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Sony reveals underwhelming new PlayStation Plus lineup

Earlier this year, Sony announced an upcoming revamp of its PlayStation Plus service to counter Microsoft's own Xbox Game Pass subscription model.

While the service doesn't launch until June in North America and Europe, the company has now released a list of the games you'll find in each of its three subscription tiers, and it's quite a selection of games — some very good and some that leave you scratching your head.

Games on games —

For most people, the PS4 and PS5 game library is the main attraction here. (Note that these games are only available to Extra or Premium subscribers; more on that later.) Highlights of this section include Bloodborne, Days Gone, Demon's Souls (the remaster), Ghost of Tsushima, God of War, the Gravity Rush series, both Spider-Man games, and the entire Uncharted series. It also includes a number of third-party games, including Celeste, Hollow Knight, and Outer Wilds.

The classic games catalog is Sony's answer to backward compatibility concerns, and we have to be honest — it's pretty underwhelming at the moment. Original PlayStation games include Ape Escape, Intelligent Qube, Jumping Flash, Syphon Filter, and Tekken 2. That last title is the biggest question mark here: While Tekken 2 was certainly a great game back in its day, its far-superior sequel Tekken 3 is considered one of the essential PS1 games.

PS2 selections are a little better, with all four Jak games on deck — yes, there's a fourth Jak game — as well as the underrated Dark Cloud series and Rogue Galaxy.

Not the magic number —

Lastly, we have the PS3 selection, which is also a bit anemic. Unfortunately, as we explained earlier this year, emulating PS3 games is quite difficult, so these games are only available to stream.

However, if you have a decent connection (or don't mind latency), you can play the original Demon's Souls, Ico, Infamous 1 and 2, and several of the more mediocre Ratchet & Clank games. If you really miss the PS3 era, we’d suggest Asura's Wrath, as that game is basically a love letter to quick-time events.

PlayStation plus or minus? —

The updated PlayStation Plus includes three tiers: Essentials, which is the same old PS Plus you know and (maybe) love; Extra, which comes with the PS4 and PS5 games; and Premium, which buys you access to the retro catalog. The service launches in the Americas on June 13.

Longtime PlayStation owners may not find much reason to subscribe to the two most expensive tiers. However, if you missed a lot of PS4 games, Extra is probably worth the extra $40 a year. As for the retro games, let's just say that Sony needs to step it up.