No matter what any gamer tells you, console exclusives still matter. Video game consoles instill a sense of loyalty that few products manage. Whichever console you choose to buy, you’re likely to miss out on some excellent games. We decided to run through the console exclusives from this generation of video games that every gamer should try at least once.
To be clear, we’re leaving PC gaming out of this one. It’s a console only discussion.
10. Until Dawn (PlayStation 4)
Until Dawn made a huge impact when it touched down in 2015. The game managed to marry the best of horror with the tension of Telltale’s multiple choices. It’s an incredible feat and works hugely to the games benefit, creating one of the most unique experiences within this generation
What truly elevates Until Dawn though is that it never deviates from its premise. The entire thing plays out like a cheesy B-movie, complete with homages to tired tropes and character dynamics. Ultimately, Until Dawn works because it commits wholly to the premise it establishes – for better or worse. The characters are varied enough that you’ll be rooting for some over others, while the execution of key scenes will leave you scared for the fate of certain characters.
If you love horror and own a PlayStation 4, Until Dawn is very much worth a glance.
9. The Last Guardian
After over a decade in production, The Last Guardian’s arrival could be forgiven for playing it a little bit safe. After all, few games emerge from such lengthy development cycles and remain excitingly fresh. Luckily for gamers, TLG is an excellent addition to PlayStation 4’s library of titles.
The games unique companion set pieces lend it an air of uniqueness, as you’re charged with guiding your guardian through various locales. The bond formed between you and your larger companion helps to cement the themes of the game, exciting and puzzling in equal measures. There are very few games that make you feel in the way that this game manages – a game that relishes in its successes and affords the gorgeous ambiance enough time to make its mark.
Certainly, if you’re in the market for an emotional ride, The Last Guardian is an excellent experience from this generation of consoles.
8. Ori and the Blind Forest
When this generation of games comes to pass, I suspect that Ori and the Blind Forest will feature heavily among the “most underrated” offerings. This beautiful side-scroller pulls no punches as it offers up a delicious experience for Xbox One (and PC) gamers. Its core mechanics are solid while the beautiful blend of music and visual are married so seamlessly that you’ll almost wish to jump into the screen.
While Ori and the Blind Forest may not have initially found the audience it should have (blame Microsoft’s awful marketing) the game has found more praise in recent times, rightly being recognized as one of the consoles standout experiences. Alongside the likes of Gears of War, it’s this artistic masterpiece that really steals the show for Xbox One.
7. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch)
It’s hard to decide which Nintendo Switch exclusive games to put on this list. Honestly, so many of them are charming and unique in their own way that many of them could make a strong case in their own right. Yet I feel that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a sly re-release of the Nintendo Wii U Mario Kart 8, is truly one of the best experiences of this generation
Few games manage to match Mario Kart for sheer madness when it comes to Mario Kart. The sheer depth of selection in the tracks is mind-boggling, including all the DLC from the Wii U version as standard. Thanks to the re-imagined Battle System, gamers have an excuse to further expand their experience – with the option to take the fun online while on the go.
If you value multiplayer in any shape or form, few games manage to match Mario Kart 8 for sheer fun. Seeing it run on Switch is still impressive to this day.
From Software’s monstrously successful Dark Souls series managed to introduce the concept of ball-numbingly harsh gameplay to a new audience. There’s a reason so many gamers can’t get enough of it. Yet PlayStation 4 owners were given something all the more impressive, a fresh new P that not only built on the Dark Souls formula, it arguably had a better overall experience.
Bloodborne is crushingly difficult, beautiful to look at and easily one of the best reasons to own a PlayStation 4. It’s a game that challenges in all the right ways, arguably ironing out a number of Dark Souls weaker aspects. Some argue that it doesn’t come close to matching that original series, but PlayStation 4 owners couldn’t get enough when this one came out – and it would be huge news if the series ended up on a Microsoft console.
5. Forza Horizon 3
I’m saying it, Forza is better than pretty much all the other racers. The series has long since come into its own, refining and delivering a solid experience that not only caters to newcomers, it manages to make high-end races feel that much more impressive. Yet I’d make the argument that it’s the Horizon series that truly shines from the series.
Allowing gamers to drive around a shrunken version of Australia, Horizon 3 is a carnival of excitement for racing fans. Exciting to look at, the game comes packing an unbelievable number of races, cars and things to do – as you free roam your way around the Australian outback. Add in an impressive soundtrack, the series strong core mechanics and a thankful lack of microtransactions (Looking at you Forza 7) and it’s hard to argue that Forza Horizon 3 isn’t among the best racing games of this generation.
I’d go as far as to say it’s easily the best – but with Gran Turismo Sport racing down the line, that might be a hotly contested title very soon.
Cuphead proved to be something of a surprise to many gamers, despite the fact that it’s been in development for an absolute age. The game is a beautiful marriage of gorgeous visuals and incredibly tough to boot. It’s the kind of challenge that you don’t typically get from 2D platformers.
The game specializes in boss battles and it’s here that the tight controls truly shine. The variety on offer helps elevate the overall experience as the game throws inventive, fun and generally enjoyable battles in your direction. The general emphasis.on platforming is well executed, leading to a strong overall package that Xbox One owners really shouldn’t miss.
3. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
The first of two Uncharted games on PlayStation 4, Uncharted 4 certainly plays into he strengths that made audiences fall in love with the series in the first place. I’d even go strong argument that the fourth outing is the best in Naughty Dog’s beloved franchise.
While the game features less set pieces than its predecessors, it manages to marry the best elements of the series into an excellent offering. The story is at its peak, while the blend of action and gorgeous graphics offers up the best overall experience. For audiences looking to bow out of Nathan Drake’s story in the strongest possible fashion, there’s no better way.
2. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Much like Mario, when Legend of Zelda rolls up – the end results are usually genre defining. Breath of the Wild not only delivered an excitingly fresh take on the Legend of Zelda format – it arguably helped get the ball rolling for Nintendo Switch.
Throwing out a number of the series more beloved tropes, Breath of the Wild homes in on a unique experience that felt incredibly fresh upon release. The only major downers are the game’s lack of story focus (Something that ultimately harms the gamers sense of direction) but it wins points for allowing gamers to tackle the four main “dungeons” in any order they choose.
At one stage, this game was selling at a 1:1 ratio to Nintendo Switch consoles. It’s impossible to stress just how important BotW was to the console and how much the console owes this incredibly fun title.
1. Horizon Zero Dawn
I went back and forth on whether to put this or Breath of the Wild in the top spot (Arguably any of the top 3 could be interchangeable) but Horizon for me is the ultimate console exclusive. A sleeper hit that caught many off guard when it arrived, delivering arguably the strongest open world experience in this generation of games. The fact that it and BotW arrived within a month of each other is a great coincidence, as the two games share interesting core values.
Horizon though is a beautifully crafted outing that not only steals the show on PlayStation, it delivers a wonderful experience. Few games on any console come close to matching it for sheer ambition or excellence – arguably out doing its rivalin many aspects. I’d argue it’s a more refined experience, with a stronger emphasis on story and character building (two things BotW sorely lacks). It’s also got the power of PlayStation 4 backing it up – pushing the game into the argument for best looking from the current generation.
If you own a PlayStation 4, Horizon Zero Dawn is arguably the best experience you can buy on it right now.