Welcome to our new weekly feature, Network Scorecard, where we pit the two major console networks head to head and see who ends up with the best offerings for the week. That’s right, it’s Xbox Live vs. PSN, and nobody can stop this grudge match. For the sake of this competition, we are including the elite memberships of both networks, so Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus memberships are in play. However, mobile gaming is not being considered here, so we will not be including any PSP updates. With that being said, these guys are raring to go, so we better get to it.
Round 1: Game Demos
Both networks are now featuring the demo for Mafia II, the upcoming mobster game from 2K. However, PSN comes out swinging with their exclusive demo for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game. Initial impressions on this 8-bit style fighting game are that it looks very cool, combining the story of the graphic novel with 80′s gaming nostalgia. I can’t help but love the old-school graphics and game sounds.
The arcade action of the Scott Pilgrim demo puts PSN over the edge, and they take this first round.
Round 2: DLC
Both networks offer the following DLC updates: The multiplayer action of the Legends and Killers pack for Red Dead Redemption is the biggee of the week. While available on both networks, it is slightly cheaper on XBL. Also prominently on display this week are: Dragon Age Origins: The Golems of Amgarrak; Naughty Bear- Episode 8- Danger Bear brings a new level that includes, of all things, superhero bears; both networks also offer the Sum 41 song pack for Guitar Hero, and the Ministry track pack for Rock Band.
Although the DLC offerings this week are similar on both networks, XBL busts out with an exclusive Andrew Lloyd Webber pack for their music game, Lips. This puts XBL ahead, and they take Round 2.
Round 3: Downloadable Games
PSN offers the craziness of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game for $9.99. This game, described above, reminds me of the G4 TV show Code Monkeys for some reason. We also get the destructible environments of Red Faction Guerrilla for $19.99. Crash Team Racing, a PS1 classic, is $5.99.
XBLA counters with the vampires of Castlevania: Harmony of Despair for 1200 Microsoft Points (MSP). Monday Night Combat is available today for 1200 MSP. XBL also offers several new games on demand, including Too Human, Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X., and Disney Sing It: High School Musical 3: Senior Year. I know some writers here at Game Rant that might be pretty excited about that last one.
It’s a tough call this week on downloadable games, but I think we’re going to have to go with XBL on this one. Although Scott Pilgrim looks cool, the multiplayer action of Monday Night Combat looks too enticing to pass up. Round 3 puts XBL ahead of PSN, two rounds to one. Let’s move on to the final round:
Round 4: Sales & Special Values
PlayStation Plus offers a variety of great values this week. The Red Faction Guerrilla game trial is free for subscribers, which is about a $20 value. The Minis game Aero Racer is also free. Episode 27 of Qore is free to download, in all of its HD glory. Also, prices are slashed on High Velocity Bowling and Wipout Fury HD. Regular PSN has sales on 1942 Second Strike ($4.99), Section 8 ($24.99) and Matt Hazard: Blood Bath and Beyond ($9.99), which gets the prize for best game title ever.
XBL continues their Summer of Arcade deal. Purchase all 5 Summer of Arcade games : Castlevania Harmony of Despair, Monday Night Combat, Limbo, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and Hydro Thunder Hurricane before Aug 31 and receive 1200 Microsoft points for free. I keep hearing great things about Limbo, and there is a killer trailer for it available on XBL. Also going on now is the Trials HS- Big Thrills track editor contest. Until August 18, you can share your track with the XBL community for a chance to win $5,000. XBL also has price drops on several Games On Demand titles, including Assassin’s Creed, Tom Clancy’s EndWar, Shaun White Snowboarding, and more.
Both networks are offering different kinds of deals, that each offer great values on their respective consoles. I’m seeing pretty good value on either side this week, so I’m going to call this round a draw. Let’s see how this week’s scorecard pans out.
Final score this week: Xbox Live is victorious over PSN going two rounds to one, with one round resulting in a draw. However, there were good updates this week on both networks, so gamers on either side should consider themselves taken care of . Even though they lost, PSN is always ready for a rematch. So check back next week for another scorecard and another batch of network updates.
So, Ranters, what do you think of this week’s network offerings?