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Best for Fighting in the Future: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare at Amazon
"Both the single-player campaign and various multiplayer battles are well-designed and fun to play."
Best for Multiplayer Action: Battlefield 4 at Amazon
"With up to 64 players at once, battles are a truly epic affair."
Best Single-Player Shooter: Titanfall 2 at Amazon
"You'll pilot your Titan at times, making short work of nearby humans as you take on other mechs with a wide array of weapons."
Best for Taking It Slow: Sniper Elite 4 at Amazon
"It's the open nature of both the gameplay and the environment that impresses the most."
Best for Poignancy: This War Of Mine: The Little Ones at Amazon
"Tasked with keeping a small band of adults and children alive until an eventual ceasefire, it's not long until hard decisions need to be made about who gets to eat, receive medical care, and ultimately, survive."
Best for Role-Playing: Valkyria Chronicles 4 at Amazon
"The armies of the Federation battle those of the Imperial Alliance across beautiful hand-drawn European landscapes."
Best for Cold War Espionage: Phantom Doctrine at store.playstation.com
"Playing a CIA or KGB spy handler, you're in charge of recruiting, training, and managing a network of agents through a series of diverse missions."
Best for Interspecies Warfare: XCOM 2: War of the Chosen at xcom.com
"Why limit yourself to fighting your fellow humans? The XCOM series has always been about defending your planet from alien invaders."
Courtesy of Amazon
If it feels like the Call of Duty franchise has been around forever, that's because it has: the first game in the series was released in 2003, and there's been a new one almost every year since.
The best is Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which successfully took the core strengths of this fast-paced, first-person shooter well beyond its World War II roots. Set in 2054, equipment like the exosuit (which lets you dash at high speed and jump dozens of feet in the air), lasers, sonic emitters, and grappling hooks lend a new dimension to the traditional fighting formula.
Both the single-player campaign and various multiplayer battles are well-designed and fun to play, providing greater variety and ability to innovate than most other Call of Duty titles.
With impressive graphics and sound, and a storyline enhanced by the appearance of Kevin Spacey as "bad guy" CEO Jonathan Irons, Advanced Warfare breathed new life into a meandering franchise. If you're going to have one Call of Duty game on your PS4, this is it.
Despite the fifth installment of the Battlefield franchise being released in late 2018, the previous version is generally a more enjoyable experience. Battlefield 4 pays lip service to a single-player campaign, but it's multiplayer where the game really shines.
With up to 64 players at once, battles are a truly epic affair. The large campaign area can be traversed in jeeps, fighter jets, tanks, and more, with all of the weaponry you'd expect from these war machines.
The environment is no longer just a backdrop to the action. Blow up a skyscraper, and it'll fall to the ground, taking anybody nearby with it. Destroy a dam, and it'll flood the area, changing the dynamic completely.
The usual player classes — assault, engineer, support, and recon — have an appropriate set of skills, equipment, and weapons, and changing your selection makes for very different gameplay. Whether you're new to the franchise or have played other versions over the years, Battlefield 4 is one of the very best multiplayer war shooters out there.
Many first-person war games rely heavily on their multiplayer mode, with the single-player version tacked on as an afterthought. That's not the case with Titanfall 2, a glorious, fast-paced shooter that has one of the most impressive campaign modes the genre has ever seen.
It's the freedom of movement that really makes the game fly. With the ability to run and jump off walls, fly through the air with grappling hooks, sneak undetected into enemy bases, and much more, the ways to defeat the forces arrayed against you feel almost limitless.
That's before you even get to your partner in crime, a giant mech with the catchy name BT-7274. You'll pilot your Titan at times, making short work of nearby humans as you take on other mechs with a wide array of weapons. There's a surprising bond that grows between you and your Titan over the course of the campaign, the gameplay and storyline pulling you closer together.
The only complaint about the single-player mode is that you'll be left wanting more when you get to the end — it's so much fun that it'll likely feel over too soon. Of course, then there's multiplayer to content with...
There are no giant mechs or futuristic tech in Sniper Elite 4, which continues the WW2 setting of its predecessors. Rather than the frantic "run-and-gun" action we often see, this is a slower, more deliberate affair.
Set in Italy in 1943, you're placed in the role of a sniper sent in advance to help safeguard the impending Allied invasion. The enemy plans to use radio-controlled bombs to destroy the fleet, and it's your job to stop them. Often with a headshot from several hundred feet away.
It's the open nature of both the gameplay and the environment that impresses the most. You're rarely restricted in how you can achieve a mission goal, whether it's jumping in with your submachine gun blazing, sneaking around enemy forces, or finding a usefully-located perch to snipe from.
The sniping isn't easy, especially in "Authentic" mode, with wind and distance playing havoc with your aim. By the end of the campaign, though, you'll be picking off targets with barely a second thought.
Multiplayer modes are equally impressive and remarkably diverse, and the combination makes this easily the best sniper-based game on the PS4.
As the tagline for This War Of Mine: The Little Ones says, "in war, not everyone is a soldier". The antithesis of traditional war games, it focuses on the misery and suffering of ordinary civilians trying to survive in a bombed-out city.
Clearly drawing inspiration from the four-year seige of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War, it's a compelling, devastating look at the realities of life in a combat zone.
Tasked with keeping a small band of adults and children alive until an eventual ceasefire, it's not long until hard decisions need to be made about who gets to eat, receive medical care, and ultimately, survive.
Scavenging for supplies gets increasingly difficult as time passes, and your decisions affect the physical and mental state of your group. Moral questions come to the fore: Is it ok to steal from others to keep a wounded person alive? Should the adults go hungry so your child can have a meal?
Raw and at times genuinely upsetting, This War Of Mine: The Little Ones is one of those games that you'll still be thinking about long after you've turned off your console.
Many first-person war games pay lip service to the feelings and thoughts of your character, but it's invariably a sideline to the real action. Valkyria Chronicles 4 takes a different approach, dropping you into the shoes of a low-level foot soldier in a glorious, role-playing affair.
The armies of the Federation battle those of the Imperial Alliance across beautiful hand-drawn European landscapes, but this isn't a title that particularly glorifies combat.
Your small squad doesn't get a say in which battles they fight, and the storyline explores the deeper effects the war has on your characters. Characters will die permanently if they aren't rescued in time, which can be heartbreaking in the later game after you've helped them grow and develop for so long.
Battles typically last between twenty minutes and an hour, and are a unique mix of turn-based strategy and near-real-time third-person action. It takes a bit of getting used to, but is great fun after that.
With half a dozen different character types that can be upgraded and paired with each other to great effect, there are multiple ways to win the fight and just as many ways to lose it if you're not thinking far enough ahead.
The Valkyria Chronicles series has been a bit of a mixed bag over the years, but there's no doubt that this fourth installment is the best yet.
Courtesy of PlayStation Store
When we think of historical war games, it's usually first-person shooters based on the two World Wars, or perhaps Vietnam, that get all the attention. For something completely different, both in setting and gameplay, take a look at Phantom Doctrine instead.
Playing a CIA or KGB spy handler, you're in charge of recruiting, training, and managing a network of agents through a series of diverse missions. While there's still the option of bloody battles at times, they're not the main focus: you generally try to achieve your goals without being noticed at all. Sniping enemies from afar and hiding the bodies afterward, sneaking past guards, or staging a diversion often holds a higher chance of success.
Despite being turn-based, there's plenty of action, and stress levels quickly rise when you're trying to avoid detection or your agents are fighting for their lives in the middle of a mission.
There's a base-building element to the game as well, upgrading the various rooms in your headquarters to give extra gear and capabilities to your spies. Coming up with the right mix of agents, both for each mission and over the course of the game, is vital—but keep a close eye on them, as always a chance you're being double-crossed.
Courtesy of XCOM
Why limit yourself to fighting your fellow humans? The XCOM series has always been about defending your planet from alien invaders, and War of the Chosen is the best of the bunch.
Following on from the excellent XCOM 2, this expansion pack adds more of everything that made the original so good: additional factions, aliens, gear, and weapons, plus plenty of extra maps and entirely new "super soldiers" on both sides of the battlefield. You'll need the original to play it.
Commanding what's left of your forces after aliens took over the planet, the game sees you splitting your time between researching new technologies and upgrading your troops back at base, and fighting the invaders in a classic turn-based style.
Easy to learn but difficult to master, War of the Chosen is an absolute classic when it comes to war-based strategy games. Play it now.