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PS Plus Premium’s August update is good, bad, and ugly

Yes, we’ve got Yakuza. And one of the more recent open world Ubisoft shooters. But we’re also – once again – missing out on the classics.

Earlier this week, we heard about the next batch of games coming to bulk out the PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium tiers on Sony’s newly dressed-up subscription service. At first glance, it’s not a bad offering – for owners of PS Plus Extra, you'll be able to pick up three different Yakuza titles (including the best one, Yakuza 0) – but beyond that, there are some glaring issues with this month’s rollout.

Sure, these three triple-A RPG games are a fantastic entry point for anyone jostling to get into the series for the first time. You can even come in at the ground floor, play Yakuza 0, and get to know gangland heartthrob Kazuma Kiryu and his stomping grounds of Kabukichō. For the sake of the headline at the top of this piece, this is Good.

Being able to play the first three full chapters of the Yakuza series (with the promise of the rest of the saga to come to PS Plus later) is objectively Good. There is nothing Bad, or indeed Ugly, about that. It’s moves like this that keep PS Plus a viable rival to Xbox Game Pass, and halt critics of the service calling it ‘a disaster’.

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But – and I’m sure you’ve put this together by now – it’s not all wine and roses. There’s a 20+ year old elephant in the room we need to address, and it’s very polygonal and probably a bit unoptimized. That’s right, I’m talking about PlayStation Classics. I’ve already popped off about the lack of PS1 classics on the platform, and given the fact there are no new additions to the PS Classics catalogue with this month’s update, I’m feeling quite vindicated at the moment.

This is Bad. Last time I moaned about this, a common piece of feedback from totally unbiased people with PS mascots as their profile pictures told me to ‘simmer down’, that ‘Sony can’t possibly drop all the PS1 games in one go’. I actually thought that was a fair reply to my impatience, that maybe one or two games per month might actually be a reasonable cadence, after all. Maybe dropping No Heroes Allowed and LocoRoco Midnight Carnival in July meant it was more likely we’d get Resident Evil and Gran Turismo in August. That’s reasonable logic, right?

Tekken 2 is lovely, but it's not enough.

Apparently not. For PlayStation Plus Extra subs, this is golden: the number of recent, big games coming to the service is lush. You’re definitely getting what you paid for. But for Premium subs, well, it’s starting to look a little concerning. A cursory look at forums and social media says I’m not the only one wondering what the point of a Premium sub is. Some choice quotes from this Resetera thread include:

  • “I'd demand a refund for premium at this point but I'm afraid Sony would ban my account.”
  • “Yeah, not a fan of this for the highest tier (which I am), seems like they really put little to no incentive for this.”
  • “Lol why the f**k did I pay for the highest tier if Sony is not going to add games to it?”
  • “Bruh, that Premium deal is getting worse each month lmao.”

Maybe there’ll be a big drop of games, at some point, that will justify all of our spending habits and give us a wealth of Classic titles (with a little Trophy support, please). Maybe I’ll get to live my years-long fantasy of replaying Digital Devil Saga, but on a modern platform and not via more nefarious means. Maybe the world will finally get to experience No One Can Stop Mr Domino! via that weird PS1 emulator on PS5.

Yakuza's pretend arcades are only gonna keep you happy for so long.

Finally, there’s the Ugly. Ghost Recon: Wildlands is actually something of a quiet success for Ubisoft – though since its launch, it has been superceded by the sort-of sequel, Breakpoint. Wildlands is known for its in-depth gun customisation, its responsive vehicle handling, some incredibly terrain work from Ubi’s art and tech teams, but it’s also rightfully derided for its lacklustre story.

Again, it’s a nice little bonus for PS Plus Extra subs to be able to add to their account, but the fact that Sony didn’t even spring for the newer game in the Ubi role-playing shooter series speaks volumes. As Xbox Game Pass continues to swell with Day One releases, PS Plus looks like it’s patching up cracks in comparison.

It’s early days – and access to some true PlayStation greats like Ico, The Last Guardian, Bloodborne, Death Stranding and Stray definitely make the lower and middle tiers feel worthwhile.

It’s just that whole Premium tier is starting to feel really, really un-premium.

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