Sony’s PlayStation Plus is a subscription-based service that allows members to get weekly and monthly access to discounted games on the PlayStation Network, as well as the occasional free game. Sony has calculated that the $50/year service has granted thousands of dollars in savings.
Everyone loves free games, but nobody likes a free game that’s a piece of HDD-hogging garbage. “In PlayStation Plus We Trust” is a weekly feature outlining the new free addition(s) to the Instant Game Collection to help you decide whether that newest freebie in the Store is worth your time.
This week, we get two quality titles in Binary Domain and Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD.
Binary Domain is a ludicrous third person shooter packed with more action set pieces than most other games could hope to achieve. It’s an insane mashup of the themes of Blade Runner and the gameplay of Gears of War with some squad-based mechanics and voice controls thrown in for good measure. From Toshihiro Nagoshi, perhaps best known for the Yakuza series, Binary Domain introduces a surprisingly compelling storyline of a pseudo-post-apocalyptic Earth rebuilt with the assistance of robots, who themselves develop a bit of sentience and conscience. A team of soldiers is sent into Tokyo to find the man responsible for developing a robot that attacked the headquarters of a rival organization.
The game itself is a cover-based shooter, and it sticks to those mechanics fairly religiously. However, the AI is impressive in that enemies will change their tactics based on player actions and will adjust to you accordingly. Moreover, ally AI will also react to player actions, speaking and acting differently based on your performance, and even responding in such a way as delivering a snide response if you select the two females as your squadmates. It’s hardly cutting-edge stuff, but the extra mile traveled in the name of immersion is appreciated. The action sequences are huge and absurd, featuring some extremely bombastic shootouts and explosions that keep the game moving at a very fast clip. It’s not Uncharted, but it’s still pretty darn exciting. There are also some voice commands, but they’re not as responsive as they could be and don’t really leave a memorable mark on the game.
Verdict: Worth Downloading
Oddworld: Strangers Wrath HD (Vita)
Stranger’s Wrath made a fairly odd (no pun intended) departure from the rest of the Oddworld franchise, ditching the platforming and collecting focus to star a vicious bounty hunter. This guy, dubbed Stranger, explores the darker side of the Oddworld universe as he hunts down his bounties using a mixture of stealth, takedowns, and a crossbow loaded with tiny critters with various abilities. This switches things into first-person, and while the aiming is not as accurate as it could be, it still works surprisingly well. The fact that many enemies will get more or less of a bounty for being taken in dead or alive adds an extra dimension to the gameplay.
Stranger’s Wrath continues the franchise aesthetic of a nightmarish Disney film, though it predictably continues the trend of keeping things fairly silly even while the story is immersed in darkness. This is a dark, goofy Western-themed action game that is worthy of a place on your Vita.
Verdict: Must Download
All that we’ve got this week is Worms 2. You can see that as a disappointment that nothing else got knocked down, or get excited that a full $10 got taken off the price.
Tell us what you think of this week in the comments, and we’ll see you next week!