Welcome back to 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. The battle continues between Xbox Live and PSN, and as always, anything can happen. Like last week, for the sake of this competition, we are including the elite memberships of both networks. That means 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. As Fall begins, leaves are dropping. You know what else is dropping? Some serious network updates, so we'd better get right to it.
Round 1: Game Demos
- EA SPORTS MMA Demo
- MySims SkyHeroes Demo
- Heavy Rain PlayStation Move Demo
- Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light Demo
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 Demo
- Swords & Soldiers Demo
- EA SPORTS MMA Demo
- MySims SkyHeroes Game Demo
- ArcaniA- Gothic 4 Game Demo
- Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Game Demo
- Hydrophobia Trial Game
EA Sports MMA and MySims SkyHeroes are being offered on both networks, and PSN is playing catch-up with the Lara Croft demo. That leaves PSN with Pro Evolution Soccer 2011, Swords & Soldiers, and the Move-version of the Heavy Rain demo. XBL counters with ArcaniA, Enslaved, and Hydrophobia. Trying out Heavy Rain with the Move controller is intriguing, however, this is really just an enhanced version of an already released game. Also, Swords & Soldiers was released last week as an early release for PS+ subscribers. On the flip-side, all three of XBL's offerings are for new games.
Shiny and new wins the day, with XBL taking this first round.
Round 2: DLC
Both Networks This Week:
- Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock: Soundgarden “Telephantasm” Album, $17.99. Featuring the songs "Black Hole Sun", "Fell On Black Days", "Spoonman", and more.
- Rock Band: Anthrax Track Pack 01, $8.49. Also available, seven separate tracks by bands My Chemical Romance, 30 Seconds to Mars, The Doobie Brothers, and others.
- Rock Band Network: 5 separate songs by bands Ballyhool, Circus, Circus, Cancer Bats, and more.
- Borderlands: New Revolution, $9.99/800 MP. New missions, new areas, new bosses.
- Mafia II: Greaser Pack, Renegade Pack, Vegas Pack, War Hero Pack. These packs are all available for $2.99/240 MP each.
- ModNation Racers: Air Raid Mod and Kart, $1.75. These pieces are also available separately.
- Naughty Bear: Episode 9- Pirate Bear, $4.99.
- Blazeblue: Continuum Shift: Valkenhayn R Hellsing, $7.99. The new character Valkenhayn is available to use.
- Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue: Snowy Mountain Dungeon DLC, $2.99. Tankko The Warrior DLC, $.99.
- My Aquarium Blue Oasis: Underwater Glamour Set, $.99.
- Boku Sudoku: Puzzle Pack 18, 160 MP.
- Castlevania: Beauty, Desire, Situation Dire Map Pack, 400 MP.
- Toy Soldiers: Invasion!, 400 MP.
Unlike the last couple of weeks, this week's DLC offerings are not the most exciting. After discounting what is being offered by both networks together, the pickings are a little slim. PSN is playing catch-up with the Deathspank DLC, which was offered on XBL last week. Also, I always wonder why they sell mods and karts for a game where the whole point is to make your own mods and karts. Naughty Bear DLC...well, lets just say that the game itself didn't get very good reviews. PSN's "blue" offerings, DLC for Blazeblue and My Aquarium Blue, just don't do it for me personally. However, the crowd cheers as XBL delivers a strong uppercut with a Castlevania map pack and Toy Soldiers DLC.
XBL takes this second round on points. That puts XBL ahead, with two rounds to none so far.
Round 3: Downloadable Games
- Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue, $14.99.
- Lara Croft And The Guardians Of Light, $14.99.
- Swords & Soldiers, $9.99
- Hydrophobia, 1200 MP.
You know how we feel about networks playing catch-up, so PSN gets no points for both Deathspank: Thongs of Virtue and Lara Croft And The Guardians Of Light. That leaves PSN with only Swords & Soldiers, which as stated earlier, was actually offered last week on PS+ as an early offering to subscribers. XBL has only one game this week, Hydrophobia, but it's new. First introduced at E3 this year, Hydrophobia looks like an interesting title worth checking out. Coming out swinging, XBL takes our third round. As Chick Hearn would say, this one's in the refrigerator. Regardless, we should see this thing to the end, so let’s move on to the final round:
Round 4: Sales & Special Values
- PSone Classic: Tomb Raider, $5.00 for PS+ subscribers (original price $9.99).
- Ace Armstrong Vs. The Alien Scumbag has been given a permanent price drop to $5.99 (original price $6.99).
- Brain Challenge and the Brain Challenge Expansion Pack are both on sale for $.99 each (original price $1.99 each).
- Madden NFL Arcade is on a permanent price drop to $9.99 (original price $14.99).
- PSN is now offering a Mega Man 9 & 10 Combo Pack for $14.99.
- Street Fighter Alpha is on sale for $2.99 (original price $5.99).
- Deal of the Week: Get Toy Soldiers for 33% of at 800 MP (original price 1200 MP).
- Deals on DLC for current games to get ready for upcoming sequels:(1) Assassins Creed 2: Get 50% off on Sequence 12: Battle of Forli, now available for 160 MP.(2) Fable II: Knothole Island (Premium) is now at 50% off for 400 MP.(3) Fallout 3: Get Mothership Zeta for 50% off at 400 MP. You can also get Broken Steel, Point Lookout, The Pitt, and Operation Anchorage for the same price each.(4) The Force Unleashed: Get the Tatooine Mission Pack or the Jedi Temple Mission Pack for 50% off at 400 MP each.
XBL is offering some good values this week. Toy Soldiers at 33% off is worth looking into, and the DLC sales for games with upcoming sequels are simply good deals if you don't have those missions and packs already. PSN at least matches XBL for value this week. Tomb Raider at $5 is a good deal for gamers who are into some old-school action. Madden NFL Arcade and the Mega Man combo pack bring some punch back into PSN's game. This round was a close call, but I think PSN rallied back at the last minute to take this one.
Final score this week: We almost made history with our first real sweep, but no such luck. However, XBL handily wins the week three rounds to one. I said before that things would get interesting as XBL begins its Game Feast, and so far they did not disappoint. For those wondering about the reference, Chick Hearn was the voice of the LA Lakers for, well, basically forever. His classic quote was reserved for clinched victories:
"This game's in the refrigerator! The door's closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter's getting hard, and the Jell-O's jiggling...."
Even though Fall is upon us, I don't think things are going to cool off anytime soon. October looks to be a good month for gamers. So don’t miss out, check back next time for another scorecard and another batch of network updates.
So, Ranters, what do you think of this week’s network offerings?
Source: PlayStation Blog, Major Nelson