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It’s Free! on PlayStation Store for January 17th

It’s Free! on PlayStation Store for January 17th

Well this turned out to be a bigger week for free stuff than I expected! You can still try out the bizarre multiplayer mashup Dissidia Final Fantasy NT in “open beta test” form until January 21st but the big surprise this week has to be the Snatch VR Heist Experience. It’s a 360-degree, FMV game in VR, starring the cast of Crackle’s original series including everyone’s favorite dopey wizard Rupert Grint! Someone grab it and tell me how weird it is!

Moving on to add-on content, Warframe has another sizeable booster pack for PlayStation Plus subscribers with all the following bonuses:

  • 100 Platinum: Premium in-game currency
  • 50,000 Credits: In-game currency
  • Akmagnus: Dual-wield these revolvers for twice the ammo and twice the stopping power of a single Magnus revolver
  • Akmagnus Obsidian Skin: Exclusive PlayStation® Skin for the Akmagnus revolvers
  • 3-Day Affinity Booster: Rank up equipment at a faster rate for 3 days
  • 3-Day Credit Booster: Gather Credits faster for 3 days
  • Dragon Mod Pack: A 5-pack of mods with two guaranteed Rare to power up your Warframes

If you’ve already downloaded the game you can grab just the goodies here but if this offer has you ready to jump into the game for the first time grab the goods and the full game in one download with this link. 3on3 FreeStyle basketball is also back with its January PlayStation Plus Bonus pack offering the following:

  • 4999 Coins
  • Silver Card Pack Ticket *3
  • Coin Buff Ball (1D)

My.com, publisher of games including Armored Warfare and Skyforge has a handful of free Avatars this week from their various products if you’re looking for a new logo to represent yourself with. And finally there’s a free static theme for Aspyr Media’s new release Innerspace. It’s quite vibrant looking and reminds me a little bit of ABZU and Journey with its minimal and lonely presentation.

Katy inspired some unexpected thoughts on Tomb Raider

I recently finished Rise of the Tomb Raider which brings the reinvented Lara Croft origin story right up to where the original game kicks off. I’ve been meaning to revisit it for a while so I set off into the PlayStation original to see how it holds up, to see if I could still enjoy it, and to unpack some baggage about modern game design. But leave it to Katy to glance up and instantly cut through all the philosophical, ludo-narrative bullshit bouncing around in my mind by stating “it looks like Michael Jackson as Lara Croft in Minecraft”. It’s too perfect, especially the Minecraft part.

The blocky polygons and low-res textures of the 90’s are currently my jam. The 32-bit era of 3DO, PlayStation, and Saturn has replaced the classic 8-bit generation in my heart. I spend a lot of time looking at and thinking about those early 3D games and really never equated it to Minecraft’s look. It’s one of those cases of being so close to something and needing a little perspective which Katy unknowingly gave me. Tomb Raider is especially relatable as it’s also built on a block-based grid system. Lara’s animations all fit within the bounds of a single block and you come to use it as a measuring stick of sorts for navigating jumps and pitfalls.

From http://classictombraider.tumblr.com

Before the advent of fog (for better and worse) games simply let the limits of their worlds trail off into the black darkness. It works the same for both Tomb Raider and Minecraft to instill the sense of mystery as terrain, treasures, and terrors come rolling out of the blackness. Sure, it was a design choice for Minecraft and a technical limitation for Tomb Raider but the outcome is very much the same. Once Katy pointed it out I saw Minecraft in several of the game’s early underground jungle scenes… and yes, I also see the MJ resemblance in early Lara’s face.

I may be a decade late on this revelation but it’s been yet another angle to look at both games from. Believe me, it’s also the most positive correlation to modern game design that I’ve gathered. Video games have hardly done anything groundbreaking over the generations aside from refine their graphical fidelity, but all that is for a different post.

For today let’s just appreciate the ability of someone to make a goof and change your perspective at the same time.

It’s Free! on PlayStation Store for January 10th

It’s Free! on PlayStation Store for January 10th

Well howdy there freebie hunters, it’s been a slow couple of weeks for the PlayStation Store since Christmas. Honestly, it hasn’t picked back up yet but I thought I’d run through the latest smattering of freebies before they get any older.

What’s better than Sanic? Super Sanic! Ok, it’s just regular ol’ gold-coated Super Sonic which you can unlock for free in Sonic Forces. “Collect the right amount of rings and Super Sonic will spring into action, giving you the ability to sprint across stages at break-neck speeds.”

PQUBE has some free festive costumes for White Day: A Labyrinth Named School as well if you’re still in the holiday mood. The PSVR shooter/job simulator, Shooty Fruity, has a handful of colorful free Avatar icons and Happy Dungeons is back with another monthly offering of Happy Jewels for PlayStation Plus members.

The Big City Stories soundtrack is now online, because I care

 

You might remember Big City Stories from my “Of 2016” recap posts where it featured surprisingly prominently in my categories for Most Played and most-visited-on-a-daily-basis. I finished off the Trophies and most of the progression by the end of 2016 and while it was fun I ended up putting the game down early in 2017. I’ve been thinking about it again lately though as updates from the team have dwindled. I can’t help but see it quietly being delisted by the end of the year and above all I couldn’t let the game’s infectious, sweet, and silly soundtrack disappear.

The game’s soundtrack only contains five songs but they randomly mix into one another which made it impossible to get clean intros and outros. It also meant I had to keep recording until I got all five songs in a row with no repeats which took a lot longer than I was expecting. Ultimately, The Big City Stories Suite was born, a 14-minute progression of the game’s five untitled (and also uncredited) tracks.

If music to watch computer characters go about their lives from an elevated viewpoint was a genre, this would be a very good example of it. In other words, it’s right up there with The Sims for catchiness. Take a listen above, I cut the video with the game’s trailer so you can see the most exciting bits instead of footage of me running aimlessly around my little town.

Of 2017: The Most Fun Game

Of 2017: The Most Fun Game

There isn’t a whole lot to say about gaming in 2017 for me. Statistically I played fewer games than any year since I started tracking my playtime in 2011. The final count for 2017 was 62 games, the vast majority of which were from years (and decades) past. So which of the eleven 2017 new releases did I like the most?

I thought about it a lot over the last month and whenever I did my mind kept coming back to one game, Crossout. I still wasn’t certain until just last week when I came back to the game after months of absence to record the music. Being a free-to-play, multiplayer title it will eventually disappear and above all I couldn’t let that fantastic music go.

Like all free-to-play games, logging back in resulted in a dozen new pop-up messages about events started and ended, rebalance changes, and a completely new interface. Jumping into a game for old time’s sake I immediately found my little truck with conventional weapons overpowered by plasma guns, vehicles made out of NASA rover parts, and hovercraft. But dammit, the game was still fun!

 

There is nothing quite like it: a team-based, battle version of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts where everyone crafts their vehicles out of individual pieces. For every OP, plasma-throwing Mars rover there were still as many questionable, wild, and ridiculous builds: Top-heavy gun towers, squirrely micro-cars with a single gun, iron beasts with one of each weapon type, and everything in between.

The first few months with the game benefited from the mysterious newness that comes with a fresh multiplayer title as well as playing it side by side with Katy. We would bounce ideas off of one another and try to find the mythical “best build” for each game mode. She always took the time to add a jack to her builds, an item that would allow her to flip upright if she toppled over. I never sacrificed the power that the jack requires and naturally flipped over all the time. Playing it again just last week I immediately up-ended my faithful old truck and Katy’s quick “criticisms” reminded me of all those great times with the game through the Summer.

Yes, it was more fun than Super Mario Odyssey, it was more special than NieR: Automata, and it was more satisfying than Wolfenstein 2. I never thought I’d say it but my heart apparently always knew: Crossout was my favorite game of 2017. I hope to keep up with it for a little longer as well, knocking out a few more Trophies and testing out those new space rover parts for myself.