PS+ Titles for September Cook Up a Party With Agent 47, Predator
This isn’t a month of PS+ titles that subscribers will really be talking about, one way or the other. A remastered compilation of party games for the token next-gen title, a middle sequel of a franchise, and a subpar-reviewed horror/shooter game designed for online competition? This doesn’t spark enthusiasm, but the nature of the games makes it so there’s still a degree of appreciation for what’s there. On the flipside, it’s a celebrated chaos puzzle game to try out with a family-friendly crowd, a sandbox stealth game with a recognizable AAA protagonist, and a 4-v-1 online battle with the Predator that’s probably worth a spin for anyone who perks up at the name of the classic horror antagonist.
Non-subscribers won’t be swayed, subscribers should find something to latch onto from the docket, and the PlayStation Plus cycle moves ahead another month without impacting the status quo. Let’s take a closer look, but before doing so, be sure to head over and Grab a 12-Month Membership to PS+ from Amazon to have access to the goodies (and online Predator shenanigans).
Overcooked: All You Can Eat! Edition
While it might be annoying for some to see, there’s a reason why certain family/party-friendly games are either repeatedly ported across systems or duplicated in sequel after sequel. Once a group knows that a game works for their style of playing, it’s bound to be played repeatedly for a long time after, and then the memories of playing it before will be jump-started with each new release. About a half decade ago, Overcooked served up a perfect example of this, a frantic action-puzzle game built around the chaos of making food in both relatively normal and incredibly outlandish situations. Reaching success with their recipe, the folks at Ghost Town Games followed it up with Overcooked 2, which delivers more of the same jubilant gameplay with a few new addons, notably online multiplayer.
The Overcooked games have been viewed so favorably as accessible co-op gaming that a remastered bundled release of them came out as a launch title for both new consoles, titled the “All You Can Eat” edition. Critics have pointed out that there isn’t much new meat on the bones of this re-release, as even the upscaling of graphics doesn’t seem to have a huge visual impact, but that doesn’t really matter much when there’s this much enjoyment to be found in the titles themselves.
The rebooted Hitman franchise has a messy history on the last generation of consoles, ranging from the early backlash toward the first entry being an episodic release to Hitman 3 casually being referred to as a “comedy game” with its breaks in realism. Despite all that, fans of the series generally view the recent trilogy of games with a great amount of fondness, celebrating the freedom in how to complete missions, the increasingly witty tone, and the satisfying stealth energy driving Agent 47 to his targets. It’s possible that Hitman 2 might be the reason why that positive energy exists, as it proved to be the installment that showed developer Io Interactive listens to feedback and doesn’t want to fundamentally change the franchise … while making tweaks and improvements that keep it current.
Hitman 2 directly follows up on the events of the previous game, sending Agent 47 hunting after the elusive “Shadow Client” and introducing the series’ notable twist involving their concealed identity. Across a half-dozen new sandbox maps, the game encourages players to experiment with Agent 47’s stealth capabilities and revel in how the world responds, and it has been praised for both preserving what the first game does well and expanding on variety and performance within those pillars.
Predator: Hunting Grounds
It’s easy to appreciate the difficulty behind making a video game based around an iconic horror villain. There are several components at play: developers obviously want to do justice to the monstrous bad guys at the center of it all, but they also must wrestle with the fact that those playing are a little sharper, more attuned to solutions to danger, and care less about dying than the average horror-movie victim. Thus, it took a long time to get games that succeed in capturing the essence of those movies, from the unyielding terror of Alien: Isolation to the general concept of Friday the 13th: The Game and how it pits players against each other as either victims or hockey-masked Jason himself. Unfortunately, the same still can’t be said for Predator, with its best appearances being in action-oriented shooters where it shares space with a Xenomorph.
Predator: Hunting Grounds would like to change that, with developers Illfonic borrowing some of the same ideas from their success with Friday the 13th and applying it to the legendary “ugly mutha” that originally squared off against Schwarzenegger (who returns to voice Dutch here). One player gains control of the Predator, while 4 others gain control of fireteam members whose objectives range from tracking down a drug dealer in the jungle to killing the Predator and guarding its body until extraction. Alas, despite the familiarity of the game design, the execution left both critics and players wanting much more from Predator: Hunting Grounds, citing balancing issues, a lack of polish, and no single player.