Playstation 4 Launch Guide

ps4bannerWith one day to release of the PS4 in North America and Canada, we thought it high time we started talking all things PS4. Queue our special launch guide for the PS4 – covering a rundown of all the games available at launch (with swanky trailers), details of midnight launches for both the US and Australia and highlights of good deals going at launch. So grab your drink of choice, kick back and take a look at our specially prepared Launch Guide for the PS4.

The Midnight Launches

First things first – you’ve preordered a PS4 and you want to know whether your store will be participating in midnight launches. Below we’ve listed the retailers participating in midnight launches, with links to further details of the particular stores open, and times for the launch events. If you’re in doubt, we recommend giving your local store a call to see whether they are participating in any midnight launches.

 US Midnight Launches

  • Best Buy will be participating in midnight launches at select stores across the country. For a full list of participating stores, click here. You’ll need to select your state in the drop down list to the right of the page. Best Buy also have a FAQ for those of you with burning questions about their midnight launch events.
  • Gamestop will be participating in midnight launches at ‘eligible stores’  – we’ve heard this figure is inclusive of 4200 Gamestop stores across the country. To find out whether your store is included, click here. According to their official site, the Gamestop events will begin at 6pm on Thursday November 14th and customers are being encouraged to bring in any trade-ins to take advantage of special deals in the lead up to launch. Oh, and if you haven’t already preordered at Gamestop – too bad, because the PS4 is sold out across all stores.
  • Meijer – I’ve never heard of this retailer (but I’m an aussie so that’s no surprise) however Meijer are apparently participating in midnight launches for the PS4. Sadly, we couldn’t find a list of the participating stores, however if you click here you can see some further details. We’d recommend calling your  local Meijer store if you have a preorder with them and inquiring about whether they are running a midnight launch.
  • Sony stores – Of course these guys would be holding midnight launches, and if you’re wanting a complete listing of Sony stores open for midnight launches (in addition to a nifty FAQ) click here. For San Francisco-ites, you are especially spoiled, as Sony will be holding a special launch event at the Gamestop near Union Square (at 830 Market Street). There will be foodtrucks and special giveaways and prizepacks, so if this GameStop is your local and you have a preorder with them, give them a call for more details.
  • Walmart will also be participating in midnight launches and whilst there isn’t an easily accessible listing of all participating stores, you can use their store locator to find your local stores details and ask them whether they will be open for a midnight launch. Perhaps by the time the next console launch rolls around, they’ll actually have a listing of all their stores open for midnight launches. We can dream.

Canada Midnight Launches

  • Best Buy will be opening four stores across Canada to celebrate the launch of the PS4. For a listing of the four, click here. For those who haven’t preordered, the Bay and Dundas store will have 250 unreserved consoles up for grabs for those quick enough to nab them.

Australia Midnight Launches

  • EB Games will be holding midnight launches at select stores across the country. A list of the participating stores can be found here. If you have a preorder with EB Games and pay it off completely before launch, remember to visit your store and pick up your ‘fast pass’ voucher. This will allow you to line up in the special fast pass queue come launch day and hopefully pick up your PS4 that little bit quicker. Of course, if everyone chooses this option the line will actually be longer and you’ll be worse off, but hey, in theory it should work.
  • JB HiFi have announced they are participating in midnight launches for the Xbox One, and given this we assume they will also be holding PS4 launch events. There isn’t at present a listing of stores which will be open for any potential PS4 launch events, so we recommend you call your local store to find out whether they will be open at midnight.

The Launch Games

A console launch isn’t much of a launch if there aren’t games to play, and the PS4 launch promises an impressive stable of games available on day one. Below is a quick run-down of the games that will be available on Launch day, whether these be via retail purchase or PSN download. Since we’re nice, we’ve also included trailers, to help those of you who haven’t seen much of the game, or just let those of you who have enjoy them a second time. You love us for that, right?

Assassin’s Creed IV – Black Flag

Yes, it may already be out on PS3 and Xbox 360, but those consoles are SO last generation. Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag is set in the Carribean during 1715, with the action unfolding across multiple islands. It’s piratey goodness with shiver-me-timber shazaam and fans of the series likely already know what to expect. Players will assume the role of new protagonist Edward Kenway, the grandfather of Connor and father of Haytham Kenway who were previously both seen in Assassin’s Creed 3. For the first time in the series, players will have the ability to explore underwater locations, if they so desi-arrrrrrrrrrr. Ok that was a bad pun. Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag received favourable reviews at launch on other consoles, and is currently sitting in the 80s on Metacritic.

If you’re looking for a fun, polished gaming experience and haven’t played it before, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag might be a good launch day purchase.

Battlefield 4

If you like shooters with strong storylines and solid multiplayer elements, Battlefield 4 may be your launch day ticket. The singleplayer campaign takes place six years after the events of Battlefield 3, and sees tensions between the power players within the game world (those being Russia, the US and China) at breaking point. Players step into the shoes of Sgt Daniel “Reck” Recker, a member of a special fantabulous U.S operations squad called “Tombstone.” Unlike the events of the previous game, Battlefield 4’s campaign occurs in chronological order and allows the player to control Recker the entire time.

Battlefield 4 scored favourably at launch on other consoles, and the game is currently sitting in the 80s on metacritic.

Angry Birds Star Wars

For some reason the launch trailer of Angry Birds Star Wars on console shows more of the people playing the game than the actual game itself. But let’s be real here – if you’re a fan of Angry Birds games, you already know what you’re getting. And if you’re not a fan, it’s unlikely this will even be on your launch day game radar. The game itself promises an ‘epic adventure’ in the ‘legendary Star Wars universe’ but given I’ve never played an Angry Birds game in my life and I’ve only seen one Star Wars movie (yes I know I’ll revoke my geek card after this article) I have no idea whether the game delivers on its promise.

 

Blacklight Retribution

The trailer provides a Blacklight Retribution overdose (and I mean overdose) showcasing the features of the game itself, and providing a quick overview of what you can expect should this be one of your launch day game choices. And from what can be seen on the launch trailer, you can expect combat in mech suits, flashy grenade explosions, high tech guns, shiny light swords and flying axes. The game itself will not be available at retail but will instead be available to download via PSN. Billed as a futuristic first person shooter, the PC version of the game is sitting at 75 on Metacritic.

Contrast

Another PSN option for launch day, Contrast is described as “a 2D/3D puzzle/platformer, set in a 1920’s vaudevillian, film noir dreamscape, full of cabaret, illusion and performance.” And if that description doesn’t immediately make you sit up and take notice, I don’t know what to say to you. The game itself tasks players with controlling Dawn who is the imaginary friend of a little girl named Didi. Dawn, like all good imaginary friends, has an awesome ability to shift from the 3D world into a 2D shadowscape, and it is this ability that you will use to solve puzzles and help Didi uncover the secrets that lie behind her tortured family. Not much has been said about this downloadable game, but one look at the trailer may well just convince you that this is the quirky, unique title you’ll want to buy at launch.

Call of Duty: Ghosts

The game that really needs no introduction, but for the purposes of fairness I’ll give it one. The next game in the juggernaught that is the Call of Duty series, the singleplayer story is set in an alternate timeline that follws the nuclear destruction of the Middle East. Players see the story unfolding through the eyes of Logan Walker, who is a member of the game’s main protagonists – the Ghosts. The Ghosts are a U.S Spec Ops force trained to undertake secret and clandestine missions deep in the heart of enemy territory. The game itself offers the shooty combat and explosions the series is known for, with some added features ot the ever popular multiplayer element.

The game has been receiving generally positive reviews, and is currently sitting in the 70s on Metacritic.

DC Universe Online

There’s nothing I like more than watching good looking, fit people parade around in spandex, and as a result DC Universe Online is high on my list of launch titles to buy. The game itself is a MMORPG set in the DC universe, where players will choose a mentor for their superpowered character dependent on whether they wish to play as a hero or a villain. Hero’s choose a mentor from DC hero characters like Superman or Wonder Woman whilst villains choose a mentor from DC villain characters, like Lex Luthor or Joker. Players are then able to play through different storylines and quests based on their choice of morality within a publically shared world.

The game has been out for some time on PC and PS3 where it has transitioned to free to play. Overall, the game is sitting in the 60s-70s on Metacritic. If you haven’t picked it up previously and you’re jonesing for some spandex action, it might be the game for you.

 DiveKick

I haven’t seen much about this PSN game, however upon watching the gameplay trailer it appears it’s a 2 button fighting game where everyone jumps around like mexican jumping beans on red bull and crack. Supporting a roster of 13 characters, each with their own moves, the game is a parody of other fighting games and the moves that characters can pull off are solely focused around the titular ‘Dive Kick’ move. Using only two buttons, you’ll either ‘dive’ or ‘kick’ you way to victory, and if you want to be uber swanky you can use both buttons together to access your characters special moves. Given the game is a parody, it may be good for a few laughs, but the longevity may not be there. Consider pairing this game with another few offerings if you’re really wanting to see it in action on the PS4 come launch.

DiveKick is sitting in the 60s-70s on Metacritic.

FIFA 14 / Madden NFL 25 / NBA 2K14 / NBA Live 14

I’m sorry guys, but given these are all sports games (and most of them have already been released on previous consoles) I’m lumping them all together into one segment. Let’s face it – if any of these games are your thing, these will already be on your launch game buy list, and if they aren’t, you’ll probably do what I do and yawn whilst you scroll down past this summary. In fact, if you’re not interested in sports games as a launch day purchase, you probably aren’t even reading this. But for those who are interested in these games as a day one buy, you know what you’re getting – slight improvements from the last iteration in the series whilst retaining all the features you’ve enjoyed from previous games. Why pick Madden NFL 25 for the feature trailer here? Because let’s go 49ers baby!

You can see the respective Metacritic scores for FIFA 14 here, Madden NFL 25 here, and NBA 2K14 here. NBA Live 14 scores will be here once live.

Just Dance 2014

Another launch trailer that shows more of the people playing the game than the actual game itself – and in fact I think there’s around 10 seconds of actual gameplay shown. But hey – it’s Just Dance and there’s really no ‘gameplay’ to speak of, other than face the screen and flail about attempting to mimic the choreography going on in front of you. The game features new modes and a songlist that includes all the top hits from those bands that the young-uns like these days. Included are Lady Gaga, Daft Punk, Nicki Minaj, Katy Pery, One Direction and you know what? The full list of titles can be found here.

The game is sitting in the 70s on Metacritic.

Flower

Another PSN title, and a rather old one at that, this is likely only going to be on your launch game buy list if you are one of the ten people who haven’t played it on the PS3 previously. A beautifully unique experience, Flower lets players guide a bunch of flower petals using the wind. The gameplay offers something completely different to most PSN titles and challenges players with different pacing and rhythm during the experience. Flower features no text or dialogue, and was initially created to envoke positive feelings within players, rather than to represent a game to be beaten or conquered.

Upon initial release, the game was a critical success, and is currently sitting in the 80s on Metacritic. If you’re looking for something completely different and you are yet to play Flower, it may prove to be the wind beneath your launch day wings.

Injustice Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition

Apparently it’s completely fine to re-release an old game at launch day on a new console and expect people to pay more money for it if you call it an Ultimate edition. Perhaps that’s an unfair comment to make, given that the ultimate edition does include all 6 DLC characters, 60 S.T.A.R Labs missions and 47 DLC skins for those of us who really enjoy those alternate costumes. If you haven’t had your fix of all things DC Universe and you like your games of the fighting variety, Injustice will likely be on your list. The game itself features one on one battles between DC’s most iconic characters, where the action takes place on a 2D plane, despite characters and backgrounds being rendered in 3D. Stages feature iconic locations and interactive environments, and character moves are pulled off using a 4 button control scheme with additional buttons utilised for character special moves.

The game is sitting in the high 70s and low 80s on Metacritic.

Killzone Shadow Fall

One of the games I’m most excited about (and yes, it’s on my preorder list), Killzone Shadow Fall is the fourth in the series and takes place 30 years after the events of Killzone 3. The game’s main storyline will focus on the conflict between two very different factions – the Vektans and the Helghast, with players stepping into the boots of Lucas Kellan, an agent of a military intelligence unit called the Shadow Marshals. As one of the few PS4 exclusives at launch, Killzone Shadow Fall features all out shooter combat with all new weapons and returning favourites. Whilst the first 20 seconds of the above launch trailer may make you think you’re watching an add for futuristic Sim City, the game does look absolutely gorgeous and will likely be one of the better sellers of the launch games. If you’re a fan of the series, or just want some balls to the wall shooter fun, Killzone Shadow Fall may be your ticket.

The game scored a 74 on Metacritic.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes

It really wouldn’t be fair to have two DC themed launch games without a Marvel game to balance it out, and to represent Stan Lee’s iconic characters, Lego Marvel Super Heroes is part of the launch day offerings. The plot of the game is a touch too involved to summarise succinctly here, but fans of the Marvel verse should rest easy knowing that the game features approximately 150 characters from the Marvel universe, each with their own unique abilities. Now, having said that, I know there is one question on everybody’s lips that I am happy to answer: Yes, guys, Moon Knight is a playable character. Rejoice! And if you have no idea who Moon Knight is, go ahead and visit this wikipedia entry. To summarise – he’s the goddamn bomb.

The game is sitting in the 80s on Metacritic.

Knack

Another PS4 exclusive, Knack is an action platformer where players take on the role of the titular Knack, a small, robotic creature created to fight in a war against Goblins. Knack has the ability to either increase in size, or shrink, and can also incorporate ice, metal and other substances into his body which allow him access to more unique skills. The game has the accolade of being the first PS4 game to publically show gameplay, and that gameplay has been described by the game director Mark Cerny as a combination of Crash Bandicoot, Katamari Damacy and God of War.

Don’t get too excited, however, as the game has been scoring rather tepid reviews, and is currently sitting at 59 on Metacritic.

Need For Speed Rivals

Rev those engines with a capital V for Vroom and get excited for the latest instalment of the Need for Speed series. Rivals lets players choose between racing as a cop or a racer, with each side having its own set of challenges, rewards and consequences. For those choosing to play as a racer, the goal is to become infamous by completing challenges such as police evasion, whilst for cops the goal is to work together as part of a team to pursue and bust racers. Both racers and cops will have access to their own cars and tech, and the open world within Rivals features over 100 miles (160km) of open road.

The game offers new features and the Metacritic score when it is available will be found here. Just don’t think about the upcoming Need For Speed movie. It’ll leave a sour taste in your mouth, and no one wants that.

Res0gun

Another PSN, PS+ exclusive game, Res0gun is an arcade shoot-em-up promising frantic and constant action. A spiritual successor to the critically successful Super Stardust HD, Res0gun features side-scrolling shoot em up deliciousness with graphics that definitely impress. The game has been confirmed to be one of two free titles that will be offered to Playstation Plus members, and 3D support is expected to be added at some point in the future post launch. If you’re like me, you may not have heard much about the game itself, so take a look at the trailer to see if it’s something you’d be interested in.

Skylanders: Swap Force

I’ll be honest here and say I have never understood the appeal of Skylanders, having completely missed the boat on the Skylanders craze. Given the amount of shelf space taken up by the games and figurines within the series at my local games store, however, I’m clearly in the minority. For the all new Skylanders, the action unfolds within the Cloudbreak Islands, a part of Skylands not seen in the previous games. Players will be able to take charge of 16 new Swap Force characters, who have the amazingly marketable ability to mix and match their top and bottom parts to create over 250 new character combinations. For those not wanting to splurge on the new ritzy Skylanders, all 100+ previous characters from the prior games can be used in Swap Force.

The game is sitting in the 80s and 90s on Metacritic, unless you bought the 3DS version which scored in the 60s. Eep.

Sound Shapes

A PSN launch title, Sound Shapes made quite the impact when it first launched for PS3, garnering very high praise from critics and reviewers alike. For those who haven’t played the game, Sound Shapes is a musical platformer featuring a variety of music and eye-catching visuals.Players navigate their character through the game’s side-scrolling platforming segments, being careful to avoid enemies whilst also collecting notes. These notes adds additional elements to the background music and make the experience an incredibly unique one. Leaderboards keep motivation high as they chart players progress on collecting notes and finishing levels quickly, whilst longevity of the game is supported by the ability for players to create and share levels with other players.

The game scored an 84 on Metacritic on both the PS3 and Vita when it was launched last year.

Super Motherload

Never heard of this PSN launch title? Me neither, but it appears to be a quirky indie title where players take control of mining machines in order to dig into the crust of the planet Mars and collect gems and other precious resources. Upgrades can be bought by selling the gems you find via crust drilling, which then allows you to dig even further down into the planet’s core which assumably lets you buy more upgrades to drill further and the cycle continues ad infinitum. One look at the gameplay trailer will either have you nodding that yes, this looks like a game you’d like, or no, definitely not a day one purchase (if at all). But regardless of your decision, I think we can all agree that the accompanying 80s soundtrack is pretty damn rocking.

See what I did there? Rocking? Rocks? No….ok then. It was probably a core-ny pun anyway. Don’t need to drill down to discover that.

Trine 2

Yet another PSN launch title, Trine 2 is a puzzle platformer which requires that the player utilise the unique skills of three very different characters – Amadeus the wizard, Pontius the knight and Zoya the thief – in order to traverse the game levels and environments. The game is a sequel to the well-received Trine, and as the trailer above showcases, the graphics and environments on display are absolutely divine. Trine 2 supports a co-operative mode where three players can take on the role of each of the three characters, working together to progress through the game world. If you’re looking at purchasing a PSN title and enjoy visually stunning games which make you think, Trine 2 should be on your list.

The game is currently sitting in the mid 80s on Metacritic.

Warframe

After watching the above trailer, I’m really not sure what is going on in this PSN game, however it appears to feature mech combat which we aren’t going to call mech combat and instead call Warframe combat. Hence the name. But hey – Potaytoe, Potahtoe. In Warframe, players control a sect of ancient warriors who have awoken from a very long cryosleep to find that they are at war with a race of militarized human clones, amongst other enemies. The game itself is a free to play, co-operative third person shooter, where up to four players can work together to complete a variety of missions, from killing enemies to retrieving terminal data. I can’t say that this kind of game is one that appeals to me, but if it looks like something you’re interested in, head to the PSN to download at launch.

The game was released in March on PC and received a score of 67 on Metacritic.

Best PS4 Launch Day Deals

With the majority of retailers scrambling to get you to spend your hard earned cash at their stores instead of their competitors, there are some fantastic deals on offer at launch for the PS4. Below we’ve highlighted some of the best deals we’ve seen advertised, both in the US and Australia.

Target in the US is offering a special buy two, get one free game on over 1000 games which include PS4 titles such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, Killzone Shadow Fall, Battlefield 4 and Lego Marvel Heroes. For the full list of games, click here. Given that the majority of these games are priced at $59.99, this is a fantastic offer.

Best Buy in the US is offering $25 My Best Buy rewards certificates with the purchase of three select PS4 titles – these titles being pretty much every retail PS4 launch game. Free shipping is offered as part of the deal, however you must be a My Best Buy member to take advantage of the deal.

EB Games in Australia is offering Killzone Shadow Fall for $65 when purchased with a PS4 console, and whilst this may not sound like a great deal to anyone outside of Australia, our games prices mean this is a saving of around $25. The offer is for a limited time only while stocks last, so if you’re interested, get in soon.

And there you have it – our PS4 Launch Day Guide. We’ve tried to cover as much as we could in this guide and we hope it has been of benefit to you. If you’ve found it helpful, or if you know of any other special deals, let us know in the comments section below. Otherwise, we hope that wherever you are, you enjoy the PS4 launch and we will be back with an Xbox One Launch Day Guide in the not too distant future.


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    About the Author: (@MidnightReyn) Founder & Editor-in-Chief

    Tash

    Tash is a self-diagnosed gaming fanatic with a doctorate in Psychology. She's also a self-confessed Mass Effect fangirl and will likely talk your ears off if you ever get her started on the subject. A lover of all things RPG and adventure, she has more gamer related action figures and memorabilia than any 20 something year old professional has a right to own, and has spent more time than she’d like to admit to daydreaming about exactly what she would do should the Zombie Apocalypse actually happen.