Pixelkin 2019 Holiday Gift Guide: PlayStation 4

Posted by | November 22, 2019 | Feature, PlayStation 4 | No Comments
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The PlayStation 4 has been king of the console mountain throughout the current generation. Sony’s exclusives were mostly downplayed this year, however, as many developers get ready for the PlayStation 5, which was officially revealed earlier this year.

The biggest PlayStation exclusives both featured bleak post-apocalyptic worlds, with the the zombie apocalypse Days Gone, and the unique package-delivering, ghost-dodging Death Stranding.

With the PlayStation 5 launching in Holiday 2020, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend jumping into the PlayStation 4 this year. However, you can find some killer deals this late into the PS4’s life cycle. We’re particularly attracted to Sony’s Only on PlayStation 4 Bundle, which features a 1TB PS4 and three of the best PlayStation 4 games of the current and previous generation: The Last of Us Remastered, God of War, and Horizon Zero Dawn. Sony’s Black Friday sale event begins Nov. 24 and runs through Dec. 2.

See below for all our PlayStation 4 game recommendations for 2019.

 

Younger Kids

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King

Two classic platformers from the 90s, Aladdin and The Lion King, have been updated and packaged together as Disney Classic Games. As these games predate many of the modern conveniences we’ve enjoyed in the years and decades since their launch, players can now enjoy a rewind feature and easily activated cheat codes, which should come in handy for the notoriously difficult The Lion King.

Also available on: PC (Steam), Switch, Xbox One

Dragon Quest Builders 2

Dragon Quest Builders 2 continues the brilliant mashup of the colorful, kid-friendly Dragon Quest RPG series with Minecraft-like building and crafting. The sequel features a new retro fast travel system, the ability to fly and swim to reach new areas, and online cooperative multiplayer.

Also available on: Switch, PC (Steam – Dec. 10)

Team Sonic Racing

Mario and friends aren’t the only ones who like to settle their differences on the race track. Team Sonic Racing features 15 racers spread over three distinct classes, and 21 different tracks, including favorites from previous Sonic racing games. Up to four players can race together locally, or up to 12 players online.

Also available on: PC, Switch, Xbox One

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

The first Yooka-Laylee was crafted as a spiritual successor to the wave of 3D platformers of the late 90s/early 2000s, but was met with mixed results. The sequel, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair,  takes a far different approach, utilizing successful 2D level designs. It’s both a solid throwback to classic game design, and a refreshing modern update.

Also available on: PC (Steam), Switch, Xbox One

 

Older Kids & Teens

Age of Wonders: Planetfall

Planetfall is more than a sci-fi version of turn-based strategy series Age of Wonders, which combines Civilization’s empire management with XCOM-like tactical combat. Planetfall completely changes city-building and expansion through the use of sectors, and expands combat to make room for armored dinosaurs and laser guns.

Also available on: PC (Steam), Xbox One

Apex Legends

EA and Respawn surprised everyone when they dropped the Fortnite-like Battle Royal shooter, Apex Legends. What was initially seen as a Fortnite-killer has since cooled off, but the makers of Titanfall have crafted an excellent team-based online shooter in a (slightly) more serious sci-fi universe.

Also available on: PC (Origin), Xbox One

Civilization 6

Civilization 6 released back in 2016 on PC. It was an excellent entry in the long-running strategy series, and it’s made its way to major consoles this year. The base game has plenty of material to lose dozens if not hundreds of hours, but if that’s not enough you can also buy the Expansion bundle, which includes 2018’s Rise and Fall, and Gathering Storm, which released earlier this year, for additional civilizations as well as features such as Dark Ages and climate change.

Also available on: PC (Steam), Switch, Xbox One

Dreams

While still technically in Early Access, Dreams is less a traditional game and more game editing software. The creators of Little Big Planet have focused on user-created content and robust tools for creating art, music, and gameplay systems, perfect for the budding game designer.

Also available on: N/A

Kingdom Hearts 3

Kingdom Hearts 3 was one of the longest-awaited sequels in gaming history, finally returning to the adventures of Sora, Donald, and Goofy in this unique and memorable mashup of Japanese RPG and Disney and Pixar films. Wield magical keyblades and repel the Heartless through the worlds of Toy Story, Frozen, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Also available on: Xbox One

Outer Wilds

It’s the end of the world, Groundhog Day style in indie adventure Outer Wilds. As an astronaut on a new planet, you have exactly 22 minutes until the sun explodes. It’ll take a multitude of iterations to explore the mystery behind the time loop, diving further and further into the story and wider universe with each catastrophic death.

Also available on: PC (Epic Games Store), Xbox One

Slay the Spire

What Slay the Spire lacks in graphics and animation it makes up for in depth of gameplay. The roguelike card game is well-balanced and tactically demanding as you ascend through dungeon rooms and challenges, playing cards, making choices, and building your deck. Three distinct classes offer multiple playstyles and a huge list of cards to find and unlock.

Also available on: PC (Steam), Switch

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

And legions of fans cried out, “finally, a good Star Wars game!” Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order takes place in the fertile story-telling era between the prequels and the original trilogy, and stars Cal Kestis, a young Jedi who must survive being hunted down by The Empire.

Also available on: PC (Origin), Xbox One

Wargroove

Wargroove asks one simple question: Do you like Advance Wars? The beloved handheld tactical strategy series has been given an excellent spiritual successor, transforming the pseudo-modern Advance Wars into a fantasy series with a lengthy story campaign as well as skirmish, puzzle, and map editing modes.

Also available on: PC (Steam), Switch, Xbox One

 

Mature Teens

Borderlands 3

Borderlands 2 is often considered one of the best games of the previous generation. Borderlands 3 may not live up to that lofty goal, but it’s still a fantastic entry in the popular co-op looter-shooter series, and one of the few big budget games to still offer split-screen couch co-op.

Also available on: PC (Epic Games Store), Xbox One

Control

Developer Remedy (Alan Wake) came out swinging with this gorgeous third-person action game. Control stars Jesse Faden, an agent for a secretive government organization that studies strange phenomenon, and finds her world, and reality itself, torn apart. Thankfully she’s got a supernatural firearm and some special abilities of her own.

Also available on: PC (Epic Games Store), Xbox One

Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima became a household name among gamers from his Metal Gear Solid series. His first game free of studio control, Death Stranding, is incredibly unique, as Sam Bridges (played by Norman Reedus) must navigate across a dangerous apocalyptic world of killer ghosts to deliver materials and packages and help rebuild society.

Also available on: N/A

The Division 2

The first Division had a rocky start but Ubisoft spent months and years patching and upgrading the shared world multiplayer post-apocalyptic looter-shooter. The sequel shifts from New York City to Washington D.C., featuring Ubisoft’s trademark attention to geographical detail, and satisfyingly refined weapons and classes.

Also available on: PC (Epic Games Store), Xbox One

The Outer Worlds

Leave it to Obsidian Entertainment (Pillars of Eternity) to craft a better Fallout game than Bethesda.The Outer Worlds  infuses all of Fallout’s satirical dismantling of mega-corporations within a pulpy sci-fi first-person RPG, as the choices you make ultimately determine the fate of the Halcyon star system.

Also available on: PC (Epic Games Store), Xbox One

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Fans of the Dark Souls series need no further incentive for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the newest game from FromSoftware. Sekiro is closer to a traditional action-stealth game than the more RPG-like Souls series, and takes place in a vastly under-explored time period in 16th century Japan.

Also available on: PC (Steam), Xbox One

Eric Watson

About Eric Watson

Eric is a freelance writer who enjoys talking about video games, movies, books and Dallas-based sports teams. Every week he watches a random film from his collection of several hundred DVDs and live tweets about it @RogueWatson. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla. He lives near Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and daughter, two dogs, two cats, two fish tanks, some hermit crabs and a bookshelf full of Transformers.