The PS4 takes its 2020 victory lap, going all in with a knockout lineup of fan favorites, setting the stage for PS5 debut.
With over 105 million consoles activated in homes worldwide- the PlayStation 4 has led this generation. A strong library of first party exclusives, all-in third party support, versatile multimedia capabilities, and intuitive social connectivity showcase a system that checked all the right boxes out the gate- and Sony never let up. As the PS4 takes its victory lap to usher in the PS5-era, it’s going out with a megaton- forget a bang. Here are key titles that all PS4 owners must own in 2020.
Final Fantasy VII: Remake
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: 4/10/20
If there’s a single title to fit as the shining jewel on the PS4’s victory crown, Final Fantasy VII Remake has to be it. After two generations of gaslighting fans through rumors and flat out denials, no one could ever predict that Square Enix would finally deliver the PS1 classic completely reimagined, but here it is. Cloud, Aerith, Tifa, Barret, Sephiroth, and more are all here, visualized in spectacular presentation, and a host of new elements.
For those new to Final Fantasy VII, the story revolves around Avalanche, a group of mercenaries opposing the corrupt, shadow government corporation Shinra- who have seized control of the planet’s primary energy source for their own personal gain. The main protagonist, Cloud Strife, is a former soldier of Shinra who joins the resistance in their efforts to relinquish Shinra’s control. Little does Cloud and and his accomplices realize the massive undertaking this would be, the immense challenges that await them, nor the story that unfolds.
Remaking such a huge game (the original spanned 3 CDs on PS1) does present a challenge. While on paper some may balk at the fact that Final Fantasy VII Remake only covers the events of disc where Cloud and company escape Midgar- this is Midgard fully realized, a massive city to explore with new content intertwined. There are quests to fulfill for many of the city’s NPCs, and even new areas of Midgar to explore for finishing these quests, so fear not. In fact, the game has been listed to take up 100GB of storage on the PS4, rivaling massive scale games like Red Dead Redemption 2 (105GB), and The Elder Scrolls Online (85-120GB).
The battle system has been overhauled, and now includes real time combat mixed in with the Active Time Battle mechanic (ATB) of the original game. Striking, evading, blocking, and performing special attacks are now done in similar fashion to Final Fantasy XV or Kingdom Hearts, and these consistent attacks fill the ATB meter, allowing you to perform special skills and materia magic once the meter is full. For example with Cloud, you can perform various swings with the Buster Sword, or shoot a variety of stylized bullet blasts from Barret’s Gun-Arms, then perform ATB attacks once the meter is at maximum. The original’s special attacks like Cloud’s Omnislash,and Aeriths’s summons are here on full display. Speaking of summons, they now fight alongside you in battle, and there are a few added including Carbuncle, and Square Enix’s popular mascot Cactuar. The real time combat is fast paced, and fortunately Square Enix implemented tactical mode, where opening the menu slows down the action to matrix- level speed, giving you the freedom to carefully select items, magic, special attacks, and more. There’s also a “classic mode” battle system where the party attacks automatically, freeing you to choose commands via the menu system. This system is more in line with the original’s turn-based battle mechanics.
April 10th can’t come sooner. For any fan or the original game or newbies, being able to experience the retelling of arguably the greatest RPG ever made at the highest level of polish and stunning cinematics that Square Enix has delivered make Final Fantasy VII Remake the centerpiece of PS4 titles for 2020.
The Last of US 2
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
Release Date: 5/29/2020
Taking place five years after the events of the 2013 critically acclaimed prequel, The Last Of Us 2 marks the return of Joel and Ellie in an even grittier, darker setting. While Joel is featured in the game, the primary focus from previews appears to be on an older, more mature Ellie- who’s emotionally enraged, and hell bent on revenge after a yet to be revealed catastrophic event. The combat appears more intense and dirtier than ever, while it seems that Ellie’s thirst for vengeance and the decisions you choose will have a huge impact on the events of the story. The ruined, infested cities you’ll traverse are masterfully presented in fully Naughty Dog fashion- this time taking full advantage of the PS4’s graphic capabilities. The delays have certainly tortured our souls, but it appears worth the wait- the Last Of Us 2 is finally upon us.
Resident Evil 3
Release Date: 4/3/2020
Piggybacking off the success of last year’s outstanding Resident Evil 2, the hype and enthusiasm, not to mention the bar is set high for Resident Evil 3. A reimagining of the PS1 classic, the story continues the events of Resident Evil 2 with Jill Valentine being hunted down by the corrupt Umbrella corporation. This time they’ve unleashed their ultimate mutation- Nemesis! Nemesis seems completely unstoppable from what’s been shown so far, but Jill will have all the familiar Resident Evil weapons at her disposal, as she attempts to escape Raccoon City. Also included is Resident Evil Resistance, a multiplayer
Can you survive the hunt? Find out this April.
Ghost of Tsushima
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Release Date: Q2/Q3 2020
Ghost Of Tsushima is acclaimed Infamous developer Sucker Punch Entertainment’s fully realized open world samurai themed title. The gritty 13th century feudal Japan setting places the protagonist sword master Jin Sakai across a myriad of stunning backdrops including mountainscapes, forrests, villages, shrines, and more against the Mongol empire, who have seized the island of Tsushima. Jin must learn new methods of offense to take on the opposition, gathering allies across various landscapes. There are no checkpoints, and the open world can be explored with complete freedom of choice. Does Jin have the chops to restore dignity and order? Slash your way through the experience in Q2/Q3 this year.
Publisher: Koei Tecmo, Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Team Ninja
Release Date: 3/13/2020
The follow up to 2017’s uber-difficult dark fantasy Nioh, Nioh 2 serves as the series prequel, and continues the tough as nails reputation built by the original. The action rpg set in mythical Japan places you in control of a half human/half samurai warrior who earn Yokai spirit abilities by defeating super challenging bosses. There are a variety of weapons at your disposal including Katanas, long swords, hammers, and more- each altering the handling of your character. Often compared to the Dark Souls series, Nioh 2 is not to be missed when it arrives this March.
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Media Molecule
Release Date: 2/14/2020
From the creative minds behind Little Big Planet, Dreams is perhaps the pinnacle of Media Molecule’s ambition. Dream is bigger than just a video game title, in fact I’d classify it as a creation software capable of creating not only games, but also music, and art. It’s game development capabilities align it more with the Unreal Engine and Unity Engine, but streamlined for the masses. Dream’s gaming creation capabilities go well beyond the scope of Little Big Planet. Gone are gone are the side scrolling restrictions, in are full 3D canvases to create anything, including 2D content. Creation blocks include everything from textures, characters, music tracks, plus the freedom to build new blocks with help from others in the community, similar to the community features in Little Big Planet. Dream is a must own for all PS4 owners, and the ultimate creation tool.
Publisher: CD Projekt Red
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Release Date: 9/17/2020
One of the most anticipated titles for 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 may have experienced a major push back from the Spring to Fall of 2020, but coming from CD Projekt Red, known for it high quality control, we can expect a polished, futuristic Cyberpunk adventure set in a sprawling open world. A departure from their third-person outings, Cyberpunk 2077 features first person gameplay, a hit point system akin to Fallout Vegas, a massive city with six different regions, a unique weapon and armor crafting system, multiple character classes, and a written story based on the popular Cyberpunk series, while Hollywood star Keanu Reeves serves as the voice actor for the main protagonist. If there’s any entity that can successfully realize a series into a blockbuster game franchise, look no further than CD Projekt Red. Cyberpunk 2077 is the game to own this fall.