The new PlayStation Plus is here, with three subscription tiers: Essential, Extra, and Premium. With each one offering plenty of differences, here’s our review.
PlayStation Plus has been around since 2010, and Sony’s membership service has evolved regularly. Since the PlayStation 4, PS Plus has been required for online play, and the PS5 generation has seen the biggest change yet.
Now divided into three membership tiers; Essential, Extra, and Premium, there are plenty of benefits available for all players, but it won’t be for everyone. Here, we’ll try and help work out which tier represents the best value at the time of the service’s launch.
For a detailed breakdown of everything included in each, be sure to check out our explainer.
PlayStation Plus Essential: Is it worth it?
If you’ve used PlayStation Plus at any time since the PS4, then you’ll know how Essential works — it offers access to online gaming, cloud storage for your saved data, and access to exclusive discounts.
It also adds new games for players each month, although this has dropped from two PS4 games and a single PS5 game to a pair of PS4 games.
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It’ll cost users $9.99/£6.99 per month, and if you’re looking to play popular multiplayer games you’ll need to subscribe. It’s worth noting, though, that the likes of Warzone and Apex Legends don’t require PS Plus, in which case your decision as to whether to subscribe or not could simply be based on which games are offered monthly.
PlayStation Plus Extra: Is it worth it?
Previously known as PlayStation Now, PS Plus Extra is the tier you’ll be moved to if you were subscribed to Sony’s cloud streaming service.
That’s not to say they’re the same, though — unlike PS Plus Essential which has remained the same, PS Plus Extra more closely resembles Xbox Game Pass.
Extra will set users back $14.99/£10.99 per month and offers a library of 400 PS4 and PS5 games to play. For a little extra above the Essential tier, this feels like the sweet spot for the new PlayStation Plus, with games being downloadable so you can play them locally.
Players can gain unlimited access to PS4 classics such as Batman: Arkham Knight, Death Stranding, and Mortal Kombat 11, while there are PS5 games, too — with Spider-Man: Miles Morales and the incredible Demon’s Souls remake included.
For the full list of PS Plus Extra and Premium titles, you can check our page, but being able to jump into those two huge PS5 exclusives make the Extra tier a great prospect for players that have just got their hands on a PS5.
PlayStation Plus Premium: Is it worth it?
If Extra is the sweet spot, does that mean PS Plus Premium is overpriced? Not quite, with the highest subscription tier ($17.99/£13.49 per month) feeling like a great deal for die-hard PlayStation fans that have been with Sony since the nineties.
On top of the Extra tier’s 400 games, Premium adds another 340 classic games from PlayStation, PS2, and PSP that can be downloaded or streamed. There are also PS3 games, but these are restricted to streaming. In our experience, it’s solid and works well enough, but can be a little blurry.
We also feel like Sony is stretching the definition of the word “classic” here, though, as well as how franchises are represented. As an example, we wonder how many players are itching to play Rag Doll Kung Fu or Greg Hastings Paintball 2 from the PS3, while there are seven different Dynasty Warriors games represented. Still, if that’s your favorite game or franchise, the subscription is well worth it.
There’s also plenty to enjoy for Star Wars fans, with a huge number of titles from the heyday of PS2 era offerings like Racer Revenge, Bounty Hunter & more. They’re all here, but we’d argue not offering the chance to filter via platform is a big miss (even PS1 games are shown as PS4/PS5 titles as the library is categorized by compatibility, as opposed to the original release).
It’s also worth noting that many of the 13 PS1 games you can find now are the inferior PAL versions which run at 50Hz, but Sony says 60Hz is on the way. That should help games like Syphon Filter improve their frame rates, but it remains to be seen if that’ll lead to unanticipated side effects.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment, though, is the UI holding everything together. Rather than feeling like a celebration of some of gaming’s most iconic franchises, everything feels thrown together. There’s no curation, no recommendations, and, as we mentioned earlier, no way to look through, say, all PS1 games. Expect to dig through a huge number of titles to find what you want.
We know it’s not the easiest thing to manage, but Xbox Game Pass, for all of its faults on PC, lets you filter by genre, original platform, and plenty more. Sony’s service arguably offers the superior library, but seems unsure of how best to showcase it.
PS Plus Premium will undoubtedly appeal to hardcore fans of Sony’s systems, but for our money, we’d recommend PlayStation Plus Extra. Not only do you get a sizeable library of titles that we expect to change over time, but they’re all playable locally without relying on streaming.
If Sony can add better organization and an improved collection of classic games, though, this could be a huge boon for PlayStation owners.
For more on gaming subscription services, check out the best games on Xbox Game Pass right now.