While the gaming medium is larger than ever, the act of playing a video game isn’t for everyone. Some people who want to engage with games might not have the time, patience, or skill to play a video game for very long. What they can do, however, is watch a game. Whether it’s watching a friend or a let’s play, there is value in watching a video game.
God of War (2018) stands out as a game that’s fun to watch. The gameplay is fluid, the story is well told, and its cinematic framing keeps it engaging all throughout. The PlayStation 4 in general is perhaps the best console to choose from as far as watchable games go.
Here are 10 games that are perfect for watching, even if you can't play.
10 Uncharted 4
Uncharted 4 can be a surprisingly relatable game at times. Nathan Drake’s arc is inherently one about fatherhood, brotherhood, the nuances of love, and the importance of family. Nathan Drake’s arc is so all encompassing that viewers can latch onto any aspect of his character and find something real to relate to.
Uncharted 4’s cinematic gameplay also ensures that the game as a whole is never boring to watch. Everyone watching might not feel like Nathan Drake, but it's easy to appreciate his character, his story, and his final adventure.
9 Street Fighter V
Street Fighter is great fun to play, but there’s something very engaging about watching a fight. Street Fighter has always been a fun series to watch and Street Fighter V is no different. While it’s hardly the best iteration of Street Fighter, it does get the job done well enough as far as traditional fighting goes.
It’s also just a generally flashy game that does do a decent job at blurring the line between fantasy and realism. Should Ryu be able to do a spinning uppercut? Probably not, but it looks real and that’s all that matters.
As partakers of the medium, it’s important to vary one’s video game palette. Don’t just stick to one type of game, branch out. Nioh might seem like a lot for the more casual gaming audience, but with some patience it becomes one of the PS4’s best titles. More importantly, it’s a fantastic game to watch in action.
Nioh lends itself to Let’s Plays especially well. It has just enough story where there’s something to emotionally invest in while also keeping the focus almost always on the gameplay. Considering how difficult it is, as well, there’s no shame in just deciding to sit down and watch a play-through in full.
7 Red Dead Redemption II
Red Dead Redemption II is a long game, almost unreasonably slow. While it’s certainly worth every hour, not everyone has the time to spend on a slow paced cowboy simulator, especially if they plan on playing other games anytime soon.
Watching a video allows viewers to skip the filler. Every little moment is part of the Red Dead Redemption II experience, but it's understandable to want to speed up the slower parts of the game. This isn’t to say that every little moment isn’t worth playing, but watching Red Dead Redemption II might be someone’s only option to experience the game.
6 The Last Of Us
More or less a more emotional, horror themed Uncharted, The Last of Us tells one of the most gripping stories in gaming. Joel and Ellie are both naturally written and have great chemistry; their arcs are natural and well paced, and the environmental storytelling is one of last gen’s best examples.
The gunplay is a fairly straightforward, but that’s hardly a problem when watching the game. The level design is top notch after the first hour, as well, making Joel and Ellie’s trek all the more engaging to watch unfold. It’s a game cinematic enough that it often feels like a movie, whether or not you're playing it.
5 Yakuza 0
Yakuza 0 is the kind of game that’s worth watching even if someone’s played it. There’s just so much to the game that a single playthrough likely won’t be enough for most players. Yakuza 0 is a game that becomes fairly extensive when it opens up, and that’s already ignoring the fact that Y0 is a long game as is.
It’s also just a great game to show off. There’s something fun about watching Yakuza 0 in action. It’s cinematic and wildly endearing. Both Kiryu and Majima are two of the best written protagonists in the medium, the latter especially. Yakuza 0’s a game anyone can love, whether by watching or playing it.
4 Telltale’s The Walking Dead
Any season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead will be interesting to watch, but only the first will leave viewers feeling like they watched something truly special. The game’s first season is incredibly well written, genuinely cinematic, and downright gut wrenching at times. It’s a great game to watch or play.
Considering there are multiple branching decisions, it’s also a game that lends itself to watching. Not everyone will want to play the game again just to see a few differences when a video can get the job done. It’s an unforgettable experience either way, and while they’re not as good, the rest of the series is worth playing too.
3 Nier: Automata
Nier: Automata might be a difficult game for some to digest. It’s fairly unique in the context of this generation, but it really is worth diving into. The world of Nier is fascinating and it branches out so extensively, but Automata does manage to keep things focused. It expects people to pay close attention, but it’s not hard to figure out what’s going on.
That aside, it’s also just an incredibly cool game to watch. The action is slick, 2B is an interesting character, and the world of the game is genuinely very interesting. Watching the game also allows viewers to experience the game’s many endings without having to hunt them down themselves.
2 Resident Evil 2
Horror is a tough genre to digest regardless of medium. For some people, there are things that are just too scary. Maybe they can watch a horror movie, but actually taking control of the situation might prove too much. That’s where streams and Let's Plays come in. Watching from a distance is a great way to conquer any Resident Evil 2 related fears.
The RE7 Engine also ensures that the game always looks fantastic. It’s a beautiful game with such truly great scene composition. It’s also actually scary while managing to tell a decent story. For anyone that’s a fan of zombie movies, but can’t seem to handle games well, watching Resident Evil 2 is the way to go.
1 Devil May Cry 5
When it comes down to it, there’s no better game to watch than the most stylish game of all time: Devil May Cry 5. It’s a game that just looks terrific in action. All three characters look smooth in combat, enemies engage on a visceral level, and boss fights in particular are marvels to watch unfold. High level play is downright jaw dropping at times. Devil May Cry 5’s level of action is going to grip even the most casual of video game admirers. Since it’s also on the tougher side, it’s a game that lends itself well to Let's Plays or even tutorials for unskilled players.