The eighth generation of video game consoles is already at an end. Towards the close of 2013, Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One hit the market, bringing a slew of launch titles with them. Over the course of seven years, the PS4 has amassed a stunning catalog of games, but the system did not get off to an especially strong start.
In hindsight, the PS4’s debut lineup was underwhelming and lacked a single killer app. While the console would begin to collect some noteworthy titles in 2014 and especially 2015, certain launch games have proven themselves to have staying power. Others were lackluster in 2013 and have only gotten worse with time.
10 Yes: Flower
Debuting in 2009 and made available across console generations, Flower is an art game that revolves around guiding petals by controlling the wind. Although not for everyone, Flower’s unique pacing, positive vibes, and vibrant aesthetic come together to leave a long-lasting impression despite the game not seeming to do much at face value.
Similar to Thatgamecompany’s other titles, especially Journey, Flower delivers a timeless but also in-the-moment experience that varies from playthrough to playthrough. It is still worth playing in 2020.
9 No: Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition is by far the best version of NetherRealm Studios’ 2013 fighter, one absolutely packed to the brim with content. If someone wanted a PS4 fighter on launch day, Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition was basically it.
Once Injustice 2 debuted in 2017, its predecessor no longer had a reason to exist. While the story itself is still decent, Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition’s gameplay is very rough around the edges compared to its successor. Newcomers should just read the Injustice comic and pick up the second game.
8 Yes: Need For Speed Rivals
EA’s iconic racing franchise hit somewhat of a slump during the eighth generation, at least in terms of quality. 2015’s Need for Speed and 2017’s Payback both left a lot to be desired, while 2019’s Heat came and went without too much fanfare. As part of the series as a whole, Need for Speed Rivals ranks as one of the more middling entries; however, compared to solely the license’s PS4 games, it is the best.
With tight controls, decent maps, and frantic gameplay reminiscent of better earlier entries like Hot Pursuit, Need for Speed Rivals is a fun time.
7 No: Killzone Shadow Fall
Out of all of the PS4’s launch games, Killzone Shadow Fall was positioned as the system seller. It marked a new entry in a respected Sony franchise that had produced the goods on the PS3, even if the license never quite touched the heights reached by the likes of Halo or Call of Duty.
While Killzone Shadow Fall is still gorgeous, the game lacks the substance or innovation to stand out amidst a sea of shooters. As Guerrilla Games has moved on to bigger and better things, Shadow Fall might very well prove to be the last entry in the Killzone series.
6 Yes: Resogun
Resogun was the only must-play game released as part of the PS4’s launch lineup. Along with just being an all-around excellent shoot-’em-up with stunning visuals, a memorable soundtrack, and fast-paced gameplay, it was only available on the PS4 at the time. Consequently, Resogun was the one great PS4 game that could not be played on any other system, at least until it was released on the PS3 and PS Vita in 2014.
As a showcase of the PS4’s potential, Resogun did its job. In 2020, it remains a challenging and entertaining way to spend a few hours.
5 No: Call of Duty: Ghosts
With the exception of the absolutely best entries in Activision’s series, Call of Duty games are destined to lose steam within a few years. In the lead-up to Ghosts’ debut, the marketing focused more on things like a dog’s AI than the game’s attempts to revitalize the franchise’s core formula. This proved to be a harbinger of things to come as Ghosts failed to deliver much in the way of excitement in its solo campaign or multiplayer.
Ghosts felt tired in 2013 and nothing has changed since then. While its campaign is not the worst in the franchise, it is also inconsequential and mediocre.
4 Yes: Trine 2: The Complete Story
Originally released in 2011 before making its way to next-generation consoles, Trine 2: The Complete Story collected any previously released DLC, including one that was a Wii U exclusive. Blending platforming, puzzles, and fantasy tropes, Trine 2 is made for co-op play but can still be enjoyed solo.
Considering it was already available on multiple consoles, Trine 2: Complete Story was unlikely to motivate someone to pick up Sony’s next system; however, it is a game that should have been played eventually.
3 No: Angry Birds Star Wars
The Angry Birds craze was still in full swing in 2013, although it had begun to outstay its welcome. Angry Birds Star Wars slaps on a familiar coat of paint over the license’s traditional formula, and it very much feels like every other title in the series. While the console version tries to spice things up with some new modes, the game’s weaknesses are much more glaring on the PS4 than on smartphones.
Angry Birds Star Wars very much feels like a game released in the early 2010s, which is exactly where it should remain.
2 Yes: Warframe
Despite having somewhat of a rough start, Digital Extremes’ Warframe has blossomed into something truly special since its original release. Starting out as a relatively limited looter shooter with modest levels, Warframe has expanded to include open worlds and a range of gameplay styles.
Putting aside the deep lore and overwhelming amount of missions to complete, Warframe’s fundamentals are its greatest strength. The game’s combat and movement are simply satisfying.
1 No: Knack
Knack was the closest thing to a PS4 mascot prior to the console’s debut. Once the system released, the game and its protagonist turned into something of a joke. More of a beat-’em-up than a platformer, Knack’s heavy controls, repetitive structure, stilted progression, and lack of personality enhance the monotony of an already overly long campaign.
In a world that also has Knack 2, a sequel that fixes most of its predecessor’s issues but still manages to be nothing more than average, there is really no need to revisit this launch title.
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