The 14 Best PS4 Games You Might've Missed In 2017
By GameSpot Staff on
PlayStation 4 owners have been in the enviable position of have too many great games to play this year. Between Nioh, Persona 5, Nier Automata, and Horizon: Zero Dawn--to name a few--there was always something vying for your attention. Thus it's easy to see why some games simply fall through the cracks, though not for lack of appeal. In this gallery, we've compiled a list of our favorite PS4 games that we think you should play if you haven't already.
What are some of your favorite games this year that you think others might've missed? Let us know in the comments below. And if you're looking for game recommendations you might've missed on other platforms, you can check out our features focusing on the best Xbox One games, best Switch games, and the best PC games. You can also check out our feature focusing on the best games you might've missed in 2017 in general.
Linelight revels in simplicity. You control a bright segment along a long line riddled with obstacles and puzzles to the tune of a relaxing and rich soundtrack that seems pulled from a Disney-Pixar film. The complexity of the challenges increases as you trod along the different stages, so you should expect to sharpen your logic and timing skills the further you get with Linelight. You'll activate platforms to connect segments, avoid threatening lines, and sometimes guide them towards your goal by manipulating the path forward.
It's the perfect change of pace from the action games and open worlds we often find ourselves in. Linelight feels like a stress ball in video game form; it's tranquil and soothing, but manages to be engaging with a minimalist presentation.
Little Nightmares is a haunting adventure that instantly pulls you into its world of existential conundrums. Having released this past April up against bigger games like Persona 5 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it's likely this eerie journey passed you by. You play as Six, a nine-year-old girl trapped in The Maw, an underwater resort filled with monstrous, disfigured inhabitants. The background details are never explicitly explained, but it's clear from the beginning that your goal is to escape. It's a simple adventure that displays an enthralling sense of mystery throughout, pushing you from one tense cat-and-mouse-style chase to the next, as you explore the mysterious exteriors of The Maw. Clocking in at around two hours, it's likely you'll finish Little Nightmares in one or two sittings, but its strange world and distorted inhabitants makes it well worth checking out.
If you're unfamiliar with Housemarque--creators of arcade-style action games like Resogun and Super Stardust--then you need to check out its stuff. The studio's latest project, Nex Machina, effectively channels the classic twin-stick shoot-'em-up action of games like Robotron 2084 and Smash TV. But that's because Eugene Jarvis, the creator of those games, collaborated alongside the studio to create it. The game is an intense display of frenetic action that takes the best from the work of both creative forces, combining it into an exhilarating experience of non-stop shooting. If you want to make things even more hectic, you can jump in with a friend to play cooperatively. Nex Machina's exhilarating action makes it well worth your time, but be wary, the game is tough. Expect your patience and reflexes to be tested.
Night In The Woods
Imagine a relatively quiet town in the American midwest populated by anthropomorphic animals. That's Possum Springs, where Night in the Woods takes place. And as Mae, a cat-human, you experience a readjustment to your hometown after getting the boot from college. This comes in the form of a side-scrolling adventure where conversations, character interactions, and mini-games propel you through a complicated and emotional tale of modern young adulthood.
Jump the town's power lines to get to the rooftops and meet an amatuer astronomer who will show you the stars at night. Get the band back together when you reunite with your friends and play bass for a song you haven't practiced. Commit "crimes" with your bubbly homeboy Gregg, or shoplift (more criminal activity) with your seemingly apathetic homegirl Bea. Every story beat, hidden tidbit, line of dialogue, and optional interaction encourages exploring the beautifully painted world of Night in the Woods. The game isn't for everyone, but it hits what it aims for. Through the uniquely charming artwork of Scott Benson and the quirky, yet emotive soundtrack from Alec Holowka, the poignant storytelling is wrapped in elements that elevate it above many games this year.
At first glance, Snake Pass' colorful art style makes it seem reminiscent of classic Rare platformers like Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. However, its mechanics differ wildly from those games; there's no jumping here. You control a snake named Noodle, maneuvering and curling around objects with his serpentine body, navigating intricate obstacles to reach collectibles, and solving a multitude of physics-based puzzles. The challenges you encounter are each meticulously crafted around Noodle's unconventional physicality, demanding you to know the ins and outs of his physics to fully master. It's quite unlike many games out there, which is more than enough reason for you to check it out, if only to discover how charming and different it is.
As a love letter to 90's first-person shooters, Strafe captures the frantic pace and thrills of its reference material. From the retro visuals and blocky blood splattering to the variety of weapons and abundance of secrets, Strafe is still worth playing even after the campaign's final encounter...if you even make it that far. Each run is a thrill as you violently dance through the game's 12 procedurally generated levels, and the roguelike structure heightens the stakes as get further along. You may be stuck in the dark corridors of the game's opening area before learning to skillfully cut through goblins and robots, but each world opens up to stage for increasingly frenzied firefights.
Strafe has its own unique charm with comical self-awareness and silly, yet threatening enemies. But the soundtrack is what weaves all the game's elements together to elevate the experience beyond that of the standard FPS. Each level has its own synth-laden electronic rock track that instills a sense of wonder, inspires you to fight through the hordes, or intensifies feelings of danger--or often all these things at once. When you get to grips with Strafe's systems and devise an effective play style, the looming threat of permadeath doesn't seem so bad.
Sundered is an action-adventure game that closely follows the Metroidvania style, but in doing so, it manages to iterate on the best parts of the genre while introducing fresh new concepts. You play as Eshe, a wanderer who discovers an ancient monument that sucks her into a vast, otherworldly cavern. Stuck within this hostile realm, you're forced to journey forward under the guidance of a malevolent entity known as the Shining Trapezohedron to find a means of escape. The game utilizes procedurally generated rooms, which often imbues exploration with a sense of unease, as you await the randomized onslaught of enemy swarms. Fortunately, the game sports a combat system that's as fulfilling as it is flashy. While rare instances of unfair difficulty hold it back, Sundered is a compelling and rewarding experience that you should give a shot.
The Disney Afternoon Collection
Licensed games may have a (largely deserved) reputation for being cheaply made and poor quality, but as Capcom proved during the NES era, a talented developer could turn even a TV or film franchise into a gaming classic. Such was the case with the studio's Disney titles. During the late '80s and early '90s, Capcom was the steward of the Disney license, and it produced a number of excellent games based on Disney's most beloved cartoons and movies.
The Disney Afternoon Collection compiles six of these, each one based on a popular Disney animated series: DuckTales, DuckTales 2, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 2. Nearly every game in the collection is still enjoyable to this day, and they've been supplemented with a handful of new features like time trials, save states, and the ability to rewind. That last feature in particular is a welcome addition, as it makes even the more unforgiving titles in this compilation much more manageable. The best thing about the compilation, however, is that it gives players a chance to experience some of Capcom's rarer efforts like DuckTales 2. The Disney Afternoon Collection is a must-have for any retro gaming fan.
The Sexy Brutale
The Sexy Brutale is a quirky little puzzle game co-developed by Tequila Works, the studio behind beautiful adventure game Rime. Its essentially Groundhog Day: The Game--you play through the same day over and over, but with each runthrough you learn more about the creepy mansion you find yourself in. After seeing one character shoot another, you might go and find the gun and prevent the bloody murder by replacing real bullets with blanks. A number of these murders are interconnected--solving one puzzle might prevent one murder, but that could change another branch of time elsewhere in the house. There's no way of preventing every murder in one go, but discovering and tinkering with the different timelines is where the fun lies.
We've played it over and over again--groundhog day indeed.
Micro Tokyo lies in the sky, atop the buildings and skyscrapers that make up its dystopian cyberpunk future. It's vibrant and lively on the surface but creepily sterile and violent as you fight back against unjust authority. Or to distill it further, you shoot, slice up, and blow up hundreds bad guys since they're after you for a murder you didn't commit. Tokyo 42 is an isometric action game that blends elements of top-down shooters with a little stealth in an open world. Its story takes you down the rabbit hole of joining a secret organization of assassins, but it doesn't take itself too seriously. Despite the brutal nature of firefights and the unforgiving (sometimes frustrating) bullet-hell-like enemy encounters, Tokyo 42 still manages to be...cute. It's probably the allure of neon signs and adorable cats.
What Remains Of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch is a game in the same vein as Dear Esther and Gone Home; that is to say, it's a "walking simulator." Some might be turned off by the genre, but it tells a hauntingly beautiful and compelling tale that should not be missed.
The premise is that the Finch family carries a supposed curse that leads every family member to die in unexpected and bizarre ways. It's very Final Destination in that aspect. You play as Edith Finch, as you explore the huge, mysterious family manor to unearth how members in your family tree have passed away. This opens the door to creative flashbacks, where you get to play the last strange moments leading to people's deaths.
The story is powerful, gripping, and dark like an episode of Black Mirror. It's full of unexpected twists and turns and could only effectively be told through the video game medium. Considering you can beat it in under three hours, you should play it as soon as you can.
Wonderboy: The Dragon's Trap
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a game that sets out to bring the retro platforming adventuring series to the present day, while also celebrating its beginnings in the classic era. As a full remake of the original of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap for the Sega Master System and TurboGrafix-16, it features a brand new artstyle that's lush and vivid, giving off a greater depth in its atmosphere--along with a fully orchestral soundtrack based on the original music. In keeping with its respect for the original, the remake allows you to shift between classic and modern styles of music and graphics on the fly. Feel like playing the original game in HD? You can do that, but if you're feeling crazy, you can mix things up and play with modern graphics along with retro sound and music. It even allows old passwords from the classic game to be used again, just like the old days. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a wonderful send-up to the classic era, while showing that retro titles still hold up incredibly well to this day.
The Yakuza series is an incredibly popular long-running franchise in Japan, but historically, it has had little impact in the West. At first glance, you might gather the series' latest western release, Yakuza 0, to simply be an action-game with a serious crime-drama narrative. But it's so much more than that. The game embodies what has made its predecessors so endearing to fans of the series, effectively combining its melodrama and seriousness with a dose of offbeat, absurdist comedy. While these extremes don't seem like they'd work together, the game manages to pull it off, handling both tones with ease. The result is an entertaining experience that pulls you in with its involved narrative, makes you break into laughter with its outlandish humor, and immerses you with its authentic take on a Japanese culture. It's also a prequel to the entire series, so If you've never tried a Yakuza game before, you owe it to yourself to play Yakuza 0.
Developer Playtonic Games billed Yooka-Laylee as a "spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie" when it first pitched the game on Kickstarter, and that certainly wasn't an exaggeration. Like the classic N64 platformer, Yooka-Laylee stars an eponymous duo (in this case, a lizard and bat) and has players use their unique abilities to explore expansive, colorful worlds and pick up all manner of collectibles. In fact, Yooka-Laylee channels the spirit of Banjo-Kazooie so well that it genuinely feels like a long-lost N64 platformer, for better and sometimes worse; like many of Rare's titles, the game occasionally succumbs to some frustrating design decisions, and the number of collectibles to find could have been scaled back to make the overall experience tighter.
That said, even during its moments of frustration, Yooka-Laylee remains one of the most charming releases of the year thanks to its tongue-in-cheek writing, beautiful art style, and whimsical soundtrack. The game more than succeeds in its mission of reviving the long-dormant genre, and while it may not top Banjo's first two adventures, it certainly sits alongside Rare's N64 output nicely. Anyone who grew up with '90s platformers and has a fondness for Rare games in particular will find a lot to love about Yooka-Laylee.