Like a lot of people loyal to your favorite gaming franchise, you could be one of those players who picked up “Battlefield 4,” “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag,” or “Call of Duty: Ghosts” on PS3 and now that Santa or a kindly relative has bought you a PS4, you’re wondering if you should upgrade your favorite 2013 games to the new generation. Or perhaps you’re hardcore enough into PS3 games like “NBA 2K14,” “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes,” “Skylanders Swap Force,” and “Madden NFL 25” that you’re even considering the PS4 upgrade on those titles with the heftier price tag. Worst of all, you could have multiple options on the table. That’s where we come in. Let us help you decide.
“Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag”
“Black Flag” is one of three titles that players can upgrade for only ten bucks in a very clever move of cross-generational stimulus. Ubisoft, EA, and Activision recognized that they had to make sales waves out of the gate and didn’t want too many of their fans to wait for the PS4. So, they encouraged them to buy on PS3 and then upgrade for only a ten-spot to the PS4 version. You should know a few things before you make the jump.
1. PS4s come with a $10 PSN credit. In other words, the upgrade, presuming you only need to make one (and already have "Sound Shapes"), is free.
2. Multiplayer progress and unlocks can be transferred. Built up your super soldier on the PS3? He will still be there on the PS4. Single-player campaigns do not transfer.
3. You have to keep your PS3 disc. While you’re actually downloading the PS4 version to your hard drive, you have to hold on to your PS3 disc and put it in to play. So don’t think you can spend $10 for the PS4 version and then sell your PS3 copy to Gamestop. If only it were that easy.
Which brings us to “Black Flag,” one of the absolute best-looking games on the PS4. It’s gorgeous on the PS3 but it’s undeniably better on the PS4, particularly in the details – the interplay of shadow & light, the nature effects of a storm, the realism of the water. If you’re going to buy a PS4, “Black Flag” is one of the first games that I would recommend buying…if you don’t have it already on PS3. The single-player campaign is the draw here and if you’ve spent days plundering and pillaging on the PS3 version and have to start over on the PS4 version, that could be a tough sell. So, it depends on how far you are in the game. If you’ve already won it or are even close, I wouldn’t upgrade. If you haven’t started, make the jump (or if you just want to play the DLC, like the new “Freedom Cry” on a next-gen system).
If the upgrade recommendation for “Black Flag” is tentative, the one for “Battlefield 4” is the other end of the spectrum. Do it. Do it now. Well, finish reading this piece and then do it. Even if you’ve played the single-player campaign on the PS3, you’re certainly still plugging hours into the best multiplayer shooter of the year and you need to do it with PS4 technology. The graphics are smoother and the environments on the PS4 are remarkably more destructible. It feels like everything can shatter into cover-blowing debris at any second. Even the sound design is more impressive on the PS4 as bullets whiz by your head and the world explodes around you. It is THE multiplayer game to have on your PS4 and if you already have it on the PS3 and just got a PlayStation 4, upgrading it is free and your multiplayer experience transfers. What are you waiting for?
“Call of Duty: Ghosts”
Like “Battlefield 4,” the graphics here have been upgraded and the gameplay is smoother but there’s not as noticeable a difference between the PS3/PS4 versions of this game and the PS3/PS4 versions of “Battlefield 4” to wholeheartedly say that you need to make the jump. Perhaps you want to save that $10 credit and use it one of many amazing PSN games (“The Walking Dead: Season Two” is a place to start). To be blunt, I don’t notice as much of a difference between “Ghosts” on the PS3 and PS4” as the other two games. So, presuming you’re not going to sell or retire your PS3 (and you really shouldn’t given the number of exciting 2014 games being released for it), stick with the version you already have.
Games like “NBA 2K14” and “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” don’t have the $10 upgrade functionality and none that I have played are distinctly different enough to warrant the hefty cost of buying them twice. However, if you haven’t picked up the best sports game of the year yet in “NBA 2K14” then the PS4 version is the way to go. It’s so striking that people seeing it from another room may think it’s an actual NBA broadcast.