve included a bunch of honourable mentions because we couldn’t bear to ignore them. Without further ado, then, here are our favourite PS4 releases of the year so far.
10: Tekken 7
That final delay into the summer was a kicker for many, but few fighting game fans will argue that the wait hasn’t been worth it. Tekken 7 marks a glorious return for Namco’s beloved beat-’em-up series – a franchise that’s been synonymous with PlayStation for over two decades. An incredibly tight and explosive combat system lays the foundation for one of the PS4’s best brawlers.
Nioh may wear its influences on its sleeve, but it stills stands as a fantastic action title. Combat is satisfyingly swift and deadly, and the game’s Edo period setting gives it a classic Japanese flavour that infuses the adventure with an intriguing historical angle. Bloody and brutal, it’s not an RPG for the faint of heart, but master its blades and you’ll find a hugely rewarding release.
8: Nex Machina
Housemarque can do no wrong, and its collaboration with arcade icon Eugene Jarvis shows the Finnish firm at its twin-stick blasting best. A rip-roaring romp through a voxel-laden sci-fi universe, Nex Machina is simple on the surface but bursting with depth behind-the-scenes. Smart leaderboards which allow you to learn from the best players and insane production values put this right on par with the likes of Super Stardust HD and Resogun.
7: Injustice 2
The very definition of a successful sequel, Injustice 2 builds upon the first game brilliantly. A lengthy story mode and a huge selection of single player time sinks sit alongside solid online multiplayer options, resulting in a seriously robust fighter. It may not be the most punchy beat-’em-up on the market, but its accessibility and the sheer polish of the product make it a very easy recommendation for fans of fighters and super heroes alike.
A return to form for an iconic franchise, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard introduces the Bakers – an unassuming Louisiana family transformed into homicidal maniacs. The environments, spanning marshy outhouses and abandoned hallways, are as much a part of the package’s character as any hero – and the restricted resources make for a pleasingly survival-driven experience. Plus, it’s impressive (and playable from start-to-finish) with PlayStation VR.
Walking simulators may be dime a dozen these days, but few are as inventive as What Remains of Edith Finch, the sophomore effort from The Unfinished Swan maker Giant Sparrow. With untimely deaths defining the Finch family tree, a series of fantasy vignettes await you, depicting each fatality in tragic (and, honestly, often comical) detail. This first-person adventure paints with a palette of emotions, and creativity abounds every minute of its two or three hour running time.
4: Yakuza 0
A prequel with one of the strongest storylines that the series has seen, Yakuza 0 follows a youthful Kazuma Kiryu as he attempts to break free of his gangster shackles. Conversely, second playable character Goro Majima is desperate to earn his way back into Japan’s criminal underworld. A red light district full of intense brawls, horribly addictive minigames, and bizarre side stories beckons both veterans and newcomers alike.
A game that needs to be played through three times to truly be appreciated may not sound like the best use of your time, but the payoff in NieR Automata is so worth it. As an open world RPG, it’s average at best – and even the character action aspect isn’t up to top-tier Platinum Games standards. But as oddball director Yoko Taro begins to experiment, this tale of oppressed androids really starts to shine – and it crescendos with a euphoric conclusion that’s as clever as it is compelling.
Scepticism transformed into success: Guerrilla Games absolutely knocked it out of the park with Horizon: Zero Dawn – and birthed a major new brand in the process. Publishers will look back on Aloy’s inaugural adventure as a case study in how to launch new intellectual property: Sony got everything spot-on, from the marketing to the trickle-feed of gameplay footage. But at the heart of it all is a wonderful game, which marries robust action with quality story-telling.
1: Persona 5
The pinnacle of modern Japanese RPGs, Persona 5 refines the series’ formula to near perfection, presenting one of the most cohesive, addictive, and downright masterful titles on Sony’s system. An incredible cast of characters prop up a twisting tale of rebellion and youthful ideals which runs straight through a wonderfully worked gameplay loop. A mind-blowing sense of style tops it all off along with a stunning soundtrack.