Leap year does little to pad the inevitable death of Earth’s second month, and with March quickly approaching it’s time to discuss inaccurately labeled “free” games on Xbox and Playstation platforms.
Let’s hit Playstation first, since it’s the list I have pulled up in the next Chrome tab.
March is an interesting month for PSN Plus subscribers, as it’s the first time in a while where absolutely none of the titles support cross-buy. With PSN Plus typically giving away smaller indie titles, and as someone who prefers playing these types of games on his Vita, this is disappointing to say the least.
Sony held a poll that allowed their subscribers to vote which one of three games would appear in March’s PSN Plus line-up, which Broforce won–beating out co-op shooter Assault Android Cactus (which was my vote) and butt-sliding runner Action Henk. At least both of them will be offered at a 30% discount between March 8th-21st.
Broforce is a 2D shoot-em-up with an 80’s aesthetic, so if you’re in to campy action films and muscly meatheads, you’ll have a good time. I never got around to playing the game on PC, even during its free period, so I’ll definitely check it out. Nostalgia-laden comedy games don’t usually hold my interest, as the novelty wears off pretty quick, but as a child of the 80’s I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the least bit curious.
Galak-Z is an anime-inspired roguelike that drops players in to a top-down Macross-style dogfight. Your highly agile ship can also transform in to a destructive mech with a giant laser sword, so there’s that to look forward to.
I followed Galak-Z during its development cycle. Its retro anime style and flashy explosions seemed rad, but there was always one thing turning me away: it’s a roguelike. Dying means starting over, which is never a selling point for me, so I ended up passing when it eventually landed on PS4 last year. Now is the chance, I suppose.
- Super Stardust HD
- The Last Guy
Super Stardust HD was already offered for free as a “my bad!” after the great PSN outage of 2011, but if you were fortunate enough to avoid that entire fiasco, now is your chance to check out a pretty fantastic shmup (am I the only one noticing a pattern this month?).
The Last Guy, for those unfamiliar, is a fairly old 2008 indie in which the player roams around a top-down city, collecting survivors. I remember playing it when I got my PS3 in 2011 and hating every minute of it. Enjoy.
- Flame Over
- Reality Fighters
Flame Over is a twin-stick roguelike (yes, another one) where you alternate between using a water hose and an extinguisher to put out fires… as the name implies. According to Destructoid’s review, it’s pretty damn difficult.
Using the Vita’s camera to attach your face to a virtual combatant, Reality Fighters looks… well, awful, and holds a sweet 54/100 on Metacritic and an even sweeter 3.7/10 user score. In 2012, the Official Playstation Magazine referred to it as “nothing more than a basic arcade scrapper,” awarding it a 5/10. Please contain your excitement.
I don’t think I’ll be downloading either Vita game next month, “free” or not.
As always, Xbox One will receive four games in March, thanks to its Xbox 360 backwards compatibility feature.
- Lords of the Fallen
- Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment
- Supreme Commander 2 (360)
- Borderlands (360)
Lords of the Fallen is a bit of an odd choice, as the game’s Digital Deluxe Edition just released last week for $44.99. The DLC is nothing to write home about, but the game as a whole is a worthy homage to From Software’s Souls series.
It lacks any form of aesthetic customization, so you’re forced in to playing a beefy brute of a man smothered in prison-quality face tats, but there are different classes and spells that let you carve out your own play-style.
I really enjoyed what I played of it–it’s atmospheric and challenging, although significantly easier than the Souls games–and highly recommend checking it out if you’re a fan of action RPGs.
Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment is a crime solving adventure game staring a Sherlock that isn’t Benedict Cumberbatch. This was offered over a year ago as a PSN Plus freebie, but I never got around to playing it. It seems to be a point-and-click style adventure game, similar to The Walking Dead or Life is Strange, but I could be wrong.
Borderlands needs no explanation; if you’ve followed video games for the last 7 years or so, you know exactly what it is. It’s one of my personal favorite co-op games of all time, and by supporting backwards compatibility you’ll be able to play with your friends, even if they’ve yet to move on from their Xbox 360.
Finishing up the well-rounded Xbox Games With Gold list is the RTS Supreme Commander 2, which surprisingly retails for $29.99 on Xbox Live. RTS is definitely not my genre of choice, but it’s nice to see some diversity here instead of a list of shmups and roguelikes. Well played, Xbox. Well played.
Anything interest you next month?