The PS4 may be selling like hot cakes, but there's a case to be made that it's lacking exclusive clout. Despite the best efforts of the indie scene, Sony's best first-party studios simply weren't ready to deploy their big guns during the console's first year, seeing as they'd supported the PS3 right up to the death. "Greatness awaits," promised the pitch, and we're still waiting.
But not for much longer.
2015 is set to be a barnstorming year for the PS4, and there's a huge amount to look forward to. From massive AAA juggernauts to new IPs and exciting experimental boutique titles, there's an astonishing wealth of software on the way, so here's what we'd consider to be the hottest games on the slate along with links to our coverage where possible. Greatness awaits? Greatness awakes, hopefully.
The Order: 1886
Well, we've got to start somewhere, so let's get this out of the way first. Though we love the look of The Order's setting, both Matt and I emerged from hands-on preview sessions somewhat worried about the gameplay of Ready At Dawn's "cinematic" shooter. All too often it seems to fall back on contrived and sluggish third-person cliches, from QTEs to instant-failure stealth, that will need to be supported by much wider and more engaging levels to make for a worthwhile experience.
However, for me it all hinges on the story. If The Order delivers a tale worth telling, I think many gamers will be absolutely fine with a more focused take on the genre. Plus, the thermite gun is amazing. Fingers crossed.
- The Order: 1886 Hands-On Preview | Outdated, Outmoded, and Stuck in the Past
- PREVIEW | The Order 1886 has brilliant boomsticks, but is it a slave to cutscenes?
Oh my sweet baby, now we're talking. Bloodborne is one of our most anticipated games of the year, taking the gorgeously macabre art direction, mystery storytelling, intricate level design and difficulty of the Dark Souls series in a new direction by injecting it with fierce, tight and no-holds-barred combat. From what we've played, it encourages you to push the advantage, to stagger, butcher, parry and backstep like a cornered rat, before fleeing headlong from mutated lynch mobs or twisted beasts.
Dark Souls fans will be in their element, but even those who dislike From Software's games will probably appreciate the subtle yet important change in focus. I count myself amongst them.
- Bloodborne Preview | Prepare To KILL
- Bloodborne beta Preview | Battle Ready
- Why am I excited for Bloodborne? Because I don't like Dark Souls
thechineseroom made a name for themselves with Dear Esther and their work on Amnesia 2, so we're excited to see what their latest psychological experiment brings to the party. Everybody's Gone To The Rapture is a much more ambitious affair than their previous work, a large open world to explore starring six characters with overlapping narratives, and it's set to be a unique experience that draws on Day Of The Triffids and other British Sci-Fi in terms of tone.
Plus, it's great to see more games set in Shropshire.
Until Dawn is a very different kind of horror game, in that it's halfway between a choose-your-own-adventure novel, David Cage cinematic QTE-fest and a Saw film. A good Saw film, if you can imagine that. A group of eight attractive twenty-somethings decide to take their holiday in a sprawling old house in the middle of an icy forest. It's spacious, comfortable and the perfect location for a getaway, at least it would be were it not for the masked psychopath hell-bent on murdering everyone.
As such, you'll leapfrog between the perspectives of the terrorised tourists as they desperately try to survive the night. Who will live? Who will die? YOU DECIDE. Maybe it will be different the next time around? Interesting DualShock 4 motion controls, horror that tunes to your specifications and a tight script could make this one to watch.
- PREVIEW | Until Dawn lets you choose who dies
- Until Dawn Preview | Sexiled To The Cabin In The Woods
Planetside 2 will shatter your preconceptions about free-to-play. Boasting the production values and visuals (including eyewatering PhysX support) of a AAA shooter, this massively multiplayer FPS offers the biggest battles you can find literally anywhere on the internet. Thousands of simultaneous players vie for control of enormous continents, using numerous classes, tanks, fighters and gunships in engagements that can involve hundreds of combatants. You'll drop from orbit straight down into hell, form squads and push objectives, and always feel like you're contributing to the war effort.
Plus, you know, it's free. Really free. Every class, weapon, faction, vehicle and upgrade are either unlocked from the start or via an experience-based Cert Point system. You can pay out for shortcuts and cosmetics if you want to, which is really rather how F2P is supposed to work. Planetside 2 is finally coming to PS4 this year, firstly by way of a closed beta starting later this month. Sign up here!
Can I get a witness?! Well yes, actually, I can. Braid developer Jonathan Blow announced this new Myst-style puzzler way back when the PS4 first broke cover, and we should be able to get to grips with its tricky labyrinths in Q3.
We're looking forward to seeing how The Witness keeps its maze exploration gameplay fresh, and the brainteasers we'll encounter along the way. I daresay that we'll also have an allegorical and deceptively deep storyline to uncover, too, if Braid is anything to go by.
"In addition to the already announced CG-animated Ratchet & Clank feature film from Rainmaker and Blockade Entertainment, we are excited to announce the development of a game that shares the film's vision of Ratchet & Clank's origin story," Sony revealed last year. "As featured in PlayStation's press conference, the game re-imagines the original Ratchet & Clank, with updated gameplay and completely new visuals built from the ground up for the PlayStation 4."
Details are thin on the ground, but this sounds good to us. So long as Insomniac remember to go back to basics as well as push forward, this should hopefully be a return to form rather than yet another tatty licensed game.
The Tomorrow Children
The Tomorrow Children might have slipped off your radar, but not ours. This interesting strategy-meets-tower defence hybrid includes gorgeous art direction that mimics Communist propaganda, while promising a deeper and subversive take on the genre. Considering Q Games' pedigree, this is most definitely on our watch list.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Here it is. The Big One. Uncharted 4 is by far one of the most anticipated games of 2015 and tops many a PS4 owner's wishlist, not least because Naughty Dog have everything to prove and are on fantastic form. We have yet to see if Amy Hennig's departure results in a shift in tone, perhaps creating a darker atmosphere, but that needn't be a bad thing.
Either way, we expect this to sell like hot cakes.
No Man's Sky?
Note the question mark. We don't yet know if No Man's Sky will release this year, but more to the point, we still no next to nothing about Hello Games' exciting PS4/PC title beyond the fact that it hinges around the thrill of exploring a lonely procedurally-generated universe.
It's a fantastic idea that has serious legs -- MirrorMoon EP has already aptly demonstrated that much -- but we arguably need to stop hyping this thing. Experimental games need room to grow and flourish, to surprise us, without the weight of expectations dragging it down.
Still, I'm excited. Especially if the end result is tuned for Project Morpheus too...
And All The Rest!
Tearaway Unfolded? Let It Die? Rime? Volume? Deep Down?
We're just scratching the surface, not to mention the multiplats. It's going to be one hell of a year.
We've been waiting for greatness for some time now, but it's finally set to arrive. Let us know what PS4 games you're most looking forward to in the comments, and remember to bookmark our games deals stream for cheap PS4 games deals!