The PlayStation Plus free titles and Xbox Live Games with Gold have been announced for April 2018. It’s time to pit the collections against each other to see which console comes out on top with April’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.
- Mad Max (PS4)
- Trackmania Turbo (PS4)
- In Space We Brawl (PS3)
- Toy Home (PS3)
- 99VIDAS (PS Vita)
- Q*Bert Rebooted (PS3/PS4/PS Vita)
Next, here are the Xbox Games with Gold that you can grab on Microsoft’s platform next month.
- The Witness (Xbox One)
- Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (Xbox One)
- Cars 2: The Video Game (Xbox 360, Xbox One w/ backwards compatibility)
- Dead Space 2 (Xbox 360, Xbox One w/ backwards compatibility)
PS Plus Free Games April 2018
While it’s hard to beat Bloodborne being handed out in March, I’m still impressed with the April PlayStation Plus releases. Mad Max is a really fun open world game that does visceral combat and driving around a desert wasteland really well. It could have easily been quite boring, but the developers managed to make exploration of the sandy browns and grays really interesting and enjoyable. The upgrade trees and gameplay progression keep things fresh as players push through what ends up being quite a lengthy campaign. While it released around the same time as Mad Max: Fury Road, it is not actually a movie tie-in. Mad Max tells its own story. It was more of a marketing tie-in than anything else.
Trackmania Turbo is an interesting inclusion for a number of reasons. The game is Ubisoft’s arcade racer, featuring some intense speed, crazy jumps, and even vertical wall-riding portions of the track. It’s been well received by critics and fans alike, but Sony has another low-key reason for including it in the PS Plus lineup. Trackmania Turbo received an update that allows for PSVR compatibility. Some of the functions are a little limited in PSVR, as this was still in the early days of the platform, but it was one of the first games to receive a post-launch VR compatibility patch. So while Sony may have stopped including a seventh title in Plus that was PSVR exclusive, at least this one has something for headset owners.
Finally for PS4 (actually, for all three platforms) we’ve got Q*Bert Rebooted. It’s a remake of the classic arcade game, and while it’s certainly not headlining any free game lineups, it’s not a bad inclusion as a little extra. Q*Bert is technically included as one of the two Vita titles, but cross-buy means PS4 and PS3 owners get it too.
PS3 is home to another couple of throwaway consolation prizes. Sony did announce that PS3 games would no longer be included starting March 2019, but the last year of PS Plus games for PS3 isn’t starting off hot. In Space We Brawl and Toy Home both received mixed to negative reviews from critics. They are small downloadable titles that are highly unlikely to drive anyone to a PS Plus subscription if they only have a PS3. This again is an issue of how Sony allocates its monthly Plus budget. Paying third party studios for the likes of Mad Max and Trackmania Turbo left little budget for the rest of the lineup, which means PS3 owners get whatever can be scraped from the bottom of the barrel.
The final game in the PS Plus Instant Games Collection is 99Vidas on Vita. It’s a fun little arcade brawler/beat-em-up that received mixed reviews from critics. 99Vidas is technically cross-buy, though Sony didn’t include that detail in the Plus announcement, so it may be Vita-only as a Plus free game.
Xbox Live Games with Gold April 2018
The Witness headlines Games with Gold for April. Originally a PlayStation and PC exclusive title released in January of 2016, The Witness was released for Xbox One nine months later, in September of that same year. We praised The Witness as the perfect puzzle game. A brilliantly colorful island hides some of the best puzzles and mechanics in gaming history. While it may have been quite the feather in PlayStation’s cap, I’m actually happy that Xbox owners get the chance to experience this masterpiece in puzzle design. And now they get to do it for free.
Next up is Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. It may not have been as highly praised as the follow-up, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, but the London-based Assassin’s Creed game took the series in some new directions. It was the first game with two protagonists that the player could control. A grappling gun removes some of the tedious climbing elements, and the Victoria-era London setting was a smart change of pace for the series. This is also the second newest Assassin’s Creed game, already being made available for free to Xbox One players.
Cars 2: The Video Game will undoubtedly be scoffed at by some, but Microsoft knows what they are doing. Their monthly lineup seems to usually have one of these family-friendly games with familiar characters from a relatively popular franchise. They must have some kind of deal worked out with Disney, as last month’s was Brave, and I’m sure I recall other Disney games entering the lineup. You may not be into Cars, but your kid is probably jumping for joy and can’t wait to download it when it’s available next month.
Last, but most certainly not least, we have the wonderfully frightening horror game, Dead Space 2. Dead Space is the series that I lamented the loss of the most when EA shut down Visceral. I’ve been hoping for another project in that universe for quite some time (and I still think the first one is a damn-near perfect horror game, which is hard to do for horror titles). If you haven’t yet played this masterpiece, Xbox One owners are in for a treat getting it in the Games with Gold lineup.
Which Lineup is Better?
Microsoft gets a clear win this month. Mad Max is a fine game, and Trackmania Turbo is a full retail release, but the likes of The Witness, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, and Dead Space 2 on Xbox One make for a killer lineup that would be tough for Sony to beat. Even the inclusion of Cars 2 gives Microsoft an edge in the family friendly department, ensuring that they have games for everyone. Sony’s extra games are throwaways barely worth redeeming, let alone breaking out the old PS3 to download and play. I can’t exactly imagine that any PS3-only Plus subscriber still gets excited about anything Sony is offering on the platform.
Microsoft came out arms swinging this month, with a slate of high-profile games that deserve a lot of the praise they’ve been given. Sony’s lineup isn’t bad by any means. Microsoft just managed to have a much better month with a great combination of stellar titles.
Wondering how May’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?
PS Plus vs Games with Gold for April 2018