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12 best PS4 games to play in quarantine, from Red Dead 2 to Bloodborne

It's the perfect time to get back into video games.

Maybe you’re unearthing that PlayStation 4 for the first time in a while.

Perhaps you just ordered one on Amazon. If you’ve taken a break from the gaming world and are looking to get back in the habit, we’ve got you covered. Our 12 recommendations run the gamut from thrilling action to fantasy epics and collaborative sandboxes.

[SEE ALSO: THE 2020 ULTIMATE BINGE-WATCH AND PLAY GUIDE BY INVERSE]

We’ve deliberately avoided games of the “too close to home right now” persuasion, meaning anything of the near-future apocalypse genre where you’re wandering around a shattered version of a world very like our own. So while The Last of Us, the Resident Evil series, and the Fallout games are all fantastic in their own right, we’re giving priority to more escapist experiences.

Hello Games

12. No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky drops you on a colorful alien planet and tasks you with repairing your spaceship, and you quickly have a legit universe-sized procedurally generated universe to explore as you build out an encyclopedia of plants, minerals, local wildlife, and more. Should you choose to pursue it, you can also investigate the ancient technologies that may have caused your amnesia, but if philosophical questions about existence aren’t your bag, don’t worry about it. Despite a disastrous August 2016 launch that didn’t meet early expectations for the game, the developers at Hello Games drastically improved the game with updates in the years since, incorporating online features, base-building mechanics, alternate game modes and so much more. Turn on a relaxing playlist and collect minerals to build the space base of your dreams or goof around on alien worlds with up to seven friends. Vibes: A chillhop Star Trek sandbox. Timesink: Endlessly replayable, with more than 18 quintillion planets to discover and a looped narrative. How it keeps you connected: NMS has a thriving fan base on Reddit, but up to 8 players can exist in the same Star System at once. — Corey

Media Molecule

11. Dreams

Have you ever wanted to make your own game? You can do that with Dreams’s unmatched toolkit and comprehensive tutorials. It’s a blank slate with every imaginable artistic tool at your disposal. If that seems a bit daunting, you can also play an enormous library of player-made creations that’s growing by the day. Many are silly, short experiences, though some are intricate and thought provoking. Others offer new perspectives and riffs on familiar franchises. Vibes: A trippy, creative jambalaya. Timesink: According to the creators, designing a single level can take as little as 10 minutes. There’s also a two-hour “story mode” that acts as an extended tutorial. Depending on your appetite for creativity and exploration, the possibilities are endless. How it keeps you connected: Dreams is an inherently social and communal platform, where you share your creations and offer feedback to others. — Jen

Insomniac Games

10. Marvel’s Spider-Man

Into the Spiderverse is a damn fine film, but you can only watch it so many times. With Insomniac Games’ 2018 exclusive for the PS4, you can experience the giddy thrill of zipping between the skyscrapers of Manhattan as Peter Parker. Slinging webs is far easier than you’d expect, and the zippy brawls are fun and accessible even if you’re not a hardcore gamer. With an original story that steers clear of the tangled webs of the MCU, this isn’t a game you need a doctorate in Marvel studies to enjoy. If you’re looking for a straightforward, playable popcorn movie, this is just the ticket. Vibes: Spandex, spectacle, and quips. Timesink: Just shy of 20 hours for the base game, with an additional five for DLC expansions. How it keeps you connected: Stepping into the shoes of a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is a nice reminder that we’re all helping each other out by keeping to ourselves for a while. — Jen

Larian Studios / Bandai Namco

9. Divinity: Original Sin II

Divinity: Original Sin II is a modern evolution of the classic isometric CRPGs of yore and gives the player near absolute freedom to explore, manipulate, destroy, and conquer a richly detailed fantasy world. You can select from several predesigned protagonists or craft your own and then embark on a long, strategic adventure to escape the clutches of a religious authoritarian regime, assume control of your destiny, and (probably) save the world. Much like playing a tabletop game of Dungeons & Dragons, Divinity: Original Sin II gives the player absolute freedom to do what they want — even when that means breaking the game’s inherent systems. Stuck on a boss? If you have the Teleport spell, you can put him into a locked cage and he’ll just give up. Vibes: Hardcore Dungeons & Dragons with the world’s greatest Dungeon Master, all transformed into a video game. Timesink: 237 hours for true completionists, but with all the customization and characters available, it’s also very replayable. How it keeps you connected: The campaign supports 4 players, local or remote, and the Game Master mode allows you to build your own campaigns to play with friends. — Corey

Sony Santa Monica

8. God of War

Crowned Game of the Year at the 2018 Game Awards – amid some very stiff competition – God of War is actually the fourth game in a series that began back on PS2. Still, you don’t need to have played the previous installments to enjoy it. You’ll step into the sandals of Kratos, a Greek god with a tragic and bloody past. He’s older and wiser now, living in the Norse realm of Midgard and newly widowed. Together, Kratos and his tween son Atreus embark on a journey to scatter his wife’s ashes. Along the way, they’ll bludgeon the ever-loving shit out of orcs, dragons, and gods – and maybe get to know each other a bit too. With hugely satisfying action and a gripping story, you’ll be hooked from the first moments. Vibes: Brutal mythological ass-kicking with a sprinkling of sad-dad simulator. Timesink: About 20 hours, though there’s plenty of optional exploration and post-game content. How it keeps you connected: You’ll finally understand all those “boy!” memes, and have a great conversation starter if anyone ever asks you if games “count” as art. — Jen

Atlus

7. Persona 5

Persona 5 debuted in 2017 to rave reviews, with many praising its stylish aesthetics and intricately detailed recreation of real-life Tokyo neighborhoods. A mash-up of the role-playing life-sim genres, you play as the Phantom Thieves, a group of teens who balance their nocturnal duties of saving the world from nefarious adults with the typical day-to-day tasks of an average high schooler. The meaty story touches on issues from abusive teachers to corrupt politicians, and along the way you’ll get to know your fellow schoolmates intimately. The closer you get by day, the more they can aid you in your nocturnal superhero duties. An enhanced version of the game with an expanded story and new characters, Persona 5 Royal, comes to PS4 on March 31, but even the “vanilla” version is one hell of a ride and among the most enjoyable games of the current console generation. Vibes: Stylish anime heist caper. Timesink: 80-100 hours for the base game, add another 20 hours for P5 Royal’s new story additions. How it keeps you connected: Persona 5’s online component lets you see how other players spent each day in the game and also can help you get answers to some of the more difficult in-class quiz questions. — Jen

Square Enix

6. Dragon Quest XI

“Charming” is a criminally overused term in game reviews, but if one game actually deserves the adjective, it’s this one. The Dragon Quest games have been enormously popular in Japan for more than three decades – that’s less true out west, but that’s beginning to change. DQ 11 flips the script on a very familiar “chosen one saves the world with his pals” narrative in a way that’s truly unique. (No, you don’t need to play the first 10 games.) With an endearing cast of characters designed by Dragon Ball creator Akira Toryiama and a candy-colored world to explore, this is a must-play for any fan of role-playing games or the fantasy genre. It’s incredibly long, but if you’re stuck in the house indefinitely, that’s more of a selling point than a hindrance. Vibes: Dragon Ball meets King Arthur. Timesink: 100-120 hours, even more if you’re a completionist. How it keeps you connected: While this is a game to hide from the world with, you’ll likely come out of it with a deeper appreciation of one of Japan’s most storied franchises. — Jen

CD Projekt Red

5. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Another fantasy sequel where you don’t need to play the previous games, The Witcher 3 is based on a series of novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, which also inspired the hugely popular Netflix show. In a world inspired by medieval Central and Northern Europe, you’ll step into the shoes of Geralt of Rivia, a hunky 90-something monster hunter who’s searching for his kidnapped adoptive daughter. This action-driven role-playing game allows you to hone your skills with all kinds of weaponry and magic. The narrative is a meaty one, and your choices and reactions lead to one of 36 possible endings. There’s a lot of bloodletting and sexytimes, so don’t play this one in front of impressionable kiddos. Vibes: Dark fantasy with zany sidequests and smut. Timesink: 50 hours for the base game, double it with all the expansions and DLC. How it keeps you connected: You’ll have all sorts of great predictions about Season 2 of the Netflix show, and there’s a lively subreddit devoted to the franchise if you want to go spelunking deeper into the lore. — Jen

Irrational Games / 2K Games

4. BioShock Infinite

I downloaded the BioShock series when it was free on PS Plus last month, and as soon as social distancing became the hot new trend I knew my first activity would be revisiting these beloved first-person-shooter classics. Skip the first two games — the cramped underwater city of Rapture is not the escapism you need right now — and head straight for BioShock Infinite and the beautiful, jingoistic city-state called Columbia. Infinite is drop-dead gorgeous with an Americana-themed soundtrack to match. It’s also a brutal exploration of American nationalism that feels even more relevant when our own president spouts racist propaganda on a daily basis. But don’t worry, you can also ignore all the political stuff and just enjoy one of the best shooters of the past decade. Vibes: Polished first-person-shooter with a mind-bending plot. Timesink: About 12 hours for the base game, plus an eight-hour DLC. How it keeps you connected: It doesn't. Ignore your friends, cancel your Zooms, and enjoy a great single-player game. — Jake

Blizzard Entertainment

3. Overwatch

Of all the multiplayer first-person shooters to ever exist, Blizzard’s excellent Overwatch is one that never gets old. The best “hero shooter” around, Overwatch focuses exclusively on top-tier team-based online multiplayer where two teams of six engage in matches with a focus on some kind of objective. The aesthetic feels almost like a sci-fi superhero comic set in the near-future where sentient robots coexist alongside humans, and the colorful cast of 31 (soon to be 31 characters) include a talking gorilla with a big laser, a cyborg ninja who can reflect anything with his sword, a pro gamer who pilots a mecha, a telekinetic android monk, a giant pig man with a grappling hook, and so many more. Each of these “Heroes” is either a Support healer, a Tank meant to soak up damage, or focused on pure Attack. Not only are first-person shooter skills helpful, but you need a nuanced grasp on team composition you might see in classic fantasy games. Vibes: Brightly lit sci-fi shooter with a comic book aesthetic. Timesink: Endless. How it keeps you connected: Play online with friends or hop right into various game modes to chat with strangers. — Corey

FromSoftware

2. Bloodborne

A masterpiece of Gothic Lovecraftian horror, FromSoftware’s Bloodborne is an ultra-challenging third-person action game where you play as a customizable Hunter exploring the Victorian-era city of Yharnam that’s trapped in what appears to be a literal nightmare. Armed with an assortment of collectible transforming weapons in one hand and archaic guns in the other, you’re tasked with uncovering the mystery behind whatever is plaguing Yharnam. This is a game for anyone who wants a series challenge. Especially if you loved FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Bloodborne is a must-play. Vibes: Nightmarish and tense AF but so satisfying once you hit your groove. Timesink: Completionists can beat the main story and all the extras in around 75 hours. How it keeps you connected: Invite a friend to join your game and slay monsters together. — Corey

Rockstar Games

1. Red Dead Redemption 2

Pettin’ dogs. Takin’ baths. Breakin’ horses. Craftin’. Red Dead Redemption 2 feels like a proto-Westworld in all the good ways, without any of the A.I. rebellion. The brilliantly designed game will first sway new players of this Wild West adventure to complete its story mode, thereby forming an intense bond with the main character Arthur Morgan (seriously, check out the evocative fan art) and the world he inhabits. Once that bond is as solid as a horseshoe, players are more likely to embrace the online version of the game. There is no other game I’d rather be stuck inside playing than Red Dead, because through your character, you can experience the great outdoors. Vibes: Dirt under your fingernails. Alcoholism. Honesty. Murder. Timesink: Well, boah, this game is gon’ take you hours. Once you spend 50 or so of them beating the story mode, you’ll probably want to go back and do it again, completing all the challenges — like grinding to kill the Legendary White Bison, so you can make yourself a dope hat. Look, I’m not going to tell you not to do that. But you should know you can also embrace the world of Red Dead online. I suggest the free roam mode to get acquainted. From there, this game really does feel like proto Westworld. You just may wanna live there forever. How it keeps you connected: The online mode enables you to posse-up with other players and chat shit while you steal guns and run around Old Westy battle zones against a competing gang. The beauty of Red Dead, though, is that you may wanna use it to just disconnect. Maybe just use free roam to pet dogs. — Nick

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