We'd say that Yakuza: Kiwami is one of the weaker overall instalments in the action RPG series, but it's still damn good fun. A straight remake of the very first Yakuza, its storytelling and tone feel very unrefined compared to what the franchise would become, but typically face-crunching combat and crazy mini games elevate this engaging sandbox excursion. This is a decent starting point if you're new to Yakuza, and the series only gets better from here.
If you ever get an inkling to try the Watch Dogs series, just play Watch Dogs 2 and then move on with your life. By far the best entry in the series, it has a much more light-hearted approach to the hacking concepts, with fun gadgets to use and great mission design to let them thrive. Marcus Hollaway is a significantly better protagonist than the original's Aiden Pearce, and his vibrant crew is one you'll grow to love.
Sucker Punch continues its popular superhero series with a brand new protagonist in inFAMOUS: Second Son. Taking the open world action to Seattle, you play as Delsin Rowe, a conduit with the amazing ability to absorb the powers of other superhumans. This gives you many more toys to play with as you progress, gaining unusual abilities based on smoke, neon, digital, and more. Exploring the city feels great, combat is fun and varied, and it looks fantastic — a great early showpiece for PS4.
27. Judgment (PS4)
A Yakuza spin-off of sorts, Judgment embraces the same general gameplay structure as SEGA's crime-filled series, but it adds a delicious detective spin to proceedings. Playing as rough and ready private detective Takayuki Yagami, you chase leads (sometimes literally), examine evidence, and question suspects. With a gripping story and a cast of excellent characters, Judgment is yet another win for Yakuza Studio, and its completely standalone narrative acts as a perfect starting point for those interested in the franchise.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is much more of an open world RPG than it is a traditional Assassin's Creed title. The second instalment in the series' "open world trilogy", this ancient Greek adventure may overlook a lot of the game design that defined its predecessors, but there's no denying that its interlocking RPG systems make for a deep and engaging experience. Levelling up, loot, skill trees, and randomised elements like bounty-hunting mercenaries all play a part across a truly gigantic map. The story's not bad either, as protagonist Alexios or Kassandra embarks on a branching journey to learn the truth about his or her legendary bloodline.
It tends to be glossed over these days, but Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was an undeniably innovative game when it launched in 2014. Its so-called 'Nemesis' system allowed for some impressively dynamic storytelling, as ugly orcs formed all kinds of twisted relationships with brooding main character Talion. Somewhat basic, but still fun contextual combat and loads of unlockable upgrades make Mordor an engaging action RPG, and it still stands as a fine Lord of the Rings spinoff.
24. Days Gone (PS4)
After several years working on handhelds like PS Vita and PSP, Bend Studio marked its return to home consoles with its ambitious open world adventure Days Gone. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the game’s biker motif made it stand out from the crowd, as your two-wheels became your sanctuary in an extremely hostile setting. A huge focus on story and some genuinely impressive tech allowed the developer to flex its muscle, and the release would go on to become a cult favourite among PS4 fans.
Though it never reaches the same heights as its predecessor, detective thriller sequel Lost Judgment remains a great action RPG. With an intense story full of twists and carried by a brilliant cast of characters, the game is your typical Yakuza-style thrill ride — but it's actually the ridiculous amount of impressively varied side content that drives Yagami's sophomore case. An expanded, satisfying combat system is worthy of note as well.
A stunning recreation of ancient Egypt is the backdrop for Assassin's Creed Origins — a game that redefined Ubisoft's series. Going full open world and throwing a bunch of RPG systems into the mix, Origins breathed new life into Assassin's Creed after Unity and Syndicate struggled to leave a lasting impression. Origins follows the surprisingly emotional story of Bayek, a determined mystic and warrior, who, with the help of his estranged wife Aya, establishes the Hidden Ones — the precursor organisation that would one day become the Assassin Brotherhood.
One of the very best action RPGs of modern times, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is better than ever on PS4, where its last-gen framerate issues are put to the sword. Subtle storytelling combines with a dark fantasy world to create an enthralling experience, and the combat is still miles ahead of almost everything else in the genre. A game deserving of far more praise than many are prepared to give.