Quick Thoughts: August Playstation Plus Freebies

Last month, as a result of the Playstation Plus program, I spent a few days reveling in Detroit: Become Human. A new month has come, and with it more free games. Each time we get a new announcement from Sony about what titles are going to be included there are always two camps: Some folks clamor for better options, stating they’re discontinuing use of the service, while others will endlessly defend crappy selections. I fall somewhere in the middle. There have definitely been months where the subscription was well worth it; just a single game can sometimes make it worth the cost of entry. There have also been down months where I couldn’t care less about any of the games included. More recently, the PS3 and PSVita support has been pulled from the service so instead of getting between 2-4 games per month we now almost strictly get only two. Of course, people have complained about this too. I miss the cross-play titles that actually end up being pretty good. I don’t miss wasting time downloading throwaway games. I’ve still been pretty consistent with downloading nearly all of the games available (if not at least adding them to my library), and I at least try the ones I download. The free games for August were a mixed bag at first glance, and having played each for a little while I have some impressions to share.

A game I didn’t realize had even come out, the Wipeout Omega Collection collates Wipeout 2048 and Wipeout HD. I’m pretty sure HD is a remake of the original from way back on the original Playstation, and 2048 must have been a sequel at some point. Whatever the case, it’s been a game I’ve played each time I’ve seen a new version, but was never overly good at nor did it ever really hold my attention for long. I do enjoy a good racer though, and this one actually feels a lot better than I remember — I say this tepidly, because I’m sure actually difficult levels are near impossible. It looks good, much better than I remember, but I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I played a Wipeout game. From what I’ve read there aren’t any plans for new iterations either, so this might be the ultimate edition that you’ll have to settle for.

This is combat racing, so most game modes include AI competitors along with power-ups you can use to slaughter the competition. It doesn’t feel as fast paced as it did back in the day, but I’m sure that has more to do with my memory being off than actual facts. I really like the way it controls and the way it looks, even the music is pretty damn good. I ended up playing both 2048 and HD for a few races and noted that they feel pretty much the same as far as quality goes.  There is a really nice photo mode that allows you to capture some cool moments, and I wouldn’t recommend trying to take screenshots while racing as you’ll just lose position. Overall, this title was a surprise hit for me, much like Detroit: Become Human was last month. I still need to try out Heavy Rain on that note.

The other free title is one that I’m sure plenty of people would be excited about, but it ended up being underwhelming for me. The one and only Sniper Elite game I played was the second entry, and I found the slow-motion x-ray trick shot bits to be a little over the top and felt that they took away from the moment to moment combat. As such, I expected this game would be one that I’d glaze over pretty quickly. I will say that I rather enjoyed playing the Zombie Army Trilogy at a friend’s house a few years back (it’s made by the same devs) but it also didn’t focus so much on sniping and was more about killing zombies at a rapid clip.

Sniper Elite 4 takes place in Italy, and is sort of part of the side story of World War II. I imagine they are running out of theaters of war at this point anyway, but maybe not. Whatever the case, you play a lone wolf commando dude who is a badass sniper. You start off with a mission to kill some dudes, and you head off into a semi open world environment, and you’re taught how various mechanics work while trying not to get killed. From what I saw, this is just not a game for me. There is more focus on you trying to get stealth kills and remain undetected, while enemies swarm around looking for you. I hate being forced into this play pattern, and seeing people getting their insides exploded doesn’t really help it feel any better. So yeah, a hard pass for me, but I’m sure someone around here will enjoy it.

That’s all I got for today.