Sat, Oct 19, 2013 | 18:16 BST
PS4 vs Xbox One: shared lineup draws on established third-party brands
PS4 and Xbox One are just a few weeks away; if you haven’t already made up your mind, now’s the time. In our third and final rundown of the games accompanying the new hardware we check out those titles coming to both new systems in November.
The shared PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launch line-up is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s great to see so many popular multiplayer titles, since that means you’ve got a good reason to stick with your existing friends list on either brand, but most of the really big games will have already been available on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 for a few weeks by the time they arrive. Can you really wait for a heavy-hitter like Call of Duty: Ghosts? Thankfully, a number of progress import and cheap upgrade schemes mean you won’t be too out of time and pocket even if you weaken and give in.
In some cases, one or both systems has exclusive extra content which may sway you either way, but in general you want to look at these titles alongside the exclusives to weight the two consoles against each other. Additionally, Xbox One games have access to dedicated severs thanks to Microsoft’s cloud servers.
Because the PS4 has a headstart on the Xbox One in North America but trails it in western Europe, some of these games may be on store shelves for one system or another before the hardware has actually launched. In most cases, publishers have elected to release each version alongside the appropriate console, but EA is all over the place.
Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag – Looking rather more impressive than the lacklustre 2012 entry, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag is Ubisoft’s major launch title for the new hardware now that Watch Dogs and The Crew have both been delayed – a move that’s had ramifications for the publisher and is likely to affect both platform holders. This is one cross-gen title you might not be able to wait for, now that the current-gen release date has been brought forward. The PlayStation versions have exclusive content.
Battlefield 4 – Now, here’s one you may want to hold out on. DICE isn’t bothering with all that “looks the same on all platforms” nonsense, instead preferring to call that sort of cross-gen approach the “cowardly” way. The beta hasn’t been very well received, actually, so waiting a bit might be wise anyway – but DICE is pretty certain the test isn’t indicative of the final product. If you do buy in on current gen, you can upgrade to next-gen easily and cheaply. When choosing platform, you may be swayed by news that at least one piece of DLC will come to Xbox One first.
Call of Duty Ghosts – Here’s another one offering a variety of cheap generational upgrades, should you be unable to resist temptation, including the ability to flat out buy a double license on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. You can’t import your single-player progress, unfortunately, but do you really care? This is one where Xbox cloud servers aren’t an advantage; Activision has ponied up for dedicated servers on all platforms.
FIFA 14 – Again, you can’t import your single-player progress and since it’s been out for a few months you’ve probably already weakened and are eyeing off the upgrade options. Multiplayer progress can be carried over, though, thanks to EA’s persistent online identity stuff, which was so irritating half a generation ago but seems remarkably sensible now that it doesn’t break as often and will be useful. FIFA 14 comes bundled with Xbox One pre-orders in some territories which Sony finds quite amusing.
Just Dance 2014 – Ubisoft sneaks in a second multiplatform next-gen launch with Just Dance 2014, which is coming to absolutely everything. The full set list is quite decent, apart from a few troublingly controversial songs, and finally includes Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance”. It’s launching with free Katy Perry DLC, um, if that sways you.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes – Maybe you think you’re sick of LEGO games, but Warner Bros. says the franchise is experiencing no fatigue at all, so you might be alone there. Lego Marvel Super Heroes makes our favourite mutants and millionaire playboy philanthropists even more adorable than usual and includes playable Stan Lee.
Madden 25 – It looks like plenty of you did hold off on picking up Madden 25 on current-gen systems, as the special series anniversary release sold slightly less than usual (but still gangbusters). The next-gen versions run on Ignite, a new engine, and are therefore a bit different; this video gives a look at the PS4 and Xbox One version.
NBA 2K14 – Perhaps because it didn’t want to undersell the current-gen versions, 2K Sports has been a little quiet on NBA 2K14. That changed this week, though, with the first next-gen screen and trailer. The controls have been changed again, which is annoying, but Crew Mode is back which seems to be going down well with fans.
NBA Live 14 – EA Sports refused to release a new Live game until it felt comfortable taking on 2K’s successful rival series; given the publisher’s attitude over the past few years there’s a reasonable bet this one’ll be pretty decent despite not being shown much. The veil of silence began to lift last month and we got our first trailer at last. Interestingly, this one’s not coming to current-gen consoles, which may grant it an advantage.
Need for Speed: Rivals – EA has the most multiplatform next-gen releases, with Need for Speed: Rivals making four in total. This latest entry has been developed by Swedish team Ghost Games since Criterion has moved on to other things – although a number of staff moved over to stick with the brand, which should be a comfort to fans.
Skylanders: Swap Force – When Toys for Bob’s Spyro spin-off turned up a few years ago it went a long way towards restoring the flagging performance of toy and gaming retailers. Skylanders: Swap Force has a new gimmick – figures you can split in two and rearrange – and as such is probably going to inspire a new bout of obsessive collecting.
This is the third of three articles on the games releasing alongside both next-gen consoles next month; check out the Xbox One launch line-up and PS4 launch line-up for the full picture. Launch line up shouldn’t be your only consideration when choosing a console, of course; both systems have loads of exclusives and third-party titles coming during their launch windows and beyond.
The PS4 releases in North America on November 19 and in Europe and PAL territories on November 29. The Xbox One releases in North America and western Europe on November 22.