PS+ Free Games Crash Through May With Decent, Thrilling Assortment

By on May 17, 2021

The free games included with PS+ subscriptions for May probably aren’t going to be considered among the best lineups that the service has seen. One’s a racing game that’s more about demolition than the precision of a simulation, another’s a wartime shooter hit by controversy and meager sales, and the other’s a survival simulator that suffers from moments of dated game design.  Thing is, when compared to the competition, it’s actually a pretty terrific roster that includes suitable variety and prestige, catering to the new console generation with one title and delivering something from the AAA spectrum with another. Let’s take a closer look, and be sure to Grab a Year’s Subscription to PlayStation Plus from Amazon to take advantage of the goodies.

wreckfest ps


Wreckfest: Drive Hard, Die Fast

The mechanics of banger racing are largely the same as they are in standard racing environments, but interaction – read: collisions – between the other racers is not only encouraged, but a substantial part of the thrill. Unlike its close cousin demolition derby, it’s not a purely destructive medium, as maintaining control and reaching the finish line maintains its importance. Both banger racing and demolition derby represent a wilder side of racing amplified by the potency of crashes, going hand-in-hand in discussions even though the goals are vastly different. They both make for pretty exhilarating gaming frameworks, too.

Beginning on PC in 2018 and then moving to consoles shortly after, Wreckfest: Drive Hard, Die Fast brings both vehicular combat styles to the newest gen of consoles, currently as a timed PS5 exclusive.  The folks at Bugbear Entertainment — who previously developed the similarly themed game series FlatOut — have crammed plentiful game modes, vehicle customization, and a more grounded, yet explosive approach to racing physics into the experience. Coupled with the unique strategies of vehicular combat, it makes for a distinct racer that’s designed for escapist thrills.


Battlefield V

The Battlefield series has been kicking around for nearly 2 decades now, but in recent memory, the EA-controlled shooter franchise has become more renowned for its “controversies” than the quality of the games. While they’ve received scores that range from slightly above par to outright strong, there always seems to be technical glitches or a debate over accurate representation that dominate the conversation. Battlefield V could be seen as having the strongest pushback of the lot due to their inclusion of female playable characters in a World War II setting, which sparked debates about historical accuracy.

Underneath this controversy, Battlefield V delivers an experience that’s similar to other installments in the franchise but within the WWII context, producing a chapter-based FPS campaign that shifts between regions and several countries’ militaries. The success of these games hinges on the multiplayer aspects, though, and both critics and players have been left wanting in that regard, citing a lack of innovation in the game modes and an overall lower level of content than expected. Despite this, Battlefield V still earns praise for impressive audiovisual execution, tight controls, and entertaining multiplayer.

stranded ps

Stranded Deep

With it’s no longer as big of a part of pop-culture entertainment as it once was, the “castaway” thought exercise – “What would you do if you were stranded on an island with Person X or had to do Activity Y?” – keeps the concept fresh in a lot of minds. Stranded Deep fully explores the potential of this as a gameplay scenario, crashing the player onto a secluded island in the Pacific with a finite – yet generous – level of resources at their disposal. The goal? To survive, of course, and the folks at Beam Team Games have a lot of tricks up their sleeves to both give players what they need and generate further problems.

To make the experience fresh for each playthrough, Stranded Deep generates a new island and new challenges for the player to explore in each game that’s started. Crafting, exploration, and monitoring the character’s vitals are all critically important to getting through the experience on a session-by-session basis, which also operates underneath a daylight/weather cycle. Despite this cornucopia of simulation moving parts and heaps of potential, both critics and players feel like there’s just enough to Stranded Deep to keep it alive, without the visual appeal and updated gaming mechanics for it to thrive.

About Thomas Spurlin

Film, home-media, and videogame scribe who digs green tea and walking his dogs.

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