Retrospective: Asia’s PlayStation Plus games in 2019

Danial Norjidi

One major feature of PlayStation Plus (PS Plus) – the premium subscription service for Sony’s flagship gaming consoles – is the access to a selection of free games every month.

Each month, a new selection of games is made available for free, while the previous month’s games are withdrawn. PS Plus members can keep all the games in their collection as long as they are members of the subscription service.

For subscribers in the Asia region, a wide variety of free games were made available on PlayStation 4 (PS4) in 2019.

PlayStation Plus kicked off the year with two Ubisoft titles – Tom Clancy’s The Division and Steep.

First released in March 2016, The Division is an online-only action RPG where players create their own special agent for the Strategic Homeland Division and try to save New York City from a crisis, engaging in tactical combat against criminals who have taken over the streets.

WipEout: Omega Collection. PHOTO: CLEVER BEANS
The Last of Us Remastered. PHOTO: NAUGHTY DOG

The second title, Steep, is set in the Alps, where players get to participate in various winter and extreme sports events.

The following month, PS Plus members got For Honor and Hitman The Complete First Season as free downloads.

Ubisoft title For Honor sees players engage in intense melee combat while taking on the roles of soldiers and warriors such as knights, samurai and vikings in a fantasy medieval setting.

In stealth game Hitman The Complete First Season, players take on the role of the genetically-enhanced assassin Agent 47, carrying out contracts for assassinations of criminal targets in various locations around the globe.

In March, the PS Plus games were first-person shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered and Action Henk, a game focussed on racing various action figures.

A remaster of 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered allows players to revisit the critically acclaimed title with enhanced graphics, rendering and lighting as well as updated animations, remastered sound effects and other improvements.

April saw gamers treated to challenging sci-fi action RPG The Surge and award-winning adventure game What Remains of Edith Finch, while the month of May saw PS Plus members given action-adventure survival game Metal Gear Survive and puzzle game The Witness as free downloads.

In June, PS Plus featured looter-shooter compilation Borderlands: The Handsome Collection and platform title Sonic Mania.

The following month was an interesting one for PS Plus games. Initially, Sony announced 2D platforming and tower defence title Aegis Defenders as well as Konami’s football sim Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 2019 for July. However, PES 2019 was later replaced by adventure title Detroit: Become Human.

Developed by Quantic Dream, Detroit: Become Human is set in the year 2038, with a story centred on three androids. The story plays out differently depending on which choices are made by the player during various quick time events and dialogue decisions.

The eighth month of the year brought with it a PS Plus lineup comprising the futuristic racing compilation WipEout: Omega Collection and 2D adventure game Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus.

For September, Asia’s PS Plus games put the focus on action and adventure. In Batman: Arkham Knight, players become the famous DC Comics superhero to explore an open world Gotham City, making use of Batman’s gadgets and skills in crime-solving, stealth and combat to defeat his foes.

The second game was Darksiders III, a game set in a post-apocalyptic world riddled with war, and puts players in control of Fury, a mage who can take on various elemental forms to enhance her combat capabilities with new weapons and abilities.

October 2019 featured a lineup of PlayStation exclusives – adventure game The Last of Us Remastered and baseball game MLB The Show 19.

An enhanced version of the critically acclaimed PS3 title, The Last of Us Remastered centres on the story of Joel, a smuggler who is hired to escort a 14-year-old girl named Ellie across a post-apocalyptic US. The award-winning title is one of the best games ever made, and Remastered on PS4 is the best version of the game available.

The penultimate month of the year featured Nioh, an action RPG set during a fictionalised version of the year 1600 where players take on the role of a samurai, navigating levels and fighting enemies known as yokai.

Also featured in November was first-person horror survival game Outlast 2, which puts players in the shoes of a journalist whose investigation of a murder leads him to the Arizona desert.

PlayStation rounded out the year with Titanfall 2, a first-person shooter in which players become pilots who control mecha-style robots called Titans, and Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame, focussing on the official 2017 season of supercross.

One local PlayStation Plus subscriber, Mohd Nor, shared his thoughts on the monthly game offerings in 2019.

“My favourite game was Batman: Arkham Knight. I’d always wanted to play it since my favourite superhero is Batman, but hadn’t got around to picking it up, so it was a welcome surprise to get it as a PS Plus game. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered was also a highlight. Having it allowed me to play multiplayer with siblings at no added cost.”

Asked what his hopes for PS Plus on PS4 this year, he said, “I hope to see a more diverse selection of games as the clock runs down to PS5’s release late this year. More first party games would be nice.”

In terms of PS Plus for the upcoming PS5, he said, “I hope they will keep releasing PS4 games alongside PS5 games, as the PS5 has backwards compatibility. It would also be good to perhaps give subscribers beta or early access to games.”