The PlayStation Plus free titles and Xbox Live Games with Gold have been announced for March 2018. It’s time to pit the collections against each other to see which console comes out on top with March’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.
- Bloodborne (PS4)
- Ratchet & Clank (PS4)
- Legend of Kay (PS3)
- Mighty No. 9 (PS3, PS4)
- Claire: Extended Cut (Vita, PS4)
- Bombing Busters (Vita, PS4)
Next, here are the Xbox Games with Gold that you can grab on Microsoft’s platform next month.
- Trials of the Blood Dragon (Xbox One)
- Superhot (Xbox One)
- Brave: The Video Game (Xbox 360, Xbox One w/ backwards compatibility)
- Quantum Conundrum (Xbox 360, Xbox One w/ backwards compatibility)
PS Plus Free Games March 2018
Let’s just take another look at that list up there and let that all sink in for a moment. Seriously, did anyone expect this kind of month from Sony? They’ve pulled out the big guns, reaching into their PS4 exclusives grab bag and handing players two beloved and incredible games. Many PS4 owners are likely to already have some of these, but the opportunity for all Plus subscribers to play them is exciting. PS4 owners are getting a whopping five free games this month, and three of them are pretty major releases.
First up is Bloodborne. It’s one of the highest scoring games of all time, and a title that many would consider to be a PS4 essential. The Souls-style game spawned a massive following and many have been calling for a sequel. Is it possible that the addition of this major exclusive is hinting at the future? Did Sony add Bloodborne to get people ready and hyped for an impending announcement? Even if that’s not the reason, the few Plus subscribers that haven’t yet played Bloodborne are in for a treat.
As if one major Sony title isn’t enough, Insomniac’s Ratchet and Clank PS4 remake is also available this month. A full on PS4 remake of the classic PS2 game, Ratchet and Clank PS4 brought the series back to its roots in an incredibly literal way. This was one of the games that provided a springboard for the trend of studios fully remaking older games for new hardware (see: Shadow of the Colossus). Hopefully it’s addition to the Plus lineup is to get people excited for more Ratchet and Clank, because the PS4 has been woefully missing the duo.
Mighty No. 9 received mixed to negative reviews as a new game written by Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune, considered to be a spiritual successor to the series. It was criticized for feeling stuck in the past with mediocre presentation of its ideas, though it has received a number of patches and updates since its initial release. This is one of those types of games that everyone was curious to try, but nobody wanted to spend money on after the early reception. PS Plus is finally offering subscribers an opportunity to try it out for themselves.
Claire: Extended Cut and Bombing Busters are both Vita games, very much smaller indie titles that have cross-buy with their PS4 versions, so PS4 owners get both as an added bonus. They aren’t highly notable in any way, except for the fun fact that Bombing Busters is called Bombing Bastards on the PC and WiiU. I guess Sony wasn’t too keen on the name when it was submitted for console certification. Reviews for each are mixed to negative. Legend of Kay is a fun platformer, but PS4 owners won’t get to play the Anniversary edition. March’s Plus games only include the PS3 version.
Xbox Live Games with Gold March 2018
Seeing the Games with Gold titles announced last week, I really thought that Microsoft had a chance this month. None of their games may be major releases, but they are all solid games (yes, even Brave). It doesn’t feel like they had to scrape the bottom of the barrel for these releases. Trials of the Blood Dragon is a crazy mashup of Trials and Far Cry Blood Dragon. Reviews for it were all over the place, so it’s sure to land for some and miss for others.
Second up for Xbox One is Superhot, a game that we loved here at PSLS. It’s a brilliant kind of first-person puzzle shooter where time moves only when you move. I wouldn’t be mad to see this one end up in the PS Plus roster at some point. PS4 does have a VR version of Superhot, but it’s a completely separate executable, so the addition of Superhot to the Plus lineup wouldn’t necessarily be a huge VR win. I would treat Superhot as the flagship title for March’s Games with Gold lineup.
Finally, the Xbox 360 titles that are backwards compatible and will play on Xbox One are Brave: The Video Game and Quantum Conundrum. Brave is a great family friendly video game and shows the possibilities of licensed partnerships. It might not hit for the hardcore gamers, but I’m glad to see some variety in the lineup that caters to everyone. Quantum Conundrum is a really fun post-Portal puzzle game by Portal creator Kim Swift. PS Plus owners got this game ages ago on the PS3, and now I have a strong desire to turn on the old console and run through these clever physics puzzles again.
Which Lineup is Better?
Sony clearly takes this month with some heavy hitting, triple-A exclusives. Bloodborne alone makes this a winner, but Ratchet and Clank really seals the deal. Mighty No. 9 is a nice addition for anyone that was hesitant to pick it up on release, though The Legend of Kay and Vita titles can largely be overlooked. It might sound nice to say that PS4 owners get five games this month, but I’ll take fewer quality releases over more mediocre games. Fortunately, more this month doesn’t mean lower quality on the two flagship PS4 games.
That’s not to say that Microsoft has a bad month. Sony’s is just far better. Games with Gold differs from Plus in having more consistency. It may not have major spikes, but neither does it fall into major valleys of really bad months. Fewer games means they can more carefully cultivate their lineup with more recent and relevant releases, without having to scrape for something to fill out the roster. Sony bursting with Knack last month and then the killer lineup this month is a bubble that’s about to pop. Don’t expect April’s Plus announcement to house anything major or exciting.
One thing I am surprised about this month is not seeing any PSVR representation. They are a number of small PSVR titles that Sony could add to the roster to drum up hype, especially with the headset currently on sale. I’m not complaining about the big releases being free this month, but I would like to see a more even marketing plan that includes support for a current major peripheral.
Wondering how April’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?