Games With Gold, PS Plus Freebies For January 2017

Gold

With one of the worst years possibly ever behind us, the dawn of a new era (not really) has begun and with it comes more free games from Sony and Microsoft respectively.

Can they make up for all of the tragedies of 2016? Certainly not. Can they help us forget the truth if only for a moment? you bet.

Here are the January PS Plus offerings with a video briefly showing only two of the five freebies.

  • Day of the Tentacle Remastered – PS4 (Cross-buy on Vita)
  • This War Of Mine: The Little Ones – PS4
  • Blazerush – PS3
  • The Swindle – PS3 (Cross-buy on PS4 and PS Vita)
  • Azkend 2 – PS Vita
  • Titan Souls – PS Vita(Cross-buy on PS4)

Gotta hand it to Sony for their first offering of 2017. While Azkend 2 and Blazerush won’t exactly make you jump with excitement, having a cult classic like Day of the Tentacle, one of the best remasters possibly ever, and a tonally opposite survival game, This War Of Mine is quite a nice choice for the headliners.

I’ve wanted to try out This War Of Mine for quite a while due to all of the praise surrounding the game so this is a perfect opportunity to be miserable in a bleak world. Especially when you can wash away the grime with something as colourful and vibrant as Day of the Tentacle. 

Here are the Games With Gold offerings with a proper video. Please take note, Sony.

    • World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap – Xbox One
    • Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra Edition – Xbox One
    • The Cave – Xbox 360
    • Rayman Origins – Xbox 360

I’m not sure I’m entirely on board with Microsoft’s offerings this month, though I cannot deny the positives of the bunch here.

It’s an excellent move for them to provide Gold subscribers with Killer Instinct Season 2, considering that Season 1 was free in the past. It’s a nice way to make us revisit a previously free game that might’ve been sitting there collecting dust for a while.

I am also quite a huge fan of tower defense games for what it is worth. And despite Van Helsing suffering from severe slowdown and some awful UI, it’s a pretty fun game to play while you listen to podcasts or music.

Rayman Origins is a nice finisher to the month, as it is a gorgeous platformer with some neat ideas on show.

Kim Wu Revealed for Killer Instinct: Season 3

The first official Killer Instinct tournament, Killer Instinct World Cup, is taking place this weekend and the festivities kicked off with a look at how all the characters will be changing in the third season.  Every character is going to be rebalanced with an increased emphasis on juggling overall.  Spinal and Maya will receive the biggest changes with reworks to some of their abilities.  Spinal will no longer drain his opponent’s instinct and shadow meter with his curses and will instead only lock them, while his skull projectiles will now deal less damage but will bounce back and forth across the screen until Spinal is attacked or if Spinal reabsorbs them.  Maya has a new ability that has her daggers float above the opponents head and attack until they run out of preloaded charges or Maya is attacked.

The biggest announcement was a glimpse at the new characters joining the roster in Season Three.  Along with Rash from Battletoads, the classic KI fighter Kim Wu will be making her long awaited return.  Kim Wu is a South Korean martial artist proficient in nunchaku and hasn’t been seen since Killer Instinct Gold on the Nintendo 64.  Originally, Kim Wu lived 2000 years in the past and entered the plot after a time portal opened at the end of the first KI.  Like Maya, her backstory has been changed to omit time travel in the Xbox One reboot.  Now, Kim Wu is a young fashionista who is chosen by a dragon to save the world from the arrival of the demon Gargos, who has been heavily hinted at being the final boss of Season 3.  She still wields her signature nunchaku, which can be spun endlessly to deter opponents and deflect projectiles.  Kim Wu is currently playable on location for attendees at the World Cup and PAX South.  You can see her in action with her official reveal trailer here.

Along with Kim Wu and Rash, it has already been announced that the sword-wielding barbarian Tusk will be returning in Season 3.  How these characters will be represented in this fresh take on the series is still a mystery.  This leaves Eyedol, the final boss from the original Killer Instinct, as the only remaining classic character for the reboot to bring back.  Season 3 will launch for Xbox One and PC this March.

You can check out the livestream for the Killer Instinct World Cup here.  Are you excited for Killer Instinct: Season 3?  With almost all of the veterans covered, what new character types do you hope to see introduced to Killer Instinct?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Why I Love Killer Instinct (Despite Never Playing It)

Killer

I don’t own an Xbox One.  I’ve never played the new Killer Instinct.  I have no nostalgia for the old Killer Instinct.  I’ve never been that good at fighting games.  In spite of all of that, there is still something I find oddly magnetizing about the new Killer Instinct game.  I’m happy to see its success and I’m curious to see how the game evolves over time.  It’s a bit of a bizarre situation to be in, but the combination of the game’s history and presentation paints a clear picture as to why I have such a fondness for a game that I may never play for myself.

For one, it’s a classic underdog story with its original developer, Double Helix.  Prior to making Killer Instinct, Double Helix was a fairly infamous shovelware developer known for releasing low-quality titles based on existing franchises.  Prior to KI, their most critically acclaimed game, if you can call it that, was Silent Hill Homecoming, which is considered one of the worst games in the series and the point where the franchise truly started to recede.  This is also the studio responsible for such infamous licensed garbage as Battleship, the first-person shooter based on the alien invasion film based on the naval strategy board game, that had the audacity to sell itself at full price despite only having five weapons and fours hours worth of mediocre-at-best gameplay.

When Double Helix was first announced to be developing the long awaited return of KI, it set off alarms for quite a few people, especially when they said that they were going to use a free-to-play model for the game.  This could have easily been another failure for the company, but they instead delivered what remains one of the Xbox One’s most touted exclusives.  I think the decision to approach the game with a free-to-play model did them a massive service as it gave them a more flexible schedule to develop each individual character over time rather than try to rush the entire roster out in time for the launch of the Xbox One.  Strict release dates and an inability to properly plan out and sharpen their games may have been what led them through such a sordid history and KI finally let them break that cycle.  Even after finishing KI’s first season of content and passing development onto Iron Galaxy Studios, Double Helix proved that they weren’t a one-trick pony with their equally acclaimed reboot of Capcom’s Strider.  Double Helix’s story is an inspirational one showing that anyone, no matter how far they have fallen, can successfully pick themselves up and do something great.

However, for as admirable as Double Helix’s journey is, that alone wouldn’t be enough to keep me curious about the future of the game itself even after they have moved on.  What’s kept me hooked on KI was the appeal it has as a spectator sport.  I may have never been good at fighting games, but they’ve always been fascinating for me.  While I’m sure I would be terrible playing KI, I like to watch more skilled players at work.  The gorgeous animations and effects make every combo a feast for the eyes.  If the visuals weren’t enough, the dynamic music heightens the thrill to its peak.  Just for that, I’m as anxious as any hardcore fan to see the upcoming Aganos join the roster or to learn the backstory and playstyle of the recently teased ghost girl.  I hope to see the game continue to succeed and have a bright future ahead of it.  It’s an interesting example of the effect that streaming and Let’s Plays can have on a game and how they can widen an audience even beyond the actual players.