Games that kept you on your toes in 2020

Danial Norjidi

A key feature of PlayStation Plus (PS Plus) – the premium subscription service for Sony’s flagship gaming consoles – is the access to a monthly selection of free games.

Each month, a new selection of games is made available for free, while the previous month’s games are withdrawn.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 the games in their collection as long as they subscribe to the service.

For subscribers in the Asia region, 2020 saw a variety of free PlayStation 4 (PS4) games made available, while PlayStation 5 (PS5) games joined the selection in the last two months of the year.

PS Plus started the year with Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Goat Simulator.

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection compiles remasters of the first three action-adventure games in from PlayStation’s critically and commercially successful Uncharted series. Developed by Naughty Dog, the trilogy sees players embark on adventures as they follow treasure hunter Nathan Drake in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

Goat Simulator is a third-person action game in which the player controls a goat and aims to do as much damage as possible while exploring an open-world suburban setting.

The following month, BioShock: The Collection, The Sims 4 and Fire Wall Zero Hour were made available.

Monster Hunter: World. PHOTO: CAPCOM

BioShock: The Collection compiles upgraded versions of the critically acclaimed trilogy first-person action games BioShock, BioShock 2 and BioShock: Infinite. The first two titles in the series are set in the undersea city of Rapture, described as “a haven for society’s greatest minds that devolved into a dystopian nightmare”, while BioShock: Infinite is set in a flying city above the clouds named Columbia.

The Sims 4 is a life simulation game in which players get to create their own ‘Sim’ characters and aim to build the perfect home, explore various locations and neighbourhoods while controlling their Sims’ lives, from relationships to careers.

Rounding up February was PlayStation VR game Firewall Zero Hour, a first-person shooter where players become contractors “hired by anonymous contract handlers and work as a team to either protect or obtain valuable data, housed on a laptop and located in dangerous locations around the globe”.

In March, the PS Plus games were action-adventure title Shadow of the Colossus and Sonic Forces.

That same month saw the announcement as an additional free PS Plus game in the form of Monster Hunter: World, a highly acclaimed action role-playing game in which the player takes on the role of a hunter and goes on missions to hunt monsters.

April brought fourth tale in the story of Nathan, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, in which players get to catch up with the retired fortune hunter as he is forced back into the world of thieves and embarks on a globe-trotting journey in pursuit of a historical conspiracy behind a fabled pirate treasure.

April also featured DiRT Rally 2.0, a rallying racing simulation game where players get behind the wheel of powerful off-road vehicles as they race their way through a selection of iconic rally locations from around the globe.

May saw more relaxed games, with Farming Simulator 19 and Cities: Skyline.

The following month was packed shooter games, as Call of Duty: WWII and Star Wars Battlefront II were up for grabs.

In addition to its multiplayer and zombies cooperative game modes, first-person shooter Call of Duty: WWII features a single-player campaign centring around a squad in the 1st Infantry Division, focussing on battles on the Western Front and the historical events of Operation Overlord during World War II.

Meanwhile, Star Wars Battlefront II sees players engage in large-scale multiplayer battles on land and in space, and also features a single-player campaign centred on an elite special forces soldier named Iden.

Half-way through the year, gamers were treated to basketball simulation game NBA 2K20, full-motion video (FMV)-based interaction game Erica and action-adventure title Rise of the Tomb Raider, a sequel to the reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise featuring protagonist Lara Croft.

August brought two games to PS Plus, including multiplayer madness in the form of Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, an online platforming battle royale game that proved highly popular when launched, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered, where players relive the campaign from 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

In September, online multiplayer battle royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and fighting game Street Fighter V were the two featured PS Plus titles.

October included third-person action role-playing game Vampyr, set in London in 1918 and sees the player take on the role of a doctor who has been turned into a vampire, and Need For Speed Payback, an “action-driving” game set in the open world environment of Fortune Valley.

November brought first PS5 game for PS Plus – Bugsnax, “a whimsical adventure” where the player solves mysteries of Snaktooth Island.

The two PS4 titles were Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition and Middle-earth: Shadow of War.

December saw three games, one of which was PS4 and PS5 title Worms Rumble, a real-time arena-based combat game where players battle as animated worms using a variety of weapons.

The other two games to round out the year for PS Plus were Just Cause 4 and Rocket Arena.