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The PlayStation 4 is here, and gamers around the world are ready to usher in the next generation of video games with it. Of course, if you are going to buy a video game console, one other thing you are going to need is games. After all, while the PS4 works just fine as a media player, so does the PS3, which doesn’t make that enough of a reason to upgrade. It’s all about prettier games with impressive graphics, and the PS4 has that. But which one should you buy when you run out to the store to get your new console?

The Launch Lineup

In all, 23 games grace the PS4 for its initial release, with plenty more coming in the early portion of 2014. Of these, some are free for all owners, some are free for PlayStation Plus members (which you should be, since it is now required for online multiplayer), some come in a little below the full retail price, and others are traditional $60 games. For a console launch, 23 games is actually a pretty decent amount to choose from, but of course, the quality just isn’t there for many of them.

Some games on the list are throwaway such as Angry Birds: Star Wars. While fun, who is really going to spend $50 on a game you can get on any number of other platforms for pretty close to free? So, let’s narrow the list down to games you should actually consider:

There are also the free-to-play games like DC Universe Online, Warframe, and others, but for those, you can just download them and see if you like them. They are all pretty good, and if you are on a budget, they might just be enough to keep you busy until you can get the funds together to purchase a retail release. If you have PlayStation Plus already, RESOGUN is an awesome throwback to the shooters of the past (specifically Defender), and Contrast looks gorgeous on the PS4, and it’s a pretty decent little platformer. So right out of the gate, you have some solid games to play for free. If you don’t have Plus, RESOGUN is worth purchasing, but I would skip Contrast.

Which Should You Buy?

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Of course, there is no definitive answer here. Your taste is going to determine which game suits you and which doesn’t. If you plan to play games with your children, LEGO Marvel is a fantastic choice. If you like sports, NBA 2K14 just might be the best looking game available on the console, Madden is, well, more Madden, and FIFA 14 is another visual showpiece for the Ps4. All three are good games, it just depends on which is your sport of preference. (Speaking of which, where is my NHL 14 next-gen version?)

Fans of shooters have three main options in Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Killzone: Shadow Fall. Battlefield looks quite a bit better than COD, but Call of Duty still looks good, and players who have been loyal to the franchise for the long haul will find more of the same with just a little bit of extra visual polish. However, there is also the wildcard, which is Killzone: Shadow Fall. This is a PlayStation 4 exclusive, and as far as graphics go, it easily rivals, and perhaps surpasses, Battlefield 4. It’s campaign, like BF4, leaves much to be desired, but the multiplayer is great. I would go with Killzone over the other two just because it’s on par from a quality standpoint, and it’s the only one that is not available on current gen consoles.

Knack is a bit of a disappointment. That’s not to say it’s a bad game, but it does not live up to the hype, and being one of the two main exclusives for the launch of the console, it could be better. The light platforming and brawling gets repetitive, and the game feels longer than it needs to be. I would skip this one, as it’s too hard for children to enjoy, and it’s a little tedious for the adults among us.

There isn’t much to say about Injustice. It’s just the same game as the previous generation version with a little more visual polish. Still, it’s the only option for fighting game fanatics, so it’s nice to have it there.

So we have left two games: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and Need For Speed Rivals. They are, in my opinion, the two best games available for the PS4 at launch. Yes, Assassin’s Creed IV is available for the PS3, but the extra coat of visual polish really goes a long way in this game, and Rivals is just a really fun racing game that sees players choosing between either the role of racer or police officer in both online and offline play. It looks and feels fantastic, and it’s the kind of game that has nearly unlimited replay value. If you only have the money for one game on launch day, one of these two is the way to go. If you want a game with a compelling story, pick up AC IV. If you want a sandbox to drive around and have fun in, grab Need For Speed Rivals.

Conclusion

I am going to be honest here, the launch lineup for the PS4 is not great, but very few launch games usually are. There are some good games, but we will have to wait a little longer before the really big stuff its the market. Still, for early adopters, there is plenty of fun to be had with a few of these options!

Now, we turn to you: which launch games did you pick up, or which are you planning to grab once you get your PS4? Are you going to stick with the free games until the better releases drop (I’m looking at you, Watch Dogs)? Hit the comments section below and let us know!

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