Gift guide: PlayStation 4 Games worth giving

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Gift guide: PlayStation 4 Games worth giving

2017 has been a banner year for gaming, and the PS4 in particular has gotten a ridiculous amount of really great games. Whether you or your loved one is interested in action, huge explorable worlds, RPGs, multiplayer or something that doesn’t quite fit in the usual categories, there was an amazing game (or four) this year that fit the bill. (And I’ll go through them in that order.)

Here are our picks for the best and most interesting games to come out in the last year for the PS4 (though some are cross-platform). None require the PS4 Pro, though, of course, many will feature improved graphics on the upgraded system. Even including only the cream of the crop, I hit 20 items to recommend, but there are dozens more that could also be great gifts. Feel free to include your own suggestions in the comments!

1/20

ACTION: Nioh

Lacking a new Dark Souls or Bloodborne, Nioh is your best bet for that type of unforgiving action — but while the game borrows liberally from those modern classics, it quickly establishes its own rhythm and style. It’s gorgeous, intense, difficult, but rewarding — just don’t expect the story to make any sense. (There are new expansions, making this already huge game even huger.)

2/20

Nier: Automata

This quirky fast-paced action game diverges from others in the genre with a unique world, fascinating branching storyline and constantly varying gameplay. Beating the story is just step one.

3/20

Wolfenstein: The New Colossus

Nazis rule the world in a horrifying alternate future you blast through in this controversial but extremely well-reviewed first-person shooter. The team focused entirely on the single-player experience, so savor it (if you can stand the admittedly extreme violence).

4/20

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Lauded by critics not just for being a solid action game, but a moving and interesting depiction of mental illness, Hellblade is one of the rare games where its message is portrayed through the gameplay itself.

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5/20

MASSIVE WORLDS: Horizon: Zero Dawn

The new Frozen Wilds expansion just came out, making this a great time to get into HZD for the first time or to return to it. This huge, huge world is absolutely unique in its conception, and its various systems of crafting, exploration and combat are, if not entirely original, often far better than they’ve been done before.

6/20

Middle Earth: Shadow of War

The sequel to 2015’s amazing Lord of the Rings open world actioner Shadow of Mordor ups the ante in every conceivable way. Build armies of orcs, encounter unique enemies that dog you for hours and jockey for position in their own organizations — and generally cause havoc with all kinds of awesome Elven powers. It’s the ultimate LOTR power trip.

7/20

Assassin's Creed: Origins

The latest AC game goes all the way back to ancient Egypt, and by all accounts it’s highly engrossing, if not the reinvention its fans have been hoping for. The star is the setting, which is represented with so much respect and accuracy that it could double as a history class.

8/20

RPGS: Persona 5

I myself sank over a hundred hours into this game, which combines stealth, dungeon crawling, Pokémon-esque creature collection, and a high school dating simulator. I know, it sounds like a mess. It’s brilliant, cohesive and has the best art direction I’ve seen in years.

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9/20

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

This game originally came out back in 2006, but it was well ahead of its time and really has yet to be equaled in some ways. This revamped edition fixes a bunch of flaws (though Vaan is still the protagonist) and gives this innovative, extremely well-written and well-acted game the presentation it deserved.

10/20

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana

This action RPG series has never really made it big in the west, but give this one a chance and you’ll see why it’s a hit elsewhere. VIII departs from JPRG tropes with a more contained story (at first, anyway) and a focus on fun combat over everything else.

11/20

Dragon Quest Heroes II

The first DQH surprised just about everyone with its blend of building, combat and good feelings. The second expands all those ideas and refines the ideas, but it’s not a direct sequel, so don’t worry about playing the first. Suitable for all ages!

12/20

MULTIPLAYER: Injustice 2

Truth be told, I’m not much of a fighting-game guy, but if your loved one is, Injustice 2 is supposed to be excellent — though if they’re a Marvel person, they may not relish the character selection quite so much. Worst-case scenario, this is a great party game — who doesn’t want to have a Batman/Superman grudge match?

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13/20

This tiny controller

As long as we’re talking about local multiplayer, you’d be doing yourself a favor by picking up one of these little spare controllers. They’re much cheaper ($30) and work better with small hands, making them great for adding kids to the party.

14/20

Puyo Puyo Tetris

This bargain-priced game combines the line-clearing of Tetris with the bubble-popping of Puyo Puyo, making for insane multiplayer and a surprisingly compelling puzzle campaign. If your loved one has retro roots, they’ll appreciate it.

15/20

Call of Duty: World War II

From our review: “For the younger generation of CoD players, this will be a brand-new type of Call of Duty. Without jetpacks and the ability to wall-run, CoD:WWII is about positioning, decision-making and gun skill. But at the same time, the new game returns to a time the series hasn’t visited in a while — World War II — and doesn’t shy away from the horrors of it all.”

16/20

Overcooked

Technically this came out last year, but there’s a new expansion and, honestly, the game is just too fun not to have. Bouncing around a kitchen with an active fault in it or while barreling down the highway trying to cook burgers and do dishes is magnificently stressful and hilarious. Excellent party game.

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17/20

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK: Little Nightmares

This terrifying-looking little adventure puts you in the role of a tiny little girl attempting to navigate a horrible subaquatic monster den. The imagery looks absolutely horrifying, but I love it anyway.

18/20

Absolver

This highly original game has you playing as a sort of mystic martial artist, traveling through a gorgeous world and entering combat with others like you. The system of finding and tuning your “deck” of stances and moves is totally unique and will scratch the itch of any armchair tactician.

19/20

Echo

Another strange but intriguing premise, Echo has you attempting to infiltrate a starkly beautiful mansion of sorts. The twist is that it’s guarded by clones of you, which actually learn from your behavior and adapt to it as you try and fail over and over. An interesting idea that inspires both the story and the gameplay.

20/20

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm

The prequel to the immensely popular Life Is Strange, this episodic choice-em-up takes place long before — you guessed it, the storm that threatened peaceful Arcadia Bay in the first game. But it’s really about the relationship between Chloe and Rachel Amber, the girl whose fate we already know. The first two episodes are available, but you can also buy a season pass.

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