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PlayStation Plus gave out $894 worth of games in 2019. Were they any good? – Polygon

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You have less than a week left to claim the last two games PlayStation Plus is offering to subscribers in the ninth year of its Instant Game Collection. The subscription gave out 32 games, in all, in 2019; Were any of these any good? What would they otherwise cost? In short, what do the data say about the value of this PlayStation Plus benefit, which has been a part of the service since 2010?

We’ll try to answer that question for this year as we have the past five years, along with a few other questions. Such as: How old is the game? Did Sony publish it? What publisher did PlayStation Plus use the most? And did these appear earlier on Xbox Live Games With Gold?

These questions may shed light on where these free games programs are headed, particularly with a new console generation arriving next year in the form of the PlayStation 5.

What about Xbox Live Games With Gold?

Getting Started

In all, there were 32 games in the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection for 2019, with an average Metacritic score of 77.6 and a combined retail price (at the time of the offer) of $894.68.

The Metacritic average is 8.1 points higher than 2018, but the MSRP of the collection is $614.06 less. However, these figures don’t really compare well in light of the fact PlayStation Plus dropped support for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita after February 2018.

That reduced the number of free games offered from six to two (and therefore, the whole dollar value of the collection). Also, by shedding the dead weight of the PlayStation Vita, whose PS Plus games were often poorly reviewed and largely unknown, the catalog’s average critical score surged upward. And deservedly so; many high-quality first-party PS4 games were made available to players this year. It’s just a smaller sample size.

Some titles from January and February were cross-play enabled to one or more platforms; their primary platform is the one listed. After February, all games are for PlayStation 4 only.

Steep
Image: Ubisoft Annecy/Ubisoft

January

  • Amplitude (PS3)
  • Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion (PS Vita)
  • Portal Knights (PS4)
  • Steep (PS4)
  • Super Mutant Alien Assault (PS Vita)
  • Zone of the Enders HD Collection (PS3)

Average Metacritic score: 65.5

Average age: 2 years, 7 months

Total value: $134.94

Skinny: Amplitude and Steep are sort of hey-it’s-that-guy games that many folks may remember but never picked up. Skiing and a rhythm game are somewhat eclectic, but both are better than their Metacritic suggests, in my book.

Old Snake salutes a dead friend in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Image: Kojima Productions/Konami

February

  • Divekick (PS3)
  • For Honor (PS4)
  • Gunhouse (PS Vita)
  • Hitman: The Complete First Season (PS4)
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)
  • Rogue Aces (PS Vita)

Average Metacritic score: 77.2

Average age: 3 years, 10 months

Total value: $122.94

Skinny: In its last month on PS Plus, the PS3 gets a very fitting, very touching send-off with one of the best games ever made for it. Ten years ago, the PS3 inaugurated the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection, and with it the consumer expectation that a console’s premium service should toss its loyal customers a bone or two every month. The PS3’s no hero; just an old killer hired to do some wet work.

A special forces operator, soaking wet from the rain, inside a helicopter with its bay doors open

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
Image: Infinity Ward/Activision

March

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
  • The Witness

Average Metacritic score: 85

Average age: 2 years, 10 months

Total value: $79.98

Skinny: Whoa! Where did that come from? Activision makes the best part of of 2016’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare available for good buddy Sony, and The Witness, which launched the same year, picked up a bathtub full of prestige nominations.

Players fight a massive dragon-like monster in Conan Exiles.

Conan Exiles
Image: Funcom

April

  • Conan Exiles
  • The Surge

Average Metacritic score: 70.5

Average age: 1 year, 5 months

Total value: $69.98

Skinny: This is what passes for a middling month now. Both games had a mixed critical reception, but if their genres are your cup of tea (survival action-adventure, or Souls-like action role-playing) it’s like found money.

What Remains of Edith Finch - Calvin Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch
Image: Giant Sparrow/Annapurna Interactive

May

  • Overcooked!
  • What Remains of Edith Finch

Average Metacritic score: 83

Average age: 2 years, 4 months

Total value: $36.98

Skinny: An indie-only May doesn’t just pull out two any-old titles; What Remains of Edith Finch took Best Narrative at the 2018 Game Developers Choice Awards, and Overcooked was a grand prize nominee at the 2016 Independent Game Festival. It was followed by a sequel in 2018.

PagodaWest Games/Sega

Sonic Mania
Image: Sega

June

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
  • Sonic Mania

Average Metacritic score: 84

Average age: 3 years

Total value: $79.98

Skinny: Can’t argue with the value of three Borderlands games, even if they are five years old or more. Sonic Mania was also a breath of fresh air, celebrating the franchise’s 25th anniversary back in 2017.

Detroit: Become Human - Connor on rooftop

Detroit: Become Human
Image: Quantic Dream/Sony Interactive Entertainment

July

  • Detroit: Become Human Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Horizon Chase Turbo

Average Metacritic score: 78

Average age: 2 years, 6 months

Total value: $49.98

Skinny: Maybe you wondered if Detroit was worth the hype; maybe you thought it wasn’t. Either way, you could find out for yourself for free this month.

Sniper Elite 4
Image: Rebellion

August

  • Sniper Elite 4
  • Wipeout Omega Collection

Average Metacritic score: 81

Average age: 2 years, 4 months

Total value: $79.98

Skinny: Many will disagree, and for good reasons, but I think Rebellion’s Sniper Elite is a sorely under-rated series. Always happy to see that show up, even in a slow month paired with an older first-party anthology.

Batman Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Knight
Image: Rocksteady/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

September

  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Darksiders 3

Average Metacritic score: 75.5

Average age: 2 years, 6 months

Total value: $79.98

Skinny: Darksiders 3 was nothing special but we raved about Arkham Knight. Sure, it’s four years ago, but if you haven’t played Rocksteady’s Arkham finale yet, this is a month when you definitely feel like you’re getting something for nothing.

MLB The Show 19 - Giancarlo Stanton hits a home run at Yankee Stadium

MLB The Show 19
Image: SIE San Diego Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment

October

  • MLB The Show 19
  • The Last of Us Remastered

Average Metacritic score: 90.5

Average age: 2 years, 11 months

Total value: $49.98

Skinny: A first-party only October highlighted Sony’s push on the PlayStation Now streaming/download service, which got a price discount and these two titles this month. MLB The Show 19’s career is always a time vortex for baseball fans, and it’s rare to get a AAA sports video game in its current year in one of these programs.

Nioh
Team Ninja/Koei Tecmo

November

  • Nioh
  • Outlast 2

Average Metacritic score: 78

Average age: 2 years, 8 months

Total value: $49.98

Skinny: Nioh was one of our top 50 games of 2017 and is the rare game that combines quality gameplay with mass-market recognition and cultlike devotion. Its sequel is on the way in March.

Titans and pilots fight in a grassy field in a screenshot from Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2
Image: Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts

December

  • Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame
  • Titanfall 2

Average Metacritic score: 78

Average age: 2 years, 6 months

Total value: $59.98

Skinny: Titanfall 2 had one of this decade’s best single-player campaigns for a first-person shooter, and is timely here in light of Respawn’s launch of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order the month before. If you liked one, you’ll probably dig the other.

The Last of Us Remastered

The Last of Us Remastered
Image: Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Wrapping it up

Though Sony Interactive Entertainment itself stopped developing for the platform four years ago, 2019 was the year it finally took the PS Vita to the vet and buried it in the flower garden. Dropping PS3 from PlayStation Plus at the same time means a catalog one third the size of last year’s, but the high quality of the PlayStation 4’s deep library really shone through in 2019. And that’s before you get to third-party standouts like Nioh and Titanfall 2 to close out the year, or the well chosen indie cohort of The Witness and What Remains of Edith Finch, or even games with cult followings like Sniper Elite 4 and Conan Exiles. In all, it was a very strong, very well balanced year of offerings for PlayStation Plus. Games With Gold, which has advantages in backward compatibility and third-party support, looks slapdash by comparison.

Though Microsoft seems determined to drive everyone through its Xbox Game Pass program, especially for the new console generation, it’s less clear what Sony has in mind for its older program in PlayStation Plus. But this year’s focus on fewer, better games, rather than highlighting the lower (and often arbitrary) dollar figure of the catalog, instead draws attention to several titles who more than pay for the $60 subscription fee on their own. There is value in every month of 2019.

A knight and samurai clash with their swords in a screenshot from For Honor

For Honor
Image: Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft

By the Numbers

Average score: 77

Average price: $27.96

Average age: 2 years, 10 months

Highest average Metacritic month: October (90.5) with The Last of Us Remastered (95) and MLB The Show 19 (86).

Highest dollar value month: January ($134.94), with Steep ($29.99), Portal Knights ($19.99), Zone of the Enders HD Collection ($34.99), Amplitude ($19.99), and Super Mutant Alien Assault ($9.99). After PS3 and PS Vita games left the service, it’s there were three months at $79.98 (June, August, and September).

Month with newest games on average: April (1 year, 5 months) with Conan Exiles (May 2018) and The Surge (May 2017).

Lowest average Metacritic month: January (65.5) with Steep (71), Portal Knights (71), Zone of the Enders HD Collection (73), Amplitude (74), Super Mutant Alien Assault (67), and Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion (37).

Lowest dollar value month: May ($36.98) with What Remains of Edith Finch ($19.99) and Overcooked! ($16.99)

Month with oldest games on average: February (3 years, 10 months) with For Honor (February 2017), Hitman: the Complete First Season (March 2016), Divekick (August 2013), Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (June 2008), Gunhouse (April 2018) and Rogue Aces (April 2018).

Published by Sony: Four titles: Detroit: Become Human, Wipeout Omega Collection, MLB the Show 19 and The Last of Us Remastered.

Publisher with the most titles: Sony. Second most was Ubisoft (Steep and For Honor) and Konami (Zone of the Enders HD Collection and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots).

Appeared on Games With Gold earlier: The Witness (April 2018), For Honor (August 2018), Overcooked! (October 2018), and Hitman: The Complete First Season (September 2019).

Total value: $894.68

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2, part of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
Image: Gearbox Software/2K Games

Platform Averages

PlayStation 3: 76.5 Metacritic average, 6 years, 5 months old, $19.99 per title.

PlayStation 4 (PS Vita cross-buy excluded): 79.6 Metacritic average, 2 years, 5 months old, $31.53 per title.

PlayStation Vita: 61.5 Metacritic average, 1 year, 4 months old, $14.49 per title.

Apples-to-apples with Xbox Live Games With Gold (PS3 and PS4 only): 79.2 Metacritic average, 3 years old, $29.88 per title.

Highest rated PlayStation 4 game: The Last of Us Remastered (95)

Highest price PlayStation 4 game: Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, Sniper Elite 4 and Darksiders 3 ($59.99 each).

Lowest rated PlayStation 4 game: Darksiders 3 (64)

Lowest price PlayStation 4 game (PS Vita cross-play excluded): Overcooked! $16.99

Metacritic ranges

90 and up: 2

80 to 89: 11

70 to 79: 12

60 to 69: 6

59 and below: 1

Price ranges:

$40 and up: 4

$30 to $39.99: 5

$25 to $29.99: 5

$20 to $24.99: 0

$15 to $19.99: 14

$10 to $14.99: 2

$5 to $9.99: 1

$4.99 and under: 1

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Motorola moto Razr 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 – PhoneArena

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and a lower price. Since Motorola said its 2022 foldable will also be released globally, the two clamshell phones to get this year are primed for a specs fight to help you decide.

Motorola Razr 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 design and display quality

When comparing the design of the Moto Razr 2022 with the other clamshell king with bendable screen that was announced in concurrence – the Z Flip 4 – we can’t help but notice the more utilitarian, business-like look of the Razr, against the fashionable Flip with its 75 Bespoke color combos. Heck, even the camera island is sticking out on the Motorola phone like on most of them “rigid” phones these days, indicating larger sensors may be in play here.

The Razr is taller, thicker and wider than the Z Flip 4, and also slightly heavier. Its 6.7″ 1080p display has a wider aspect ratio than the tall and slim 6.7-incher on the Flip 4, hence you have more screen real estate to gawk at on Motorola’s phone.

The front screen of the Moto Razr 2022 is much larger, too, at 2.7 inches against the 1.9-incher of the Galaxy, so you’d be able to see notifications and messages more clearly. At first brush, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 sports the same, and the same 1.9-inch 260 x 512 pixels external panel like its predecessor. 

The 120 Hz adaptive refresh rate of the 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X internal Infinity Flex Display with 2640 x 1080 resolution and 22:9 aspect ratio is still no match for the 144Hz refresh of the Motorola Razr 2022, the highest on a foldable phone.

The fact that Motorola put one of the fastest displays on a phone out there in its clamshell foldable phone is pretty breathtaking, and the slightly lower vertical resolution means that the faster refresh shouldn’t take a much higher toll on the battery compared to the 120Hz rate of the Z Flip 4.

The Z Flip 4 display is made of diodes crafted by Samsung’s newest M12 OLED generation that offers brighter panel with less power draw, so here Samsung has a leg up as you can see from our display benchmarks below.

Samsung’s 2022 clamshell foldable has a Bespoke edition, too, which introduces a number of new color combos for the front and back in Yellow, White, Navy, Khaki, Red, as well as for the frame which can be either Silver, or painted in Black or Gold hues.

Motorola Razr 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 performance

Coming with the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset, both the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the Motorola Razr 2022 carry the fastest processor for Android phones at the moment, and the slightly lower pixel density of the Motorola phone means its performance would surpass that of Samsung’s phone. Provided the display is not running at its maximum 144Hz refresh rate, that is.

The 8GB RAM that come in all Galaxy Z Flip 4 versions, including the top 512GB storage one, is augmented by 50% more RAM in the Moto Razr 2022 for its 12GB/512GB model, making it the most powerful foldable phone ever created when we count the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor and the 1080p display resolution it has to render.

Motorola Razr 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 specs comparison

Motorola Razr 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 camera

Besides the most processing and memory power on a foldable phone, Motorola equipped the Razr 2022 with a 50MP main camera sensor and a 13MP ultrawide/macro camera, which is again the most powerful camera set you’d find on a clamshell with a bendy screen.

At a 12MP main wide-angle camera with Samsung’s Dual Pixel autofocus technology and optical image stabilization, as well as an aging 12MP ultrawide cam, the Z Flip 4 is no match, save for the large 1.8 micron pixel size that helps in low-light situations. The 10MP selfie snapper does a good jon as you can see in the camera samples below, but the 32MP front camera of the Razr could churn out more details.

The Motorola Razr 2022 doesn’t carry the new Camcorder mode of the Z Flip 4 that lets you use the phone as, well, a camcorder of yesteryear by bending it 90 degrees and holding the lower part in your palm, while recording and previewing with the upper. Something tells us that you can do just as good on the Razr by holding it in a similar fashion yet using the whole display as a viewfinder instead of its half only.

Motorola Razr 2022 vs Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 battery life and charging speed

The most important upgrade of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 over the Z Flip 3 is its larger 3700 mAh battery, but the Razr 2022 is not far behind with a 3500 mAh unit. Moreover, Motorola offers faster, 33W charging speeds for the pack, against the 25W charging of the Z Flip 4. 

Samsung promises “up to 50% charge in around 30 mins with 25W adapter” but you could expect even shorter charging times with the Motorola Moto Razr 2022. Since its battery has to power and chipset to render less pixels than on the Z Flip 4, any battery life advantages of the Samsung phone stemming from the slightly larger battery capacity would become moot.

Motorola Razr 2022 or Galaxy Z Flip 4, which one to buy?

Barring any unforeseen hardware performance challenges, you’d be better off buying Motorola’s clamshell, rather than the Z Flip 4. It offers more for the same $999.99 base price of the Z Flip 4. Well, now the Razr 2022 price is slightly lower than that of the Z Flip 4, but when it gets released globally, it might get an upward adjustment.

Still, Motorola did a very good job, crafting the fastest phone with foldable display at launch and equipping it with the best camera set on such a handset, all at a great price. The 144Hz display is the first of its kind on a modern clamshell, as is the 50 MP rear camera.
At the moment, the best Z Flip 4 deals include a free storage upgrade that will get you the 256GB model for the price of the base one plus the jaw-dropping $900 for your used Galaxy Z Flip 3, so during the preorder period you may want to go with the Flip 4. For all other intents and purposes, the Moto Razr 2022 seems a slightly better choice than Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 4, especially if you manage to find it for cheaper.

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Xiaomi clones the Galaxy Fold, makes it 40% thinner, adds a bigger battery – Ars Technica

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If you’re disappointed by Samsung’s relatively slow progress on foldables, say hello to the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2, which looks significantly more advanced than what we saw in this week’s announcement from Samsung. But it’s for China only, of course. Sorry.

The Mix Fold 2 closely follows the layout of the Galaxy Z Fold 4—it’s a book-style foldable that has a phone-like front screen and a tablet-like flexible inner screen. The kicker is that the device is 40 percent thinner when folded up. We’re usually not on board with the smartphone thinness craze, but the thickness of foldables is a major concern. The 16-mm-thick Galaxy Z Fold really fills out your pocket compared to a normal smartphone, so Xiaomi is making progress here.

The Mix Fold 2 is just 11.2 mm thick when folded up, with each half measuring only 5.4 mm. Xiaomi’s phone is dramatically thinner than Samsung’s, and Xiaomi also manages to fit in a slightly bigger 4500 mAh battery (Samsung’s is 4400 mAh). The trick here—aside from Samsung not changing the Fold’s thickness or battery capacity for four years now—is that the Xiaomi foldable is a bit bigger than Samsung’s. When folded up, the Z Fold 4 is 155.1 mm x 67.1 mm x 15.8 mm, while Xiaomi’s device is at 161.6 mm x 73.9 mm x 11.2 mm. That 161.6 mm x 73.9 mm measurement is still smaller than a top-end smartphone, with an S22 Ultra measuring 163.3 mm x 77.9 mm x 8.9 mm.

On the front, you get a 120 Hz, 6.56-inch, 2520×1080 OLED display, while the inner foldable display is a 120 Hz, 8.02-inch, 2160×1914 OLED. Both screens are direct from Samsung Display, and the flexible display is made of the “Flexible Ultra Thin Glass” that Samsung pioneered. Flexible glass provides some rigidity to the otherwise squishy plastic display. The outer layer should still be plastic that you can dent with a fingernail, though.

For specs, you’ve got a pretty normal high-end loadout: a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 12GB of RAM, and generous tiers of storage at 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. The cameras start with a 1/1.56-inch 50 MP Sony IMX 766, then there’s a 13 MP ultrawide, an 8 MP 2x telephoto, and a 20 MP front camera. The 4500 mAh battery supports 67 W charging.

Starting at RMB 8,999, or about $1,335, Xiaomi’s bigger, better foldable is also cheaper than Samsung’s. The phone goes on sale in China on August 16.

Listing image by Xiaomi

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Unboxing the Galaxy Z Flip 4 in Bora Purple – MobileSyrup

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Samsung’s latest folding smartphones have finally arrived.

We’ve started our review process, but to tide you over until they’re published, here’s a closer look at the Galaxy Z Flip 4. For more on Samsung’s latest clamshell foldable, check out our hands-on with the smartphone here.

If you want to see what Galaxy Z Fold 4 looks like instead, you can find our unboxing of the smartphone here.

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