The top 10 PS4 launch games — FORTUNE

Nov 15, 2013

While many of the most anticipated games will be coming to PlayStation 4 next year (Infamous: Second Son, The Order: 1886, Driveclub, Destiny), Sony (sne) has solid games available at launch for those who manage to find a PS4. Gamers who don't want to fork over $400 for the new hardware can play current-gen versions of many of these titles.

But the next-gen visuals and features for these games make them worth the price of admission, especially since publishers are allowing owners of current-gen games to upgrade for $10. The future looks bright with over 180 PS4 games in development for the system.

Battlefield 4

The PS4 version of this solid first-person shooter delivers an almost-PC quality experience to your living room for the first time. The game's story-driven campaign mode is an upgrade from the last edition, but the real draw here are the 10 huge and diverse 64-player multiplayer maps that feature intense combat on the ground, in the air, and on the water. It's this type of epic all-out warfare featuring planes, tanks, and combat troops that will keep gamers coming back for more.

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Infinity Ward introduces a new story to the Call of Duty franchise with this near-future battle against The Federation that pits players, as elite soldiers called Ghosts, against an overpowering enemy. The game's four-player Extinction mode introduces aliens to the mix in a fun multiplayer campaign. But it's the all-out multiplayer that keeps fans hooked. Customization options include the introduction of female soldiers, and there are seven new gameplay modes loaded with new weapons.

Contrast

This indie game comes free with the purchase of PlayStation Plus (a $50 yearly subscription). Backed by an original jazz score that will stay with you long after you've played through the short game, this film noir-inspired tale stands out among the big-budget blockbusters. Players control an acrobat named Dawn through a surreal 1920s world of light and shadows. Gameplay spans both 3-D platforming in the real world and 2-D puzzles in the shadow world. It's a beautiful, original game.

DC Universe Online

While Sony is requiring gamers to subscribe to PlayStation Plus to engage in multiplayer gameplay in all games, there are a few absolutely free games available for PS4 at launch, such as DC Universe. The PS4 version of the superhero MMO (massively multiplayer online) game lets players create their own superhero or mastermind villain and explore huge locales like Gotham City and Metropolis. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and other DC Comics characters play alongside your custom hero.

FIFA 14

Soccer is known as "the beautiful game," and sports gamers are sure to get a real kick out of this next-gen soccer game. EA Sports (ea) has built a brand new IGNITE game engine for its sports lineup, and soccer showcases this technology better than any other sport. Everything, from the players' tattoos to the blades of grass on the pitches of the most famous stadiums in the world, comes to life in vivid, photo-realistic detail. With players now accurately modeled on the field through physics and advanced animations, controlling the action just feels "right." Whether that results in scoring more goals remains to be seen.

Knack

Mark Cerny not only designed the PS4 architecture; he also produced this launch title, which harkens back to classic Sony games like Ratchet & Clank and Crash Bandicoot (both franchises Cerny worked on). This old-school platform game makes use of next-gen technology with the titular protagonist, Knack, a living being created from relics who can transform in size. He can also take on elemental attacks like fire and ice. Gameplay focuses on brawling action as Knack plows through enemies and bosses. There's also co-op support mode so a friend can help out along the way.

Madden NFL 25

Celebrating 25 years of virtual touchdowns, Madden enters the next generation-gridiron. Fans of the football franchise will still get the same above-the-field perspective for calling plays, but the playing field and stadiums come to life in new ways. Players have advanced artificial intelligence that more realistically replicates the product on the field any given Sunday. The visual fidelity really shines in the cut scenes that focus on the sidelines, cheerleaders and fans as they react dynamically to the on-field action. Like FIFA 14, EA has packed the entire current-gen game into this product and then enhanced it (something we didn't see with the last-generation launch sports titles).

Need for Speed: Rivals

Electronic Arts has sold over 100 million Need for Speed games for a reason. It's a solid racing franchise that blends realistic cars and racing mechanics with pick-up-and-play arcade action. Rivals offers two complete campaign modes, one on either side of the law. Cops get souped-up vehicles to chase down racers who can drive everything from Ferraris to the Ford Mustang from the upcoming Need for Speed movie starring Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul. One standout is that single-player gameplay seamlessly transitions to online co-op racing through AllDrive.

ResoGun

The developer behind Sony's Super StarDust HD plays with the classic arcade shooter Defender in ResoGun, which is free to all PlayStation Plus subscribers. This next-gen take on the side-scrolling spaceship shooter shows off the power of PS4 one particle effect at a time. The gameplay actually takes place in huge cylindrical levels that can literally be blown completely away. Everything in the background and foreground is destructible, providing a dazzling display of colors and sounds. Players have plenty of firepower to take out enemies and rescue little green humanoids as they navigate the levels. There's also online cooperative gameplay to keep fans coming back for more.

War Thunder

Russian developer Gaijin Entertainment is bringing the unfriendly skies of World War II to life in this free-to-play MMO game that will allow the 5 million PC registered users take on the new wave of PS4 pilots. The cross-platform universe features hundreds of authentic WWII planes like the P-51 Mustang and the B-17 Bomber. Up to 32 players can fly over occupied European cities and compete in epic dogfights. There's also mission-based combat for up to four players to take on. Over time, tanks and ships will be added to this online universe where the Second World War never ends.

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