WHEN does your boss want that project delivered? Now! When does your child need to be fed? Now! When do you stop reading this column due to its obtuse introduction? Save that thought – we’ve something special to talk about, writes Ronan Jennings.
We live in a world where everybody wants everything, now. Which makes it all the more surprising that PlayStation Now isn’t talked about more often.
Until recently, it’s been largely hidden away on the PlayStation Network, out of sight and out of mind. The incredible thing is that Sony’s amazing streaming service actually works – it allows you to stream a large library of games to your console without paying more than a monthly fee, Netflix style.
You can count us among the gamers who had ignored PlayStation Now, until it popped up on our PlayStation 4’s home screen last week. With a heavy dose of scepticism we decided to give the service a go.
The first thing that surprised us was the selection of games on offer. For a start, there are a healthy selection of PS4 games to play, including the likes of Until Dawn and Beyond: Two Souls. Secondly, the sheer quality and range of games on offer was extremely refreshing. Red Dead Redemption, which never got a release on PS4, is front and centre.
Then there are cult classics like ICO and Tokyo Jungle, the latter of which is impossible to find for a PS3. There are beat-em-ups like Injustice and Street Fighter, puzzle games, Sony classics like The Last of Us and the God of War series, racing games and even life-consuming RPGs like Fallout New Vegas and the Atelier franchise.
This only strengthened our scepticism, however. Itching to play some of the games on offer, we didn’t want to be disappointed. We hadn’t played Red Dead Redemption in eight years.
We clicked on Rockstar’s masterpiece expecting to be disappointed. Perhaps our internet connection wouldn’t be up to the task? Perhaps the game would be choppy and unplayable? After taking about ten minutes to prepare the stream, Red Dead Redemption loaded up.
Like John Marston’s rivals, we were blown away. The game looked and controlled perfectly on PS Now.
Not only were the graphics sharp and true to the PS3 version of Red Dead, the controls were immediately responsive too. It was basically no different to playing the game on the console itself.
This experience rang true and repeated for every game we tried on the service. Tokyo Jungle – a game we had never been lucky enough to try – was streaming in minutes. ICO took us back to a PS3 classic. Harmony of Dissonance let us play online multiplayer Castle-vania for the first time.
Overall, it was a little bewildering to see how well a streaming service can work for games. After all, these are games that you are literally streaming from faraway servers to your screen, not downloading. Even stranger, this service is available on PC too.
At €14.99, we will subscribe for at least a few months to enjoy the library of games on offer. In saying that, there are challenges ahead for the service.
At one point, we did get some error messages when trying to load a game, though these were resolved on subsequent attempts. In addition, while the library of games is good, it will need to grow significantly to warrant paying the monthly €14.99 long term.
Still, with a free seven-day trial on offer, you can’t go wrong in trying PlayStation Now if your connection is good enough. In our opinion, it’s not just about now – it’s the future of gaming.
Another library of games coming your way is the Sega Classics Collection. The bundle will be released on the PlayStation Store in May, giving you access to over 50 Mega Drive titles in one package.
We’ve seen this same package released before in various forms, but not on the PlayStation 4. Some of the games included in the bundle include the various Sonic games (though not Sonic 3), Streets of Rage, Golden Axe and both Toejam and Earl titles.
The real clinchers, however, are the Mega Drive’s superb RPGs. You’ll find Shining Force I and II, the Phantasy Star series and one of the greatest games ever made, Landstalker, in this collection. When do we want it? Now!