PS Plus, Games With Gold Freebies Of April 2016

April is nearly here, and with it comes another great batch of free games from both Sony and Microsoft respectively. While Sony seems intent on offering indies and older games that you might’ve missed, Microsoft seemingly wants to demonstrate how you tackle April in style, as their offering might be the best I’ve seen in months.

Before we get to Microsoft though, here are the freebies for April.

 

  • Dead Star – PS4
  • Zombi – PS4
  • I Am Alive – PS3
  • Savage Moon – PS3
  • A Virus Named Tom – PS Vita
  • Shutshimi – PS Vita

Although there is nothing spectacular here, I’m quite pleased to see Zombi make the cut, as I was debating picking it up a few weeks back. Although it received mix reception, I can’t help but get the urge to jump into a never-ending zombie nightmare.

It’s also great to get another interesting space game, as I refuse to get tired of them. Dead Star eluded me and so I will be going in completely blind, but it certainly looks promising!

For Xbox owners, here are the games you will receive for the month of April.

    • Sunset Overdrive  – Xbox One
    • The Wolf Among Us  – Xbox One
    • Dead Space  – Xbox 360
    • Saints Row IV – Xbox 360

 

Wow. One of the biggest games on Xbox One is now free for anybody with a Gold subscription. I have wanted to play Sunset Overdrive for as long as I’ve owned an Xbox so again, this is a fantastic freebie. Ridiculously over the top action in an open-world full of actual colour!

What’s more is, there aren’t any slackers this month, as Dead Space is a phenomenal horror game, Saints Row IV is open-world zany madness, and The Wolf Among Us is Telltale at their absolute best. You really cannot go wrong.

 

How Scary Is… ‘Dead Space?’

Dead Space

Resident Evil 4, as franchise fans will know, was a true revolution. Its dramatic changes to the series’ DNA weren’t universally popular (a euphemism for still cause many to go on spittle-flying Internet tirades to this day), but they were certainly radical. They also begged the question: can survival horror really work in this pseudo-TPS, Dead Space actiontastic style? When you’ve got more ridiculous weaponry than Arnold Schwarzenegger, what do you have to fear?

Well, if you’re going to be pernickety, that’s two questions. Fortunately, though, here comes Dead Space to help us answer both of them.

The game was released in 2008, and followed a similar horror/shooter template. It’s set five hundred years in the future, and humanity have predictably advanced from screwing up their own planet to screwing up everybody else’s. Our resource-ravaging ways have taken the ultimate step with the creation of the planetcrackers. These are vast starships with the capacity to ‘drain’ orbiting planets of everything of use, which sounds just about right really.

This dystopian image of the future was the first thing I found ‘scary’ about Dead Space, a possibility that hit just a little too close to home. I was unnerved even before the throat-slashing death beasts OF DEATH made an appearance.

Our protagonist is one Isaac Clarke, part of a mining team sent to answer a distress call from the Planetcracker Ishimura. Whereupon, naturally, all hell breaks loose, and his companions are slaughtered in a blood-leaky manner by the Necromorphs that have infested the ship.

Where the hell did this guy come from?
Where the hell did this guy come from?

Much like Resident Evil 4‘s Ganados, these hideous buggers are a step above the shuffling, useless zombies of survival horror yore. Necromorphs are born from the insidious influence of the Marker, a mysterious alien artifact. It first drives those within its proximity insane, eventually driving them to murder. Then, it spreads a virus that corrupts the bodies of its victims and mutates them into these beasts.

Ghastly as it all is, another little innovation was added to the combat. The resilient Necromorphs have to be killed by a technique known as ‘strategic dismemberment,’ meaning that you must slice away their limbs to destroy them. Mmm, yummy.

On top of that, Isaac is an engineer, not a badass supersoldier with rippling pecs and so on. As such, he’s mostly armed with improvised weaponry, a rock-boring handheld laser for instance. This lends an oddly ‘vicious’ edge to encounters which isn’t always found in games.

Another thing Dead Space does very well is maintain that oppressive atmosphere. As TPS-y and bullets-flying-every-damn-where-y as it is, that’s tempered by a psychological aspect. Some genuinely creepy moments ensue with survivors of the incident (none of whom survive for long), in inaccesible areas you can only watch from.

Dead Space, I think, combines the immediate jump scares with a deeper sense of lingering dread, and it’s very effective. The developers aren’t named Visceral Games for nothing.

The VGamerZ Monster Files: Necromorphs (Dead Space)

Dead Space

The futuristic, dystopian survival horror of Dead Space broke new ground upon release in 2008. It followed in the wake of Resident Evil 4, which pretty well marked the moment that the series/genre went gung ho and actiontacular. Remember Alice doing her slow-mo Matrix jump and kicking that dog in the face in the movie? That’s what Resident Evil looks like now, for better or worse.

The very mention of the fifth or sixth game causes great tidal waves of bile and fury across the internet, for that very reason. But what Dead Space did was nothing short of miraculous: keeping that gun-totin’ spirit while still retaining enough of the good ol’ fashioned horror.

Central to this was the creation of the Necromorphs. Hold on to your undercrackers, we’re going to meet them.

These hideous buggers are a step above your standard zombies in the ‘ew’ stakes. There are, granted, reanimated human corpses, but it’s a little deeper than that. They are born through exposure to the Markers, mysterious alien artifacts which spread a sort of infection to those with whom they come into contact. This causes a ghastly kind of mutation, in which claws grow from unusual places, skin turns inside out and even grandma doesn’t love you any more. A grisly fate indeed.

GAH!
GAH!

With their transformation complete, these beasts’ only thought is to spread the enigmatic ‘infection’ and create as many dead bodies as possible for this purpose. By, unsurprisingly, killing everybody and anybody right in the face. With death.

The bog standard Necromorph foot soldier is the Slasher, with its ghastly scythe-arms and tiny mutant hands growing from its stomach and such. These guys aside, they come in all kind of ghastly flavours. They range from horrific tumour-things which fire acid at you from shadowy corners to exploding baby-bombs. It’s all kinds of nasty.

Just to add to the fun, Dead Space introduced the ‘strategic dismemberment’ system. This meant you must blast off limbs to deal any real significant damage to some opponents. Couple with the improvised-mining-tools nature of your weaponry, it’s a brutal experience.