Feature: What Does the PS4's Launch Lineup Look Like?
Posted by Sammy Barker
Sony’s had more trouble locking down the PlayStation 4’s day-one lineup than fishing a bit of broken biscuit out of a mug of hot tea. Fortunately, the platform holder finally appears to have settled upon a roster of content ahead of its next generation system’s 15th November launch in North America. With the hours counting down until you pick up your console, then, we figured now was a perfect opportunity to rundown your list of release day options. There’s a mammoth amount of software to work through, so let’s not waste another second.
Let’s be honest, you’re probably not going to be picking up Angry Birds Star Wars to showcase your expensive new piece of hardware. However, despite carrying a premium price point, this is a popular entry in Rovio’s money making machine, fusing the fowl flinging format of its pig crushing counterparts with the global appeal of George Lucas’ seminal sci-fi series. This edition takes advantage of the DualShock 4’s touchpad in order to replicate the tactile inputs of its smartphone siblings.
You may have already plundered all of the secrets in Edward Kenway’s on water excursion on existing consoles, but you’ll be able to do it all over again amid the unexplored seas of Sony’s latest machine. While Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag boasts the same core content as its current-gen counterpart, the additional horsepower of the Japanese giant’s super system has allowed publisher Ubisoft to incorporate a more realistic foliage system and a much sturdier frame rate. It’s time to up anchor and set sail yet again.
War never changes – unless you’re playing on new hardware. Running at an impressive 60 frames-per-second, Battlefield 4’s extravagant 64-player online shootouts offer an immediate advantage over its PS3 other half. Brimming with frenetic first-person action, the latest instalment in DICE’s unpredictable property allows you to pilot all new vehicles, as you compete on dynamic destructible environments that are capable of adapting in real-time. Can’t find a means to flank the enemy? Just blow a hole in the nearest wall.
The first of several free-to-play outings available alongside Sony’s next generation system, Blacklight: Retribution is making the jump from the PC, and offers a fully featured first-person shooter experience at the grand sum of free. In-depth customisation options will allow you to personalise your loadouts, while summonable mechs known as Hard Suits will allow you to rule the battlefield. The complimentary download will include a total of ten competitive and co-operative modes, in addition to an impressive nine arenas.
Not the first-person Ghostbusters game that you’ve been longing for, but instead the latest instalment in Activision’s unstoppable modern military money spinner. Call of Duty: Ghosts promises the same wealth of online and offline content as its current generation counterparts, including a complete single player campaign, multiplayer mode, and co-operative option named Extinction. Even better, the game’s running in 1080p at a blistering 60 frames-per-second, meaning you’ll no longer need to squint to spot sprinting tangos in the distance.
One of the first games to be given away free with PlayStation Plus subscriptions, Canadian developer Compulsion Games’ vaudevillian Contrast sees you take control of an impressionable infant’s imaginary friend, jumping between the shadow world and 1920s Paris in order to help the protagonist better understand her uneasy home life. You’ll have to move objects and light sources in order to cast different types of shadows, which will help you to progress through the game and reach new environments.
A surprise success on the PS3, the ambitious DC Universe Online was one of the first MMOs to make the jump to Sony’s current generation console. Now updated for the PS4, this free-to-play download will allow you to create your own superhero and embark on epic quests involving some of the most famous characters from Gotham and Metropolis. Running in 1080p at 60 frames-per-second, this promises to be the definitive version of the enormous online excursion. Even better, if you’ve already created a character on existing systems, you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off.
It may have found PES 2014: Pro Evolution Soccer a much sterner competitor this year, but FIFA 14 is still championship winning material. Even better, EA Sports’ premium soccer simulation will be ready in time for the PS4’s launch, giving it a valuable headstart over its age-old rival. A new engine named Ignite will power the next generation release, augmenting both graphical and gameplay improvements. True Player Motion aims to create more realistic animations, while fresh environmental features will incorporate believable weather changes and crowd dynamics. Expect it to be raining at Old Trafford, then.
Indie outfit thatgamecompany’s floral favourite Flower is set to bloom once more on the PS4, and with a bevy of improvements to boot. In addition to taking advantage of the DualShock 4’s enhanced accelerometers for more accurate motion controls, the game will also run in 1080p at a smooth 60 frames-per-second. As part of the platform holder’s cross-buy initiative, this will be free to download if you’ve already purchased it on the PS3. Excitingly, a Vita version is also set to accompany it onto digital store shelves.
A next generation exclusive on Sony’s futuristic format, Mortal Kombat developer NetherRealm Studios’ under-rated DC Universe dust-up has been ported to the PS4 by The Conduit developer High Voltage Software in time for launch. In addition to the enormous story mode and addictive online option, this re-release includes all of the DLC incorporated into the brawler after its PS3 release earlier in the year, meaning that you’ll be able to slap the smug grin off the Joker’s face as seasoned video game combatant Scorpion.
The most straight-forward title in the PS4’s launch lineup also happens to be the most secretive. Ubisoft’s been incredibly coy regarding Just Dance 2014, but mumblings at the time of writing suggest that you will not need the PlayStation Move to play this one on the next generation console. Unlike existing entries on the PS3, this will instead employ the enhanced capabilities of the new PlayStation Camera, allowing you to shake your stuff to Katy Perry without ever needing to touch a glow stick.
The one that’s no doubt right at the top of your next generation wishlist, Killzone: Shadow Fall is arguably the most-important title in the PS4’s enormous launch day catalogue. Running in 1080p, the Guerrilla Games developed exclusive puts you in the shoes of a Shadow Marshal, and sees you attempting to smooth over an uneasy alliance between the Vektans and Helghast on the Planet Vekta. In addition to a more strategic single player campaign than its predecessors, the multiplayer will allow you to create your own modes and share them with the rest of the game’s community.
The brainchild of system architect Mark Cerny, the family-friendly Knack was the first game that we ever saw showcased on the PS4. Developed by first-party outfit Japan Studio, the game sees you take control of the eponymous hero, who’s capable of growing to different sizes by absorbing mysterious relics strewn across the title’s cartoony environments. Despite boasting a child-like aesthetic, this is no walk in the park, as it’s been inspired by hard-as-nails mascot platformers such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon.
It’s mathematically proven that we’ve played more LEGO games than eaten hot meals over the past five years, but there’s always room for one more. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes fuses over 150 characters from the Marvel universe, each with their own unique abilities. This is undoubtedly more of the same from TT Games’ blocky brand, but the attention to detail, wealth of content, and layers of polish make it worth snapping into your shiny new system all the same.
One of a bevy of sports games available for the PS4 at launch, Madden NFL 25 benefits from the added horsepower of the PS4. Much like in FIFA 14, EA Sports’ new Ignite Engine has been employed to add realism to the game of American Football, imbuing players with more realistic animations and a heightened sense of awareness. In addition to that, the studio has also augmented some serious visual improvements, including the addition of 3D crowds. It’s refreshing to not have cardboard cut-outs cheering you on.
The game that will single-handedly make you a fan basketball, 2K Sports’ stunning NBA 2K14 is easily one of the most impressive PS4 titles to date. Employing a new engine named Eco-Motion, the on-court excursion will slam dunk your system with overhauled ball physics, slick player animations, and improved crowd reactions. Furthermore, player personalities will factor into the game, affecting how they perform and react on the court. Don’t mention Kim Kardashian to Boston Celtics forward Kris Humphries, then.
Developed by Swedish upstart EA Gothenburg in conjunction with British outfit Criterion Games, Need for Speed: Rivals is being billed as a spiritual successor of sorts to 2010’s outstanding Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Assuming the role of either a cop or a robber, you’ll be able to tackle challenges tailored to each type of driver. In addition to dozens of real-world vehicles and a customisation system, the arcade racer will plot the return of Autolog, allowing you to tackle your friends’ best race times on the fly.
The spiritual successor to Super Stardust HD, Resogun is Finnish developer Housemarque’s latest high-octane shoot-‘em-up. In addition to sporting eye-watering visual effects, the arcade adventure’s cylindrical environments are built entirely out of voxels, resulting in some flashy intergalactic firework displays each time you beat a stage. Inspired by Defender, the core gameplay loop sees you scooping up civilians while boosting through extraterrestrial enemies. It’ll be available for free if you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber.
Making the jump from current generation consoles, Skylanders: Swap Force is the latest entry in Activision’s child-friendly mega franchise. Much like previous instalments, this fuses physical play with in-game action, allowing you to transfer toys from the carpet to the game. The big twist here is that you can mix and match character parts to create all-new protagonists with unique abilities. While it’s functionally identical to its PS3 counterpart, this PS4 version will run in 1080p at 60 frames-per-second.
Jonathan Mak’s clever indie platformer Sound Shapes mixes music with old-school arcade gameplay. The title sees you moving a sphere through increasingly challenging stages, scooping up tokens which add audio to an eclectic soundtrack starring Beck and Deadmau5. The game also allows you to create your own levels and songs, which you can then share with other players through the PlayStation Network. Much like Flower, if you’ve already purchased this on the PS3 or Vita, you’ll be able to download it on the next generation console for free.
One of the very first indie games announced for the PS4, Canadian developer XGen Studios’ co-operative digging title sees you drilling beneath Mars’ crust in order to collect precious minerals. These can then be spent on ship upgrades and fuel at the planet’s surface, allowing you to delve deeper underground. In addition to running in 1080p at 60 frames-per-second, this arcade title also aims to take advantage of the DualShock 4’s touchpad, allowing you to more effectively cycle through different bomb types with a simple swipe.
A last-minute announcement for the next generation console, Trine 2: Complete Story is the ultimate edition of Frozenbyte’s triple-pronged puzzle platformer. Originally released all the way back in late 2011 on the PS3, this gorgeous adventure sees you assume the role of a wizard, warrior, and thief, each of which has a handful of unique abilities. In addition to boasting upgraded visuals, this delicious re-release is one of the few PS4 launch titles to boast stereoscopic 3D support, so get those glasses ready.
Digital Extremes’ jazzy space ninja release Warframe may already be available on the PC, but this console edition plays like a dream with the DualShock 4. Fusing third-person gunplay with high-octane Vanquish-esque acrobatic action, this intergalactic excursion is yet another free-to-play title in the PS4’s bulging complimentary catalogue. If you’re eager to get ahead, you can pre-order the title from the PlayStation Store right now, and earn yourself some bonus in-game currency and an exclusive weapon for your troubles.
Phew, that’s everything currently confirmed for the PS4’s launch lineup in North America. It’s worth noting that, even at this late stage, the content is subject to change. Still, we want to know what your launch day haul is going to look like. Vote for your favourite title in the poll, and then share your purchase plans in the comments section below.
Which PS4 launch game are you most looking forward to? (58 votes)
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Call of Duty: Ghosts
DC Universe Online
Injustice: Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition
Killzone: Shadow Fall
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
Madden NFL 25
Need for Speed: Rivals
Trine 2: Complete Story
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