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Which PlayStation 4 Games Should I Buy?

Mini previews of all the PlayStation 4 launch games, including Battlefield, Assassin's Creed, COD Ghosts, Knack and Madden NFL 25.

If you've pre-ordered a PlayStation 4, you've very likely pondered the question: which games should I buy? We've been thinking the same thing at USgamer - so we decided to turn our thoughts into a feature, much like we did for the Xbox One. We've all looked at the PlayStation 4 launch game list, and each member of the team has assigned one of three ratings to games that they think are the most notable. Those ratings are:

BUY - a game that we think is very likely going to be a winner

SAFE - a game that looks to be a solid choice and is unlikely to disappoint

HOLD - this game might be great - or it might be a disappointment. We just don't know enough about it yet, so we recommend holding off purchasing until we've had the chance to review it.

So without further ado, here are our recommendations.

Flower

Pete Davison: BUY

I love Flower. "Art games" can be hit or miss, but Flower is just a straight-up enjoyable game even if you don't try to contemplate what deeper meaning -- if any -- it might have. If you've never played it before, the PS4 rerelease is a good time to jump in. If you already own a copy, you get the PS4 version for free, so what better time to revisit it?

Brendan Sinclair: BUY

Flower was the game where ThatGameCompany figured out what it wanted to be. Even if it's identical to the PS3 edition, this would still be a gorgeous and affordable downloadable game. Well worth it if you haven't already picked the game up, and free if you already have.

Jaz Rignall: I ALREADY HAVE IT

Since this is free to everyone who bought the first one, this is already mine. Hurrah!

Killzone Shadow Fall

Jeremy Parish: HOLD

I guess if you really, really need a first-person shooter with which to show off your new console and don't think a fancier version of the ones your friends finished up with a couple of weeks ago will do the trick, Killzone is your best (read: only) option. But I'm deeply unimpressed with everything I've seen of the game so far. It oozes a sort of humdrum generic quality and aside from its pretty graphics doesn't appear to offer anything I haven't seen already in a dozen other shooters.

Jaz Rignall: HOLD

I've already spent a good few hours with this game, and... well... I'm interested to play more before casting a verdict. The bits I've already played just felt a bit generic and by-the-numbers. I like the overall concept, but I want to see how the whole thing hangs together before jumping in.

Knack

Pete Davison: HOLD

Sony's really been pushing this one hard -- they want a mascot for the new platform, I guess? -- but I've been underwhelmed by everything I've seen so far. Hold fire until some reviews have come out for this one.

Brendan Sinclair: HOLD

As much as I want to believe this is a charming, family friendly twist on the venerable 3D mascot game, nothing about Knack save Mark Cerny's participation makes me think it will be anything aside from the first original retail game for the system to hit the $20 mark (also known as the Sony Memorial Fantasvision/Genji Award).

Jaz Rignall: HOLD

I'm not convinced. The visuals look good, and the cut scenes are very Pixar-esque. But the gameplay feels like a generic 3D platformer, uninspired by the likes of Jax and Daxter and Crash Bandicoot.

Mike Williams: HOLD

I'm sure someone is excited for Knack, but that someone is not me. The game could be the new Jax and Daxter or Crash Bandicoot, but I'm not feeling much heart or humor from what I've seen. That leave the gameplay itself and boring brawler isn't high on my list of things to spend $60 on.

Resogun

Pete Davison: BUY

I played this a bit at the Eurogamer Expo this year and was smitten. I don't know if it's going to be the sort of game that sells systems -- though it is pretty stunning in motion -- but it certainly has the potential to be the PlayStation 4's Geometry Wars: a downloadable game that pretty much everyone has in their collection. Don't forget it's free for PlayStation Plus subscribers in the first month, too.

Jaz Rignall: BUY

Like Pete, I've played this recently, and it's absolutely brilliant. I'm a huge, HUGE fan of Defender, and this basically takes that classic arcade game and brings it bang up to date. Brilliant stuff, and a game I'm most certainly buying the moment I get my PS4.

Brendan Sinclair: SAFE

It makes sense that Resogun would be the PS4's Geometry Wars since developer Housemarque already made Super Stardust HD, also known as the PS3's Geometry Wars. While Housemarque hasn't produced anything quite as sublime as the original Geometry Wars, they do good work (like Super Stardust and the excellent downloadable Metroidvania game Outland). Add in the PS Plus promotion and this is probably the first thing I'll play on the PS4.

Jeremy Parish: BUY

I've already gushed about Resogun at length, so I'll refrain from belaboring the point. It's good times, and it's cheap. Buy it.

Sound Shapes

Brendan Sinclair: BUY

Like Flower, Sound Shapes has already proven its brilliance. It's Jonathan Mak's fine follow-up to his breakthrough game, Everyday Shooter. And where that game was conceived as an album of twin-stick shooters, where each level had its own aesthetic and gameplay mechanic, Sound Shapes takes a similar approach to the 2D platformer genre. There are a few "albums" of levels here, each one featuring its own art and music. And if you're so inclined, you can make your own. If you haven't played this game on the PS3 or PS Vita, it's absolutely worth picking up on PS4. The final Beck level alone made the game worth it for me.

Jaz Rignall: BUY

I hadn't played this before I saw it at a recent press day, and it really took me by surprise. It's a strange platformer with a musical focus that really works well. It's fun, the puzzles are challenging, and the way music is integrated into the level design is really clever.

Angry Birds Star Wars

Pete Davison: HOLD

There are too many Angry Birds games. This isn't even an up-to-date one, and there are much cheaper means of acquiring it on other platforms. Don't bother unless the PS4 version adds something incredibly significant.

Brendan Sinclair: HOLD

You're kidding, right? It's a fine game, but play it on your smartphone instead.

Jaz Rignall: HOLD

Like Brendan says. Smartphone.

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

Mike Williams: BUY

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is already so good on PlayStation 3, folks! This version will be that, but with better lighting, high-resolution textures, great water effects, real-time foliage, and more. If you getting it on one platform and you're buying a PlayStation 4, how can you pass this up?

Jaz Rignall: BUY

If you've read the reviews and held off buying it for your current generation console, smart move. This looks to be a great launch game.

Call of Duty Ghosts

Jaz Rignall: BUY

I'm having the strangest time with this game. It's the curse of the iterative franchise. It's fundamentally brilliant and delivers the goods. But it's also just not that different to other games in the series. So basically, my verdict is fairly obvious and not that helpful: if you're not yet sick of the COD format, this is a great buy. But if Black Ops II or any other game before it felt like a bridge too far, then this one won't change your mind one iota. It just doesn't offer anything particularly new.

Pete Davison: SAFE

If you care about the interminable arguments over screen resolution in Call of Duty games, this is the version you're going to want to get due to its 1080p shininess. Don't forget that PlayStation 4 requires you have a PlayStation Plus subscription to play online, unlike PS3.

DC Universe Online

Pete Davison: SAFE

DC Universe Online is free-to-play, so it costs you nothing to try out. It's one of the most enjoyable superhero frolics I've played in recent years, and it's getting a major facelift ahead of its PS4 release. Highly customizable characters and combat that's significantly more "action gamey" than any other MMO I've played make this a worthy use of your time.

FIFA 14

Jaz Rignall: SAFE

If you're a fan of the world's most popular sport, then FIFA 14 won't do you wrong. We'll have to wait and see just how incrementally better it is than the current-gen versions, but at the very least, it'll be a rock solid soccer game that'll keep you playing for months.

Battlefield 4

Mike Williams: SAFE

If you have to buy one shooting franchise for your shiny next-gen console, Battlefield 4 looks like it might be the prettier of the two. Yeah, that's pretty much the big selling point I have for you here.

Jeremy Parish: HOLD

As we said in our review, the campaign component of Battlefield 4 is no great shakes. The real appeal is in the multiplayer... and if you're going to invest in that particular rabbit hole, you really want to just buy the PC version of the game for maximum flexibility. This is simply one of those series that really doesn't fit on consoles.

Jaz Rignall: BUY

COD: Ghosts is the serious, hardcore gunplay shooter. Battlefield 4 feels a bit more open and fun. There's just a bit more variety. and it just feels more entertaining. Both are quality games - at least their multiplayer components are - so whichever flavor of PvP pew pew pew you want, you won't go wrong with this one, or the other one.

Just Dance 2014

Pete Davison: SAFE

Every platform needs a party game or two; if you don't already own a copy of Just Dance 2014, this is as good a version as any. Don't forget to pick up a PlayStation Camera, though.

Jaz Rignall: HOLD

I'm interested to see just how well this works. It's absolutely made for Kinect, which is built into Xbox One's system. On PlayStation, you'll need to fork out an extra $60 for it to work properly, which means at that price, it's probably worth waiting to make sure it's on the money before spending it.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition

Jaz Rignall: SAFE

Many critics raved about this, though it never quite did it for me. It's good and all... but it's the style. When it comes to 2D superhero fighters, I'm a sucker for Capcom's format and gameplay. So it's just a matter of taste. If you're a bit more open-minded than I am, then this will likely provide plenty of laughs.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Mike Williams: BUY

Look, this game probably won't feature those hot next-gen graphics, but if you're a fan of Marvel Comics and you don't have another system, you can't go wrong here. I've already played it and I'm buying it again for PlayStation 4.

Madden NFL 25

Jaz Rignall: SAFE

Like FIFA, this is a storied franchise that's as safe a buy as anything. It mightn't be quite the pinnacle of the series, and is missing some gameplay subtleties of previous editions, but it's still an excellent game of football.

NBA 2K14

Jaz Rignall: SAFE

Basketball isn't really my thing, so there's no way I'm getting this. But those in the know think this is great. So make of that what you will.

Need For Speed Rivals

Mike Williams: BUY

Next-gen arcade racing at its finest folks. You can keep you Driveclubs and your Gran Tursimos, I'll be here with Need for Speed. I don't need to feel a perfect recreation of the night sky or every bump of the track. I just need speed. Ghost Games could screw up this year's entry in the franchise, but everything I've played looks great.

Jaz Rignall: BUY

With no Driveclub available at launch, this is absolutely your four-wheeled game of choice.

Skylanders Swap Force

Jeremy Parish: SAFE

This is just as safe a purchase on PS4 as it is on Xbox One.

Jaz Rignall: SAFE

If you really must have this for PS4, your money will be well spent.

Blacklight Retribution

Jaz Rignall: FREE

It's a free-to-play shooter, so when you have a spare moment, you can download it and see if you like it.

Contrast

Pete Davison: SAFE

This is still a relatively unknown quantity, but everything we've seen to date looks great, so I reckon it's a safe bet. It's free for PlayStation Plus subscribers, too.

Cassandra Khaw: BUY BUY BUY

My hands-on with Contrast at PAX East 2013 involved me being completely blown away. I love that game the way a fat kid loves confectionery goods. Contrast, on top of being filled to the brim with jazzy music and great aesthetics, is a competent platformer that will have seamlessly migrating from a two-dimensional setting into a three-dimensional world and back again with all the flair of a cabaret genius.

Jaz Rignall: HOLD

I'm really excited about this title, and if it delivers on what the E3 demo promised, it'll be a must-buy. But I need to give it one last play before giving it a full endorsement.

Super Motherload

Jaz Rignall: HOLD

This rather strange multiplayer digging game looks like fun, but it's an unknown quantity at this point. So we'll just have to see how it turns out.

Trine 2: The Complete Story

Cassandra Khaw: SAFE

If you don't live alone and have friends who don't only want to play competitive games, Trine 2 is an excellent grab. Lush, gorgeous and practically designed around co-op play, it's a storybook brought to life and enhanced with platforming, puzzle-solving and the occasional orc-beating.

Warframe

Brendan Sinclair: BUY?

Not to take anything away from the game itself (it's a pretty-looking third-person shooter with space ninjas), but the fact that this free-to-play game is up for a digital preorder baffles me. We have become a culture hell-bent on commercializing, desperate to consume with every passing heartbeat. Perhaps Warframe will help dull the sting of this terrible realization for a few fleeting moments. Go ahead and preorder it, I guess. We are all lost anyway.

Cassandra Khaw: BUY

I'm with Brendan in regards to the whole "how-the-heck-did-a-free-to-play-game-become-a-digital-preorder" deal but Warframe is a great experience, nonetheless. You can't go wrong with a game that boasts of co-operative missions, far too many unlockables and space ninjas in every shape and size.

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