By Protome 15 Comments
E3 was a let-down in a lot of ways this, but some great things got announced among the disappointing non-games. One such announcement came in the form of a revamp of Playstation Plus for Ps3 users.
PS+ is a subscription service which Sony created to encourage users to visit the playstation store more often and purchase games, it intended to do this by giving weekly discounts on various games and monthly "free" games which users would lose access to when their subscription lapsed. Often these games would be worth significantly more than the subscription's cost, including such great games as Wipeout HD and Shatter, and occasionally brand new PSN titles would be given away for free to users at their launch, most recently this occurred with Awesomenauts. The typical month would include 2 PSN titles, 2 minis and 1 PSone title however this is what Sony has announced they are changing, starting this month.
The new Playstation Plus will still cost the same price (£11.99 for 3 months) but now instead of offering a couple of games a month when you first subscribe you will ALWAYS receive 10 games, made up of PSN games and digital copies of full retail games. So, how does it work? Well, each month there will be 10 free games, however 7 of them will be carried over into the next month with 3 of them being changed up with new titles. This will mean overall subscribers are getting less content each month, but it will be theoretically of a higher quality. Whereas before users would be recieving minis which they probably never played and PS1 "Classics" which often weren't impressive, now they should be receiving much higher quality PSN and retail releases.
So is the new PS+ a good deal?
Well, it's too soon to tell in a lot of ways. This new system will only work if Sony can keep giving great games every month, otherwise long-term subscribers will get shafted while new ones don't. It's possible that a lot of subscriptions could lapse and return 3-4 months later when most of the 10 games which existed around their subscription time had completely changed. Allowing them to pay less for the same content as continuing subscribers. This is assuming that Sony replaces games in order, it's probable that to avoid this very issue some games will remain in the list for longer than others. But it's too soon to tell! all I can tell you is that the first round of games is great.
Outland - An indie platformer which uses a colour-shifting mechanic similar to Ikaruga while also blending some metroid-vania exploration into the mix. This game was initially scheduled to come out during the PSN crash of last year and as such a lot of people missed this challenging and fun game.
Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath - First coming out on the Original Xbox, this game was a departure from the usual platforming fair of the Oddworld games. Instead it's a hybrid of third person action and first person shooting with an open world where you play a bounty hunter hunting the wierd inhabitants of Oddworld. I'll be honest I had never even heard of this game till PS+, but it's a lot of fun.
Motorstorm Apocalypse - One of the biggest first party IPs Sony has, Motorstorm is established as one of the best racing series. Apocalypse maintains the fantastic driving and track designs the series is known for, but it has a short single-player with and awful story which lets it down a bit. Still a really good game for multiplayer however.
Darksiders - Imagine Zelda, but with Devil may cry combat and a far better story. Got that? Okay, now take the usual bad Zelda sidekick/companions and replace them with MARK FUCKING HAMILL that's right, Luke Skywalker and the best voice of Joker. That's basically Darksiders in a nutshell. I'm underselling it quite a bit, but trust me, Darksiders is nothing short of amazing.
Warhammer 40k: Space Marine - A third person shooter with no cover system (yay!) and an incredibly basic melee combat system (boo!) which is required to be used to regain health (boo!). I'll admit, I've not played much of this game yet, but so far it seems to be the weakest of the bunch.
Renegade Ops - From the makers of Just Cause 2 comes a top-down shooter with a heavy co-op focus where you blow up so many things. I mean like, a LOT of things. It's insane and fun in the same way as Just Cause 2 while also having a crazy amount of depth.
Infamous 2 - If you like comic books and haven't played the Infamous series you are missing out. Suckerpunch's open world series sees you playing as Cole, a regular dude turned super/anti hero as you fight bad guys and monsters and stuff. Infamous 2's story goes very X-men at times, but has some unique and genuinely great plot twists of its own. It also has some of the best building-climbing mechanics around and some great combat too. Definitely worth playing.
LittleBigPlanet2 - So, as a game LBP2 isn't that great. The jumping is a bit floaty, the stock levels are okay but nothing memorable. But that's not the point of LBP2. The insanely intuitive and easy to use level editor and the creations you can download from online are, and they make the game well worth sinking a lot of time into. Also, Stephen Fry narrates. Need I say more?
Virtua Fighter 5 - A series which has become strangely niche recently, virtua fighter is still one of the most interesting fighting games around. It takes quite a bit of time to get the hang of though compared to some other fighters. I'm not very good at it, but I find it fun.
Chime Superdeluxe - I'll be honest, this is the one game here which I don't really like much. I'll admit that Chime is a good game, with some really good music, but I never really got into its style of puzzling. But maybe you will! I don't know!
On top of all this, subscribers this month seem to recieve all of last months content too which included 9 PSN games, most of which were mediocre. But Awesomenauts and mushroom wars were in it and they were Great!
So do I advise you to buy PS+ this month? maybe. If you haven't played even one of the games available in the relaunch then you'll be saving money to buy 3 months of PS+, the issue is if you don't finish them in those 3 months you'll be needing to resubscribe to play them more. Usually the discounts offered by PS+ are enough to help you balance out the cost but there are none that I can see this month, which is a disappointment.
Whether more than 3 months of subscription is justified right now is a mystery however. If Sony fails to keep the quality of games high and varied then PS+'s value is going to decrease dramatically. All we can do is wait and see. And play games.