How the PS Plus Collection still falls short of Game Pass

The PS5 Showcase stream was packed with both surprises and updates on games we already know about. The PlayStation Plus Collection was one such surprise, as it is a bunch of PS4 games that will PS5 owners will be able to play as a part of their PS Plus subscription. It’s a great deal seemingly aimed at Microsoft’s excellent Game Pass service, but it seems to miss the aspect of discovery that make the Xbox and PC subscription so revered.

The PS Plus Collection comes with 18 games (that you can see here) with an average OpenCritic score of 86. That’s pretty damn high, which makes sense because it’s an absolutely stacked list with multiple Game of the Year candidates and winners from 2018’s God of War to The Last of Us Remastered. That high bar of quality is ironically what makes this star-studded lineup less attractive since many people have probably already purchased most of these prestige titles or have otherwise already played them. That’s the nature of high-profile games that are this good: They tend to sell a lot.

The shine of hidden gems

What the PS Plus Collection misses about Game Pass

And that’s not where subscriptions like this usually shine. Game Pass has its Halos and Gears, but that’s not why it is so special. Instead, it thrives on lesser-known gems and diamonds in the rough that benefit from being part of a larger subscription that gives people the ability to find stuff they wouldn’t have otherwise touch.

Games like Spiritfarer, Hypnospace OutlawCrusader Kings 3, Carrion, and Streets of Rage 4 are all recent experiences that may be more difficult to want to purchase outright since they’re all either niche or quite odd. But being able to just try them without risking anything is how they are able to stick out more than if they were sold in a traditional fashion. Even Flight Simulator 2020one of the year’s highest-rated games, probably saw a boost because of its unexpected critical praise. It’s a obscure genre but the high reviews likely pushed a few more people to download all 130 GB of the game to see what the fuss was about.

It’s why it’s great when some of these out-there titles come out simultaneously on Game Pass. They’re able to cash in on their launch hype and eliminate the financial barrier to play, both of which combine to make them easier to jump into. FOMO comes for us all and Game Pass helps stave off that fear of missing out, especially for smaller titles we might have passed up if they weren’t so conveniently served to us.

A suite of familiar precious stones

What the PS Plus Collection misses about Game Pass

The AAA games in the PS Plus Collection are not built in the same way, especially since they all have a relatively broad appeal. Very few people have probably played every since one of these games, but many have most likely played a lot of them. Some may finally realize that Days Gone actually isn’t that bad and that Until Dawn absolutely embarrasses everything Quantic Dream has ever done, but many of these games were hard to avoid. This rings even more true to consistent PlayStation Plus subscribers as Sony has given away seven of these games over the years as part of its monthly PS Plus duo.

Of course, this is an extraordinary deal for those who didn’t buy a PS4 or somehow missed most of these standout games. Those people do exist and it’s likely Sony wants to offer them an onslaught of straight bangers to hopefully encourage them to grab a PS5. Being just part of the PlayStation Plus subscription is also a significant benefit. But again, that number is going to be slightly diminished by how many people bought PS4s and how many of those games are multi-million sellers.

Sony may claim it doesn’t want to do a Game Pass-like service but it is impossible not to compare the PlayStation Plus Collection and Game Pass. Both have their benefits yet one is still the clear standout due to its smaller titles and the joy of discovering something new. Game Pass is a sample platter full of different tastes you may have never tried before while the PS Plus Collection is like a classic meal you’ve probably had before. Eating something you’ve already tried isn’t without value, but it doesn’t match the highs of stumbling upon your new favorite course.