The Best Things in Life Are Free

Playstation used to offer their online services for free…until their system got hacked, hundreds of thousands of users got their data stolen, and PSonline went down for weeks on end. Needless to say people weren’t too happy when the change occurred. Going from ‘free’ to ‘$60 a year’ isn’t usually a thing people are too happy about. Then they made it all better by giving away three free games a month to PS+ users. (Recently three games turned into two as they quit supporting PS3 games, but it’s still a killer deal.)

I never took advantage of the free games with PS+. Why? Because the Playstation hard drive is only 500 GB and one update from a game literally takes up half the space. I can’t be downloading two entire games a month. What are you? Insane??? Then one day, everything changed when I used my Christmas bonus to (in addition to some other things) get a two terabyte external drive. (And I figured out that you don’t necessarily have to download the games when you can just add them to your library, but get off my back. How was I supposed to know?)

Once I had enough space, I started taking advantage of all the great games I had at my disposal. And, as ridiculous as it sounds, the best games I’ve ever played on my Playstation cost me the low low price of a yearly subscription to PS+.

Mafia III

What do you consider the best place on the Internet? Wait…no I don’t want to know. For me, it’s Kotaku.com, specifically Highlight Reel. Any seasoned viewer will know that Mafia III had some of the best, most ridiculous glitches for a solid two or three months after it released. So when it popped up as a free game with PS+ one month, I was expecting it to be a laugh factory.

Instead, what I got was one of the best games I’ve ever played. The world is gigantic. The plot was heart pounding. The characters were deep, interesting, and carefully crafted. And the soundtrack is the best I’ve ever heard in a video game. It was seriously the most fun I had on my Playstation in a long time. No matter what I was doing, collecting vintage Playboy magazines or shaking down KKK drug runners, I was enjoying myself. And, believe it or not, I never once had a ridiculous glitch that ruined the game.

Sniper Elite 4

What’s better than shooting Hitler? Shooting Hitler in the balls in slo-motion right after mowing down an entire camp of Nazis. Sniper Elite 4 was on my list for a really long time, just waiting and waiting for myself to get bored enough to buy a new game. Then one day I logged onto PS+ and saw that, sure enough, they were giving it to me fo free.

Depending on how much you plan to do, it’s a relatively short game. While you have the option to run in guns blazing, you can also take your time, sneak around, and learn as much as you can about your enemies before blowing up a glowing red barrel and knocking shrapnel through poor little Johan’s liver.

Each level was immersive, interesting, and fun to move around. By the end of the game, I was actually taking the time to plan out my action before storming a compound. I scoped out camps before moving through, and tried to take out as many enemies as quietly as I could before finishing off the final objective. I never did get to download the DLC, and probably won’t, but if you do, you’ll have the opportunity to kill some of the most infamous characters in history, and who wouldn’t love that?

Rayman Legends

While killing Nazis is fun and all, sometimes you just want to save Teensies, collect golden flying coins, and tickle monsters. Enter: Rayman Legends. I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun playing a platformer. There are what feels like hundreds of levels, each one containing a new group of enemies, new landscapes to explore, and fascinating gameplay.

While the levels alone were enough to captivate my attention, there are certain levels in the game that changed the way I look at platformers. There’s a mix of gameplay and music that I’ve never experienced before that can only be described as hypnotizing. Words can’t even describe the experience, so just watch this, even if just for a few seconds. You’ll understand.

At this point, Rayman Legends wasn’t even a game anymore. It was an experience. An experience that, at this point, cost me only about $15 from a PS+ subscription.

Detroit: Become Human

My most recent acquisition from the free games with PS+ was one that I had honestly completely forgotten about. It got a bit of buzz when it was first announced, but it fell off after it came out. After playing it, I can’t see why. While there isn’t much gameplay to speak of, you do entirely control the fate of the people…err…robots in the game. There are plenty of decisions to make, and at the end of each level, you actually see the decisions you made and their relation to others. It’s almost like a decision tree that pops up showing your impact on the world. It even shows the decisions you didn’t make, giving you the ability to go back and replay the level to explore different options.

Detroit made me think. It made me question my preconceived notions of what humanity is, what decisions we make, and how they affect others. It’s not too often that a video game poses those kinds of questions, and even less often that they do it well. All for only about $10.

 

Now you might be saying to yourself, ‘Yeah Reed, but you can only play those games as long as you’re a PS+ subscriber. And they’re not really free! You still have to pay for them through your subscription.’

You’re right, high school economics professor. Nothing is ever free. But if they keep giving me experiences like these for the low price of $60 a year, I’ll gladly keep shelling out my hard-earned cash for a chance to get more of these fantastic experiences for pennies on the dollar. While the best things in life might be free, there are plenty of things that diminish in cost over time and become a better value the more you use them. Like a car, a pile of hay, or a PS+ subscription.

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