On a whim, I signed up for PlayStation Plus, three months for $18. There are various perks, of basically three types: early access, discounts, and free stuff. The early access seems to carry the least weight, as I have seen no offers yet of early access to betas, demos, or whatnot, and honestly could not imagine being pants-peeing-ly excited about obtaining a sample of something a few days ahead of everyone else.
Discounts are a bit more concrete, yet can only be obtained (here’s the catch) if you give PlayStation more money. Most of the discounts available are for avatars and themes you can buy for your account, which are usually known by their street name: A Complete Waste of Your Money™. The only current discount of note is a reduced price on Portal 2 ($13.99 down from $19.99).
BUT WHAT DO I GET FOR FREE?
Well, you get a few things that don’t really matter: one GB of online cloud save storage, automatic system/game updates, and one-hour full game trials. The cloud storage basically backs up your saves, so if your hard drive crashes you can still go back and look at all the shit you collected in Fallout 3. The automatic updates basically turns your PS3 on, installs your updates, and then turns it off. Amazing? No. Helpful? Maybe. Did it keep turning itself back on one night for no apparent reason? Yes. As far as the one hour “Full Game Trial”, I have to say that the term is misleading, as it is inherently impossible to play the full game in one hour. More appropriate names: “Extended Trailer”, “Slightly Longer Demo”, and “Get Halfway through the First Tutorial/Opening Cinematic”. But there are a few actually free games, which I have categorized and describe thusly:
– Quantum Conundrum
This is a super-addictive story-driven puzzler. Why you should play it: reality-altering devices, a teleporting cat, and John de Lancie.
– Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game
A retro-styled side-scrolling beat ‘em up game. Good music, story, and characterization.
If Team Ico made Prince of Persia, the result would be something like Outland. The result is a solid platformer with quality art reminiscent of Braid.
– PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX
It. Is. Pac man.
– LittleBigPlanet 2
If you like the first one, you already know this game is _______. If you haven’t played LittleBigPlanet, it’s basically a Super Mario game where everything was made in a Hobby Lobby.
– Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One
Cartoon Adventure! Made for kids, but still an enjoyable game.
– inFAMOUS 2
I’ve renamed it Parkour Championship II. You climb buildings and shoot lightning. It’s not terrible.
– Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition
I’m just going to go ahead and assume that you’ve already heard the criticism about the game being racist. I’m only about two hours into the game, so my main criticism thus far is that the first main skirmish is lifted directly from RE4. Honestly, the game is kind of boring. UPDATE: I played about two more hours and have since abandoned it.
– King of Fighters XIII
It’s a fighting game. You fight people. That’s about it. Played for fifteen minutes, confirmed that I still do not like fighting games.
– Payday The Heist
If you spend an inordinate amount of time fantasizing about killing cops, then this is the game for you. Honestly, I could see what they were going for with this game, and building the game around co-op was a good idea, as well as necessary, because the computer AI is abysmal. Any focus on strategy or stealth is pointless, as the game inevitably devolves into a bloodbath. Oh, and do you like clown masks? Because there are clown masks. So if you wished you were a member of Slipknot with a penchant for murdering law enforcement personnel, wish granted.
– BloodRayne: Betrayal
Here’s the plot: somebody who liked the Castlevania games watched Blade and thought something like: “Hey, what if it was a goth girl instead and she fought the Nazis or something?” There’s not a whole lot to this game. Step one: hack. Step two: slash. Step three: play something else.
– Double Dragon Neon
An “update” of the classic side-scroller, it seems as if this game was designed by a group of 13-year-old boys. I played this game for 10-15 minutes and actually laughed out loud at how tacky and terrible this game was. It’s over-sexualized, one-dimensional, and ridiculous, but not in a good way. This is a case where they could have just ported the original and it would have been ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND TIMES BETTER.
Unnecessary Product Conclusion: I got a handful of playable games for less than twenty bucks. If you are not terribly particular about what you play, AND you’re just looking for games that are even somewhat enjoyable, AND you don’t have the games that PS Plus gives you for free, then I would recommend you give it a try.