We’re looking for the best survival games for PS4/PS5. You’ll find something here if you’re an avid player looking for time-consuming titles.
See, survival games are often open-world and feature sandbox elements. Rather than deliver full storylines, they thrive on expanding mechanics.
And because its systems are wide and feature few tutorials, these games are often massive and addictive. You’d likely keep the best survival games for PS4/PS5 as your main video-game entertainment.
Selecting Open World Survival Games for PS4/PS5
Open-world is not a genre, as it’s instead a core game design. Developers must decide how to deliver the story the map -the overall progression- from a series of options. These range from a linear and episodic design to open-world sandbox adventures.
That said, let’s discuss our selection criteria to find the best open-world survival games for PS4/PS5:
- Genre: We’re looking for open-world survival games. These titles typically don’t have a storyline, as you’re free to roam and explore the world.
- Open-world: Commonly, you start barebones on an open world, and you can freely explore the world.
- Sandbox: The blend between open-world and survival easily creates sandbox games. The game’s systems allow you to do and go whatever.
- Open-ended: Similarly, these games tend to be open-ended. It means there’s no main storyline. And if there’s one, it’s not a significant part of the game.
- Scarcity: These open worlds are punishing, but you must roam the land to find what you need. It means the main threat is supply scarcity.
- Challenges: Various factors limit your exploration. These include enemy NPCs, the environment, survival mechanisms like diseases, and other players.
- Campaigns: There’s a few open-world survival games with a campaign. These still respect player autonomy and thrive on resource scarcity.
- Exploration: As you need supplies for combat, survival, crafting, and building, exploring the dangerous world is the main gameplay.
- Survival Stats: Another key element of the bracket is managing stats like hunger, thirst, sanity, and disease.
- Autonomy: What the open-world “genre” offers is player autonomy. You can choose how, when, and why to approach situations, challenges, and places.
- Simulation: The open-world may also include simulation elements. It means mechanics that force you to act in specific ways to avoid consequences.
- Resources: You explore the open world to gather or loot these resources from enemy NPCs or other players.
- Crafting: Another key system is crafting. You can use your supplies to create tools to gather resources, armor, gear, and supplies.
- Building: A similar system is building. Facilities grant shelters and benefits, like the opportunity to refine resources, cooking stations, etc.
- Tech Tiers: These games may also include tech tiers. It’s a way to unlock better and better tools and buildings to craft.
- Online: Most games in the branch feature multiplayer. If it’s only a single-player experience, we’d expect a story to keep you hooked.
- Co-op: Online co-op is a fun and relaxing experience. It allows you to play alongside your friends, rather than competing with strangers.
- PvP: Other survival games offer shared worlds where dozens of players can fight against each other or create teams.
Overall, open-world survival games have a distinct but similar flavor. You spawn on a dangerous and unexplored land. And often, the goal is finding the tools for power, exploration, survival, or completion.
Best Open World Survival Games for PS4/PS5
No Man’s Sky
- Developer: Hello Game
- Publisher: Hello Game
- Release Date: August 2016
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series, PS5, Nintendo Switch
You may already be familiar with No Man’s Sky. Aside from its overall quality, there’s a reason we opened the list with this title. Leviathan, its latest DLC, added a time-loop rogue-lite experience to the title. Still, it will go away after a time frame.
It showcases how the developers keep pushing the boundaries of the game. They constantly release free updates with massive content, excellent new features, access to new areas, and expanding mechanics. They are not afraid of risk.
The main experience offers MMO open-world exploration and survival playtime. You play within a nearly endless and procedurally generated galaxy. Here, you can freely explore any planet, star, and ship for resources, secrets, and lore. And everything happens in real-time, with no loading screens.
Then, you can use these resources to explore your ship and suit. You can also build bases on any planet, which grant additional benefits. Base building is easy and optional, though, as there’re many activities to complete in the game.
See, I’m just scratching the surface. Every new DLC makes the game deeper and more complex. Different elements include managing settlements, managing a spaceship fleet, a trading system and outlaw system, the main quest, deep lore, and much more.
- Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
- Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
- Release Date: December 2014 (Early Access)
- Platform: Windows, macOS, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch
Subnautica is a single-player open-world survival action-adventure with a heavy emphasis on the story. However, the plot is open-ended, as there’re no apparent markers, pointers, or tutorials.
You play as a spaceship crash survivor. You’re alone on an alien oceanic planet, and your starting supplies are on the life pod. The situation forces you to explore the underwater for supplies and information.
AS the game goes on, you’ll uncover the game’s underlying mystery. It revolves around the nature of the planet, as well as the reasons behind the crash. You’ll discover the story at your own pace by finding special locations.
However, you need to handle your oxygen and the water pressure. You’ll need resources and tools to gather these resources to keep these systems in check within your suit and your base. There’s a hefty crafting, building system, and tech tiers to explore.
Lastly, the game includes a day and night cycle. During the day, you’d mostly see inoffensive creatures you can hunt for resources. At night, dangerous predators hunt the waters, so you’d better spend the time crafting at your base.
- Developer: Re-Logic
- Publisher: 505 Games
- Release Date: May 2011
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Android, iOS, Playstation Vita, macOS, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, Wii U, Google Stadia, PS5, Linux, Windows Phone, Nintendo 3DS
Terraria is a 2D action-adventure open-world sandbox game. It’s not entirely a survival, but the experience relies on similar elements. That includes combat, exploration, crafting, building, mining, and survival.
You enter a procedurally generated 2D world and are free to pursue whatever. There’re quests, though, which revolve on rescuing NPCs from enemies and building the structure they need.
Most of the time, you’d be exploring and side-scrolling a massive world. You can dig to discover an infinite system of caves or explore the surface. Regardless, you’ll find the enemy and neutral NPCs, resources, gear, collectibles, and bosses.
Moreover, you can improve your items with special collectibles and gear. These items unlock skills, more HP, and more stamina; the options are creative and vast. For example, skills include everything in-between magic, melee, flying, rockets, shields, and teleportation.
Lastly, the game is single-player, but you can also play in co-op. The best-seller supports 8 players online or 4 players on a local split-screen. However, it doesn’t support crossplay, not even between PS4 and PS5.
Dying Light 2: Stay Human
- Developer: Techland
- Publisher: Techland
- Release Date: February 2022
- Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, Windows
Dying Light 2: Stay Human is an open-world survival horror RPG with a main linear quest. It contains side content, like quests, challenges, bosses, collectibles, and dungeons. Also, you can play in co-op by joining other matches or letting others join you at any moment.
You play as Aiden, a Pilgrim, with the quest of finding his long-lost sister. The setting is a post-apocalyptic settlement, one of the last bastions of humanity after a zombie outbreak took over the world. Your choices along the way determine which of the two factions gains power and survives.
The survival element shines in the game. You don’t have to eat or drink. Rather, you must scavenge resources to craft tools for combat, like weapon mods, arrows, grenades, medkits, and more. Moreover, all weapons break, and there’s no way to repair these tools.
And the world is very dangerous. During the day, mindless zombies and enemy NPCs roam the land. At night, hazardous and vicious zombies are ready to chase you at sight. However, you can go to dungeon-like areas like labs to find resources and collectibles.
Lastly, you play from a first-person perspective, with a mix of acrobatics, parkour, melee, and ranged combat. Your actions gain either parkour or combat skill points. Then, special collectibles you need to find grant extra HP, stamina, and resistance to the disease.
- Developer: Bend Studio
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Release Date: April 2019
- Platform: Windows, PS4
Days Gone is an open-world action-adventure and survival horror title. It features a post-apocalyptic game (with zombies), a third-person perspective, a fully-fledged campaign, and a compelling character arc.
You play as Deacon St. John, a mercenary. His initial goal is to find his missing wife. However, as the story continues, he becomes part of a bigger plot. He discovers the monsters, “Freakers,” are evolving, which may signify the end of humanity.
The gameplay is about roaming the land freely on your bike for resources, quests, and rescue missions. You combat with firearms, melee weapons, stealth, and improvised weapons. Along the way, you’ll scavenge and manage scarce resources, which you need to improve your gear and bike.
The title also includes a character progression system, as you can level up and unlock skills. However, there’re no choices, branching paths, or consequences. Instead, the story is linear.
Lastly, there’s a great focus on the bike. You need to upgrade it, maintain it, repair it, and refuel it. COllecting the scraps, fuel, and pieces you need for these activities is the greatest challenge.
Tribes of Midgard
- Developer: Norsfell Games
- Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
- Release Date: July 2021
- Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5
Tribes of Midgard is a unique title. First, it’s action-adventure with visuals and combat akin to Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But then, it’s also an action RPG, a survival, and an open-world / open-ended experience.
You play with a top-down perspective and cell-shaded graphics. The mechanics include melee combat, resource gathering, crafting, building, and an endless horde survival mode. Moreover, it delivers a procedurally generated world, but
In solo play, you control Einherjar, a Viking hero protecting the seed of Yggdrasil. During the day, you can explore the world freely for resources, secrets, and lore. And during the night, your enemies will hunt you (trolls, elves, giants, and other mythical creatures).
Then, you can use the resources to develop your village’s defenses and system. You can also craft weapons, armor, and other tools. The goal is to build a settlement that sustains the seed, and you need to collect enemy souls to feed it.
Lastly, the game supports co-op play. 10 players can sustain a village and explore the world online. Alternatively, you can play the endless survival mode online, and fight against increasingly tough enemy waves, as you develop your village.
- Developer: Facepunch Studios, Double Eleven
- Publisher: Facepunch Studios
- Release Date: February 2018
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Xbox One, PS4
Rust is a hardcore and dangerously addictive multiplayer open-world survival FPS game. The idea is simple: you select a server, join a world, and do as you wish.
These servers vary in-game rules and determine how many players they can support and how long before the next server reset. Typically, a server will run for one week to a month and support up to 60 players.
Then, you enter naked, with a stone. There’re no tutorials, but there’s an easy-to-find crafting screen. You use tools, like your starting store, to gather resources. Then, you use these resources to craft tools, supplies, gear, and buildings. There’s a complex tech-tier, though, plus a resources “tax” system for your bases.
At the same time, you need to manage your hunger, thirst, and temperature. On top of that, Rust players are notoriously hostile, ready to steal everything you have, even if you’re not online. And lastly, there’re enemy NPCs, enemy bases full of loot, radioactivity, wild animals, and a single natural base.
These elements open up a unique type of gameplay. During the first days of the server, every player and team will be scattered around the map, mining, and scavenging. Players form clans and bases at the end game to take control of resources, enemy bases, and other key locations.
Ark: Survival Evolved
- Developer: Studio Wildcard
- Publisher: Studio Wildcard
- Release Date: August 2017
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, SteamOS, PS4, Xbox One, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia
Ark: Survival Evolved is an action-adventure survival game with an open-world and a first-person perspective. Like Rust, you choose a server (with or without mods), and you also select a map (an ARK).
ARKS are like biomes. These present different types of environments, as well as NPC creatures. These creatures are mostly dinosaurs, which you can tame to ride, command, or hunt for resources and experience.
Also, you choose your spawn location. Easier locations have lower-quality resources, but you’ll play around with less dangerous creatures. But as you advance in tech trees, you’d want to explore further into the land for better resources and higher XP.
Then, everything you do can grant XP. As you level up, you’ll unlock skill points to invest in various skill trees. You’d also unlock new crafting recipes. So, you’d play with makeshift spears and poison during the first levels. Later on, you’d have semi-automatic rifles and fortresses.
All of this is very tough, and there’re two reasons why. First, the game requires a lot of grinding. Secondly, the game is online, and other players can raid your bases even if you’re offline. And when you’re playing, dinosaurs, hunger, thirst, and enemy players may kill and (loot your body).
Minecraft PS4 Edition
- Developer: Mojang Studios
- Publisher: Mojang Studios
- Release Date: November 2011
- Platform: PS4
Minecraft is an open-world sandbox game with survival elements and a dedicated survival mode. Like other games on the list, you choose a server, a game mode, and a map for varying experiences.
The game delivers a popularized procedurally generated, blocky 3D voxel world. Voxel means every pixel is a geometric shape, allowing players to destroy everything they see or gather resources from every block.
Everything you do requires the proper tools. Also, aside from gathering resources and building, there’re dozens, even hundreds of things to do in Minecraft. The world contains secrets, Easter Eggs, underground caves, bosses, and other dimensions.
More importantly, the title has various game modes. Alternatively, you can further modify with mods or by creating your own rules. Still, the core mode is creative, where you’re immortal and everything is endless.
The other core mode is survival. Here, gathering resources requires specific tools. Building structures is key to survival, as enemy creatures like zombies will attack you during the night.
- Developer: System Era Softworks
- Publisher: System Era Softworks
- Release Date: February 2019
- Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
Astroneer is an open-world sandbox game with survival elements. It’s a relaxing experience, though, as it’s an offline title with comfortable gameplay. There’re still challenges: dangers include environmental challenges and third-person combat on your ship or land.
You play as an Astroneer, a space adventurer, in third-person view. You’re a member of an interstellar exploration company, and your job is terraforming planets. There’s a story; to advance the plot, you must find key locations on procedurally generated alien worlds.
The gameplay revolves on terraforming with 3D terraforming tools. You can also explore on foot, rover, or ships, gather resources, craft tools with a 3D printer, and build structures. These mechanics don’t include many in-game interfaces, as the game leans heavily into the immersive genre.
Like most survival games, you will manage special stats and realistic mechanics. You must micro-manage your battery, oxygen, light, power production, energy efficiency, inventory space, etc. All of these systems are in your backpack, which is your main way of interacting with the world.
Lastly, survival is managing your various resources, battery, fuel, and other key supplies. The resources may be plentiful, but you must master resource refinement systems to keep afloat.
This War of Mine
- Developer: 11-bit studios, War Child
- Publisher: 11-bit studios
- Release Date: November 2014
- Platform: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series, PS4, PS5, Linux, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, OS X
This War of Mine is a management simulator and a survival game. It’s a 2D experience about managing civilians during a war. The result is a thrilling, chilling, and depressing experience.
The title doesn’t feature an open world, but the experience is open-ended and procedurally generated. In other words, there’s no set story, as your experience builds itself as a series of reactions to your actions and choices.
You manage the group of civilians surviving in a shelter in a besieged city. You must deal with scarce medicine, food, and mental health. There’s also the constant danger of soldiers, snipers, and enemy scavengers.
There’s also a day and night cycle. During the day, snipers outside prevent you from leaving the refuge, so you can spend the day crafting, trading, and caring for survivors. You can take your survivors on scavenging missions in unique locations at night.
And during the gameplay, you will make life and death decisions, and there’re no good or bad choices. Instead, everything you do has a consequence, real-life, your conscience, or the character’s mental health. Constantly, you’d be balancing long-term survival vs. individual well-being.
- Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Release Date: November 2015
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One
We’re selecting Fallout 4, but only on Survival difficulty. Otherwise, it wouldn’t fit the list, but luckily, it’s the best way of playing the game. You could also try Fallout 76, which adds hunger, thirst, and weapon degradation.
The survival mode forces you to play the entire campaign without fast travel. Additionally, you must eat, drink, and take care of your diseases, carry weight, and radiation levels. And because the world is sick, dangerous, and full of drugs, you’ll always get sick.
If you’re unfamiliar, the open-world RPG follows a father looking for his son. He woke up in a Vault, a shelter that protected select survivors from a nuclear war in the 50s. The world is a wasteland, and you’ll find various factions fighting for the scraps.
At first, you join the “Minutemen,” a selfless faction looking to restore order. But to complete the quest, you will need to join other factions. But the story is open-ended, and you may or may not follow the main quests of any of the 4 main groups.
You’ll level up, improve gear, build settlements, and manage resources. You can also develop settlements and craft armor, weapons, weapon mods, and supplies with your help. In particular, NPCs can move to your bases and work to produce food, water, and scrap.