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Retrospective: Asia’s PlayStation Plus games in 2021

Danial Norjidi

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

A new selection of games is made available for free each month, while the previous month’s games are withdrawn.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.

2021 was a year that saw a wide variety of free games made available for subscribers in the Asia region on PlayStation 5 (PS5) and PlayStation 4 (PS4).

PS Plus kicked off the year with Maneater on PS5 as well as Shadow of the Tomb Raider and GreedFall on PS4.

Maneater is a single-player open-world role-playing game in which the player becomes a shark where, “starting as a small shark pup you are tasked with surviving the harsh world while eating your way up the ecosystem”. Action-adventure title Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the final chapter of protagonist Lara Croft’s origin story, while GreedFall is a role-playing game where the player explores a remote island “seeping with magic and filled with riches, lost secrets and fantastic creatures”.

An artwork for ‘Overcooked! All You Can Eat’. PHOTO: GHOST TOWN GAMES
A scene from the game ‘Days Gone’. PHOTO: SIE BEND STUDIO
A scene from the game ‘Star Wars: Squadrons’. PHOTO: MOTIVE STUDIOS
A scene from the game ‘Concrete Genie’. PHOTO: PIXELOPUS

The following month, PS Plus members in the Asia region got Destruction AllStars and Control Ultimate Edition for PS5, along with Concrete Genie for PS4.

Destruction AllStars is described as a “spectacular prime-time sport for dangerous drivers”, in which players engage in vehicle-based combat as well as parkour action in arenas across the globe, while Control is a third-person action-adventure game that has won more over 80 awards, where the Ultimate Edition combines the main game as well as all previously
released expansions.

Meanwhile, Concrete Genie is an action-adventure game that follows the heartwarming journey of a teen named Ash, who surrounded by pollution and pursued by bullies, goes on a heartwarming journey to restore a “once bright and bustling seaside town by harnessing the power of Living Paint to cleanse its streets and alleyways”.

In March, PS Plus featured Maquette for PS5, Final Fantasy VII Remake and Knack II for PS4 as well as PlayStation VR (PSVR) title Farpoint.

Maquette is a first-person recursive puzzle game that takes the player into “a world where every building, plant and object is simultaneously tiny and staggeringly huge”. Critically acclaimed and award-winning title Final Fantasy VII Remake is a re-imagining of the classic 1997 role-playing game Final Fantasy VII. As it is described on the official game page, “The world is under the control of Shinra, a corporation controlling the planet’s life force as mako energy. In the city of Midgar, Cloud Strife, former member of Shinra’s elite SOLDIER unit now turned mercenary lends his aid to the Avalanche resistance group, unaware of the epic consequences that await him.”

Knack II is a family-friendly platforming adventure game centred on Knack, “a little guy with surprising moves and the ability to transform from big to small and back again,” while PS VR title Farpoint is a first-person shooter set on a hostile alien planet, where the player is on a mission to pick up scientists studying an anomaly near Jupiter. April saw PS5 game Oddworld Soulstorm added to PS Plus, along with PS4 titles Days Gone, Lego Worlds and X-Morph: Defense.

Oddworld Soulstorm is a platform game and a sequel to 2014’s Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty, continuing the story of protagonist Abe as he becomes an unlikely hero striving to rescue his people.

Days Gone is an action-adventure game set in a post-apocalyptic open-world ravaged by feral creatures known as Freakers, where the player assumes the role of Deacon St John, a former outlaw biker turned bounty hunter “trying to find a reason to live in a land surrounded by death”.

Lego Worlds is an adventure game featuring procedurally-generated open worlds made entirely of Lego bricks, which the player “can freely manipulate and dynamically populate with Lego models”, while X-Morph: Defense, which is described as a “unique fusion of a top down shooter and tower defence strategy”.

The month of May brought with it PS5 title Wreckfest and PS4 titles Battlefield V and Coffee Talk to PS Plus.

Wreckfest is demolition derby-themed racing game with various modes, where players aim to win a race or be the sole survivor of a demolition derby.

Battlefield V is a first-person shooter title set during World War 2, while visual novel Coffee Talk is “a game about listening to people’s problems and helping them by serving up a warm drink out of the ingredients you have in stock”.

In June, PS Plus games included Operation: Tango on PS5 as well as Star Wars: Squadrons and Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown on PS4.

Operation: Tango is an espionage-themed cooperative adventure game where players work together to take on a hi-tech global menace. Star Wars: Squadrons sees players control starfighters from the Star Wars universe to engage in first-person multi-player space dogfights as well as a single-player story, while Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown is a re-master of the classic 3D fighter.

To start the second half of the year in July, PS Plus featured a line-up comprising PS5 title A Plague Tale: Innocence alongside PS4 titles Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and WWE 2K Battlegrounds.

A Plague Tale: Innocence is an action adventure game that follows the tale of a protagonist named Amicia and her little brother Hugo “in a heartrending journey through the darkest hours of history”. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is a multi-player first-person shooter title, while WWE 2K Battlegrounds is an arcade wrestling game featuring WWE superstars and legends.

For August, PS Plus included PS5 and PS4 title Hunter’s Arena, a multi-player game set in a mystical world where players become hunters who must fight deadly demons as well as other online players to survive.

For PS4, that month also featured Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, a game where players control either plants or zombies to engage in third-person shooter combat, as well as sports game Tennis World Tour 2.

September saw a PS Plus line-up that included Overcooked! All You Can Eat for PS5 together with PS4 titles Hitman 2 and Predator: Hunting Grounds.

Overcooked! All You Can Eat compiles titles Overcooked!, Overcooked! 2 and all their additional content, and features “hundreds of levels of cooperative cooking chaos across increasingly perilous and obscure kitchens”. Hitman 2 is a stealth game that sees the return of “the world’s most creative assassin”, Agent 47, while Predator: Hunting Grounds is an asymmetrical multiplayer shooter that is part of the Predator franchise, and sees players either play as part of a fireteam trying to complete missions or as the Predator hunting them.

The PS Plus monthly games for October 2021 were PS5 title Hell Let Loose and three PS4 games – PGA Tour 2K21, Mortal Kombat X and Castlevania Requiem.

Hell Let Loose is a platoon-based realistic multi-player first-person shooting game set during the Second World War and featuring battles of 100 players. PGA Tour 2K21 is a golf simulation game, Mortal Kombat X is a 2015 release from the long-running Mortal Kombat fighting game series, and Castlevania Requiem is a compilation of two classic side-scrolling titles – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Castlevania: Rondo of Blood.

For the penultimate month of the year, among the games included via PS Plus were team-based multi-player dodgeball game Knockout City and social deduction game First Class Trouble, both of which were for PS5 and PS4, as well as PS4 title Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, a re-master of a 2012 action role-playing game. In addition, PS Plus in November also featured bonus PS VR titles in the form of arcade-inspired hack-and-slash roguelite game Until You Fall and survival horror game The Persistence.

Rounding out the year, December’s PS Plus selection featured four titles, including action role-playing game Godfall: Challenger Edition for PS5 and PS4, as well as the following PS4 titles: adventure platform game Lego DC Super-Villains, action role-playing game Mortal Shell and action-adventure title Judgment.