If there's a better way to spend Christmas Day than sprawled out on the sofa playing hours upon hours of an amazing new game, we haven't heard of it. Well, unless it's that plus a nice glass of eggnog nearby.
Problem is, you'll need something fresh to pop into your PlayStation 4 this season – but you have no shortage of strong options for stocking your wish list right now. Collected here are some of the absolute best PS4 games of the year, along with a few of our old favourites that are still well worth checking out if you haven't gotten 'round to them yet.
On the other hand, if you're the one trying to pick out a gift to give this Christmas, you can't go wrong with a stellar PS4 game. Read on for some of your best choices right now. And don't miss the hundreds upon hundreds of other Christmas gift ideas we've sorted so far.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Guerilla may have been known for the Killzone shooters before, but now they'll be forever regarded as the brilliant team behind Horizon: Zero Dawn. This vast, open-world adventure – and PS4 exclusive – feels a bit like a mash-up of influences, ranging from Far Cry to Tomb Raider and The Witcher 3, yet the end result is absolutely marvelous.
You take control of Aloy, a tribal hunter in a future ruled by metal beasts, and you'll use her enviable skills to explore the stunning wasteland and battle those mechanical monsters. It's action-packed, nicely diverse in terms of objectives, and even has a captivating tale along the way. We haven't played a better PS4 game all year.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Yes, the mainline Uncharted saga concluded with last year's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, which is also on this list and remains absolutely essential for PS4 owners. But miraculously, Naughty Dog has returned with yet another gorgeous adventure just one year later – and while The Lost Legacy isn't as critical to the overarching narrative, it's still a blast.
This spinoff tale spotlights previous supporting characters Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross as they seek out the Tusk of Ganesh across India, and while the game doesn't deviate from the familiar action-adventure formula in any dramatic ways (aside from a so-so dip into open-world navigation), it's another gorgeous and thrilling quest worth savouring. So do that already.
Jumping into a role-playing franchise on the fifth entry might seem like a mistake, but then again, how many of us got into the genre with Final Fantasy VII? Likewise, Persona 5 doesn't require that you've played earlier entries – and better yet, it's one of the most acclaimed PS4 games of all time, not to mention an absolute stunner.
This epic quest drops you into a dazzling vision of Tokyo in which your student hero discovers the ability to use supernatural powers in another realm. It's thrilling and engrossing stuff, balancing the mystical with the surprisingly not-mundane life of a student, and incredibly stylish to boot. Even if you're not usually into JRPGs, Persona 5 stands above the rest.
Star Wars Battlefront II
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is about to be all that everyone is talking about (if you haven't already started), so the release of Battlefront II is unsurprisingly well-timed. This multiplayer-centric sequel spans all three cinematic eras of the sci-fi juggernaut, with massive 20-on-20 battles that look and feel like they belong on the silver screen.
And this one even adds a cinematic, narrative-driven campaign mode, although as our review explains, it's hit-or-miss in execution. EA's focus on grinding to unlock heroes and perks does admittedly detract from the overall enjoyment, but if you can ignore that layer of the experience and just focus on blasting en masse, the shootouts can be serious, serious fun.
It's been a few years since the last BioShock, so if you're in the mood for something moody, atmospheric, and surprising, then Prey might do the trick. It shares a name with a largely forgotten 2006 shooter, but this totally fresh FPS from the makers of Dishonored has its own distinctive feel and flow.
Trapped on a vast, ageing space station, you'll interact with other survivors and use special abilities that come from the pointy end of a syringe – but the alien Mimics can do much the same, and you'll frequently be startled by a common object that suddenly transforms into a grotesque beast. It's freaky – but in a really good way.
Overwatch is a shooting sensation – no surprise that it's another gem from the Warcraft wizards at Blizzard, but it is surprising that the team was able to deliver the quintessential first-person online shooter experience with its first shot.
Overwatch is colourful and original, with a diverse cast of heroes that ensures that every player can find a specialty. However, success in combat requires not only working together with allies, but also choosing complementary heroes to build a rock-solid squad. We'll be playing this for years; it's truly a gift that will keep on giving.
Call of Duty: WWII
After a few years of future dalliances, Call of Duty is finally back to where it began with WWII. And that's a very good thing. Gone are the jetpacks and sci-fi storylines, as Activision brings the battle back into the trenches with tense historical gunplay and action – and it's all boots-on-the-ground action when it comes to the online multiplayer.
True, Call of Duty: WWII can't match the impact of the classic series entries, the campaign has its dull moments, and the online battlefields are still tough on newbies. But this is the best the series has been this console generation, and it's a welcome throwback to the past formula with enough modern enhancements tossed in along the way.
Assassin's Creed Origins
We'd probably all feel a lot better if we could take a year off from our normal routine – and hey, it worked wonders for Assassin's Creed. Ubisoft's part-historical, part-weird-futuristic open-world series had seen better days, but after skipping a new entry last year, we just got the rejuvenated Assassin's Creed Origins. And the experience finally feels fresh again.
Origins delivers a memorable and distinct new setting with Ancient Egypt, the combat feels drastically improved (and almost Dark Souls-esque), and the game is super-duper stunning – it's one of the best-looking games of the holiday season. If you grew tired of Assassin's Creed, like so many of us did, Origins might reignite your spark for the series.
Gran Turismo Sport
Gran Turismo is a PlayStation legend, so expectedly, Gran Turismo Sport is one of the biggest releases of the holiday season for petrol-heads. But while some other racers have taken a turn towards accessibility or embraced Fast and Furious-esque antics to pump up the excitement, Gran Turismo remains as traditional a sim as it's always been – pretty much, at least.
On one hand, it still feels tremendously precise and perfectly realised on the track, with fabulously lifelike graphics especially on the PS4 Pro. And the added immersion of the optional PlayStation VR headset has to be experienced to be believed. But it's pretty punishing too, and can feel a little limited compared to the competition. Still, the core sim experience here is pretty tremendous.
Knocking around a football as a four-wheeler sounds mighty dumb – and it is, but in the very best way possible. Rocket League is utterly ridiculous, tossing you into a stadium as a little car or truck as you try to score goals with an oversized ball, but it provides some of the most fun we've had playing anything on the PS4.
And the high-level play, complete with dazzling aerial moves and saves, offers something to aspire to as you gradually elevate your skills. It even has basketball and hockey modes!