Trying every PS-Plus Extra game: Endling
I feel as though the PS-Plus Extra membership is totally worth it. Once you sign up for $6-$10 a month you immediately have access to 200 games that are being updated constantly. Once you add a game to your library, even if you later delete it to free up hard drive space, it remains your rented property forever. Therefore you can always go back to a game even if it is removed from the PS-Plus menu. I think it is a good idea to download most new additions even if you don't think you want to play them at the time because often once they do disappear they don't come back again.
I am a fussy gamer and only like very specific things, but sometimes there are some hidden gems out there in the indie world so I am trying to make my way through everything that is offered on PS-Plus. Most of these games end up being a bit disappointing but hell, not everything can be Horizon: Forbidden West. Today we look at a game with an interesting plot and a neat art style but in the end kind of disappointed me and after 1 hour of playing I gave up and deleted it.
In Endling you play the role of a mother fox who ends up in a den after fleeing a very cool intro tutorial where the forest is on fire and you have to escape. Once you find the den at the end of the tutorial you birth 4 pups. This is where it becomes a bit of a survival game because you have to venture out to find food for them while protecting them from outside dangers.
The game is pretty simplistic because when you leave the den you hold down a button to highlight certain scents and follow them either to food, or to find one of your stupid cubs that has wandered off or has been taken.
There are sections of platforming that aren't terribly difficult and you wander further and further from the original den, later with your cubs in tow.
This is all very cute and quite easy but here comes the fussy gamer in me: There aren't really very many things that you actually do in this game. You survive a certain number of days by running out at catching a fish, then bring it back to the den, then eventually you are compelled to move and find a new den where the process repeats itself.
I can tell that this game is heading towards a tragic climax just simply based on the overall mood of the game. I didn't make it that far though. There are some messages about pollution and how man destroys nature out of greed and I suppose this sort of awareness is a good thing. This game is exceptionally easy and is more of a game that is meant as a visual treat than it is meant to be any sort of real challenge.
Now the really big beef I have with this game is something that will chase me away from nearly any gaming experience and that is the excessive load times that happen any time you progress from one day to the next. I can see very little reason for this to be happening because the graphics aren't really that intense and the outside world rarely changes from one day to the next aside from a fish being in a different location of something trivial like that. Since the only thing standing in the way of progression is the making of a brand new day, you will be waiting on the spinning "loading" thinger very frequently.... annoyingly often actually.
This is something I will not tolerate in any game that I play. This could be at least in part my own fault because I refuse to upgrade to a PS5 until my PS4 explodes or breaks down badly. I can't really understand how a game with relatively simple graphics, very little in the way of things in the world to interact with, and a really linear story has to take so damn long to load. I likely would have completed the game if it hadn't been for this.
According to other sources the entire playthrough is around 2 hours but you can go ahead and tack on an additional 30 minutes where you are going to be staring at loading screens. It's a pity because the game itself is quite touching and cute as well as very casual, which is something that appeals to me after playing a game that is based on lightning quick reflexes. You don't really have to be good at gaming in order to enjoy Endling but I do believe you need a lot more patience than I possess in order to make it all the way through.
Perhaps this is different on Switch, Xbox, PC, or PS5 but on the PS4 it was maddening how much loading must take place just to play it.
Overall opinion: Could be great but waaaay too much time spent loading
Games I have already tried in my journey to play at least 1-hour of every PS-Plus Extra game
- Gravity Rush 2 (action adventure game with fast movement in every direction. It has RPG elements and a pretty decent story. Make it past the first hour and the game really opens up. Recommended)
- Oddworld: Soulstorm (2D+ platformer with great graphics, sound, and voice-acting. Unfortunately it is plagued with a lot of repetition. Recommended for a few hours)
- Bee Simulator (sort of like a flying FPS game but with no combat. It's graphically impressive and filled with tidbits of knowledge about bees... unfortunately it is repetitive as hell and gets boring fast. Not recommended)
- Prison Architect (a prison management simulator game similar to SimCity. It's a great game but just like most simulation games, it just isn't very playable using a controller. Not recommended on PS4)
- Hotline Miami 2 (a top-down shooter with gruesome violence and terrible AI. Would be great for speedrunners and hardcore gamers. Casuals like me are going to quickly tire with it)
- Battle Chasers: Nightwar (turn based RPG of medium-length that does a good job of teaching you how to play in the first hour. It's pretty old-school and I happen to like that... recommended)
- Chorus (3rd person open-world space fighting game. It's graphically impressive but combat is too repetitive to really hold your interest for the entire story. Still recommended though.)
- Portal Knights (a very well made survival action builder game similar to Minecraft. I really enjoyed this and look forward to playing it more. Recommended)
- Saints Row: The Third (clever and funny FPS game that intentionally puts you in impossible and absurd situations. It's innovative and humorous but ultimately quite dated and got repetitive and boring pretty quick. Not recommended)
- Balan Wonderworld (A rather beautiful 3D(ish) platformer that is extremely easy but still engaging enough to hold your attention for a few hours. Recommended for casual gamers)
- The Artful Escape (an adventure game of sorts with awesome visuals and music, but repetitive areas and controls combined with IMO far too much dialogue makes this game get boring, fast... Worth a look but not recommended to play)
- Until Dawn (interactive horror game that you don't really control a great deal of. It's reasonably entertaining, you can't lose, and the graphics and sound a pretty great. It's not really a game but I enjoyed it and played it to its finish. Recommended)
- 11-11: Memories Retold (a WW1 story that doesn't actually involve much input on the player's part. The game is very boring despite having a wonderful graphical style: Not recommended)
- Desperados 3 (a real time tactics / stealth game that I personally do not feel belongs on consoles at all. If you have never played these sorts of games on PC your opinion might be different. This one gets a "maybe.")
- Maneater (Action RPG where you play the role of a deadly shark. The idea is decent but ultimately the extremely repetitive gameplay makes this one easy to miss. Not recommended)
- TorqueL (physics puzzle platformer that is simplistic at first but quickly becomes maddeningly difficult. Gets boring pretty quickly on consoles and would be better suited as a time-waster on mobile devices. Not recommended on PS4)
- Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon: Turn-based cutesy RPG that is extremely story-driven just like anything Square is involved in. If you are huge fan of Final Fantasy you might like it, for me it was one hour then done forever.
- XCOM 2 : (Turn-based Sci-Fi game set in a dystopian future where you are part of the rebellion. Despite a very slow start IMO the game really gets involved later on... recommended)
- Darksiders Genesis (Top-down hack and slash that reminds me a lot of Diablo 3 but with a more restricted environment. It's very fast paced and as easy or difficult as you want it to be. It's a lot of fun and therefore comes highly recommended.)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (a copy/paste of so many other RPG's out there with too many cutscenes as is so typical of Square-Enix. Recommended for superfans of the movies, but not for really anyone else.)
- Injustice 2 (a DC comics oriented fighting game with tons of characters and IMO extremely complicated gameplay. It could be great for someone who is willing to devote enough time to memorizing all of this, but I am not that guy.)
- Life is Strange: Before the Storm episode 1 (A graphic adventure that isn't really a game so much as it is a movie that you have some control over. Recommended for people looking for something extremely casual but with a very well-written story)
- Evil Dead: The Game (a team based multiplayer game that has the humor and gore that you would expect from anything done by Evil Dead. Unfortunately, it doesn't really stand out from the pack well enough for me to give it high props. Recommended for a short while - see if you disagree with me)
- Immortals: Fenyx Rising (A Zelda-esque open-world game based on Greek mythology that is one of the best games I have played in a while. Highly recommended)
- Pixel Piracy (an 8-bit adventure game of sorts that puts you in the role of a pirate ship commander. I'd love to tell you what the objective in this game is, but I don't know what it is. I was extremely bored after the required 1-hour of play and immediately deleted the game from my hard drive. Not recommended)
- I am Satsuna (an old-school turn-based RPG developed by Squre Enix that functions exactly like Squaresoft games from the 90's. Recommended for people who really love that sort of game environment but not so much for anyone else)
- Killzone: Shadow Fall (an open-world(ish) FPS game with RPG elements. I found the interface to be hard on the eyes and that they really do a terrible job of teaching you how to actually play the game. Not recommended for average gamers but possibly a real winner for veterans of the franchise because the story seems quite good.)
- Dead by Daylight (A multiplayer survival horror game that was probably very fresh and fun when released in 2016 but these days there are so many clones of this type of game that there isn't much incentive to play this one)
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands (A open-world RPG/FPS game similar to the FarCry series. IMO the world is unnecessarily huge and there is a lot of dead space with nothing in it. This means a lot of your time is spent just traveling from one mission to the next and the missions all start to feel the same after a while. I lost interest after 4 hours or so)
- Sakuna: of Rice and Ruin (a metroid-vania-esque platforming with townbuilding elements. This is a casual game that will appeal to most people I think, especially those who are looking for a little less "hardcore" game to play. I have gone well over my 1-hour requirement and think I will continue and perhaps complete it. Recommended)
- Shadow of the Beast (an action adventure platformer fighting game that is a throwback to the 1989 original. It looks promising at first but ultimately the action part of the game is pretty repetitive and well, this isn't much of a surprise seeing as how it was drawing its inspiration from a game that is nearly 40 years old. Fun for a while but I bet you won't stick with it. Maybe recommended)
- OMNO (a puzzle-solving story game that is lovely, cute, and has great ambiance. The only downside is that if you have already played a few games of this sort such as Journey you are going to get bored pretty fast. Recommended for a few hours and only if you can get it for free.)
- Endling (A fantastically beautiful and ambient game that is quite touching. The great soundtrack and story combined with simplistic controls is unfortunately overshadowed by a rather extreme amount of loading screens that ultimately chased me away from playing it at all)