PS Plus, Games With Gold Freebies For February 2016

Now that I own an Xbox One, I feel that I can adequately cover news related to that specific platform, which has, unsurprisingly, opened up many new avenues for me.

I’ve decided to start doing the freebies of the month again, now with the added bonus of Games With Gold to sweeten the deal.

With that said, here are the freebies for PS Plus.

 

  • Grid Autosport – PS3
  • Helldivers: Democracy Strikes Back – PS4, PS3, PS Vita
  • Lemmings Touch – PS Vita
  • Nom Nom Galaxy – PS4
  • Nova-111 – PS Vita
  • Persona 4 Arena Ultimax – PS3

I’m loving this line-up. While the last few months haven’t been outstanding, receiving the absolutely bonkers Nom Nom Galaxy and the ultra tight Helldivers seems like a pretty good deal. I wanted to spend 20 minutes learning Nom Nom Galaxy, and I ended up playing for twelve hours straight. Seriously. It’s that addictive.

And for Games With Gold, here are the games for the month.

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  • Hand of Fate – Xbox One
  • Styx: Master of Shadows – Xbox One
  • Sacred Citadel – Xbox 360
  • Gears of War 2 – Xbox 360

From the revered Gears of War 2 to the underrated stealth action game Styx, this is probably the best month for Games With Gold that I’ve personally seen in my short time as an Xbox owner.

Remember, you can download the 360 games on your Xbox One via backwards compatibility, so don’t miss out!

 

Hand of Fate Adds Fourth Free Holiday DLC

Defiant Development, creators of the deck-building/rouge-like/RPG/brawler hybrid Hand of Fate, has been celebrating the holiday season with free DLC updates to the game.  The fourth and final of these updates, Descent into the Underworld, was recently released on Steam.  This update adds a new set of missions to shuffle into your campaigns based on journeying into the underworld and battling against a new enemy type called the Hell Beast.  Hell Beasts are reskins of the ratmen enemies with more health, but don’t deal poison damage.  It won’t just be combat Along with new events, there is also plenty of new equipment to obtain.

The previous free updates in this holiday set were Winters Hunt, The White Council, and Halls of the Goblin King.  Winters Hunt tasked players with tracking the fearsome White Minotaur boss.  The White Council set players against a band of mages to disrupt their rituals and break their hold over the locals.  Halls of the Goblin King focuses on dungeon-crawling over combat with raiding trap-filled dungeons to help the unlucky Mr. Lionel with his woes.  While Descent into the Underworld is the last of this collection of free DLC, Defiant Development has released free DLC for Hand of Fate before this set with the Murder at Sea update and there may still be more in the future.  Hand of Fate is available for PC, Mac, Linux, Playstation 4, and Xbox One, but the free updates will not be added to the console versions.

It’s been a good year for free content in video games.  Along with Hand of Fate, many major releases have been willing to add free DLC to keep players coming back, such as The Witcher 3, Splatoon, and Grand Theft Auto V.  What are some of your favorite free content updates?  Will Descent into the Underworld have you delving into Hand of Fate?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

New Maps and Characters for Overwatch Will Be Free

Jeff Kaplan, the director of Blizzard’s upcoming FPS Overwatch, released a video on the official Overwatch Youtube channel addressing several community concerns and detailing their plans for addressing these issues.  First and foremost was the matter of new maps and playable characters being added to the game over time.  This has been the greatest concern players have had over Overwatch as the game relies heavily on changing characters mid-game and locking off certain characters with paywalls would create a serious balancing problem.  Fortunately, Blizzard has decided that they will release all new characters and maps in free updates rather than use any type of DLC model.  It’s certainly a bold move, but hopefully it will prove the smart choice for the game in the long run.  Kaplan also mentions that some of the upcoming characters they have in the works already have Easter eggs hidden in some of the maps.

Kaplan also discussed various minor updates in the works for the game.  These include the options to turn the in-game music and kill-cam off.  They are also working on improving the HUD to provide more information on which players are dead and improvements to the results screen.  The end-game cards will be rebalanced to better highlight the best players in a round and there will be improvements to the “on-fire” system.  In Overwatch, on-fire refers to a player having a strong streak and the developers plan to adapt the system to better highlight the biggest threats on a team.

You can check out the full video discussing these topics here.  What are your thoughts on these developments for Overwatch?  What lingering concerns do you still have with the game?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

 

Playstation Plus: Games of July 2014

Games

It’s that time of the month again. Sony has revealed its line-up for the free games catalogue to all Playstation Plus users across all Sony platforms.

With hits like Strider and Muramasa Rebirth as freebies this month, this might be 2014’s best offering on free games so far.

Unfortunately hen you have an influx of random titles throughout the months, games like Towerfall Ascension are easy to forget or miss. This is why services like Playstation Plus and hopefully Games With Gold are so great.

Playstation 4
  • Towerfall Ascension

TowerFall Ascension is the definitive version of the hit archery combat game. Inspired by classics from the golden age of couch multiplayer, it’s a local party game centering around hilarious, intense versus matches. The core mechanics are simple and accessible, but hard to master and combat is fierce. Loot treasure chests for game-changing power-ups, master the art of catching arrows out of the air, or descend on your foes and stomp them into submission. TowerFall is best played competitively with friends, cross-legged on the floor within punching distance of each other.

  • Strider

Strider returns in a brand new adventure, complete with incredible side-scrolling action, and lightning fast combat all in a massive interconnected world! Download the full game now and become the original assassin!”

Playstation 3
  • Dead Space 3

Dead Space 3 brings Isaac Clarke and merciless soldier John Carver on a journey across space to discover the source of the Necromorph outbreak. Crash-landed on the frozen planet of Tau Volantis, Isaac must comb the harsh environment for raw materials and scavenged parts. He will then put his engineering skills to the ultimate test to create and customize weapons and survival tools. Play together with a friend or alone as Isaac Clarke using the seamless new drop in, drop out co-op functionality. Each mode offers unique story elements and gameplay.”

  • Vessel

Vessel is built on an optimized liquid simulation featuring flowing water, scalding lava and steam, reactant chemicals, glowing goo, the mysterious ‘protoplasm’, and more. Each liquid has unique properties and mixes with other liquids for dramatic effects.

Playstation Vita
  • Muramasa Rebirth

From master video game developer Vanillaware comes Muramasa Rebirth, an action RPG that blends the vibrant and beautiful world of Japanese mythology and high flying, fast-paced action! Enter a world where demon, samurai and other deadly enemies vie to destroy you as you search for the fabled Demon Blades. Become the possessed princess Momohime, as you travel West, or the fugitive ninja Kisuke, as you travel East, through mythical Japan battling anyone who stands in your way.

  • Doki-Doki Universe

Embark on a journey with QT3 to discover humanity and engage with bizarre characters to learn more about them, and hopefully, learn more about yourself along the way.

As always, head on over to the official Playstation blog to get more information.

Free Games Roundup

Games

Over the past few days a bunch of games have become free through services like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold. But which games are worth your time? This is VgamerZ run down of thee free games and whether or not you should hit that download button. On Xbox 360, Dark Souls I is free, while Xbox One Gold Members get Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault. On the Playstation side PS4 Plus users can get the PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate and Trine 2 and PS3 Plus members can get NBA 2K14. Also on PS3 anyone with a US PSN account can download Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (But this may be an error, so act fast). Back on PS4, Free-to-play title War Thunder rounds out the list of content available this week. With so many free games to get through, let’s get started.

Dark Souls I- Xbox 360

The spiritual sequel to Playstation exclusive Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls made the cult hit series a bit less cult. The game’s look evokes a paint by the numbers role-playing game, but the mechanics tell an entirely different story. A lot of people say Dark Souls is hard, and it is, the difficulty doesn’t come from frustrating cheap shots and random encounters. The difficulty of Dark Souls comes from it’s requirement of precision. Every section of the game can be memorized and beaten with the proper execution, it just takes time to gain the precision required. The process for learning the varying levels can be tedious to some and rewarding to others, so if you are interested in a giant game where every section is a trial, then give Dark Souls a download. Even if it doesn’t sound like your type of game I encourage everyone to test drive the game, it is rare to find a game as rewarding as Dark Souls with the same length and solid combat.

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Max: The Curse of Brotherhood- Xbox One

As one of the first Xbox One Games with Gold offer’s, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood may not seem like a compelling offer. The games quirky art style and story certainly don’t appeal to everyone, but if you can get past that then the gameplay is solid. The game focus’s on Max’s quest to get his brother back by jumping and climbing his way through deserts,  jungles and caves. Max uses a magic ‘magic marker’ to change the environment, growing pillars and lowering vines. The game has a very strong shift from beginning to end, changing from platformer to puzzler slowly but surely. For fans of colorful games that are fine and suitable for kids be sure to check Max out, but if cheesy humor and puzzle/platforming isn’t up your alley I might skip it.

MAX

Halo: Spartan Assault- Xbox One

The latest entry into the Halo series, Spartan Assault is at best a decent time. For fans of the franchise and twin stick shooters, there may even be something here. For those who don’t, the title feels like a mobile title. Without the story or gameplay to keep you hooked, there is really a drought of ‘fun’ in the experience. With very mobile game/Free-to-Play things like micro-transactions, even when the game opens up a bit with larger levels and more story certain aspects never fail to remind you where this game is from. There are some genuine moments of fun, but they are so few and far between that unless Halo AND twin stick shooters are your jam I can’t recommend it.

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PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate- PS4

The new bundle of the classic PS3 games makes it’s debut on the PS4. 2D and twin stick, PixelJunk is a shooter/arcade game with a huge emphasis on fluid physics. The levels are short, maybe 5 minutes long, and consist of getting in, grabbing as many stranded people and pieces of treasure as possible, and getting out. The controls make maneuvering your ship around lava and enemies a fun experience while many games make it a chore. The lava and water are two of the games biggest aspects, as using the liquids to get through a level becomes essential early on. The different aspects of each level combine to form the arcade like experience of trying to get as many resources as you can as quickly as you can. The game also features online play where to ships go head to head trying to rescue the stranded first. PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate is fun for almost everybody, especially those that enjoy old arcade games. If time limits and in-the-moment strategy aren’t something your looking for, then PixelJunk may be a skip.

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Trine 2- PS4

The Trine games are out for almost every platform in existence, but that doesn’t mean the game is any worse for it. Trine 2’s visuals are deep and colorful even though often it can be cluttered. The three character dynamic is used often and to great results, allowing players to take some control in how the puzzles are solved and the gameplay transforms. Throughout the game players balance and switch between the characters in order to pass puzzles and platform through the levels. The story is a bit throw away, with very one note characters and a world that is every fantasy world somehow rolled into one bland package. The co-op features do make for a bit more interesting time, but only due to thee players interactions and not a meaningful difference in how puzzles are solved. If platformers and co-op sound fun definitely go get Trine, but if fantasy and puzzles are not up your alley then move right along.

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NBA 2K14- PS3

The premier basketball franchise impressed everyone this year with a suite of new modes and in many cases eye popping visuals. While the last-gen version’s may not be AS drop dead gorgeous when compared to this gen’s, the game itself has more interesting modes and features. The Lebron James centric story mode won’t knock anyone’s socks off, but it’s a solid entry into the franchise for the uninitiated. Playing through the franchise mode is dynamic, offering a suite of tools and options to provide a fairly complex sim. On-the-court action is smooth and refined, allowing players to make snap decision and follow through with a game saving block or last second shot. NBA 2K14 is a must for fans of basketball and sports friends in general, but by now you probably know whether the 2K series is for you, so act accordingly.

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Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception- PS3

The Naughty Dog team proved with Uncharted 3 that they weren’t one hit wonders. After Uncharted 1 was considered fun but flat and 2 blew everyone away, Naughty Dog left critics and gamers wondering if they could do it again. The proof is in the pudding as they say, and after Uncharted 3 released there was no doubting the studio’s talent. The 3rd person shooter has taken up the video game Indiana Jones spot, fusing some of the best stories with a loose gameplay that fits the tone perfectly. Now for a limited time you can have the game for free, so be sure and take advantage if action games and treasure hunting appeals to you.

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War Thunder- PS4

War Thunder started out as a PC exclusive plane fighting sim, but the Free-to-play title  has now flown over to PS4. The downloadable seems to have solved the problem plaguing many games on how to make aerial combat enjoyable, accessible and  still complex enough to require mastering. Flying through the sky’s in old WWII era planes looks great, and the variety of planes and ground units is large. After picking a side players set out to destroy targets and kill planes on huge teams made up of PS4 and PC players alike. The best part of War Thunder is it’s distinctness from everything else available right now. The unique gameplay and quick pickup make it the perfect free-to-play title, and one that is definitely worth a download.

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The games for this week are a great selection across genre’s and consoles, with great deals for everyone. Hopefully this article spread a little light on what each game was about, but in reality if you have the service then I recommend going ahead and downloading the game’s. Which game do you think is the best and why? Leave your answers in the comments below.

Update:

Since posting this article, Steam has hopped on  the free game bandwagon. If you head over to Valve’s PC platform right now you can get Sniper Elite V2 absolutely free. The 3rd person shooter is a generic WWII sniper centric game, but the gimmick of  X-Ray kills make it one worth checking out. Hurry, as it gains a price-tag in less than 24 hours.