Friday, September 9, 2016

Monthly Free Games (Sept 2016)

The best free game this month has a lot of balls.
This isn't an awful month for free games, especially on the PS4, but a lot of the offerings cater to very specific tastes. Like a taste for the world's most boring wrestling game.

Lords Of The Fallen (PS4)

This is a sold, slow, dark action-RPG. I never played Dark Souls, but I had a suspicion, and sure enough, googling "Lords Of The Fallen Vs." brought up both Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 as the top two suggestions. I like it, but I'm not IN like with it, if you know what I mean? I didn't find any serious flaws in the first half hour of playing it, but it's not the kind of thing that gets its hooks into me.

Journey (PS4, PS3)

Look, you don't need me to review this. Either you've played it or you've heard about it and wanted to play it. It's a beautiful minimalist exploration  and puzzle game, which means if you like games that tell you what the fuck is going on, you will not be happy. It's a game for self-motivated gamers, which means I will probably get less out of it than I could.

Badlands (PS4, PS3, Vita)

This is a well-rgarded mobile game's console edition. It's a physics puzzle-platformer where you are a ball that can fly and have to navigate 2-D levels full of hazards from one end to the other. The complication comes from the powerups that shrink or grow your size, split you into multiple balls, and other things I haven't figured out from context yet. The puzzling gets devilish quickly, but the game is saved by good checkpointing and instantaneous load times that turn the trial and error gameplay from a hassle to, if not always a delight, certainly not a hindrance.

WWE 2K16 (XBox One)

God, I tried. But everything is so slow. The load times are slow. The interface is slow. The wrestling is slow. There's pauses everywhere. There's zero flow. I get what they were trying to do with the actual wrestling - take some of the simulated tactics in a wrestling match and turn them into real mechanics - but the whole thing is just a crrawl and a slog. Zero joy.

Earthlock (XBox One)

This is some fairly generic RPG stuff. It's got that sort of steampunky Panzer Dragoony futuretech-next-to-swords thing going on, but it looks like it was built in a mobile game engine. You know the look. It's not a dealbreaker, but generic combat in the early going and a fairly standard story means there's zero hooks in this to make you want to play it more.

Prince Of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PS3)

Hey, remember that trilogy everyone loved, only they mostly onlyoved the first one? Let's go back years later and make a "forgotten" sequel to the first game! Anyway, this is basically 60% Prince of Persia and 40% God of War, with controls that are looser than they really should be. It's... fine? There's just no real reason for it to exist.

Datura (PS3)

Oh, god. This is one of those games. Look, Sony has made a lot of experimental games for Playstation over the years. And when they work, they work great. And when they don't work, you spend ten minutes wrangling a gyroscopic controller around trying to use a pen held in your disembodied ghost hand to pick a lock on a gate you walked through INCREDIBLY SLOWLY through a forest that was certainly visually impressive four years ago. Not a game to make free the same month as Journey, that's for sure.

Beyond Good And Evil HD (XBox 360)

Forgot to include this in last month's post, but this is one of the top five games of the PS2-OG Xbox generation, and if you somehow never played it, do it. It still holds up, in that the clunky stealth mechanics were still clunky back then and also they don't detract from the total greatness.

Forza Horizon (XBox 360)

A lot of people like the Forza Horizon games. They're meant to be a more accessible, more fun, more arcadey alternative to the more serious Forza Motorsport series. But to me, they occupy a weird middle ground between fun arcade racers and boring sims. Still, if you like driving around, it's not a poorly made game, and you can't beat the price point.

Mirror's Edge (XBox 360)

Available the second half of this month, Mirror's Edge has been free a lot, but on the off chance you haven't gotten it yet, it's worth playing, especially given the reports that they fuckbotched the prequelsequel. First-person parkoury platforming.

Amnesia: Memories (Vita)

Right off the bat, this name pisses me off. Anyway, it turns out this is one of those Japanese reading games where all you do for at least the first half hour is read text boxes and listen to voiceover and look at still pictures of anime characters. I got to make maybe four choices the entire time, and I'm pretty sure at least three, and possibly all four, didn't affect the story in any way.

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