The 9 Best PlayStation 4 Action Games to Buy in 2018

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When it comes to PlayStation 4, it's the action genre where video games truly shine: You can be a superhero and come to everyone's rescue, see what it's like to be a gunslinging cowboy, or even a cyborg trying to save humanity. The developers of these games promise the ultimate excitement and you may even feel like you're watching a movie rather than playing a game. And no matter what type of gamer you are, you’ll find an action game here that’ll have you on the edge of your seat and keep your heart racing. Read on to see our picks.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: God of War

God of War

Courtesy of Amazon

If you had to pick one game to show off the epic action a PlayStation 4 title can pull off, choose God of War. It draws you in with its fleshed out details of beautiful graphics and various animations that leave every moment unpredictable as you adapt to the combat where you’ll do everything, including swinging your ax at the knees of a towering troll out to smash your face.

Amongst the cold harsh chaos of Midgard in Ancient Norway, you’ll raise your son who will aid you with a bow and arrow in battles in the middle of wild misty forests, high blizzard mountains, and other Norse lore locations. You’ll play over the shoulder with a free-camera, getting up-close-and-personal with enemies during action-packed fights where both brute force and cunning maneuvers are rewarded. God of War never spares a second to waste, offering a compelling big movie presentation that’ll draw you in with its subtle buildups of tension and chaotic hardships.

Most Immersive World: Red Dead Redemption 2

Saddle up partner, the wild west adventures of Red Dead Redemption 2 will leave you captivated in an action-packed, immersive world of cowboys and outlaws. The next generation of open-world gaming sets new standards in what video games can do by creating dynamic environments where characters feel lifelike in their daily routines.

Red Dead Redemption 2 lets you choose how you want to play and who you want to be. Are you a murderous bandit ready to hold up the town’s bank as you take hostages and tell the tellers to “open up the safe or else”? Maybe you’re trying to do good in the world, read wanted posters, and get a drop on a set of train robbers as you fire off revolver rounds and watch them tumble off their horses in the dust of the prairie lands? The game’s multilayered dialogue system features multiple consequences that can occur as you call people out and choose to de-escalate (or heighten) conflicts where lives can be changed forever or taken away in a flash of gunfights. No matter what you do, you’ll leave an impact on the world around you as you build up a reputation of fear or love.

Best With Super Heroes: Marvel’s Spider-Man

Want to be Spider-Man? Now you can. Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4 is an exclusive, action-packed superhero game that puts you in the role of everyone’s favorite web-slinger. It’s by far the best and full Spider-Man experience available with fluid gameplay, detailed settings, and an accompanying epic score and story.

The sun hits the reflective windows of skyscrapers as you connect your long string of web while swinging and soaring over the city of New York, eyeing down at the countless taxi cabs and catching a glimpse of a police car chase. The opportunity for action is everywhere: You’ll slam down on a moving truck with an explosive in it, web up and rope the bad guys, crash through the front view window with both feet, and then swing and throw that bomb into the air just as it is exploding. Spider-Man is built on just how much you can do, and while you’ll enjoy its well-written main story, you’ll have fun flipping, sticking to walls, and unleashing a series of improvised acrobatic and environmental attacks on enemies in jaw-dropping moments.

Best Remake: Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus is all about anticipation and build up — an action game where you’ll travel by horseback to find giant monsters and hunt them down. The remake of the original critically acclaimed PlayStation 2 game from 2005 comes in full detail with 4K HDR resolution at 30 frames per second on PS4 Pro systems.

Your motivation is to resurrect a fallen princess, and in order to do so, you must defeat 16 giant monsters called Colossi that roam the world. You’ll ride horseback in lush green planes and rugged mountains as you set off to find these 70-foot monsters made of ruins and earth, avoiding their striking blows that raise up the land around you, and then frantically gripping and climbing their furry backs to find their weak spots to pierce them with your sword as they try to shake you off. Shadow of the Colossus makes every moment feel daunting and is accompanied by a moving orchestra that plays on your senses telling you that everything is at stake.

Best for Old-School Gamers: Mega Man 11

For both the old schoolers and new school gamers alike, Mega Man 11 offers a modern day spin on a classic. Take what you know about the late '80s and early '90s of the Mega Man games from the Nintendo Entertainment System and give it a fresh coat of modern paint and upgraded gameplay and you have Mega Man 11.

The action of Mega Man 11 showcases itself the way it did back in the day: a side-scrolling platform game where you control an android boy called Mega Man who must jump, slide, charge up, and shoot solar bullets and charged blasts through creative obstacle-filled courses while battling against corrupted robots. You’ll pick one of eight stages at the selection screen — levels hosted and themed around eight unique robot master bosses who you must defeat and steal their powers from which you can use to your advantage against other bosses and foes.

Mega Man 11 incorporates a new speed and weapon upgrade that makes action-packed battles even more intense as you unleash more powerful attacks and engage in a slow-mo bullet time mode that will give you an edge over the robotic world out to get you.

Best Horror: The Evil Within 2

Running from a chainsaw-wielding maniac is the least of your troubles in The Evil Within 2. The survival horror action game is ready to creep up on you with action-packed sequences that’ll get your heart pounding as you face your worst nightmares.

Made by veterans in the horror genre, The Evil Within 2 has you resolving the case of finding your daughter lost in a world full of horrific creations stitched together out of the worst parts of the human psyche. Sound fun? The third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective retains the same elements of games like Resident Evil 4, having you explore the open world of a surrealist American town riddled with grotesque monstrosities that’ll body slam open doors and lunge at you in a gurgling rage as they set off your tripwire explosives. You’ll find hidden areas, take on side quests, and use a progression system with weapon crafting and self-upgrading that gets you to focus on a diverse skill set that best fits your play style and how you engage with everything from gooey ghosts to fleshy mechanical ghouls. The Evil Within 2 will last you about 15 hours and provide an intense anxiety-inducing experience. 

Best for Kids: LEGO Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles

LEGO Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles offers the best beginner-friendly action game for the PlayStation 4 that’s made for both families and kids alike. With up to two players in the same room, you’ll take on the role as one of the four Parr family superheroes (or make your own character and unlock others) using their iconic superpowers and abilities as they set out on action-packed adventures.

LEGO Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles is full of reimagined memorable scenes from both The Incredibles movies and adds its own touch of LEGO sense of humor throughout. The action-packed sequences throw you in the foray of various missions in a big open world LEGO city where you’ll battle against unique villains, smash and build objects to collect LEGO pieces to unlock more content, solve environmental puzzles, and unleash an array of unique superpowers. The game is full of extra secrets and creative options so you can make your own superhero character and even play as other Disney Pixar characters such as Woody from Toy Story.

Most Challenging: Dark Souls

Offering the biggest challenge that’ll crush your soul, Dark Souls Remastered is a thrilling action role-playing game that’ll have you anticipating every step you take and move you make. The game is a remastering of the original 2011 Dark Souls game and has you questing through various worlds filled with swamps and dungeons that are all full of dangerous pathways, lethal obstacles, and menacing enemies that’ll test your skills to your gaming limit.

The type of action in Dark Souls Remastered will challenge your patience; you’ll start off by creating a unique character designed from head to toe and pick a suitable class that fits your playstyle. With each enemy you defeat, you’ll collect hundreds of souls, weapons, armor, and items that’ll increase your abilities of strength and endurance in order to give you an edge over the hordes of enemies out to kill you. Dark Souls Remastered requires precise mastery and situational awareness where you’ll learn to read attack patterns and strategize against enemies and bosses that’ll ambush you at anytime if you’re unaware, leaving you with one of the most intense albeit rewarding video games you’ll ever experience.

Best Collection: Devil May Cry HD Collection

Devil May Cry HD Collection is a collection of high-definition versions of the first three critically acclaimed Devil May Cry games from the PlayStation 2. Like a 2000s sci-fi movie trilogy, the action is non-stop, offering fluid gameplay as you take on the role of a half-demon with two rapid firing pistols and a giant sword in a world full of angels and demons.

Backflips, dodging rolls, cartwheels, wall runs — it’s all part of the gameplay of the Devil May Cry HD collection games where combat is constantly stylized as you fight against other-worldly menaces in demonic mythical castle locations in an effort to save humanity from damnation. The three-game collection is fast-paced and over-the-top, offering a challenge where you’ll face off against fallen angels and blade-wielding puppets and get rewarded with your cinematically chained combo attacks and quick reflexes. The constant excitement is showcased in all three games, and you’ll unlock new moves and weapons that’ll give you a competitive edge when you’re fighting Cerberus or running toward the screen in pillar filled corridors while being chased by a giant fire ball spitting spider.

Our Process

Our writers spent 8 hours researching the most popular action games for PlayStation 4 on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 20 different games overall, screened options from 14 different brands and manufacturers, read over 39 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 2 of the games themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.