PlayStation Plus review (2023)

You must subscribe to a service to play console games online. Nintendo Switch hasNintendo Switch Online, Xbox has Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation has PlayStation Plus (starting at $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year). Each is essential for its own system, and companies sweeten the deal by bundling extras like bonus titles and cloud storage. However, Sony's offering is the weakest of the lot, with an inconsistent library and mediocre streaming.Xbox Game Pass Ultimateis the best subscription service for console gamers with its premium library and streaming features, while Nintendo Switch Online remains a great $20 annual membership that lets you play some of the best NES, SNES, and Game Boy games ever made.

PlayStation Plus review (1)

(Reward: Sony)

What are the different PlayStation Plus plans?

PlayStation Plus is divided into three membership levels: Essential, Extra and Premium. Essential is the basic plan available for $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year and offers online multiplayer, cloud storage, Share Play,monthly free games, and discounts. This tier is basically the original PS Plus membership before the other tiers were introduced and is most comparable to the basic Xbox Live Gold membership without Xbox Games Pass (also $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year).

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Extra is $14.99 per month or $99.99 per year and adds the Game Catalog and Ubisoft+ Classics libraries to the mix. These titles are always-present options, but the overall selection varies and expands over time. This tier is effectively the same as Xbox Live Gold with Xbox Game Pass ($9.99 per month or $24.99 for three months, with an Xbox Live Gold subscription).

Premium is the highest level PlayStation Plus membership, available for $17.99 per month or $119.99 per year. This subscription adds exclusive trial games and PlayStation Cloud Streaming (previously known as separatePlayStation Now).Cloud Streamingallows you to play cloud-based titles (PlayStation 4 and older) in the Game Catalog. Additionally, you can play these games on your PC with the PlayStation Plus app for Windows. Overall, this membership is comparable to an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription ($14.99 per month, with no official multi-month or annual discount), although PS Plus Premium doesn't offer installable Windows titles for PC users like Ultimate does .

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What games are in the PlayStation Plus library?

The games in the Essential plan range from mediocre to excellent. For example, the May 2023 lineup included Chivalry 2, Descenders, and Grid Legends, none of which are particularly big names. However, the January 2023 listing featured Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and the December 2022 series.Mass Effect Legendary Edition. In general, you can expect a particularly compelling game to appear every two or three months. Once activated, the games remain available to play as long as you are a PS Plus member.

The extra level is where PlayStation Plus starts to add value with its Game Catalog and Ubisoft+ Classics. That's a big library of PS4 and PS5 titles to download, in addition to the three or four monthly games in the Essential membership. It's all one library; although Ubisoft+ Classics is framed as a separate collection, it is ultimately just Ubisoft's back catalog included with other non-Ubisoft games.

PlayStation Plus review (10)

(Reward: Sony)

The game catalog currently contains approximately 450 games of various genres and scopes. There are many big names, including Death Stranding Director's Cut, Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition,Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade,God of War (2018),Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut, iMarvelov Spider-Man: Miles Morales. There are also great deals like Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, Neo: The World Ends With You andYakuza: Like a dragon.

Overall, the choice is hit or miss compared to Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft followed through on its commitment to include new first-party games on Xbox Game Pass at launch, and Sony's lack of a similar policy is evident in the PlayStation Plus Extra Game Catalogue.Bog rata: Ragnarokmissing, as it isMarvelov Spider-Man Remasteredand anyThe last of usrid. Even Ubisoft is a bit stingy; the latest entry in Assassin's Creed,Valhalla, is absent.

Another game library, the Classics Catalog, is available to Premium subscribers. This adds another 450 or so games from the PlayStation, PS2 and PS3 eras, and might appeal to old-school PlayStation fans. Here are some signature games, such as Devil May Cry HD Collection, God of War HD, The Last of Us Remastered, Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, and The Sly Collection. There are also underappreciated gems like Dark Cloud 2, Gravity Rush Remastered and Split/Second: Velocity.

Once again, there are big holes in the classic catalog. You won't find any Crash Bandicoot or Tomb Raider games, despite them being the original PlayStation mascot series. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and the original Final Fantasy VII are also absent (Final Fantasy is particularly cryptic, as FF8 Remastered, FF9 Digital Edition, FFX/X-2 HD Remaster, and FFXII The Zodiac Age are included). These are simply baffling omissions.

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PlayStation Plus review (11)

Horizon Forbidden West (Zasluge: Sony)

Clunky Cloud Gaming

The premium subscription also adds cloud gaming, previously a separate service called PlayStation Now. It lets you stream titles to your PS4, PS5 or PC, so you can play on the go on your laptop (orSteam Deck, with some web solutions). However, it doesn't let you stream on Macs or mobile devices (Xbox Game Pass Ultimate cloud games have clients for iPhones, iPads, Macs, and newer Samsung TVs).

The cloud streaming library covers the entire Classics catalog and a good chunk of the games catalog, but you're out of luck if you want to play PS5 games on your PC. The streaming library ends on PS4 games, including those that have PS4 and PS5 versions. This includes games likeHorizon: Forbidden WestiMarvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.

Streaming PlayStation Plus games on a PC is not a viable substitute for playing them on a console. Horizon: Forbidden West was pretty fast and generally looked good, although it occasionally floated. Additionally, the streamed graphics are obviously compressed.

PlayStation Plus review (12)

PlayStation Plus app (Credit: Sony)

Hollow Knight was almost unplayable, with a noticeable lag between my inputs and on-screen movements. This is a major flaw in a 2D platformer that requires precise timing and control. Graphics also contained compression artifacts, not looking as sharp as local playback.

My Internet connection is a gigabit cable line with a Wi-Fi 6 router within three feet of my computer, and during testing I measured 724 Mbps downstream and 30 Mbps upstream; that's way above 15Mbps (up and down) Sony recommends for streaming games at 1080p. Game streaming on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate isn't perfect either, but it looks and feels much better on the same network connection.Nvidia GeForce nowworks almost flawlessly under the best of circumstances.

Additionally, the PlayStation Plus app on PC is also an overly simple, frustrating experience. The games are arranged randomly in huge rows by recommendation and genre, and you have to scroll down to find your list of favorites. There is no search function or any browsing filters, so searching for a specific game is a chore. There are few graphical options and no way to remap the controls if you're using a device other than the DualShock 4 orDualSensegamepad.

PlayStation Plus review (13)Can PlayStation Plus Premium Beat Xbox Game Pass?

Necessary for online play, but otherwise irrelevant

Like Nintendo Switch Online and Xbox Live Gold, PlayStation Plus is essential if you want to play games online with your system of choice. As a result, we recommend a subscription to PlayStation Plus Essential. However, neither the Extra nor Premium membership levels are particularly compelling; The Game Catalog might have some games you'd like to play, but it's nowhere near as impressive as the Xbox Game Pass collection (and the Classics Catalog lacks too many actual classics to be worthwhile).

Cloud gaming may have sweetened the offering for PlayStation Plus Premium, but the streaming feature is a few steps behind its Microsoft counterpart. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is simply the better package, even if it's a bit more expensive without the annual discount. While Nintendo Switch Online doesn't include recently released titles, it's the most wallet-friendly subscription of the three and includes classic NES, SNES, Game Boy, and (if you get the $49.99 annual expansion pass) Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 64. Of the three memberships, PlayStation Plus is a distant third. However, since each is tied to its own system, whether or not you should subscribe depends on which console you own.

See for morePlayStation Plus vs. PlayStation Stars: What's the difference?Want to talk video games in depth? To visitPCMagov Pop-Off YouTube kanal(Opens in a new window). Eager to see new titles on the horizon? Check it outThe best video games coming out in 2023.

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