Friday, December 9, 2016

Monthly Free Games (Dec 2016)

Strongest in a very weak field.
I guess they want you to buy games during the Christmas month, because oh, what a turdpile the free games are this month. A bunch of subpar indies on the PS4 and a couple of generation-boundary games full of those weird faces you get from late-period last-gen games or early-period current-gen games on the XBox One. On the upside, all the shitty Playstation games were cross-buy on the PS4, so I didn't even have to see if my PS3 controllers were charged.

Invisible Inc. (PS4)

OK. IF you're into turn-based tactics AND you're into brutally difficult stealth bullshit, you'll probably get a lot out of this game, which appears to be a very well implemented mix of turn-based tactics and stealth bullshit. Follow the subtle context clues to figure out what portion of the game I, personally, found to be bullshit. But it's not incompetent, it's just not to my taste.

Stories: Path of Destinies (PS4)

This is a cartoony action-RPG with anthropomorphic animals that mentions "mass graves" within 30 seconds of the intro, and then, after a long load time, mentions a dead mother within 10 seconds of the start of the first level. The first thing they teach you is how to attack using the square button. The second thing they teach you is how to counter an attack by holding the left stick and... pressing the square button. Then I died. Then I quit. Then I deleted. Poor showing, Stories.

Tiny Troopers: Joint Ops (PS4/PS3/Vita)

A cute, military twin-stick shooter with a poor interface and no real sense of excitement or pacing. A very quick delete.

Color Guardians (PS4/Vita)

A mobile-style lane runner where you have to change your color with on-screen objects to collect with / interact with them. This didn't click with me at all, and I normally like this kind of game. I think somehow comingup one short of the perfection required for a three-star rating on the tutorial level (!) didn't help.

Murdered: Soul Suspect (XBox One)

This is one of THOSE games. A decent looking, third-person adventure game where you walk slowly around a large area and interact with stuff. IN this case, you're a dead cop's ghost and you possess and gostl-interact with stuff to solve your own murder. It's not awful, but it does show the signs of being a very early XBox One game, and at least as far as I got, is very deliberately paced.

Sleeping Dogs (XBox One)

This is basically a Chinese mafia Grand Theft Auto with a pretty good brawling combat system built into it. This is the Definitive Edition, which means it's a last-gen game upgraded to run on current hardware. It's not bad, but the game will make you buy outfits to actually improve your standing with other people, which is a mechanic I could live without. Plus, I was trying to drop a bag I'd picked up off the street and ended up beating the shit out of a pedestrian. Oops.

Hyper Void (PS4/PS3)

An aggressively bland arcade space shooter. Absolutely no reason for this in a PS Store full of better options, many of which have been free over the past year.

Outland (XBox 360)

Gotta say I liked this a lot more than I was expecting from the screenshots. It's an arty 2-D platformer, but it's by Housemarque, the people behind Super Stardust and Resogun. It's surprisingly fast-paced and smooth, and it's more action-platformer than puzzle platformer. Plus it's got an Ikaruga-style color-changing mechanic (or Chameleon Run style if you're a modern mobile gamer type) so you need to be the same color as moving platforms to jump on them and the opposite color of enemies to damage them. Definitely one of the better 360 games they've given away lately.

Burnout Paradise (XBox 360, Dec. 16)

Ah, the very, very good game that also marked the moment when Burnout became dead to me. Burnout Paradise was a vanguard for the modern racing game, and now they're ALL open world monstrosities where you drive around looking for markers to start races on streets instead of selecting a course. This was also when everything with normalish cars really switched over from split-screen local to online only, which I'm still bitter about nearly a decade later. That said, it is a very good game.


You can do worse than try to work your way into my heart by pretending to give your game a Commodore 64 loading screen. And a very Commodore 64 look. What we have is a fairly basic Metroidvania with pure platforming using a gravity flip mechanism instead of a straight jump. It's pretty good, but it also gets pretty tough pretty quick and lives on the Vita, so I'm not going to get too into it.

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