Every month, Xbox Live Gold members and PlayStation Plus subscribers can download select games for free from their service of choice. Almost all gaming websites report on the free games given to PS+ and XBL Gold subscribers - that’s good; the more people that know what’s headed their way, the better - so from here on out, we will too. But with a twist.
What might that twist entail? Well, I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of the games offered through PlayStation Plus' Instant Game Collection (Xbox Live's Games With Gold only offers one title at a time at the moment, so there's currently not a reason to maintain a sheet for the service). The Offerings will feature the games currently available and, at a glance, the average rating of each game (via Metacritic), average time to complete each game (via HowLongToBeat's combined average times), and a breakdown of available Trophies by type (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum). This gives you quick access to see if a game is well received, if it's something bite-sized or if it's meaty enough to sink one's teeth into, and an idea of what Trophy gains are available (if that's your thing).
A couple things to note here: 1. You only have until the PlayStation Store gets updated on Tuesday, May 20, to snag Unit 13 (Brent calls it "f***ing awesome") and Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons (Ben calls it "the best game I've never played") for the paltry sum of nothing; and 2. Take in that chart for a moment...is there a better value in gaming? Let's say you still don't have a PlayStation 4, but maybe just picked up that slick little Borderlands 2 Vita bundle and already have a PS3 - $50 a year will let you download $400 in games right off the bat and will get you even more as your year subscription continues.
That said, let's take a look at the latest addition to the Instant Game Collection...
Skullgirls Encore is a 2D, hand-drawn fighting game in the vein of Street Fighter III: Third Strike and its ilk. The only reason I play fighting games these days is to become a master of the easier Trophies they tend to provide ("Play A Match Online" *DING* "Win A Match Without Taking Damage" *start a two-player game and play by myself* *DING*), but I can see the appeal of honing one's skill set to master a character or to simply feed one's lust for competition.
Of Skullgirls 16 Trophies (11 Bronze, five Silver), the only one that seems like an easy snag is "Sküllgirls" (Silver), which you receive after playing through all the tutorials. The rest seem kind of grindy to me, but if you like fighting games, this appears to be a somewhat obtainable 100% (no "Play 10,000 Matches" type of Trophies, which is the utmost grindiest piece of garbage, but also probably super-rewarding depending on how you are).
And if you're an Xbox 360 gamer, you can download the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, parody-of-already-satirical GTA, third-person, open-world, we-put-the-fun-in-hyFUNetical Saint's Row: The Third until June 1, so long as you have an active Xbox Live Gold membership (which, if you have an Xbox, I don't know why you wouldn't).
For some, Saint's Row is what Grand Theft Auto should've become - an over-the-top sandbox - but for others, it still plays second fiddle to the series that started it all. Either way, you have 50 Achievements to unlock for 1000 G. It looks like doing so could take 30+ hours, so if that's your thing, I hope you enjoy the game as much as the critics seemed to.
I hope you find this to be a refreshing take on seeing what your service of choice has to offer. I'll be updating this as new games hit these services, or if any significant changes should occur. In the meantime, let's talk! Let me know in the comments what you're favorite game in The Offerings is at the moment and why.