PlayStation Plus has just launched in Europe, which completes the global roll-out of the revamped PS Plus.
The question has been an obvious one: how will PlayStation respond to Xbox Game Pass? And the answer is to merge PS Plus and PS Now into one service.
With Sony already ruling out any of its first party AAA exclusives launching day one on PS Plus Premium, the value proposition of this is different to what Microsoft is offering — relying on a large library and retro throwbacks over giving you the newest games from their launch date.
So, the question is obvious: is this the right way to go? The answer will change overtime. Consider this a perpetual review in progress, which I will come back to and update when new games arrive and new features drop.
TL;DR: is PS Plus Premium worth it right now?
Honestly, not really. There’s a tonne of potential, but the classics library is just not big enough to warrant the price tag, and the PS3 streaming is still a mixed bag of latency issues.
For now, I recommend you stick to PS Plus Extra, as there are some absolute bangers in that library for the same cost as Game Pass. Wait for Sony to solve its PS3 streaming issues and expand the number of retro games before paying that premium.
PS Plus Premium: Pricing
For the top tier service, you’re set to pay the following for a PS Plus Premium (opens in new tab) subscription:
- $17.99 monthly / $49.99 quarterly / $119.99 yearly
- €16.99 monthly / €49.99 quarterly / €119.99 yearly
- £13.49 monthly / £39.99 quarterly / £99.99 yearly
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is currently priced at $14.99 / £10.99 a month — $3 less for a similar service on paper, but a bigger value proposition thanks to the day one exclusives from Xbox Game Studios.
PS Plus Premium: What is included?
The Premium level is basically the unification of PS Plus and PS Now, as it gives you all the standard stuff you got before (a couple of games each month, access to online multiplayer, cloud saves, etc), alongside access to limited time game trials, a catalog of PS4 and PS5 games, a lot of PS3 games and a handful of PS1, PS2 and PSP titles — all ready to play at no extra cost.
We have a full list of all the PS Plus games, which we will be updating as new titles are added.
PS Plus Premium: Is it a good library of games?
Alongside this, you’ll find some cracking hidden gems and indie titles like The Artful Escape, Thomas Was Alone, Tearaway Unfolded and Danger Zone.
But there are some more questionable choices and odd duplicates that are purely there to pad out the numbers. For example, you could play Bee Simulator, 2Dark, and you’ll find both versions of Death Stranding.
Plus, all of what I talked about is available on the Extra tier, too. Premium packs a large PS3 list of over a hundred new games, which are only available for streaming (more on that later), and there are just 28 classics from PS1, PS2 and PSP — many of which were already accessible through PS Now. It’s clear that the throwback part of the Premium package is still very much in its infancy.
PS Plus Premium: How do the old games play?
We already know how the big hitters in the PS Plus Extra library perform. They’re downloadable PS4 and PS5 games, so they perform just like any other game. But we’re all curious about how the older PS1, PS2 and PSP games play.
In my experience it's a helluva lot of fun. Downloads are fast, gameplay is smooth, save states and the ability to rewind gameplay are supported, and some titles (like Syphon Filter) now pack trophy support. It’s also fascinating to see just how some games have aged.
For example, Hot Shots Golf hasn’t aged a bit. It’s still extremely addictive. However, while Syphon Filter started as a glorious trip down memory lane, the controls and the camera get frustrating quickly.
As for the intricacies of NTSC 60Hz vs PAL 50Hz, I’ve always lived in a PAL territory, so it’s never really been a problem for me. However, I am aware that the old games I’m playing can run smoother. PlayStation has noted this, and you can expect an update that gives you NTSC alternatives soon.
We’re planning to roll out NTSC options for a majority of classic games offered on the PlayStation Plus Premium and Deluxe plan in Asia, Europe, Middle East, India, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand regions. More PlayStation Plus info: https://t.co/NdLN6vgb1tJune 23, 2022
PS Plus Premium: What about streaming?
Downloading and playing games is only half the story, as you can stream, too. The streaming library also includes a selection of PS3 games, as it’s still proving nigh-on impossible to make downloadable versions. Clearly, the cell processor of Sony’s third-generation console is quite the proprietary pain!
For context, I have 300Mbps fibre broadband, which is considered to be well above the required speed for game streaming.
The end result (at the best times with my internet connection) is a mixed bag. For simpler games that don’t pack so much graphical fidelity and don’t need a lot of multiple controller inputs, it’s great. Both Kona and Ape Escape play really well, for example, and latency is totally indistinguishable.
However, once you get into more demanding titles and certain games where perfect timing is everything (such as Assetto Corsa Competizione), the latency can really be a game killer. Sure, we’re only talking about a miniscule amount of lag here, but when it matters (trying to time your dodges in Marvel’s Spider-Man), it can become more annoying than its worth.
I wish I could give it 5 stars for including Toy Story 2. But my personal bias aside, let’s answer the important question: is PS Plus Premium worth the money in its current state? The short answer is “almost.”
It has all the makings of a potentially fantastic service. A chance to play other games in the PlayStation Studios library that you may have missed and relive your childhood memories with key classics from yesteryear.
Unfortunately, the latter part is pretty barebones at the moment So, save yourself the money, get PS Plus Extra for now and wait for the retro library to fill up.