Review for PS Plus’ November Offerings plus EXCLUSIVE Contents!

This month of November, another awesome lineup for PS Plus Free games are currently available from 4th of November to the 7th of December.

1.) BlazBlue ChronoPhantasma Extend (PS4, PS3, PSVita)

Starting off with BlazBlue ChronoPhantasma Extend, for those more into the action there is plenty of that here. Arcade mode is a more focused, traditional fare: pick a brawler, and face off against a series of enemies while experiencing a far shorter, stripped-down story that leads to a showdown with your chosen character’s nemesis. Equally familiar is score attack mode and VS mode, as well as online play – the latter of which worked very smoothly during our tests.

Ranked matches, lobbies, and player matches are supported, and should you create your own lobby, it’s good to see a number of options presented, including password protection, rotation style, and even text chat. The game supports cross-platform play between the PS4 and PS3 editions, too, which is always a welcome addition.

A particular highlight is Abyss Mode, where you pick a fighter and explore a ‘dungeon’ of sorts that’s really nothing more than a series of fights. Defeating successively stronger enemies in this mode unlocks the ability to buy a variety of buffs – some character specific – in turn allowing you to take on deeper, tougher dungeons as they become unlocked and more game modes!

it may not match the subtle finesse or wider fame of heavy-hitting giants such as Tekken and Street Fighter, but instead delivers an ambitious take on storytelling in fighting games. Though this approach and delivery will not appeal to everybody, what remains is nonetheless a superb fighter with variety and much to enjoy, boasting qualities more than worthwhile in their own right.

2.) Saints Row IV Re-Elected (PS4)

Imagine, we got Saints Row Gat Out Hell for free this year and this month finally we got SR 4 for free! *Yipee!*

Now Saints Row IV is the definitive sandbox game for anyone who’s a bit tired of the more serious attempts like Watch Dogs, Grand Theft Auto V, or even inFAMOUS: Second Son. It’s constantly in danger of breaking the fourth wall, its storyline is absurd, and its gameplay is completely over-the-top. You’re the president of the United States of America, you wield horribly overpowered superhero abilities, and you fight ugly aliens in a virtual simulation in order to get closer to their leader, who blew the Earth to pieces along with its human population of about seven billion. It’s fair to say that you either think all of this sounds amazing, or you think that it just sounds far too stupid to be enjoyable.

Fortunately, as alluded, Re-Elected is far more stable performance-wise. You can fire off your superpowers like a madman, and the game will tend to keep up nicely. Unsurprisingly, it also looks more impressive, although probably not to the extent that you’d like. The draw distance is much better, and the lighting looks far smoother, but the title is still coated in disappointingly muddy textures. Still, the game is yet to fully crash on us, so we suppose that praise is owed where it’s due.

Love it or hate it, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected’s obsession with the ridiculous is what sets it apart from the rest of the market, and the PS4 re-release is the best way to experience the madness.

3.) Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (PS4)

Let me say this first, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture has amazing graphics, it is a  narrative game with fantastic and beautiful world as this is a game which feels unlike anything else that you’ve ever played, one which will masterfully wrap you up in its gentle and heartbreaking world, and one that you won’t be able to stop thinking about for days after its completion.

The writing itself is breathtaking. These are characters with enough depth that you could have detailed arguments about their motivations and intentions. They are real people, with real problems, and real flaws, which makes them utterly compelling. Cleverly, you’re always given just enough information for you to be able to join the dots, but not so much information that you don’t have to think. In other words, this is game which assumes that you’re intelligent, but also manages to never feel pretentious.

Also, This brings us to the game’s soundtrack, which may just be its single strongest component. Mixing orchestras with the occasional jarring synth, it features a suite of tremblingly beautiful songs which deftly move from angelic to melancholy, and just about everything in between. What’s more, the title makes clever use of motif, so that certain themes and melodies conjure specific areas and moments.

Perhaps most impressive of all, though, is the way that all of these elements work together. Indeed, there’s a notable sense of thematic and symbolic consistency throughout the entire experience. The story, the exploration, the graphics, the atmosphere, and the music – it all blends to create something which feels remarkably whole and complete.

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a masterwork – a gorgeous and subtle experience, which treats you as an adult, without ever indulging in pretence. It cares about its characters enough to give them interesting and meaningful things to say, while also playing host to some truly breathtaking art direction and music.

4.) Pumped BMX + (PS4, PS3, PSVita)

Next up is Pumped BMX +, now Pumped BMX + is, as you’d expect, a seriously enhanced version of the original bike-’em-up extreme sports game. The graphics are shinier and the control system has been nicely overhauled in order to take advantage of the DualShock 4’s increased range of inputs. It’s still very simple to control due to its touch screen origins, but given the nature of this very site, we always prefer a real controller to any mobile phone input dynamic.

Gameplay sees you jump straight onto a virtual BMX and ride your way through increasingly challenging levels while trying to pull off trick combos to earn points. Curve Digital has included a highly recommended tutorial which will put you through some basic challenges in order to get to grips with the dynamics of speeding along (holding down X), jumping into the air (letting go of X at the right moment), and then using a combination of triggers, left and right sticks, or even the back panel on the Vita to perform cool tricks.

The BMX action and backgrounds all look good – there’s a dreamy colourful edge to the whole game. As you progress you can unlock new bikes and equipment, too, and although it’s pretty standard stuff, it keeps you going until you get bored. Alas, that’s the main problem with Pumped BMX +: if you’re not an avid rider or just have an average attention span, the chances are that you’ll tire of the game before long. This is especially true when you hit the occasional frustrating objective that’ll see you landing on your head far too often for it to be in any way fun.

Pumped BMX + doesn’t really do anything particularly wrong, but it needs a bit more improvement needed to keep its wheels going around. You’ll happily bunny hop into this one for a few short sessions, but once you’re done, you’ll likely find yourself leaving this bicycle out to rust.

5.) Lumines Electronic Symphony (PSVita)

This may look like tetris, but this is not just your ordinary tetrist game as Lumines Electronic Symphony seems simplistic, but it still offers a challenge for even the best puzzlers out there. As blocks fall, you’ll have to rotate falling cubes to build blocks of the same colour into a four-by-four square; once that square is built, more blocks can be combined onto the initial block until a bar passes from left to right. When the bar sweeps past it clears squares of the same colour. It’s a difficult process to put in words, but becomes perfectly clear after only minutes of playing.

The interface is gorgeous, smooth and simple to navigate exclusively with the front touch screen, while gameplay can be controlled with either the standard buttons or the touch screen. Whereas the button controls are as well designed as they always were, using the touch screen can become a little frustrating: as a game that demands precision and speed, trying to manipulate the blocks using your finger just isn’t practical. Often the block will rotate too slowly or slide over a single position, causing entire combos to be ruined and causing extra work for the gamer in order to correct the mistake.

Even with such a simple puzzle concept, the action doesn’t get boring as quickly as you might think due to the impressive visuals and invigorating soundtrack. It might not be a title you play for hours upon hours as it can get repetitive, but on a portable platform, moderation is already a factor. If you’re a fan of techno or electronica music it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll love the soundtrack; Electronic Symphony wasn’t just thrown on as a subtitle because it sounds cool.

Each song has its own theme, or skin, adding variation while playing. Themes consist different colours or shapes of blocks as well as excellently designed backgrounds that generally feature video clips and moving images. These minor changes help keep gameplay fresh when clearing blocks from song to song. Also, as blocks are moved, rotated, dropped and cleared the music will adjust accordingly, making the soundtrack interactive.

One new addition is the inclusion of special abilities for your avatar, which range from changing the order and structure of your next three blocks to starting a chain combo, where any block touching the chain blocks will be obliterated in the next pass of the time line. Depending on the selected avatar, different specials will be available in both single and multiplayer modes; building the abilities is as easy as either simply clearing pieces or drumming on the rear touch pad.

Even with the frustrating — and completely optional — touch controls and lack of an online multiplayer mode, Lumines Electronic Symphony is the best in the series. With stunning visuals, immersive audio and addictive gameplay, it’s an ideal buy for newcomers and puzzle veterans alike.

6.) Beyond Good & Evil HD (PS3)
Beyond Good & Evil tells the story of Jade, a freelance photographer and protector of children who have been orphaned thanks to the DomZ. The DomZ are a brutal alien race who are currently invading the watery planet of Hillys, locked in a bitter struggle with humanity’s protectors, the Alpha Sections.

As the game’s name implies, however, things aren’t quite what they seem, and Jade — joined by her Uncle Pey’J and secret agent Double H — becomes embroiled in an intergalactic conspiracy and a struggle to root out the truth.

The game’s critically praised story still manages to hold up as a charming and evocative tale, although it is worth nothing that, in hindsight, the game was not perhaps the most brilliantly written of titles. The characters seem more flat and less endearing than before. Pey’j is especially more grating than I remember, with his unfunny lines and tendency to overdo the “dush garnit” accent. Likewise, the overall plot is a lot less subtle than it wishes it were. It tries to introduce shades of grey in a world where nobody can be trusted, but the good guys are very clearly good and the bad guys are very clearly bad.

Being such a varied and (for the time) progressive experience though, the game has still aged remarkably well. Jade is an entertaining character who encounters some really memorable characters. Ubisoft injected a lot of personality into the setting – and the world’s design ethic, characters and incidental details still hold up really well. With a decent bump in resolution to some of the textures, the world is clean, colorful and razor-sharp.

As a template for the sequel, there’s a lot of great content here. The idea of rolling newscasts from within the game world keep the story flowing. For what the game lacks in overall fine-tuning, it makes up for in cohesive and original vision. This is a game that has personality.

My take here is that it might not be enough, of course, to sway players who weren’t pulled in the first time around. Frankly, if it didn’t interest you then, it might not now either. Of course, they’d be ignoring a trend-setting, rounded and entertaining adventure game. Given the game is free this month and upped quality of presentation, what was already a great experience is that much better now – so get behind the original Beyond Good & Evil and see what you (probably) missed out on.


Sword Art Online –Hollow Realization- PlayStation®Plus Theme
The Sword Art Online –Hollow Realization- PlayStation®Plus Theme is available for free from the 26th of October till the 7th of December.

PlayStation Plus Exclusive Toro 2016 November
Toro is back again for this month of November and get it all for free from the month of November 4th to the 7th Of December

Another batch of free games for PSN Plus players with BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma Extend and Saints Row IV Re-Elected as the standout. Who knows what’s coming next! We Know PlayStation is the best Console out there so let’s chill, relax and play on Playstation!

Check out the Playstation store here.
Geared Blog

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