One of the biggest perks of Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription is ending on May 9. Until then, PlayStation 5 owners who subscribe can claim 18 free PS4 games, some of which are bona fide classics that you ought to play. I’m talking Bloodborne, God of War, and more. And you can continue to play them, so long as you remain subscribed. We’re going to share some favorites.
Sony debuted the PlayStation Plus Collection, as it’s called, during the PS5’s unveiling in 2020 so that gamers would have the best of PS4 to play on launch day, and to bite back against Microsoft’s popular Game Pass subscription that gives Xbox players access to hundreds of games. Since then, Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription has added game trials, access to full games, and free monthly titles to its multi-tier service. But Sony’s efforts so far to add value primarily reward people willing to pay at least $14.99 per month or more. So don’t forget to claim these games on the cheap while you can.
Should you forget, it’s a bit of a mess to figure out how to get them without paying more than you should. For instance, 15 of the 18 games will continue to be available if you have Sony’s $14.99 per month “Extra” tier of PlayStation Plus. The $17.99 per month “Premium” tier is the only way to get access to The Last of Us Remastered without buying it as a stand-alone game. Mortal Kombat X, Ratchet & Clank (2016), and Monster Hunter: World will need to be purchased separately regardless.
Few studios’ portfolios are as consistently great as that of FromSoftware, and for my money, no FromSoftware game is as great as Bloodborne. Its combat is as crunchy as it is slick; its Victorian Gothic world is replete with Lovecraftian horrors and creatures that would make Dracula cry; its story, which is about everything from the danger of knowledge to the perils of organized religion, is equal parts subtle and potent. There’s more character in Bloodborne’s opening village than in most developers’ entire catalog, and somehow, I enjoy it more every time I return. It’s the best game on PlayStation 4, and really, one of the best games I’ve ever played. —Mike Mahardy
Bloodborne is currently available in Sony’s PS Plus game catalog for Extra and Premium subscribers, or $19.99 on its own.
God of War
I harp a lot on God of War Ragnarök. I think it’s bloated, messy, and overwrought. But no matter; I can go back and play its vastly superior predecessor anytime I want.
God of War was Santa Monica Studio’s answer to several loaded questions: How do we humanize Kratos? How do we revive a character-action series that has “early aughts” written all over it? And how do we incorporate that legacy, without glossing over it? God of War balances all of this weight expertly. It’s not perfect — for as good of a “dad game” as it is, it really does moms dirty — but it is fun as hell, as you travel through fantastical realms and gorgeous landscapes, battle mythical enemies in tight over-the-shoulder combat, and witness the blooming relationship between Kratos and his son Atreus. —MM
God of War is available in Sony’s PS Plus game catalog for Extra and Premium subscribers, and for $19.99 on its own.
Resident Evil 7 biohazard
Despite all of Resident Evil’s many twists, turns, peaks, and valleys, Resident Evil 7 biohazard may be the most important game in the series. It not only breathed new life into a franchise that had been steadily declining in quality since 2005’s Resident Evil 4 (except for the occasional bright spot), it also sparked one of the most consistently great eras in Resident Evil.
It’s more than just “important,” though. It’s also pretty damn fun. Its blend of environmental puzzles, tense first-person combat, and Metroidvania-esque exploration across the estate of a deranged swamp family kept me hooked throughout the entire playthrough, even though I probably needed to change my pants after Jack or Marguerite or Lucas scared the piss outta me several times over. Resident Evil Village expanded upon this new take on the revered series by dialing the action up to 11 in a foreboding European castle — but 7 remains the better game for how it balances its action with horror, survival, and pitch-perfect pacing. —MM
Resident Evil 7 biohazard is available in Sony’s PS Plus game catalog for Extra and Premium subscribers, and for $19.99 on its own.
Infamous: Second Son
Before Ghost of Tsushima, developer Sucker Punch Productions made a name for itself in the PS3 era for its fun, Spider-Man-esque Infamous franchise. Infamous: Second Son, the third main entry in the series, was released early in the PS4’s life cycle, yet its 60 fps frame rate, lavish particle effects, and fluid animations have aged nicely. Like the other Infamous games, you play as a relatively average dude (voiced by Troy Baker) who just so happens to be able to fly, zap, and level up other elemental powers in a vast skill tree. Ultimately, the game turns into a power fantasy, and you’ll be able to decide whether you side with good or evil, just like in previous titles. It’s a joy to play and look at, even if some of its trappings — particularly its repetitive quest types — haven’t fared as well over time. —Cameron Faulkner
Infamous: Second Son is currently available in Sony’s PS Plus game catalog for Extra and Premium subscribers, or for $19.99 on its own.
Ratchet & Clank (2016)
Instead of making a new movie tie-in to release alongside Sony’s Ratchet & Clank animated feature in 2016, Insomniac was tasked with giving the original game a gorgeous refinishing for the PS4, and did it ever succeed. If you’re looking to play through Ratchet & Clank from the very beginning, there’s no better place to start than with the 2016 re-release, simply titled Ratchet & Clank.
If you’ve played the newer Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart for PS5, it might be a delightful surprise that the debut title is full of well-executed ideas from the start, including character-swapping puzzles, genuinely funny writing, and a notoriously goofy arsenal of weapons. Plus, the PS4 game got a PS5 update to enable 60 fps gameplay. —CF
Sadly, only the older PS3 version of Ratchet & Clank and its many sequels are currently available with the PS Plus Premium tier. The 2016 version is available by itself for $19.99.
For some reason or another, Sony’s PlayStation has always been the go-to console for innovative, choose-your-own-destiny games with boundary-pushing graphics. One of the best ones out there is Until Dawn, a survival horror game from Supermassive Games.
It’s a must-play not just because it’s literally not available on other consoles, but also because it’s a silly, gory take on the cliched “teens in a cabin in the woods” premise that manages to squeeze some legitimate terror from it. However, that’s not to say that the game is perfect. It has some pacing issues, and its quick-time events are bound to frustrate you when a character you like gets axed. But its all-star cast of Peter Stormare, Rami Malek, and Hayden Panettiere doesn’t hurt. Even though it was released nearly 8 years ago, it looks great on the PS5 when you’re connected to a 4K TV. —CF
Until Dawn is currently available in Sony’s PS Plus game catalog for Extra and Premium subscribers, and for $19.99 on its own.