Ever since I wrote T3's PS5 review I've been enraptured with Sony's next-gen console, and now thanks to a brilliant PlayStation Plus Premium feature, my enjoyment has just been taken to a whole new level of awesome.
That's because, thanks to PlayStation Plus Premium's 'Game Trials' feature, as of last night I'm now getting stuck into the awesome PS5 exclusive Horizon Forbidden West without having to buy the full game.
Due to the shamefully large backlog of games that I needed to play at the time I didn't buy Forbidden West at launch, as I pointedly told myself I should play some of my pile first.
Fast forward to August 2022 and the Horizon sequel had drifted out of my mind – well, that is until I fired up my PS5 and opened PlayStation Plus, which I've advised all PlayStation gamers to buy, to discover that Horizon Forbidden West is now firmly lodged in the Premium service's Game Trials section.
Needless to say, I immediately started the game's download and, after a painfully long wait (I live in the country and have awful internet), started my trial.
The Horizon Forbidden West free Game Trial is really generous, too, with me able to play the full game for 5 whole hours before having to pay to unlock the full game.
What's really cool, though, is that the 5 hours can be enjoyed at any time, not just in one block, and the timer only counts down while you're actually playing the game, meaning you don't lose time if you switch to play something else.
Oh, and all the progress and trophies that are bagged in the game trial can then be stored and seamlessly carried over if and when I buy the full game.
So far, I've thoroughly enjoyed Horizon Forbidden West and, at some point, will absolutely be buying the full game.
Demos are back with Game Trials, and I'm loving it
For those of you old enough to remember the late 80s and early 90s in computing, you'll likely remember 'shareware', which was software (including games!) that was distributed for free but had a limit in terms of its functionality or a timed usage. The idea was you tried the software then, if you liked it, paid for the full experience. You could also share that shareware with others, hopefully getting them to also then buy the full version.
Classic first person shooter Doom was famously released using the shareware system.
In the gaming space, shareware largely turned into straight game demos, which would allow gamers to sample a small amount of the full title. And during the 90s it was common to have gaming magazines cover mounted with floppy/CD discs stuffed with game demos.
Fast forward to 2022 and while game demos are defo a thing, they're nowhere near as widespread as they once were, and especially for AAA blockbuster titles. And that's a shame as the truth is that it prevents gamers from trying new experiences that, otherwise, they'd probably not risk due to the financial investment needed.
Now, obviously, to use the Game Trials feature on PS5 I've had to subscribe to PlayStation Plus Premium, which costs money. But what I'm saying is that I can see myself making use of the Game Trials feature a lot going forward on PlayStation 5, and especially so in genres or game types that I usually don't play.
I was always going to play Horizon Forbidden West at some point, but that is not true of all games, and if offering me a demo in Game Trials means I play those games, like what I play and then buy the full title, that's great for game makers and for Sony PlayStation.
Although it may not be good for games my to play backlog!