The new PS Plus is here and it finally fixes a years-old problem Sony has had going up against rival Xbox.
Microsoft’s game streaming service Game Pass has been impressing players for a long time now as it increasingly offers Netflix-style access to a host of top titles for a fixed monthly fee.
And with the ever-improving instant cloud streaming option, gamers have been able to dive into hit new games on their Series X machines within seconds, without the need to download huge files first, all for a few quid.
Playstation’s long-wanted variation is now finally up and running and is equally impressive.
It comes in three tiers.
The first ‘Essential’ is basically the old PS Plus – online multiplayer access, cloud game save storage, a couple of free games to try under subscription and discounts on the console store.
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That’s basically £7-a-month, £55-a-year.
PS Plus ‘Extra’ is £11-a-month (£84-a-year) and adds in a huge game catalogue of older and newer Playstation games to download and enjoy.
PS Plus ‘Premium’ adds in even more, most importantly that aforementioned Cloud Streaming so you can play games instantly online over Sony’s servers, access to another separate Classics game library of old titles and also time-limited trails of brand new games on the PS5.
That lot is a £13.50-a-month, or a penny under £100-a-year.
And it’s this tier that we’re concentrating on here.
first off, the menu system is incredibly easy to use.
You’ll within seconds of signing up be flicking through tile after tile of top games to choose from. Simple.
Searches are keyword driven and clear.
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Everything runs within the PS5 eco-system and the games you do access adds in as a tile on your opening screen just like any other physical/digital game you own outside of any subscription.
Hits range from the recent PS5 blockbusters like Spider-Man Miles Morales, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Death Stranding Director’s Cut to older PS4 and PS3 classics like Control, LittleBigPlanet 3, Uncharted 4 and some of the Fry Cry series.
I downloaded the likes of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and it ran like a dream, as you’d expect from a downloaded full-price game, albeit without the full price of course.
The Classics Catalogue on the highest tier also gives you access to games from the PS2, PSP and PS1 eras using cloud gaming.
Using the cloud option, I tried the one Batman Arkham game I somehow missed during that series’ amazing run – 2013’s Arkham Origins – and it logged in and was streaming effortlessly quickly on a swift 350Mbps Virgin Media fibre line.
The game played silky smooth and the only thing that seemed ‘wrong’ was that the PS3 graphics are now quite noticably far behind what we’ve become accustomed to on the swanky newer 4K machines of today.
It ran smooth, there was little-to-no latency in the gameplay and it was a joy to enjoy.
You can even do it away from your console and on PC.
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All you’ll need to do is pair up a PC or laptop with a Playstation controller via bluetooth and log into your account to stream the games.
Great for on-the-go laptop gaming.
It means that, as long as you have a decent internet connection, you can play many of the very best games available on Playstation without the need to download them, or even require some of the pure computing power of actually running them on the machine as they run over PS servers.
It’s a game-changer, excuse the pun, if you’re on the hunt for a load of top titles without the need to spend £50-£60 a time buying them, only to discover they don’t really float your boat at all.
To double-down on that, there’s the option to trial for a time-limited period some of the most recent games like Horizon Forbidden West, Olli Olli World and Cyberpunk 2077.
All progress and Trophies carry over if you do decide to buy the full game after your trial expires.
Overall, it is a hell of a package.
One that’s filled with a good mix of classic and current games that amount to the very best Playstation has had to offer over multiple years.
Sony has arguably suffered by not offering a Game Pass style package of its own in recent years.
This now very much levels that playing field and is impressive in its fledgling days with both a very easy-to-use user interface and seriously decent sized library to explore.
It’s pricey, but then, if you’re a gamer’s gamer who just wants to work your way through huge numbers of hits, is well worth it.
As time moves on and more games appear, it’ll only get better.
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