We ran our list of the best games of 2015 earlier this month, but we’ll break it down by console for you. We’re not just looking at console exclusives, but at the full range of releases for the year, excluding collections, reissues and remasters. So a game like Guitar Hero Live could pop up on multiple lists, whereas compilations like Rare Replay or Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection will be getting their own separate list. We’ve already done our Xbox One and Wii U lists, and now it’s time for the PlayStation 4.
The PlayStation 4 had perhaps the biggest and most diverse line-up of new games in 2015. From big budget spectacles to intimate downloadables, Sony’s system had something for everybody this year. Here are picks for the best PlayStation 4 games of 2015.
10. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
The Chinese Room has created a world and a community that, in its depth and subtlety, feels real. It shares the verisimilitude of a Ken Loach film but without the politics, the characters sounding like real people having real conversations. Before the scope of the mysterious illness dawns on everybody and overtakes all conversations, we hear them talk about the sort of personal issues that videogames rarely discuss, like the slow pain of a disintegrating marriage, the anxiety of young parents, or the absence felt when a lifelong partner passes away. These moments of empathy and humanity are when Rapture excels, uncovering poignancy in areas this medium has generally considered too mundane to explore.—Garrett Martin
9. Life is Strange
Invisible walls, authority figures who have pre-determined mistrust towards you no matter what you do, no sense of personal privacy, and a never-ending to-do list… I guess I never realized all the inherent similarities between high school and videogames until I played the first three-hour episode of Life Is Strange. It reminds me of the parts of Beyond: Two Souls that I didn’t hate: a teenage girl with super-powers but also realistic life problems and serious consequences. Everybody else at school thinks Max is stuck-up and a pretentious jerk; I can tell why they’d think that, and it’s why Max seems human and flawed. She’s just a teenager, trying on different types of “coolness” for size.—Maddy Myers
8. Guitar Hero Live
Guitar Hero Live, with its streaming music video channels, is now as much of a music delivery service as it is a game, and that ensures its livelihood, at least in my household. As long as they’re running and updating Guitar Hero TV, I’ll carve out time for this game. It offers something that no other game, and really, no other TV station, currently does: a powerful combo of play, nostalgia and discovery. I mean, I’d never buy a Darwin Deez record, but I’m glad I’ve seen that video, you know?—GM
Soma isn’t much of a horror game. It uses horror trappings as a jumping off point to find more intelligent and interesting trails to follow. Its follow-through is impressive. When it talks about something, it goes for it, and the results are rarely pretty or happy but almost always intriguing. And most importantly it asks us to consider questions that might become relevant sooner rather than later.—Suriel Vazquez
6. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The Phantom Pain might be the only open-world game I’ve ever played where I can say I feel like I wasn’t wasting my time on some activity that was dull or poorly designed. Even my favorite games in the genre all have at least one or two clunky activities that they force you to do over and over again for the sake of progression, tainting the experience. However, nothing feels like a chore in The Phantom Pain. It’s a game made by people who know the pieces of its construction intimately and how those pieces should connect to one another, who understand that making the small moments matter is just as important as the big picture.—Javy Gwaltney