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PlayStation Plus as we know it is coming to an end next month, kind of. Not really, though. Sony’s long-running subscription service is adopting a new, tier-based model with all kinds of sharp new benefits depending on how much you’re actually willing to pay.
Those who decide they don’t want to pay anymore won’t have to, at least. The current PlayStation Plus, with its monthly free games and access to online multiplayer, will remain under a new name: PlayStation Plus Essential. This will, however, be the lowest tier of the three, with Extra and Premium offering all kinds of new goodies.
How Extra and Premium will affect the quality of the monthly free games on Essential going forward remains to be seen, if it even does. But whatever happens, now is as good a time as any to look back on some of the best games PlayStation Plus subscribers have had over the years. In strictly chronological order, of course. If only because I’m too tired to be ranking things and starting arguments.
Rocket League pretty much sells itself, doesn’t it? Zoom around in high-powered rocket cars blasting a giant football across a stadium - what’s not to love? Easy to pick up but devilishly tricky to master, Rocket League launching as a free game for subscribers back in July 2015 is undoubtedly a major part of its ongoing massive success.
Some of the dialogue might sound like it was written by a geography teacher going undercover at the local high school, but the heart-on-sleeve angst of Life Is Strange deservedly resonated with an entire generation of gamers. There’s a killer mystery to solve, richly drawn characters to meet, and some incredibly hard choices along the way. A must-play.
Bloody, brutal, and downright terrifying, Until Dawn was the perfect addition to the PlayStation Plus library back in July 2017. Suddenly, gamers who weren’t necessarily into horror were discovering the intricately plotted thrills, spills, and pulse-pounding chases of Supermassive Games’ outstanding interactive slasher mystery.
I’m not even going to attempt to hide how I feel here: Bloodborne is one of the greatest video games ever made, and when it arrived on PlayStation Plus back in 2018 I pretty much forced every single one of my PlayStation 4-owning friends to download and check it out. It’s terrifying, beautifully designed, and immensely challenging. An all-timer.
Similar to Bloodborne, I am absolutely evangelical about Rayman Legends to anyone who will listen. I believe it’s one of the greatest, most inventive 2D platformers ever made, and it’s a damn shame Ubisoft seems to have forgotten this franchise exists. If you downloaded Rayman Legends back in 2018 and fell in love with it, we can be friends.
What Remains Of Edith Finch is one of those games you simply have to go into knowing nothing about. That’s what I did when it joined PlayStation Plus in May 2019, and it absolutely blew me away. Tragic, beautifully written, and constantly surprising, What Remains Of Edith Finch is a textbook example of a killer indie reaching new audiences via PS Plus.
Going in completely the opposite direction, there can’t be many PlayStation owners who haven’t played - or at least heard of - The Last Of Us. Still, The Last Of Us Remastered was a cool addition to PlayStation Plus back in October 2019, giving those who had never experienced Joel and Ellie’s critically acclaimed adventure a chance to finally do so.
As we’re about to discover, 2020 was a pretty banging year for PlayStation Plus games. February alone gave us three amazing games in one thanks to BioShock: The Collection. That’s one of the best games ever made, a damn fine sequel, and a third game that Twitter still argues about to this day. A handsome package indeed.
March 2020 was a funny month for PS Plus. On the one hand, we got Sonic Forces, one of the most painfully mundane video games ever created. But we also got Bluepoint’s eye-wateringly beautiful remake of Shadow Of The Colossus! This is a gorgeous, faithful recreation of the PS2 classic that loses none of the original’s charm and conveys that sense of scale like never before.
Fun fact: if you saw Fall Guys on this list and said to yourself it’s a dead game, you’re an idiot! It might not be as massive as it was at launch, but people love Fall Guys for a reason. It’s an entirely different kind of battle royale experience, one that puts dumb luck and chaos over planning and skill much of the time. And that glorious August release month, when every PS Plus subscriber was playing it? That was a damn good time.
If you didn’t download and play Hollow Knight when it was free on PlayStation Plus, we simply can’t be friends.
There’s a genuine argument to be made for Hollow Knight as the greatest metroidvania of all time, taking the best from iconic releases like Super Metroid and Ori And The Blind Forest, while introducing plenty of new ideas that subsequent metroidvanias have gladly borrowed. It’s also hard as balls.
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