In December, PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection and Xbox Live Games With Gold will have a much more important role in comparison with other months. December is in fact not a huge month in terms of releases, although this year we have a few good games incoming (Rainbow Six Siege, Just Cause 3, Xenoblade Chronicles X), so both the services are a great opportunity for players to have a decent support from platform holders.
This month seems to be a good offer for both Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus subscribers, even though it looks like Microsoft’s service is a little ahead just because it offers a triple-A title and not just digital stuff as Sony – something the Japanese platform holder really has to deal with for what matters 2016, if it still cares about the quality of its content. Let’s take a look at what’s coming in December, then.
GAMES WITH GOLD
Let’s start with Xbox Live Games With Gold, which basically confirm the trend of the last few months. Microsoft seems to be keener on older titles but triple-A in comparison with Sony, that brings more recent but digital/indie only games on PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection.
This time around, Games With Gold offer Thief and The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing for Xbox One, Castlestorm, Sacred 3 and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising for Xbox 360. Another interesting thing we should remark here is that GwG Xbox 360 titles now work since day one on Xbox One, too, so you theoretically have up to five games playable on your current-gen system.
Of course, Thief (Dec. 15 – Jan. 16) represents the biggest part of the Games With Gold December offer. Square Enix’s reboot has been launched in February 2014, so it’s almost two years ago, but it still is a good game you will be willing to spend a few weeks with in case you are a Xbox Live subscriber.
The Incredible Adventure of Van Helsing (Dec. 1 – Dec. 16), instead, is an older PC title coming for the first time on Xbox One, while couple more games in the series are already available on their original platform. It’s a nice isometric hack N slash/RPG game which you will enjoy in case you have loved Diablo III and like the Gothic setting that’s pretty rare nowadays in video games.
INSTANT GAME COLLECTION
PlayStation Plus’ offer is pretty strong on PS3, as usual, where it carries over some good titles like Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and SSX – if you haven’t played them and still own a PlayStation 3, they’re good stuff for you to enjoy in this late 2015, PS-wise weak month.
On the other hand, we have a digital-only offer on PlayStation 4, with the first chapter in the episodic King’s Quest series and Gauntlet: Slayer Edition. While King’s Quest is a rather enjoyable experience, although an incomplete one (you will need to buy the remaining episodes), Gauntlet: Slayer Edition doesn’t look like a title you will be spending too many hours. Give it a chance, it’s the reboot-remake of the historic hack N slash saga, but don’t get too hyped for it.
On PlayStation Vita, you will be getting Rocketbirds Hardboiled and Freedom Wars. The latter, a Monster Hunter and Soul Sacrifice like game, is a really good offer for those still playing with the almost dead Sony portable console; ultimately a good reason for you to pick it back up in case you have long missed it… and don’t forget it’s PlayStation TV compatible, so you will even be able to play it on your home TV.
In conclusion, it looks like both the services are having a good month with this December, although PlayStation Plus still faces long known and reported issues, like not launching free triple-A games and lacking some appeal apart from the quality indie and digital titles, can still bring on.
Microsoft has filled the gap with the Instant Game Collection, ultimately making Games with Gold a platform for you to get at least one good triple-A title, a digital new one, and up to three Xbox 360 games you can actually play on Xbox One through the Backwards Compatibility program. Talking about quantity, it really seems like the Xbox team has understood what its supporters are asking and quality is starting to show up.
Games With Gold wins December in our opinion, but we still hope for Sony to get back to the PlayStation 3 level with its PlayStation 4 PS Plus offer next year when Microsoft will be even more focused on games in the effort to recover something in terms of sales.