PlayStation Plus 2021 year in review: 40 games worth more than $1,400

The number stands out. Unlike Microsoft, Sony doesn’t point out the PlayStation Shop’s market price for the totally free video games it administers each month in the PlayStation Plus Immediate Video Game Collection. When we construct this year-end analysis, we’re accumulating the video game’s noted, non-sale rates at the end of the year. And this year, PlayStation Plus provided customers more than $1,400 worth of computer game.

Considering that we began breaking down the offerings of PS Plus and Xbox Live Games with Gold in 2014, the $1,424.60 provided by Sony this year is 2nd just to 2018, when the business was supporting 3 platforms with 6 video games a month. In 2021, PlayStation Plus provided gamers 40 — a per-game average of $35.

Just Recently, I’ve attempted to de-emphasize dollar figures as a step of worth in this analysis, however the numbers still protrude. And these aren’t Sony pumping up the MSRP of a video game it’s using totally free, nor are these video games the suspicious full-price products of budget plan publishers whose brochure never ever goes on sale. Games With Gold’s year-end MSRP can be relatively scolded for the impact of both, however not PlayStation Plus.

Sony utilized 2021 to strengthen its position with PlayStation Plus as a launching phase for some brand-new video games that are at least worth an appearance, in addition to a benefits system to thank long time customers for spending for multiplayer. Statements of a brand-new month of video games are a circle-the-calendar pointer for many committed video players, and PlayStation makes it simple to declare whatever rapidly, without clearing off area for a complete download.

They’re 2 totally various services, however one might credibly state you’d purchase an Xbox Series X for Xbox Video Game Pass, and you’d purchase the PlayStation 5 — presuming you can discover one — for PlayStation Plus. Little surprise that, for Microsoft, the totally free titles being available in Games With Gold are an imperfection and, for Sony, the PlayStation Now streaming/downloadable membership is thought about 2nd fiddle, its large library regardless of.

There are rumblings that Sony has a brand-new membership service in shop for 2022, however it’s one that leverages the back brochures of the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable ages. It’s uncertain whether this is different from PlayStation Now, or another tier of service within it, and even then what effect it might even have on PS Plus, whose offerings deal with the PS4, PS5, and PlayStation Vita.

However if 2021 is any guide, don’t anticipate Sony to de-emphasize the video games gamers make it through PlayStation Plus. 7 day-and-date launches, varying from upgrades like Control: Ultimate Edition to indie video games like Very First Class Difficulty, reveal SIE strengthening PS Plus as its launching phase, much as Xbox Video game Pass plays the very same function for Microsoft. And with big third-party publishers going to provide their most significant franchises to the cause, it reveals that Sony does a much better job, or a minimum of makes a more powerful effort, at offering its partners on taking part in this program.

2021 in Evaluation

In all, there were 40 video games in the PlayStation Plus Immediate Games Collection for 2021, with a typical Metacritic rating of 73.8 and a combined market price of $1,424.60 (drawn from the PlayStation Shop at publication time of this analysis).

The Metacritic average is down one point from 2020, however the combined MSRP is practically double in 2015’s $789.72. Even if you include the MSRP of in 2015’s PlayStation Plus Collection video games ($474.80) to 2020’s library, this year’s haul is valued more than in 2015’s ($1,264.52).

We’ll begin breaking down, month-by-month, the offerings. 5 video games are both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 suitable, 9 are PlayStation 5 just, and 5 are PlayStation VR just. They’ve been kept in mind as such; all others are PlayStation 4-compatible. They’re all noted with their Metacritic rating and age (at the time of accessibility).

a white woman, De Sardet, stands with her arms crossed wearing a Native American outfit, with the sun hanging low above the trees behind her in GreedFall

Greedfall (2019).
Image: Spiders/Focus House Interactive

January

  • Maneater (PS5, 71, 0.6 years of ages)
  • Shadow of the Burial Place Raider (75, 2.3 years)
  • Greedfall (72, 1.3 years)

This is a strong very first month, leading with 2 uncommon RPGs numerous gamers might have missed out on when they released (in Maneater, you’re a shark) and tossing in a AAA tentpole like Shadow of the Burial Place Raider as a big-value recognized amount.

February

  • Damage AllStars (PS5, 62, day-and-date launch)
  • Control: Ultimate Edition (PS4/PS5, 85; the Ultimate Edition is a day-and-date launch, the video game itself is 1.4 years of ages)
  • Concrete Genie (PlayStation VR; 75, 1.3 years)

Damage AllStars is among those multiplayer console exclusives that requires a huge audience to flourish, and publisher Sony released it on PS Plus to offer the video game a likelihood to collect the crowd. Control is among 10 video games that pulled a Metacritic of 80 or much better, that makes the 2021 PS Plus collection’s general Metacritic of 73.8 (almost level with Games With Gold) a genuine head-scratcher.

March

  • Last Dream 7 Remake (87, 0.9 years)
  • Residue: From the Ashes (78, 0.5 years)
  • Maquette (PS5, 70, day-and-date launch)
  • Farpoint (PlayStation VR, 71, 3.8 years)

Sony continued its launch-window assistance of the PS5 with Maquette; although it’s not an SIE video game, it is special to the console. Last Dream 7 Remake is the highest-rated video game (87) amongst the year’s offerings. Gamers needed to wait till the penultimate week of December to pay to update it to the PS5 variation if they desired, nevertheless.

April

  • Oddworld: Soulstorm (PS5, 66, day-and-date launch)
  • Days Gone (71, 1.9 years)
  • Zombie Army 4: Dead War (72, 1.2 years)

Days Gone is a double-dip from the PlayStation Plus Collection, but it’s somewhat forgivable, as you need a PlayStation 5 to claim that. So there were tons of subscribers getting their first crack at the bikers-vs.-zombies open-world adventure here. Also, SIE probably wanted to spotlight Days Gone now, with its Windows PC release on deck for May. Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a big, violent, dumb-fun shooter that’s grown on me precisely because I got it for free, and I doubt I’m the only one, so Sony and Rebellion can consider this a success.

May

  • Wreckfest (PS5, 82, 1.7 years)
  • Battlefield 5 (73, 2.5 years)
  • Stranded Deep (65, 1 year)

Wreckfest is simply one of the best motorsports video games of the past five years, and essential to any serious racing fan’s collection. The upgrade option from PS4 to PS5 launched in June, which is why it shows up here. Battlefield 5 is a nice, big-name shooter from a big-budget publisher, but it’s also been on EA Play since June 2020, and PlayStation owners have been able to subscribe to EA Play since 2019.

June

  • Operation: Tango (PS5, 72, day-and-date launch)
  • Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown (78, day-and-date launch)
  • Star Wars: Squadrons (79, 0.7 years)

Most of Star Wars: Squadrons’ uninspiring Metacritic score comes from the game’s rather limited single-player campaign and its dependence on multiplayer. Like Battlefield 5, it’s also an EA Play title (since March 2021), but it’s also a fresher game appealing to a bigger fandom. Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown is a remade-and-upgraded version of Sega’s 2006 fighter, getting a splashy reintroduction here.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (2018)
Image: Treyarch/Activision

July

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (83, 2.7 years)
  • WWE 2K Battlegrounds (60, 0.8 years)
  • A Plague Tale: Innocence (PS5, 81, 2.1 years)

I’ve come to expect July to be the slower months for these free game services, but Sony shrewdly paired a lot of sizzle (Call of Duty: Black Ops 4) with some substantive steak (A Plague Tale: Innocence) and tossed in a licensed brawler if neither were your speed.

August

  • Hunter’s Arena: Legends (PS4/PS5, 60, day-and-date launch)
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville 77, 1.8 years)
  • Tennis World Tour 2 (56, 0.9 years)

OK, here’s your answer for why PS Plus’ average Metacritic score is so uninspiring. August was the weakest month, by far. Perhaps Battle for Neighborville deserved better than its 77 suggests, but Tennis World Tour 2 didn’t solve whatever was bothering tennis fans in its 2018 predecessor, and even if it did that’s a niche video gaming audience.

September

  • Overcooked! All You Can Eat (PS5, 84, 0.8 years)
  • Predator: Hunting Grounds (56, 1.4 years)
  • Hitman 2 (82, 2.8 years)

This is basically four games, as the Overcooked! bundle comprises two games in a funny, creative, multiplayer series. Hitman 2 speaks for itself. Unfortunately for Predator: Hunting Grounds, the asymmetrical multiplayer shooter depends on a robust online community for its enjoyment, and even launching at the height of the pandemic, with voice work from the former Governor of California, it couldn’t drag much of one.

October

  • Hell Let Loose (PS5, 68, day-and-date launch)
  • PGA Tour 2K21 (76, 1.1 years)
  • Mortal Kombat X (83, 6.5 years)

Hell Let Loose’s low score notwithstanding, all three are strong representatives of their genre’s virtues, but if you’re not into sports, fighting, or multiplayer shooters with an ambitious strategic command layer, this month could have felt like a miss. Mortal Kombat X is the second double-dip from the PlayStation Plus Collection, and of course it was supplanted by Mortal Kombat 11 in 2019.

November

  • Knockout City (PS4/PS5, 80, 0.5 years)
  • First Class Trouble (PS4/PS5 79, day-and-date launch)
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning (72, 1.1 years)
  • The Persistence (PlayStation VR, 78, 3.3 years)
  • The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners (PlayStation VR, 79, 1.5 years)
  • Until You Fall (PlayStation VR, 85, 1.1 years)

Meaning no offense to Velan Studios or Electronic Arts, but if it took you till November to get a free look at Knockout City, you either didn’t care or weren’t paying attention. Velan’s creative dodgeball-shooter launched in May on every platform, with a free, carryover-progression trial available to all. It was also available through EA Play from day one. First Class Trouble is probably the highlight of the month, with a same-day launch for the indie social-deduction game.

December

  • Godfall: Challenger Edition (PS4/PS5, 61, 1.1 years)
  • Lego DC Super-Villains (74, 3.1 years)
  • Mortal Shell (76, 1.3 years)

Heh, 2021 is bookended by Greedfall and Godfall. And oh, man, the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection, founded at E3 2010, lasted 689 games and nearly 12 years before leaning on the Lego crutch. Not even in the nadir of 2016 were things bad enough for PS Plus to go Lego on its subscribers. Once is fine; if Sony starts ransacking Konami’s couch cushions for Castlevania HDs, they’ll need an intervention.

Cloud throws a dart in Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Final Fantasy 7 Remake (2020).
Image: Square Enix

By the Numbers

Average score: 73.8

Average MSRP: $35.62

Average age: 1.4 years

Published by Sony Interactive Entertainment: Five titles (Destruction AllStars, Concrete Genie, Farpoint, Days Gone, Predator: Hunting Grounds). Three others, all day-and-date launches, were console exclusives (Maquette, Hunter’s Arena: Legends, and First Class Trouble).

Publisher with the most titles: SIE’s five titles led all publishers. Electronic Arts had four (Battlefield 5, Star Wars: Squadrons, Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, and Knockout City) all of which were available on EA Play before being offered on PS Plus.

Appeared on Games With Gold or PlayStation Plus earlier: Technically, none appeared on Xbox Live Games With Gold before. But Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, for the Xbox 360, was offered by Games with Gold in July 2018, and the PS3 variation was offered on PS Plus in July 2012. Overcooked! All You Can Eat includes the first Overcooked!, which Games with Gold offered in October 2018, and PlayStation Plus offered in May 2019. Days Gone and Mortal Kombat X are both in the PS Plus Collection for PS5 owners. And the original Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was a PlayStation 3 offering in October 2013.

Appearing on Xbox Game Pass: In addition to the four EA Play games, which are available to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, Remnant: From the Ashes, A Plague Tale: Innocence, Greedfall, Wreckfest and Mortal Shell are all currently on Xbox Game Pass and were there before being offered in PlayStation Plus. Maneater was added to Game Pass after its time on PlayStation Plus. Zombie Army 4: Dead War was simultaneously offered by PS Plus and added to Xbox Game Pass. Mortal Kombat X and Shadow of the Tomb Raider were on Xbox Game Pass however were removed before their PS Plus appearance. Both games comprising Overcooked! All You Can Eat have actually appeared on Xbox Game Pass, with Overcooked! 2 still available. In all, 14 PS Plus titles in 2021 have had some kind of presence on Xbox Game Pass.

Appearing on PlayStation Now: Just three titles: Greedfall, Stranded Deep, and Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Face-off.

Total Value: $1,424.60 (Full MSRP taken from PlayStation Store at publication time).

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.