If you’re on the receiving end of a lovely PS4 or PS4 Pro as a Christmas gift this year, I’m here to help you get the most out of it. In this list I’ll detail the essential single player games for those who are looking for good, lonesome fun. Hey, not everything has to be super social and it’s alright to shut off from the rest of the world for a few hours to get lost in another. The following list of games isn’t in any particular order, so they’re not ranked best to worst or vice versa – they’re just in whatever order I happen to think of them. And being that Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the most recent games I’ve played, we’ll start off with that one.
Red Dead Redemption 2
It does have an online mode with a story but it pales in comparison to the game’s main draw – the epic story of Arthur Morgan and Dutch’s gang. If you played the original Red Dead Redemption then you’ll probably be able to see how the story is going to end. That’s OK, though, as the journey there is a hootin’, tootin’ good time. Well, it can be depressing at times, but it’s fun in its own weird way.
The story will easily keep you going for a good 30 hours – even more if you take up the side-missions that litter Rockstar’s beautifully realised depiction of the Wild West. You’ll have to wrestle with the controls a fair bit and there are stretches where things crawl to a snail’s pace, but it’s still one of the finest solo games you can play on PS4. Read the review.
This one is only really worth picking up if you’re a superhero fan. If Spidey isn’t one of your childhood heroes, you’ll probably find the predictable story a little so-so, but at least the gameplay is pretty good. It’s not perfect by any means and it has definitely had its imperfections glossed over by many outlets and fans – the combat is simple and samey, for instance, but don’t let that put you off one of the best Spider-Man games to-date. The DLC on the other hand is more of the same and, dare I say it, leans on the crap side. Maybe pick up the expansions on a sale. Our review can be found through here.
This is a bit of an oldie but it’s definitely a goldie. It actually first released on the PS3, can you believe, before getting a re-release on the current-gen consoles. It’s easily dismissed by many as being another GTA wannabe, but it’s much, much more than that. It’s story is immense and the open world is a massive change away from the typical open-world cities we tend to see. Heck, when was the last time a game took you to Hong Kong? The gameplay isn’t half bad, either, with a bigger focus on melee combat, Sleeping Dogs strays away from the norms and gives you a world worth exploring. The pork buns are pretty good, too. (You’ll get that reference once you’ve played the game for an hour.)
LEGO Harry Potter Collection
There’s nothing more wholesome than LEGO and Harry Potter, so smash them together and you get the LEGO Harry Potter Collection on PS4. Of course there are many other LEGO games to choose from, but LEGO Harry Potter gets a special mention for just how well done it is. It’s perfect to play alone and works equally as well as a couch co-op game. Be sure to give this a look if you’ve not done so already. You can read my review through here.
The Uncharted Franchise
Skip the first one, enjoy 2 and 3, and maybe enjoy 4 if you can look past the pretentious writing. Lost Legacy is a decent action romp, but the whole family and feelings crap drags it down to Uncharted 4 levels of groaning. In fact, just play 2 and 3 and you’ll be golden.
Perhaps this one best left out of reach of the kiddies, but if you’ve bought the kids a PS4 then there’s no reason not to sneak this one on after they’ve gone to bed. It might feel and look a little dated next to Rockstar’s latest, but it’s still a fantastic single player game that can easily eat up tens of hours. Just forget about GTA Online unless you’ve got a fetish for microtransactions/unbelievably grinds.
The Assassin’s Creed Franchise
This one really depends on what you’re looking for in an open world game. If you’re not a fan of RPGs then you’ll want to stay away from Odyssey and Origins, but Unity and Syndicate are perfectly fine games. Yes, Unity had it’s fair share of problems but they’ve been more or less eradicated and you’re left with a decent game, though it does still have a bit of an RPG feel to it. They’re great games to lose a few hours in, though, and exploring London, Paris, and Egypt is a blast. Origins is a little more RPG than I’d like, but it’s worth a look if you find yourself looking for something to really sink your teeth into. If you’re not sure about Odyssey, check out Max’s glowing review and see where you stand then.
Batman: The Arkham Trilogy
Superhero games were generally pretty poor before Rocksteady came along and wowed us all with Arkham Asylum, though Treyarch’s Spider-Man 2 was bloody good, to be fair. The two original Batman games have been re-released on PS4, so it’s now possible to play the complete trilogy. It’s a shame that Origins has been left out in cold, but what can you do.
They’re not mindless smash and grab games either. You’ll be exploring large open-worlds, taking down bad guys from the shadows, as well as solving crimes. The stories are damn good, too, so if you’ve got a few hours to spare over the holidays then start off with Asylum, move on to Arkham City, and then round it off with Arkham Knight. Just know that the Batmobile sections suck balls.
Watch Dogs and Watch Dogs 2
Are you noticing a trend with this list? I am. Most of these games are open-worlds, so I guess it makes sense that another Ubisoft franchise pops up. The Watch Dogs games are both very well done, though don’t expect the sequel to be more of the same. To be honest, you can probably play them in whatever order you like as the stories are only very loosely connected. The second game is a better overall game with a more light-hearted tone, while the first game is super serious but also super intense in its gameplay. Watch a few videos and maybe check out my review and then make a choice.
The Last of Us Remastered
By now it’s well-known that I’m not a fan of that great prat Neil Druckman for taking the pulpy fun of Uncharted and turning it into a snoozefest full of walking and talking in Uncharted 4. Yes, I’m still sour and I still think that the guy should bugger off and go and make movies. I will say, though, that The Last of Us is actually pretty damn good. It’s a slow start and you’ll be sick of watching the game after an hour, but once you’ve been introduced to the world and the dangers within it, you’ll be pushing your way to the end. It’s good. Well done, Druckman. Now just don’t bugger up the sequel.
Spyro Reginited Trilogy
It’s the three original Spyro games fully remade in HD. Do I even need to say any more? No. I don’t. I’ve already hit my target wordcount. Read the review here.
DriveClub billed itself as a social racing game but, in my experience at least, it’s best played with the lights off, The Killers blasting through Spotify, and a racing wheel to hand, though it’s perfectly fine with a DualShock 4 controller. There’s so much to do on your own that you never need to touch the online portion of the game. Plus, the online is pretty much dead these days, even more so for DriveClub VR. It’s a decent arcade racer that was once upon a time the best racing game this generation had to offer. You can pick it up for peanuts these days and there’s plenty of free DLC to keep you going until well into the new year.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission
This one is only available in VR, so bear that in mind. It’s also fair to say that if it wasn’t in VR it’d be a pretty humdrum experience; the added depth of virtual reality is what elevates this platformer. You owe it to yourself to give it a go, especially as it’s fairly cheap so soon after release. Check out my review through here.
This Is The Police (1&2)
These games aren’t all about balls to the wall action. In fact, they revel in the mundane daily tasks of a police chief. You’ll assign your cops to different jobs, hire and fire cops as you see fit, and even take a few bribes from the Mafia. Oh, yeah – you’re corrupt as shit, too. But it’s amazing. Hey, sometimes playing as a bad guy is more fun than you think, especially when you’re not truly bad – you do bad things to keep good people safe, and that’s an angle that’s rarely explored in today’s games. You can check out Jeremy’s review of the first game and my review of the follow-up here.
Of course there are plenty more great single player games – they just didn’t make this list. If there’s anything you think should be on this list to help new PS4 owners find the best single player games to play, help out your fellow gamer by commenting your essential games down in the comments section below.
Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella. (Bronze trophies, that is – he only has one Platinum.)