13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5

Story-driven experiences, fully-fledged character arcs, single-player focus, and narrative adventures could be part of the best story games for PS4/PS5. 

PlayStation exclusives pay special attention to the story and the cinematic quality. Some titles push these elements to the front, while the gameplay is a vehicle to enjoy the narrative.

Selecting Story Games for PS4/PS5

The selling point of the PlayStation platform is its exclusive single-player experiences. But the best games from third-party developers are also available for the PS4 and PS5 consoles, and we won’t leave those behind.

Before we jump to the list, we’re showcasing the elements we’re considering for this particular category:

  • Single-player Focus: Story games deliver a lengthy campaign. Multiplayer and other game modes can be added flavors for extra playability. 
  • Genre: Story games vary in genres, but, commonly, you’d find RPGs, action RPGs, interactive/narrative experiences, and action-adventure. 
  • Game Mechanics: The gameplay also varies across the best story games. But, in essence, we want these mechanics to feel an integral part of the world. 
  • Story Focus: The story is the game’s focus. It means there’s a full arc, a consistent narrative with a beginning, climax, and end. 
  • Character Focus: Every good story also requires good characters. You’d see it with great voice-acting and character moments exploring motivations, ideas, and actions.
  • Linear vs. Non-linear: Often, story-heavy games are linear, as it’s a good way to focus on a single plot. Others, though, include branching paths or extra freedom to decide what, when, and how to do the quests.
  • Story-driven Stories: A story-driven plot focuses on multiple characters and a high concept plot. 
  • Character-driven Stories: These stories are often smaller and feature fewer characters. Also, the focus is on character emotion and motivation. 
  • Player-driven Stories: The third kind is a player-driven story. It means you take major decisions that alter the story and the protagonist’s personality. 
  • Cinematic Value: To convey the story focus, these games include elements like full voice-over, character animations, cinematic cuts, mindful directing, original soundtracks, and immersive sound design.
  • Choices and Consequences: Not every story game features a choice mechanic. However, if there’s one, we’d want the game’s lore to properly convey why you need to choose and the consequences you could face.
  • Interactive Experiences: The highly-cinematic interactive genre features almost no gameplay in favor of making choices. 

Let me get one last thing clear. Most single-player games have a story, as any other entertainment medium. However, you’d probably stop paying attention if the story is not good, but you may keep playing.

For example, Doom games feature top-tier gameplay but simple stories. You may not pay much attention to the cinematics, read the codex, or understand what’s happening. You’re just there to rip & tear some monsters.

But a story game is different. The narrative gets your attention and makes you understand why you do or must do certain things. Then, the mechanics and gameplay systems blend seamlessly with the world. This is what we want. 

Best Story Games for PS4/PS5

Detroit: Become Human – An AI Revolution Plot

GamerCityNews detroit-become-human 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: Quantic Dream
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Release Date: May 2018
  • Platform: PS4, Windows

Detroit: Become Human is an interactive adventure game. It features a sci-fi story that goes across three protagonists. Additionally, it features dozens of branching paths and about 80 different endings.

The story goes in episodes, with each character taking turns. Each episode furthers the story, but you can make choices that alter the plot. And even if the character dies due to your preferences, the story continues with the remaining characters.

You’re in the city of Detroit in the near future. Androids have taken many jobs from humans, which makes humans hate them. However, they are effectively enslaved people; a sad truth is they are slowly developing consciences.

The three characters play a part in the overarching art. First, detective Connor is an android hunting for rogue AIs. One of its targets is Markus, the second protagonist and the leader of the android revolution. Lastly, there’s Kara, an innocent housekeeper trapped in the line of fire.

The Last of Us Part I – A Story About Love and Brutality

GamerCityNews the-last-of-us 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Release Date: June 2013
  • Platform: PS3, PS4 (2014 remaster)

The Last of Us is an action-adventure and a survival horror game from a third-person perspective. It’s a PlayStation highlight featuring a flawless blend between world design, gameplay, and story.

The title begins with Joel, a single father, at the beginning of a virus outbreak. During the chaos, he loses his daughter to a group of scared military men. About eleven years later, he’s a rough survivor with no sense of compassion left.

But he meets Ellie, a young girl immune to the virus. Reluctantly, they travel together to a laboratory that may create a cure with her blood. And alongside the journey, Joel finds in Ellie what he has lost before. This beautiful but sad story goes with outstanding music and visuals. 

The gameplay is okay, but nothing to write home about. In summary, you go from point A to B in a series of linear maps. You use firearms, tools, and stealth to bypass “zombies” and humans. And you can craft gadgets, upgrade weapons, and upgrade the character. 

Nier: Automata – A Story About the Value of Humanity

GamerCityNews nier-automata 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: PlatinumGames
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Release Date: February 2017
  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Nier: Automata is a unique and memorable action RPG. You need to play it three times to see the full story. You’d control a new character on each gameplay, which allows you to see further down the rabbit hole. 

The story is complex, as it starts on Nier: Replicant. Still, you can follow it with care. The basics are: you play as a group of androids (one at a time) tasked with retaking planet Earth from machines in a dystopian future.

These androids have their base orbiting space and receive orders from the humans, supposedly on the Moon. However, as you play, you’d realize there’s much more to it. For example, machines are more sentient and human-like than you’d like to learn. And humans are nowhere to be found.

The third-person hack & slash is acrobatic, smooth, and very dynamic. By that, I mean the camera swaps from 3D to a 2D perspective, or gameplay changes from hack&slash to bullet-hell while driving a top-down ship. And as combat becomes subtle or goes all-out, the fantastic music also grows or becomes subtle. 

Ghost of Tsushima – A story About Honor and Sacrifice

GamerCityNews ghost-of-tsushima-2 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Release Date: July 2020
  • Platform: PS4, PS5

Ghost of Tsushima is an action-adventure game with RPG elements and a heavy emphasis on stealth. It also features an open world and a particular interest in cinematic value. 

Sucker Punch took inspiration from classic Akira Kurosawa movies. The game even features a “Kurosawa Mode,” adding a grain filter and a stylized black & white filter.

You play as Jin Sakai, a fictional samurai in an alternate story. In history books, the Mongol khans invaded Japan’s Tsushima island in 1274 and quickly subdued the prefecture. You change the story, but achieving victory requires abandoning your samurai honor. 

The gameplay happens from a third-person perspective. You can dash, block, attack, and use special skills. The swordplay gets deeper as you play because you unlock extra abilities and “Sword Stances,” essentially skill trees. 

God of War – The Struggle of Legacy vs Identity

GamerCityNews god-of-war 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: SCE Santa Monica Studio
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Release Date: April 2018
  • Platform: PS4, Windows

God of War is the latest entry of the action-adventure / hack & slash saga. It features a new setting for the series, a perfect opportunity for newcomers to enjoy its story and gameplay.

You’re Kratos, the God of War. Your ruthless and vengeful past is long behind you. Now, you’re a father, and you’re trying to teach your son, Atreus, the value of patience, peace, and understanding. However, a new adventure takes Kratos and his son in conflict with the creatures and gods of Northern mythology.

The setting is a perfect excuse to enjoy the gameplay. Between astonishing cuts, you’ll fight against tons of enemies with magical weapons and abilities. You can block, dash, attack, use ranged skills, and command Atreus to attack. 

You’ll also advance through an episodic plot through linear areas. Still, if you explore, you’ll find resources to level up your gear. Lastly, you level up the character to unlock new skills and add new moves to your set.

Red Dead Redemption 2 – A Tragic Tale of Stubbornness

GamerCityNews red-dead-redemption-2 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: Rockstar Games
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Release Date: October 2018
  • Platform: PS4, Windows, Google Stadia, Xbox One

Red Dead Redemption 2 is an action-adventure game with simple character progression, immersive elements, and a cowboy setting. It’s a prequel to Red Dead Redemption, so you can play the title without skipping the story.

You play as Arthur Morgan in 1899. You’re an outlaw, but the law is on the heels of your gang. By making key choices during the story, you must balance the value of your own survival against your loyalty and friendship.

You can play in the first person or third person. Then, you can roam a highly interactive open world freely or choose to follow the main storylines. Otherwise, you can hunt, collect bounties, manage a bandit camp, go to shootouts, trim your hair, and more. Also, the title features a “wanted” system, similar to GTA games.

Lastly, your character improves by performing the relevant actions in three key stats. For example, shooting guns will improve your gunplay stats. Still, the game doesn’t revolve around stats, damage numbers, or loot. 

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition – The Heroic Deeds of Healing the Past

GamerCityNews mass-effect-legendary-edition 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: BioWare
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Release Date: May 2021
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One

Mass Effect Legendary Edition compiles a remaster of the ME: Trilogy, plus all of its DLCs -none of the multiplayer. Playing the three games in a row is a must, as it’s a complete arc and because there are choices that carry on throughout the trilogy.

This is the story of Commander Shepard, an elite human soldier controlling a squad of aliens and humans. With limited support from the Galaxy’s bureaucracy, you’re facing an ancient AI evil that threatens to end all intelligent organic life. 

The journey requires solving deep conflicts between various alien races. It also requires solving the past mistakes of your crew members and healing the wounds of old wars. More importantly, it includes understanding the truth about the technology that moves the Galaxy, the Relays. 

Lastly, this is an action RPG with far-reaching consequences and a morality system. You choose the missions freely from your ship (the hub), but missions are linear. As for combat, it happens in third-person, and your customizable commander has a mix of powers, gadgets, sci-fi weapons, and level-ups.

Uncharted: A Thief’s End – The Virtue of the Simple Life

GamerCityNews uncharted-4 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Release Date: May 2016
  • Platform: PS4, PS5, Windows 

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the end of Nathan Drake’s story. If you haven’t played the series, you can still enjoy the fourth entry, but you might need to watch a summary video.

In any case, you play in third-person perspective as Nathan Drake, now a former treasure hunter. News of his presumed-dead brother, Samuel, forces him on a new adventure that revolves around his family’s secrets.

This is a linear and character-driven story. Your play is through a series of levels where rising action and increasingly creative action set pieces are the rules. The gameplay adds platforming segments, puzzles, firearms, melee combat, and stealth.

The title includes an online multiplayer mode and local co-op modes. There’re no co-op missions like in prior games, but you can check Uncharted 3 for a split-screen campaign

Cyberpunk 2077 – The Dangers of Greedy Corporations

GamerCityNews cyberpunk-2077 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: CD Projekt Red
  • Publisher:CD Projekt
  • Release Date: December 2020
  • Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows, Google Stadia 

Cyberpunk 2077 is an action RPG with an open world and a Cyberpunk setting. Even though it debuted with sub-par performance, one thing kept the game flowing: the story and the characters.

You play as V, a customizable mercenary in Night City, a large and gorgeous city but not very interactive. After a dangerous heist, you end up with the conscience of a former rock star and terrorist leader Johnny Silverhand.

Together, they must find a way to stay alive, but only one of the two can remain in the body. The story comes alive during main story quests and some significant side quests. You’d see it through cuts but also across dialogue, dialogue choices, action, and playable flashbacks.

As for gameplay, you roam the open world from a first-person perspective. You can drive, shoot, level up, install augments in your body, and use hacks (akin to magic) against the enemies. Also, the game has several skill trees, and you develop each by performing the relevant actions.

Horizon Zero Dawn – The Destruction of Pride

GamerCityNews horizon-zero-dawn 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: Guerilla Games
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Release Date: February 2017
  • Platform: PS4, Microsoft Windows

Horizon Zero Dawn is an action-adventure game with an open world and character progression. However, the scope is smaller than most open-world titles, as it greatly focuses on the story.

See, there’re no branching paths and no choices. Aside from doing side quests, the storyline is linear. You play as Alloy in a post-apocalyptic world. You’re an outsider from your tribe, reason enough to prove yourself with a difficult task. 

Machine creatures roam the land, and your journey takes you to the machine’s origins. Along the way, you uncover the truth of your origins as well.

The story takes you through various biomes, each featuring increasingly tough machines and enemy tribes. You play in the third person with a mix of melee moves, stealth, arrows, acrobatics, and parkour. Also, micro-managing your arrows (getting scraps, crafting arrows, and swapping ammo) is key to victory. 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Love, Duty, and Honor

GamerCityNews the-witcher-3 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: CD Projekt Red
  • Publisher: CD Projekt
  • Release Date: May 2015
  • Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows, Nintendo Switch

The Witcher 3 is an action RPG with a massive world. The title highlights how side quests are as compelling and full as the main story. As a result, it offers hundreds of hours of content and the wonder of discovering something new on each replay.

You play as Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher. Witchers are mutated humans, and they are part of a decaying guild. Their mission is to defeat the monsters that roam the land in return for money. But the powers and knowledge they gained for the task come at the cost of losing human emotions.

Geralt, though, is not completely neutral. He’s on a personal quest, finding Ciri, his surrogate daughter. The story arc takes you across various open worlds and in conflict against an ancient Elven race. Moreover, you make key decisions during main and side quests, most of which showcase the protagonist’s personality. 

As for gameplay, you handle Geralt from a third-person perspective. He fights with swords, a crossbow, grenades, and simple magic. You also loot, trade or craft gear, and level up to unlock passive skills. Lastly, combat is slow-paced and thrives on brutal finishing animations. 

Firewatch – The Nature of Relationships

GamerCityNews firewatch 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: Campo Santo
  • Publisher: Panic, Campo Santo
  • Release Date: February 2016
  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, macOS, Linux, SteamOS

Firewatch is an indie adventure game. It has no action, as it’s instead a thriller with some elements of the drama in-between. Also, it’s an immersive title because of the acting, sound design, visuals, and minimal user interfaces.

You play as Henry, a fire lookout in the Shoshone National Forest. The year is 1988, and you must find the reason behind strange things happening across the forest. Your only companion, Delilah, is on the other end of a walkie-talkie, so you begin a lonely journey to find out what’s happening.

The gameplay is about interacting with the world and traveling through the forest to unveil a mystery. You explore the wilderness, find items, and uncover clues. Also, you can store items for later use, but there’re no interfaces. For example, directions come from in-game maps rather than a pause menu.

Lastly, the game includes dialog options but no branching paths. Instead, you can alter the tone of each scene and the character’s personality with your choices. As the story continues, you’d understand Firewatch is a character-driven experience, as the relationship between Henry and Delilah is the plot’s object.

Jedi: Fallen Order – Redemption for the Weak

GamerCityNews jedi-fallen-order 13 Best Story Games For PS4/PS5
  • Developer: Respawn Entertainment
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Release Date: November 2019
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Google Stadia

Fallen Order is an action-adventure game with Souls-like combat and a Metroidvania design. By the latter, I mean the game has a few planets to visit, but you’ll need to backtrack constantly until the last mission. That’s because unlocking new abilities can open inaccessible areas. 

You play as Cal Kestis, a Padawan who survived Order 66. Many years after the death of his master, the Empire’s Inquisitors find him on a junk planet. By this point, he’s not a Jedi; rather, he has forgotten the teachings of his master. 

He flees, but the journey helps him relearn what he forgot and forgive himself for abandoning his master. Then, alongside another Jedi and a pilot, they race against the Empire to find the Holocron. The item holds information about every Force-sensitive user in the Galaxy. 

The gameplay is on par with the story. By leveling up and completing story quests (like forging your own lightsaber), you become a Jedi. That grants Force abilities, parkour skills, and swordplay skills. You use this combo to fight against Inquisitors, beasts, machines, and Dark Force users. 

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