Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Top 10 PS4 Hidden Gems


10. Valkyria Chronicles Remastered


If it passed you by completely the first time around, now is the perfect opportunity to try out Valkyria Chronicles. It’s an ingenious combination of turn-based strategy games and action shooters. Allowing you to make tactical army-wide choices that control the units on your team, but also get stuck into the action, lining up headshots in third-person shooter mode. With gorgeous anime-style graphics and a gripping story to boot, this has always been a treasure. 


9. Dragon Quest Builders


Familiar with the world of the Dragon Quest series? Well, it’s been steamrolled - and it’s up to you to reconstruct it again with stuff you find on your adventures. This series has never had the western acclaim it deserves against bigger AAA titles, but their perfect sidestep into a Minecraft-style builder is so well done you’d think they’d been making this kind of game for years. Gorgeous, loveable, and something to sink a hundred hours into. 


8. Rise of the Tomb Raider


The first in the series of the modern Tomb Raider revamp got a lot of attention - but as the series went on, the buzz subsided. That’s an awful shame because this could be the best of the lot. Strong villains, immersive story, challenging tombs, this game has it all - and it’s satisfying to play as a Lara that has really caught her stride as a confident action hero. 


7. Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning


There’s a strong argument to be made that 2012’s Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is one of the most underrated games of the modern era. Fortunately, it’s been given a second lease on life with Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning. Offering a vibrant, massive open world, charming inhabitants and a nice variety of quests, it’s a wonder why it didn’t spawn a multi-game franchise like it was intended to do. Perhaps the second time’s the charm.


6. Mad Max


Like James Cameron’s Avatar, despite having relative financial and critical success Mad Max the Game vanished from popular culture as quickly as it came. Many know of it, somehow few have played it. A huge shame, because there is no greater way to immerse yourself in the crazy, feral, punk vehicle world of the Mad Max movie series. The maps, the graphics and the combat - all fantastically executed and worthy of putting this game on your bucket list. 


5. Ni No Kuni


I’ll concede that JRPGs are a niche genre for a reason - they’re not for everyone. But Ni No Kuni leaves behind all the old tropes that hold them back. It’s got fundamentally simple yet enjoyably deep RPG mechanics, great story and voice acting, adorable characters that you genuinely care for, and a graphical style that is lifted straight from the cutest Studio Ghibli movie. What’s not to adore? 


4. The Last Guardian


What’s so special about this fantasy action-adventure game is the relationship between the protagonist, and your big feathered monster companion Trico. I would literally die for Trico, and the time you spend with him finding your way through the beautifully told story of this game is something you’ll never forget. The Last Guardian shares a director with Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, so the same melancholy and isolation might feel familiar.


3. Maneater


Hidden in the murky depths of the ocean, you don’t want to miss Maneater! You play as a Bull Shark, on a crusade to avenge your mother, who was cruelly killed by the game’s main antagonist - Scaly Pete. Starting as a mere pup, you’ll have to eat, fight and swim until you’re strong enough to exact your revenge. There’s plenty to sink your teeth into here, with something that could’ve easily been a throwaway title. Sure it might be a bit of a novelty, and its appeal is gonna be more niche than your average title, but we implore you to give it a go.


2. The Evil Within


Many ‘horror’ games fall into the mid-range Resident Evil trap of leaning more into the action and forgetting the terror that made them so great. The Evil Within has a punishing difficulty curve, creating some tense moments that truly scared me. Fighting through the panic and overcoming the difficulty pays off with satisfying gameplay that is great at keeping you hooked. Until suddenly you realise it’s 2am and you’re playing from behind the sofa. 


1. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun


Everyone’s got a stealth mechanic in their game these days, but it’s always kind of optional. Shadow Tactics brings real stealth back to the playing field. It’ll be frustrating to figure out the perfect way to execute your assassinations - but when you do, it’s oh so satisfying. Throw in a great story, sympathetic fleshed-out protagonists and a gorgeous art style and you’ve got a real treasure of a game. 



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