PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium subscribers have a lot to chew on in the May 2023 lineup. It can be a lot to sift through, though, as some of these games are a little on the longer side. Here are the best PS Plus May 2023 games to focus on for Extra and Premium subscribers.
Humanity is hard to summarize because it doesn’t look like there’s substance behind its odd exterior. That weirdness does benefit the core experience by giving it an appealing hook, but the puzzle mechanics can more than stand on their own. Putting down directions for a line of mindless humans to follow is more liberating than it leads on, as it requires planning ahead and critical thinking.
Some puzzles even have multiple solutions, which is almost always a sign of great puzzle design. Humanity also smartly layers in more and more mechanics and leads to a thoroughly rewarding puzzle game that is always mentally pushing players more and more at every turn. It’s even a great experience in VR.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a showpiece for the PS5, but it’s also one of the stronger entries in the long-running series. Gunplay is a thrill since its arsenal is as much of a blast to shoot as it is to upgrade. It’s not exactly new, but blasting everything in sight and absorbing a rocket ship’s worth of bolts is a rewarding loop that the series has depended on for decades. It does adhere to old habits too hard, particularly in regards to its stale story and stagnant characters, but the technical presentation that constantly shows off how fast the SSD is and how capable the PS5 is at pumping out stunning visuals more than makes up for any of its more archaic aspects.
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is a great Dishonored game that packs many of Dishonored’s strengths in a smaller, more condensed package. Levels are open and full of different paths to take, although it doesn’t as directly take the player’s choices into account. Outside of a few trophies, this means that lethal or nonlethal runs are player-set challenges and allows for a bit more fluidity.
The powers themselves are also a bit different, as protagonist Billie Lurk has access to a few moves that lead to new opportunities. Displace is a clever take on Blink that lets players warp to a doppelgänger when they please. Foresight is a more active replacement for Dark Vision that lets users freeze time and scout out ahead. There aren’t huge elaborate kills that truly exercise these moves and it’s less focused on unique assassination set pieces, but it provides just enough of Dishonored’s immersive qualities without overstaying its welcome.
Dishonored 2 is for those who do want more Dishonored after Death of the Outsider. It’s a full-fledged game with two distinct protagonists that both give players an array of fantastical tools, which is crucial for an immersive sim. Dishonored 2’s levels are more intricate and feature multiple paths that give the player freedom to solve them in any way they see fit.
This makes the title more complex than the first game, as well as Death of the Outsider, especially when considering its infamous “A Crack in the Slab” and “Clockwork Mansion” levels that truly push the genre forward. It’s unclear if there will be a third Dishonored game anytime soon (or if it will even come to PlayStation), but Dishonored 2 is the strong entry in the genre and one of the best immersive sims in recent memory.
Watch Dogs: Legion
Watch Dogs: Legion may have come out when Ubisoft fatigue was at an all-time high, but it’s one of the more inventive games the company has released. Being able to play as anyone is a unique gimmick that makes for a more emergent experience, especially when players dial up the permadeath options as well as the simulation-esque Resistance Mode Ubisoft patched in after launch. The story may suffer because of this approach, but it makes for a more immersive open world that isn’t solely another collect-a-thon with hundreds of icons on the map.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
While all three of the more traditional Tomb Raider games made their way to PlayStation Plus Extra in May 2023, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the one players should focus most on. It’s got the most varied gunplay and traversal of the three, something that can likely be attributed to Deus Ex: Human Revolution developer Eidos-Montréal taking the reins for this third installment.
Being able to tinker with enemies with all the new tools makes for better gunplay and the ability to slink in and out of stealth like a true predator gives this entry more style than its two predecessors. Combat still isn’t its strong suit, though, which is acceptable since the puzzles are better here. They’re deeper and more numerous, often requiring players to think critically about the space they are in. These are highlighted in the new optional Challenge Tombs. Shadow of the Tomb Raider doesn’t make good on all of its promises and doesn’t realize the trilogy’s potential, but it’s still a solid action game because of these strengths. And, as an added bonus, it was patched to run at 60 frames per second on PS5.
The Evil Within 2
The Evil Within did not come close to meeting the expectations thrust upon it. The Evil Within 2 still didn’t become the genre-defining horror game it was destined to be, but it was a solid sequel that smoothed out many of the first game’s problems. It’s not nearly as scary as its title implies, but it’s still a decent shooter that is more open than it seems at first glance.
Being able to creep around modestly sized hubs to finish side quests and gather loot is a novel direction, one that disappears during the disappointing final act in favor of bland corridors. The Evil Within 2 didn’t cash in on the series’ potential, but it’s still a decent shooter in a genre that doesn’t see a ton of releases. It also runs at 60 frames per second on PS5 once players unlock the frame rate in the menu.
Thymesia is yet another soulslike, but one that pulls much more from Bloodborne with its pacing and plague-ridden setting, which make it a little more unique. It’s a lot faster than other entries in the genre, too, and that is conveyed through its snappier controls; animation priority is hardly a thing in Thymesia. Combat is quite thrilling because of that since players often don’t have to wait for long swings to finish before dodging or parrying. This can make some fights a little too easy after the upgrades start rolling in, but it’s still not an easy title and the timing needed to dodge death can still be rather strict.
It’s a lot like Cold Symmetry’s’ Mortal Shell, as both are relatively bite-sized versions of FromSoftware’s titles with not as much polish or worldbuilding that still offer unique enough gameplay to stand out. It’s no Bloodborne 2, but it’s a decent first effort from OverBorder Studio.