Game Service Roundup – January 2023

Hey everyone! This is a round up of the games entering and leaving a variety of Game Services throughout the month, as well as free game giveaways that have been available throughout.

I like to try to keep track of what is coming and going in the world of game subscriptions but it is hard to find a singular place that does that, so I thought I would give it a go myself. I am going to trial it for a couple of months and see how it feels, whether I would like to add things and so on. Having it all in one place means that you can scroll to see if anything catches your eye, or you can Ctrl+F to whichever service it is that interests you.

Disclaimer: Sometimes dates aren’t announced and surprises are thrown in. I will do my best to make sure the information is as accurate as possible!

PlayStation Plus is Sony’s subscription service for PlayStation consoles. The service is split into three tiers. ‘Essential’, ‘Extra’ and ‘Premium’.

PS Plus Essential

‘PlayStation Plus Essential’ is the cheapest tier. This is the tier that is closest to what PS Plus used to be. When you are subscribed, you get access to playing games online and instant access to the PS Plus collection*. Additionally, Essential offers 3 monthly games**. If you claim them during that month then they are yours to play for as long as you have a PS Plus Essential subscription. If you drop your subscription then you will lose access, but they will still be on your account ready for the next time you subscribe. The monthly games get revealed on the final Wednesday of every month. They are then made available to add to your library and play on the first Tuesday, replacing the previous months games. The games offered occasionally vary by region.
* PS5 Only.
** Occasionally there will be more or less.

⚠ Due to the first Tuesday of the month falling on the 7th, the announcement wasn’t made until February 1st.
⚠ The PS Plus Collection ends in May. If you have any tier of PS Plus and a PS5 then make sure to add the games to your library before it’s too late. As far as I can see, they have taken all traces of the collection from the PlayStation website already so you may have to manually search for each game. Please do take a look because there are many worthwhile games on there.
Here is a list of the games that you need to add to your library before May if you haven’t already –

January PS Plus Essential Games | Available to claim from Tuesday 3rd January 2023 – Monday 6th February 2023
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PS5/PS4)
  • Axiom Verge 2 (PS5/PS4)
  • Fallout 76 (PS4)
February PS Plus Essential Games | Available to claim from Tuesday 7th February 2022
  • Evil Dead: The Game (PS5/PS4)
  • OlliOlliWorld (PS5/PS4)
  • Destiny 2: Beyond Light (PS5/PS4)
  • Mafia: The Definitive Edition (PS4)

PS Plus Extra/Premium

‘PlayStation Plus Extra’ and ‘PlayStation Plus Premium’ are the next two tiers of PS Plus above Essential. They include everything that you get with Essential plus other benefits.
PlayStation Plus Extra – Extra is the middle tier and allows you access to a catalogue of games, available to play on your console. New games get added to the service part way through each month and stay for an unknown amount of time. Games also leave regularly and it isn’t always communicated well so it is worth checking when you are deciding what to play.
PlayStation Plus Premium – Premium is the most expensive tier. As well as giving you access to the Extra catalogue, it also has it’s own benefits. There is an extended catalogue available as Premium also includes ‘Classics’ – a seperate collection of games from older generations. In addition, game trials and cloud streaming are some more benefits to this tier.
You can find a full breakdown of the benefits here.

January 2023 PS Plus Extra Game Additions | Available from Tuesday 17th
  • Back 4 Blood (PS4/PS5)
  • Jett: The Far Shore (PS4/PS5)
  • Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition (PS5)
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ (PS4)
  • Devil May Cry 5 (PS4)
  • Erica (PS4)
  • Just Cause 4: Reloaded (PS4)
  • Life is Strange (PS4)
  • Life Is Strange: Before the Storm (PS4)
  • Omno (PS4)
January 2023 PS Plus Premium Game Additions | Available from Tuesday 17th
  • Hot Shots Golf 2 (PS1)
  • Star Wars Demolition (PS1)
  • Syphon Filter 3 (PS1)
Games that left PS Plus Extra/Premium in January 2023
  • Bound By Flame
  • The Council – Complete Season
  • Electronic Super Joy
  • Enigmatis: The Ghost of Maple Creek
  • Jumpjet Rex
  • The Last Tinker: City of Colors
  • Leo’s Fortune – HD Edition
  • Masters of Anima
  • Seasons After Fall
  • Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom
  • Space Hulk: Tactics
Games leaving PS Plus Extra/Premium in February 2023 | Dates Vary
  • Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders (Tuesday February 21st)
  • The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 (Tuesday February 21st)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – The Definitive Edition (Tuesday February 21st)
  • Pure Farming 2018 (Tuesday February 21st)
  • Sine Mora EX (Tuesday February 21st)
  • SkyDrift Infinity (Tuesday February 21st)
  • Sparkle Unleashed (Tuesday February 21st)
  • The Turing Test (Tuesday February 21st)
  • Whispering Willows (Tuesday February 21st)
  • Metro: Exodus
  • Rad Rodgers
  • Saints Row: The Third Remastered

Game Pass is Microsoft’s game subscription service. It is split into three different types. ‘PC’, ‘Console’, and ‘Ultimate’. I will currently only be covering ‘Game Pass for PC’.

Game Pass For PC

Game Pass for PC and for Console are seperate subscriptions but are very similar, they just work on different machines. They have their own slightly different catalogues but function the same. Game Pass grants you access to a library of games on your platform of choice. They are then available for you to play as for as long as you have a subscription or as long as they are on the service.
Game Pass Ultimate combines the two, allowing your account access to the service on both PC and Console, along with more perks including XBOX Live Gold.
You can find a full breakdown of the differences here.

January 2023 Game Pass for PC Additions
  • Stranded Deep
  • Mortal Shell: Enhanced Edition
  • Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
  • Persona 3 Portable
  • Persona 4 Golden
  • Monster Hunter Rise
  • Hi-Fi Rush
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R
  • Inkulinati
February 2023 Announced Game Pass for PC Additions | Available from various dates
  • Darkest Dungeon (Thursday 2nd February)
  • HOT WHEELS UNLEASHED – Game of the Year Edition (Tuesday 7th February)
  • Atomic Heart (Tuesday 21st February)
Games that left Game Pass for PC in January 2023
  • Iron Harvest
  • Immortal Realms Vampire Wars
  • Tropico 6
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Secret Neighbor
  • Outer Wilds
  • Gorogoa
  • The Pedestrian
  • Embr
  • The Anacrusis
  • Trigger
  • Nobody Saves the World
  • Pupperazzi
  • Windjammers 2
Games leaving Game Pass for PC in February 2023 | 1st & 16th of the Month
  • Donut County (Wednesday 1st)
  • Worms W.M.D (Wednesday 1st)
  • Telling Lies (Wednesday 1st)
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: The Drum Master! (Wednesday 1st)
  • Recompile (Thursday 16th)
  • Skul: The Hero Slayer (Thursday 16th)
  • The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom (Thursday 16th)
  • Besiege (Thursday 16th)
  • Infernax (Thursday 16th)

    A lot of people do not realise that included in an Amazon Prime subscription is access to Prime Gaming. Not only does this get you a free subscription to a streamer of your choice on Twitch, they also give away free monthly games and other perks. The difference with this service is that often the games are for different launchers. Some are for Amazon Games, but they also give codes for Epic Games, GOG and more. The best part? As far as I can tell – you get to continue playing the games you have claimed after your subscription has ended.
    You can claim your games here.

    ⚠ Prime Games are being made available on a weekly basis from February 2nd rather than the usual bundle at the start of the month. They have renamed the tab on the website ‘Weekly Games’ so I presume this is their new model going forward.

    Amazon Prime Games | January 2023
    • Faraway 2: Jungle Escape (Amazon Games)
    • The Evil Within 2 (GOG)
    • Beat Cop (GOG)
    • Chickon Police – Paint it RED! (Amazon Games)
    • Lawn Mowing Simulator (Amazon Games)
    • Breathedge (Amazon Games)
    • Dishonored 2 (GOG)
    • SNK 40th Anniversary Collection (Amazon Games)
    • The King of Fighters 2003 (Amazon Games)
    • Twinkle Star Sprites (Amazon Games)
    • The Last Blade (Amazon Games)
    • The Last Blade 2 (Amazon Games)
    • Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers (Amazon Games)
    • Metal Slug (Amazon Games)
    • Metal Slug 3 (Amazon Games)
    • Metal Slug X (Amazon Games)
    Amazon Prime Games | Announced for February 2023
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind GOTY Edition (GOG) (February 2)
    • Onsen Master (Amazon Games) (February 2)
    • Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield (February 9)
    • Divine Knockout (February 9)
    • One Hand Clapping (February 16)
    • BATS: Bloodsucker Anti-Terror Squad (February 16)
    • Space Crew: Legendary Edition (February 23)
    • Tunche (February 23)
    • Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator (February 23)

    Ever since its inception, the Epic Game Store has offered free games to all. All you need is an account. Every Thursday at 4pm UTC at least one title will be set to ‘free’ and next weeks game/s will be revealed. All you have to do is log in and add it to your library while it is free if you would like to play it in the future. If you miss the window then there is nothing that you can do but you have a whole week to do it. Unlike the services above, you do not need a subscription to claim these games.
    You can check out the Epic Game Store here.

    Free Epic Games | January 2023
    • Dishonoured – Definitive Edition
    • Eximius: Sieze the Frontline
    • Kerbal Space Program
    • Shadow Tactics – Aiko’s Choice
    • Divine Knockout
    • First Class Trouble
    • Gamedec – Definitive Edition
    • Epistory – Typing Chronicals
    • Adios
    • Hell is Others
    Free Epic Games | Announced for February 2023*
    • City of Gangsters (February 2nd – February 9th)
    • Dishonoured: Death of the Outsider (February 2nd – February 9th)
    • Recipe for Disaster (February 9th – February 16th)

    *These games are announced one week in advance so you will need to check on the Epic Store weekly if you don’t want to miss out. Alternatively, I do always try to post them in my discord server.

    I may add new sections as I go but for now, this section is for any other give-aways or notable deals that I come across in the given month.

    GOG Giveaways | January 2023
    • Haven Park

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    12 Days of Game Pass 2022 Round Up

    Last month I sat down to start my first Let’s Play since Exit/Corners. I was so excited to get back to recording. Just me, the game, the freedom of recording whenever felt good, and the flexibility of being able to take a moment and edit it out. What I didn’t anticipate was the colossal struggle of deciding what I wanted to play. Often, it is not until you begin a game that you know whether you should have recorded or streamed it, which resulted in me staring at my screen in complete decision paralysis.

    Then, all of a sudden – there was a lightbulb. Christmas was coming and there were still a few weeks to prepare if I wanted to do a special series. I was too late for an advent calender scenario (in hindsight after 21 hours of recording, thank goodness), but the 12 Days of Christmas doesn’t start till Christmas day. Score!

    I immediatly knew that this would be a perfect opportunity for me to finally try out some different games that I have had my eye on. I decided on Game Pass because games can leave at any time and I rarely have a subscription, so if I wanted to get through some of my ‘Play Later’ list I would need to hustle. I painstakingly managed to whittle the list of 70+ games down to 12, and looking at the result – I was extremely excited about it.

    Day 1 – Valheim (Early Access 2021)

    Valheim is a brutal exploration and survival game for 1-10 players set in a procedurally-generated world inspired by Norse mythology. Craft powerful weapons, construct longhouses, and slay mighty foes to prove yourself to Odin!

    Back when this game released – when everyone’s life temporarily became consumed with exploring the mysterious lands, building the fanciest buildings and voyages to collect lost equiptment – I didn’t have access to join in myself. This is probably for the better because I can be known to lose myself to games from time to time. While I think that I barely scratched the surface in my look at the game, I was very pleased to finally have the opportunity to do so.

    I definitely wanted to play more when I was done, but I have found that the more games that I have played since then, the less tempted I was to go back. At this point, I have played the beginning of many survival games. Sadly though, it is very rare that I get hooked and while I still could go back to it, it has moved down the priority list far enough that I could be ok leaving it there.

    Ranking – Continue playing offline/That’s enough for me.

    Day 2 – Undertale (2015)

    Welcome to UNDERTALE. In this RPG, you control a human who falls underground into the world of monsters. Now you must find your way out…or stay trapped forever.

    Undertale was one of those legendary games for me where I feel like I have heard whispers here and there, but in reality knew virtually nothing about it. As a result, the main desire to play it came from a curiosity and ability to add it to my game reference archives rather than excitement to play the actual game itself. That probably heavily adds to the surprise of how much I loved playing this game. Of the titbits that I had heard, not one thing had lead me to believe that this game was going to be half as funny as it is. That alone would be enough for me to continue, but the intrigue to see where it is going is also strong enough that I didn’t want to put it down.

    Now that I have completed this series, Undertale is at the bottom of the Let’s Play priority list purely because I feel like it isn’t going to be easy to pick back up. I also have no idea if I have screwed myself with the choices I have made so I am conflicted as to whether I need to do a little research before diving back in. Don’t worry though, I certainly have to see it through at some point.

    Ranking – Continue playing online.

    Day 3 – As Dusk Falls (2022)

    As Dusk Falls is an original interactive drama from INTERIOR/NIGHT that explores the entangled lives of two families across thirty years. Starting in 1998 with a robbery-gone-wrong in small town Arizona, the choices you make have a powerful impact on the characters’ lives in this uncompromising story of betrayal, sacrifice and resilience.

    I am so surprised I didn’t jump on this earlier. It feels like an alternative to a Telltale or a Quantic Dream game, which are some of my absolute favourites. Add in that one of the primary genres – at least in the first chapter – is thriller. How did I not play this sooner?! As opposed to a horror narrative like a Supermassive game (Until Dawn, Man of Medan), I can play this and experience making stressful decisions without the need for reassurance and distractions from the atmosphere. That makes this the perfect game for a Let’s Play as it is exactly the type of content that I love to record. I am always curious to what my gut instincts are in these difficult situations and what happens as a result. It is going to be a lot of fun returning to this and the chapters make for good episode dividers which is always handy for me.

    Ranking – Continue playing online.

    Day 4 – Deaths Door (2022)

    Reaping souls of the dead and punching a clock might get monotonous but it’s honest work for a Crow. The job gets lively when your assigned soul is stolen and you must track down a desperate thief to a realm untouched by death – where creatures grow far past their expiry and overflow with greed and power.

    I really enjoyed this game. I loved the concept, I loved exploring the weird world and I loved my little character. I certainly want to continue it, the only hesitation I have is the difficulty. I managed well enough with the combat so far, but I am concerned that I will get stuck and drop off, which I don’t like to do with a series that I am sharing if I can help it. If I do continue online it will be a Let’s Play because that means I can edit any repetitive failures into death montages. I am going to play the other games first then reassess, but if you would like to see it then please let me know. Same goes for all the other games in question as if there is external interest then I will make special effort to continue it online.

    Ranking – Continue playing online/Continue playing offline.

    Day 5 – Citizen Sleeper (2022)

    You are a sleeper, a digitised human consciousness in an artificial body, owned by a corporation that wants you back. Thrust amongst the unfamiliar and colourful inhabitants of the Eye, you need to build friendships, earn your keep, and navigate the factions of this strange metropolis, if you hope to survive to see the next cycle.

    Ahhh, Citizen Sleeper. I was nervous about trying this one as I knew it was going to be a lot of reading. To top it off, I got sick and lost my voice right as this was my next game to play. So, as much as I heard good things, I was entering this one with an ever so slight dread in my mind. It didn’t take long, however, before I was enraptured in the world. You know it is a good game when you want to keep going and going despite the reading out loud. The further I got and the more mechanics I learned, I was more and more won over by the game, leading it to be my favourite in the entire bunch. At the time of this post it is likely that the Let’s Play has already begun as I am planning on continuing this game first! Don’t sleep on it (hur hur hur).

    Ranking – Continue playing online.

    Day 6 – Signalis (2022)

    Awaken from slumber and explore a surreal retrotech world as Elster, a technician Replika searching for her lost partner and her lost dreams. Discover terrifying secrets, challenging puzzles, and nightmarish creatures in a tense and melancholic experience of cosmic dread and classic psychological survival horror.

    I tried really hard with this one. This game is well loved by a lot of people and I wanted to see why. It is just unfortunate that in survival horror, both survival and horror stress me out massively. This was the first excessively long video as I knew that once I put the game down it was likely I wouldn’t be able to pick it back up, so I wanted to see as much as I could. All things considered, I think I did pretty well! It is awesome to have the classically influenced genre in an entirely new style. It feels modern and old school at the same time.

    The great thing is, as much as I suffer with survival horror, I LOVE watching other people suffer through it. So even though I won’t be continuing the game, I will certainly enjoy watching someone else’s playthrough and enjoy it vicariously.

    Ranking – That’s enough for me.

    Day 7 – Exo One (2021)

    A strange signal… an alien craft… Exo One is an interplanetary, gravity-defying journey through space and time.

    This is another game that I was nervous to record. I had it recommended and wanted to give it a try as it felt like the type of game that could leave the service before I get around to playing it. From what I understood about the game, I was worried that there was going to be a lot of downtime with nothing to talk about. There certainly was a lot of downtime, but each uniquely beautiful environment seemed to offer enough intrigue to fill the gaps, in a game that also seems well suited to some flow state meditative time.

    At the time of recording I decided that it was enough. I reached a point that felt appropriate to stop and called it there. However, for a reason that I cant quite put my finger on, this game stayed in my mind. It could be that we made good progress or it could be a fear of missing out, but not finishing it isn’t sitting right with me. So I think I will actually update my ranking from ‘That’s enough for me’ to ‘Continue Offline’.

    Ranking – Continue offline/That’s enough for me.

    Day 8 – Spore (2008)

    Be the architect of your own universe with Spore, an exciting single-player adventure available for download to your PC. Will you be a bloodthirsty carnivore destined to crush your competitors, or a gentle herbivore seeking out stronger allies to enforce your quiet way of life?

    This game is adorable. Seeing where we started and where we ended up is so entertaining and fascinating to me. From weird little critter to slightly bigger weird critter, I am still curious to see how far the game goes. The fun part about it is that everyone’s game is going to be slightly different. I am definitely more interested in the evolution and creation than the rest of the gameplay, but it kept a pace so that you were never far away from your next adaptation. The rest of the gameplay was made more interesting by the other weird critters that you can meet. I am unsure why the game isn’t calling me back, but at the same time I don’t think I can uninstall it until I’ve at least played a little more.

    Ranking – Continue playing offline/That’s enough for me.

    Day 9 – Kentucky Route Zero (2013)

    KENTUCKY ROUTE ZERO: TV EDITION is a magical realist adventure game in five acts, featuring a haunting electronic score, and a suite of hymns and bluegrass standards recorded by The Bedquilt Ramblers. Rendered in a striking visual style that draws as much from theater, film, and experimental electronic art as it does from the history of videogames, this is a story of unpayable debts, abandoned futures, and the human drive to find community.

    It is funny how there are so many individual things that I like about this one, but as a whole it didn’t really capture my attention or imagination. I enjoyed the freedom of being able to talk to people then explore the map, seeking out the places they talked about. It felt fantastic that I found a place that was just mentioned off hand when my objective was to go elsewhere. The issue was that I didn’t really feel any pay off from it. Things were weird but I don’t know why they were weird, and even whether to expect any explanations or just more weird.

    The thing I liked the most was the art style. It is distinctively simple and effective, and I loved the use of shapes. I am still interested in continuing the game, I am just unsure whether I should record it as there is no way of knowing whether it is going to fall flat for me or not. It will be interesting to see how it developed over the years, but I can see that by playing it myself. Do let me know if you would like to see more.

    Ranking – Continue playing online/Continue playing offline.

    Day 10 – No Man’s Sky (2016)

    In No Man’s Sky, every star is the light of a distant sun, each orbited by planets filled with life, and you can go to any of them you choose. Fly smoothly from deep space to planetary surfaces, with no loading screens, and no limits. In this infinite procedurally generated universe, you’ll discover places and creatures that no other players have seen before – and perhaps never will again.

    For whatever reason, I did not expect this game to be such a survival game. I knew it was about exploration but it has all the fundamentals that I have seen in survival games before. The great thing about this though is that you can customise to your heart’s content.

    I did enjoy my time with it but I am beginning to think that survival games in general aren’t for me. The introductions and tutorials tend to either be very long and by the time I get freedom I have had enough, or very short with no direction and I lose patience trying to figure it out. That, combined with either a lack of a beginning direction or a lack of an end goal and I should probably conclude that I am not the target audience for the genre. Having said all of that, I am glad to see that this game turned everything around from release and has turned into a vast game with lots to discover, should you choose to.

    Ranking – That’s enough for me.

    Day 11 – Opus: Echo of Starsong (2021)

    Asteroids emitting a sound known as “Starsongs” have become the center of conflict for the immense power they hold. Determined to claim asteroids of his own, a young man ventures out with a girl who can imitate starsongs, lending her voice to unravel an ancient myth deep in the heart of space.

    I am not sure whether it comes through on the video – I think I hid it well enough – but I honestly shouldn’t have recorded on this day. I did it because I was on a schedule but I was so exhausted, I probably should have rescheduled. Having said that, if there was any game that I could have played while feeling that way it was this one. The story moved along at a good pace to stay engaged. The world was fictional enough to capture the imagination yet familiar enough with its politics. It was easy to play, nice to look at and is told from a perspective that I feel is more common in movies than games, which happens to work very well in my opinion. The characters are imperfect which makes choices fun, and I definitely would like to see more of the story. It is just a huge shame that the voice acting isn’t in English. Please let me know if you would like to see more of this one.

    Ranking – Continue playing online/Continue playing offline.

    Day 12 – Tunic (2022)

    Explore a land filled with lost legends, ancient powers, and ferocious monsters in TUNIC, an isometric action game about a small fox on a big adventure. Stranded in a ruined land, and armed with only your own curiosity, you will confront colossal beasts, collect strange and powerful items, and unravel long-lost secrets.

    Tunic swooped in at the end there to claim the title of my second favourite game in this series. It is very similar to Death’s Door in genre, gameplay and perspective, but with an entirely different vibe. Both of these games have similarities to the Souls series and as a fan from a distance, it is wonderful to get to have the things I like about that series in a game that is more my style. The exploration and level design is wonderful, and the lack of direct information elevates the achievement of figuring something out, as well as the mystery of the land. It is colourful, satisfying, and the accessibility features give me the confidence to definitely pursue this one as a Let’s Play. I cannot wait to get back in there and find a god damn shield!

    Ranking – Continue playing online.

    The best part about doing this series is not only that I got to experience so many games, but it has also given me a great insight in to the types of games that I would like to play on the channel. Since then, I have created a bigger list of games that I would like to record, so I have plenty of options when my Game Pass runs out. This has been an experiment, a challenge and a joy all at once, and I am so glad that I managed to get it finished in the planned timescale without sacrificing any quantity or quality (I did sacrifice my Christmas Eve so rip to that, but it was worth it). I hope you guys had at least some of the fun that I had. Thankfully, this was just the beginning. I now have the pleasure of actually playing these games!

    Definitely continuing as Let’s Plays

    • Undertale
    • As Dusk Falls
    • Citizen Sleeper
    • Tunic

    Potentially continuing as Let’s Plays

    • Death’s Door
    • Kentucky Route Zero
    • Opus: Echo of Starsong

    Along side this post I am going to run some Twitter Polls to see if I can gauge interest in the games I am unsure about so please look out for those!

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