Getting a PlayStation 4 for Christmas? Lucky you. We played the new PS4 — whichoutsold the Xbox One in North America during November —and ranked the best games for the new console. (You can thank us later.)
1. ‘FIFA 14′
The soccer classic is back, and it looks just like a match on TV — except you can play it. Nerds will tell you there’s a new “engine,” called Ignite, behind the visuals, but what’s important is that the photorealism translates to the play: Limbs look like moving limbs, allowing for the illusion of complete control. (The crowd in the background look remarkably alive as well.) Goaaaaaal, indeed.
Negatives: there’s no tournament mode, as in other editions.
2. ‘Killzone: Shadowfall’
“Wow, a new Killzone!” people nowhere are saying. The game series, now a PlayStation exclusive, has always been just generic enough to get by without becoming a phenomenon. But this version of the shooter offers some surprises (the space war heats up) and epic, “Inception”-like world-bending that really show off the PS4’s graphics.
Negatives: It still pales in comparison to “Call of Duty.”
3. ‘NBA 2K14′
Like FIFA, this is another EA Sports game, which means it’s got the same photorealism — right down to LeBron James’ frowny eyebrows. (The company reportedly scanned 80 percent of the league’s faces.) The gameplay is as fluid as ever. The leading b-ball franchise out there, 2K14 ensures you’ll never set foot on an actual court.
Negatives:A manager mode, in which you sit at a desk — aiiiirballl.
4. ‘Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’
Like the other games here, save “Killzone,” “Creed” is available on other platforms, so don’t buy a PS4 just for this. But the historical adventure, set among pirates in the Caribbean, looks stunning, with water you could dive in, and it really shows off the system’s “remote play” feature, which requires the PlayStation Vita — you can start a game on the console and pick it up again on the mobile device.
Negatives: If you already own this, don’t buy it again.
5. ‘Lego Marvel Superheroes’
Some people play with Legos to build. Most people play with Legos to build and then smash things up. They’ll love this new entry in the Lego canon, which finds Iron Man and friends teaming up to basically just destroy stuff, going after some villains. (Everything is made of blocks.) People can just jump right in and play. Unlock 130 Marvel characters, such as Thor, Wolverine, Spider-Man, The Hulk and Captain America.
Negatives: The game is already available on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, where it’s basically the same.
FINAL VERDICT: The PS4 launch titles demonstrate the machine is capable of high-res visuals that look real enough to touch. But with only one exclusive game, it may be worth waiting until January, when hotter titles are announced.