PlayStation is known for having excellent RPG games and several exclusive games that you won’t find anywhere else. There are plenty to choose from, but if you want the absolute best experience, then your best bet is the combination of excellent story, graphics, and gameplay of Horizon Zero Dawn.
Best Overall: Horizon Zero Dawn
The world as we know it is gone. There are no skyscrapers of steel and no computers to run the world. Instead, humans have broken off into tribes like the Nora, or the people of Meridian. No longer will you find buffalo grazing the fields. Instead, machines have replaced organic animals: grazers much like antelopes, and scrappers who might resemble packs of dogs. This is a different kind of post apocalyptic world; one where everything ended, and then started over again. This is Horizon Zero Dawn.
Aloy was raised as an outside of the Nora clan, with no mother to be found. For most of her life, she trained so that she could become a Nora brave, and ask the question denied her for so many years. When the big day comes, Aloy finds out that discovering the truth of her past will be far more difficult and requires leaving her homeland. She must hunt down the clues to find out where she came from, and find out how the world she knows now came to be.
Horizon Zero Dawn is a beautiful game from the first moments until the very end of the story. The effects of early light, night time, and rain all add to the world. It’s clear that effort went in to making the game as realistic as possible. Each time you change Aloy’s outfit and armor, you see it change on screen, and the level of detail is absolutely stunning. The environment includes icy mountains, green verdant hills, and thick forested areas, each one with its own set of machines and tribes of people that occupy it.
There are many different weapons that you’ll use while playing including several different types of bows, slings, spears, and more. Each one has a specific use and you can easily jump between weapons to take advantage of different methods of taking down machines. This becomes particularly useful when you use a ropecaster to tie down a Thunderjaw before beating it up, or if you need to deal with large groups of machines.
Horizon Zero Dawn is a PlayStation exclusive game, and one of the best role play games available today. It manages to be the best by putting emphasis on it’s world, graphics, story, and combat mechanics. Each aspect works together to deliver a stunning experience. When it comes to RPGs on PlayStation, it literally doesn’t get better than this.
- Compelling story
- Beautiful graphics
- Fantastic depth and breadth of combat
- Not enough conversation options
- World feels linear instead of open
Horizon Zero Dawn
Nature and machine collide
In a world where machines rule, Aloy seeks out the truth of who she is and where she came from. With beautiful graphics and an engaging combat system, Horizon Zero Dawn is best overall.
Best Open World: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Geralt of Rivera, the legendary Witcher returns for the third installment in the Witcher series. This time he’s hunting down his protegé Ciri before The Wild Hunt manages to get to her. He’ll have to team up with old allies, confront old enemies, and find her if he wants to save her. Welcome to the massive open-world that is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
This game is beyond gorgeous with tons of tiny details packed into every frame. Crisp environments, well-designed enemies, and town teeming with people bring this world to life. It’s also a massive game, and at no point do the graphics suffer because of this. There are hundreds of options when it comes to quests, hunts, locations to explore and people to talk to. There are gigantic cities filled with people, along with small towns that pop up out of nowhere. It’s easy to spend hours on the game and barely touch the main storyline.
Combat has always played a major role in The Witcher series, and that hasn’t changed. Regular humans and small beasts don’t offer up many challenges, but the realistic combat becomes more challenging when hunting down spirits or griffons. It does take time to get used to, but the combat is realistic without being punishing to new players.
- Massive map
- Hundreds of quests and hunts
- Fantastic story
- Gameplay can get overwhelming
- Combat can be punishing
Best Open World
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Find Ciri before it’s too late
Geralt has been a Witcher for a long time, but now he needs to find the woman he helped train before it’s too late. Find Ciri by fighting through Griffons, inquisition maddened nobles, and more in this epic open-world adventure.
Best Value: Final Fantasy XV
The story follows Prince Noctis of Insomnia as he leaves home to meet up with his fiancee. Accompanied by his three best friends and body guards, he’ll travel across the world to finally get married. Almost as soon as he leaves home the problems start, from his car breaking down to full-out war taking over his homeland. What starts out as a last roadtrip becomes a journey to discover his heritage as the next king and the burdens that come along with it.
The Graphics in Final Fantasy XV show off a beautiful world. Hour by hour in the game you’ll see both the weather and time of day change, with dynamic lighting that bring everything to life. There are all sorts of hunts, sidequests, and minigames to distract yourself from the main quest if you so choose. Amongst them are options to race chocobos, help folks broken down on the road, take photos, and collect ingredients for the recipes Ignis can whip up at dinner.
Danger lurks behind every rock too, and it means you’ll be regularly using the fluid combat system. You’ll run into old favorite enemies like Marlboros, obtain summons like Ramuh, and come across terrible new beasties that need to be put down. During combat, you have direct control of Noctis and can use link-attacks to team up with your friends. As the prince, you can also wrap strike, teleporting across the battlefield to deliver punishing blows to your enemies. There is a ton of choice in how you fight, with options that include different weapons, skills, and magic.
- Great story
- Easy combat mechanics
- Beautiful graphics
- Easy to get bogged down in side quests that don’t matter
- Grinding may be required to defeat late game enemies
Final Fantasy XV
Final roadtrip with the boys
Noctis and his friends are on one last roadtrip before his big wedding, but nothing goes as planned. With gorgeous graphics, an excellent story, tons of great content and the best combat system ever, this is the Final Fantasy game fans have waited so long for.
Best Post Apocalyptic: Fallout 4
Fallout is a open-world RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world poisoned by radiation and ravaged by a war that ocurred hundreds of years ago. There are tons of missions to play, including looking for your lost son…or not. New features have been added like settlement building, and there are new sidekicks who can journey with you. Each one has their own personality, goals, and quest line, making them more realistic than random passersby you might find on your journey.
With dozens of different quests to take, hundreds of locations to explore, plenty of people to meet, and more options than you can shake a stick at, there are more than enough hours of play in a single game. And that’s before you consider the DLC options. An America ravaged by nuclear war, and filled with radioactive monsters is prettier than it has any right to be. There are dozens of collectibles and plenty to see, with details in the most inoccouous places. However, there are issues with bugs that make gameplay frustrating at times. Likewise some features don’t feel fully developed, which is a drag on gameplay.
Combat remains punishing and still uses the VAT system to pinpoint where you’ll shoot an enemy. It’s also still a better idea to pick and choose how and when you’ll attack because Fallout is not made to have you mow through waves of enemies.
- Great graphics
- Tons of choice in gameplay
- Interesting story
- Morality system lacks nuance
- Some features were not fully developed
- Gameplay is buggy at times
Best Post Apocalyptic
Welcome back to the wasteland
When you wake up from the cryo and your son is gone, and the world as you know it has ended there is only one option. Wander the wasteland, find your boy, become the hero (or villain) you were always meant to be.
Best Futuristic World: Nier: Automata
In the far future, there are no humans on Earth. They have all escaped to the moon after an alien invasion, leaving behind Androids to battle against the many machines extraterrestrials have spawned. It’s a world that is empty of organic lifeforms, but alive in lush green landscapes and crumbling buildings. The story follows android 2B and her team as they try to destroy the deadlock between humans and extra terrestrials, but there is more to this war than meets the eye.
Everywhere you look there are decayed buildings and machinery, and they give you a sense of scale of the world. Each environment looks massive. The colors are vivid and combined with a beautiful music score, it adds a lot to the atmosphere. While a significant portion of the game has you fighting through shady forests or the ruins of cities, there are also more off-the-wall locations like on top of a roller coaster.
The real shining gem of Nier Automata is the amazing combat that goes from simple to completely bonkers in a few hours. It delivers gameplay that includes hack-and-slash mechanics, blowing up machinery from a distance, and the ability to leap and dodge out of the way of the murderous robots you’re trying to kill. Switching between different weapons is as easy as hitting the D-pad and then continuing along your way. The combat mechanics are fluid and quick to master, which is important because eventually you’re going to be faced off against mobs of enemies. You’ll need to frantically chop through them to survive.
Combat is enhanced by a customization system. During gameplay, you’ll add and remove various chips which let you adjust different stats. Searching the environment will let you snag bolts and other components to upgrade your weapons and AI battle pods. During challenging fights, you can quickly pause to swap out gear for a better selection that gives you better odds of surviving a fight.
- Amazing graphics
- Great combat mechanics
- Invisible walls hinder exploration
-Side missions are lack luster
Best Futuristic World
Dawn of the 14th Machine War
Nier Automata delivers a fun fast paced combat system with an engaging plot that will have you searching for the truth while you mow down the enemies that get in your way.
We put together a list of the absolute best RPG entries available on PlayStation 4 and while every game here is excellent, only Horizon Zero Dawn can claim to be the best. It manages this by creating a game that goes above and beyond at every opportunity. The story is gripping, the gameplay itself is fun and intuitive, and it’s absolutely gorgeous from beginning to end. If you want the real RPG experience, this is the game to play.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jen Karner loves RPG console games and has spent endless hours racing chocobos in Final Fantasy and playing Gwent in The Witcher. You can follow her on Twitter
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