PlayStation Plus – March 2015 | First Contact

Wow! What an incredible month of value for PS+ subscribers if you have a PS4. Thanks to Cross-Buy you are getting a total of four games and they are all pretty damn awesome.

As usual I’ll order them by rank of how much I enjoyed them, but don’t take it to heart as it’s pretty damn difficult this time around as they are all great but very different.

Valiant

Valiant Hearts: The Great War (PS4)

I’ve put Valiant Hearts at the top as it’s be biggest surprise of them all on so many fronts. I’ve been looking at purchasing this game over and over again every time it popped up on my radar, but for some reason I never really got it. First off I heard it was about war…hardly my favourite topic. Then I would look into it and see the cartoony graphics and figure “meh” not really my kind of thing.

How wrong I was. Not only about the game, but about history in general as I realised very quickly how little I actually know about World War I…so much so I thought this game was about World War II before playing it.

Essentially this game is how history lessons should be taught and children should be educated, in which case we all would have taken history at school. Valiant Hearts is a puzzle game at it’s core in a platforming format. However the puzzles aren’t overly hard and it’s more about telling the story which is really what it’s all about.

Never did I feel unchallenged but at the same time never frustrated either. The game tells it’s rather factual story in cartoony almost comic book yet at the same time superbly realistic style. They’ve struck the balance perfectly with colourful but sombre tones that convey every little bit of emotion that war evokes.

I put this game at the top because it just left such a strong impression on me, when I didn’t expect anything from it. The good old don’t judge a book by it’s cover scenario.

  • A beautiful game telling an amazing story. Absolutely a must download at 1,2 GB.

OlliOlli

OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood (PS4/PS Vita)

I hate this game.

I hate it in the same way I’ve hated every single Trials game in that it’s just to quick and simple to try again and get sucked into failing over and over again for hours.

I never played the first game but I expect that it’s much of muchness regarding gameplay differences. It’s a 2D sidescrolling skateboarding game using the exact same formula as Trials…which is being as hard as nails while offering you multiple challenges per stage.

Those challenges are almost never impossible…they are just barely out of your reach which is utterly infuriating and yet that’s what makes the game so much fun.

It’s all about skill at the most basic level. There’s no aiming and shooting or doing anything that seems genuinely difficult like other games. Instead you do very simple movement combos with your left analog stick and you time pressing X when landing on various objects which is the real challenge as getting the timing perfect is what brings in the big scores.

It’s not just all about scores to complete challenges but also getting to specific places in the level or completing specific actions.

But failing is just so easy. Just completing a level without crashing is a challenge enough in itself, but managing ANY of the challenges later on is a feat in patience and concentration.

The game is very fast and even has a warning that you should put your TV in game mode. For this reason I always found it tough to play on the Vita but that also has to do with the very hard touch of the X button. Add to that the Cross-Save option failing on me for both platforms constantly I didn’t give the Vita much time at all. Really Sony you need to integrate the Cloud properly, this manual syncing business is prehistoric.

  • It’s crack cocaine, because it’s just just challenging enough to feel it’s possible. 133 MB

Oddworld

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty (PS4)

Otherwise known as Abe’s Oddysee as the rest of you will remember it.

Abe is a weird little dude from a 90’s platforming miracle and as I recall one of the first games to be rendered fully in 3D even though it uses a sidescrolling 2D view.

How do I put the AAA title of the month in third place? Well partly because I knew exactly what to expect not only having played the original but also having owned this one for quite a while. As such there was no surprises in store for me even though the game is spectacular.

It’s hard to call this one a remake or a reboot as it’s a little bit of both. At the core it is exactly the same game with updated graphics, except for one major change that does steal a little from the original’s memory but also makes it much more playable in the modern world.

Those who played the original with have fond memories and giggles of the Abe’s multi-screen deaths. Because the game loaded each and every area separately you would have these moments where for instance you would fall three stories and die, this didn’t happen in one smooth action because of the way the game worked so you would hear Abe go “aaaah-PAUSE-aaaah-PAUSE-aaaah-SPLAT” which in those days was pretty damn comical.

The new version of the game is a smooth loading all in wonder masterpiece, but sadly misses these inadvertent comical elements because of it. In a way the game is also more difficult for it, because many of the puzzles require specific timing. As you don’t have one screen to cover at a time you need to play these sections all in one go which adds a new challenge.

Another reason I didn’t put it right at the top is because I’ve had it since launch yet I haven’t completed it yet. I’m not sure if that’s just because I’ve done it all before or because it maybe just is as great to play in the modern world with so many other games fighting for my attention.

  • Definitely a must download! All grown up from a 700 MB CD to 4.5 GB

Papa

Papo & Yo (PS3)

Another book judged wrongly by it’s cover.

I’ve seen so many whispers about this game online. Always just whispers though and that’s why I never paid too much attention to what seemed to be a typical “kiddie” companion style game.

What a surprise then to find the very serious theme of child abuse at the heart of this title essentially from the word go. It starts off  in what appears to be the favelas of Brazil or something very close to it.

In it’s third person ICO-like platformer presentation it presents a very realistic game world which is subtly blended with the childlike wonder of a magical character that leads your main character on a path to escape. It’s hard to say if the game is meant for children as the puzzles are quite challenging yet at the same time the hints are also quite forthcoming with the solution.

The child abuse theme is carried throughout although quite subtly in the way the boy gets fantastical abilities in what are obviously transformations of his own toys or toys he might always have wanted.

It’s both a beautiful game from an artistic perspective but also not the prettiest technically as the PS3 is really on it’s last legs. I’ll definitely revisit the game as I find time to do so as the presentation was so intriguing.

  • At 975 MB I don’t think you would go wrong giving this one a try.

Counterspy

CounterSpy (PS4 / PS3 / PS Vita)

If you ever played Shadow Complex on the Xbox 360 and No One Lives Forever then Counterspy is the lovechild of those two games.

It’s a sidescrolling game with a spy (obviously) theme that doesn’t take itself too seriously by throwing in some comedy but without being too silly that it pretends to be Austin Powers.

Essentially you play one stage at a time and you try to unlock secret documents to hit a grand total that sees you finishing the game.

It’s not really a puzzle game as all you need to wonder about is where to go. Once you know where to go and how to approach things it’s more of an action shooter (when you choose to shoot that is) that just requires a little bit of forethought.

Since this is available on all three platforms you have all the choice in the world but I would say it’s best suited to the Vita.

A great game that I could see you spending many hours on…had it not been for all the other great games that came out this month.

  • Strangely large at 1.4 GB so only skip it if you have real bandwidth concerns.

Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishment (PS3)

It’s shit.

I could waste my time and go into deep detail about the poor graphics, the poor gameplay and the generally atrocious presentation but that would be a waste of my and your time.

Instead I’ll just summarize that when I play as Sherlock Holmes I expect to feel like a genius when putting myself in the shoes of the character. Yet somehow in this title I end up feeling retarded, which means it completely misses the mark.

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe there is a better game in there when you suffer through the first hour,  but I doubt it.

  • Don’t waste your bandwidth. 3.4 GB

 

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