The PlayStation Plus free titles and Xbox Live Games with Gold have been announced for January 2018. It’s time to pit the collections against each other to see which console comes out on top with January’s offerings. Welcome to PS Plus vs Games with Gold!
Let’s take a look at the contestants. First up, the PS Plus Instant Game Collection.
Next, here are the Xbox Games with Gold that you can grab on Microsoft’s platform next month.
This is a great month for PS4 owners, and an even better one if you’ve got PSVR too. Starblood Arena was one of our nominees for PlayStation VR game of the year, and an all around great shooter game in virtual reality. It really shines when more people can be part of the community and play, so it’s great that Sony is making it accessible to everyone with PlayStation Plus. Even if you don’t have VR yet, it’s a good game to redeem if you plan on picking up a headset this year.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the kind of triple-A title that Plus subscribers have been asking for. It’s been out for just under a year and a half, and earned high marks and an Editor’s Choice award from us when we reviewed it. Batman: The Telltale Series is the first season in Telltale’s Batman series. While I personally didn’t like it that much (story and choices were far too contrived for me to take pleasure in them), I think I tended to be an outlying opinion. Telltale games seem to often make their way into the Instant Game Collection, so it’s not surprising we’re seeing this one here as the second season of the series concludes.
Sacred 3 and The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 are both serviceable games, not earning low marks, but not being praised particularly highly either. The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 released on PS4 as well, but the Plus collection does not include the PS4 version. These seem more like consolation prizes for people that have yet to upgrade to a PS4, rather than any real reason to write home about Plus in January.
Both Vita games are cross-buy with PS4 however. Neither of them are huge titles, but they round out the selection for PS4 owners, even if they don’t have a Vita on hand (or if you’re like me and just haven’t charged the old thing in a couple of years). Psycho-Pass is probably the bigger of the two, being a great game for anyone that likes visual novel types of games. Uncanny Valley is one that some people will probably try out and enjoy, but is more of a bonus prize than a headliner.
Games with Gold gets The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III, which got mixed reviews from critics when it released on PC back in 2015. It’s the third game in a series and brings some over-the-top action-adventure RPG fun to players. The first game was a Games with Gold title back in 2015, when it was first ported to the Xbox One, so players are getting the opportunity to continue that adventure. Zombi is a pathetic port of a WiiU game with the best features removed. What made it such an entertaining game on Nintendo’s console was the unique way in which it used the gamepad screen. Now it’s just a sad excuse for a zombie game, and a title that PS Plus users have gotten before.
Tomb Raider Underworld was a 2008 game that received favorable reviews. It was part of the Tomb Raider Trilogy that PS3 owners got a while back, and a game that really ups the ante on the classic Tomb Raider formula. Army of Two was another 2008 game that utilized two player co-op to devise intense strategies and action. It received middling reviews, but at least reviewed far better than its sequel, The Devil’s Cartel.
It seems that Sony is intent on adding in PSVR games that remain part of the collection for two months. This means that PS Plus is now offering seven games each month if you own every system. Even if you don’t, they are catering to every one of their players. If you are a PS4 owner, you get four great titles in January. One of those is a triple-A release that’s less than two years old. If you have a PSVR headset, you get one of the best VR games of the year. The PS3 games are consolation prizes at best, but PS4 owners are in for a treat. Xbox One owners, on the other hand, have their month headlined by two ports that weren’t received favorably, and two games that are now ten years old.
The PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection is the clear winner for January 2018. Getting four games for PS4 owners alone, and then a huge VR title on top of that is a great way to start out the new year. Of course, players will likely quickly forget the caliber of games that were given away in January when there’s an inevitable slump a few months down the line, leading to cries of how the $60 per year subscription isn’t worth it, but for now, PlayStation owners can take comfort in the fact that Sony is listening and providing some great free games to get 2018 going.
Wondering how February’s lineups will fare next to one another? Come back next month when we pit the newly announced lineups against one another in PS Plus vs Games with Gold. Do you agree with our verdict? Which lineup do you think is better?