Sony’s been talking about its new three-tier PlayStation Plus programme for a while now, and it’s finally revealed the lineup of classic games that will be available to those who subscribe to the top-tier “Premium” or “Deluxe” plan.
The classic gaming lineup initially includes some emulated PS1 titles plus a PSP game. “Select” titles will include save states and rewind functionality, but Sony hasn’t yet clarified what “select” means. It doesn’t sound as if these titles will be available for separate purchase.
On top of this, there’s also a series of “remasters” available on the programme, covering both the PS2 and PS3 eras; these are games that were originally released on earlier PlayStation platforms, but which were properly ported to PS4 with full support for PlayStation Network features such as trophies. Most of these are available for separate purchase from the PlayStation store.
There’s also a number of original PS3 games available for streaming rather than download, because platform holders are still inexplicably convinced that streaming games does not suck balls, when it most emphatically and certainly does. But, well, these games are there if you want to give them a shot.
While the initial lineup is just a fraction of what we might one day see on the service, there’s still a fair bit of choice, so I thought it might be fun to just go through what will be available when the new programme launches on June 23. That way you can decide what you might want to give a go for yourself if you think the new PlayStation Plus sounds like a decent deal for you.
All right. Here we go!
Ape Escape (PlayStation)
Classic Sony Japan studio platform action adventure game with an endearing visual style and lots to do. Often requested for remastering, but this original PS1 version will most certainly scratch an itch in the meantime.
Hot Shots Golf/Everybody’s Golf (PlayStation)
Later entries in the series are better, but the PS1 original is still a decent time if you enjoy straightforward, arcade-style golf action.
I.Q. Intelligent Qube (PlayStation)
An unusual puzzle game with abstract presentation and a swathe of challenging levels to clear. Probably not for everyone, but if you like trippy, weird games this is definitely worth spending some time with.
Jumping Flash! (PlayStation)
An early attempt at a 3D platformer — from first-person perspective, to boot — and arguably not entirely successful at what it does, but an interesting historical curiosity if nothing else.
Syphon Filter (PlayStation)
Written off by some as a Metal Gear ripoff on its original release, Syphon Filter is actually quite a different sort of game — and it went on to spawn a series of excellent sequels. This original entry is a bit clunky in places, but worth a look.
Super Stardust Portable (PSP)
A Housemarque classic. Not the best version of Super Stardust there is — that honour goes to the PS4 version, which has an excellent VR option — but a worthwhile inclusion, for sure.
Mr. Driller (PlayStation)
There are more recent rereleases and sequels to Mr. Driller that are better than this PS1 original, but this is still a really fun puzzle game worth your time.
Tekken 2 (PlayStation)
A longstanding favourite in Namco’s classic fighting game series, and with good reason; while the visuals are relatively dated today, the smooth, slick fighting action and the wealth of game modes make this a great title to explore whether you’re playing solo or with friends.
Worms World Party (PlayStation)
Team 17’s classic artillery deathmatch comes to PS1, and it’s just as fun as it ever was. Really shines in multiplayer, but there’s a decent amount of single-player stuff designed to help you develop your skills also.
Worms Armageddon (PlayStation)
Team 17’s classic artillery deathmatch comes to PS1, and it’s… hold on a minute.
Ape Escape 2 (PlayStation 2 remaster)
Ape Escape, but on a more capable platform with more to do. Can’t really go wrong with that.
Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits (PlayStation 2 remaster)
Sixth in the Arc the Lad series but first to appear on PlayStation 2 — and first to be made in 3D. This is a decent tactical RPG developed by some of the creative minds behind Tekken 2 and Okage: Shadow King. Bit of a sleeper hit; worth playing for hipster cred.
Dark Cloud (PlayStation 2 remaster)
Fantastic action RPG featuring procedurally generated hack-and-slash dungeon crawling and treasure hunting coupled with puzzles that involve building villages and towns according to various requests. An all-time PS2 classic.
Dark Cloud 2/Dark Chronicle (PlayStation 2 remaster)
Dark Cloud, but more so. Stronger emphasis on plot, two playable characters, gorgeous cel-shaded graphics and an interesting photography mechanic where you can come up with ideas for things by taking pictures.
Fantavision (PlayStation 2 remaster)
Delightfully festive puzzle game that is all about matching and detonating fireworks in colour groups. Hard to explain, but remarkably intuitive once you start playing. An early showcase of the DualShock 2 controller.
Hot Shots Tennis/Everybody’s Tennis (PlayStation 2 remaster)
Tennis given the Everybody’s Golf treatment. Decent arcade-style tennis fun, particularly if playing with friends, but the subseries never captured the public’s imagination like Golf did.
Jak II (PlayStation 2 remaster)
One of Naughty Dog’s finest games before they got all pretentious and weird. Open world platforming, exploration and combat with some of the PS2’s best, most smoothly animating visuals.
Jak 3 (PlayStation 2 remaster)
Jak X: Combat Racing (PlayStation 2 remaster)
An interesting attempt to transplant the Jak series’ setting and characters into something other than a platform game, resulting in a vehicular combat game with a decent plot.
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (PlayStation 2 remaster)
See Jak II, Jak 3.
Rogue Galaxy (PlayStation 2 remaster)
A widely beloved (but criminally under-selling) RPG from Level-5 that hasn’t had nearly enough attention over the years. Noteworthy for its real-time combat system and its lack of load times between exploration and battle.
Siren (PlayStation 2 remaster)
Batshit weird horror game from back when Sony used to actually take risks. Emphatically not for everyone, but take the time to learn its foibles and there’s a thoroughly fascinating experience to be had.
Wild Arms 3 (PlayStation 2 remaster)
It’d be nice to see Wild Arms and Wild Arms 2 on the service at some point, particularly since Wild Arms 2 didn’t have a European release back in the day. But since they all stand alone this is also a worthwhile inclusion — and physical copies of this command quite a high price today.
Baja: Edge of Control HD (PlayStation 3 remaster)
Open-world arcade-style offroad racing, originally for PS3 and remastered for PS4. Had a decent reception on its original release, so probably worth a look if you enjoy tooling around in the dirt.
Bioshock Remastered (PlayStation 3 remaster)
An all-time classic, originally released on PS3. If you somehow have managed to not spoil yourself on this one over the last decade, worth trying to go in blind.
Borderlands The Handsome Collection (PlayStation 3 remaster)
You can likely take or leave Borderlands’ occasionally (often?) excruciating humour, but it’s hard to deny how solid its looter-shooter gameplay is. And this collection provides a whole lot of Borderlands to enjoy.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition (PlayStation 3 remaster)
An early attempt to resurrect the frenetic energy of ’90s first-person shooters in the HD age, largely successful. Noteworthy for being the game that brought the compound obscenity “dicktits” into the popular vernacular.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning (PlayStation 3 remaster)
Excellent open-world western action RPG notorious for its troubled development. Interestingly, Re-Reckoning actually got its own unique third DLC pack in 2021 after two were released for the original PS3 and 360 versions.
Lego Harry Potter Collection (PlayStation 3 remaster)
It’s a Lego game, much like all the others, only this time there’s Harry Potter stuff happening.
So that’s your lot for the games you’ll be able to download and play when the new PlayStation Plus service launches. As previously noted, there’s also a bunch of PS3 games you’ll be able to stream to PS4, PS5 and PC, but honestly with PS3s and PS3 games still being pretty cheap right now, you’re probably better off grabbing “real” copies of them if you want to play them — you’ll have a better experience than streaming them.
Find out more about the new PlayStation Plus programme here. Will you be signing up?
Thanks to MobyGames for the mountain of screenshots.
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