With about 7 billion people on the planet, there’s still a decent chance you’re part of the 6.9 billion who don’t own a PlayStation 4 yet.
Perhaps you were thinking about getting one?
Admittedly, it’s very tempting: At this point in the PlayStation 4’s life, there are dozens of excellent games. And the console is less expensive than ever before – a used PS4 can go for $200 or less.
That’s just the beginning! Here’s why it’s the perfect time to jump in:
1. It’s less expensive than ever.
Perhaps you’ll get lucky and find this Darth Vader-themed PlayStation 4 bundle. Sony / EA
This is the No. 1 reason to buy a PlayStation 4: it’s a shockingly affordable console at this point.
Since launching at $400 in 2013, the console has dropped in price steadily over the years – you’re now looking at $250 for a refurbished PlayStation 4, and there are plenty of deals where you can get a brand-new one with a game for the same price or better.
As the holiday season ramps up this fall, expect a mess of these types of bundles. But also let’s not kid ourselves: at $250 for the PS4, you don’t have to wait for a deal.
2. PlayStation Plus continues to be one of the best deals in gaming.
PlayStation Plus is a paid loyalty program, and it’s a crucial addition to your PlayStation 4. Why?
- It enables you to play games online with other people!
- It gives you monthly discounts on games and movies!
- And, most importantly, it gives you free games every month. Free! For the duration of your subscription!
What types of games? Really great games!
Games like “Bloodborne,” which appears later on this very list! And “Journey,” which is such a good game that it’s literally in the Museum of Modern Art.
As of this publishing, I have over 80 PlayStation Plus games in my PlayStation 4 library. I’ve missed a few over time, and there are some whiffs, but in general it’s a massive benefit that pays for itself almost instantly.
I can’t say this strongly enough: If you just bought a PlayStation 4, getting a PlayStation Plus subscription is a no-brainer. This should be your first purchase after buying the PlayStation 4 itself, no caveat necessary.
Listen, “Bloodborne” is not for the faint of heart.
You see that monster up top? That’s not concept art. You’re the comparatively diminutive hunter in the foreground in this equation, and that giant monster is surprisingly fast. Do the math.
“Bloodborne” is gorgeous, gruesome, tremendously challenging, and easily one of the best games on PlayStation 4. Oh, and to be clear: You can only play “Bloodborne” on the PlayStation 4. Here’s a review my colleague Dave Smith wrote about the game – it goes into far more depth on why “Bloodborne” is so fantastic.
4. “Marvel’s Spider-Man”
It’s hard to overstate how much fun basic movement is in “Spider-Man.”
Even after devoting more than 30 hours of my life to the game, I never tired of high-velocity traversal. If you’ve seen any of the “Spider-Man” movies, you’re already familiar with how swinging around Manhattan works – it’s nearly identical in the PS4 game, but you’re in control.
And the version of Manhattan that “Spider-Man” lives in is almost as beautiful as the real thing. It’s not quite as large, or as detailed, but it’s got all the familiar landmarks you’d expect to see: Union Square, Central Park, and much more.
As an NYC resident, I found it shockingly easy to navigate the Manhattan of “Spider-Man” without using the in-game map. That it’s possible to navigate solely based on my knowledge of the actual Manhattan is incredibly impressive, and a testament to the level of detail in “Spider-Man.”
But what’s most impressive about the game is that it manages to tell a story and evoke the feeling of a high-budget Marvel superhero film – except you get to play it.
I want to be all the way clear here: I don’t even like “Spider-Man” as a character. I never read the comics growing up, and I don’t like the few films I saw. I love “Spider-Man” on PlayStation 4.
5. It’s perfect for cord-cutters because there are apps galore.
Having been too broke in college to pay for cable, I “cut the cord” years ago out of necessity. Ten years later, it’s easier than ever to maintain a cable-free life, especially with the robust selection of streaming apps on the PlayStation 4.
There are standards you’d expect like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon, and HBO Go/Now, as well all the major sports. You can even run your Plex server through the PS4 with a native app.
The YouTube app on PlayStation 4 has genuinely changed how I interact with YouTube; it went from a place I occasionally visited on a direct link to a service I use like Netflix.
6. You can play classic PlayStation 2 games — and some from PlayStation 3!
A limited selection of PlayStation 2 games is available on the PlayStation 4, with HD resolution and so-called “rich” features like Trophies. They range in price from $9.99 to $14.99, and include everything from heavy-hitters like “Grand Theft Auto 3: San Andreas” to niche fan-favorites like “Rogue Galaxy.”
No, you can’t just put your old PS2 discs into the PS4, but this isn’t so bad either.
7. PlayStation VR is a surprisingly immersive virtual reality headset, and it’s got more games than ever before.
VR is no longer a far-flung possibility: Sony’s PlayStation VR on PlayStation 4 is available right now, today. There are a ton of games available at this point, from a “Star Wars” experience to major VR games like “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.”
The headset is comfortable and provides a surprisingly high-end VR experience. More importantly, it does so without the added cost of a bleeding edge computer (or a bleeding edge phone), unlike its competition from the HTC Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift.
The one downside: the headset costs around $300.
If you don’t own a PlayStation Camera, you’ll need one of those too (it costs $60). This is the least expensive option for high-end VR, compared with the competition. That said, it’s a lot of money on top of a new console. But it’s an option!
8. “Horizon Zero Dawn”
In 10 years, people will still be talking about innovative things that “Horizon Zero Dawn” does. They’ll still be talking about how gorgeous it is, how smart and funny its main character is, and how it succeeded commercially in the shadow of a new Nintendo console and a new “Legend of Zelda” game.
While playing games, I often experience a small handful of emotions: frustration, accomplishment, fear. While playing “Horizon Zero Dawn,” that list expanded dramatically – outside of delighting in the graceful, smart gameplay systems that underlie the game’s narrative focus, I often laughed out loud at Aloy’s smart quips (she’s the protagonist you see above). I found myself endlessly curious about the surprisingly deep lore of the game’s world, its people and religions, and the main character’s story arc. Perhaps most important, I actually cared about the main character, believed her motivations, and wanted her to succeed.
“Horizon Zero Dawn” is a magnificent accomplishment of a game that stands out among standouts. And I didn’t even mention the giant metal dinosaurs.
9. If you want the most powerful PlayStation 4, there’s the new PlayStation 4 Pro.
The PlayStation 4 Pro is a more powerful version of the original PlayStation 4 that launched in 2013. It’s capable of producing games in a higher resolution (4K), running older games more smoothly, and adding more visual effects than ever.
In short, it makes already existing PlayStation 4 games even prettier than they already are.
Do you need it? The short answer is “probably not.” But it’s a great option if you’re able to support 4K visuals.
10. The DualShock 4 gamepad with the rechargeable battery is great.
For many, the DualShock 4 is the best gamepad ever created.
It’s great-looking, has a comfortable design, and comes with a built-in battery (rechargeable with the ever-common micro USB wire). What the controller lacks in longevity is more than made up for in design and comfort. If only someone would make a game to harness its massive, clickable touchpad!
BONUS PRO-TIP: Go to the Settings menu, then to the Devices submenu, and turn your gamepad’s light bar brightness as low as possible. It’s guilty of a lot of needless battery drain.
11. “God of War”
On paper, the “God of War” reboot is very similar to the original series: It’s a third-person action-adventure game that is focused on stylish combat.
But in reality, there are some huge changes right off the bat. For one, Kratos now has a son he’s taking care of (seen above). His name is Atreus (uh-TRAY-us), and he’s with you for the entire journey.
And the journey, rather than a tale of revenge, is one of grief: Kratos’ wife (and Atreus’ mother) has died, and her last request was to have her ashes released at the tallest peak in the land. It’s a subtle refocus that, unbelievably, turns Kratos into a complex, interesting character for the first time.
How he handles grieving while teaching his son valuable lessons – all while dealing with the tremendous psychological baggage from his previous life as a Greek god – is what elevates “God of War” from an impressive, gorgeous action game to a memorable, meaningful game.
12. The PS4 will get upcoming exclusives, like “Death Stranding” and “The Last of Us: Part II.”
The best PlayStation 4 games are yet to come, that is near certain, and it’s totally possible that both “Death Stranding” and “The Last of Us: Part II” will end up on that list.
Neither game is scheduled to arrive this year, but there’s already a massive stable of great games to play on the PlayStation 4 right now – it’s just nice to have something to look forward to.
13. “Tetris Effect”
Bonus: “Tetris Effect” is playable in PlayStation VR. Enhance/The Tetris Company
“Tetris Effect” is the best game I played in 2018.
It takes a foundational game (“Tetris”), executes it perfectly, and crucially evolves the concept of what a “Tetris” game can be. It’s one of the only games from 2018 that I’ve continued playing into 2019 (and likely beyond).
You might think that a “Tetris” game in 2018 would have a hard time justifying a $40 price tag. “Tetris Effect” does not, and that’s mostly due to its endless replayability. It is, after all, “Tetris.”
More importantly, though, there are a variety of game modes to switch between. Despite the fact that you’re always essentially just playing “Tetris,” the different modes feel distinct and unique.
Looking to play something a little more relaxed? That’s an option. Want something that will demand your attention? Plenty of choices for that. Maybe you want something a bit more meditative? Sure thing!
When “Tetris Effect” is at its best, which is often, it captures my full attention. It’s a blessed respite from the modern world that I’m thankful for on a deeper level than the usual video game.
14. The PS4 has deep Spotify integration.
When Sony’s “PlayStation Music” initiative flopped, the company did something amazing: it worked with Spotify to make it the main music player on PlayStation 4.
You can replace in-game music with Spotify tracks (while keeping in-game sound effects) – it’s pretty incredible. Even better, you don’t need a paid subscription, though it’s an ad-free (much better) experience if you have one.