All in all, Judgment of Atlantis is probably Assassin's Creed Odyssey's best DLC episode. As a standalone adventure it feels the most complete, the setting is superb, and the finale does a great job of tying the Eagle Bearer's story together.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 does a lot of things better than its predecessor. A better story is propped up by better characters, and even though the opening hours are slow, there's a better overall flow to the game. All in all, Square Enix has constructed a rock solid sequel that, while safe and undeniably familiar, should satisfy both returning players and newcomers alike.
Samurai Shodown is back and it's arguably better than ever. SNK has delivered a truly gripping fighting game where the tides can turn in an instant, and it's this constant sense of tension that creates a uniquely electric experience. Against a backdrop of faster paced, combo-heavy fighters, Samurai Shodown stands out as a deliberate and excellently judged duelling simulator. Against a worthy opponent, there's simply nothing quite like it on PS4.
Judgment may be a Yakuza spin-off, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the best games in SEGA's series. Barring some gimmicky gameplay additions and some unnecessary story padding, it's an absolutely ace detective thriller. As we've come to expect of Yakuza Studio, Judgment's writing and characters are top notch, and it's arguably a perfect place to start if you're looking to explore the streets of Kamurocho for the first time. Another great showing from a developer that's at the top of its game.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey: The Fate of Atlantis - Episode 2 is an improvement over Episode 1, and we're looking forward to seeing how things play out in the final chapter. Hades' hellish realm may be a barren wasteland, but it's got a density that Elysium was missing, and some of the side quests are especially well crafted. Throw in a handful of great boss fights and Torment of Hades stands as one of the better DLC episodes that Odyssey has offered.
Trails of Cold Steel II is everything that you could want from a sequel to the first game. Although experience with its predecessor is nothing short of a necessity, this unapologetic approach to sequel storytelling is what makes Cold Steel II so compelling. It's remarkable how such a huge cast of characters can come together to deliver such a memorable narrative, and it's all thanks to the in-depth world building that Falcom has seeded over the course of two games. As far as turn based Japanese RPGs go on PS4, Trails of Cold Steel I and II are genre essentials.
RAGE 2's on-foot action is some of the most fun we've had this generation. As a shooter it's undeniably top tier, but the combat constantly has to fight for its rightful place in the spotlight. All the bright pink paint in the apocalypse couldn't stop the game's open world from feeling lacklustre, and the vehicular stuff struggles throughout. RAGE 2 needed the chaos and insanity that its marketing campaign was so eager to push, because we've ended up with a disappointingly safe objective-based grind, in which the excellent combat is the only thing strong enough to string you along.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey: The Fate of Atlantis - Episode 1 has its moments, but as a whole, it feels like a missed opportunity.
If you're a fan of Japanese RPGs and you missed out on Trails of Cold Steel the first time around, we can't recommend this PS4 port enough. Between its brilliant world building and fantastic cast of characters, this is a slow-burning story that refuses to let you go. While the game does plod at points, it's hard not to sit back and appreciate just how much effort has gone into making this world feel so rich and interesting. Add a rock solid turn based combat system to the mix, and you've got all the makings of a genre classic.
Right now, The Division 2 stands strong as an addictive, well designed, and complete looter shooter. For how dynamic and intricate it is, its open world sets the bar for the genre, and its tense, tactical combat is, for the most part, a real joy.
As far as Warriors-style action games go, Fate Extella Link is near the top of the pile on PS4 -- it's a robust and refined sequel that fans of the genre shouldn't miss out on. The process of levelling up, collecting skills, and bonding with your favourite Fate characters is both satisfying and rewarding, and although repetition does become a factor later on, the flashy combat has enough kick to keep you engaged. While it could be argued that Link should do more to evolve beyond its predecessor, it's still hectic hack and slash fun from start to finish.
One Piece: World Seeker is an unfinished game. Its open world is shockingly barren, its gameplay is clearly undercooked, and its presentation is placeholder. Eventually, Luffy's skill tree does allow for a little more fun, but the title still ends up feeling like an in-house development build that's used for playtesting, not a full price retail release. As a One Piece game it's bad enough, but as an open world title in 2019, it's borderline unacceptable.
Admittedly, the ride hasn't been anything amazing, but Legacy of the First Blade stands as a fine addition to an already great game.
Devil May Cry 5 is quite easily one of the best action games on PS4. Flawless in the execution of its often jaw-dropping combat, it's a masterfully crafted title that begs to be played over and over again. Stunning presentation helps sell some of the coolest cutscenes going, and the story ties the series together with style. Among a sea of uninspired open world outings, Devil May Cry 5 is an explosion of character and laser-focused excellence. Capcom is well and truly back.
Dead or Alive 6 finds itself in this slightly awkward middle space where it's certainly a sequel, but it's not nearly the jump that we were expecting -- especially since it's been almost seven years since Dead or Alive 5. The new additions to combat are welcome but they're not exactly exciting, and the overall package is reasonably robust, but let down by tedious grinds and a terrible story mode. As a fighter, Dead or Alive is still fun, punchy, and accessible, but as an upgrade on the already solid Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, it feels underwhelming, and even a little rushed.
Given time, ANTHEM could slowly start to bloom into a much more cohesive experience, but the worry is that it won't be given a chance. There's a good game in here somewhere, but only the flashy, satisfying combat stands out amongst a background mess of shockingly bad design decisions and woefully undercooked systems. ANTHEM feels unfinished and, frankly, undeserving of your time when there are much better live titles currently available on PS4. Check back in a year from now, and we might be onto something.
Far Cry: New Dawn can quite easily provide a weekend of fun, but when it comes to recalling your favourite games of 2019, don't expect to remember this post-apocalyptic adventure. Its streamlined RPG elements do add some welcome structure, but this trek through Hope County may seem familiar to a fault. It's almost a shame that Ubisoft didn't go all-in on making New Dawn a totally over-the-top spin-off, rather than a sequel that struggles to tell an all-too-serious story.
Jump Force can be fun with friends when you're just looking for a quick and easy scrap, but as a celebration of all things Jump, it's a borderline embarrassment. Thanks to a truly egregious art style and comically bad story presentation, this is an accessible and often fun crossover brawler let down by its disappointingly shoddy packaging. Ultimately, it's difficult not to feel as though all of these classic manga and anime properties deserve much better than Jump Force.
God Eater 3's another frenetic action RPG where the enjoyable rhythm and flow of combat is enough to outweigh most of the negatives. Whether you're up for a lengthy session or you're just stopping by to farm some materials, the game's easy to sink your teeth into, and there's plenty to chew on should you find yourself hooked thanks to the in-depth character progression. While more could and probably should have been done to bring God Eater's visuals and cumbersome menus up to speed, there's still plenty of skilful hack and slashing on offer here.
Shadow Heritage is another fine addition to Assassin's Creed Odyssey.