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3 PS Plus free demos you should try this weekend (May 17-19)

Peter attacks enemies with the Symbiote Suit in Marvel's Spider-Man 2.
Sony Interactive Entertainment

One of the most underrated features of PlayStation Plus Premium is the game trials that it offers. Although Sony does not put its AAA games on the service the day they release, it and several other third-party publishers offer up free demos that essentially give players full access to the game for a limited period of time. It’s a great way to test a new game before you buy and it also gives you an excuse to try out a variety of different games this weekend without making the time commitment to beat them all. I looked through the full list of game trials that PlayStation Plus Premium offers and pinpointed three of the demos that are most worth your time.

The first is a two-hour demo for one of the PlayStation 5’s biggest exclusives. The next will give you a two-hour taste of the latest fighting game in a long-running franchise. Finally, the one-hour trial of one of the year’s best indies will get you hooked on the card-based roguelike that consumed my life for a bit.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man soars through the air in a biomechanical suit in Marvel's Spider-Man 2.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is one of the best AAA games on the PS5. Developed by Insomniac Games, this game feels like the pinnacle of the gameplay and narrative concepts introduced across Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Web-swinging feels better than ever and flows even smoother than before thanks to the addition of mechanics like the Web Wings. Combat still feels great, and the gameplay remains rock solid when control shifts to characters that aren’t Spider-Man. Narratively, Insomniac knocks it out of the park with its interpretation of the Symbiote storyline from the comics, which is nuanced and takes a closer look at how some of Spider-Man’s villains can be redeemed.

This two-hour trial of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 gives you plenty of time to play through the bombastic opening fight against Sandman — which is one of the best parts of the entire game — and get a feel for swinging around its open world as both Peter and Miles. If you haven’t picked up this game yet, checking out this game trial is well worth your time as long as Sony doesn’t bring the full game to the PS Plus game catalog.

The full version of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is a PS5 exclusive.

Mortal Kombat 1

Havik ripping his own arm off.
WB Games

While Mortal Kombat 1 has a “1” in its title, this game is actually the 12th in a storied fighting game franchise. Mortal Kombat is known for being a fighting game that doesn’t shy away from brutality. The gruesome fatal blows and fatalities that the series is known for are as bloody as ever in Mortal Kombat 1. Gameplay, in general, feels even better as it has been sped up and “Kameo” assist characters have been added. WB Games and NetherRealm are still actively updating this game with new characters, including guest stars like Omni-Man from Invincible and Homelander from The Boys, so it’s an ever-evolving game that PS Plus Premium subscribers can check out for no additional cost.

Within the two hours that Mortal Kombat 1’s game trial encompasses, it’s possible to get through quite a bit of the game’s main story. You can also just hop into online and offline matches right away if that’s all you tend to come to fighting games for. Either way, experiencing the brutality of Mortal Kombat 1 is a fun way to spend the weekend.

You can keep playing Mortal Kombat 1 by picking it up on PS5, PC, Xbox Series X/S, or Nintendo Switch.

Balatro

Gameplay from Balatro.
LocalThunk

Balatro is one of 2024’s breakout indie hits for good reason. This roguelike is fairly straightforward. You have a deck of cards and play poker hands in order to earn enough points to beat a score threshold for that encounter. While those number thresholds start low, they increase exponentially, so players will have to take advantage of card upgrades and Joker cards with special abilities in order to increase the points earned a multiplier applied to every hand played. Once you grasp those core elements of Balatro, it’ll be hard to tear its hooks out of you.

This game trial may only be one hour, but that’s more than enough time to learn the basics and get several runs of Balatro in. I recommend turning up the game’s speed in its settings so each run goes by even faster. By the end of that limited playtime, I can assure you that you’ll want more than what this brief demo offers. I’m sorry for ruining any other plans you may have had this weekend by introducing you to this game.

If you want to buy the full game after the trial expires, Balatro is available across PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.

Editors' Recommendations

Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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