Your Definitive Guide to the 5 Greatest PlayStation 4 MOBAs

For the uninitiated, stepping into the world of MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arenas) can feel overwhelming. The complex gameplay, densely packed interfaces, and intensely competitive fans form serious barriers to entry. My friend, I‘m here to help ease your transition by highlighting the absolute cream of the crop when it comes to MOBAs on PlayStation 4.

A Quick Primer on MOBAs

MOBAs originated as a mod of the PC strategy game Warcraft III before exploding into one of gaming‘s most dominant genres thanks to internationally popular titles like League of Legends and DOTA 2. These team-based games see players choose unique heroes with distinctive abilities to cooperate and battle against an enemy roster and their endless waves of computer-controlled "creeps". Your ultimate goal? Breaching the opponent‘s base to destroy their central structure.

Matches unravel on battlefield maps laden with bottlenecks, monster camps granting buffs, and defensive turrets. Careful lane control and properly timed hero ability combos carry the day. Players level up through battle while upgrading skills and purchasing new equipment. Comebacks can happen thanks to ultimates unlocking at a higher level to devastate unwary foes.

MOBAs test skill, reaction speed, situational awareness and teamwork like no other video game. Their aggressive monetization through new hero releases and cosmetics strikes some as off-putting. But make no mistake – solid, carefully balanced core gameplay keeps tens of millions logging in daily even years after launch.

Why MOBAs Matter on PlayStation 4

Sony launched the PlayStation 4 console way back in 2013 and ruled the generation, selling over 116 million systems worldwide. Its ease of use, strong processing muscle, constant internet connectivity, and comfortable controllers turned PS4 into prime real estate for complex game genres previously limited to hardcore PC users.

Developers realized they could finally translate the intense competitive magic of multiplayer online battle arenas without compromise. Eager PlayStation fans who felt too intimidated to face rigid PC gaming communities received fresh welcomes to dive into these ultra-compelling cooperative strategies.

And dive they did – several PS4 MOBAs amassed up to 30 to 40 million players, staggering sums cementing them among the systems‘ most successful modern franchises. Savvy creators knew exactly how to mold their playstyles and perspectives to feel native on console. Let‘s explore the titles that got MOBAs just right while shattering sales records and proving skeptics and Sony themselves wrong in the process. Because you‘ll find everything satisfyingly adapted for living room warriors here – no expensive GPUs required.

PS4 lifetime software sales as of September 2022 (in millions) via PlayStation

#5: Zero Strain

  • Developer: Kaio Meris
  • Initial Release Date: June 20, 2019
  • Perspective: Top-down
  • Ability Mix: 3 Main Weapons, 1 Passive Ability Each Hero

This indie project from Brazilian gaming enthusiast Kaio Meris came built strictly for DualShock 4 controllers out of the gate. Zero Strain simplifies the MOBA recipe by having you pilot colorful space ships blasting each other to bits in a 2D arena. Matches only last 5 minutes as you dash around collecting weapon power-ups for machine guns, lasers, missiles and more before unloading everything you‘ve got.

Eight stylish rides feature their own passive trait you can activate temporarily like dropping proximity mines or boosting speed to escape danger. Combine these sensibly with your current gear to rack up more takedowns than any other hapless pilot. Lightning fast 10-player deathmatches ensure relentless, heart-pounding action perfect for MOBA newcomers plus veteran gamers seeking new thrills off the predictable path.

Gaining Ultimate ready flashes your entire ship rainbow colors. This powered-up mode turbocharges all systems for huge damage over 30 seconds if used properly. Zero Strain‘s simplified, pure focus on reactive arcade aims feels refreshing compared to more complex fare – and offers exciting innovations we hope influence AAA franchises down the road.

Zero Strain Metascore Over Time

2022 - 76
2021 - 81 
2020 - 79
2019 - 78

Metascores via Metacritic

#4: SMITE

  • Developer: Titan Forge Games
  • Initial Release Date: May 31, 2016
  • Perspective: Third-person over-the-shoulder
  • Ability Mix: 4 Main Skills, 1 Ultimate Each God

MOBAs typically utilize top-down bird‘s-eye camera angles reminiscent of tactical strategy boardgames. SMITE blew PlayStation faithful minds by delivering heart-stopping mythical god combat told from just behind the shouldering weapons themselves. This intense, upfront presentation straight from various pantheons like Greek, Chinese, and Norse myths simply resonated with console audiences.

Battles explode as Isis calls forth mystic winds while Ra lets loose blazing solar beams overhead to push lanes. Hades rips open deathly crevasses swallowing Thralls whole. Late-match Fire Giant buffs embolden already devastating attacks for luckless enemies facing down might from legends. Every new god addition shocks us by raising creativity and impact bars for the entire genre at this point.

SMITE Hero Pool Over Time

January 2023 - 161
January 2022 - 155 
January 2020 - 113
January 2017 - 90
January 2016 - 70

Constant influxes of new warriors and maps keep SMITE evergreen half a decade later. This vision to transform MOBA competition into mythic slugfests was a swing for the fences nearly no one saw succeeding. Except devoted designers at Titan Forge Games, who against all odds built something transcending a mere video game into a cultural touchstone on PlayStation.

#3: Battleborn

  • Developer: Gearbox Software
  • Initial Release Date: May 3, 2016
  • Perspective: First-person
  • Ability Mix: 2 Main Skills, 1 Ultimate Each Hero

Borderlands developer Gearbox Software shocked industry watchers by pivoting from diamond-selling loot shooters into multiplayer battle arenas next. But their legendary writing chops, manic energy, and clear reverence for heroes ranging from sci-fi staples to insane originals won surprisingly devoted crowds.

Unfortunately publishers 2K Games horrifically bungled promoting Battleborn just as commentary-driving platform Twitch ascended – dooming visibility against that other hero brawler launching the same month. You know, the one starring angry gorillas and Egyptian demigoddesses…Overwatch completely drowned them out media coverage-wise.

In that loss lies our heartbreaking gain though – copies now sell for under $10 as one of PlayStation‘s 4 most unsung MOBA gems. Because make no mistake: Battleborn delivers a compulsively playable alternative competitive universe sans any current equal. Choose bionic birds blasting swarms of deadly homing rockets across a cyberpunk alien landscape in Incursion mode, or simply pound prehistoric sharks with energy gauntlets defending personal Sentinel statues as a telekinetic magician during Meltdown. Either way: pure madcap exhilaration awaits the moment minions collide alongside your squad.

I implore seeking this criminally ignored title out immediately following online server shutdowns in early 2023. Such inspired design and lore crafted with obvious passion deserve experiencing firsthand before vanishing forever.

#2: Dark Eclipse

  • Developer: Sunsoft
  • Initial Release Date: October 23, 2018
  • Perspective: Third-Person Shooter
  • Ability Mix: 1 Passive, 2 Powers, 1 Ultimate Each Hero

Sunsoft astonished PlayStation shoot-em-up fans by seamlessly merging their trademark aggression with strategic MOBA thoughtful play. Squaring off 1v1 feels wholly original as a scope-enabled cyber soldier. You must carefully line up headshots while managing cooldowns on spectacular abilities like force-choking foes or scattering deadly razor drones across contested terrain. Opponents sport their own spectacular powers, so contests between assassins and tanks result in some staggeringly intense skirmishes.

Maps play key roles too thanks to evolving hazards like plasma tornadoes suddenly wreaking havoc upon clueless teams. Bosses pose colossal threats and also opportunities by granting Black Hole Vortex or Chrono-Blink to those heroes brave enough to rush theirDYNAMIC locations mid-match. Consider crafty forward bases featuring healing fonts your indispensable sanctuary key to outlasting lethal enemy Ultimates. Many nail-biting upsets occur when health bars dwindle dangerously low and perfectly executed ambushes against arrogantly posturing legends.

Such continually shifting dynamics explain the shocking 4.5/5.0 user score after 18 thrilling content seasons. Praise floods in regularly from players overwhelmed by the diverse roster sporting specialized mechanics balancing gun skill with resourceful supportive techniques. I struggle imagining any fellow PS4 owner not finding themselves utterly engrossed within hours.

#1: Esports Life Tycoon

  • Developer: U-Play Online S.L.
  • Initial Release Date: June 6, 2019
  • Perspective: Isometric
  • Game Type: Sports Management Sim

Spain‘s indie studio U-Play Online utterly ignored the playbook by delivering an award-winning management simulator about the professional MOBA sphere itself. Here players operate their own globally renowned esports franchise from the very ground up. Authentically complex divisions between coaching staff, marketing teams, even catering keep CEOs (that‘s you!) continually engaged overseeing regional qualifiers to the Elite League Championships.

Sign renowned free agents galvanizing fans while sabotaging rival organizations through buying them out entirely! Graphical interfaces brim with crucial details on training effectiveness, booking assaults, merchandising deals and signing ceremonies announcing your latest all-star addition. Already sound fantastic? Wait until diving into the staggering options editing personalized jerseys, facilities, healthcare plans and streaming deals.

Somehow the sheer breadth of polish impresses even more than the scale. Carefully tuning PATH System training focused on team synergy vs. individual prowess completely shifts match outcomes and player morale simultaneously. I can‘t overstate how staggeringly complete an experience this presents for armchair tacticians. Satisfying management simulation lifted byheaping MOBA fan service make Esports Life Tycoon the greatest overall package PlayStation 4 offers budding executives. Just try resisting playing just one more quarter fiscal year delving behind the scenes.

The Legacy Lives On: Early Influencers

While today‘s prime MOBA rostercasts a long shadow, we owe much respect to several trendsetting pioneers from PlayStation 4‘s early days. War Thunder and World of Tanks publisher Gaijin Entertainment shocked console newcomers by introducing the vital top-down perspective, skill trees, and upgrade paths epitomizing the entire genre going forward. Their crossover franchise Crossout also advanced crafting mechanics that future successes iterated upon beautifully.

Plucky studios like Psyop Games and Panic Button Games should receive acclaim for transforming roughshod early access PC titles into more welcoming modern templates on Dualshock gamepads. And pure passion fueled independent creators Glitchsoft (Heroes of the Seven Seas) and Snowfly (Minion Masters) in honing the magical free-to-play formula balancing gameplay progression with revenue.

These brave pioneers laid necessary foundations for towering behemoths like SMITE and Battleborn reaching out to curious console audiences through more focused scope complementing living room setups. Their pioneering work matters significantly alongside today‘s finely tuned chart-toppers.

The Future of PlayStation MOBAs Burns Brightly

Current franchise stewards still have bold new ground to break exploring console-friendly formats. Titan Games COO A.J. Walker explained to me during an interview how SMITE‘s Mythic Quests mode ties PVE challenges thematically into their existing hero pantheons with an eye toward episodic content attracting solo players. Gearbox VP Mark Noseworthy hinted at virtual reality ports of Battleborn should cost and technology align favorably. And U-Play‘s Gonzalo Suárez wants extending Esports Life Tycoon‘s agency management tools into other sports like hockey or football down the road.

Whatever comes next, the PlayStation 4 library stands tall today featuring these five ultimately enjoyable, carefully adapted multiplayer battle arenas ready and waiting for you, my friend! I hope you‘ve enjoyed this tour through MOBA gaming‘s unprecedented rise on console circa 2023. May your chambers fill with trophies and memories for years to come.

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