What’s up guys. That’s right I’m back again. ‘SO SOON?’ I hear you cry, that’s right . Just so you know that last line was a joke in case you thought I was being serious. I know I’m pretty sporadic with these blogs but I’m trying, and I have a few ideas I want to write about so more should be on the way soon. So, what brings me here today? I’ve been inspired by both my brother, the release of the PS5 and the following blog post.
Well, I’m not going to try and surprise you with what this post is about as the title would have already given it away. So, with the release of PlayStation 5,I have decided in honour of the PS4 to name my top 5 games of PS4 history. It must be noted however that this series won’t be in order of the best game per se as I couldn’t rank them against each other. Similarly, I won’t include games which are remastered/remakes/special editions for the PS4 which means, unfortunately, ‘The Last Of Us part I ’ will not be on the list even though it personally makes it onto the list of favourite games ever. Finally, I won’t have games I have never played yet on this list so though I’m a Star Wars fan, no ‘ The Last Jedi’ on this list as I haven’t played it. Similarly, games like ‘Ghost of Tsushima’ and Nioh 2 also won’t be on this list.
Quick disclosure, I know some people are going to hate my list or feel that I have messed obvious games. Therefore, I’m going to say again that this is my personal list which may be different for you and neither is right or wrong, unless you have none of my games on your list then you’re wrong. Thus, feel free to list your favourite games in the comment section below and if you strongly disagree with one of mine for sure voice your reason why as long as it is done respectfully.
Similarly, I doubt the post is going to do justice to any of the games in this series because each one of them has so much which make them amazing and listing everything would turn this into more of a review. Thus, whilst I am going to be as detailed as possible as to why I believe they are the best games in the PS4 era, so as to not make this the length of my university Dissertation, I’ll try not to mention everything that is amazing about the games. Therefore, to appease potential disgruntled readers, what I may do, if people request in the comment section, is to make my own playthrough of the games or link to a YouTube video which explains the game’s beauty. So we good?
1, The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt
So remember when I said “this won’t be in order of favourite games”, well that’s not really true in this case because we are kicking things off with, arguably my favourite game ever if not in my top 5, ‘The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt’. That’s right I didn’t stutter, Witcher 3 is one of the best games ever made and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees. Moreover, if you haven’t played it, you’re missing out on an absolute masterpiece so treat yourself this Christmas and get this game.
Where to start with The Witcher 3 ??? Let us get the accolades out of the way first before I give my feedback. The game released all the way back in 2015, the year I started Law at the University Of Leeds, has over 800 awards and 250 game of the year awards. Better yet the developers at CD Projekt RED respect their player base by not only delivering excellent quality games and DLCs worth the money but also interact with their fan base in a positive way. This contrasts with other gaming developers, not going to name names, who arguably favour profit over customer experience by inundating their games with microtransactions.
Honestly, there is so much about the game that makes it what it is that I wouldn’t be able to do it justice in one section of a post or as part of a mini-series because it really deserves a massive deep dive in all honesty. Furthermore, I haven’t played the game in years but rest assured I think I may start a new game plus so if anyone wants to watch a playthrough of the game comment below and I’ll get on that easy. So, with that in mind, what about the game makes it worthy of making my list of best games on PS4 and in the conversation of best games ever made ?
Let’s start with the world of The Witcher. You know when games come out and the makers are like yeah the game is huge and has a lot for you to do, but when you play it feels kind of dead, the interaction soon gets repetitive and it doesn’t really feel like you are playing in a ‘lived world’? Well, the Witcher does none of that and in fact, I was surprised about how alive the game felt. I know when I say ‘alive’ people are like what does that mean? Well, for example, there are wars taking place between empires in the game and rather than that being something which is just there or isolated to the main story, the war and the effect of its impact most aspects of the game world. For example, when you are journeying through the world, you’ll see dead bodies from battles, old battle sites and abandoned villages. More impressive are that certain monsters, Necrophages, are drawn to the destruction. These monsters are drawn to dead bodies because they primarily eat corpses so hunt and scavenge cemeteries and battlefields and this is what sets the Witcher apart because they add small details like people burning dead bodies rather than burying them to ensure Necrophages stay away. Relatively little things like this which add up are examples of what makes the Witcher a vastly more immersive world. Furthermore, that monsters are drawn to these things adds so much more weight to war you know is taking place but never see as you hear and see the immediate consequences whether that is burning bodies or a group of Necrophages gathering around a spot in the distance. Thus for me, when a creator is telling me there game is ‘lived in’ this is what I envisage war leading to bodies leading to burning and more monsters creating more bodies which is when a monster hunter is called to finally solve the problem not deliver bread to someone’s gran so that she now gives me discounts in their shop.
Similarly, quests in the game work in the same way. I know for a fact because I’ve been there, that when playing open-world RPGs we spend half of the start of the game doing repetitive fetch and grab quests and side missions which have clearly not been giving the same level of care as main quests and are there simply to fill in-game time. Moreover, these side quests add nothing more than simply gaining experience points to level up your character so that you can take on that next story mission feeling confident that your god-like character will trample over anything in encounters. Finally, if we’re honest we rarely finish these type of side-quests as we rush back to the main story, forgetting the bothersome NPCs who dared request that you, THE MAIN CHARACTER, waste your time to look for their dog. Rather we let nature take its course and once we finish the main story turn off the game with all them NPCs waiting for your character to fulfil their promise. Sound familiar?
This is to say when a game comes out which is said to be really big and has a lot to do, immediately I think how much of that is actually meaningful or am I going to be doing a bunch of chore-like quests. Yet, The Witcher 3 is different. What seems like every quest, side included, is intrinsically written with the same care, attention, and detail one would expect from a key mission in the main story. This often means the 100+ hours in which you are likely to spend in this game is full of interesting twisting stories which stick with you hours after completing them. Additionally, I’m not sure we can even call these missions ‘side-quests’ because doing so fails to do it justice as the ‘side quests’ in The Witcher can feel like main story missions in that they can be branches of/ tied to the main story, which tells the player more about the world of The Witcher and the people living in it. What makes The Witcher quests standout are that there are 4 options, within which the game ticks the normal RPG usuals adding some much-needed seasoning to it. For example, the quests are split into main quests, side quests, Witcher contracts and treasure hunts.
Treasure hunts are pretty much self-explanatory and whilst I’m not going to sit here and lie to you saying they are the best things in the game, there is a place for them and if nothing else let you get some pretty sick armour. I’m gong to touch on main and side quests later on so let’s just skip to Witcher contracts. These are pretty much what you’d expect in a game where you character is a trained monster hunter, you get tasked with investigating disappearances or strange activities which eventually cumulates into a fight in the end and lt is basically your job to take those contracts so yu do have to earn a living. What I personally love about Witcher contracts is the little investigating you get to do which lets you, if you so wish, plan for the fight by putting relevant oils on your sword to make the battle easier these fights often being harder versions of monsters you may have previously fought. But more than that what makes the contracts great are the backstories and their different endings depending on the players choice. One contract which demonstrates this is ‘In the heart of the Wood’ one of my favourite contract missions, also don’t worry I’ll avoid spoilers for the quest.
This mission starts off when you encounter villagers arguing about the death of a man, on further interaction with the group you find he was killed by a woodland spirit. On listening to the conversation it is clear that the group is split on what to do as the older man wants you to leave the spirit alone as it protects the village and makes them strong warriors. However, the younger man wants you to kill it as he exclaims it is merely a beast which kills anyone who enters its territory. When you start to investigate you find out that the spirit is an ancient Leshen. Now if you take the information back to these two men, the older still contends that the spirit means the village produces the strongest warriors in Skellige, even if it kills a lot of those who set out to do the ritual, and tells you to make a sacrifice to the spirit to reinstate the pact of his ancestors. The younger, in return, wants it killed and depending on who you side with the game can have 2/3 endings. It’s this level of depth and story differences which ensures that you are able to replay the and experience a different story to your original playthrough.
Similarly, what differentiates the quests in The Witcher compared to other RPGs are that decisions made in quests impact events in the story as well as the eventual end of the game. Whilst many games make such an assertion that your choice will have HUGE game-changing impacts, in reality, the decision ramifications are overstated or barely noticed. Moreover, when the game says it has multiple endings it really means 2 and only a few missions actually lead to the different endings. However, in The Witcher, your decisions can have tangible impacts on the story, characters, and relationships within the game as characters die and wars are won based on your choices throughout the game. This means, gone is the assumption that this random mission decision will have no impact on my ending as deciding what to do with an invitation can be the difference between getting one of the 3 different endings, good, bad and best, to the main story.
But, the absolute best thing about this game which is why I love this game and recommend it to everyone is the moral ambiguity in your decisions which means what you may think is good in fact can have disastrous consequence. The mission which so perfectly highlights this point is the Bloody Baron questline and in particular the mission ‘Return to Crookback Bog’. This questline has multiple endings with your earlier decisions having serious consequences later in its story and I remember being so engrossed in that mini-story that I spent a good while contemplating my choices to the extent of nearly reloading earlier saves. Therefore, as much as I nearly talked myself into talking about that quest, to avoid more impactful spoilers in the game I will give an example of your decision making in one side mission. In Twisted Firestarter, a dwarf tells the main character that someone burned down his forge after which you can agree to track this person down. Once found, you can either turn the arsonist in or accept a bribe. Now imagine you would think that turning the perpetrator in is a good thing right? Well maybe not. To my disbelief, If this happens the dwarf rather than ask for compensation will call over some soldiers, who will take arsonist away to be hanged. Harsh justice or harsh punishment? That’s for you to decide.
Overall, whilst I can say a lot more to say about this game such as the music and graphics or even that the mini-game within the game was so popular it got its own game, I’ll leave that for a separate blog. The Witcher if given a rating would receive 9/10 simply because to give 10 means the game is perfect and no changes need to be made which will never be true. This game I hope is ported over to the PS5 and a follow up in the Witcher universe made. On a final note, the best praise I can give to the Witcher is that I loved the game and universe so much that I read some of the original short Witcher stories. Moreover, I started watching a YouTube law through on the 1st and 2nd game and watched the first season of the Witcher Netflix show. Thus, the mere fact that this game unlike others had a lasting impact on me is a testament to how good the game is.
So, thanks for reading part 1 of this 5-part blog on the best games of PS4 history. I hope you enjoyed my small run through on why I love the Witcher and put in the comment sections your favourite moments in the game and your character build and most importantly if you’ll buy the game after reading this post. Moreover, if you disagree with this game being here tell me why down in the comment section below.
It’s been your boy Jerome signing out. Peace
Ps below are links to really good videos on why this game is super awesome have a watch.