The game catalog has a lot going on, so let’s cut through the noise and add to your backlog
After a staggered regional rollout, the “new” PlayStation Plus is available across the board. But is it worth it? And if so, what games should you play? I’ve got my take.
Subscriptions now range from the most basic and familiar Essential tier (with free monthly games, online multiplayer, and cloud saves), up to Extra (with a hundreds-deep game catalog), and finally Premium (with classics, game trials, and cloud streaming).
I intended to hold off, but when I saw how much it would cost me to upgrade and weighed that against the featured PS1 and PS2 classics, I ended up springing for Premium.
Maybe don’t be like me, though, Many of the retro games can be bought standalone (unfortunately Resident Evil is not one of them), the cadence (and quality) of future PS1 drops is hazy at best, and when it comes to PS3 games, they’re streaming-only. PS Plus Premium may ultimately prove its worth, but for now, I’d widely recommend Extra.
(That said, go ahead and buy Ape Escape. It holds up super well with rewinds.)
Of the three, PS Plus Extra seems ideal so far
Quick refresher: the scale goes from $60 per year (Essential), to $100 per year (Extra), to $120 per year (Essential). That’s quite a jump, especially if you’re juggling other gaming and streaming services, but *depending on your backlog*, there’s a lot of potential value in the PlayStation Plus Extra game catalog. For new PS5 owners, in particular, it could be a great way to dive in and experience some of the console’s best exclusives, back to back.
After poking around the PS4 and PS5 catalog, I’ve come back with 20 games for you to check out if you’re unsure of what to play next with your PlayStation Plus Extra subscription. Rather than just try to sum up the no-brainer best of the best, I thought I’d go with some lesser-known games to keep things interesting. Speaking of which…
Stuck on what to play next? Here’s a list of ideas
Bee Simulator (PS4)
This is my wildcard pick of the bunch, for sure. It’s less a by-the-books “simulator” than it is a fast-flying game-y adventure with talking bees, side quests, and assorted facts.
I only meant to take a look out of morbid curiosity, but I kept playing Bee Simulator, and I’ll be back for more. The inherently neat game concept and zoo setting help make up for budget- and scope-constrained rough edges. Also, huh, there’s split-screen multiplayer.
I called Blasphemous the gnarliest video game of 2019, and in the years since, I’m happy its dark religious world has caught on with a surprisingly wide audience. This game is a must-play for action-platformer fans, and if you’re up for a challenge — and have a knack for sussing out secrets — you’ll be rewarded with some unforgettable imagery.
For the best experience, I’d pick the Spanish voice-over instead of English.
You can only play Castlevania: Symphony of the Night so many times (just kidding, I’ll never get tired of it), and when the mood strikes again, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is here.
If you’re looking for a good old grind, this could be it; I loved filling out the bestiary and collecting shards. Just don’t be afraid to seek pointers if you’re stumped during the main story progression — there are a few sketchy spots that could lead to wild goose chases.
Dead Cells (PS4)
As much as I wanted a nice spread of genres, I can’t resist spotlighting Dead Cells.
This is one of the best roguelite action games out there, with ridiculously slick-feeling combat and fun character builds, and it only seems to get better with age (and free updates). Recently, the developers opened up accessibility options and a full-on Assist Mode, so if you just want to “see the end,” you can use revives and power through.
I like when Kojima gets *weird*, and Death Stranding certainly goes there.
But more than just “the funky game with famous faces and a baby in a jar,” Death Stranding is a fresh, conscious take on open-world gaming. Hiking feels personal and impactful in a way that no other game has really nailed, and collaborating with other players from afar to collectively make the world a little easier is such an untapped “please copy this” concept.
The story? It’s a ride. As for the Director’s Cut, expect a bunch of little features and additions sewn into the original experience. There are new quests, but they’re quick.
Demon’s Souls (PS5)
Done with Elden Ring yet? It’s never too late to go back to Demon’s Souls.
This was my first honest-to-goodness PlayStation 5 game, and in mid-2022, it is still the definitive “PS5” experience for me. I expect Bluepoint’s impressive visuals to hold up all the way to the end of this console’s life cycle — it’s got that stop-and-stare wow factor.
With so many gigantic open worlds to explore these days, it’s nice to be able to hop between segmented levels from a convenient hub zone. Both styles have their place.
If you’re up for it, a castle-storming, prison-breaking, swamp-sloshing adventure awaits.
Sometimes, I want a gripping, thoughtful game that’ll keep me fully absorbed.
Other times, I’ve honestly had enough — I just want to shut off my brain and shoot the shit outta some vicious giant insects who have once again come back.
Final Fantasy VII (PS4)
Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut (PS4, PS5)
There’s nothing quite like riding through fields on horseback in Ghost of Tsushima, and if you haven’t experienced that sensation for yourself — if you haven’t listened to the wind and touched the tall grass — then you ought to. Don’t get me wrong, sneaking and slicing are cool too, as is the co-op Legends mode. But taking in the sights is a highlight.
Ghost of Tsushima resonated with a huge segment of the PlayStation audience, and it has certified crowd-favorite status at this point. The Director’s Cut sweetens the deal.
If you haven’t done Iki Island yet, same! I wasn’t ready for it when it first came out — open-world fatigue is real — but it seems more palatable now. I’ve heard great things.
Graveyard Keeper (PS4)
The life-sim landscape has a wide reach these days, and everyone’s got their favorite game. Graveyard Keeper isn’t mine, but it isn’t too far behind, either. It’s special.
Graveyard tending is only part of this crafting-heavy experience, and it’s not long before the medieval fever-dream snowballs out of control. There are so many potential tasks to do, with only so much time in a day, and figuring out how to stay on top of the weekly schedule is a feat. Along the way, you’ll cross paths with strange, memorable characters.
If you’re okay with some busywork — okay, a lot of busywork — you’ll sink right in.
This one goes out to all the Metroid Prime fans who still waiting for what’s next.
Journey to the Savage Planet isn’t a perfect stand-in, but it captures some of those same notes on a smaller scale. Better yet, if you’ve got an online partner, there’s co-op support.
The humor can be hit-or-miss (I liked it fine), but the gameplay — exploring vertical areas with a grappling hook, scanning alien weirdos, and upgrading your suit — is a blast.
KeyWe (PS4, PS5)
Don’t sleep on KeyWe if you’re looking for an Overcooked replacement. While plenty of games have leaned into communicating amid all-out chaos, few have come this close.
KeyWe is about a pair of kiwis who have to run a multifaceted mailroom, which means you’ll work together with a partner to stomp keys to write messages and perfectly pack boxes, among other frantic tasks. When you’re in the thick of it, you’ll have to parse info pretty fast and divide the labor with your teammate efficiently, so it’s more than just dashing around and having quick reflexes. If you’ve got a big brain, you can play solo.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (PS4, PS5)
This game had quite the turnaround from inception to launch. From the outside looking in, I genuinely thought it was something I could skip without hesitation, and I wasn’t alone.
But it’s good, actually. Parts of it — the characterizations, especially — are even great.
Coming off of Thor: Love and Thunder, this vibe could hit just right.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PS4, PS5)
I feel like Miles Morales will be one of the most-downloaded PlayStation Plus Extra games, so you don’t need me to tell you to check it out, but I will anyway. I’ve got to!
Even if you’re “not that into Spider-Man” in general, it’s fantastic, much like its predecessor — come for the slick citywide swinging, stay for these characters. When everything is said and done, you’ll become a fan. Insomniac really pulled it off.
Comparing the two games, I like the refined combat and smaller scope of Miles Morales. It stands on its own, and it’s got me (even more) hyped for the larger-scale sequel in 2023.
I miss Housemarque’s earlier arcade days, but if the trade-off is Returnal, I can’t be mad.
This is the sort of game PlayStation Plus Extra was made for — it’s very particular, and plenty of people are going to bounce off it, but you’ll never know until you try it and you may end up loving it. Once you learn the ways of the bullet-hell and start toppling bosses, you’ll be hooked. Try to at least get through that first biome before calling it quits.
In case you missed it, there’s now a Suspend feature, so that pesky caveat is out.
I’ve championed SOMA before and I’ll do it again.
If you like horror games, go for it, no questions asked. If you can tolerate horror games and you care a lot about video games as a unique medium to tell stories, take a chance. Worth noting: if it’s too intense, there’s a Safe Mode to keep the monsters (relatively) at bay.
I’m rooting for horror games in the PlayStation Plus Extra catalog — keep ’em coming.
Tetris Effect: Connected (PS4)
Do you ever replay emotional moments from games in your mind out of the blue?
I do, sometimes. And against all odds, one of those moments comes from Tetris Effect of all games. The music, the visuals, everything. It’s magical. I never thought of myself as a “Tetris person” — and I still don’t; not really — but this goes above and beyond.
Until Dawn (PS4)
Supermassive has continued its cinematic horror-adventure kick far beyond Until Dawn, and if you’ve never played the original — and arguably best — of the studio’s games, you should. Ideally with friends, if you can. It’s coming up on seven years, but it still holds up.
Until Dawn plays with cheesy horror tropes and puts you in charge of characters you might not actually want to survive the night, but that’s all part of the fun. Sit back, follow your gut, and strap in — this story is meatier than you might expect, and you’ll need to keep your cool until the final moments. (Trust me. It can all go to shit in an instant.)
Wild Guns Reloaded (PS4)
As a huge SNES fan, I always regretted missing Wild Guns back in the day. It looked so sick — and still does! Thankfully, the game lives on today, in part with this upgraded remaster.
Wild Guns Reloaded deserves a big nod if you’ve been craving the chaos of arcades, especially with a full co-op crew ready to back you up. It’ll be an unruly night.
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox (PS4)
It might not be the fan-favorite (Ys VIII is also in the PlayStation Plus Extra catalog), but Ys IX has cool world traversal, and sometimes that’s what it takes to get the foot in the door.
And with that, I’m spent. There are hundreds of PlayStation Plus Extra games to sift through, and those are my suggestions to at least get you started.
We’ll see how the catalog shapes up as new games come and go.