March 2017 is here and now that both Microsoft and Sony have announced what games you’ll be getting for free via Games With Gold and PlayStation Plus it’s time to look at which is offering the better value for gamers. As always we’ll look at several different areas and compare such as the price value, how well the games were received by press, and how old the games are. Keep in mind this is just our opinion on which is better for the month as every person has different tastes and may like certain games better than others.
Games With Gold Price Values
Games With Gold in March 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 Layers of Fear and Evolve: Ultimate Edition. That gives you a mix of both indie and AAA once again this month. On Xbox 360 you’re getting Borderlands 2 and Heavy Weapon. Now in terms of value let’s take a look at what each game is worth.
Layers of Fear – $19.99
Evolve: Ultimate Edition – $49.99
Borderlands 2 – $19.99
Heavy Weapon – $9.99
Total Value: $100
So for the third month of 2017 you are getting right at $100 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 at retail and digital prices are sometimes higher than what you would normally find the games for. Evolve Ultimate Edition accounts for half of the value this month but that same game is free to play on PC and has been $10 or under at retailers pretty often. Still I like the continued offering of indie games and AAA from Games with Gold. Now lets look at PlayStation Plus.
PlayStation Plus Price Values
As usual you get six free games this month with two on PS4, two on PS3, and two on PS Vita. While you don’t get as many Cross-Buy games this month there is still one in Lumo which is Cross-Buy on Vita and PS4. That means you get three PS4 games, two PS3 games, and 2 PS Vita games in March. On PS4 both Tearaway Unfolded and the brand new Disc Jam are free once again giving Plus a mix of AAA and indie. On PS3 both Earth Defense Force 2025 and Under Night: In-Birth are free and on the Vita both Lumo and Severed are free. Now let’s look at the value.
Disc Jam – $14.99 – $19.99?
Tearaway Unfolded – $19.99
Earth Defense Force 2025– $49.99
Under Night: In-Birth – $39.99
Lumo – $19.99
Severed – $14.99
Total Value: $160 – $165
So PlayStation Plus is having one of its biggest months maybe ever for value given with a total of $160 to $165 of free games in March. The big factor here is the PS3 games which account for $90 of the value. The reason the value is $160 to $165 is because we don’t know the actual price of Disc Jam yet. Last we heard is that the developer said it would be between $15 to $20 so I accounted for both of those possible prices. I can’t say enough how impressive of a month this is for Plus members as you are getting over two years worth of PS+ in value this month alone. Now as always some of those games can be found cheaper at retail and I don’t know why Earth Defense Force is still so much digitally but this is what we have to base things on so the value stands.
So while Games With Gold gave an impressive $100 of value this month PlayStation Plus blows it away with at least $160 worth of free games this month. This is one of the biggest gaps we’ve seen between the two services in quite some time. Either way you look at it you are getting good value on both services in March but PlayStation Plus walks away with a resounding victory here.
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:
Layers of Fear – 75
Evolve: Ultimate Edition – 76
Borderlands 2 – 89
Heavy Weapon – 77
Review Average – 79
So looking at the Games With Gold lineup you are getting some pretty good games once again but maybe a little bit lower for the most part overall. Borderlands 2 helped the average here a lot with an 89 that pulled the average closer to an 8. Still you get three games this month scoring in the mid to high 70’s and a game just short of a 90 average. Microsoft hit an 80 or above average the first two month of the year and almost hit it again in March. Now lets look at PlayStation Plus.
PlayStation Plus Scores
Disc Jam – ?
Tearaway Unfolded – 81
Earth Defense Force 2025– 69
Under Night: In-Birth – 80
Lumo – 73
Severed – 82
Review Average – 77
PlayStation Plus comes in with a high average in March as well with a 77. Now this is factoring in five games only as Disc Jam has yet to release and there are no reviews yet. I will come back and edit this once there is but for now this average isn’t counting it. Earth Defense Force 2025 is the low factor in March as it had a 69 which was far below anything else. Three games scored in the low 80’s, one in the low 70’s and one in the high 60’s. That’s a pretty strong month for PlayStation Plus once again and this is their highest average of the year so far topping January’s 74 and February’s 72.
When comparing both Games With Gold narrowly wins this area this month. It always is a little bit unfair in this area for PS+ as there are more games in their lineup which usually ends up with a better chance of hurting the average. The same can be said about Games With Gold in the value area though as PS+ has more games so the value has a better chance of being higher. Last month Games with Gold won with a 80-74. This month it is much closer with a 79-77 win and that could change depending on how Disc Jam is scored by critics. As always it is up to the gamer to decide how much they like each game.
Review Score Winner – Games With Gold
Third Round: Game Newness
Once again we will be looking at and comparing how new are the games that each service is offering. Some gamers prefer to get newer games versus older games so we like to look at when each of these games came out and see which is better in this area.
Games With Gold Release Dates:
Layers of Fear – February 16, 2016
Evolve: Ultimate Edition – February 10, 2015
Borderlands 2 – September 18, 2012
Heavy Weapon – January 17, 2007
Looking at the Games With Gold lineup you are getting one game that released in early 2016, one game in early 2015, one game in late 2012 and one game in early 2007 making it over 10 years old.
PlayStation Plus Release Dates:
Disc Jam – March 7, 2017
Tearaway Unfolded – September 8, 2015
Earth Defense Force 2025– February 18, 2014
Under Night: In-Birth – February 24, 2015
Lumo – July 5, 2016
Severed – April 26, 2016
So once again PlayStation Plus stays consistent with offering fairly newer games for free. One game is brand new, two games are less than a year old, 2 more games are around two years old and one game is three years old.
So comparing both in this area PlayStation Plus is the clear winner once again when it comes to giving newer games for free. Games With Gold this month gave one game that was almost five years old and another that is ten years old but PlayStation Plus’s oldest game is Earth Defense Force 2025 on PS3 which just a little over three years old. That makes PlayStation Plus the winner for all three months of 2017 so far.
Game Newness Winner – PlayStation Plus
So with a score of 2-1 PlayStation Plus comes out the winner in March 2017. It beats out Games With Gold in both the value and newness department and just barely loses in the score area which could still change if Disc Jam reviews well. 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 you may like the games on Games With Gold this month more or vice versa. Be sure to come back next month to see what each service is offering in April and how they stack up.