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I Tried Nitro, Utomik, PSNow, EA Origin Access, and Gamepass (Which One is the Best?)

Video game bundle services are the new rage, giving gamers access to complete game libraries from their PC. It is now possible to possess 900 games at your fingertips. The subscription service is quickly becoming the new way to get plugged in, even promising to replace the traditional console experience of buying physical copies. Here are the top contenders.





Utomik

Company: Utomik

Platform: PC

Type: Download


Ease of Access: B-

Utomik promises over 900 games spanning old, current, and new PC games. They were one of the first services to provide a gaming subscription (if you don't count Gametap...RIP). Once you download the software, the game library provides a Netflix like UI. Finding a list of games that were suitable for play was not hard. Utomik really prides itself on having Darksiders, Arkham City, Lego Batman, Saints Row, and Unreal Tournament 2003. Finding those games is a cinch. Looking for hidden gems and cult classics takes some digging. It is also noteworthy that the download service lets you download one game at a time. While waiting for it to download, if you choose a second game then it completely forgets the previous game. It feels weird. Games download partially and then let you play while downloading in the background. It's a semi-fast procedure depending on your network speed.


Games: C+

Action gamer: Darksiders, Arkham City, Saints Row Series, AAA Star Wars Games, Lego games, The Surge

Shooter gamer: Unreal Tournament series, Red Faction series, Painkiller Series, Metro (series), Borderlands

RPG gamer: Steel Trails, Ys series, Warhammer: Chaosbane, Neptunia Series, Little Dragon Cafe

Indie Games: Beholder, Lots of Metroidvania titles, pixel platformers

Casual Gamer: Lots of click and find games, lots of rom-com stories, Mahjong, Tetris-esque puzzles

Sports: (Not much)

Fighting Games: Old and obscure classics


Multiplayer: F (it doesn't exist online)

Price: $7.99, 14-day free trial


Verdict: This is a solid subscription service. It was one of the first to buck the trend. Now, it seems that Utomik doesn't have the upper hand as their game selection seems to be generic and common. Although, it's neat that they get some day-one releases and their RPG selections are great.



EA Origins Access

Company: Electronic Arts

Platform: PC, PS4, XB1

Type: Download (streaming service in development)


Ease of Access: B

I thought it would be a waste of time to confine my gaming tastes to EA offerings. Besides, I could care less about Madden and Fifa. But, what I found was a good mix of indie companies and AAA titles. Players download the EA Origin Store and they are be treated with a vault of videogames. The gamer can choose the BASIC package and get all the classic EA games and AAA titles or they can opt for the PREMIER package and get lots of day-one releases to try. The vault downloads the game partially and then you can play it while it downloads in the background. Most games come with extra DLC so you can get the complete experience. The search engine is good for finding games, letting you filter between multiplayer, single-player, genre, and date. Caution: these games can be up to 50gb of storage so don't go crazy.


Games: B +

Action: Dead Space Series, Star Wars Classics, Batman Arkham City, Jotun, Darksiders, Lego Games, The Surge

Shooter: Battlefield Series, Star Wars Battlefront, Mass Effect, Titanfall 1 + 2, Plants Vs. Zombies, Crysis

Indie: Gonner, Aragami, Limbo, Hyper Light Drifter, Orwell, Overcooked

Casual: Not much here, which is okay for hardcore gamers

RPG: Dragon Age, Tides of Numera,

Sports: Fifa, Madden, Need for Speed

(Note: This is based on the PC release of EA games. The XB1 and PS4 have more console releases and classics)


Multiplayer: B- (You will definitely find players in the new games that were meant for multiplay)


Price: $5 for BASIC, $10 for PREMIER, 1-month free trial


Verdict: With Origin Access, there is no reason to go to Gamestop and binge on the classic PS3 and Xbox 360 titles. They are all right here. Plus, if you can't get enough Battlefield, Titanfall, or Battlefront then your ship has finally arrived. There are over 220 games (More on PREMIER) right now. Of course, if you have a cheap PC then you won't enjoy the flagship games as much. This doesn't really fix the problem of replacing a console as much as giving you access to the games.






Nitro

Company: Discord

Platform: PC

Type: Download


Ease of Access: C

Most likely, you already have the Discord app, which means that you already have the means to sign up for this service. Nitro is a bonus incentive for those who like to connect to gamers through Discord. The service contains a humble offering of (100) indie, cult classic, and obscure favorites for gamers. Subscribers also get special bundles for Freemium games (Paladins and Royal Realms) and premium emoticons. Games must be downloaded completely before play. In a few instances, I could not get a game to load after I downloaded it. I needed to restart the app. There is no need to refine your search to look for a game as the list can fit on one page.


Games: C-

Action: De Blob 1 + 2, Hob, Mafia, Saints Row IV, Gucamelee: Turbo Edition

Shooter: System Shock II, Star Wars Dark Forces, Odd World: Stranger's Wrath, Metro Series, Bioshock

Classics: Dig, Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis, Monkey Island 1 +2, Star Wars: KOTOR, Civilization IV, Psychonauts

Indie: Tooth and Tail, Kingsway, Battle Chef Brigade, Duck Game, Dundara, Regular Human Basketball, Amnesia, Nidhogg

RPG: Trine 1 + 2, Torchlight, Titan's Quest


Online Multiplayer: D- (It exists, but I could not find a player who wanted to join me)


Price: $10


Verdict: Nothing is really going to bring you over to Nitro unless you love point and click classics or Duck Game. There's a lot of indie titles, casual titles, classic PC strategies, and niche games. The price is not competitive for such a few offerings. This would be a great service if you did not want your kids to have a subscription with lots of M rated games. It's worth noting that this subscription has the most games that don't support a USB gamepad.




Microsoft Game Pass

Company: Microsoft

Platform: XB1 and PC

Type: Download


Ease of Access: B +

It helps that this program is practically built into Windows 10. You need only download the app from the Microsoft store and you have access to a variety of games. The PC version of Game Pass is in beta, but I wonder if that is just a defense to keep PC gamers from feeling burned by the obviously superior XB1 version. The game selection is only half of what the Xbox offers. The app is very user-friendly, offering a variety of ways to discover new games. With a push of a button, you can stream or record any game for Microsoft's Mixer (Low-grade Twitch). My only qualm is that the details page of the game won't reveal if a game is multiplayer or it's family rating (at least not easily).


Games: B +

Action: Tomb Raider Series, State of Decay 2, Dishonored 2, Mordor: Shadow of War, Prey, Super Lucky Tales

Shooters: Gears 5, Gears of War 4, Gears of War Ultimate Edition, ReCore, Crackdown 3, Metro Exodus, Wolfenstein: Shadows of Colossus

Indie: Full Metal Furies, Die for Valhalla, Gucamelee 2, Ruiner, Riptide Renegade, Thimbleweed Park

RPG: Kingdom Come: Deliverance, For the King, Vampyr, Shenmue I + II, Cross Code, Moonlighter

MMO: Sea of Thieves, Ark: Survival

Sports: Rally, Forza Series


Multiplayer: C (Sea of Thieves was the only one I could find players for)


Price: $15, $1 for first month


Verdict: It seems insane to have a list of Microsoft's best and brightest games and not have a single Halo title on it. It also seems insane that I could not find a single player to do a Gears of War Ultimate Coop mission with. I am positive they are all playing Gears 5. Microsoft gets major kudos for putting a AAA shooter title as a day-one release. Is this a new trend for gaming? Releasing your best game in a subscription service seems like a risk, as opposed to making people pay $60 bucks for it. We will see if this pays off. This service won't be a console replacer because it requires a good gaming PC if you want the best experience.



PS Now

Company: Sony

Platform: PC and PS4

Type: Streaming (with options to download some games)


Ease of Access: D-

I don't know why I gave PS Now a second chance. You need a PS4 controller to play certain games, the PC program freezes or slows to a crawl on my laptop, and the streaming requires nothing but perfect wifi (or a direct plug into the modem). How can something so portable and revolutionary require such an old school way of hooking up to the internet? Anyways, I chipped in the $20 bucks for a month. It took me a few restarts for the program to recognize I had working internet. The gaming hub does not have a search bar to look up games. You need to rifle through all of them alphabetically and pick the ones you like. There's no way of filtering your search as the game categories are pre-selected. There are over 900 games to select and not one of them is a PC port. Once I got hooked up to my computer which has a direct line to the modem, it was smooth sailing. I really hope that Sony throws some TLC to PC users now that game subscriptions are big.


Games: A -

Action: Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper, God of War, Series Yakuza, Infamous, The Last of Us, Red Dead Redemption, GTA V

Shooters: Doom, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Killzone Series, Resistance 3, Prey, Red Faction Series, Handsome Jack collection

Fighters: Dead or Alive 5, Street Fighter 3, Street Fighter IV, Virtua Fighter 5: Shodown, Tekken Tag 2, Tekken 7, Guilty Gear Series, a lot of 2D anime fighters

Indies: Tokyo Jungle, Fat Princess, Echochrome, Pixel Shooter

RPG: Arc the Lad, Y's, Dark Cloud 2, Bloodborne, Costume Quest 2, Arcania: Gothic 4, Wild Arms 3, Rogue Galaxy

Sports: Handball, F1 2015, Wakeboarding HD, Olli Olli 2


Multiplayer: B + (multiplayer is disabled in most PS3 games and some PS4. Newer games have the option and they are very populated)


Price: $20 (the day I bought it for a month), became $10 (the day after I bought it)

Also Note: the Sony account interface is cumbersome. At one point, I needed to cancel my subscription and I kept getting an error. I had to call customer support to cancel me. Not as accessible as the other subscriptions.


Verdict: Despite the setbacks and the hiccups of the user interface, the PS Now has the best bang for your buck now that it is $10 a month. I am hoping Sony takes more interest in improving the PC experience with the Microsoft Gamepass being so aggressive in their offerings. The streaming quality is definitely an issue, completely obliterating a game at a moment's notice. This is the future of gaming if Sony can get it right. I don't have to worry about upgrading my console or losing storage. I will stick with the PS Now (because I finally got it working right), but I don't recommend getting it unless you have a PS4.

Dishonorable Mentions:


Geforce Now Library: This was one of the first game streaming services to come out. You had to have a Geforce portable, tablet, or home to access it. The game library barely changed. The streaming quality was decent. I could play Saints Row IV portably.


Vortex: Another game streaming service that mixed free games with games you had to own on Steam. The cool thing about this is you could play from any computer browser or tablet. The bad thing is that most games required the use of a keyboard. Streaming was not that great. The only free game worth playing was Ravenfield. Basically paying $10 a month to play your Steam games on any internet-capable device. It's been in Beta for many years.


Jump: Over 100 obscure and indie titles from my browser. Sounds fun for a weekend. Doesn't have anything more than that.


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