Monthly Free Games - December 2015

Six days in, woo. Gonna try something a little bit different this month - the games are listed in a sort of rough best to worst, based mostly on how much I liked them but a little bit on how much I think society at large might like them, hence the somewhat high rankings for SSX and Freedom Wars. For me, the only one I'm even likely to play with any regularity is Gauntlet.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (PS3)

One of my favorite games of the last generation. I've never really played any of the full Far Cry games, but this was a perfect open-world bite-size downloadable game loaded with early 90's gaming tropes Definitely worth checking out at any price.

Gauntlet: Slayer Edition (PS4)

It's 80's Fantasy Remake Month on the PS4. I'd been sort of tempted by this on deep discount a couple of times, but never bit. I should not like this, but I do, especially for free. It's way more arcadey than I thought. It's Gauntlet as a twin-stick shooter, almost, with light ARPG elements that are natural evolutions of classic Gauntlet gameplay. It's a bit slow, at least as the Wizard, and almost strategic in its methoidcal...itude. It's also hella tough and unforgiving, with each level almost a combat puzzle. It's not much to look at, and coiuld probably have benefitted from a more interesting art direction, but it's not bad.

Freedom Wars (Vita)

How much free time do you have? This is one of those super-elaborate action-RPG's in the vein of Monster Hunter. You can customize your character, there are systems coming out of the wazoos of other systems. It's the kind of game that clearly rewards time and effort, and I don't have enough of either.

SSX (PS3)

I bought this on the 360 and was disappointed. It was supposed to be a return to form for the series, but at the end of the day, the only SSX I've ever liked was SSX Tricky, and that's because it was barely about snowboarding. SSX is about snowboarding a lot.

King's Quest Episode 1: A Knight To Remember (PS4)

This is fine, I guess? It looks nice, the interface is decent, but I wasn't a Sierra guy back in the day, so a lot of what is clearly a love letter to the original is lost on me. Anyway, it's classic adventure game puzzling in a modern episodic format, but the fact you only get the first episode for free makes this more an attempt to hook you with a case of narrative blueballs.

Also, you have to have a higher tolerance for Christopher Lloyed doing a knockoff Princess Bride framing voiceover than I do. Consider yourself forewarned.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing (XBox One)

Hey, you know Diablo 3? Want a slower, clumsier game that is otherwise almost exactly like Diablo 3, except even more European and with enuous ties to Bram Stoke? Then you're in luck, unless you want to play more than one class of character, because that shit's DLC.

Knight Squad (XBox One)

This is a top-down multiplayer arena game, sort of a fast-paced mix of Bomberman and Wizard of War - you run around with seven other wizards all trying to kill each other and do stuff. I found it very, very confusing by myself - too much going on and the bots all understood the rules because they were bots. Maybe it's better with fewer human players in the same room - I'll hang on to it, but if all but a couple of my friends didn't get into Towerfall, they're not gonna get into this.

Focketbirds: Hard Boiled Chicken (Vita)

Imagine if the guy who invented Metal Slug had a thing for birds and a friend in an awful band. That's Rocketbirds. If you have a Vita, download it, see how much of the opening movie and song you can stand, then delete it.

Castlestorm (XBox)

Oh, hey, Castlestorm's free again! This time it's the non-Definitive XBox 360 version eating up a slot that could have been something useful. Oh well. At least it's a time-saver.