The PS Classic hits stores on December 3rd, 2018. We take a closer look at this retro nostalgic machine to help you decide if it’s worth the hype, or just another cash grab.
In case you haven’t heard, Sony is jumping on the trend of the “Classic” systems and is releasing the ‘Playstation Classic’ console. It’s a mini console that comes pre-installed with some hit games, with a price tag of $100 MSRP. Additionally, it comes with 2 original PS1 controllers, but sadly it’s not the Double Shock ones.
While the idea seems that, as the Playstation 1 was such an iconic system, the games they selected are not so memorable. On top of that, none of the games have had any updates to their graphical engine during the port to this hardware, so don’t expect even the slightest difference between what you saw 20+ years ago and what you’ll see when you plug it in and start playing.
So, which games are included?
- Final Fantasy 7
- Metal Gear Solid
- Resident Evil: Directors Cut
- Tekken 3
- Battle Arena Toshinden
- Intelligent Qube
- Jumping Flash!
- Mr. Driller
- R4: Ridge Racer Type 4
- Revelations: Persona
- Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo
- Wild Arms
Regions of NA, PAL, Korea and South East Asia are exclusively getting these titles in addition to the above:
- Grand Theft Auto
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
- Twisted Metal
- Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
- Cool Boarders 2
- Destruction Derby
- Syphon Filter
If you live in Japan, Taiwan or Hong Kong, you will receive the following exclusives instead of what is listed above for the NA/Pal/Korea/South East Asia regions:
- Arc the Lad
- Arc the Lad 2
- Armored Core
- Gradius Gaiden
- Parasite Eve
- SaGa Frontier
So now that you know what games to expect, let’s break down the good and the bad.
We know we started this off by saying that some of the games are “not so memorable” but a few titles left us pleasantly surprised. Tekken 3, Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, and Super Puzzle Fighter are all fantastic choices, and really ate up a lot of my childhood. Revelations: Persona is also an amazing choice, especially since many didn’t have the chance to play the earlier Persona games and only recently heard about the series thanks to the amazing job Atlus did with Persona 5.
Personally, I’ve been dying to replay Revelations, as this game truly is a gem. Unfortunately, many eBay sellers and private collectors have seen the trend in nostalgic gaming and often times list the physical copy of the game for well over $100. The PS Classic gives me the opportunity to play this game again, while throwing in some other classics at the same price.
Wild Arms is also a classic that I’m glad to see included. It’s one of those games that 30+ years later I still pick it up from time to time. I personally would have chosen Wild Arms 2 for the selection, just because it looks nicer, but it’s great to see a PS1 era RPG make it into the line up.
The fact that the graphics have not been remastered or revamped for the new hardware makes games like GTA, Destruction Derby and Rainbow Six a big miss on the PS Classic. The games were already inefficient and clunky when they debuted on the PS1 decades ago, and having to live through the glitchy, lag induced nightmare all over again doesn’t sound like the type of nostalgia trip I want to experience.
Additionally, GTA was a staple that launched the franchise to where it is today, but the GTA franchise really didn’t take off until GTA 3 and Vice City. Sure, it may be great for those to have the opportunity to play the flagship title, but it’s going to be a major disappointment in comparison to the mechanics, graphics, and overall gameplay that many GTA fans have grown accustomed to.
We also have titles like Mr. Driller that seem out of place. When I think of classic Playstation games, Mr. Driller is far from any of the games that come to mind. Sure, we’ve all seen and played it at the arcade countless times, but that was always the game I’d go to when I was down to my last token or quarter. It definitely wasn’t where I was spending my afternoon. It’s hard to imagine that Mr. Driller would even make it onto a top 100 list of “best PS1 games” so seeing it shipping as a “staple” of the PS1 generation leaves all sorts of unanswered questions here.
We’re also SO OVER the Final Fantasy hype train. Sure, Final Fantasy 7 is a classic and for many, one of the first games that introduced them to the series. But FF7 has already received a remastered version for Steam and Playstation, so it seems quite a bit redundant to bring it on board to the PS Classic. Especially when they could have included other SquareEnix titles like XenoGears, Chrono Cross or Front Missions.
What would we do differently?
If this is your first time reading an article from me, I apologize for not warning you that I enjoy to rant. However, I don’t just point my finger and blame those in charge. I offer solutions. Here’s a quick list of other PS1 staples I would have chosen to add to the PS Classic.
Dino Crisis: Let’s be honest, fans have been asking for a new Dino Crisis game for well over a decade, and seeing that the PS1 did include a CapCom game (i.e. Resident Evil) it could have been possible to strike up a deal to add in this game. Dino Crisis sold well over 1.9 million copies on the original PS1, and was critically acclaimed at the time of the release. It definitely deserved an honorable mention, if not a slot on the lineup.
Parasite Eve: Yes, I know… Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong are receiving this on their version of the PS Classic, but it should have made the cut as a global release. It’s a unique survival horror game from SquareEnix that rivaled the RE series because of the RPG elements.
Gran Turismo 2: I have nothing against Ridge Racer, but when I think about iconic PS1 racing games, Gran Turismo is the #1 game that comes to mind. From the selection of courses, to the selection of cars, it was a top notch game that still holds it’s own to this day.
Tony Hawk 1 or 2: If we’re going to talk about games that were added truly due to the nostalgic craving for them, this should have been one of the ones to make the cut. I can’t help but think fondly of all the hours I spent on the THPS series, and how much I’d love to relive it on a console one more time.
MegaMan Legends/The Misadventures of Trone Bonne: We’ve been begging for a new game in the Legends universe for years, and this would have been a great opportunity for CapCom to use this as a way to re-ignite and gauge interest in a franchise reboot. Seeing that CapCom already included 1 flagship game on the PS Classic, it wouldn’t be so hard for them to add in a few other titles.
Silent Hill: Another game that fans have been itching for, especially since the cancellation of “Silent Hills”. It doesn’t seem like a huge jump if they had included this in the PS Classic, since they already included another game by Konami (Metal Gear Solid). This could have easily been another opportunity to build up hype and gauge interest on reviving the franchise.
To be fair, there were A LOT of great titles for the PS1. So maybe a lot of them made the cut due to hardware limitations. And a lot of the classics we loved for PS1 and even other consoles have already started to see their franchise rebooted, like Parappa the Rapper, Spyro, Crash, Castlevania and more. It definitely would have made sense to include these titles in their original glory to the PS Classic, but it could have also posed some conflicts with the modern approaches they are taking to position the game – which is a completely different conversation and rant we’ll save for another day.
So, is it worth it?
That answer is going to have to be up to you. Personally, I’d pick up a PS Classic due to the fact that it’s $100 for just a single, physical copy of Revelations: Persona on eBay. For that same price point I can get a new piece of hardware (PS Classic), with plenty of other games I’d gladly lose a few hours here and there with. But overall, the game lineup does feel a bit uninspired, when you really start to think about what games were available on the PS1 initially, and how they shaped the future of gaming during that era.
The PS Classic is certainly a neat idea, but falls a bit short not only from the game lineup, but in using the original PS1 controllers instead of the Dual Shock controllers. Sure, you can play all the games fine without the sticks, but there’s no reason they couldn’t have included them. The controllers do connect via USB, but the console won’t support the use of other controllers (at least at launch). So plugging in your own Dual-Shock Controller is a no go.
The $100 sticker price also makes it significantly more costly than the Nintendo counterparts. The NES Mini is priced at $59.99, while the Super NES Mini is $79.99. We’d like to hear why Sony chose a higher price point than the competition, especially when Nintendo has no problem selling the NES Mini and Super NES Mini out in bulk time and time again.
All in all, the PS Classic definitely makes an impression. But when looking at the game line up and the controllers, it is shifting towards being a quick cash grab while we’re on the retro, nostalgic gaming trend. And while I would still pick one up to play half of the titles on it, that is the major problem here. It’s a piece of hardware with pre-installed games where we only have interest in playing a fraction of what we’ve paid for.