PS Plus Premium isn’t the disaster it claims to have happened – it’s in some ways better than Game Pass

In November of this year, PS5 He will celebrate his second birthday. Despite some first-party enthusiasts—Returnal, I’m looking at you—so far, the Sony machine has started to start less and more of an agonizing crawl. It’s a problem that Microsoft’s new chests aren’t immune to it either, but cunningly, Xbox pulled a rabbit out of the hat. Name your new floppy-eared boyfriend? game arcade. While Microsoft has been quietly gathering studios and Sony releasing a steady stream of exclusives, by year two, there’s one clear winner in this console generation: Game Pass.

A quick primer on what this new PS Plus actually is.

Boasting over 25 million subscribers and winning the hearts and minds of value-loving gamers, the slow build service has been truly devastating to the video game industry. This console generation has been seen less defined by the release of the “next generation” and more in a shiny new way to consume it. With Twitter fan accounts happily touting Xbox’s “best deal in games” and fans now gleefully extending to subscription services, it appears that this generation’s battle lines have already been drawn. It was inevitable, then, that Sony would get itself into a subscription service skirmish. Was he chosen as a battle-ready hero? An all-new three-level PS Plus offering.

Rolling out around the world last month, in these early days, it wasn’t the brave comeback Sony had hoped for. After months of information leaks, the big reveal of the PS Plus 2.0 version was launched with… well, less bang for the buck and more inaudible moaning. Light on the PS1 and PS2 classics and looking from a distance like a Poundland Game Pass, Sony’s initial offering was quickly raking in the cash. A poorly copied snippet of the Homework 101 Subscription Service. However, the reality turned out to be far from a disaster it seems.

Returnal might be one of the best games of the past few years – not to mention the best PlayStation 5 exclusive.

Despite online trolling for paid advertisements for the service and gamers gleefully squeezing out their Game Pass gift cards, after living with PlayStation Plus Premium sub for over a month – it’s actually a solid value. While it looks suspiciously like a steal from afar, after actually using it, I’m now a pretty big believer. The first thing that surprised me was just how expensive the upgrade path from the old PS Plus was: If you subscribe to a V1 PS Plus – now known as PlayStation Plus Essential – the upgrade fee for the rest of the year is surprisingly reasonable.

Converting my existing membership to a premium ‘Premium’ membership has only cost me an extra £27.99, and has given me the keys to embarrassing fortunes. By giving players instant access to Returnal, Stray, Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut, Demon Souls, and Miles Morales – to name a few – you’ll get a free reign for most of the PS5’s crown jewels. Thinking of buying the £24.99 Stray or upgrading to Ghost of Tsushima’s Director’s Cut anyway? Just enter the same price into the upgrade and you’ll find your score and a little more to offer.

For those insatiable geeks like me who also have a Game Pass, make no mistake – it’s not the same thing. Unlike Microsoft’s first day launch, Sony President Jim Ryan has made it clear that PS Plus won’t get release day access to all of Sony’s blockbuster movies. However, with all the PS5 launch year titles already here and Sony’s enviable star-studded catalog, it’s hard to really care.

A stray cat looks into a cave in which the boat is spread.

Stray is just one gem in the PS Plus jewel-lined flea collar.

In addition to the PS5 gems mentioned above, both new shiny PS Plus tiers provide enough first-party content loved on PS4 to rock Kratos Plushie. From God Of Wars, to the gorgeous PS4 port of Shadow Of The Colossus, The Last of Us to The Last Guardian, and, er, Days Gone to Until Dawn, there are plenty of critically acclaimed experiences for subscribers to dive into. And that’s before you even get that virtual treasure chest containing antiques. Featuring a growing selection of downloadable PS1 and PS2 classics, streamable PS3 games, and third-party versions across generations, PS Plus’s pricey category is – whisper – good value.

Although it’s missing a fair amount of Game Pass’s third-party suite, the early PS Plus Extra and Premium lineup shows promise. Featuring PS4 games like Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (and best of the series, Black Flag), Mafia 1 and 2 Definitive Editions, Bioshock games, and Final Fantasy 7 through 12 – just to name a few. Even in the second month, there’s no shortage of really great releases. Add the recent announcement of eight Yakuza titles to the mix and increased Ubisoft support, and it’s plausible that many of the beloved third-party versions of Game Pass will eventually find their way to Sony’s service.

However, not everything here is win-win. My main complaint thus far is that there are a huge number of retro paradoxes missing from the growing catalog. While there are undoubtedly some stone cold classics – Ape Escape to Tekken 2, Jak 2 to Dark Cloud, Siphon Filter to Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey – there are currently no Metal Gear Solid, SSX, Spyro, or Crash. Fortunately, the cleverly rebranded streaming service for PS3 games is much better: I’ve already poured in a different article on what I had the pleasure of finally playing Ico on PS Plus, sitting alongside other lost PS3 classics like Tokyo Jungle, and here’s my hope This is the first step to making Metal Gear Solid 4 playable outside of PS3.

You don’t have to go to arcade games when Yakuza 0 is on PS Plus.

Processor wobbling aside from the PS3, what the new and improved PS Plus offers will sound somewhat familiar to anyone who has used Game Pass. middle of all old thing And the something borrowedThere is one unique offer on Sony’s service, however – Game Trials. Available only on the most expensive (premium) levels, these extended demos give you five hours with all-new games. They’re slim choices so far, but the two biggest titles are Horizon Forbidden West and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. While the first-party offerings on Xbox will simply be free, given Sony’s general reluctance to do the same, they offer a fairly reasonable compromise.

If being able to play anything before PS4 doesn’t interest you, the PS Plus Extra tier simply lets you access your library of PS4 and PS5 games for less than a year, setting you back £83.99 for 12 months. For this writer, the extra £15 a year for the Premium sub is a no-brainer, but if the old games (blasphemy) do nothing for you, you might want to save the £15 and buy yourself five extra cups of coffee.

For those who haven’t yet played much – or even a handful – of Sony’s first-party exclusives, the two new levels of PS Plus are the best introduction to PlayStation you can get. If you’ve just bought a PS5 and don’t really want to shell out £60 for a game, this is the cheapest way to put your new device through its paces. Sure, PS Plus’ most expensive podium is currently lacking in the impressive third-party splendor of Game Pass, but with the addition of PS2, PSP, PS3 and PS1 titles, it’s hard not to get excited by PS Plus’ new capabilities.

Tell me you don’t want to try some of the best adventure games on PS2.

However, with times getting tougher for people everywhere – especially in the UK – I am fully aware that costly subscription services do not exist in a vacuum. However, for this writer, being able to dive into a wealth of beloved PS Plus games has given me a reason to play my PS5 for the first time in months. Is it a good value proposition like Game Pass? In its current state, certainly not, but given the constant flow of titles added to its burgeoning back catalog, it could be in a few months’ time.

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