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iMonkey Monthly: PS+ Games for August 2017

I always look forward to the PS+ games dropping each month. It is a nice bonus to get something back from the hated fees that we all have to pay every few months. So, when I opened the Store at the beginning of this month, and saw Just Cause 3 and Assassins Creed: Freedom Cry on the list, I was, as you can imagine, very pleasantly surprised. My first thought was that this was the best month of freebies we have ever had, and I honestly think that I was right. Here’s why;

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNkrhrh9Qxc]

Let’s start with Just Cause 3. I honestly think that the 15 hours or so I have spent on this game have been some of the best I have ever spent on the PlayStation.  It is set in the immersive, vibrant world of Medici, a tropical paradise controlled by cruel dictator Di Ravellio. Medici is massive, and every inch is covered in incredibly bright colours, which make the world an absolute joy to explore. There are a decent range of places available to uncover, from massive sprawling military bases, to tiny airstrips situated on top of crumbling cliffs in the middle of nowhere. All of this makes the world incredibly fun to play in, making up for some of the elements of the game that are substantially less impressive.

One of these elements is the storyline. While it does feel great to dismantle a fierce dictatorship, unraveling his hold on the regions piece by piece, the actual storyline is, quite frankly, disappointing. Almost every mission follows the same formula of liberating somewhere or other, with a few cutscenes in between. It is fine as a casual half an hour’s gaming, but don’t expect a complex plot which you can really sink your teeth into. To be honest, I found exploring and screwing around more fun in this game than actually working towards completing the story, which felt like a bit of a chore.

justcause3_1

One of this game’s best bits is the movement system. The driving, flying and boating all feel clunky and inaccurate, which didn’t bother me at all. This would normally be a huge factor in how much I enjoy a game, but there is barely any reason to use a vehicle. This is due to the tether/wingsuit combo. It enables you to zip around the world at a perfectly reasonable speed, without worrying about any form of transportation. It is absolutely the best way of getting around any game I have ever played. It feels completely second nature from the very first flight, and it creates many satisfying moments, as you just skim over a tree, or perfectly zip through a tunnel. It is an absolute pleasure to use, and one of the main reasons that I love the game so very much.

Just Cause 3 is one of the coolest titles to be offered as a free monthly game, ever. It is incredibly fun to play, and although it is lacking in storyline, it makes up for that in intense gameplay and a massive, brilliantly designed world. In my opinion, it is definitely worthy of your hard fought storage space!

Game Score: 8/10

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoxNjLX4M-A]

The other PS+ game this month is Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry. This would normally be the star of the show for me, but I do think that it is slightly overshadowed by Just Cause 3. In fact, the fact that they have put these two games in the same month excites me, as it seems likely that they have big things planned, otherwise they would spread them out over two months. That’s how my slightly overoptimistic brain sees it anyway!

Assassin’s Creed has always been one of my favourite game franchises. I love the combat, story and general ambience of these games, and even though they have been going slightly downhill in recent years, they still hold a very special place in my heart.  As you can imagine, then, I was very excited to see this title up for grabs this month. Freedom Cry is a DLC from the much larger game, Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. It is for this reason that, even though it is only a small, 8-10hr game, it takes up almost 45GB of storage! Definitely one to play and delete, rather than keep.

The game is based in 1735, in the Caribbean, and deals with the rather tricky topic of slavery. You play as an ex-slave, who is stranded in the town of Port-au-Prince after a tricky storm aboard his ship. There he becomes sympathetic to a local band of Freedom Fighters called the Maroons, and works with them to uncover a conspiracy within the French Government. The story itself is okay, but nothing to write home about as there is not really enough time to properly develop any characters.

acfreedomcry_1

This is an Assassin’s Creed game, so where it really excels is the parkour/combat combination. Zipping around the world, vaulting walls and swinging across caverns on fraying ropes is visually pleasing, and downright fun to do. It is hard not to enjoy stringing together a perfect set of moves across the rooftops, and it is something that I will never get bored of.  The combat is equally pleasant to watch, although it is a lot simpler than I would like. Spamming square repeatedly gets incredibly monotonous, and there is simply not enough skill involved to make it rewarding to get right. What I would really love to see here is a different button for each part of the body, and where you block depends on where the enemy attempts to attack. This is only a rough idea, but I think that it would really improve the combat experience, making it more skill based, and less “spammy”.

A rather unique feature of this game, although an expected one, as this is a direct spin off from Black Flag, is the ship combat. This is good fun, and adds another layer to an already solid game. It can be slightly annoying to start with, as there is definitely a learning curve, especially if you never played Black Flag, but it is worth sticking with as it makes for some pretty epic battles.

Overall, I had great fun playing this game. It is a large download, which may put some people off, but in my eyes it is definitely worth it. Its typical Assassin’s Creed formula of stealth, parkour, assassinations and sword to sword combat mixed in with newer novelties such as battles at sea makes this game feel both familiar and exciting, a winning combination.

Game score: 7/10

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