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Hidden gems for the PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 is a powerhouse console that gives us the best Sony has to offer. It's been the top-selling console of the eighth generation, combining a good price point with powerful hardware. The system has now expanded into several forms, including a Slim version of the original system and a Pro version with the latest and greatest specs. And with rumors that the PlayStation 5 is years away, it looks like the PS4 will be with us for a while yet.

The system's library includes plenty of big blockbuster games, like the Call of Duty and Uncharted series, but what about some of the lesser-known titles? Sometimes, a truly great game can get lost in the shuffle. We pored through the PS4's catalog and found some gems you might have overlooked or passed over while you were building up your collection. Do yourself a favor and check these out.

Alienation

In the mood for a bit of multiplayer action in a game where it's you and your buddies versus an alien horde? Then Alienation from Housemarque is for you. In this top-down shoot 'em up, you join a squad of up to four players and welcome a bunch of invading aliens to Earth with the help of your incredible firepower. You're able to upgrade your skills and weapons, and not only does Alienation get you to feel like a hero while destroying alien scum, but it makes you look good while doing it, complete with eye-melting particle effects and more. Saving the planet never felt so good.

Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance

Right off the bat, Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance has a name that's both kind of tough to say and incredibly compelling. If you've never played any of the Disgaea games, then you've been missing out on hours of strategy-RPG goodness. And because this is the first title in the series to land on the PlayStation 4, you're going to be treated to some upgraded visuals and enhanced gameplay. In Disgaea 5, you help the Rebel Army, led by a demon named Killia, take back the Netherworlds from Demon Emperor Void Dark. You'll control tons of units on the battlefield, participating in skirmishes that involve up to 100 sprites. That's a whole lot of characters beating up on each other in turn-based battles. And if that weren't enough, there's even a Curry Shop where you can produce curries that augment your soldiers. Who wouldn't fight a little harder with a belly full of spicy curry?

Tearaway Unfolded

Need a whimsical escape from the drudgery of real life? Tearaway Unfolded might just fit the bill. This enhanced remake of the PlayStation Vita original is as charming as it is inventive, letting players control and help out a little paper messenger Iota (or Atoi) deliver a message to… well, the player themselves. You can use the PlayStation 4 controller's touch pad to manipulate the world and help Iota/Atoi solve puzzles to get them closer to the portal in the sky that leads to the player. The characters and the environments are so creative and lighthearted that you'll feel your stress melt away as you fold virtual paper and help out your little messenger.

Infamous: First Light

Here's the prequel DLC content for Infamous: Second Son, starring the spunky conduit named Fetch. If you've played the game proper, then you're already familiar with Fetch, voiced by actress Laura Bailey, and her bevy of Neon powers. With this standalone DLC, you're treated to what feels like a condensed but solid sampling of what Second Son has to offer. The difference is that you get more of Fetch's backstory, and can wield her powers to participate in Neon races, graffiti minigames and even an arena pitting her against hordes of enemies. The voice acting, the graphics, and the streamlined gameplay will leave you wanting to see more of Fetch in Second Son.

Until Dawn

Despite its cast of big-name actors, including Hayden Panettiere and Rami Malek, Until Dawn might have flown under your radar. This interactive survival horror put you in the snow-covered shoes of eight best friends who get stuck on a mountain on the anniversary of their friends' deaths, facing an evil force trying to pick them off one by one. The acting is superb, enhanced by the incredible graphics. You'll feel as if you were watching some kind of horror miniseries, especially because you shift from character to character. The choices you make determine who survives the night and who meets a grisly and untimely end, so try your best to make sure everyone likes and trusts each other. The fact that you can get everyone killed gives the game a bit more replayability, just in case you'd like to try to get everyone to survive.

Bound

Bound should be on everyone's radar. In this game, you take control of a ballerina who dances through her memories. It's a 3D platformer with gorgeous, trippy visuals and a soundtrack that's capable of eliciting a wide spectrum of emotions. As you use dance moves to traverse the world inside her mind, you'll uncover a deep story and find out just what this adventure is all about. Fans of games like Journey and Flower might feel right at home with this type of game, and we're sure you won't find many gaming experiences like it.

Helldivers

From the creators of Magicka comes Helldivers, another top-down twin-stick shooter that lets you tear through alien hordes with a few of your buddies. Your mission is to protect Super Earth and bring some harsh punishment down on intergalactic baddies across the solar system. As part of the Helldivers unit, you'll have access to over 70 weapons and vehicles that unleash pain and devastation. If you and your friends manage to tear the galaxy a new one and still want more, there are a few expansions available for free, as well as some paid DLC that boosts your weapons loadouts. Happy hunting!

Transistor

Transistor is the follow-up to Bastion from Supergiant Games. If you've ever played Bastion, then you know you're in for amazing visuals, a stellar soundtrack, and addictive gameplay with Transistor. You take control of a singer named Red as she tries to fight back against the robotic Process and reclaim her voice from a swordlike weapon known as Transistor. The graphics and gameplayer are all very slick, but what really deserves a nod is the soundtrack. The songs are so smooth and really add to the drama of each scene, whether you're in the heat of battle or just looking over some features in the environment. As fun as Transistor is, it's also an outstanding example of how video games can be art.

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered

If you missed out on Valkyria Chronicles the first time around, you can take comfort in knowing that it's been remade for the PlayStation 4 as Valkyria Chronicles Remastered. This tactical RPG tosses you into a conflict set in the fictional land of Europa, which is modeled after Europe during the early days of World War II. You're put in control of a unit from the nation of Gallia, sending out soldiers on the battlefield in turn-based combat. In battle, you can move and take actions as long as you still have action points available in your gauge, so you'll have to think before committing to moves. Do you want your sniper to stay behind cover or climb up a ladder to get a better vantage point, but become exposed in doing so? Do you want to park your tank in front of a bridge in order to block the enemy's line of sight, but then make it impossible for your ground troops to cross? Everything from the combat and anime-style graphics to the story will keep you glued to your console for days.

Tales of Zestiria

We won't blame you if you haven't heard of Tales of Zestiria — or the Tales series itself, which has 15 main entries under its belt—because Japanese role-playing games that aren't Final Fantasy rarely get the spotlight. But believe us when we say you'll spend hours trying to get Sorey and his buddies to uncover the mystery behind a conflict between nations, all while trying to fight back against the Lord of Calamity. This RPG features real-time battles with plenty of special moves that can be comboed together, so expect to see some impressive animations on the screen during fights. You'll fall in love with the characters, especially through the skits that occur outside of battle and help flesh out everyone's unique personalities—and you also get to dress up in some amazing weird costumes.