This post was updated on 7/1/2020
An important note for the free PlayStation Plus Game here in July: while these things are usually introduced on the first Tuesday of the month, things are a little different this month because of the way the schedule has shaken out. So they were announced earlier in the week, but won’t be coming out until the second Tuesday in the month: July 7.
It’s a big one, in general, even if the games don’t quite stack up to that idea. It’s the 10th anniversary of the free games service, and while I was hoping for some sort of big first-party title, that’s not the direction things went in. We did, however, get a bonus game, even if it’s a sort of strange one that might not be up everyone’s alley. It’s a more specific list than the dual helping of blockbuster shooters that we had in June, but there’s nothing wrong with that either.
Erica is the first bonus, but PlayStation is also throwing us a new theme at some point for the trouble of having stuck around 10 years. I would have hoped for some sort of founder’s bonus given to those that have been there since the beginning, but who knows: maybe the 20th anniversary.
NBA 2k20: The most recent installment of the premiere NBA game, something you can play to remind yourself of a world in which we had live sports. Reviewers praised the Mycareer mode, the inclusion of the WNBA, and the basic gameplay flow. If you’re in for a basketball game, this is the one.
Our own Brian Mazique gave it a lofty 9/10. Here’s what he had to say:
“NBA 2K20 delivers the best on-court experience in years, and that carries more weight than any other aspect of the game.
However, the complete project loses some points because of a few small drawbacks. That said, this year’s game is still an absolute must-have and another strong addition to a juggernaut of a series.”
Rise of the Tomb Raider: As the followup to the critically acclaimed Tomb Raider reboot, Rise of the Tomb Raider takes the now-proficient murderer Lara Croft to Siberia, where she must battle the Trinity organization. Like the others in this series, it takes elements of open-world gameplay and puts them in a linear path. We’ve got a decent story, some solid stealth elements, and overall a perfectly satisfying action game.
I gave it a 9/10 when it first came out:
The gameplay is the star here. Rise of The Tomb Raider does everything Tomb Raider did and does it better, taking a still-growing heroine into an unfamiliar location and unfolding its lethal mysteries as we grow to meet them. This is still not the game it could be, but it’s remarkable how quickly Crystal Dynamics has taken a half-dead franchise and turned into one of the most vital experiences on the market today, true to its essential character while still feeling absolutely new. This is the new standard for third-person shooter/adventure games. I want another.
Erica: This is a weird one, which I know nothing about. It appears to be a part of the recent renaissance of FMV games, basically a movie with gameplay elements. Sounds like the sort of thing you can knock off in about the time it takes to watch a movie, which is perfect for a free title. here’s how the PlayStation blog describes it:
This feature-length cinematic experience merges high-fidelity Hollywood production values with engaging, tactile gameplay. Become Erica, a brave young lady plagued with nightmares of your father’s murder. With the traumatic events that have haunted you as a child dragged back into the light of the present-day vis grisly new clues, it’s up to you to unearth the shocking truth behind this devastating tragedy. Every choice you make influences how the game develops, with multiple endings awaiting you at the finale of the emotional branching narrative.