When comparing the PS5 and Xbox Series X, the value of Xbox Game Pass inevitably comes up.
It’s not hard to see why. The service is undeniably attractive, even more so now that Microsoft’s $7.5b acquisition of Bethesda is complete and the service has just added 20 new games from the legendary studio. Xbox players seem to have a big advantage over their PlayStation counterparts.
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And yet, Sony has its own subscription service that gives you access to an impressive library of games. I’m not talking about PlayStation Now — which has its merits, but focuses too much on streaming. Instead, I’m talking about the PlayStation Plus Collection.
Extra value at no extra cost
Launching alongside the PS5 console in November last year, the PS+ Collection is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a collection of games that PS+ subscribers can download whenever they want.
The collection currently contains only PS4 titles. But there are some serious heavy hitters in there, including God of War (2018), The Last of Us Remastered, Bloodborne and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Third-party games are also available, including Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy and Mortal Kombat X.
Sony also gives PS+ subscribers games on a rotating basis each month, and they're often excellent choices. The most recent selection includes the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, which is less than a year old.
The majority of PS4 owners have likely played some, if not most, of the games in the collection. Still, it’s an incredible way for people who skipped out on the PS4 to get up to speed with the best games that Sony had to offer.
Even if you did previously own a PS4, there’s probably at least one game on the list that you’ve yet to experience. The PS Plus Collection also offers a wonderful opportunity for gamers to replay some modern classics with performance enhancements, thanks to the power of the PS5.
There are currently 20 games available. While Sony has not shared any plans for additional selections, it wouldn't come as a surprise if that tally increases over the next few years.
The big difference
Of course, the PS+ Collection and Xbox Game Pass aren't directly comparable. Game Pass includes a (very small) selection of brand-new Xbox Series X titles, and all Microsoft first-party exclusives will drop on the service on Day One going forward.
Sony isn’t making any similar promises. Upcoming exclusives like Returnal, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Horizon: Forbidden West will be launching with premium $70 price tags, and may not come to the PS+ Collection until the PS6 is a thing.
However, the key difference is that Xbox Game Pass is an entirely separate subscription service, whereas the PS+ Collection is an additional benefit of a PS+ membership. These 20 incredible games are available at no extra cost to existing subscribers.
In many ways, it’s strange that Sony doesn’t make a bigger deal about the PS+ Collection. It’s a fantastic offering. But beyond its initial announcement during the PS5 Showcase last summer, Sony has shunted the collection off to the side. That's why we’re flying the flag for it here.
The best of the PS+ Collection
If you’ve yet to dip your toe into the PS+ Collection, you absolutely should do so. There’s not a single dud in the library, so whatever you choose to play will be worthwhile.
Of course, picking just one of the 20 high-quality games is a tricky task. So to make it easier, here are our picks for the best games in the PS+ Collection (in no particular order):
Bloodborne: One of the most beloved titles in modern gaming, Bloodborne will have you tearing your hair out in frustration, while also fist-pumping in triumph. Developed by FromSoftware, and built on the foundations of Dark Souls, Bloodborne is the most brutally difficult game in the PS+ Collection. But when everything clicks, it’s unbelievably satisfying to slay a boss that killed you over and over again. Rage quitters need not apply.
God of War: If you somehow haven’t played the 2018 soft reboot of God of War, you have no excuse now. Bringing back the rage-filled Kratos, this time, the series explores the land of Norse mythology. Kratos has also mellowed a tad thanks to his son, Atreus. On PS5, the game got a graphical boost, as well as a frame rate bump. You’ve not lived until you’ve taken down a Valkyrie in silky 60 fps.
Persona 5: If you want to escape the real world, then Persona 5 is just the ticket. This 100-hour epic RPG will have you fully absorbed in the life of a Tokyo high school student, who attends classes by day and infiltrates palaces by night, in order to fix the world’s corruption. Plus, you have a talking cat companion. It might sound mad on paper, but Persona 5 features a loveable cast of characters and a whole truckload of heart.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard: If you want to scare yourself silly, then Resident Evil 7: Biohazard will have you afraid to turn off the lights. Something of a reinvention of the classic RE franchise, Biohazard switches the perspective to first-person, then drops you into a Louisiana swamp. There, you must survive the crazed Baker family. With the direct sequel, Resident Evil 8: Village, coming out later this year, now is the perfect time to get caught up.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End: All good things must come to an end, but what a note PlayStation icon Nathan Drake went out on. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a remarkable globetrotting adventure, stuffed to bursting with high-octane action set pieces, as well as the best story in the series. The game also looks jaw-droppingly beautiful, even five years after it first launched.
Update: PlayStation seems to be handling backward compatalbity better than the Nintendo Switch Online service.