When PS+ was first announced way back when I was pretty skeptical. I figured that it wouldnt last. The games would be lame (and looking at the list from when it first launched they kind of were) and it would just be a waste of cash. But as time went on the games got better and big triple A titles started showing up. People began to recommend it and finally this past Black Friday when year long memberships were on sale for $30 I took the plunge. I feel safe to say that I've been satisfied by it so far. So since I've got nothing better to do I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on the service.
Features: The big feature that people know PS+ for is the free games. It's a given and is where the bulk of your cash is going. But PS+ also has some other features you might not know about.
- Cloud Saving
- Auto game updates and downloads
- Auto trophy sync
- Extra discounts on games and DLC on the PSN Store
These may not seem like much but they are rather convenient especially the auto updating and downloads. The way it work is that you can set your PS3 or Vita to automatically turn on at a specific time of the day and check for any pending game updates or downloads. if it find anything then your system will proceed to download/update and install whatever it is, otherwise your system will sync any trophies and saves you've got and then power off again. My big example of how this is great is if you are a person that works or goes to school. Lets say you want to download a new game or DLC, in the morning before you leave you can go to SEN's online store and set your system to download a game you want to play when you get home. Once you're home you can just turn on your system and bam! your game is ready for you to play.
But enough about those side features lets get into the meat of PS+, the games. The games on PS+ technically function as rentals, any games you get for free and yours to play as long as you have an active membership. Once your membership expires you will not be able to play the games unless you resubscribe. Do be aware though that any games you buy through a PS+ discount are yours to keep forever and will not expire should you choose to let your membership run out. Now lets get to my thoughts on some of the games I've received through PS+
Borderlands 2 (PS3): One of the first games I got as part of PS+ is the sequel to the open world Co-Op epic Borderlands. Admittedly I still have yet to actually play Co-Op with anyone but I have been enjoying the single player. I'm enjoying toying around with all the various weapons and the banter from Handsome Jack has kept the game entertaining. That said I do with I could throw Claptrap off a cliff and experienced a moment of major frustration when I fought my way through an enemy fortress and was greeted by a teleporter at the end. I used to go back to the start of the fortress so I could restock on ammo for the boss but was peeved to find out that it was a one way teleporter and that I would have to fight my way back through the fortress again. Aside from some minor frustrations the game is solid and I'm having fun with it. 8/10
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen (PS3): This game unfortunately I just cant seem to get into at all. I've played the demo and had fun climbing on and slaying the giant monsters but the actual game itself just seems boring to me outside of fighting big monsters. I'm not sure what it is but I don't particularly care for the plot and the pawns suffer from the same problem Claptrap does being that they're annoying and never shut up. I want to give this game another chance later but for now I haven't found it to be very special. 6/10
Gravity Rush (Vita): What is considered by many to be one of the flagship games for PS Vita. You play as a girl who wakes up in a strange world with no recollection of who or where she is. The girl is followed around by a strange cat and soon discovers that she has the ability to shift gravity around her at will. I have only recently got around to actually playing Gravity Rush but even without the main story I've been having fun toying around with the gravity in the open world. The controls are a bit wonky at first but I'm sure I'll get the hang of them as I continue. The plot has my interest and I want to find out who the other "Shifters" are learn more about this city sitting upon a giant tower. 7/10
Shadow of the Colossus (PS3): Giant Monsters! The acclaimed PS2 game that is considered to be an example of video games as art, or so I've heard. Not much plot to this game, You are a young boy who has come to a strange land to bring a girl who might be your sister, girlfriend, or a complete stranger back to life. The way to do this is by finding and slaying all the Colossuses (Colossi?), That's all there is to it. You are given a vague hint about the monsters location and using your magic sword and horse you head out to find it. I've killed 7 of the Colossi so far and I've found that the hardest part of the game is actually finding the damn thing, once you find them though the fun part begins.
You are armed with just a sword and a bow neither of which will do much to your giant foes. The meat of the battles is finding a way to climb onto the Colossus and then locating and stabbing the weak point as it furiously tries to shake you off. The game starts off simple at first with easy to climb and kill colossi but it slowly gets more and more complicated as you try to figure how the hell you can find a spot to climb the monster and locate the moving weak point. My favorite Colossus so far was the 5th one which was a giant bird monster that you have to jump on its wings as it swoops at you and then hold on for dear life and it flies erratically trying to drop you to your death. SotC appears to be a permanent PS+ game and doesn't look like it will be removed from the service any time soon. If you haven't played it yet I highly recommend you do. 9/10
Hotline Miami (PS3/Vita): WHO WANTS TO TALK ABOUT MURDER?! (YAY!) I was lucky enough to grab Hotline Miami before it was pulled from PS+ and I consider it to be my favorite game I've received through the service. Another mostly plotless game, you are an unnamed hitman living in 1980s Miami. Someone leaves messages on your answering machine telling you to "help out" at various locations, Your character heads off to the location, gets out of his car, puts on assorted animal masks, and then MURDERS EVERYTHING!!!
The game plays as a top-down action game where you enter a building and clear the room/floor of all the guards. You use your fists, doors, assorted melee weapons, throwing weapons, and guns to enact your mayhem. The one flaw is that your character is very frail and will die in 1 hit from anything. Normally that would cause most players to try and take the game slow and carefully but that isn't the point of the game, you want to be as fast as possible and the game gives you more points for it. The fun of the game comes from experimenting with different strategies and masks to find the best way to coordinate your chaos. To help your rampage out the game features an awesome soundtrack that will infect your ears and having you humming along long after you are done playing. There are only two real faults I can find with the game. The first being that the game is rather short and once you can get really good at it you can probably complete it in less than an hour. The other fault is a silly stealth mission late in the game where you don't get to kill anything and have to avoid being spotted. It's a rather frustrating mission and it kills the pacing near the end. The only other thing I feel I should warn about is that the game isn't for the squeamish. Despite being a top-down 2D stylized game it is still rather gorey and brutal. When you complete a chapter the music cuts out the game makes you walk all the way back to your car and you get to take stock of all the brutal murders you just committed. Other than that the game is stupidly fun and if you have a PS3 or a Vita the game is available for cross-buy so you can play it on the big screen or take it on the go. If you don't you can still buy it on PC too. So get out there and go insane! 9/10
DmC: Devil May Cry (PS3): Full disclosure I am a fan of the original DMC series and am not particularly a fan of the reboot concept. I was well aware of all the controversy that had surrounded the game and when DmC was announced as one of the featured games of January I was excited, I watched a live play through of the game before but had not actually played it, now I could experience the game for myself. If the game was good and suprised me than all is well, if it was as bad as I thought it was then at least people can't say I hadn't played it. I am happy to say that the game pretty much ended up exactly as I thought it would, lame. I started the game on the highest available difficulty "Nephilim" which is equivalent to hard but quickly found out that the game is anything but hard. Previous game in the franchise kicked my ass on normal mode but DmC was hardly a challenge at all,
I attribute this to the rather over powered Angel and Demon weapon system. In previous game Dante could only carry a few weapons at a time but here Dante has access to all of them at all times and they can be switched easily via the D-Pad honestly I find this to be a good thing but the problem is that the weapons are terribly balanced. On the angel side Dante gets a scythe, a grapple that pulls him to enemies, and these ninja star things, the concept behind the angel weapons is that they do little damage but they can stunlock enemies. The devil weapons are an axe, gauntlets, and a grapple that pulls enemies to Dante, these weapons are slow but inflict massive damage. The problem with the weapons is that they do their job a bit too well and the fact that you can switch between them near instantly makes combat a joke. Dante's ninja stars are probably the biggest offender as you can throw them at enemies and then stunlock them for a really really long time combining that with the other technique where the ninja stars pull all the enemies right next to Dante allowing him to quickly pull out a devil weapon and pretty much all challenge is removed from normal combat. The bosses of the game don't fare much better either unfortunately pretty much all of them suffer from having a specific pattern and hitting the weak point 3 times syndrome and to make it worse their attack hardly do any damage to make up for it. Even the final boss of the game which almost completely copies the final boss of DMC 3 (Who kicked my ass quite a bit might I add) is turned into a joke that was able to easily defeat on my first try.
In the games defense I will admit that the environments are pretty cool and it definitely is an easy pick up for fans new to the series but compared to previous Devil May Cry games DmC is pretty bad. There is quite bit a more that I can criticize about the game such as the plot and characters but I don't want to make this section any longer than it is. 6/10
Bioshock Infinite (PS3):
HEADS UP POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
When people talk about the video games of 2013 this is the one that will inevitable come up... for reasons I am not quite sure. Hailed as one of the "Smartest" and "Mature" games of 2013 Bioshock Infinite felt to me like a generic FPS more than the GOTY 2013 many people made it out to be. Booker Dewitt a private eye in early 1900s New York is in debt to someone and can wipe it all away if he goes to a city called Colombia and retrieves an unknown girl. Colombia itself is a floating city in the sky powered by magic science nonsense you find out about later. If you want to know what the city itself is like just go find anyone who hates the Tea Party (so just ask anywhere on Gawker) and ask them what they think the Tea Party's version of Heaven is like. But anyways back to the game Booker arrives on the day where some festival is going on. Posters around the city warn of a "False Prophet" that just happens to have a mark on his hand that is exactly the same as the one Booker has. Booker happens to win a raffle that lets him toss the first baseball at an interracial couple, he can instead throw it at the host of the raffle but either way he ends up being caught via the mark on his hand and becomes a wanted criminal (This is a flaw of the game where multiple times you are presented with a choice but they all lead to the same outcome). A few hours later Booker finds his target Elizabeth who has crazy time and space warping powers and they go on a wild adventure through Colombia as they try to escape.
Like previous Bioshock games Booker is armed with a melee weapon, in this case a skyhook, various guns he can scavenge off enemies, and Vigors (Plasmids in the previous games) that let him shoot super happy fun stuff out of his hand. The game itself is basically a glorified escort mission without the frustration of having to take care of the escort. Elizabeth doesn't participate in combat herself but she uses her space powers on tears conveniently located around battlefields to spawn weapons, ally, robots, cover, and so on. Elizabeth also constantly keeps you stocked on health, ammo, and salts (the stuff that lets you use Vigors). She keeps you so well stocked that I can't help but feel that it takes away from what little difficulty the game has. Death is a slap on the wrist as Booker wakes up just a short distance away from where he died and only loses a small amount of cash as a penalty. A measly penalty since Elizabeth keeps you stocked on cash too. Riding the Skybeams and shooting enemies from above is fun and there are only 8 upgradeable Vigors rather than having to manage 3 separate versions of the same plasmid like the previous games, the repetitive hacking mini game from Bioshock 1 has also been removed and is replaced by collecting lockpicks so Elizabeth can break doors and safes.
But what about the story? That's what everyone praises the game for right? I didn't really care for the story the main antagonist is the "Prophet" of Colombia a God fearing man by the name of Comstock. He regularly spouts off Biblical sounding verses and was performing experiments on Elizabeth for some reason at the start of the game. they may have explained why at the end or maybe in some recordings but I probably missed it or it went over my head. Either way I didn't find Comstock as fun to listen to as I did Andrew Ryan and Comstock seems to just completely vanish midway through the game and doesn't appear until near the ending. The game features a secondary antagonist by the name of Fitzroy who appears to be good at first but then surprise surprise she turns out to be no better than Comstock himself. Finally there is Elizabeth herself... Shes nice I guess. I didn't particularly care for her either, perhaps I'm just some heartless monster but I didn't find anything too endearing.
Again I'm prattling on for too long so let me just say two more things. First I prefer Rapture to Colombia, What I liked about Rapture is that it had already gone to hell by the time you got there and you had to peace together what happened on your own. Colombia goes to hell before your very eyes which was cool and all but not my cup of tea. The last thing I wanted to say was that Infinite actually builds up to a climactic final boss battle and then... doesn't deliver. I was extremely peeved about that. Bioshock Infinite is a solid game overall but I feel that its been grossly overrated by most. Still, if you liked the previous games you'll like this one too. 7/10
So there you have it there are my brief thoughts on PS+. I know it ended up being mostly mini-reviews but I'm satisfied with it. PS+ is a tremendous value you offering a bunch of free games every month as well as a bunch of other neat features. If you are a Vita owner I highly recommend it since it offers a bunch of cool indie games and even some of the system's major exclusives, PS3 owners are now getting a bunch of Triple AAA titles for a low price, and if you have a PS4 you are going to need PS+ anyways for online play so why not hop aboard now?
Let me know what you guys think of PS+ or other similar services and what your favorite games you've received through them are.