A completely different approach in terms of gameplay, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is a turn based RPG that takes heavy inspiration from the likes of Dragon Quest. For the first time in SEGA's main series, Kazuma Kiryu is stripped of his duties as a protagonist, replaced by the supremely endearing Ichiban Kasuga and his party of crazy characters. While the adventure still has story ties to previous entries, Like a Dragon is something of a rebirth — and it's fantastic fun.
It's a pirate's life for Edward Kenway, the charismatic but troubled protagonist of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Taking control of your own ship and crew, this is an excellently realised pirating sim with some typical Assassin stuff thrown in for good measure. An impressive naval combat system makes exploring the high seas a real thrill, and boarding imperial vessels for some swashbuckling battles simply never gets old. Outside of those tedious tailing missions, Black Flag is a top class Assassin's Creed title.
Many would say that Sleeping Dogs is underrated — and we'd probably agree. This arcade-y romp into the criminal underbelly of Hong Kong is a banger from start to finish, and while it never quite reaches the open world highs of something like Grand Theft Auto, punchy storytelling and memorable missions make for an overlooked action sandbox. Throw some satisfyingly chunky combat into the mix, and you've got a damn good time.
Bethesda's eternal open world RPG got a much needed update on PS4 thanks to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition. The original PS3 version was a technical mess, but the sprawling adventure is, as you'd hope, much improved one generation later. Featuring enhanced visuals (and a steady framerate!), it's still so easy to get lost in the snowy setting of Skyrim. It might be riddled with decade-old jank, but its gameplay systems are still super addictive, constantly rewarding you for exploring what is a lovingly crafted fantasy world.
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life concludes the story of long-standing protagonist Kazuma Kiryu. Now nearing 50, a tired-looking Kiryu is once again forced to take action when his loved ones are placed in danger. When it released in 2016, Yakuza 6 was easily the best looking game in the series, thanks to the all-new Dragon Engine. However, unlike Yakuza 4 and Yakuza 5, Yakuza 6 does not feature multiple protagonists. Instead, it focuses solely on Kiryu, in what is an intensely personal conclusion.
Determining how highly regarded Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is really depends on what type of person you ask. Open world fanatics rightfully claim it's one of the genre's best, with vast stretches of land that let you come up with infiltration and escape plans. However, MGS enthusiasts aren't so hot on the fifth mainline entry thanks to a story that feels half-finished. It's an excellent playing game, but a disappointing Metal Gear Solid.
14. Elden Ring (PS4)
Elden Ring may not be at its best on PS4, but that doesn't take away from what is an utterly essential trek through The Lands Between. Far and away FromSoftware's best game to date, the developer has expanded on the Souls formula with an open world setting that almost feels like three of its past titles all jam-packed into one gigantic offering. With hundreds of locations to explore, numerous bosses to beat, and build lists off the charts, Elden Ring is the Dark Souls swansong as FromSoftware raises its game all over again. You absolutely must play this.
What can be said about Shadow of the Colossus that hasn't been said already? It's truly among PlayStation's best games, and this PS4 remake presents it in the best possible light. Set in a barren open world, devoid of almost all life, you must venture out and slay numerous colossi that are peacefully roaming the land. Each of these boss-style encounters is a puzzle in itself, and they each feel like epic confrontations thanks to incredible animation and music. Remade on PS4, it looks and runs better than ever, too. A bona fide classic.
Death Stranding is Hideo Kojima's first game after going independent, and it's a suitably crazy debut. You play Sam Porter Bridges, a delivery man in an age where the world has been devastated by the titular event. Charged with reconnecting a fractured United States, it's down to you to traipse across the land, delivering important supplies and hooking up remote outposts to a shared network. It's unlike anything else, with your biggest obstacles being the uneven terrain and fragile goods on your back. Online connectivity populates the game with useful equipment and structures created by other players, so you're all in it together. Death Stranding is an acquired taste, but its bonkers story and tranquil gameplay help it stand out.
Yakuza: Kiwami 2 is one of the strongest instalments in SEGA's series — arguably the strongest, depending on how heavily you value certain elements of this action RPG package. Yakuza 2 on the PS2 was where the franchise truly found its footing, and Kiwami 2 is a straight remake in the stunning Dragon Engine. Crunching combat, expert storytelling, and an absolutely mad range of minigames and side activities make Kiwami 2 a near faultless Yakuza experience.