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PlayStation Plus

Source: Sony / PlayStation

PlayStation Plus was first launched in 2010 and granted its users a variety of options that made the service a vital part of the gaming experience on the platform. PS Plus, as it is also known, went under a massive revamp in 2022 while introducing three tiers, and we’re putting a focus on the PlayStation Plus Premium level.

For starters, let’s talk about what PlayStation Plus is and break down its three tiers.

PlayStation Plus

Source: Sony / PlayStation

Tier 1 is known as PS Plus Essential, which is the same as the former PS Plus. Nothing has changed in the offerings, which include two monthly free games that can be downloaded to your PlayStation 5 console. Essential subscribers also get periodic discounts, cloud storage for game files, and online multiplayer capabilities. The Essential tier costs $9.99 per month or $59.99 for the year.

Tier 2 is known as PS Plus Extra and it offers everything from the Essential tier along with 400-plus PS4 and PS5 games in a wide variety of offerings from platformers, fighting games, first-person shooters, and more. The Extra tier will run you $14.99 per month and $99.99 for the year.

Tier 3 is known as PS Plus Premium and gives its subscribers all of the offerings in the Essential and Extra tiers. In addition, 340-plus PS3 titles can be streamed and playable, along with classic PS1, PS2, and PSP titles among the overall number. The cloud streaming option replaces the former PS Now streaming service. This tier also gives subscribers time-limited game trials to some of the top games in the PlayStation ecosystem. This will cost you $17.99 per month and $119.00 for the year.

I’ve been using the service since the summer and I am not what someone would consider a power gamer. However, I suffer heavily from FOMO and the Premium tier is perfect for someone like me. I’ve learned the hard way which games I enjoy the most (single-player, story-driven, action-adventure) and which ones I don’t (MOBA, RTS). The tier has a number of high-quality games to play, including two favorites of mine, Returnal, and Deathloop.

Housemarque, a developer under the PlayStation Studios umbrella, released Returnal in 2021 to heavy fanfare and adoration from critics. The game is a “roguelike,” which is an offshoot of role-playing games with characters entering randomly generated levels and, most notably, a permanent end to the player’s life cycle. The game is difficult at times and each time the player perishes, it reveals a bit more of the story. It is the game I feel that made purchasing the Premium tier worth it due to the dazzling gunplay, boss fights, and story development.

Having gotten my roguelike sea legs under me, I decided to try out Deathloop next, developed by Arkane Lyon, and also released in 2021. I won’t try to explain the concept but the game’s title is accurate as the main character, the wisecracking assassin Colt, traipses through a variety of environments that have a funky art deco style. I don’t normally do well with first-person shooters (FPS) but I did enjoy how fun Deathloop is along with the hilarious voice acting and the general sense of stealth and discovery.

This isn’t to say there aren’t other great games to play. The service has interesting titles like the excellent Stray, Grand That Auto: Vice City, and several titles from the Assasin’s Creed series. It does appear that games will cycle in and out from the game catalog but anything obtained from the two monthly free game downloads will remain in your library for as long as you maintain a subscription.

Another game I have to mention, especially for fans of The Lord Of The Rings, is Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. When I’m not dying awful deaths in Returnal or frustrating myself with the amazing God of War, I’m enjoying my time taking out Uruks as Talian, a ranger from the land of Gondor. I don’t want to spoil the story but this game employs something known as the Nemesis system, which means if an Uruk captain takes you out, they’ll remember you. Also, any Uruk (basically a beefed-up Orc) you rubbed the wrong way will seek vengeance. For a game made in 2014, it still holds up.

I would offer that if you’re not someone who plays video games often, the Extra tier would be more than enough for some. If you’re someone who enjoys playing games with friends or online buddies and loves the monthly freebies, you’ll need to get the Essential tier. However, the Premium tier is definitely for those who are true gamers. Having access to literally hundreds of games should balance out the cost of that particular tier. The one true ding on PlayStation Plus is that, unlike Xbox’s Game Pass, subscribers won’t be able to have day one access to games on the date of their release.

For now, I can comfortably recommend, at the very least, fans signing up for the Extra tier of PS Plus. Get the Premium if you’re someone who breezes through games or just enjoys a high level of variety. Also, it gives access to a classic array of games you might’ve missed over the years.

Learn more about PlayStation Plus by following this link.

Photo: Sony/Playstation