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Are the PS Plus July Essential games any good?

Are Crash Bandicoot 4, Man of Medan, and Arcadegeddon worth downloading? We've rated them all, for your pleasure.

Sony has officially announced its July 2022 PlayStation Plus line-up – and it's a good one. As is now standard for PS Plus line-ups, the actual roster of games leaked a little while ago, cutting in line ahead of the official PlayStation announcement.
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Either way, now that we've had official confirmation from Sony about what to expect from July (which is typically one of the quieter periods of the gaming year), we've been mulling it over and we've come to a conclusion – this really is a fairly good month for the subscription service. Especially as the PS Plus Essentials package acts as something of an advert for PS Premium and the other tiers, at this point.

To recap, the games you'll be able to download from July 5 are: Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time (PS4, PS5), The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan (PS4), and Arcadegeddon for (PS4, PS5). You have until July 4 to grab June's line-up of games.

Is Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time any good?

Turn on the Coco channel.

Crash Bandicoot wowed many critics when it launched in October 2020, and left only a few feeling slightly disappointed with the marsupials resurrection on modern platforms. The game represents the best 'get' of the PS Plus line-up this month, despite what I think, though, and you should certainly give it a spin (no pun intended) if you have any love at all for Crash and pals.

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time received "generally favorable" reviews on all platforms on Metacritic, sitting at 85. A user score of 8.1 seems about in line with the official verdict – quite a rare occurance, these days.

In my 3-star Crash Bandicoot 4 review, I noted:

Loose and floaty physics, an abundance of different mechanics that often feel part-baked, and some design choices that feel sadistic – rather than simply difficult – leave this approach to Crash Bandicoot feeling less like a true sequel, and more like a licensed spin-off.

As a game on PS Plus, it's a good addition – I would've advised that you don't spend any serious money on it, but it's a love-letter to the series, and works well as a (generations late) follow-up to one of the best platformer trilogies ever made. Just don't expect it to be as good as the original games, and you'll be sweeter than an over-ripe Wumpa fruit.

Is Man of Medan any good?

Don't play alone.

Man of Medan represents the first game in Supermassive's ambitious horror compendium: The Dark Pictures Anthology. Whilst few of these games have lived up to the dizzying highs that we've seen on other Supermassive games like Until Dawn, there's still some fun to be had in the murky corridors and dark corners of the series.

Man of Medan, like the rest of the anthology, has its quirks, but ultimately comes off a little disappointing. Smaller in size compared to its slasher-horror forebear, Man of Medan builds on Supermassive's learnings from past projects to deliver a horror experience that can be played solo, or with another player online.

Since the game has five characters, it also supports couch co-op for up to five players, each controlling a different character in a sort-of 'pass the pad' setup. So if you need something decent for your next party, it's worth looking into.

In our 3-star VG247 review of Man of Medan, we said:
In spite of its technical and interactive mis-steps, the journey within Man of Medan is well worth embarking on. If you have even the slightest soft spot for Quantic Dream’s press-X-’em-ups this is ambrosia - cinematic styling and engrossing pace without a SWAT team or gratuitous nude scene in sight. If the very mention of David Cage’s self-proclaimed interactive dramas has you drafting a tweet that you’re fairly sure will earn you a temporary ban, this won’t sway you.

The game sits at 69 on Metacritic, with a 5.8 user score.

Is Arcadegeddon any good?

The assembled heroes of Arcadegeddon.

This is the newest game in this month's crop of PS Plus titles, so you may not have heard of it. Let us catch you up, then: Gilly, the owner of a local arcade, is trying to save his business from a faceless mega corporation. To do so, he takes all the top arcade games and connects them all to make a super game. Unfortunately the mega corporation, Fun Fun Co., hacks the game and injects a virus. You and your friends need to save the game and the last hometown arcade.

How's that for a blurb? The game has been in early access for a while now, so we can't tell you its official Meta score or give any real insight into how it works. From what we've seen, the title is a fast-paced and highly competitive multiplayer shooter that seems to have a charming effect on the people that play it.

The over-arching opinion is that there are a few rough edges, but the core conceit is quite strong – and there's a lot of potential in it. Here's hoping the influx of players from PS Plus will help it find its legs, then.

What time can you download the July 2022 PS Plus games?

If you've read this guide and want to know what time you can download July's PS Plus games, fret not: we've got it figured out.

As per previous months, you will be able to download and install all of the July 2022 PS Plus games on July 5 at 10 AM ET / 7 AM PT / 3 PM BST / 4 PM CEST.

As ever, delays may happen, so don't make plans around those times if you can help it. You're also going to want to wait and make sure to check the 'FREE' label is applied to these titles first. You don't want to pay for them only to see them go free a few minutes later!

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