The new batch of free PS+ games are about to drop. Here’s my quick rundown of what they are, my thoughts about them and what the trophies are like. Remember, even if you don’t have the system yet or are unsure about whether you’d like the game, always go to the PSN store online and “buy” all the free games every month. They will get added to your account and you can download them anytime in the future as long as you have an active PS+ subscription.
SOMA - PS4
Retail - $29.99
What is it - Simon is a crash survivor with brain damage. He volunteers for an experimental brain scan but awakens confused and alone at the underwater Pathos-II facility. The only human contact is a mysterious Catherine who wants to meet. One problem, the facility is failing and there are horrors around every corner. There are no weapons either so he has to out smart or run away from confrontation as he tries to piece together just what is going on.
My thoughts - This game is excellent, but when it comes to horror games I often chicken out. I only got part way through this before getting creeped out and setting it aside for other more cheerful games. I really need to go back and finish this game as it's really good. Critics agree giving SOMA multiple awards and great reviews.
Trophies - There is no platinum for SOMA but all of the trophies are story related so the 100% is easy and straightforward. There is one trophy that is technically missable but you would have to purposefully avoid getting it. It should take 10-20 hours to beat the game and there are stacks for EU and US versions.
ONRUSH - PS4
Retail - $59.99
What is it - ONRUSH is a racing game with everything but the racing. There's is still a track, and you compete with dirt bikes, buggies and ATVs in 6 v 6 online multiplayer competitions. There is just no traditional finish line. In the Overdrive mode you try to get the most points through tricks and take downs of opponents. Countdown has you trying to to cross checkpoints to extend your time and force the other team's to run out. Lockdown is a zone control mode and Switch is a team deathmatch and elimination mode where each death grants you a better vehicle.
My thoughts - Codemasters is a company well known for its racing games, and it's pretty much all they make. It's nice to see them take something they are good at and implement it in a new way. Unfortunately, despite good reviews, ONRUSH didn't sell well. Hopefully the PS+ bump will get this game the exposure and populated servers it needs and deserves.
Trophies - The platinum for ONRUSH doesn't require multiplayer but it does require an internet connection. Certain goals will not progress unless you are connected, so make sure to always be online to avoid extra grind. Almost every trophy will come from normal play. The remaining trophies will require you to collect 250 items from random loot boxes and completing all of the challenges. These will be the most time consuming and difficult trophies. It's around a moderate difficulty platinum and depending on luck, it should take around 20 hours to get.
Iconoclasts - PS4, Vita
Retail - $19.99
What is it - Iconoclasts is a metroidvania platformer set in a world where religion controls the government. Known as the One Concern, this religion controls and worships a magical substance called Ivory. Ivory fuels machines and grants special powers. You play a friendly mechanic named Robin. All you want to do is help people but you're unlicensed. That's a problem for the authorities, and now you're on the run. Use your handy wrench and other tools to solve puzzles and fight back.
My thoughts - Iconoclasts came out at a bad time when there were a bunch of high profile retro styled platformers. It's a good game that didn't get the same press that similar styled games Celeste and Owl Boy did. Being free with PS+, however, means I'll get a chance to play it first and I'm looking forward to it.
Trophies - Iconoclasts will take 2 playthroughs for only a handful of trophies and no platinum. The first time through will be to complete the game and gather all of the collectibles (tweaks and chests). After that, there are some optional bosses to fight. Hopefully by this point you are skilled at the game because the hardest difficulty will kill you any time you get hit. A gratuitous use of saves makes it slightly easier, but this will be a hard 100% to achieve. Expect to spend 20+ hours to 100% this game.
Steredenn - PS3
Retail - $12.99
What is it - Steredenn advertises itself as an endless chaotic space shooter. It takes a basic space shmup and jams in quasi-procedurally generated levels for infinite possibilities. All of the classic weapons like lasers, missiles and machine guns are here along with wackier ones like giant drills and buzz saws. Blast your way through space pirates and intense boss fights as you traverse the universe.
My thoughts - I've never heard of this game but it looks like a blast. It has pixel style graphics but it's like they are "chunkier" than normal giving it a unique look. Like multiple games this month, Steredenn flew under the radar but reviewed very well and won awards. It's too bad the PS3 version doesn't seem to have co-op like the PC version but it should be a great game for anyone with even a mild interest in shmups.
Trophies - The 100% for Steredenn basically just has you beat the game. There are trophies for the different boss types you can encounter along the way. The only other trophy is for beating the game while only using the blaster. Not many people have played this game and that last trophy sounds difficult, but the completion % was higher than I expected. My best guess is it's a moderately hard 100% that would take 10-15 hours to complete. For PS+ only the PS3 version was announced, but maybe we'll get lucky and get PS4 as well because there are PS4 stacks in addition the to the PS3 list.
SteinsGate - PS3
Retail - $19.99
What is it - SteinsGate is a visual novel about time travel. The choices you make can have a drastic effect on the world around you. You play as Rintaro, a scientist and tinkerer who is into inventing futuristic devices. One day you meet a strange girl and weird things start happening around you. Solve the mystery behind these events across multiple branching story paths.
My thoughts - SteinsGate is light on the fan service (don't worry, there's still cat girls) and heavy on the crazy time jumping story. It does a good job with the cause and effect aspects of time travel and despite being a bit slow, has an interesting story to tell. I'm usually not into visual novels but this is one of the few I've bought. Now I just need to get around to finishing it.
Trophies - A 10 minute auto-platinum this is not. Nothing is hard, but there are lots of missable trophies due to the way the story plays out and mutually exclusive decisions. Trying to get everything without some sort of guide will be hard and will take a lot of time. Definitely play the first time through without spoilers and try to figure out everything as best you can. Then go back and clean up what's left with guides. It will be 50+ hours to get this platinum naturally or 3-5 using a guide from the start and skipping scenes. There are as of right now, 8 stacks for this game, so once you've beat it once, feel free to blast through the stacks with guides.
Papers, Please - Vita
Retail - $9.99
What is it - Papers, Please has you working at a border checkpoint processing the paperwork of people coming into your country. As long as you follow the rules you get more money for your family. Any mistakes you make, you get penalized. By reviewing passports and other documents you can determine if someone is allowed in or is trying to sneak past you. To further complicate things, some people may not meet the requirements for entry but may be deserving anyway. Do you sacrifice your money and family to help those in need, or strictly enforce the rules?
My thoughts - It's hard to believe that going over immigration paperwork would make for a good game, but it works. Papers, Please was lauded for it's very unique concept and the moral issues it presents. I've had my eye on this for a while now and I'm excited to get it for free.
Trophies - The majority of the trophies to get 100% in Papers, Please are missable and require you to do specific tasks with different people that come through the checkpoint. Some will come naturally and others may need help from a guide. The rest of the trophies are for how you play the game, how you treat people and some secret side missions you may run into. It will take at least 2 playthroughs (one mean and one nice) and roughly 5-10 hours to get 100%. With save manipulation you can cut that time down even more.
It seems every game this month did well critically but didn't get a ton of sales, especially on consoles. Definitely a month to try some good indie games from many different genres. Not so great a month for trophy hunters. Don't sleep on these games. Christmas is coming and if you wait too long you may get swamped and could miss out.