It’s Friday. Friday morning, Nov. 15 to be more exact. Despite being somewhat exhausted you won’t be going to sleep anytime soon because of the excitement coursing through your veins. The reason? You just bought yourself a PlayStation 4 and more than likely got it at a midnight launch event. And while it no doubt feels amazing to finally cradle the next gen in your arms it has done massive damage to your wallet. The reason? You just bought yourself a PlayStation 4 and dropped $399 (plus tax!) on that shiny system. But don’t forget the games. Those puppies cost $60 each and you want something to play, right? As expensive as a new console launch can be, the PlayStation 4 launch presents some options for players who want to spend as little money as possible (or just want to wait until Christmas to receive gaming gifts). So read on for Gaming Illustrated’s guide on how to maximize fun during the PS4 launch while spending as little money as possible.
A Trio of In-Box Deals
If there’s one thing people love, it’s a great deal and the PS4 comes with three of them packed right into the box. For a limited time a voucher will be included in every PS4 box that includes a 30-day trial of PlayStation Plus, a 30-day trial of Music Unlimited, and a $10 PlayStation Store credit. For the gamer wanting to save some money while actually being able to play games, there couldn’t be a better offer. For most, the Music Unlimited trial will likely be a one-and-done deal unless they find a lot of worth in continuing the service and paying. $10 is a great incentive to inspire players to explore the PlayStation Store but it is even better for the ones on a budget. While it isn’t known what precisely will be on offer at the PlayStation Store right at launch, the money could certainly be used to purchase movies and TV shows. The money would also be a great way to digitally upgrade from a PS3 version of Assassin’s Creed 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts or Battlefield 4. But you were too busy saving up for next gen to buy those, right? Besides, that $10 could be used towards the purchase of a digital version of the many launch games, making your wallet cry a little bit less.
Two Free Games and the Wonders of PS Plus
The real belle of the ball here is that 30-day trial of PlayStation Plus. Not only does PlayStation Plus grant discounts across the PlayStation Store, it gives subscribers free games in the form of the Instant Game Collection. On Friday, the store will update with two free games: Resogun and Contrast. That’s right, two free games and all you had to do was open a box. Before getting worried about the quality of download-only games you should definitely check out our extensive preview of Contrast. The game is a stylish platformer with a unique art style where light and shadow is used to solve increasingly creative puzzles. Resogun is a frantic shoot ‘em up that pits the player against waves of enemy ships while trying to rescue the last surviving humans. Resogun is made by Housemarque, the team that created the excellent Super Stardust HD, Dead Nation, and Outland; when it comes to shooters, they know what they are doing. Check out Resogun’s stunning action in the trailer below.
Free to Play Games for the Killzone/Shooter Fan
Free to Play (F2P) has been a “phenomenon” in the industry over the past few years. The F2P model has been met with varying amounts of derision and respect. Much of that negativity has stemmed from F2P games on Facebook or other titles though, while free, usually require certain purchases to actually be enjoyed. That being said, many F2P games exist where paid items are often merely cosmetic or able to unlock after enough game time is invested. Alas, the model has mainly existed on the PC and been ignored on the console market. Until now. You might not have known it but the PS4 is getting a handful of F2P games at launch. Better yet, these games provide comparable and vastly cheaper substitutes for some of those PS4 launch titles you would need to drop $60 on.
Killzone Shadow Fall is without a doubt Sony’s standout launch title. The acclaimed Killzone has always looked beautiful and the PS4 iteration has dazzled so far. Still, you might be hesitant to spend that much money on the title right now. Enter Blacklight: Retribution. Retribution has been available on the PC since 2012 and will be available for download at the launch of the PS4. Like Killzone, Retribution has a bit of a sci-fi twist because it isn’t a strict military FPS like Battlefield. Whether it is a pistol, sniper rifle, flamethrower or a machine gun, every weapon features deep customization and several swappable parts. Players are also equipped with a cool Hyper Reality Visor which allows them to see opponents and items through walls. Oh, and there’s mechs. Obviously unlocks can be purchased but that’s not what we are interested in here. Players looking for a challenge without a monetary investment can spend quality time with Blacklight: Retribution unlocking stuff through pure skill. Plus the game will also scratch any kind of itch that Ghosts or Battlefield 4 would provide.
Warframe is another title that is just as free with plenty of potential. Developed by Digital Extremes, Warframe entered open beta earlier this year and has grown into a very popular F2P title. Players control Tennos who inhabit powerful Warframes that are extremely agile and possess awesome powers. The game is similar to a third-person shooter and very fast-paced. The Warframes are capable of executing some neat parkour-like moves while shooting. Players can upgrade guns and swords while modifying the Warframe with various perks and powers that are unique to their class. PlayStation Plus subscribers will also get a handful of bonuses when they download Warframe including 50,000 credits, a Falcon Mod Pack, plus three-day equipment rank and credit boosters. Digital Extremes released a cool cinematic trailer in anticipation of the PS4 release, check it out below.
Other F2P Titles
Though it won’t be available at the North American launch, War Thunder is a F2P game that will arrive just in time for European PS4 owners on Nov. 29. 5 million subscribers currently play this World War 2 flight simulator in open beta on the PC. Aerial combat sims are something of a rarity these days but PS4 owners will be able to experience one at no charge. Better yet, Gaijin Games revealed that War Thunder is cross platform meaning PS4 players will be able to join that enormous pool of PC players in matches. Sadly that probably means console newbs will get slaughtered in dogfights until they learn the ropes. Current fans of DC Universe Online will also be glad to know that the game will live on at the PS4’s launch. Featuring much of the same experience with plenty of improvements, DC Universe online is more of a traditional MMO with a large roster of DC comic characters.
Playing these titles for free is certainly an exciting prospect for penny pinching PS4 gamers. Though Blacklight: Retribution, Warframe, War Thunder, and DC Universe Online might not sound like your cup of tea, it’s certainly worth a download. If anything, the games might win over a large initial fan base willing to soak in anything their new console has to offer. One thing to keep in mind is that many Free to Play games often develop tight-knit and devoted communities over time. Looking into any of these three games reveals a surprising amount of people who have learned the complexities of each title. Those who get the jump on any of them on the PS4 might find a great community to be a part of and a way to boost their social gaming early on.
Exploring the Many Features of the PS4
Behind all the games – whether free or not – the PS4 is a new machine with a lot of capabilities. It may be more powerful than the PS3 but it also has some new bells and whistles to play around with to supplement gaming. One of the biggest talking points of the PS4 will be how it can make the player more social. Featuring UStream and Twitch streaming capabilities, any player will be able stream their gameplay sessions to those services and, over time, might gain a decent following and more PSN friends. Sharing gameplay to Facebook and with PSN friends is also another fun way to interact with the world. You also won’t have to pay to experience Party Chat, Remote Play with a Vita, browsing the web and more.
To be fair, owning a new console is never cheap. Gamers have to spend some money to experience everything a new or old system has to offer. But right now, simply owning a PlayStation 4 during the first few months of launch might just be enough. Launch games will lower in price over time and will also be cheaper used. Things like F2P games are definitely worth the time because they cost no money. A PS4 owner wanting to save money will definitely need to buy a subscription to PlayStation Plus if only to keep playing titles like Resogun, Contrast and whatever else Sony might offer. Keep in mind, games downloaded for free using PlayStation Plus won’t be playable if the subscription is over.
No one wants to be left in the dust and hopefully our guide will help those wanting to save some cash during the PlayStation 4 launch. Over the next few days Gaming Illustrated will feature a few more similar breakdowns of what a new PlayStation Owner can expect. Be sure to check back with our suggestions of upcoming games, accessories and more.