Are you one of those few gamers that owns a Vita, but not a PS3 or a PS4? You could be wondering whether taking out a PlayStation Plus subscription for the handheld would be good value for money. Every month Sony add new titles to the “Instant Game Collection”, comprised of existing – and sometimes new – titles. Now PlayStation Plus is essential if you own a PS4 and want to play online, but does it represent value for money as a stand alone service for the Vita? After all, online multiplayer remains free for the handheld. PlayStation Plus subscribers do also benefit from discounts on titles, but if we take that out of the equation, has the service been worthwhile this year? We look back on which games have been featured on the Vita. Did you get them all?
For those in Europe, Plus started very well with Sony’s Monster Hunter inspired Soul Sacrifice sitting proudly alongside Arc System Works’ beautiful fighter, Blazblue Continuum Shift extend. Both games are brilliant for fans of either series and arguably more than justified the cost of a subscription for the whole year.
It wasn’t so great for those across the Atlantic, with intelligence puzzler Smart As… the only title available on Plus. Whilst it’s a decent enough title to challenge the grey matter, as part of your Plus subscription – and the only title to boot – less than stellar.
February’s titles carried on in a similar vein in terms of bigger names with another two well known franchises added to the IGC with Europe receiving Modnation Roadtrip, and Dynasty Warriors Next.
NA gamers also gained Modnation and also received the cross series fighter Streetfighter X Tekken.
Whilst it represents great value for both regions, what did you make of the games?
It was the turn of EU Vita owners to receive Smart As… in March, but it was accompanied by the brilliant Pixeljunk Monsters HD from Double Eleven, which more than made it worth it.
However, it was dwarfed by the great line up that NA gamers received – having a choice of the superb horror/survival title Lone Survivor: Director’s Cut, Mike Bithell’s beautifully narrated and addictive Thomas Was Alone and rounded off with Zipper Interactive’s Unit 13, March was easily the best month so far for Plus in NA.
So for the first quarter we feel that the IGC titles were worth of a B+ for quality and value in Europe, whilst North American Plus subscribers are graded a B-. Do you agree with us?
In a return to form for European Vita owners, April brought some amazing titles with Devolver Digital’s outstanding Hotline Miami, SCEE brought Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time to the service and Milestone’s MotoGP 14 closed the list. Great variety and another two retail titles for your monthly fee.
NA gamers received Pixeljunk Monsters Ultimate HD, Stealth Inc.; A Clone in the Dark, as well as Futurlab’s incredible Velocity Ultra.
Whilst the Vita itself is suffering from a large amount of sporting games, it’s a good thing that the few sports titles available are quite good. None more so than Kyle’s go to title, Everybody’s Golf, which EU plus subscribers gained in May, alongside Muramasa Rebirth.
European plus subscribers managed to get four games this month with Dragon’s Crown, Lone Survivor: Director’s Cut and Surge Deluxe to go alongside Pixeljunk Shooter Ultimate, which was also released in North America.
There was a lot of quality games in the second quarter and on reflection felt that the service for both European and North American Plus Subscribers was worthy of an A-. What did you think?
After such a phenomenal performance during the first half of 2014 you could be forgiven for being somewhat underwhelmed with the offerings in Europe for July with LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes joining your collection, along with Doki-Doki Universe which NA collectors also obtained alongside Muramasa Rebirth. This was the first month where NA gamers received their IGC titles in the first week of the month, like Europeans have been for a while.
We are seeing a lot of symmetry with both store offering similar titles and three games were shared in the IGC this month with both regions receiving Polytron’s amazing platform-puzzler Fez, the bizarrely abstract Metrico as well as the refreshing and relaxing Proteus. EU gamers completed the set with LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 whilst NA gamers got the much better deal in Dragon’s Crown.
Finally, some common sense and probably some serious organisation occurs and the PS Plus IGC titles were standardised on both sides of the Atlantic. Of course, the pricing is somewhat different but you can’t have everything! Four titles were up for grabs in September with the simply incredible Velocity2X from Futurlab given away for free. The quality didn’t stop there, with Hello Games’ Joe Danger, Llamasoft’s futuristic and nostalgic TxK and PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale bringing up the rear. A phenomenal line-up and a great end to the third quarter.
With some outstanding titles up for grabs (and the service arguably being worth it for Velocity2X and Fez alone) we feel that the both the EU and NA service this quarter was worthy of an A-. Sure there were a few uninspired games in there, but the amazing ones alone more than made up for it.
How do you follow that? With great difficulty it would seem, but we still managed to receive three great games in October with Pix the Cat, Rainbow Moon and the fabulous cave exploring title Spelunky available to download. Worth it for Spelunky alone.
Through the glory that is Cross-Buy we had FIVE titles available on the IGC in November with action RPG The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth launching on Plus, the launch puzzler Escape Plan, The Hungry Horde, Vlambeers’s addictive and challenging shooter Luftrausers and Image and Form’s action/adventure platformer SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt rounding out the list. Did you play them all?
The year finished with just the two titles (I know – we’ve been spoilt!), with Eiconic’s futuristic Real-Time Strategy title Final Horizon and the equally snooty (but not quite as good) Titan Attacks the two options. It may not have been as spectacular as other offerings but you probably have had enough to play over the few months!
Rounding the fourth quarter off we reckon it was easily worth a B+. For value alone it was worth it, but in terms of quality some of the games were not quite there.
Where does that leave the service for the year? We especially liked that the service became standardised towards the end of the year and this has continued so far in 2015. Most of the same games have appeared on the service for both regions over the year. It’s clear that towards the second half of the year it was predominantly indie based, but there were some quality retail based titles on the service.
Overall I would give the service a B+ overall for both regions. There were many stand-out titles and some of our highest scoring games made it into the IGC and the service has given us a backlog as long as you can imagine, and for us and myself personally represented tremendous value. If you can find enough games listed above to cover the cost of the service then it demonstrates the value, and highlights plus as an essential purchase for Vita owners.
What did you make of the service? What games have you enjoyed the most? Did you think it was great value?