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‘Rayman 3,’ ‘Extreme Exorcism’ and more free video games for July
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Defend a vulnerable spaceship from rogue robots in twin-stick arcade shooter "Assault Android Cactus." - photo by Witch Beam

Each month, Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus members receive a selection of free games alongside online multiplayer access. Each platform usually offers its users a completely different crop of games for $59.99 a year, per program.

Xbox owners can expect to receive up to four games for Xbox One and Xbox 360 through the Games With Gold Program, and PlayStation fans are offered up to six titles for PlayStation 3, 4, Vita and VR.

Amazon and the popular streaming platform Twitch also offer free PC games for Twitch Prime subscribers. Since Twitch Prime is a branch of Amazon Prime, anyone with an Amazon subscription can download these titles.

Here’s a quick look at this month's offerings, including the description, critical score and ESRB rating of each title, as well as important information for parents regarding mature titles.

PlayStation Plus

PS Plus games become available on the first Tuesday of every month and can be downloaded for free throughout the month. Unlike Xbox’s free games, anything obtained through PS Plus will become inaccessible if your membership expires. Thankfully, your free games will be waiting for you if you subscribe again.

PlayStation is also offering three months of PlayStation Now, a cloud-based streaming service featuring games from PS3 and PS4, for $29.99. The offer runs through Sept. 25 and is open to new and returning subscribers.

Heavy Rain

Platform: PS4

Metacritic Score: 78

ESRB Rating: M for use of drugs, strong language, sexual content, blood, nudity and intense violence

Synopsis: In this cinematic game, every choice matters. Player interactions can lead to a happy ending or could result in tragedy. Over the course of four days, players will hunt for the mysterious Origami Killer, named for the folded paper figures he leaves as a calling card.

What Parents Should Know: “Heavy Rain” is a psychological thriller adventure game revolving around a kidnapping and murder mystery. Players control four different characters, each with their own intersecting storylines. The game features many scary moments and tense interactions between characters, which require fast interactions. Characters often use swear words, like the s- and f-word, in conversation. Gun violence and physical combat are depicted several times, and corpses can be seen during crime scene investigations. Additionally, some sexual content and nudity is featured twice during the game but is optional based on player choice.


Platform: PS4

Metacritic Score: 69

ESRB Rating: T for violence

Synopsis: “Absolver” is an online multiplayer combat simulator and puts players in the shoes of a masked warrior tasked with exploring the Adal Empire. Players can pick a unique combat style, team up with one another and improve their skills through battle as they seek the title of Absolver.

Rayman 3 HD

Platform: PS3

Metacritic Score: 72

ESRB Rating: E10+ for crude humor, fantasy violence and mild suggestive themes

Synopsis: After Globox swallows the Lord of Dark Lums, an army of Hoodlums invades Rayman’s home to rescue their evil leader. Revisit this PS2 classic in full HD as Rayman teams up with his friends to save the Crossroad of Dreams. Featuring up to 20 hours of action/adventure gameplay, various powerups and tons of minigames, players can explore the world and compare rankings with their friends.

Extreme Exorcism

Platform: PS3

Metacritic Score: 74

ESRB Rating: E10+ for fantasy violence

Synopsis: Step into the role of Mae Barrons, an exorcist with supernatural powers. Using various tools like rocket launchers and boomerangs, players defeat dozens of ghosts across 10 levels, with a twist: After each round, a ghost appears that mimics your previous movements, encouraging you to change your tactics on the fly.

Space Overlords

Platform: PS Vita

Metacritic Score: 25

ESRB Rating: E10+ for fantasy violence

Synopsis: As the titular Overlords, players rise up against the evil Kesedihan to purge darkness from the universe. Players can choose one of four characters and fight across several planets in this beat-’em-up adventure. Additionally, a level editor and additional story content offer hours of gameplay.

Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma

Platform: PS Vita

Metacritic Score: 78

ESRB Rating: M for sexual themes, strong language, blood and intense violence

Synopsis: “Zero Time Dilemma” is the thrilling conclusion to the critically-acclaimed Zero Escape adventure series. Featuring a cast of diverse characters and challenging puzzles, players are asked to escape while solving the mystery behind their captor, Zero. Multiple endings and twists in the story add to the replayability, while English and Japanese voiceovers allow for a customizable, immersive experience.

Xbox Games With Gold

Xbox’s free games are usually divided across both of Microsoft’s consoles, with two titles featured for Xbox One, and an additional two for Xbox 360. It’s important to note Xbox One owners can also download the Xbox 360 titles, thanks to backward compatibility. Additionally, any games downloaded as an Xbox Live Gold subscriber will stay in your digital library, even if your subscription lapses.

Assault Android Cactus

Platform: Xbox One

Dates Available: July 1-30

Metacritic Score: 84

ESRB Rating: E10+ for fantasy violence and mild language

Synopsis: “Assault Android Cactus” is a twin-stick arcade shooter starring a team of nine android warriors, each with their own unique abilities. Players will face off against waves of relentless robot enemies to liberate a stranded spaceship.

Death Squared

Platform: Xbox One

Dates Available: July 16-Aug. 15

Metacritic Score: 80

ESRB Rating: E for alcohol references

Synopsis: “Death Squared” is a co-op puzzle game for up to 4 players. Each player must guide a colored robot to their respective goals while avoiding dangerous traps and deadly hazards. The game features a single-player campaign, a multiplayer party mode, and a series of expert challenges to test communication and puzzle-solving skills.

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown

Platform: Xbox 360

Dates Available: July 1-15

Metacritic Score: 81

ESRB Rating: T for suggestive themes, use of alcohol and violence

Synopsis: Prepare for the ultimate showdown in the definitive edition of SEGA’s classic fighting series. “Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown” features all the combat enhancement and content additions the game has received since 2007, allowing for a deep, immersive arcade fighting game experience.

Splinter Cell Conviction

Platform: Xbox 360

Dates Available: July 16-31

Metacritic Score: 71

ESRB Rating: M for violence

Synopsis: After being betrayed by his friends and nation, secret agent Sam Fisher returns to take revenge on his daughter’s killer. Players will use streamlined stealth and deadly precision to defeat Fisher’s enemies and save the United States from a dangerous threat within. Additionally, players can team up to infiltrate the Russian underworld in a standalone co-op adventure set in the Splinter Cell world.

What Parents Should Know: “Splinter Cell Conviction” is an action-stealth thriller in the vein of James Bond or Jason Bourne. As a fugitive from the law, players use darkness to stalk enemies before quickly executing them. Hand-to-hand and gun combat are featured heavily, and characters swear often. Players participate in interactive interrogation sequences, where they can smash enemies and captives into the environment. The game also features a tense, dark storyline revolving around warfare and political intrigue.

Twitch Prime

Just like PlayStation and Xbox, streaming platform Twitch usually offers five free PC games on the first of the month for Amazon/Twitch Prime subscribers. While the free games aren’t offered for Mac, Windows users can access their monthly free games through the free Twitch Desktop App.

This month’s free PC games are handled differently to commemorate Amazon’s annual Prime Day. Twitch Prime is offering a new game for free every day through Aug. 2, with a catch: Each game is only available for a few days before the offer expires.

More than 20 games are up for grabs this month, including old-school RPG “Tyranny,” sci-fi adventure “Tacoma,” and “Brutal Legend,” a heavy metal-inspired adventure starring Jack Black and Ozzy Osbourne.

To redeem your free games, log in to Twitch, click on the crown in the top-right corner and claim the free game offer. Visit the Twitch blog for more information.

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