It’s that time of the month again folks. The time where gamers collectively gather all over the internet to criticize what free games they get this month. So, who plundered the other’s fanboys for all their self-worth and gratification in life? Who was the victor in June? Let’s take a look.
Games with Gold:
Following last month’s rather subpar lineup, that only Peggle addicts were celebrating, Microsoft has answered with the standard/natural “more goats” response. Alas, more goats is better — but not good enough. June’s offering packs a punch with its last-gen offering, but its new-gen offers damper any opportunity to celebrate.
Here’s the full list of games:
- Goat Simulator (Xbox One) (goat simulation — a staple genre in the industry)
- The Crew (Xbox One)
- Super Meat Boy (Xbox 360)
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Xbox 360)
Listen, I love 360 aerial smashing cars with goats as much as the next guy — that’s not the issue — the issue is I rather watch someone play Goat Simulator than play it myself. I love goats: the Nigerian Dwarf goat, the angora goat, the pygmy goat, you name it — trust me, I love it. I love chaos too. But, I only love all of this in Goat Simulator in small bursts. The novelty is incredibly short-lived, and after a couple of hours you will put it down and likely never come back. But for all you Xbox One players out there — who have fantasized about being a goat since you were still in diapers — the dream is here.
Original Release: April 4, 2014
Metacritic Score: 53
Ubisoft’s The Crew somehow managed to ship over 2 million copies. This is surprising because The Crew was one of 2014’s most disappointing games. It wasn’t horrible — but it was uninspired and half-baked. Rubber-band AI, a trite story, and unsatisfactory car handling make it hard to push through — a shame because the game gets drastically better near the end, and because it’s open and persistent world had oodles of potential. A fan of the genre might be able to dig up a worthwhile experience, but that’s about it.
Original Release: December 2, 2016
Metacritic Score: 64
Super Meat Boy:
Downloader beware: this game will make you want to hellfire powerbomb the next hamburger you see.
Who would have ever known, Donkey Kong, Mario, Sonic, would all be in the company of a cube piece of meat named: Meat Boy. Super Meat Boy was not only one of the last generation’s best games — it is one of the best 2D platformers in recent memory. Those who can stomach the difficulty are in for a treat of incredible level design, tight controls, and a brimful of content. At times it can feel quite sadistic, but there is no denying the high-level of skill and craftsmanship developer Team Meat has achieved with it’s running and jumping vision of meat.
Original Release: October 20, 2010
Metacritic Score: 90
XCOM: Enemy Unknown:
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is one of those rare treats on consoles: a great strategy game. Set in the near future during an alien invasion of Earth, the game puts the player in control of an elite multinational paramilitary organization called XCOM. Your task? Defending the planet from some plug-ugly, contemptible aliens. Intricate and punishing in the best way possibles, XCOM: Enemy Unknown will challenge your fortitude and tactical prowess, present gut-wrenching decisions, and make you feel tension in places you thought not possible. Don’t let the “turn-based strategy” moniker scare you off, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is easily one of 2012’s best games.
Original Release: October 9, 2012
Metacritic Score: 90
PlayStation+ Free Games:
Last month’s offering was always going to be hard to top — it offered a kart racer after all. However, Sony have managed to do what I thought previously impossible — offer something even better. While June’s offerings won’t require a dusting of the ol’ Vita and PlayStation 3, it will make your PS4 sing. Sony 1, internet 0.
Here’s the full list of games:
- NBA 2K16 (PS4)
- Gone Home: Console Edition (PS4)
- Echochrome (PS3)
- Siren: Blood Curse, (Episodes 1-12), (PS3)
- God of War: Chains of Olympus (PS Vita)
- Little Deviants (PS Vita)
It’s a bird…it’s a plane — no it’s a AAA game being offered as a PlayStation Plus free game! Yes internet, no complaining this month. I don’t want to see a single Michael Jordan sad meme — not one — you hear me? Andrew Bogut is watching. NBA 2K16 is easily one of the best PlayStation Plus free game offerings this year and conveniently is being offered right in time for the NBA finals. Not counting Rocket League, NBA 2K16 was 2015’s best sports game and was praised for its perfected gameplay, a vast amount of alluring features, and innovation. Forgive me for this one: but this is a 360, eyes closed, tongue out, slam dunk for Sony.
Original Release:September 25, 2015
Metacritic Score: 87
Ignore any part of the internet that casts this off as just “another walking simulator.” Gone Home is worth a gander, even if traditionally you aren’t a fan of the genre, merely because it’s one of the best in the genre. More than just a game, Gone Home is a one-of-a-kind experience, the type that sticks to you, clasps tightly, and changes you. Throughout the game, there are moments of joy, moments of sadness, moments of fright, and moments of solitude, and each hits home in a nuance and uniquely powerful way. Gone Home forever changed how the industry approaches narrative, and has cemented itself as a bonafide cult-classic.
Original Release: August 15, 2013
Metacritic Score: 85
I would be genuinely surprised if 10% of readers knew what Echochrome was when it released — let alone eight years later. I question the mental health of any who are yearning for some Echochrome in 2016. Not because it’s a bad game — but because this game essentially stopped existing. A first-party developed game (equally shocking), Echochrome’s gameplay involves a mannequin figure traversing a rotatable world where physics and reality depend on perspective — whatever all that means. Upon release, the Sony Japan Studio game was commended for its addictive, thought-stimulating gameplay and uniqueness. All I wonder now is how many people are going to break out their PS3s to Echochrome-it-out. Probably at least one, there is always that one.
Original Release: May 1, 2008
Metacritic Score: 81
Siren: Blood Curse:
Before developer Project Siren started making Gravity Rush games they made three games in the survival-horror Siren series. Siren: Blood Curse was the third installment in this series, and was the “reimagining” of the first installment, with many alterations to structure and content. Enough horror chills to keep fans of the genre gibbering, Siren: Blood Curse was praised for it’s unsettling atmosphere, its pace, and the many jumps it provides. The real achievement of the game however, is the internal struggle that overwhelms you as you play — the struggle to keep the lights off.
Original Release:July 24, 2008
Metacritic Score: 78
God of War: Chains of Olympus:
We live in some dark days — the days where you can’t even get a proper PlayStation Vita game for Free Games with Plus. God of War: Chains of Olympus is an appreciable inclusion, but it’s still simply a PSP port. However, I do imagine Vita fans still are salivating at the reality of back-to-back months of free GOW Vita games. One of the tightest and most polished games in the series, God of War: Chains of Olympus packs a visual punch (at least at the time), great boss battles, and fluid gameplay. While the story is your standard God of War codswallop, it’s a tightly-packed short non-stop thrill ride that will keep entertained from start to finish.
Original Release: March 4, 2008
Metacritic Score: 91
Bigbig Studio’s swan song Little Deviants is the type of game you find in 2019 at an out-of-touch Kmart for full-price in the Vita game section accompanied by a Madden 13. A not-fun tech-demo, Little Deviants was Knacking it long before Knack made it cool. In it you play through 30 minigames in order to rebuild your spaceship. The problem, the minigames are jejune and shoddy. Want to better familiarize yourself with the Vita’s tech? Little Deviants is your game. Want to play a fun video game? Then Little Deviants isn’t your game.
Original Release: Feburary, 15, 2012
Metacritic Score: 57
Those are the lineups. Now too the exciting part — choosing a victor.
According to the Critics:
This is determined by which line-up has the higher average Metacritic score. Here’s how each category is scored:
Current-Gen: For PlayStation this is calculated by adding the two Metacritic scores of the PS4 games and dividing by two. For Xbox the same thing is done but with the Xbox One games.
Last-gen/portable: For PlayStation this is calculated by adding the four Metacritic scores of the PS Vita and PS3 games and dividing by four. For Xbox, it’s calculated by adding the two Metacritic scores of the Xbox 360 games and dividing by two.
Whole lineup: Because PlayStation offers six games to Microsoft’s four, only two of the highest scoring four last-gen/portable are used when determining the whole lineup score, while the lower scoring two are tossed aside. Further, because current-gen (PS4 & Xbox One) games are the salient games in this clash – their scores are counted twice.
Whole Lineup: 69
Whole Lineup: 86
The critics have spoken — despite Xbox’s strong last-gen offering — PlayStation triumphs. Series score: PlayStation: 2 — Xbox: 1
PlayStation. While Microsoft is offering some great last-gen games, it isn’t enough to make up for their poor offering of current-gen games — which count the most. It’s simple, I love basketball and I love goats, but I only love one as game. And it’s not goats.
Series score: PlayStation: 2 — Xbox: 1
Tyler Fischer is an Associate Writer for MONG who plays video games when he’s not busy researching alien conspiracy theories at 2AM. You can find him on Twitter.