Another year, another twelve months, which means twelve more sets of free games from the kind folks at Microsoft and Sony. Every month PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold give their subscribers several free games. The quality of the titles often varies but one thing remains constant: you’ll always save a couple of dollars, even after you’ve already paid the yearly subscription fee.
But which platform offers up better savings in the inaugural month of 2017? That’s exactly what we’re here to find out. We’ll run through the games on offer, how much they cost initially, and which service will save you the most money.
INSTANT GAMES COLLECTION
Here are the games on offer from PlayStation Plus:
- This War of Mine: The Little Ones – $29.99
- The Swindle (Also on PS3, Vita) – $14.99
- Day of the Tentacle Remastered (Also on PS3, Vita) – $14.99
- Titan Souls (Also on Vita) – $14.99
- Blazerush – $9.99
- Azkend 2 – $7.99
The Instant Games Collection has often offered up a slew of unique indie titles to subscribers for free each month. And January 2017 is no different. The titles that can be played on PS4 are the most notable this month, offering up incredibly unique gameplay experiences across the board.
This War of Mine: The Little Ones expands upon the tense, politically charged nature of the first base game, delving further into the atrocities of war and how it affects millions of innocent civilians. The game itself is a 2D survival game. You will need to scavenge the husks of buildings to gather the food and supplies you need to survive. It’s a unique blend of story and gameplay that delivers an incredibly impactful message.
The other two big hitters this month are Day of the Tentacle Remastered and Titan Souls. The former is a remaster (as the name implies) of the seminal Tim Schaefer adventure game. The redone art breathes new life into the witty story and characters, giving a new generation of players a chance to experience the game that served as Schaefer’s directorial debut.
Titan Souls, on the other hand, has barely any story, preferring to put players through increasingly difficult boss fights, each with their own unique patterns and weaknesses to exploit. The twist comes with how you take down these hulking beasts. You only have one arrow. It can be drawn back to your character but there’s often very little time in-between laser blasts and the smashing of oversized hands. Regardless, the beautiful pixel art and simple gameplay loop still make for a fantastic game.
The Swindle is a procedural thievery game set in a steampunk London. You’ll sneak through dimly lit houses as the lightbulbs swing in the dingy air, casting shadows across the game’s various levels. It’s a fun 2D stealth game with plenty of attack options and a difficulty level that will certainly test your skills.
The last two games, Blazerush and Azkend 2, offer up smaller but fun experiences. Blazerush is a top down racer where speed isn’t all that counts. Each car is equipped with a deadly weapon that is perfect for knocking opponents off the track, ensuring victory for the wielder. Azkend 2 is a challenging puzzle game that tasks players with shifting tiles on a board in order to align certain shapes.
All in all, this month’s Instant Games Collection offers up some great savings. Even if you only own a PS4 you’ll still save $75, plus an extra $18 if you also have a PS3 and a Vita. The PS4 offerings are certainly the best part of this month’s catalogue.
XBOX LIVE GOLD
Here are the free titles that you’ll get from Xbox Live Gold:
- World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap – $19.99
- Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra Edition – $39.99
- The Cave – $14.99
- Rayman Origins – $14.99
Like every month, all four games on offer from Xbox Live Gold can be played on Xbox One. The standouts are certainly Killer Instinct and World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap. The entirety of Killer Instinct Season 2 is free this month, meaning you can jump into the frantic, combo heavy gameplay and get to know some of the title’s bizarre cast of characters. It’s a fantastic fighting game and is fantastic fun for newcomers to the genre and pros alike.
World of Vanhelsing: Deathtrap combines the isometric gameplay of the Van Helsing series with tower defense gameplay. This combo makes for a gameplay loop that is filled with waves of enemies, deep RPG systems, and a fantastic fantasy setting. Running through levels, tearing through enemies and expanding your abilities means there is always something new on the horizon, even if it’s just a new type of enemy to combat or a brand new spell to wield.
Another Standout is Rayman Origins. When Rayman made his triumphant return to 2D in 2011, the use of the new hand drawn artsyle mixed with brilliant level design proved that Ubisoft’s bizarre creation still had a place in the modern era of platformers. It still holds up incredibly well, and getting it for free means there is absolutely no reason to pass it up.
The final title available for January 2017 is The Cave. This puzzle platformer made by Ron Gilbert (the creator of Monkey Island) and the talented folks at Double Fine is a complex and quirky adventure that is full of heart. The various characters who inhabit the titular cave are all fun and interesting in their own way, so getting to know them and what makes them tick is just as fulfilling as working your way through the game’s many challenges and puzzles.
Subscribing to Xbox Live Gold for the month of January 2017 might cost you $60, but it will also save you $90. That’s certainly worth the price of admission, especially considering it’s only the first month of the year. There’s still 12 months of savings to come after that.
Where’s the Best Savings?
Both Xbox and PlayStation both offer up great savings this month, but like every month, only one can truly come out on top. With all of its games included, PlayStation Plus features six titles and $93 worth of savings. Xbox Live Gold offers four games and $90 worth of savings. While the specific libraries for each platform differs greatly, PlayStation does offer a better bang for your buck.
Both services clearly had to bring out the big guns, proving to players who got the systems for Christmas that they made the right choice, especially since the services are required to play online on both consoles. It was an incredibly close month but PlayStation will save you a couple of extra dollars in the long run.