I’ve been a PC gamer for nearly a decade. Before then, I wasn’t loyal to a brand – I jumped from Sega, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft consoles, determining which console to get next by looking at who was producing the best exclusive games at the time.
There is only one thing that I miss as a PC gamer and that is exclusive games. Looking at this generation of games, most of the Xbox One “console exclusives” tend to come to PC, and there are very few Nintendo games that I would like to play (I’ll pretend not to long for Breath of the Wild for a minute). It is the PlayStation 4 exclusives that I have wanted to play the most, but could not justify paying for a Sony console to play second-fiddle to my PC.
PlayStation Now was launched in America in 2014 and the rest of the world in 2015. I’d been put off picking it up for myself because I thought it looked too expensive and had heard reports of poor lag (as games are streamed to PCs, rather than being run locally).
I eventually picked PS Now up on the PC not for myself, but for my daughter to play kids games after her PlayStation 3 died (I poured out some liquor, don’t worry). My daughter loved playing the Little Big Planet series and Disney Universe and was devastated when she couldn’t play them any more. After seeing that they were on PS Now, I decided to try the 7-day free trial, which also coincidentally coincided with Sony dropping the price significantly.
How Good Is PS Now?
PS Now on the PC isn’t perfect, but it is still great and one of the best gaming purchases I have made in a long time. After the 7-day free trial, I snagged a year’s subscription for £40 and the value has far exceeded that relatively low initial outlay.
My daughter and I have played through Little Big Planet and Disney Universe as expected, but she has also loved playing Disney titles like Brave and Bolt. We’ve also had a great time playing Overcooked 2 as a family. Seeing my daughter have fun with video games is worth the price of admission alone, but I have also loved finally having access to the PlayStation exclusive games I’d missed out on for the past decade.
I quickly completed The Last of Us, God of War (2018), Heavy Rain and Journey, and tried Uncharted 4 and Persona 5. Then, Sony added Horizon Zero Dawn and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which I have also completed, and I am currently playing Control. The Last of Us, God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn are three of the best gaming experiences I have had in a long time.
There are 800 games on PS Now, which includes PS4, PS3 and PS2 games. Sony also adds another collection of games to play each month while rotating off a handful of games at the same time, so there is always something new to play. Having a date for the headline games leaving the service is also encouraging me to actually play the games, rather than adding them to my growing backlog and forgetting about them. I find that I spent less time procrastinating about what to play and more time actually playing, which can only be a good thing.
I have already added a list of other games to play once I have finished Control, including Uncharted 1, 2 and 3, Yakuza 5, Mafia 3, Ico, Beyond: Two Souls, Until Dawn, Prey, Doom, Shadow of the Colossus, and more. They aren’t all PlayStation exclusives, but as they are all included in my subscription, it doesn’t make sense for me to pay to play them anywhere else.
Okay, but How Good Is PS Now on the PC?
As I have said, I have got enormous value from PS Now on the PC – but it isn’t perfect. For those who are tempted, it’s important to note that there are some significant downsides to take into account, particularly if you’re a PC gamer who prides yourself on playing every game at the highest possible settings.
For one, PS Now streams games to your PC. This means that you’re at the mercy of both Sony’s servers and your internet connection. I’m fortunate to live in an area with good internet and have never had a problem with lag, however, I have experienced visual artefacts when exploring dark areas in The Last of Us and Control, which almost rendered the game unplayable at times. These were rare occurrences, often at peak times and they swiftly passed, but they are worth mentioning.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that you’ll only be able to play games at 720p.
*PC gamers close the article immediately*
Hold on! I have a 1080Ti graphics card and a 4K monitor – I like my games to look pretty and expect my hardware to keep up with me. Despite that, the drop to streaming PlayStation games at 720p hasn’t been as significant as I’d feared, and it certainly hasn’t damped the enjoyment of finally having access to the huge library of PlayStation games. Truth be told, I’ve found myself hooking up a long HDMI cable from my PC to the TV and enjoying the Sony titles from the comfort of my gaming beanbag, something I haven’t done since I last owned a console 6+ years ago. Yes, I’m a big kid.
Streaming games rather than running them locally and having to play games at a lower resolution will be deal-breakers for some. I get it and I’m sorry.
If you’re a PC gamer and you can live with 720p visuals and have a consistent internet connection, you simply have to try PlayStation Now for the PC. The 7-day free trial can be cancelled easily (and may even be enough time to complete a game or 10, depending on how much free time you have).
PS Now on the PC is a must-buy for me. I have loved playing the games I have already completed and eagerly look forward to Sony adding some fresh titles each month. If you’re on the fence, definitely try the free trial. You might be surprised at how good it really is.