With another third of the year gone the time has come to judge the free games given through a PlayStation Plus Essentials subscription. If you wish to play catch-up on the verdict rendered for the first four months you can find that article here. I will not be including anything to do with the Extra or Premium tiers, so with that out of the way let’s jump into the judgement of May through to August for 2022.
May seemed at first like it was setting up another disappointing month. The main title was FIFA 22, a game you likely would have already purchased if you enjoyed football games. This was one of the few games I didn’t even spend the seconds it would have taken to add to my library, as I can say with complete confidence I will never be bored enough to want to try it. The other games May provided were Curse of the Dead Gods and Tribes of Midgard. I never tried the former of these two, but I found myself sinking half a dozen hours into the latter with Will and Luke.
Tribes of Midgard is one of my favourite game discoveries which I would not have had without a PlayStation Plus subscription, as a ‘quick session’ on this game would immediately snowball into losing hours of an evening. Our first session felt like barely an hour had passed, when in fact it had been more than three. Whilst I never really got the hang of how you are supposed to play Tribes of Midgard, I managed to fudge my way through most of our games, and was more help than hindrance when it came to taking down the gigantic Jötuns which often threaten the World Tree. I decided early on to pile all Souls I had into the Tree whenever I could spare them, and this definitely works out long term as a strategy worth having.
To follow on the shaky strength of May, June had other ideas. 2018’s God of War is a truly exceptional game with incredible combat and a deep engaging story. That said, making it the headline game for a PS Plus month four years after its release, just to provide further marketing for the release date of its sequel, is an absolute insult. June’s case wasn’t helped with the other games being Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl and Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Strikers. It’s fine to put games for kids in the Plus line-up as, proven during April of this year with Spongebob: Battle for Bikini Bottom, it can provide parents with a bit of a break but to the rest of us it’s just a middle finger for our sub money.
If God of War had been a Plus game a couple of years sooner than I might have looked more favourably on it. Instead it has contributed to potentially one of the worst ever Plus Essential months we have ever seen. Read that, boy.
July would have had to try very hard to beat June for worst month of the year, but fortunately the games we received went some way to make up for it. The main game was Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, and while I’m not into platforming games at all, even I have to concede that this was a strong title to restore subscriber faith after the treatment we received in June. Less than two years old and a long-time returning fan favourite, Crash 4 being made free for a month even regained some support from me despite my lack of intention to play it. I can be happy for other people from time to time..
The other July games were Man of Medan, a game I am somewhat interested in and would likely play had I not been forewarned it’s riddled with cheap jumpscares, and Arcadegeddon, a game I know nothing about and won’t research based off its title alone. Onward to August!
August was comfortably the strongest Plus month of the year. Not only that, it confidently sits among the best months that Plus has ever had, with a solid gold line-up throughout. The main game was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2, and while a common trend in this article is me having no interest in the sport the main game offers, the fans of the franchise were loudly very happy to be getting it. The other games were the superb Little Nightmares as well as one of the best received games of recent years, Yakuza: Like A Dragon. Despite only having played Yakuza 0 until now, I still started Like A Dragon and really enjoyed the hours I had with it before deciding it was definitely too cut-scene heavy for my liking. Ichi was great and I liked what the story was doing, but when I’d roll my eyes at another long scene starting I felt it was time to acknowledge this game wasn’t for me and move on. I really liked the combat, but for the hours I played there hadn’t been anywhere near enough of it to keep me hooked.
That’s that for the middle third of PlayStation Plus Essential 2022. Which month has been your favourite so far? Which has been your least favourite? Do you think the best / worst is yet to come in the last third? Let me know the answer to any of these in the comments, and I’ll follow up with the last four months and the final verdict of the year in December. Thanks for reading.
Written and edited by Alexx.