Best Action Games for PlayStation 4 iMore 2021
PlayStation 4 is overflowing with excellent action games that can satisify your thrill-seeking side. From the wild west, to feudal japan, to snowy mountain top, there are some excellent games that can't be found on any other platform. While you have plenty of options, the absolute best is God of War. WIth an excellent narrative, a new take on a favorite franchise, and brilliant graphics, this is a game you cannot miss.
- Best Overall: God of War
- Best Stealth: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
- Best Story: Red Dead Redemption 2
- Best Horror: Days Gone
- Best Open World: Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Best Overall: God of War
PlayStation is known for it's fantastic exclusive lineup of games, and one series fans remember fondly is the God of War. God of War is the next chapter in the franchise and a reboot all at once that expands everything about the series, making it better than ever. Kratos has left Greece behind, and you won't find any of the mythology that dominated earlier games here. Instead, it's time to dive into Norse mythology and the story's pace is completely up to you.
You spend a significant portion of the game with Kratos and his son, Atreus, in a small rowboat with plenty of exploration options. It's rare that you're forced to go to a specific place at a specific time, although the story may encourage you to do so. Whether you are exploring snowy peaks, figuring out puzzles, or just mowing through a variety of enemies, God of War is visually stunning. Every aspect of the world is filled with detail, from the buildings you run through to the variety of enemies you will fight through. It delivers a beautiful landscape for you to run, row, and fight through.
Of course, what would a God of War game be without some seriously awesome combat mechanics? Combat feels fluid and captures the feel of former God of War games, while updating every aspect. As you play, you also are able to unlock a variety of different skills which can be used in combat.
From beginning to end, God of War delivers a blockbuster experience. It combines beautiful graphics, a tender and fraught story, new beginnings, excellent combat mechanics, new mythology, and a world waiting to be explored. All together, action games don't get any better than this masterpiece on PlayStation 4.
- Beautiful graphics
- Amazing heartfelt story
- Fantastic and fluid gameplay mechanics
- Tons to explore and unlock
- Battles can become easy once you get the hang of weapons
- Upgrades can seem confusing at first
Best Stealth: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, you play as a Shinobi, desperate to save your Master, a young boy with magical powers. Most of the gameplay revolves around two different mechanics, fighting through enemies and bosses, along with exploring various levels and taking advantage of stealth tactics to remain unseen.
Sekiro's combat is both fantastic and unrelenting. Being aggressive is often your best bet to deal with the variety of different baddies that you will encounter, however you also need to be careful. That's because many enemies can take you out with a few short hits. If they manage to make contact anyway. You get around it by taking advantage of the posture system. Essentially, each time you make an enemy parry or block a shot, they lose posture. Once their posture falls far enough, you are able to deal with them using a Deathblow.
Stealth is also a huge part of Sekiro. You have a grappling hook that allows you to move vertically in fluid ways that make it easy to pick up unsuspecting guards from above or below. This is sort of mandatory at times, considering the challenges of combat. It's rarely, if ever, a good idea to take on a mass of enemies head-on. Even if they're only swordsmen, they can still dispatch you with ease.
- Demanding combat
- Gorgeously rendered graphics
- Rewards for exploring locations
- Serious learning curve when getting started
- Enemy AI is unpredictable
Best Story: Red Dead Redemption 2
The game kicks off in 1899 as civilization stretches out through the West turning bandits into an endangered species. You play as Arthur Morgan, an outlaw working with a gang on the run after a heist gone wrong. If you played Red Dead Redemption, you'll recognize Dutch, the leader of the gang as the man that must be hunted down 12 years later, and the game does an excellent job of linking the two games without shoving it down your throat. They end up working in tandem to deliver a taut, gripping story.
You'll play a variety of missions that tell Arthur's story and show off various side hustles he can take advantage of, from playing poker to stealing (and then selling) horses. You'll find hesists, shootouts, and chases that take you across gorgeous landscapes and that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are bare knuckled fights, shootouts that require you to hide behind cover and prepare your weapon before firing.
Between the graphics and the voice acting, the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 feels real. The attention to detail is clear from the dark swamps where gators lay in wait, to wide open plateaus that seem to go on forever. Each new landscape is as gorgeously rendered as the one that came before it, and it's all available to be explored. The details are down to simple things like the way clothing sits on a character, or the sun rising over the mountains. There's so much to explore, so many people to meet, and things to discover.
- Gripping story
- Gorgeous and detailed graphics
- Amazing open world to discover
- Game swaps out weapons for you at times
- Travel can be excruciatingly slow
Best Horror: Days Gone
Days Gone put you behind the handlebars of Deacon St. John, an outlaw biker trying his best to survive in an apocalyptic Oregon gone to the Freakers. Days Gone is a zombie survival game where the people you meet are the only other known survivors of a zombie virus. You'll ride your bike, fight off maddened humans and infected freakers, and discover the truth over the course of the 40+ hour story.
The game works off of a pretty simple system. You'll find outposts which give you missions, when you complete them you unlock both credits you can spend, and loyalty which will unlock new weapons and upgrades for your bike. You can also turn in bounties which will give you more money to spend. Those missions tend to fall into a few simple catergories: hostage rescues, clearing marauder camps, specific story missions which vary greatly, and clearing out large groups of freakers. In essence, there are two varieties of enemy to deal with: humans gone rogue and the monstrous freakers which now roam everywhere.
Days Gone is a beautiful game that lets you drive through the mountains and forests of Oregon. The winding roads are gorgeous, day or night, and an active weather system make every encounter gorgeous. Occasionally, they can be terrifying. It's the little details that bring it to life, like the patches on Deacon's cut, or the light filtering down through the trees on an overcast day.
What sets Days Gone apart from the rest of games in this genre is the story. As you complete missions for survivor camps, you'll start to uncover questions, and answers, about what happened to cause the outbreak, who survived it, and what comes next.
- Awesome story
- Easy controls to pick up and master
- Beautiful graphics
- Damaging your bike is very easy
- Frame rate can drop unexpectedly
- Game occasionally lags and drops audio during cut scenes
Best Open World: Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Assassin's Creed Origins blends combat, story, and more options than the series has ever offered before in a beautiful package. Whether you play as Kassandra or Alexios, you're given an experience that twists and turns as you decide what kind of Assassin you want to be.
You'll still be playing the game franchise you know and love, but it's better in every way. The graphics have taken a step up, and it's easy to be distracted by every little detail. Greece comes alive with amazing graphics. A massive amount of detail and thought has gone into everything from clothing and armor, to city streets and soaring architecture.
Odyssey offers up more choices in how you play the game than ever before. It starts with letting you choose between two different protagonists and continues with dialog options that allow you to react to the events that unfold. It has taken the new start we saw in Assassin's Creed Origins and streamlined it to deliver a better experience than ever before. It's also bigger than any other game in the franchise with a main storyline that continues for well over 50 hours, with tons of optional missions you can take advantage of.
The way you choose to play also translates into your weapon choices and the abilities follow that model. There is a full weapon and armor upgrade tree, and players will have access to a variety of different weapons in the same vein. This gives you the ability to customize the way you engage in combat. There are also three trees of abilities you can tweak and upgrade to make yourself better at Ranged, Combat and Stealth aspects of gameplay.
- Tons of choices that effect the story
- Updated combat system
- Beautiful and gigantic map to explore
- Long loading times
- Story drags at times
- Selecting a mission can be clunky when you have too many options
PlayStation 4 has a great roster of adventure games. They run the gamut, but all deliver a fantastic experience that any action lover will enjoy. While every game on our list is tons of fun, God of War manages to knock the competition into the dust.
This reboot of a beloved franchise delivers a stellar experience. Kratos and Atreus bond closer as father and son during a story that blends Norse mythology, grief, and rememberance beautifully. The semi-open world is flawless to look at and with demanding combat mechanics, there is never a boring moment. This is what an action game can look like when the developers take their time on every aspect, and it shows.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jen Karner is a self-professed PlayStation super fan. She's spent hours exploring in God of War, drifting in Days Gone, and assassinating anyone who gets in her way. You can follow her on Twitter
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