Top 5 PlayStation 4 Games of 2014

The PlayStation 4 is, hands down, the best console to date. Featuring impressive hardware, slick design, an easy-to-navigate-through menu and a solid-built Dualshock 4 controller, it’s easy to see why so many game developers released numerous titles either compatible with this gaming console or remastered for it to offer an elevated experience. Because there were so many noteworthy titles, we compiled a list of the must-have games for PlayStation 4.

1) GTA V

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Every time a new Grand Theft Auto game is released, it’s bound to end up on a “Best Of” list. The best part about it is that it’s not something done by default – it’s one of those rare cases when the games actually live up to their hype. GTA V sets the bar high for production values – there is no other video game right now that feels so cinematic. There is attention given to every detail, from the voice acting to the city of Los Santos, which looks absolutely gorgeous. Textures are beautifully rendered – the scenery just begs you to stop and look at it, without doing anything. But when you DO something, there is a level of authenticity involved that you can hardly find in any other game. The PS4 version brings a new mode to the table – the First-Person perspective, which makes you feel even more involved with the character you’re controlling, instead of just having him from a somehow detached third-person point-of-view. The way characters like Trevor interact with the rest feels both scary and authentic – they are criminals and they know it, so the game won’t manipulate you into liking them. The dialogue is sharp and witty, continuing to satirize America and its corrupt agencies (I’ll let you guess to what does GTA V’s filthy agency FiB allude to). Apart from some frame rate issues and a slightly problematic Online Mode, there isn’t anything else to complain about and even those things are basically just nitpicking.

2) The Last of Us Remastered

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Just like GTA V, The Last of Us isn’t a 2014 release, but since it has been specifically remastered for the PS4, it would be a sin to omit it. The remastered version runs at a higher frame rate, featuring sharper texture – it makes an already gorgeous game look more gorgeous. It’s not that much of an improvement and for anyone who played it on PS3, it will probably not make any difference, but that doesn’t take away any of its merits. It’s one of the best adventure games in years, thanks to its thoughtful story which poses questions you can ponder on. The Last of Us is set in a world where all hope is lost, where people can’t afford the luxury to live, but merely to survive. And in such a nihilistic world, getting attached to someone who might be gone the next day can prove to be a terrible mistake. Still, this is what Joel, our bitter protagonist does with Ellie and as the game progresses, you can see why. Ellie is that dim light shining in a dark world.  This is not a game where you throw grenades and shoot countless bullets at people; you get the sense of desperation by having to improvise and search every abandoned house for items you could use as weapons and the combats are equally nerve-racking. As a bonus, the PS4 version has Left Behind, the DLC story chapter, available right from the start. It gives us more insight into Ellie’s life and the people who mattered most to her. All in all, those emotional punches feel stronger thanks to the superb voice acting and the constant sense of authenticity given by the storyline. The Last of Us feels natural and – dare I say, real.

3) Dragon Age: Inquisition

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Dragon Age: Inquisition raises questions about faith and divinity – and just like in the real world, those questions are not easy to answer. You are believed to be the chosen one, tumbling from a rift in the sky. Those witnessing the fall also claim to have seen a woman they believe to be a prophet whose doctrine was the basis for the Chantry religion, but you have no memory of the events that unfolded before, except the presence of a light. During the course of the game, not only will your character ponder on its mission, but he will also meet other ones equally tormented. What’s best about the game is that it doesn’t try to manipulate you into believing in something that is against you – instead, the choices the character makes in this role-playing game can be adjusted to match your own belief system. The character creation system gives you the option to choose a Qunari or even a Dalish elf, with each option having its satisfactions. The group that will accompany you on the quest is diverse and, what’s best, free of the clichés they could have so easily fallen into. The gameplay is tight, with every choice you make affecting the way people see you – either as someone they should be afraid of or as a liar. Your mission will be to go through the war either as a combatant, an ambassador or a spy. The combats in the game might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but the game is such a superb experience, that we’re willing to overlook it.

4) NBA 2K15

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There had to be a sports game on the list and instead of going with the obvious FIFA 15 choice, I’m opting instead for the NBA 2K15. While last year’s NBA game was solid enough, 2K15 is on an entirely different level, thanks to the natural movement of the players and the respected laws of physics. Controlling the ball through the analog stick has never been this fluid and fine; the success of your shots or defense will depend entirely on your ability to anticipate the situation and make the best out of open spaces. There is a meter there to guide you through the shots, in the sense that its indicator will help you determine why some shots were successful, while the other ones weren’t. The AI has never been more intelligent; if you focus too much on marking your man, chances are you’ll miss the whole action set piece, since the AI cleverly finds open players to pass the ball to. While the realistic movement and reaction of the players are a marvel, it also means you have to work harder and possibly deal with frustration, when you have to mark someone like LeBron, who is of course a world-class player. The career mode lets you start as an undrafted player that has 10 days at his disposal to impress those who see him on the court – and if you do, be prepared to sign endorsement deals and become a fundamental player of your team. Statistics shown during the half-time have never been more helpful, since you will be given strategies to improve your game and have the upper hand. The graphics aren’t anything new, if you are familiar with last year’s NBA game, but the improved control and movement on the court, as well as the shot meter, are solid additions which improve 2K15 greatly.

5) Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

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It’s enough to see the first chapter unfold, to know that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare means business.  There are explosions, melodrama, an extravagant setting – this is how you make a statement, by starting it out big. You play as Jack Mitchell, a US Marine, who is forced to become a mercenary for a company run by none other than Kevin Spacey himself. Well, his character’s name is Jonathan Irons, but it’s easy to forget that, since the realistic rendering might led you to believe you are seeing an episode of “House of Cards” unfold. The missions are exciting and although the visuals are less stellar than other games of its kind, the compromise is fair, since Advanced Warfare doesn’t lose any of its smoothness. The standard combat gameplay is sometimes refreshingly interrupted by stealth missions in which a rappel is your best friend, as well missions where you’re required to dive with a jet ski. History references are scarce, the only notable mention being the invasion of North Korea in South Korea; instead, the game opts for a futuristic approach, but sadly, the characters are mere caricatures and the villain’s one-liners are laughable. Because you’ll be wearing an exosuit, the Call of Duty maps have been adjusted accordingly, since a lot of climbing will be required, due to its structure. Apart from these issues, this first-person shooter is a solid entry in the Call of Duty series and thanks to its futuristic setting, it opens the door to explore new and unique storylines.

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