The 7 Must-Play Open-World Games on PlayStation 4

As your trusted PlayStation 4 guide, I want to showcase the absolute best open-world experiences that demonstrate why Sony‘s console remains one of gaming‘s greatest.

From rising Sony exclusives like Ghost of Tsushima to iconic multiplatform juggernauts like Red Dead Redemption 2, the PlayStation 4 houses astonishing, unforgettable open-worlds filled with secrets to uncover across vast lands and cities.

Join me on a tour of the 7 PS4 open-world games no owner should miss. Beyond just reviewing entertainment products, I take seriously my role as your gaming advisor. My goal is to highlight the most compelling virtual worlds that will wow PS4 gamers with artistry and freedom.

Below I compare the front-runners across key factors like critical acclaim and fan reception. Further down, you‘ll find individual reviews covering what makes each open-world adventure an essential Journey through fathoms of fun. Let‘s dive in!

Open-World PS4 Game Comparison

GameMetascoreUser ScoreEstimated Sales
Red Dead Redemption 2978.744+ million
Grand Theft Auto V978.5170 million
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt929.128+ million
Metal Gear Solid V938.16+ million
Horizon: Zero Dawn898.710+ million
Marvel‘s Spider-Man878.420+ million
Ghost of Tsushima839.19.7+ million

What immediately jumps out is Rockstar Games‘ dominance. Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto V top the charts in both critical acclaim and mainstream popularity thanks to exquisitely crafted open worlds brimming with personality. Of course, you can‘t go wrong with masterpieces like The Witcher 3 or Horizon Zero Dawn either, which provide some of PlayStation‘s most stunning and creative post-apocalyptic landscapes rich with robotic creatures and ecosystems.

Now let‘s explore what earns these 7 open-worlds Must Play status on PlayStation 4.

#7: Ghost of Tsushima

Transporting samurai adventure set in a lush 13th century feudal Japan painstakingly recreated down to vivid golden forests and ornate Buddhist temples. The sights prove as serene as the sword combat feels raw and visceral.

  • "Jin‘s journey through Tsushima‘s tranquil countryside and ethereal forests is reminiscent of a Miyazaski film, reaching wistful emotional peaks." – GameInformer

  • "Ghost of Tsushima boasts compelling characters and plot twists across a beautifully realized vision of Japan littered with secrets." – Forbes

As one of the last surviving samurai after the first Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274, you engage in thrilling swordplay and stealth takedowns. Few games make wielding a Katana blade feel so impactful. By embracing the way of the Ghost, enemies stand little chance against your grappling hook enhanced agility and razor sharp steel.

Exploring Tsushima‘s countryside by horseback remains not only the chief mode of transport, but a serene delight as pink trees canopy ancient dirt paths leading to forgotten temples. Mini games like writing poetry or composing flute songs further immerse you in Japanese tradition. For history buffs or anyone seeking exotic locales, Ghost of Tsushima is Peerless; a hidden gem budget-priced on PS4.

#6: Marvel‘s Spider-Man

Joyously fun comic book come-to-life where simply navigating around Marvel‘s Manhattan inspires giddy awe.

  • "Swinging through vibrant sun-drenched New York City has never felt better. Simple web-swinging mechanics allow surprisingly deep mastery." – Wireframe Magazine

  • Destructoid: "Few Superhero games encapsulate abilities, combat and personalities as adeptly as Marvel‘s Spider-Man with its exhilarating traversal and varied mission design."

Indeed, the lovingly crafted open-world design steals headlines by letting players experience Spider-Man‘s abilities firsthand. Effortlessly spiraling through NYC‘s iconic skyscrapers as Spidey remains an unparalleled thrill. From Times Square, Central Park, and The Raft prison to street crime and electrifying boss battles against supervillains, Manhattan overflows with justice to dispense and collectibles to hoover up like Peter Parker’s discarded backpacks.

Supporting the A+ web-swinging traversal, the brawler combat constantly unlocks new gadgets and suit powers to demolish foes with flair. All the while, an emotional tale unfolds reconnect Spider-Man with past mistakes and lost love. For superhero fans, Marvel’s Spider-Man is heroic open-world euphoria.

#5: Horizon Zero Dawn

Post-apocalyptic marvel where cybernetic dinosaurs reign supreme across perilous open-world landscapes. Herds of robotic beasts grafted to ecosystems and biomes craft a far-future wilderness to get lost in.

  • Polygon: "Horizon Zero Dawn‘s brilliantly conceived integration of mechanical creatures into natural environments results in an open-world brimming with danger and beauty."

  • Forbes: "Dominating Horizon‘s towering mechanized enemies by exploiting weaknesses never gets old thanks to exceptionally smart AI."

Indeed, Horizon‘s novel merger of technology and prehistoric nature hasn‘t been matched in games. Bringing down hulking metal t-rexes with high-techbows and gadgets makes you feel clever as much as empowered. Nature reclaimed skyscrapers while fearsome insect-like robots acquired herd behaviors leading to unforgettable showdowns. Why metal creatures dominate this post-apocalyptic Earth remains one alluring mystery among many.

With the brave hunter Aloy, you‘ll traverse dense jungles and snow-swept tundra while upgrading weapons and skills for versatility against automated threats. Equal parts clever and conventionally fierce, Aloy stands out as one of gaming’s top new heroines of the decade. By pairing her against towering marvels of engineering across ruins reclaimed by forests and deserts, Horizon Zero Dawn gifts PS4 owners one of most audacious and unforgettable open worlds ever conceived.

#4: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Hallmark fantasy RPG serving up gritty dark fairy tales across war-ravaged realms filled with vibrant villages, foreboding ruins and supernatural threats that make monster-hunting feel intoxicatingly dangerous.

  • GameSpot: "Quests are layered with rich RPG storytelling across the sprawling realm thanks to unpredictable outcomes to morally gray decisions."

  • Polygon: "Nuanced character-driven storylines confronting complex political realities ground The Witcher 3‘s fantasy setting in unexpected ways."

Indeed, Wild Hunt‘s sublime writing and quest design bring its open-world to life be it cursed ruins hiding buried secrets or remote countrysides tormented by creatures of the night. Its world thrills consistently by rejecting fantasy tropes, instead basing monster hunts around cryptozoology and folktales. Stranger Things borrowed much from The Witcher‘s eerie brand of magical realism.

Meanwhile, the vast Northern Kingdoms offer rewarding exploration via horseback or boat allowing you to stumble upon vibrant coastal towns and blacksmithing hamlets. Snow-capped peaks inspire awe while murky bogs hide horrors. An obsessive eye for detail fills every forest glade and stone’s throw trading outpost withirsistible investigation opportunities.

Episode-length storylines like the tragic Bloody Baron quest bring this war-ravaged land‘s inhabitants to life with unusual complexity. Factoring in addictively fun combat driven by preparation and skill, Wild Hunt becomes that rare game boasting 100+ hours of playtime where every moment satisfies.

#3: Metal Gear Solid V

Military stealth action at its most inventive with adaptive AI and limitless strategies to sabotage heavily guarded bases and fortresses across scorching deserts and misty jungles.

  • GameInformer: "The AI practically demands creativity with guards following smart patrols and response patterns where endless routes await discovery."

  • Wired: "Metal Gear Solid V grants wide-open infiltration opportunities across vastly different locations connected by compelling survival mechanics."

Series visionary auteur Hideo Kojima sought to test gamers wits by crafting dense obstacle courses and granting limitless solutions. Sneak in guns blazing or cleverly play opposing forces against each other and escape undetected. The robust systems fuse Open-world exploration with challenging stealth resulting in benchmark sandbox gameplay.

From besieging bases within war-torn 1980‘s Afghanistan to the Angolan Zaire coastline, the rendition of real-world locations adds documentary-like realism. Missions set in rainy nights or scorching desert days dramatically transform repetitions into refreshing experiences testing different skill sets. Players feel like tactical geniuses pulling off precisely coordinated plans as if puppet masters.

While Metal Gear Solid V‘s story infamously stalled before the finish line, flawless gameplay picked up the slack. Few stealth games since provide such player expressiveness orbiting core mechanics polished to a mirror shine.

#2: Grand Theft Auto V

Crime comedy tour-de-force overflowing with urban mayhem across Los Santos’ sun-soaked caricature of California bursting with amoral temptations from the seedy to deranged.

  • The Guardian: "Los Santos‘ sprawling metropolis interwoven with dark Underbelly narratives fuels escapism where players craft their own stories of vice and violence."

  • Polygon: "Character switching centralizes Grand Theft Auto V‘s signature flavor encouraging unpredictable shifts between playing it straight, self-aware mockery and unbridled chaos."

Indeed, GTAV masters open-world intricacies from worldbuilding ambiance like vibrant radio stations to promoting emergent gameplay. While main missions consistently entertain with high production values, simply wandering dense suburbs offers endless chances for spontaneous fun from stunt ramps to bizarre strangers and side activities.

Few games squeeze so much personality from lush environments or maintain such a deft balancing act between scripted set pieces and unpredictable freeform madness. The criminal careers of Michael, Franklin and Trevor encompass driver, gunman and pilot proving crime does pay for amusement. Combined with state of the art Euphoria animation driving visceral shootouts and brutal melee, the presentation delivers unprecedented interactive action blockbuster thrills.

While the vicious violence and cynical humor breed understandable Controversy, Grand Theft Auto V’s Caustic wit critiquing America’s Obsession with wealth and celebrity is so tabs on the pulse that its relevance only seems to swell with time. However you play, sinful Los Santos seduces with broken dreams at every street corner.

#1: Red Dead Redemption 2

The once Wild West frontier fading into memory while Civilization‘s march threatens age-old gunslinger outlaws. Haunting sun-bleached plains with vibrant towns serve as seeming utopias disguising mankind‘s boundless capacity for cruelty in the name of progress.

  • The Guardian: "Red Dead Redemption 2‘s jaw-dropping recreation of the rugged frontier delivers stark beauty in equal measure to its resonant themes of loss and the Occasional glimpses of humanity‘s better angels."

  • Game Informer: "Breathlessly cinematic storytelling meshes with seemingly mundane yet wholly engrossing simulation Frontier life where no detail feels spared in authentic world building."

Indeed, buzzwords like immersion scarcely communicate the transcendent naturalism Rockstar‘s writers, artists and animators achieve. Mundane rural Pastimes during long rides horseback between villages soon feel Zen-like rituals bonding you to characters and habitat. Strangers on the road blossom into unforeseen friends or foes thanks to brilliant procedural character interactions. Shootouts sting with frightening finality thanks to gore physics and lifelike dismemberment. Rewards await those finding comfort in The Journey, not just waypoints.

Overall, Red Dead Redemption 2 stands tall as arguably the greatest open-world game ever created. Frankly, no amount of words can properly articulate the uncanny sense of existing in a world actively fighting extinction both internally and externally. Every mission, both major and seemingly forgettable, contributions a brushstroke to a masterwork painting celebrating the Simple beauties in life so often Shouldered aside by history‘s Remorseless March into uncertain modernity.

Gunslingers looking to saddle up for one final ride ought to play Red Dead Redemption 2 on PlayStation 4 or 5 before heading yonder.

Open-World Wonder Awaits

While flagship PlayStation franchises like God of War and Uncharted tightened cinematic experiences into roller coaster thrill rides, the PS4‘s open-world standouts invited exploration across wildly varying landscapes filled with activities. Fan favorite post-apocalyptic and superhero origins stood shoulder-to-shoulder with staggering crime sandboxes pushing limits of scope and density augmented by potent commentary on society‘s shortcomings.

Not every open-world featured stood as strictly exclusive to PS4. However, Sony provided fertile ground allowing daring new properties like Ghost of Tsushima and Horizon Forbidden West to thrive beside established giants. Where else could new human predicaments and old American pastimes find common ground if not the PlayStation 4? As we enter the PlayStation 5 generation, the possibilities seem brighter than ever thanks to the risks Sony took with experimental open-world concepts last generation.

Hopefully this guide helps PS4 owners discover overlooked gems or nudge anyone still on the fence about all-time masterworks like Red Dead Redemption 2. Let me know your favorite open-world memories on PlayStation 4! I‘m always seeking conversations about virtual worlds changed how we see reality. Cheers and happy gaming!

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