PlayStation Classic review

CYou would think that I would have learned to not get my hopes up, especially when it comes to product releases that can only be described as gimmicky. But despite my resting bitch face, profanity-laden speech and tenancies towards threatening to set people on fire, I’m actually an eternal optimist. I always hope for the best in most situations and try to see the silver lining. And that’s what I was doing with the PlayStation Classic; deep down I knew it was going to be trash, but I still had hope.

Misplaced hope

My first thought when I unboxed the PlayStation Classic was “holy @%#$ it’s tiny!” That’s what she said jokes aside, the thing is so light it feels like I would break it by breathing on it too hard. The controller is bigger than the console and that concerns me. I don’t know, maybe it’s a bit more solid than it looks, but I wouldn’t risk leaving it lying around for animals, 8-year olds, or light breezes to attack.

Also, it doesn’t have a wall plug; it has a USB power cable. If I didn’t have an AC adapter lying around, I would have screamed. Loudly. It is the most inconvenient thing to have to purchase an AC adapter alongside this thing (if you don’t already have one), and while this may seem like a superficial thing to be grumpy about, it’s still something that could be easily avoided.

Also, I’m a British citizen and, like all British citizens, anything that causes a minor inconvenience is the worst thing in the world to me and must be destroyed.

Once I had it all plugged in, I was greeted with a rather plain menu. Sure, the games are easy to select here, but that’s it. No frills, no museum, no behind-the-scenes data. Arguably it’s intended to emulate the original PS1 aesthetic, but it’s lazily built, and it shows right up to selecting the games. Granted, you won’t be hanging out here all the time, but even the NES and SNES Classic Editions had better screens than this.

Mixed bag

That brings us to the games, and the main event of disappointment. The first thing that bothered me is the emulation of some of these games, which is just bland, really. Not that the games are horrible, but there are some that deserved to run at a better resolution than 50hz. So, the result of that is that a lot of the games run like crap. Abe’s Odyssey was difficult to look at and I had to squint to see background movement, Grand Theft Auto is a chaotic mess that’s only worth once and then throwing away, and even Tekken 3, one of the biggest games in the collection, can throw you for a loop because the timing can be so off with both resolution and response.

The second part of the disappointment, and the one that crushed my soul, comes from the line up available. While there’s fun to be had with the PlayStation Classic’s collection of games, the gaps in what could have been a perfect line-up are obvious. Silent Hill? Chrono Cross? Tomb Raider? or PaRappa the Rapper? Even cult classics like Einhander and Xenogears are all nowhere to be found. Oh, but there’s Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.


Also, why is Mr Driller here? It’s not really a ‘classic’ like the Namco Museum games, or even Pac-Man World. Cool Boarders 2 can go die in a fire. When people think PlayStation sports games, they think Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, not this crappy snowboarding game.

Technical issues

Anytime you exit a game by resetting the system, the Classic will ask you if you’d like to overwrite your old save point – basically inviting you to overwrite your hard work at every turn – and other than saving to the memory card there’s no way to ‘lock in’ a save to prevent someone else from coming along and killing that checkpoint. This is fine if you’re like me, 
living alone and having no friends. If you were thinking of buying this for your kids, though, I would recommend you make sure they have a firm grasp of this whole ‘sharing is caring thing’ and that murder is illegal. Otherwise you might have a mess on your hands.

Using Sony’s retro console is less like walking down memory lane and more like falling down the stairs. Unlike the experience we had with the SNES Classic and NES Classic Mini, this is a mish-mash of the highs and lows the PlayStation had back in the day. Instead of “woohoo look at how awesome our childhoods were”, it’s “Hey guys! These were cool too right… Right?

“Please buy our stuff.“

This is just a tribute

In many ways, this is a more realistic tribute to the days of old. Gone are the rose tinted glasses of time, and here is the truth of retro games; some of them were pretty bad. It feels like Sony realised that they needed to have something out for the end of the year and, instead of making something actually meaningful that brings back those fond memories of childhood, they grabbed whatever was lying around and jammed it into a nice looking box.

Ultimately, while there’s an afternoon of fun to be had here by revisiting the PlayStation of our youth, and it looks pretty sweet on a shelf, those expecting stone cold classics and long-lasting shelf-life will be disappointed.

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