Here’s a hot hands-on take on the new PlayStation Plus. Does it stand out as a real competitor to Microsoft’s Game Pass?
The players are not unaware that the new PlayStation Plus makes its official arrival today in France, after being available in Asia and the United States. If we already knew what to expect on certain points thanks to Sony’s communication, there are others where a test in action is essential. After a few hours of getting started, here’s what we think of the new PlayStation Plus.
Base price: €499
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A well-filled catalog for our great pleasure
For the purposes of our test, we will only talk about the Premium and Extra versions because the Essential formula does not differ from the system that we know well, with two to three games offered per month as well as access to online games. For the two new formulas, on the other hand, there is a brand new catalog of PS4 and PS5 games available either for download or for streaming.
In fact, we have access to many more titles for download than for streaming. With almost 400 playable titles, we can say that you are spoiled for choice, especially since we are pleasantly surprised to see the quality of the games on offer. There are many AAAs from franchises, each more iconic than the next: God of War, Returnal, Demon’s Souls, Horizon Zero Dawn, Infamous, Little Big Planet 3, etc. O only regrets that some games are not offered in their PS5 version when it does exist (Marvel’s Spider-Man to name just him).
If a certain number of them were already available on PS5 via the PS Plus collection, this only concerns 19 games out of a total of 400. The rest of the games offered are just as impressive in quality and, in our opinion , very frankly rivals the games of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. From there it’s all a matter of taste, but know that you don’t get obscure games from unknown franchises in PS Plus, but rather a compendium of excellent and timeless titles.
A well-deserved return to the past
This is all the more true for the rest of the catalog, which only concerns Premium subscribers. We knew for a few weeks that Sony would offer us a list of 300 retro games from the PlayStation, PS2, PS3, or even PS Vita consoles. We were then promised moments of pure nostalgia which we are more than satisfied with today.
Classic games are available either for download or for streaming. In practice, the games available for download are those that have a PS4 or PS5 version, although this does not change the content of the game in any way. No remasters or remakes just for PS Plus, just a version that runs well on the latest generation consoles thanks to some improvements in terms of display or even saving. For the rest, titles that only have their original version are only playable via streaming inherited from PS Now.
We were able to test both methods, and found them to be similar in terms of gaming experience. as in the other, these games were not made for modern platforms. This concerns in particular the display, which loses fluidity although it is not too disturbing to play. Never mind, with slight adjustments, in particular at the level of the Start and Select controls which invite themselves on the touchpad, we manage to run anything.
And what a choice! In just a few hours, we were able to immerse ourselves in some of the games of our childhood with a pleasure that has nothing to envy to the first times we discovered them. Our only big regret remains the absence of trophies linked to these games, even with the PS3 titles. Good news on the other hand for those who would not want to invest in a subscription all their life, it seems that the classic titles can be purchased independently since they almost all have a price tag on their product sheet.
Classic games, demos, streaming,… The PS Plus Premium is on strike
Premium membership has so much more to offer than retro games in spades. You can also access temporary “free trials”, which allow you to test a game before deciding whether or not to buy it. For the moment, few games currently offer this service, we have counted a little more than a dozen, among which are extremely recent titles such asHorizon Forbidden West, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlandsor UNCHARTED: Legacy of Thieves Collection.
No demo or special levels for the trial, you have access to the full game from the beginning, but for a limited and timed period, ranging from 2 to 5 hours. Following this trial, you can choose to buy the game or not, and if so, you resume your adventure where you left off, with your trophies and your potential purchases. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do the two-hour test in one go, the timer stops when you close the game and resumes if you return to it.
We quickly understand that this is a 100% winning method for Sony, which compensates for the fact that its productions will not join the catalog from the day of their release, contrary to the philosophy applied by Microsoft. Offering a few hours of their games will therefore allow Sony to create excitement, while at no time committing the main method of financing its games.
When it comes to multiplatform, Sony’s PlayStation Plus is already not very versatile, but on top of that it has certain shortcomings. It’s a great thing to be able to access streaming games through the PlayStation Plus PC app. You can thus resume your games where you left off or start a game on one of the many titles offered in the catalog at the risk of having duplicates with those downloaded to your console.
At first glance, the interface of the application is raw formwork and deserves a little refreshment, especially with regard to the search for games and categories. In terms of pure streaming performance, the experience is clearly not worth Microsoft’s in terms of fluidity, but remains usable in good circumstances. However, we bitterly regret the lack of support for the DualSense. Only the DualShock 4 are compatible with the service… at least for the moment.
Excellent service just waiting to be pampered
All now remains to see what Sony’s subscription has in store for us in the long term. There are still many questions that need to be answered, including the catalog refresh rate, DualSense support, and even adding features for classic games. But for the moment, we are dealing with a service that almost lives up to our expectations and which holds much more potential than we would have liked to believe.
If you want to have an overview of the advantages of PlayStation Plus compared to its biggest rival, go to this detailed comparison concocted by us.
Sony PS5 at the best price
Base price: €499
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