Posted June 27, 2022 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature
 
 

5 Must-Play Games on the new PS Plus, 5 Classics, and 5 to Skip


The revamped PlayStation Plus launched in Australia over the weekend, transforming the old service into a new base ‘Essential’ tier while adding two above it at higher prices. The ‘Extra’ tier, at AU $18.95 a month, adds an Xbox Game Pass-style library of games from both the PS5 and PS4 catalogues, while the ‘Deluxe’ tier at AU $21.95 a month adds access to smaller library of ‘classic’ titles from PS1, PS2 and PSP, and ‘Game Trials’ of new PS5 games.

The service is still in its teething stages, with some obvious glitches like a couple of games in the catalogue not actually accessible (like Observer or Project Cars 2), and the complete omission of ‘Game Streaming’ PS3 titles, which is only available in other territories like the USA. However, there’s still a good range of quality games on offer, and not just blockbusters you’d be aware of like Ghost of Tsushima, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Demon’s Souls, so here’s some of our picks for what to check out, and what to miss:

Five PS4/PS5 Titles to Check Out

1. Guardians of the Galaxy (PS5)

Guardians of the Galaxy was a pleasant surprise last year, seemingly coming out of nowhere to deliver a narrative experience that was on par with James Gunn’s successful Marvel film series. Featuring equal parts adventure, solid comedy and fun gunplay, we rated Guardians of the Galaxy 4 stars out of 5 last year.

2. Get Even (PS4)

Get Even is an odd duck of a game, which is hard to recommend as it wobbles between several genres like FPS, narrative adventure and horror, but that makes it a perfect candidate for something like PlayStation Plus, to just download and give a whirl. It’s intense, bizarre, has some great music and a lot of ideas, and we rated it 4 out of 5 stars back in 2017.

 

3. The Wonderful 101 Remastered (PS4)

 

This classic from Platinum Games is easy to recommend on the strength of its theme song alone, everything else is just gravy on top. A unique action game, where you simultaneously control 101 superheroes, shifting them into giant collective forms to take on enemy forces. It’s gaudy, ridiculous, a little repetitive, but immensely charming. We rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars back in 2013.

 

4. Rez Infinite (PS4)

A remaster of the Dreamcast original, Rez Infinite is an awesome audiovisual journey, that while short, combines addictive shooter gameplay with beautiful imagery and beats. This edition also includes a secondary mode that expands on the gameplay of the original, removing the on-rails component and letting you explore a new, equally beautiful environment, that takes full advantage of the newer hardware’s capabilities. It’s also compatible (and excellent) with PlayStation VR.

5. Telling Lies (PS4)

Telling Lies is an interesting evolution of the FMV genre, and follow-up to Her Story, using live action footage with known actors like Logan Marshall-Green. Written by Silent Hill Shattered Memories‘ Sam Barlow, it plays out as a simulated computer desktop screen, asking the player to search through videos using keywords to determine why four people are under surveillance, and who’s telling the truth.

Five Classics to Check Out

1. Ape Escape (PS1)

Ape Escape is an obvious standout in the Classics library, as it’s one of the best platformers for the PlayStation 1. Utilising both analogue sticks to both control Spike and aim his weapons was a revelation at the time, and the entire game has a hugely fun cartoon vibe throughout, from its animation to voicework and music.

2. Fantavision (PS2)

A launch title for the PlayStation 2, Fantavision was essentially a dressed-up tech demo for the console’s fancy new particle effects, but it still makes for a damn fine and relaxing puzzle game. You essentially have to move a cursor around screen to set off chains of fireworks as they’re launched into the sky – the more spectacular the show, the better you perform, although the real reward is still actually getting to watch a cool fireworks show. Underrated.

3. echochrome (PSP)

It’s a shame this isn’t the higher resolution PS3 version, but I’ll take what I can get as echochrome is great fun with its unique perspective-shifting puzzle gameplay. Essentially, you shift the game’s camera so that whatever you see on-screen that appears to be the case, becomes reality for gameplay. So, if a hole appears to be above a platform to the camera (even if logically it shouldn’t be), then your character will fall through and land safely. It’s a little hard to explain and harder to wrap your head around, but it’s a fascinating puzzle game to get stuck into.

4. Oddworld: Abe’s Oddyssee (PS1)

Here’s one that arrives in two flavours on PS Plus – the original via PS1 emulation, and the PS4 remake called Oddworld New ‘n’ Tasty. While both are good, the original just pips it for me, with its pre-rendered environments and sprite work allowing for greater attention to detail in each individual shot. This puzzle platformer oozes atmosphere and storytelling from every frame, it’s darkly hilarious and still impressively creative.

5. Red Faction (PS2)

This is a fairly dated FPS by today’s standards, but it’s still quite playable, especially as it came out post-Timesplitters‘ cementing of modern FPS controls. The big feature here is the ‘Geomod’ engine, which allows you to modify the terrain on Mars with weaponry in still amusing ways, like making endless tunnels into the ground with explosives.

Five to Skip

1. Balan Wonderworld (PS5)

Touted as Yuji Naka’s return to mascot platforming, the Sonic creator’s latest project unfortunately collapsed under its own weight, and the result is a confusing mess. While the design of the title character Balan is quite good, you don’t actually play as him except in hideous quick-time events. Most of the game is spent in dull, repetitive levels using ‘costumes’ to transform your kid into heroes with only one vaguely useful ability. There’s a lot of ill-judged sequences, bizarre elements, but really it’s just very boring.

 

2. Primal (PS2)

This one hurts, because I actually do quite like Primal on PlayStation 2, a project from PlayStation’s Cambridge studio that was behind the MediEvil games. It has great music, some real cinematic storytelling, and some fun ideas. However, this port on PlayStation Plus just isn’t really functional on PS5, with a warning even alerting you to as such when you boot it up. Graphic glitches abound, making this far from the ideal way to play the game.

3. Shenmue III (PS4)

I was there when Shenmue III was announced at that E3 PlayStation press conference, and I could not believe how insane the audience reaction was to the news of its development. If only we’d all known then what we know now – that Shenmue III would turn out to be not the climactic chapter in an epic story two decades in the making, but a miniscule half-step in storytelling that feels aimless and plays terribly, even if it does look quite lovely at times.

4. The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope (PS4)

Little Hope was the second instalment in the The Dark Pictures Anthology series, and it’s unfortunately by far the worst of the three released so far. The premise apes the Silent Hill series (although the movie more than the games) and Blair Witch, and starts to formulate some interesting challenges and predicaments for its unfortunate heroes, but everything is undercut by one of the worst endings I’ve ever seen. Unless you want to be very upset, give this one a miss.

5. Beyond: Two Souls (PS4)

This is the remastered version of the PS3 title Beyond: Two Souls, but it’s still not an amazing experience, that feels like the least of Quantic Dream’s work. It doesn’t have the attention-grabbing mystery of Heavy Rain, nor the incredible opening scene of Fahrenheit, and it doesn’t even have some of the off-the-wall narrative paths of Detroit. Instead it’s an outwardly interesting paranormal tale about a girl paired with a spirit, that comes off feeling cliche, limp and overly controlled, with little to really engage you outside of the always welcome Willem Dafoe.


Adam Ghiggino

 
Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.