PS+ Delivers Avalanche of Free Titles in March: FF7, Remnant, PS5 Debut
Sometimes, it’s tough not to outright compare the free games made available on Sony’s PS+ program to the other subscription services. Not even in a title-by-title way, but just whether one’s really doing something better than the others in a given month or series of months. This is one time, however, where a little emphasis on the leader of the pack is merited: while their competition has offered a cluster of unremarkable, not-so-great reviewed freebies for the month of March, Sony has packed its offerings to the gills with what its subscribers want to see.
There’s a monumental AAA title, a brand-new game for their latest generation console, a worthy additional third-person sci-fi shooter and an intriguing, if streamlined VR experience waiting to be downloaded. As one service languishes, the other thrives. Let’s take a closer look, but it’s worth remembering to head over and Grab a 1-Year Subscription to PlayStation Plus at Amazon before doing so.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
For a long time, asking for a remastering for Final Fantasy VII stood right alongside Half-Life 3 as one of those things that gamers endlessly joked about never getting … yet they really, really wanted underneath the meme culture. A graphically overhauled version for the PlayStation 2 was teased early in the 2000s, so it’s not like the desire came out of nowhere. However, plans to potentially follow through with the remake kept getting pushed, ultimately getting to a point on later consoles where it became unclear whether a remastering or an actual remake would be both more desirable and doable.
Then, this new Final Fantasy VII experience was finally announced some decade and a half later. As the anticipation began to mount, it became clear which direction Square Enix would go: it would be a definite remake with contemporary battle mechanics, an expanded narrative, and, most importantly, parts split into several games. Purists who want a cleaned-up version of the original experience might feel let down to come so close and not get what they wanted, but the immense retelling has otherwise put both critics and players under its spell, transforming the beloved story of Midgar into one for the modern era.
Remnant: From the Ashes
Whenever a successful developer takes a break from making a popular style of game for a while, even just a few years, competitors will move into the space in hopes of providing a fix during that absence. Players of the Dark Souls and Bloodborne line of games kept their eyes open for alternatives after Dark Souls III wrapped up, In slips Remnant: From the Ashes, developed by Darksiders III makers Gunfire Games, which draws together those dungeon survival strategies with third-person shooting aspects.
The world in Remnant: From the Ashes has been besieged by a hostile interdimensional force known as the Root, driving humanity underground for survival. Through a landscape that blends apocalypse with overgrowth not unlike a hybrid of The Last of Us and Darksiders, the customized character – or characters, as two others can join – navigates through the ruins of society and portals to dimensions for an answer to the threat, armed with either firearms, melee weapons, or a combo of both. There’s a familiar Doom-like wackiness to the story and setting, and both critics and players have favorably compared the ever-changing variety of encounters and strategic gameplay to its inspirations.
When I hear the name Annapurna, my kneejerk response is always to think of their body of work in the film industry, which includes a lot of engaging, immersive, thought-provoking movies. The titles that come out of their video game publishing division run on about the same wavelength, whether they’re supporting the developers directly or simply getting engaging games from other platforms out to their audience. Maquette belongs in the former category, developed by Graceful Decay under their umbrella and debuting through PS+.
The premise of Maquette involves a mechanic that’s been used in countless other games, in which the main character has a model replica of a room or space and then moves things around in the model, which in turn moves things around in the real-life version of the space. The goal here is to move obstacles around on the map to solve environment puzzles, not unlike Pneuma or Myst, but in doing so Maquette also aims to tell an expressive story about the layers of personal relationships.
Sometimes, it takes a few straightforward of games to make the most significant progress in new video game technology. Farpoint offers little beyond being a standard alien-planet shooter, in which the player explores the world on which they’ve crash-landed in pursuit of their team members. Armed with a firearm that’s capable of being controlled with the PS Aim peripheral, the players treks through the exploration prompts of Farpoint, where the shooting gameplay has been critiqued for not being much more than an interactive vehicle for the VR experience. But, critics and players both seem to think it’s worth the trip just for the immersion.