I'm a big fan of the adventure genre. While there's nothing wrong with a good FPS or other combat-oriented game, something about the narrative-heavy adventure genre has stuck with me throughout the years. The genre was popular when I was a kid, then sort of died out for a while; in the early 2010s though, the genre saw a resurgence with the release of Telltale's The Walking Dead series. And now, as an adult, I want to go on some more adventures that still manage to capture my attention. That's where the best PlayStation 4 adventure games come in. While this graphically impressive console has more video games than I know what to do with, the adventure genre can fall into the background behind some of the more popular genres like RPGs. Have no fear, however, I'm here to make sure these great games get the spotlight they deserve.
Before I begin though, I want to make one thing clear: what an adventure game actually is. Before you start crying, "Where is Horizon Zero Dawn?" on this list, that does not classify as an adventure game. That's an RPG.
Although it has elements that make adventure games, like a great narrative, some puzzles, and inventory management, once you get into skill trees and crafting, you're playing an RPG. Adventure games are basically an interactive story driven by puzzle-solving and exploration. Now that you know what defines an adventure game, let's take a look at the best ones from this generation.
Night in the Woods
I want to start off the list of the best PlayStation 4 adventure games with one you might pass over at first glance, because that's what I did. While the graphics were charming and the color palette was instantly appealing, the trailer didn't do the game many favors and I didn't pick it up for a long time. Finally, after hearing one of my favorite YouTubers rave about it, I finally decided to buy it and try it out. Oh man did I regret not buying it sooner.
In Night in the Woods, you play as recent college dropout Mae as she returns home seeking comfort and safety after a very rough three semesters away. However, her home town is not exactly the same as it was when she left, with people and life moving on as they do. It's got a wonderful, charming cast of characters and a great story that starts to wander into the realm of fantasy. The puzzles take minimal effort but are certainly fun and make the world feel all the more real. The story also tackles issues of mental health and moral choices, so Night in the Woods is sure to tug at your heartstrings.
The Last of Us Remastered
Speaking of a story that tugs at your heartstrings, The Last of Us is one of the best PlayStation 4 adventure games out there. Some might classify this as a shooter game, but I want to make an argument for it belonging in the adventure genre.
Joel and Ellie are one of the best protagonist duos I've seen since Lee and Clementine from The Walking Dead, making for an extremely narrative-oriented story. There are also plenty of puzzle elements throughout the game as you guide Ellie, and taking a more stealth-like approach to the combat could be considered more of a puzzle than the player might realize. Plus, the remastered version for the PS4 has improved graphics and includes the amazing DLC from the original. But wait, there's more! Not only does this make for a fantastic single-player experience, there's even a multiplayer mode where you and friends can try and survive this post-apocalyptic world together.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Another action-adventure hybrid video game is the awesome Uncharted 4. The greater emphasis on exploration than the previous titles in the series gives this title a well-deserved spot on the list of best PlayStation 4 adventure games. This game is a wonderful send-off to our beloved protagonist, Nathan Drake, as he has one last treasure hunt with older brother Sam and longtime partner Sully.
This game has received universal acclaim, and that's not without reason. The story totally draws you in, the gameplay is fun and creative, and you can get completely lost in this gorgeous world without even noticing. James Ramsay of GQ even called it "the best game ever created." If that's not enough to get you to pick up this game, nothing is.
Published by EA, this little indie darling is one of the newest entries on this list. In Fe, you control a fox-like character through a strange but colorful world in an attempt to help other forest-dwellers escape from the hostile creatures called the Silent Ones. Beware that this game has no dialogue or narration of any kind; it's up to you to build your own story as you play through this little adventure.
The best part of this game is definitely the puzzle-platforming, as you learn songs from the different creatures in order to advance through the levels. The songs can activate different things in the world, such as opening up a flower to use as a bouncy platform. Don't expect any type of handholding in this game, as you must figure out how to navigate this world and all its dangers all on your own. If you're looking for a more calming and surreal experience, Fe is definitely the title you want to pick up.
The Last Guardian
It may have been in development for way too long, but The Last Guardian was definitely worth the wait. The art direction is absolutely gorgeous, and the story is unique and interesting, which can be difficult to achieve in the story-rich adventure game genre. In this game, you play as a young boy who meets this... bird, mammal, creature thing who you decide to call Trico. Together, you navigate the world.
At first, you have little control of Trico as he follows his instincts and has little reason to listen to you. But as your bond grows, Trico begins to listen to you and together you solve puzzles to make your way through the beautiful environment that game has. This style of gameplay is realistic but can be frustrating to some players; I, however, think the bonding mechanic is charming and when you finally get Trico to listen to you, it is oh so satisfying. Plus, how can you look at that adorable face and not want to spend hours playing and interacting with him? The Last Guardian is definitely one of the PlayStation 4 adventure games you want to pick up.
Horror fanatics, rejoice! There's an adventure game on this list just for you. Little Nightmares tells the story of Six, who is trapped in the Maw and must make her way out while avoiding the terrifying Janitor. That doesn't make a lot of sense now, but the game does a much better job at world-building than I can do in a simple article.
This is one of those games that you just have to play to understand the appeal. The puzzles are tricky, the visuals are gorgeous but creepy, and the subtleties in the story make for one heck of a horror adventure game. There is more than meets the eye with this game, but you'll just have to pick it up to figure out exactly what I mean.
Batman: Arkham VR
If you have PlayStation VR, I can't recommend this game enough. A lot of VR games are fun little experiences, but offer little more than some novelty fun. Not so with Batman: Arkham VR. While the Batman: Arkham series is always fun, putting it in VR makes the whole thing so immersive and compelling. You get to walk around as Batman and use his iconic tools like the batarang, a grappling hook, and a forensic scanner.
Unlike the others in the series, this game isn't about combat; it's about puzzles. This makes it far more of an adventure game than its predecessors, hence its well-deserved spot on this list of best PlayStation 4 adventure games. While the main story isn't the most lengthy, it has a robust post-game and lots of extra features for you to play around with in the virtual world, including target practice with the batarang!
Inside and Limbo
Is it cheating if I give one spot to two games? Maybe, but I couldn't decide between these two amazing games, so I had to pick both! It's also pretty convenient that they're sold in a double pack. Limbo is the original spooky puzzle-platformer we all know and love, and Inside is its spiritual successor. Both games utilize beautiful 2.5D graphics and side-scrolling gameplay. Both feature an unnamed boy making his way through a mysterious environment, with Limbo being in some kind of strange forest and Inside featuring a dystopic city. Both characters have to avoid death at every turn, and if you do die, it's often very graphic and you're sent back to your last checkpoint. Be sure to play carefully, as these puzzles are not easy, and you could find yourself at death's door many times.
While this isn't my favorite of the "butterfly effect" games (see the next entry for which one is), Until Dawn is still a fantastic adventure game that utilizes this gimmick perfectly. It dips much more into the horror genre than other point and click adventure games, and has one of the best choice systems I've ever gotten to experience.
There are hundreds of different scenarios in this game, and you're going to have to play this game multiple times in order to see them all. And see them all you should—you simply must see all the different ways that your choices matter. This game also has a very strict auto-save system that does not let you go back and replay a portion to make a different choice. You must start the game over if you regret a decision and want to change it. So take everything you do in this game very seriously, and you'll find yourself in an immersive experience like no other.
Life Is Strange
This game is sad, wonderful, a little bit cringe-worthy, and amazing. It's one of my favorite games of all time, and one of the best PlayStation 4 adventure games by a long shot. Life Is Strange has you playing as Max, who discovers she has time travel powers to change the way events play out in front of her. She rekindles a friendship (or romance, if you want to play it that way, which you definitely should) with childhood friend Chloe as they try to discover the answers behind the mystery of Chloe's missing friend (girlfriend?) Rachel.
The story is absolutely amazing, the time-travel mechanic is perfect for puzzle-solving, and I can't recommend this game enough. Honestly, I could go on for hours about how good this game's characters are. The dialogue is very... 2015, but that's part of the charm. It's not a game for everyone, but if you love female friendship/romance, mystery, and tough moral decision making, this is absolutely the game for you. And, if you can't get enough, there is a prequel to the game called Before the Storm that explores a younger Chloe and her relationship with Rachel that I also highly recommend.