While Sony could have followed in the footsteps of Nintendo by releasing a retro console that goes the extra mile, the PlayStation Classic is kind of a maverick: it does not include the console's biggest hits – games like Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider or Final Fantasy 8/9 – and instead choose some cult classics among some well-preserved titles.
Using the Sony Retro console is therefore less like going back in time, an experience we've made with SNES Classic and NES Classic Mini, and much more like an example of what the PlayStation was about 20 or more years ago had to offer.
If that sounds, it might be divided, then you're right.
Fans on both sides of the fence have already dealt with Twitter to praise / mock the console for having picked up their favorite games – including us. But after we've played with it ourselves, it's easy to see both sides. Would we like to see personal favorites like The Legend of Dragoon or PaRappa, the rapper, on Sony's first retro console? Absolute. But do they earn a place over Jumping Flash or Rainbow Six?
Yes, they probably do.
But some people may have a real relationship with games like Destruction Derby, Ridge Racer Type 4 and Intelligent Qube – and if that's you, then the PlayStation Classic is everything you expect from a retro console.
That's the Sony PlayStation Classic in a nutshell: It's a retro console with some of PlayStation's best games – including Twisted Metal, Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy VII – but there are also a handful of games that may not live up to expectations They are more cult classic than mainstream hits or gameplay, and the blocky 3D animations just will not stand up in 2018.
But using the PlayStation Classic for a few hours was a fun experience, playing new games that passed us by 20 years ago, and even witnessing some childhood memories of the toe-toe experience friend in the local multiplayer. Sure, it's not exactly the retro console we expected, but we can respect it more because we are something of a non-compliant console.
Regardless of how you feel about the game library, you'll be somewhat impressed by the package Sony has designed to carry its software – the Classic is a piece of nostalgia-making plastic. It looks just like the original PlayStation 1, which of course shrunk, with a few modern touches like HDMI out, a power USB port and even USB controllers.
After seeing them side by side, the PlayStation Classic is a dead ringer for the original PlayStation, except for the small details. It's just like the rectangular, gray piece of plastic that you can remember as a child for hours … just a little smaller. (According to Sony, the size of the original is about 45%.)
Not only is it smaller, but, as you might expect, it is also much lighter.
That makes it incredibly easy to pack and take with you. Thanks to the now widely supported HDMI port, you do not have to worry about finding a TV that supports even older composite connections.
As with the original, there are three buttons on top of the Classic: Power, Open and Reset. These buttons mostly do what you expect.
This feature allows you to turn the console on and off. With Open, you can switch virtual CDs to multi-disc games like Final Fantasy VII. However, resetting is slightly different as you will return to the game selection menu and create a resume point for the next time you want to jump back into this game – similar to the NES / SNES Classic system, but with only one memory slot instead of four.
The big difference between the original console and the Classic is that it does not play real discs. This should not be a big surprise or a novelty at this point, but it's worth pointing out that the inevitable comment, "Can I play my old PlayStation games?"
The other small difference can be seen on the controllers themselves. As all buttons return from the original, you will notice that the controller is ending at a USB port. This could possibly mean that the controllers work on your PC if you have an emulator. However, this definitely means that Sony does not introduce a proprietary port exclusively for the Retro console.
As you may have already noticed, the controllers are obviously from the days before DualShock. This means you'll need to use the directional block as the primary mode of travel in games, and you'll probably have to abandon the better control plans for Resident Evil Director's Cut and Tekken 3. This is not a deal breaker, but it might not hurt Sony announces a DualShock controller variant next to the original package.
Finally, and this is a really small detail, the controllers are connected directly to the front of the console and do not need to remove a front panel as with SNES and NES Classic. This ultimately gives the console of Sony a tidier look and serious style points.
Game Library and Performance
PlayStation Classic 20 games
Battle Arena Toshinden
Cool Boarder 2
Final Fantasy VII
Grand Theft Auto
Metal Gear Solid
Oddworld: Abes Oddysee
Resident Evil Director's Cut
First Racer Type 4
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six
PlayStation Classic's game library and performance continue with this design ethos: keep things as they were for the better or for worse.
What we mean by that is not only that these games will play exactly as you know them in terms of control schemes, but they also have not received an HD update – you get the grainy, grainy FMVs you know on TV and love That was not even conceivable when these games came out over 20 years ago.
In some ways, it's pretty appealing to see jagged polygonal models in 2018. We've become so used to seeing polished games that the pop-in pop-out textures in Cool Boarders 2 are actually fun and funny at the same time. It's a reminder of where 3D games come from, and that's really inspiring.
On the other hand, watching these games on a 1080p TV or, against God, a 4K TV can be a real eye-catcher. The console does not even try to improve the games, and the years were not good for the sub-HD graphics.
This double-edged dedication to nostalgia can be found in the PlayStation Classic game library. Sure, these games are exactly what you remember them, but R1 / R2 as a stand-in for a right analog stick (in the case of Rainbow Six) was not much fun. Even more frustrating is that some of the included games have a modern remastering. However, since Sony has installed the original ROMs here, you have to suffer from the clumsiness due to nostalgia.
Of course, not every game in 3D and not every game on the console has chunky controls. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo looks absolutely great and plays great. The same goes for Rayman (mostly) and Mr. Driller. With important design decisions made 20 years ago, the games on PlayStation Classic are looking good.
The other exciting comment we make is that we were unable to play some of these PlayStation Classic niche titles, even though we were unable to grow some of those games. The two that come to my mind are Revelations: Persona, the first entry in the now very popular Persona series, and the more popular but still not widely known reputation of Wild Arms. When you buy a PlayStation Classic, gamers like us who missed them the first time get a second chance to experience console sleeper hits.
If you're here for the classics like Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid, you'll see and play exactly as you would expect, and for most, they are the crown jewels of the collection. Considering that these two games alone in the PSN store often cost $ 10, one gets from Sony actually a small bargain, including all the other.
The easiest way to compare the PlayStation Classic with the Nintendo Retro consoles, the SNES Classic and NES Classic Mini. The nostalgic hardware from Sony adds a new dimension to the mix. Literally. With most of the games running on PlayStation Classic in 3D, upscaling issues and problematic control patterns are expected that were not a problem with Nintendo's Sprint-based consoles.
Despite these problems, the PlayStation Classic brings something new to the table – the willingness to choose sleeper hits and games that Sony believes players need to know. Some of these decisions are in disagreement, but their inclusion speaks volumes about Sony's willingness to go its own way.