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PlayStation Plus vs. Xbox Live Games with Gold for February 2016

by Kyle Hanson

PS4-Xbox-One

PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Games with Gold have spent the last few months battling it out, offering their subscribers free games each month, along with a few other perks like online multiplayer. As far as the free games go, there has been pretty wild disparity between the two programs, with each winning a few months, but the overall victor seeming to remain Sony’s PS Plus. Now that the two programs have been running for quite a while, we wanted to start a monthly comparison, showing the different games offered by each, and deciding which one had the better selection.

We’ll start with this month, whose games just became available on both storefronts. It seems like the days of massive, recently released AAA titles being offered for free via these programs is over, but we get some pretty nice older titles, or even recent indie games in their place. Let’s look at the games offered this month from each, along with their Metacritic score, which is displayed on the right:

PlayStation Plus Free Games for February 2016

Helldivers: Democracy Strikes Back – PS4/PS3/PS Vita – 81%
Nom Nom Galaxy – PS4 – 70%
Grid Autosport – PS3 – 75%
Lemmings Touch – PS Vita – 63%
Nova – 111 – PS Vita – 75%
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax – PS3 – 84%

Metacritic average = 74.7%

Xbox Live Games with Gold for February 2016

Hand of Fate – February 1-29 – Xbox One – 80%
Styx: Master of Shadows – February 16 – March 15 – Xbox One – 69%
Sacred Citadel – February 1 – 15 – Xbox 360 – 63%
Gears of War 2 – February 16 – 29 – Xbox 360 – 93%

Metacritic average = 76.25%

The Winner is…

This is actually an interesting month, as it shows off the varying strategies that we’ve seen from Sony and Microsoft. PS Plus is offering a much wider selection of games, with six total, but cross-play will give gamers a few extra copies, and a lot of choices as to how and what to play. None of the games from PlayStation stand as all time classics, and many will skip the games. However, Helldivers is a hidden gem that many haven’t bought yet, giving players something they might actually have missed, but will really enjoy.

On the other side, Microsoft has provided members with a couple of decent games, with Hand of Fate standing out as a possible favorite for some. Gears of War 2 shows the main crux of their strategy though, which is to provide a big, AAA game that most players should love. The fact that it is backwards compatible on the Xbox One just makes it even better. However, the problem with this and other games like it is that most Xbox fans already own Gears of War 2. It was a classic, and really got a lot of attention when it launched, so its inclusion here isn’t as good as it might seem.

Overall this month feels a bit like a tie, but I have to give the nod to PlayStation Plus just for Helldivers and a Persona game. I just don’t think Hand of Fate is enough to sway many to grab their Games with Gold titles and jump right in, and Gears is only going to help the very few that would play it that didn’t grab it out of the $5 bin at Gamestop.

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