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Essays 09 July 2022, 02:30

author: Darius Matusiak

A wannabe fighter pilot, racing driver, and a spec-op; an adventurer and a space marine – hence, a gamer. I’ve been playing games since Wing Commander, and writing since Destiny.

Best PS Plus Extra Games - Hall of Fame

New Sony subscription called PS Plus Extra gives access to catalog of games of all kinds. There are many hits worth playing on PS4 and PS5... regardless of how this offer looks compared to the Game Pass.

The new version of Sony subscription finally launched. The former PS Plus has changed its name to PS Plus Essential and still offers a monthly package of several games. The new option is the PS Plus Extra package, which grants access to over 400 titles, many hits among them, and the most expensive version of the subscription is now PS Plus Premium. There, we can also access a collection of classic productions from PS1, PS2 and PS3. How attractive an offer this is in the end, is a personal matter – and for some, the new PS Plus does not deliver, unless you have never had a PlayStation.

And it actually describes the current content of the package quite accurately. Veterans of the Sony platform, who have been up to date with their games for years, not only with exclusives, will not find anything surprising here. For players who do have a backlog of PS games, or are just starting their adventure with this console, things are different altogether. The subscription offer opens access to many amazing productions that you simply have to play. The list below should therefore be treated more as a list of must-play games available for players, who haven't really been up to date with games from Sony. Here are the best games from PS Plus Extra.

Bloodborne

  1. Genre: action RPG, soulslike
  2. Developer: FromSoftware
  3. Released: 2015
  4. Metacritic rating: 92/100

What is Bloodborne about?

Bloodborne is a game from the creators of Demon's Souls and the Dark Souls series, this time set in a Victorian world combined with horror and dark fantasy. The main character – Hunter – ventures into gloomy city of Yharnam, which has been hit by a strange disease that turns its inhabitants into bloodthirsty beasts. Fighting increasingly amazing monsters, we must discover the source of the plague and get out of this nightmare somehow. As always, in the productions of this studio, we can count on an extreme level of difficulty and engaging combat – not in case of the fancy bosses, but also ordinary opponents. The whole thing is strongly inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft and Bram Stoker.

Why is it worth playing?

Bloodborne has won numerous awards and, according to some, is one of the greatest games in the history of the industry. Above all, the dark atmosphere and unusual graphic design are praised – both when it comes to the locations in the city of Yharnam and individual bosses that are as delightful as they are terrifying. The creators also delivered an intriguing plot and rewarding exploration. But the essence of the game is primarily the combat system – difficult, even too difficult for many players, but extremely satisfying, encouraging further attempts despite failures. It's worth delving into the world of Bloodborne, even if end up bouncing off of it. There's no other game like it out there.

  1. Bloodborne in our Encyclopedia

Days Gone

  1. Genre: open-world action game
  2. Developer: Bend Studio
  3. Released: 2019
  4. Metacritic rating: 71/100

What is Days Gone about?

It's another story of a zombie apocalypse that's incredibly engaging thanks to convincing heroes. Deacon St. John – a former member of the motorcycle gang and the main character of the game – lost his wife in the first days of the apocalypse and despite the passage of time he still cannot come to terms with it. So when a mysterious lead appears suggesting that Sarah may still be alive, he tries to do everything in his power to find her. When exploring the open, post-apocalyptic world, we will find out that, apart from the hordes of zombies, humans are just as big a problem, often taking advantage of others instead of cooperating.

Why is it worth playing?

Days Gone is one of those heavily underrated games, the advantages of which, despite fairly average reviews, began to be noticed after some time. It was mainly accused of monotony and lack of originality, especially in the case of additional activities, which are often mere fillers in open-world games. Meanwhile, a fairly serious approach to the story, convincing dialogues and great main characters make the plot addictive and over time we start rooting for Deacon. An additional flavor is the use of a motorcycle as the main vehicle, which can be personalized to some extent. During the game, we will also have unique battles with hordes of zombies.

  1. Days Gone in our Encyclopedia

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla

  1. Genre: action RPG
  2. Developer: Ubisoft
  3. Released: 2020
  4. Metacritic rating: 84/100

What is Assassin's Creed: Valhalla about?

The latest installment of the famous series about assassins takes us to the world of Vikings and Europe from the 9th century. As the leader of one of the clans, we're forced to leave our native Norway and go to England to start a new life. Having arrived, the main character gets into a conflict with the neighboring kingdoms. There's also the mandatory thread of the war between the Assassin Brotherhood and the Templar Order, as well as a contemporary storyline. As always in this type of Ubisoft games, the adventure suffices for tens of hours, even hundreds if you're a completionist.

Why is it worth playing?

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is one of the best installments in this series and undoubtedly the prettiest one, especially on new generation consoles. The plot is intriguing, the dialogues are decent, and various gameplay mechanics and side activities keep you engaged. It's a complete total game with a brutal combat system, exploration, settlement management, mini-games and even tattooing. The map is huge, so huge, in fact, that some players might find it discouraging, but contrary to appearances, it's easy to follow just the main plot here. On the other hand, completionists will find a lot to do here – enough for even several hundred hours. All that comes in a great atmosphere and even better views. There's a lot to do until the next assassin game is released.

  1. Assassin's Creed: Valhalla in our Encyclopedia

Death Stranding

  1. Genre: open-world action game
  2. Developer: Kojima Productions
  3. Released: 2019
  4. Metacritic rating: 82/100

What is Death Stranding about?

Death Stranding is definitely an extraordinary and bizarre game from the famous Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear series. It presents a gloomy vision of the future of the Earth, in which all organisms are subject to accelerated aging because of the so-called Timefall. Additionally, strange creatures known as the Beached Things became a real threat. Life as we know it perished. The remaining groups of survivors are scattered across a wasteland, and the main character's task is to provide them with various goods and items, although a much more serious plot is developed in the background. This is another game with an open world, exploration, stealth and occasional combat, but the first moments in the world of Death Stranding make you certain that it is a unique experience.

Why is it worth playing?

A glance at the credits should be enough of a recommendation, as it includes Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Lea Seydoux and Guillermo del Toro. Actors (and directors) not only gave the heroes their voices, but also their looks. Despite the rather slow pace of the game, which is focused mainly on walking, occasional stealth and combat make you feel the cinematic nature of this production, enhanced with a few surprising twists. The game's main thrust is the extremely original vision of the end of the world, which you won't find anywhere else. In combination with romantic music and beautiful landscapes resembling Icelandic wastelands, it becomes a bit of an artistic experience, the quality of which is worth experiencing in person.

  1. Death Stranding in our Encyclopedia

Demon's Souls Remake

  1. Genre: action RPG, soulslike
  2. Developer: Bluepoint Games / FromSoftware
  3. Released: 2020 (original in 2009)
  4. Metacritic rating: 92/100

What is Demon's Souls about?

This is a remake of the cult game by FromSoftware, which seeded the sub-genre of soulslike, i.e. games with a high level of difficulty, usually in dark fantasy worlds, telling their story mainly through narration with environment. In Demon's Souls, the kingdom of Boletaria is taken over by a dark deity whose armies of demons are decimating the local population. The main character's task is to prevent evil forces from taking over the whole world. In order to do so, we must defeat the fallen King Allant, who brought it all upon the world, and eliminate the seat of dark powers.

Why is it worth playing?

It's been 13 years since the release of the original Demon's Souls. This is enough time to encourage not only new players, but also veterans of this production to visit Boletaria again. It's worth checking not only for the overhauled graphics, but also numerous improvements in the controls and mechanics. You could even say that the exorbitant level of difficulty has become less annoying thanks to the game's faster loading (courtesy of SSD). Fighting has generally become smoother with 60fps, and there are some new weapons and items. It's still a very difficult game, certainly not for everyone, but finally, it's not frustrating for technical reasons. And it can still impress with unusual design of locations and opponents.

  1. Demon's Souls in our Encyclopedia

Ghost of Tsushima

  1. Genre: open-world action game
  2. Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
  3. Released: 2020
  4. Metacritic rating: 83/100

What is Ghost of Tsushima about?

It's a bit like Assassin's Creed, just set in the realities of 13th-century Japan. The main character – samurai Jin Sakai – miraculously escapes the massacre perpetrated by the Mongol invaders. He subsequently vows to drive the attackers back from the title island, but is unable to do it alone. He must try to find allies and start using guerrilla tactics. You can move around the open world of Ghost of Tsushima on foot or on horseback, and stealth will be more effective than direct confrontations. The creators also introduced a fairly original enemy taunting system that allows you to take a particular challenge for yourself before the fight, and an extremely natural exploration of the world, based mainly on elements of the environment instead of UI and map markers.

Why is it worth playing?

This is an almost exemplary game with an open world, which doesn't overwhelm with size, doesn't bore you with repetitive activities, and instead makes everything you do come with a sense of joy and accomplishment. The combat system, stealth and exploration are all very satisfying, and they're accompanied by beautiful landscapes of the island. The game was one of the last exclusive games on PlayStation 4 and we must admit that it was a very apt farewell. And as I mentioned earlier, fans of Ubisoft's flahship series hoping to get an installment set in Japan will not find anything closer to that dream than Ghost of Tsushima.

  1. Ghost of Tsushima in our Encyclopedia

Horizon Zero Dawn

  1. Genre: open-world action game
  2. Developer: Guerrilla Games
  3. Released: 2017
  4. Rating on Metacritic: 89/100

What is Horizon Zero Dawn about?

The creators of Killzone served something completely different this time – an action game with an open world, RPG elements and a lore so rich it would be enough for several movies or TV shows. All thanks to taking the action to the very distant future, where only overgrown ruins are left of our civilization. Mankind has fallen as a result of a mysterious machine rebellion. Intelligent robots resembling dinosaurs and other reptiles became dominant, and humans became an inferior species that regressed to tribal life. As a young warrior, Aloy, from one of these tribes, we try to discover the secrets of the fall of the ancient civilization and our own origin.

Why is it worth playing?

Horizon Zero Dawn is distinguished by an unusual combination of futuristic technologies and machines behaving like animals with the primitive lifestyle of the first tribes, where the most dangerous weapons are bows and possibly fire. The plot turns out to be a bit complicated, but we must admit that a lot of effort has been devoted to creating a meaningful and coherent universe that can be very interesting. Also, the combat mechanics of hunting the mechanical beasts provide a lot of satisfaction, giving the impression that we aren't completely defenseless in these unequal battles. This is yet another example of a hugely successful open-world game, standing out among many others in the genre.

  1. Horizon Zero Dawn in our Encyclopedia

Marvel's Spider-Man / Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales

  1. Genre: open-world action game
  2. Developer: Insomniac Games
  3. Released: 2018/2020
  4. Rating on Metacritic: 87/100 / 85/100

What is are these games about?

We live in a time when superhero franchises are extremely popular, but there aren't many good games with Marvel or DC Comics characters. Marvel's Spider-Man fills this gap and at the same time is one of the best productions about Spider Man. The plot is entirely original, not based on any of the movies or comics, although we naturally meet a lot of familiar characters in the game. We can freely explore the virtual New York, swinging on spider webs between skyscrapers, and the combat system is a lot like the one from the Arkham series (which features Batman).

Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales is a direct sequel on a slightly smaller scale – based on the previous game and with a much shorter storyline. We get a new hero, a new version of Manhattan, this time covered with snow, a new story to learn and better graphics harnessing the capabilities of PlayStation 5. So if you enjoyed the first game, Miles Morales is an obvious next step.

Why is it worth playing?

Both parts of Spider-Man feature the fantastic mechanics of moving around the city on a spider's web. Flying between skyscrapers is extremely intuitive, fluid and dynamic – it works exactly as we want it to. It's fun in itself and helps you enjoy every second spent with the game. And since I mentioned the Batman Arkham franchise before, it would come as no surprise that the hand-to-hand combat system is also quite enjoyable. Beating thugs in hand-to-hand combat that employs spider webs and elements of environment is also impressive thanks to how smooth it is and how many attacks we can deliver. And for dessert, we have a story that's full of references and tidbits interesting for any Marvel fan.

  1. Marvel's Spider-Man in our Encyclopedia
  2. Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales in our Encyclopedia

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

  1. Genre: action adventure game
  2. Developer: Eidos Montreal
  3. Released: 2021
  4. Rating on Metacritic: 80/100

What is Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy about?

In addition to Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy are the only other game that has successfully brought Marvel's superheroes to our gaming platforms. There is no open-world exploration, no online challenges and no co-op – just the good, old linear mission progression with a captivating storyline. The authors created their own version of the famous team, only inspired by what we could see in cinemas. The action takes place a few years after the great war with Thanos. A small bet between two members of the group becomes the beginning of catastrophic events that once again threaten the entire universe. Playing as Peter Quill, we have to somehow get this whole mess under control, mainly by fighting new opponents and having endless discussions with the rest of the team.

Why is it worth playing?

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is a successful production in almost every respect. The game is neither too long nor too short, it has a captivating story, successful gameplay mechanics and decent graphics. These elements would probably be enough for success, taking into account the strength of the Marvel brand, but the creators added a few more advantages to the mix. The first one is brilliantly written and plentiful dialogues. There's practically never silence in the game, and the witty conversations are great to listen to. In addition, in many situations we have to make a choice and decide what to say or do at a given moment. And for dessert, there's also a phenomenal soundtrack with a whole range of hits from the 1980s, from Wham, to Iron Maiden, to Kiss and Blondie.

  1. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy in our Encyclopedia

Red Dead Redemption 2

  1. Genre: open-world action game
  2. Developer: Rockstar Games
  3. Released: 2018
  4. Rating on Metacritic: 97/100

What's Red Dead Redemption 2 about?

This is the third installment in the Red Dead western series and also a prequel to Red Dead Redemption (2010). These are the times when John Marston, known from the previous part, is still a youngster in the Dutch van der Linde gang, and we play the role of another outlaw – Arthur Morgan. Together with the rest of the gang, we try to escape from the law after an epically botched heist. Somewhere there's a vision of achieving eventual success and a more stable life in retirement, but the team is led by a madman and potentially full of traitors. And we can follow this long and twisted story or lose ourselves completely in the insanely detailed open world of Red Dead Redemption 2 , which has a life of its own, regardless of the actions of the player. The very exploration and observation of it are fun, not to mention participating in numerous side quests that await us in the west.

Why is it worth playing?

Western isn't very popular in video games for some reason, but even if it was, RDR2 would still be at the top of the list. For many, it's an example of an absolute masterpiece – a production that's perfect in every respect. We have an extremely mature, serious story, well-written and perfectly performed characters, as well as a convincing, dynamic and vibrant open world. The game allows you to fulfill all our western fantasies – from living a trapper's life, through playing a head-hunter, to robbing trains. RDR2 still impresses with it's graphical and sound design, as well as the immense freedom and amount of content it offers.

  1. Red Dead Redemption 2 in our Encyclopedia

Returnal

  1. Genre: action / roguelike
  2. Developer: Housemarque
  3. Released: 2021
  4. Metacritic rating: 86/100

What is Returnal about?

Returnal brings a dark, science-fiction story about astronaut Selene who crashes her ship on an unknown planet. Surviving there turns out to be extremely difficult, but after each death, the heroine wakes up again in the wreckage and has to relive everything again. With each rebirth, the planet changes a little, and the key to breaking out of this vicious loop is discovering all the secrets of this strange place. Death as an essential part of the gameplay and the levels that change the appearance reveal that we are dealing with a roguelike, although Returnal, fortunately, doesn't force us to start completely from scratch. The combat mechanics were taken from the bullet hell genre – we not only have to shoot accurately with the right weapon, but also avoid a series of bullets of different calibers and trajectories, which aren't moving too fast.

Why is it worth playing?

Returnal may discourage many people with its high level of difficulty that's hardly relaxing. It is best, however, to see for yourself whether it's really that hard and whether it's not worth spending some effort on completing the game, because it has a lot to offer in return. Here we find an intriguing narrative that gradually reveals the next fragments of the story, and the fitting roguelike mechanics do not cause too much frustration after successive deaths. The game is also distinguished by the level design – they only change their layout, but also delight with their appearance. Everything here fits together – from enemies, weapons and locations to music and story – providing a unique, engaging atmosphere.

  1. Returnal in our Encyclopedia

Uncharted 4 / Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

  1. Genre: action game
  2. Producer: Naughty Dog
  3. Released: 2016/2017
  4. Metacritic rating: 93/100; 84/100

What are these games about?

This is the crowning achievement of one of the flagship PlayStation series. Three years after the events of Uncharted 3, the main character seems to live a much calmer life of with his family, but everything is interrupted by the sudden visit of his brother, who was not only considered dead, but also brings news about another treasure to be found. So, Nathan sets off once again on an extraordinary journey to the farthest corners of the world to find the riches of Avery the pirate. Of course, there's competition standing in the way, not to mention numerous traps and puzzles installed centuries earlier. In Lost Legacy, we play the role of a completely different character, Chloe Frazer, known from the previous parts, and along with our companion, Nadine, we need to collect an ancient artifact somewhere in India.

Why is it worth playing?

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End , and the Lost Legacy expansion pack, are some of the best action games from recent years. They're a roller coaster ride – they accelerate from the very beginning and only slow down on end credits. There are gunfights, chases, environmental puzzles, climbing, exploration and, above all, an unusual chemistry between the main characters. The whole thing is combined with a great story with well-written dialogues, momentum and the atmosphere of a truly epic adventure.

  1. Uncharted 4 in our Encyclopedia
  2. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy in our Encyclopedia

Control

  1. Genre: action game
  2. Developer: Remedy Entertainment
  3. Released: 2019
  4. Metacritic rating: 82/100

What is Control about?

The authors of Quantum Break , Alan Wake and the first two installments of Max Payne have created another amazing story that can surprise you at every step. We play the role of Jesse Faden visiting a secret agency called the Federal Bureau of Control. When we arrive at the scene, it turns out that the building is practically empty, the current director is dead, and the facility has been invaded by alien forces. Jesse is appointed the new director and must clear its secrets and stop strange enemies. To that end, we can use special powers, telekinesis and a bizarre pistol. In addition, levels change shape, often in front of our eyes or after performing various actions, so it's sometimes necessary to return to places already visited – similarly as in metroidvania games.

Why is it worth playing?

Control is a bit like a version of X-Files created by David Lynch and David Fincher. The game intrigues with an unusual, slightly surreal atmosphere bordering on a strange, deliriant fever dream. At every step, we come across a secret that begs to be uncovered. Fighting with fancy firearms is great, exploration rewards curiosity with extremely ingenious collectibles, and everything is dominated by an amazing atmosphere straight from the modern version of Alice in Wonderland for adults.

  1. Control in our Encyclopedia

God of War

  1. Genre: action game
  2. Developer: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  3. Released: 2018
  4. Rating on Metacritic: 94/100

What is God of War about?

The slasher series known from previous generations of PlayStation has undergone a huge metamorphosis in the latest God of War. The main character – Kratos – has become a much more mature and calmer hero. We meet him in a kind of retirement, somewhere in the frosty Scandinavia, where he settled with his family away from troubles. But the troubles reach him there, and he must once again set out on a journey full of dangers and Nordic gods who need slaying, with young son at his side. There's no shortage of melee combat and solving puzzles, but it's primarily the plot and fatherly dilemmas that come to the fore in this installment.

Why is it worth playing?

God of War is a complete game that hardly comes with any flaws. It's a technical masterpiece – and it's not only about fantastic graphics or no errors, but most of all about the fact that the entire production gives the impression of one-shot movie. The creators came up with an ingenious mechanic for Kratos' ax, which is handy both in combat and in solving puzzles. Finally, there's the story – definitely taking central importance, it's serious, addictive, and perfectly showing the father-son relationship, in which, despite the superficial roughness, you can see a lot of love.

  1. God of War in our Encyclopedia

The Last of Us Remastered / Left Behind

  1. Genre: TPP action adventure
  2. Producer: Naughty Dog
  3. Released: 2013/2015
  4. Rating on Metacritic: 95/100 / 88/100

What are these games about?

TLoU is one of the most outstanding works of Naughty Dog, and generally in the history of electronic entertainment – as evidenced by countless awards. The creators used the rather well-known subject of the zombie post-apocalypse and made their own, engrossing story. There are no alien zombies in The Last of Us – just a disease caused by a parasitic fungus that quickly turns people into mindless, bloodthirsty beasts. Humanity is decimated and few survivors live in sealed, military-controlled enclaves. In such circumstances, the fates of teenager Ellie and Joel, an experienced smuggler, become intertwined. Together, they set out on a journey through the post-apocalyptic United States in the hope of contributing to the invention of a vaccine for the deadly plague.

Why is it worth playing?

Because it's one of the best stories in computer games! The game combines clashes with people and the infected with solving environmental puzzles in order to unlock the way forward. But what we will remember from The Last of Us for the longest time is the poignant plot with extraordinary heroes who we are rooting at every step. The creators delivered a story about difficult moral choices that none of us would like to make. For dessert, there's also Left Behind: a shorter, more compact story focusing on Ellie. It functions as a prequel that takes place before the events of the main game, but at the same time combines this plot with a certain stage in the original, expanding it and revealing previously unknown details. I must admit that it turns out great and although we generally know how it all ends, the emotions are still there until the very finale. The Last of Us Left Behind just has to be experienced!

  1. The Last of Us Remastered in our Encyclopedia
  2. The Last of Us: Left Behind in our Encyclopedia

Darius Matusiak | Gamepressure.com

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla

Marvel's Spider-Man

Marvel's Spider-Man

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2

God of War

God of War

The Last of Us: Part I

The Last of Us: Part I

Horizon: Zero Dawn - Complete Edition

Horizon: Zero Dawn - Complete Edition

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

Days Gone

Days Gone

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Bloodborne

Bloodborne

Death Stranding

Death Stranding

Control

Control

Returnal

Returnal

Demon's Souls

Demon's Souls

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

The Last of Us: Left Behind

The Last of Us: Left Behind

Best Games to Play in Xbox Game Pass 2022
Best Games to Play in Xbox Game Pass 2022

"Netflix for games" or Xbox Game Pass subscription provides access to over a hundred great titles. Here are 17 most interesting games from Microsoft's subscription service that we find the most worthwhile.

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