SALT LAKE CITY — PlayStation Plus, Xbox Live Gold and Amazon Prime subscribers are all set to receive a bundle of new games this March, including entries in the "Call of Duty," "Metal Gear Solid" and "Star Wars" series.
Xbox owners get four games across Xbox One and Xbox 360 through the Games With Gold Program, and PlayStation gamers will now get two titles for PlayStation 4 as of this month. Amazon and the popular streaming platform Twitch also offer four free PC games for Prime subscribers.
Here’s a quick look at this month's offerings, including a description, critical score, and ESRB rating for each game, as well as important information for parents on mature titles.
PS Plus games are made available on the first Tuesday of every month and can be downloaded for free until the first Tuesday of the following month. Anything obtained through PS Plus will become inaccessible if your membership expires, but each game will stay credited to player accounts in case they subscribe again.
March brings massive changes to Sony’s program. Instead of receiving six games across all PlayStation platforms, the subscription now only offers two games for PS4. Subscribers will also get up to 100 GB of cloud storage for game saves and access to weekly sales on dozens of other games. All PS4 owners with iOS devices can also download the new PS4 Remote Play app, which will allow them to play any game on their phones.
Metacritic score: 83
Description: “Modern Warfare Remastered” is a remake of “Call of Duty 4,” the 2007 title that put the series and developer Infinity Ward on the path to becoming a juggernaut phenomenon each year. This version of the game features a fresh coat of paint while maintaining the series’ smooth gunplay and compelling blockbuster storytelling.
Alongside the single-player campaign mode, the game also includes recreated multiplayer maps complete with killstreaks and prestige, an innovation made by the original game.
ESRB rating: M for strong language, blood and intense violence.
What parents should know: “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered” could be thematically compared to war dramas like "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Hurt Locker." Players step into the role of a soldier as they battle through Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
The story features international terrorism, bombastic action and plenty of explosions punctuated by scenes of intense violence. Characters also use minor swear words and the s-word several times. However, mature content can be turned off in the game’s settings.
Metacritic score: 87
Description: While “The Witness” drops players onto an island, they aren’t there to fight to the last man standing — instead, players are tasked with discovering and solving elaborate interconnected puzzles. Players can explore diverse environments to uncover small story beats involving the island’s purpose and the doings of its previous inhabitants.
ESRB rating: E for alcohol reference.
Xbox's free games are usually divided across both consoles, with two titles featured for Xbox One, and an additional two for Xbox 360. Xbox One owners can also download the Xbox 360 titles using backward compatibility, and Xbox One X owners will occasionally see 4K enhancements for some of these games.
Any Xbox 360 games downloaded as an Xbox Live Gold subscriber will stay in gamers' digital libraries, even if their subscription lapses. Xbox One games require an active subscription to play, though.
Note: “Super Bomberman R” for Xbox One will continue to be available for free until March 15.
Platform: Xbox One
Date available: March 1-31
Metacritic score: 66
Description: “Adventure Time” follows Finn and Jake as they journey across the ocean to discover why their homeland is suddenly underwater. Players will explore an open world to uncover secrets, clues and characters from the popular TV show.
ESRB rating: E10+ for cartoon violence and comic mischief.
Platform: Xbox One
Date available: March 16-April 15
Metacritic score: 80
Description: “Garden Warfare 2” is a multiplayer shooter set in the Plants vs. Zombies universe. Players can unlock several character classes and new weapons across several game modes, including a twist on the battle royale formula popularized by Fortnite.
ESRB rating: E10+ for animated blood, crude humor and fantasy violence.
Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One
Date available: March 1-15
Metacritic score: 78
Description: In “Star Wars: Republic Commando,” players lead a squad of elite clone troopers tasked to infiltrate and annihilate enemies at the height of the Clone Wars. The game features four-player co-op and gameplay meant to simulate actual military tactics.
ESRB rating: T
Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One
Date available: March 16-31
Metacritic score: 82
Description: Following the events of “Metal Gear Solid 4,” players step into the shoes of Raiden, a cyborg ninja working for a private military corporation. After a rival PMC assassinates a world leader and leaves Raiden for dead, players must embark on an action-packed adventure to take down the Desperado PMC, ruminate on the trauma of child warfare and uncover a conspiracy threatening to shake America to its core.
ESRB rating: M for blood and gore, intense violence and strong language.
What parents should know: “Metal Gear Rising” is a character action game starring Raiden, a former child soldier and spy turned cyborg security guard. Gameplay features frenetic action sequences and swordplay alongside flashy, visceral visuals. Story beats usually involve trauma, PTSD and for-profit warfare.
Characters often fight against robots and other cyborg soldiers as well as several boss characters. The game often encourages players to dismember enemies using slow-motion swordplay, which rewards them with experience points and health restoration. The game also features frequent blood splatter and swearing, including a few uses of the f-word.
Twitch usually offers five free PC games on the first of the month for Amazon/Twitch Prime subscribers. While the free games aren’t available on Mac, Windows users can access their games through the free Twitch Desktop App. To redeem the free games, log into Twitch, click on the crown in the top right corner, and claim the free game offer. Twitch also allows subscribers to send one friend a copy of each free game every month.
Metacritic Score: N/A
Description: “Star Vikings Forever” is a puzzle strategy RPG featuring Vikings and fighting alien snails. The game includes procedurally generated levels for enhanced replay-ability, a story campaign and a new game plus mode featuring increased challenges and puzzle difficulty.
ESRB rating: E10+ for fantasy violence.
Metacritic Score: 67
Description: “The King’s Bird” is an artistic physics-based platformer featuring environmental storytelling and art styles drawing inspiration from ancient Mayan and Roman civilizations. Players gain momentum to power their jumps and glide ability to explore five massive, unique worlds.
ESRB Rating: E
Metacritic Score: N/AComment on this story
Description: “Kabounce” is a multiplayer pinball game taking inspiration from Sonic the Hedgehog and the Tron film series. Players directly control a ball careening across a pinball table. As players hit bumpers, they claim the area for their team. The game also includes cosmetic unlockables ad single-player challenges to help teach advanced skills.
ESRB Rating: E10+ for fantasy violence.
Metacritic Score: 71
Description: “Snake Pass” is a physics-based adventure game in which players guide a cute, dopey snake through colorful platforming challenges. Players use the snake’s natural ability to wrap around and slither up obstacles to make their way through 15 levels.
ESRB Rating: E