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PS4 / Xbox One Software Power Rankings March 2014 Week 1

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(Note: All PS4 and Xbox One games have been provided by their respective publishers for coverage purposes.)

It’s now March 2014 and how has the next-gen post-launch library fared? Pretty good, especially when there are only 3 launch games left on the list. This week feels like the calm before the Titanfall storm. Dead Nation for PS4 made a good showing, but Strider still held my attention. And the unfortunate Thief shows its lack post-release of longevity and thus, experienced a significant drop.

  1. Strider - I didn’t think that a positive “slow burn” experience could apply to a six-hour MetroidVania style game, but Strider didn’t click for me until the second hour. Solid effort by Double Helix and I’m looking forward to pursue a 100% completion playthrough in the next available slow month, if such a time exists. You can check out my review on Machinima’s editorial blog, Inside Gaming Daily LINK.
  2. Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition - Along with Resogun, Housemarque are 2-for-2 this generation, even though Dead Nation already appeared on PlayStation 3 a few years ago. The studio gives you every reason to revisit Dead Nation, from its upgraded resolution and effects to the inclusion of the Road to Devastation expansion. Perhaps the best part is that it’s free for PlayStation Plus users.
  3. Rayman Legends - There’s actually not much to say here especially when Ubisoft Montpelier got so much right the first time last year. You can save your money if you bought it last fall. If you haven’t, go for these next-fen versions, if only for the notably faster loading times.
  4. Outlast - The horror genre wasn’t born in the first person, but it’s doesn’t get any scarier from that point of view. The scares in Outlast are so effective that I can forgive its reliance on overused genre locales of sewers and asylums. And being chased helps a lot in raising the fear factor.
  5. Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare - The concept (especially presented through its E3 announcement trailer) might’ve raised eyebrows, but the final result proved that PvZ can work as an imaginative and awfully endearing shooter. Come for the lack of micro transactions (for now) and stay for the lethal and versatile Sunflower. You can check out my review on Machinima’s editorial blog, Inside Gaming Daily LINK.
  6. Don’t Starve - Don’t Starve echoes the stress and addictive nature of Spelunky, just with a slower pace. Both games also excel in their well-designed randomly generated maps, which I am normally not fond of. If Don’t Starve is a favorite of yours as well, you might want to check out the recently restocked blind box figures LINK.
  7. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - I was glad I waited until this edition to do my 100% completion playthrough. It turned out it wasn’t as time consuming as I feared. How much do I like this Tomb Raider? I was stoked to hear that it was also free on PS3 via PlayStation Plus.
  8. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag - The quest to 100% completion is going slowly but surely. While flawed, the Freedom Cry DLC from last December was a well-suited expansion to this fleshed out Assassin’s Creed pirate world. The island forts still prove to be my biggest challenge.
  9. Resogun - Between the #1 ranked Strider, Rayman Legends, and Resogun, we're well reminded of the beauty of traditional side-scrollers. If February and March weren't so busy, I'd actually have time to devote toward earning a respectable score. It's still among the best looking next-gen games to date.
  10. The LEGO Movie Videogame - A game based on a film based on games spun off from toys can give one an Inception-inspired headache. This would have been an ideal platform to have another open world Lego video game to follow-up last year’s well-received LEGO City Undercover, but I’m happy to settle for this adaptation of the movie. Just don’t spoil yourself by playing this before watching the film.
  11. Need For Speed: Rivals - Even if there were other arcade racers on either system (there aren’t), it would take a lot for it to beat NFS: Rivals. The faction-style game format does double its length, but I appreciate that a lot of thought went into making both sides distinct. It’s too bad I have the highly talented Will Powers (winner of the first season of The Tester) in my friends list; beating his Rivals scores is an achievement in and of itself.
  12. Awesomenauts Assemble - This is a really smooth first outing on PS4, particularly on how well online play is performing. This is evidently the pre-Starstorm version so that means no Ted McPain. This obviously opens the door for DLC, provided the prices are right.
  13. Peggle 2 - Sticks to the Peggle formula and rightfully so. It certainly has more character this time around, literally and figuratively. This would rank higher is there was couch multiplayer.
  14. Max: The Curse of Brotherhood - This game is sort of an easier version of Limbo, while also sharing similar visual qualities of Heart of Darkness. Drawing vines and water streams for platforming opportunities teases the brain but is never frustrating. Winner of the last best game of 2013.
  15. Thief - This reimagining of the classic PC series actually had it moments, particularly a prolonged escape sequence during the last third of the game. In the end, Thief’s shortcomings decisively outweigh its positives. You can check out my complete campaign video walkthrough on Gamespot.com LINK.

Dishonorable Mention

Basement Crawl - It only made the list because it’s a new release. You’d think making a Bomberman clone would be a simple task, but Bloober Team managed to fail in almost every way possible. The only thing noteworthy is its macabre art style, though I stop well short of calling it a “redeeming feature”.

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