Every month, Sony issues a new list of games that are available for PlayStation Plus users to download for free on their PS3, PS4 or Vita. It’s easy to miss out, but it would be a shame to do so this July, as there are some great offerings to be had – although we are always left wanting more.
Still no real casino games for Vita
It’s been a bugbear for years, but we still await a genuine online casino experience for the PS Vita. There are so many options available on mobile and PC, where you can simply join up and be handed a whole heap of free spins on registration, that you would think the functionality would have ported across to the Vita by now. Yet for that particular type of gaming experience, we must still rely on our smartphones. Nevertheless, July’s promotions do provide a range of other gaming experiences, so let’s see what’s on offer.
Rayman 3 HD (PS3)
The Rayman series has been a favourite among platform gamers for more than 20 years, and that is simply because it does what it does so well. It has spawned a remarkable 44 games in its 23 year run, and its popularity shows no sign of diminishing.
Developers Ubisoft are smart enough to know that you don’t mess too much with a winning formula, and Rayman 3 HD bears strong similarities with the original Rayman 3 that came out in 2004. However, the graphics and textures are vastly richer.
Gameplay is every bit as engaging as you would expect, and each level brings new worlds and experiences. If you’ve never quite got around to this one, now is the time to do so.
Heavy Rain (PS4)
This action adventure looked stunning when it was first released in 2010 on the PS3. Now, subscribers can add the updated PS4 version to their game library for free – but how has it aged?
Well, let’s start with the bad news. Compared with some games like The Last of Us and Firewatch, of course the characters seem paper-thin and the dialogue is dated. Also, the controls are less than intuitive, one of the few criticisms that was levelled at the game on its initial release.
However, that is to compare apples and oranges. Take the game for what it is, a schlocky whodunnit, in which you are in the thick of the action, and you won’t be disappointed. It’s involving, and most important of all, fun.
If multiplayer battle action is more your scene, then you’ll be counting down the hours to download Absolver. The back story is hokum at its purest, but you soon forget about that when you enter the game and see graphics that have been so lovingly created.
Absolver takes place in the world of Adal. It’s not a large place compared to the environments created in some games of the genre, but Absolver more than makes up any deficiencies quantity-wise in the sheer quality of its creation. It almost looks like a classical painting that has come to life, and the details are nothing less than spectacular.
When it comes to gameplay, this is a game best enjoyed with friends in multiplayer mode. The single player game essentially entails a sequence of opening doors and taking on challengers in one on one fights that soon becomes repetitive.
Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma (PS Vita)
This concluding part to the Zero Escape trilogy should be top of every Vita owner’s list. If you have played the previous instalments, you will have a good idea what to expect – a puzzling, sometimes mind-bending world in which nothing is quite as it seems. Only this final chapter is even darker than what has come before it.
The story is immersive, and the tension genuinely ramps up, as you know every decision you make could have catastrophic consequences. It’s the pick of this month’s free releases, and is aimed specifically at Vita users, so don’t miss out and it’s great to see the Vita getting a high value game released through PS+ after a stream of Cross Buy indies dominating the service for so long.
Space Overlords (PS Vita / PS4 Cross Buy)
The second Vita offering, as you would expect, is shared with the PS4, this arcade strategy game offers single and multiplayer action as you build and destroy worlds on your question to overthrow an evil regime that has taken over most of the galaxy. Remove every trace of this evil from all the known planets in the cosmos while rebuilding your own galaxy, one planet at a time…
Extreme Exorcism (PS3)
Despite the title, the game is less about ghostly goings on but more about action in this platform-come-arcade shooter. While not original, this offering from our friends at Ripstone is a welcome addition to the multiplayer deathmatch genre, made popular by games like Super Smash Bros on various Nintendo platforms. Offering single and multiplayer game modes for up to four players, ten different levels and 50 challenges, this should keep of of you happy.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops III (PS4) – Bonus Game
As with previous months, there’s a final offering in the form of a bonus game for PlayStation 4 owners, this time in the form of the seminal first-person shooter, Call Of Duty: Black Ops III. There isn’t really a great deal that needs to be said about this and as with all the previous titles in the CoD series most gamers will either love or hate the franchise and those who love Call Of Duty will not onlt have played it but will probably already own it so it’s a strange inclusion but no doubt there will still be some who will appreciate it.
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I’m an animal lover and vegetarian.
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