sony playstation classic review

There’s some beautiful irony here. I’m just back from Sony’s launch of the PlayStation Classic in Dublin. I was going to settle in for a night of Battlefield V before the damn Xbox One informed me that it needed an update. PlayStation never had that problem right? Anyway, the Japanese gaming giant, Sony, has indeed brought us the PlayStation Classic; a console preloaded with 20 games from days gone by. I’ve avoided continuing to use the world classic because this retro ride well let down many.

What is the Sony PlayStation Classic?

The Sony PlayStation Classic is a really wee mini PlayStation. The first PlayStation, not the weird roundy one that came out a few years after the original. When I say wee, I mean wee:

size of sony playstation classic

That’s a credit card-sized business card right there to help you grasp just how wee the PlayStation Classic is!

So, the PS Classic is much smaller than the original while looking fairly similar. It’s powered by micro USB, has HDMI and two USB ports for the original, non-DualShock, PlayStation controllers. That’s worthy of note by the way. The two controllers are USB so if you’re after a basic PC gaming controller, there’s a good chance you could hack these to work.

Finally, another big difference is the fact discs are no longer a thing. Instead, the PlayStation Classic has 20 games of days gone by hardcoded into the machine. While the console looks cool and feels cool, unfortunately, I can’t ignore just how disappointing the game choice is from Sony.

What Games Are Not On The Sony PlayStation Classic?

I’ll go into a list of all the games that you do get in a second, but I need to address just some of the absolute classics that are nowhere to be seen.

Crash Bandicoot

I went out on Instagram and asked people what their favourite retro PlayStation game was and the results were pretty solid. The two options were Crash Bandicoot and Metal Gear Solid with one of these being available on the PS Classic. A whopping 70% of people said they had the fondest memories of Crash Bandicoot, yet it’s nowhere to be seen on the PS Classic. You do get Metal Gear Solid, but is there actually a more iconic game that Crash Bandicoot for the PlayStation generation? Imagine the SNES Classic launched without Mario. That would be insanity, yet that’s the level this omission reaches for me.

Gran Turismo 2

Nothing humbled me as a kid more than taking my Honda Prelude out onto the track, desperately trying to get my racing license and never getting past a B. At least I think that’s what it was. Unfortunately, I won’t get to relive that just yet either. Gran Turismo is another epic PlayStation game that doesn’t make the cut for the PS Classic. Instead, we get Ridge Race Type 4.

At the launch event itself, I spotted a game case for Colin McRae Rally and that just made me question the game choices even more. Of all the race games the original PlayStation games had, it’s a pity Ridge Race Type 4 made the cut above others.

Destruction Derby 2

This is where I got really annoyed. The PS Classic does feature Destruction Derby, the first of the four-game series. This is a single version of the game which seems a little dull. The sequel, on the other hand, was quite the roaring party of demolition which let two people play each other, a feature not present in the original and as such not available on the PlayStation Classic.

Tomb Raider

Politics is an awful pain in the hole. Tomb Raider is the third best selling game in PlayStation history. It’s also still an active series after launching a new game and movie in 2018.

Unfortunately, this obviously meant the franchise was too expensive for Sony to include with the Classic. Politics sucks.

Spyro

I remember when I got my first PlayStation, I thought I actually got Spyro, but instead it was Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, a classic in its own right. Neither of these games features on the PS Classic. Again, politics comes into play here. Spyro is currently being given a modern revamp by Insomniac Games, the studio that developed the incredible Spider-Man game this year.

They are currently working on the Spyro Reignited Trilogy and as such, again, the game license would have been too expensive for Sony to include. Yup, modern games companies are afraid that a twenty-year-old classic could impact their modern-day efforts. Sigh…

Tony Hawk: Pro Skater

I’m going to finish on this one. Tony Hawk nailed so many things in the early days of disc-based console gaming. The style, feel, control and sounds of Tony Hawk were addictive. On the PS Classic, we get Cool Boarders 2, complete with weird clunky control. This was the definition of a “grand” game in the most Irish sense of the word, not the Elizabethan British sense of the word.

I’m going to leave it there, but it’s interesting to note that of the top ten selling PlayStation games of all time, Sony has included just two in the so-called Classic. Let that settle in for a second.

What Games Are On The Sony PlayStation Classic?

Right, so of the top ten best selling PlayStation games, what do you get? Just Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid made the cut with 10 million and 6 million copies sold respectively worldwide. Here’s the full list:

  • Battle Arena Toshinden
  • Cool Boarders 2
  • Destruction Derby
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Intelligent Qube
  • Jumping Flash
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Mr Driller
  • Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
  • Rayman
  • Resident Evil Director’s Cut
  • Revelations: Persona
  • Ridge Racer Type 4
  • Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
  • Syphon Filter
  • Tekken 3
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6
  • Twisted Metal
  • Wild Arms

Let me be totally honest for a second; it’s not a bad range of games at all. My personal favourites in there are Grand Theft Auto, Tekken 3, Metal Gear Solid, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and Resident Evil are genuinely worthy of the classic title. The rest, quite frankly are meh. Take them or leave them. Contrary to the Sum 41 classic, there’s quite a more filler than thriller. If you think that’s harsh, I could budge on Rayman, but that’s it.

Maybe, just maybe I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about this but I have a really good reason for that.

The PlayStation Classic is Not a Great Christmas Gift

Sony has spotted what Nintendo did last year with the SNES and decided they want to cash in. They figure, if they make a cute wee PlayStation, people around the world, not quite sure what to buy for someone else, will just spring the €99 and give them a PlayStation Classic. Don’t get me wrong, for some, they’ll be delighted.

On Christmas morning, they’ll load up the console, get a shiver down their spine as the PlayStation logo loads up and they crack into a game of Resident Evil, not quitting until they’re done. Trip down memory lane complete. The controllers are authentic and even have a USB port, so I’d imagine you can use them with your PC too.

And actually, that got me thinking…

Have You Heard of Console Emulators?

Emulators are a kind of grey area when it comes to gaming. Basically, an emulator is a piece of software you install on your PC or laptop which lets you play old games. I go on a retro binge at least once a year, downloading every kind of emulator going, from Sega to SNES and even to PlayStation. With very little knowledge and a willingness to play around on YouTube, you could download ePSXe and be up and running with all the top-selling PlayStation games in no time. Actually, some of these emulators even work on Android too for gaming on the go.

Now I say this is all a grey area because while these games are readily available online to play, they are still all within copyright and it is illegal to share these games online. While emulators themselves are legal, downloading the games to play is not. But that’s kind of beyond the point. You’re thinking of buying a retro games console for a lifelong PlayStation fan and I find it very difficult to believe they’ve never delved into the world of emulation myself.

Which leads me to my conclusion.

Verdict: Sony PlayStation Classic Review

The Sony PlayStation Classic is cool. Its design is awesome and it does bring back a big old lump of nostalgia. Myself and the guys over at Elite Gamer rocked out Tekken 3 for a good while and I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed that. But once the controllers got put back down the only excitement I got was from realising the controller itself was USB – so it could probably be used with a PC. And then the eureka moment hit me. Emulation.

The Playstation Classic is a rushed gifting idea which falls foul to bad timing and big-budget remakes

Why on earth would anyone pay €99 for a Sony PlayStation Classic limited to 20 fairly substandard games? In short, it’s because it’s Christmas and it’s the easy gift to give. I’d just recommend that you think long and hard about gifting someone a PS Classic this year because it’s an easy gift that I feel few will find it to be the right gift.

 

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