Happy New Year everyone as 2016 has come and gone and 2017 is upon us. With it comes a new year of free games courtesy of PlayStation Plus and Games With Gold and both Sony and Microsoft have announced which games you’ll be getting for free to kick off the new year. Both lineups are offering some pretty good games in January but which service is offering the better games in terms of quality and value? That is what we are here to determine as we take a detailed look at both lineups.
Games With Gold Price Values
Games With Gold in January 2017 is offering 4 games as always. Two Xbox One games and two Xbox 360 games which are also playable on Xbox One. On Xbox One you’re getting World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap and Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra Edition. On Xbox 360 you’re getting The Cave and Rayman Origins. Now in terms of value let’s take a look at what each game is worth.
World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap – $19.99
Killer Instinct: Season 2 Ultra Edition – $39.99
The Cave – $14.99
Rayman Origins – $14.99
Total Value: $90
So to kick off the new year you are getting $90 in value in free games with Games With Gold. Now I do want to mention a few things. As always that is only the value of the games digitally as some of these can be obtained cheaper. For instance why would you pay $40 for Killer Instinct Season 2 when you can buy Killer Instinct Complete that gives you all the content from all three seasons for the same price or cheaper at retail. Also for those who have been Subscribers since last year you technically are only getting 3 new games as we got Killer Instinct Season 1 last year. In that way you are essentially just getting DLC for free and not a new game. World of Van Helsing is a Day 1 release so at least you are getting a new game there. Now let’s look that PlayStation Plus.
PlayStation Plus Price Values
While some will complain that PlayStation Plus is kicking off the new year with yet more indie games the fact of the matter is that you are getting some of the better indie games of the past year or so for free this month. As usual you get six free games this month with two on PS4, two on PS3, and two on PS Vita. However several of the games are Cross-Buy which means you actually get 5 games on PS4, two on PS3 and four on PS Vita. On PS4 you are getting Day of the Tentacle Remastered which is Cross-Buy with PS Vita and This War of Mine: The Little Ones. On PS3 you get both Blazerush and The Swindle which is cross-buy with PS4 and Vita as well. On the Vita you get Titan Souls which is Cross-Buy with PS4 and Azkend 2 which is also Cross-Buy with PS4. Now let’s look at the value of them.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered – $14.99
This War of Mine: The Little Ones – $29.99
The Swindle – $14.99
Blazerush – $9.99
Titan Souls – $14.99
Azkend 2 – $7.99
Total Value – $93
So PlayStation Plus is also giving you good value for the month with $93 worth of free games to kick off the new year. For PS4 owners in particular you’re getting a lot as you get five games to play which is amazing value.
So both services are offering almost the same amount of value but PlayStation Plus edges Games With Gold in this area $93 to $90. Yes it’s true PS Plus offers two more games then Games With Gold does but it is what it is. You’re getting five games that are playable on your PS4 versus four on Xbox One.
Price Value Winner: PlayStation Plus
Now we have looked at what each service is giving you in terms of money value but are the games any good? In this area we are going to look at how each game was received critically and see which lineup comes out on top. I’ll be using Metacritic to pull the scores from and for multiplatform games I will use the platform that had the most review scores. However for games that only have scores of a PC version I will not use them as PC versions can differ greatly from console versions.
Games With Gold Scores:
World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap – N/A
Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra – 85
The Cave – 70
Rayman Origins – 87
Review Average – 81
So looking at the Games With Gold lineup you are getting some pretty good games. Now let me start by mentioning that World of Van Helsing is a brand new Xbox One game and thus currently has no review scores. The game does have scores on the PC version but since the console port could be vastly different I will not be using it here. As for the rest of the lineup you get two games scoring in the mid to high 80’s as both Killer Instinct Season 2 and Rayman Origins were reviewed well. The Cave scored a 70 which makes it a solid offering as well. Taking the average of the three scores you get a 81 which is pretty good. Now let’s look at PlayStation Plus.
PlayStation Plus Scores
Day of the Tentacle: Remastered – 84
This War of Mine: The Little Ones – 78
The Swindle – 73
Blazerush – 70
Titan Souls – 73
Azkend 2 – 67
Review Average – 74
So the PlayStation Plus lineup comes in with solid scores with one game scoring close to a mid 80, one game in the high 70’s, three other games in the low 70’s and one game in the high 60’s. Overall you come out with an average score of a 74 which may seem low but a 74 is still a good score average considering there are six games to account for.
So when comparing both services Games With Gold edges PlayStation Plus in January by a good amount with an average score of 81 to 74. Now you have to take into account that PlayStation Plus is offering six games versus four which has a big impact on that average. Also this month we don’t have any scores for one of the Xbox One games so technically it’s three games versus six in this area so it’s not really fair. Really it’s up to each gamer to look at the lineup themselves and judge it as this here doesn’t really tell the whole story.
Review Score Winner – Games With Gold
Third Round: Game Newness
A new area I’d like to start looking at and comparing is how new are the games that each service is offering. Some gamers prefer to get newer games versus older games so I thought it would be fun to look at when each of these games came out and see which is better in this area.
Games With Gold Release Dates:
World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap – December 29, 2016
Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra – September 23, 2014
The Cave – January 23, 2013
Rayman Origins – November 15, 2011
Looking at the Games With Gold lineup you are getting a brand new release, one game that is is two years old, one game that is almost four years old and one game that is five years old.
PlayStation Plus Release Dates:
Day of the Tentacle Remastered – March 22, 2016
This War of Mine: The Little Ones – January 29, 2016
The Swindle – July 28, 2015
Blazerush – November 4, 2014
Titan Souls – April 14, 2015
Azkend 2 – May 3, 2016
So PlayStation Plus is handing out some pretty new games as three of the games are less than a year old, two are less than two years old and one is a little over 2 years old. If you like to get more recent games for free PlayStation Plus doesn’t disappoint in this area.
So comparing both in this area PlayStation Plus is the clear winner when it comes to giving newer games for free. Games With Gold this month gives games as old as five years but PlayStation Plus’s oldest game is Blazerush on PS3 which just is around two years old.
Game Newness Winner – PlayStation Plus
So with a score of 2-1 PlayStation Plus comes out the winner to kick off the new year. All of this doesn’t really mean anything though and as always it’s up to each gamer to decide which lineup is better to them. You may not like certain game genres and such so. Be sure to come back next month to see what each service is offering in February and how they stack up.