May 19, 2016

Game Binge - Episode Four [PS+ EDITION]

I've been subscribed to PS Plus for a few years now, and while I agree it's a wonderful service for Playstation gamers, you do tend to get a little overwhelmed by free games. I've had a few dozen games just sitting on my hard drive for some time now, and I decided it was time to clear them out. But before I erase and likely forget about them forever, I thought it might be bright to play a few minutes of some and get an idea of which ones I'll devote my full attention to someday. It's been a while since I've done a game binge anyway! Let me know what you think of these PSN titles!

If you're new to Playstation gaming, first of all, welcome! And second, PS+ is a digital subscription service offered to anyone with a Playstation Network Account (which is free). Every month, Playstation offers around 5 or more "free*" games for the PS3, PS4 and PS Vita. You also get additional discounts on sales.
*I say 'free' in spite of the fact that you're paying for it, because the dollar amount of games you get usually greatly outweighs the amount you paid for the subscription. Occasionally, PS+ even rewards users with AAA titles like Dragon Age: Origins, Tomb Raider or Bioshock Infinite, whose price tags are typically equal to or greater than the 50 bucks you'd spend on PS+ for one year. I particularly embrace PS+ for my Vita, but it's also great for introducing you to indie titles you may have not noticed otherwise.
The catch is that you have to maintain your subscription to have access to your games. If you choose to sign up for PS+ for one year and then don't renew, you won't be able to play any of the games you acquired for free during your subscription time.
PS+ subscriptions can be purchased on the Playstation Store, or in "card form" at your favorite games store.

So this binge is going to focus on (just a fraction of) the free PS3 games I've gotten through PS+!

This game has very unique "comic book" style graphics and somewhat unusual gameplay. The art is gorgeous. I don't particularly like the text, and really don't like the colored subtitles - makes them hard to read at times. The acting is wonderful. I can't say I noticed a whole lot of music in the short time I played but what I did hear was quite effective. Gameplay is heavy on decision making, and your choices affect the story, which is all kinds of intriguing. Additionally, there is an interesting blend of real life and fiction.
On the "con" side: it doesn't always give you a lot of time to analyze and make your decisions. I don't like that, I'm a slow reader. Getting a handle on controls isn't really difficult but seems a bit less bold than I would expect from what is essentially a point a click game.
If you are not a fan of QTEs, this is not the game for you. Personally, they're not my favorite, but if I've had a few coffees, I can make it work.

Lots of people in my circle have been talking about the XCOM games lately and it got me wondering. I really knew nothing about XCOM, but it seems to get a lot of praise and I knew I had this one sitting on my PS3, so its time had come!
These are some super PS3 graphics… /sarcasm but they get the job done. I like the lit up, military motif of the menus and such, it helps set the tone of the game, unlike this voice actress... maybe she should research dialects and accents rather than alien materials...
So I chose normal mode, against the recommendation of the game, but the first level was a very obvious tutorial and I expect I'm not going to have so much help going forward, which means I need to play this game at the height of my brain's tactical prowess. I do enjoy tactics games but I need to concentrate rather hard to succeed with them, usually. The cursor can be a bit of a dick, but that's probably just me needing to warm up, and this first level left me a bit surprised/frustrated that there's no response to attack. You just have to sit there and die. But that's how it goes. The noncombat gameplay reminds me a bit of playing the board game RISK. So that's fun… I'm in! I'll come back to XCOM next time I'm craving a strat game and see how much more there is to it. Apparently there are a lot of XCOM games, though. Which one is your favorite?

Borderlands is another series I hear a lot of people raving about, but the FPS nature of the game always deterred me. Regardless, I gave B2 a chance since it was just rotting away on my PS3, and... I was immediately attracted to the unique style of the graphics! The writing is cute, but this voice actor leaves something to be desired. The opening cinematic is very fun and impressive; if I'd seen this alone, I'd want to play the game. And now I have to choose a character... I have to say I'm immediately drawn to Salvador, but Zero might be fun? Ah fuck it, go big guns or go home! These character edits are a bit confusing… do they do anything or is it just cosmetic?
I can see humor is going to be a thing in this game. I'm okay with that.
Okay, a lot of things just happened in a short amount of time, and suddenly I'm really uncomfortable. The tutorials are kinda difficult to catch, and the controls are a little counterintuitive for me. I'm sure this is something you get over with some time and practice, but I can't say I'm feeling too confident with my shooting just yet. I've spent a lot of time combing through the options, trying to improve my comfort level. And then I went into a boss fight with no ammo and had no idea what to do. I broke a bunch of ice piles open but got pummeled by the abominable snowman's angry pet before I could figure things out. I think I might need a quick lesson from a Borderlands pro before I continue with this game, but I do like a lot of things about it! I've also noticed the slots for other players, which to me suggests co-op, which would be excellent considering how much I suck at this so far. I need reinforcements!

The imagery surrounding BD suggests that this game is probably not up my alley. That said, it does look better than XCOM…
So apparently this game includes a feature in which you can actually speak to the game to input commands (to your team, for example). Given that this is yet another military-esque game, I find that quite cool, and regret that I did not have a mic set up to try it out. On the other hand, the writing in this game is suuuuuuuuper cheesy, like a bad, B-action movie. I'm afraid I hate this voice actor too (the white dude). Thankfully he doesn't talk nearly as much as his partner.
Movement and gameplay is pretty solid, definitely something I could warm up to with some time, but I don't understand why I have to call for help every time I'm in dire straits. Just fucking help me, man! You're right there! The aim assist sucks balls, too, and there seems to be too many commands on X, so I keep taking cover when I'm trying to dash and vice versa. Some of the action commands are slow to execute, too. That's annoying. In the end, I'm more impressed than I thought I'd be, but I don't know if BD is in my future...

Now THIS is a pretty game! Kind of giving me The Last of Us vibes. That's not a bad thing. Extremely intricate menu design, too!
So I'm not gonna lie to you, I'm not the best at shooters and was a little fatigued from playing so many by this point, so I selected easy mode. That was probably a good idea 'cause that first little fight sequence did not go well for me! (Alas, I did not have my shot gun ;))
As far FPSs go, I really enjoyed looking around in Metro. I still seem to struggle with lining things up (picking up items, I mean) - it seems you have to get riiiiight up in the thing's face before it'll prompt you, but I can't recall the last time I enjoyed just screwing around in a FPS. There seems to be a great deal of story here, too. That's always refreshing! The only annoying part of that is that you spend a lot of time just standing around waiting for people to finish talking. That got old fast.
All in, I am very impressed by Metro. I definitely think this is a game I could get behind and I LOVE discovering FPSs that I actually like. I'll be returning to this some day.

PAPO & YO - 
This is yet another title that I mindlessly downloaded with zero idea of what it was, but not long ago my fellow Cartridge Club lifer, Marvin, gave it a glowing review, and reminded me to check it out.
This game is certainly… interesting. It has an immediate whimsy about it though it offers you no real story or tutoring whatsoever, you just kinda run around and figure things out. That said, it's a rather simple game, too, so the "figuring out" is not all that demanding. The responsiveness is pretty great and almost reminds me of an easy Mirror's Edge… of course that means it can get a bit erratic too. Best not to get too confident, methinks. I still have no idea what the objective is here but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying myself. It seems I need to chase this kid around, solving puzzles in order to catch up. I love puzzles! The tunes are very sweet too, I'm getting kinda… Peter Pan vibes with the whole design. I dig it! I'll probably come back to this sooner than later, it seems like a nice and easy game for a rainy day.
And so polite!
This game is one of those that sits on your dashboard and when you scroll over it a song plays. The song is catchy, but rides like hell outta nowhere with this loud theremin that always scares the shit out of me. In fact the whole soundtrack is pretty… noticeable. Anyway, onto the game…
I remember people making jokes about not remembering Remember Me, I guess that's a testament to its quality? The game certainly has a cool sic-fi movie approach, but there are a few things already bothering me. Like, why aren't their lips moving? Is that part of the game?
Oh, so we're doing the whole "I have no memory of who I am thing," huh? I hope the whole game isn't this predictable. I'm really enjoying the imagery, but this is feeling more like an interactive movie than a game. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I find those sorts of games difficult to stick to if they're not done right.
I suppose I'm glad to see this is a melee fighting game. The combo builder is a bit confusing but I'm sure it gets more clear with time.
I really can't decide how I feel about this game. I'm not particularly enjoying playing it, but I'm not sure if I just need more time. I am REALLY enjoying looking at it, though. Maybe I need to find someone to make this Backseat Gaming material? Hm…

Don't know what this is, either, but it's on my PS3 so let's have a look!
So I played for about 20 minutes, and literally did nothing but open doors. I understand that this is a puzzle game, but it has done absolutely nothing to motivate me to play it. Interesting visuals, okay soundtrack, but pass.

Confession: I'm a closet rhythm and music game fiend, so I just had to try this out. The verdict: this is a "music making game" in which you utilize puzzle and platforming skills to collect sounds to compose your song. You're scored at the end of the level based on how many sounds you collected, and everything red is bad! I'm glad I tried it, and it is kinda cute, but I feel like you'd have to be trippin' balls to stick with this game long term!

Last up is this weird reboothashsequelthing to Bionic Commando. A few people have been chirping about this on twitter and youtube lately. It's been a long while since I've played Bionic Commando, but I suppose I'm up for an updated version, and PS+ literally just handed this to me.
Cool tunes. Certainly reminds me of the NES without really sounding like it. But this text is going too quickly! The design is simple but still updated; it doesn't look bad but not mind-blowing either.
The next thing I noticed: WHAT THE HELL?! YOU CAN JUMP? THIS ISN'T BC! It took me some practice to get the arm down, but the gameplay is actually pretty smooth and very familiar. I gave up rather quickly simply 'cause it was 3 in the morning and my hand was going numb, but this isn't a bad game at all and if you're a classic BC fan, I wouldn't hesitate to check this out!

Well, there you have it! What do you think of these games? I learned that I need to do this more often. There are a lot of titles here that I was ready to write off but I learned a lot from this binge! I'm glad I did this. Remind me to do it again some time.


  1. I started XCOM and I need to get back to it, and you just made me want to get around to Metro finally. Been looking for Remember Me lately. Good read Lo!

    1. I was really impressed by Metro! Didn't expect that, but definitely going to give it a full go some day. Is Remember Me tricky to find?

  2. Hey Lo! I picked up The Wolf Among us recently (was a Games with Gold offering in April), and just wasn't in the mood for it after about 20-25 minutes. Definitely need to get back to it, because TellTale does some great stuff.
    I tried running solo through Borderlands 2 as Salvador (I had him wearing the Minecraft head, which was comical), and ran into some of the same issues you were finding. I dug the FPS loot grab gameplay, but it would be a lot more fun with some co-op and I kinda fizzled out on it maybe 3/4 of the way through.
    I really do need to get a PS3 or 4 one of these days - not bad for "free" offerings.

    1. Wolf just expected me to move quicker than I was prepared for. Feel like I'd have to hook up a coffee I.V. to get the most out of it, but it was pretty cool. I need to give Telltale more attention and develop a better opinion of them.
      I'd suggest we conquer Borderlands together, but it looks like one of us would have to "switch teams" for that (haha). PS+ has some weak months, but every now and then we get something really cool!

  3. I've amassed an unplayable number of games through the Xbox Live Games with Gold campaign. I've thought about doing just this - grabbing like five random games and giving them a try one night - but haven't had the chance yet.

    I don't know why, but I've always been intrigued by Remember Me. I think I got it in my head that it was a semi-sequel to P.N.03 on the Gamecube - a game I've never played, but am also intrigued by - but I don't think that's the case.

    1. It's definitely an easy way to sample some games without the commitment, and you get to sort out which ones you want to play sooner than later. I really need to do this more often, myself.

      I can definitely see why you'd draw that connection to PN03, they certainly have that same sorta look. I don't have any reason to believe they're related, but I'm the wrong person to ask!

  4. Pretty instructive....look ahead to coming back again.