Sony just revealed the full 20-game lineup for their upcoming PlayStation Classic which is set to be released December 3, 2018 for $99.
Battle Arena Toshinden
Cool Boarders 2
Final Fantasy VII
Grand Theft Auto
Metal Gear Solid
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
Resident Evil Director’s Cut
Ridge Racer Type 4
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
Before discussing what is missing, let’s first quickly analyze each game in the list.
Battle Arena Toshinden – an early PSOne fighter that looks super blocky today. Why include this game when the Tobal games or even Ehrgeiz, unique fighters exclusive to the console, could have been included? The point is, it is good there is a fighting game included but there are better options available like Bushido Blade. At least Tekken 3, more on that below, is there.
Cool Boarders 2 – including this snowboarding game is fine, I guess, but fans would have probably preferred any Tony Hawk title instead.
Destruction Derby – one of the few PS1 games to support console link cable support, this beat’em up racer was fun back in the day but I fear won’t hold up today. Like most of these PS1 titles, the muddy graphics are difficult to look at… and the game takes place in literal mud.
Final Fantasy VII – this is an obvious “has to be included” game or fans would riot in the streets title. However, FF7 has been released on pretty much every platform since with even a Switch release coming soon. While the remake of FF7 was announced years ago and the public has seen no developments since, including it here in the Classic console is the right choice but fans might have preferred Tactics instead.
Grand Theft Auto – like FF7, this is another obvious choice but the old top-down view probably will not hold up as well as you might hope. Also, this is the original version of GTA, not the Director’s Cut that was released later with more content. Seems like skimping here especially since Resident Evil, another game included, is seeing the Director’s Cut version.
Intelligent Qube – a sleeper hit of the PS1 era that fetches a higher price on online auction site, this unique puzzler sort of flew under the radar when it was first released. Including it here on the PlayStation Classic is a good choice in my opinion as most players probably missed this upon original release.
Jumping Flash – one of the first true 3D games for the system, Jumping Flash has history behind it. In the time before analog sticks and when developers didn’t really understand how to move within a 3D space, Jumping Flash acted as a pioneer for 3D gaming. Unfortunately, it shows as it is a little rough around the edges to play today. In comparison, this is sort of like the Mario 1 of the system – it is has important history with the console but later games are much better.
Metal Gear Solid – like FF7, this is the other must have title for the PlayStation Classic. A good choice that still holds up today. However, this game is going to lose something when playing with a standard, non-Dual Shock controller. Psycho Mantis will not be able to control your controller with his mind, for example.
Mr. Driller – arguably the game that visually holds up the best (maybe Puzzle Fighter?) due to the brightly colored 2D sprites, Mr. Driller is fun in ten-minute increments. The problem here is that a Mr. Driller game has been on every video game machine since and each game is exactly the same. Point is, we have played Mr. Driller before so including it in the PS1 Classic is sort of a wasted slot even though Mr. Driller isn’t a bad game.
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – this 2D action puzzle game has a sweet spot for many gamers so it is easy to see why it was included in the final product. While some might prefer different puzzle games, like Lemmings, I feel like half the audience could split on this title’s inclusion. I personally would have rather seen something else.
Rayman – If you notice a trend, 2D games visually hold up better than early gen 3D games and Rayman is no exception. Chances are you have played a Rayman game at some point, or even a Rabbids spin-off, so seeing where the series started acts as a good history lesson for this Classic system.
Resident Evil Director’s Cut – Resident Evil has been remade and released so many times, no one will want to go back and play the original when there are other, better versions more readily available. And chances are, gamers probably already own one of those better versions already. RE2 would probably have been more welcomed but Capcom would not want to include it with the remake scheduled for 2019.
Revelations: Persona – Not that Persona is a bad game, but there are many other RPGs that could have been included. More on this below.
Ridge Racer Type 4 – It is Ridge Racer. Sure, I get it. But wouldn’t fans rather have Gran Turismo instead?
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo – Like Mr. Driller, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo still holds up visually and from a gameplay perspective and is actually one of my favorite puzzle games. But with online versions easily available on your console of choice for a low price, I would rather play this on my PS3 or 360 with online support.
Syphon Filter – Syphon Filter was the 3rd person action game to play back in the day before we had Gears of War, Fortnite, and countless other shooters. However, Syphon Filter simply does not hold up thanks to the awkward control scheme (d-pad only controls) and very dark visuals. I understand why it was include as it has some important history with the console, but it will not be as good as you remember. And like so many other games on this list, it is available on PSN for only a few bucks.
Tekken 3 – Not including Tekken 3 would have been a mistake and is a much better choice than Battle Arena Toshinden.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six – At the time, the original Rainbow Six was something special. Using swat tactics to take down terrorists using sophisticated tools and weaponry was actually really cool. But like many other games here, it doesn’t hold up. Besides, Rainbow Six Siege is available for cheap and can be played online with your friends.
Twisted Metal – Another “history” game, the Twisted Metal stated on PlayStation and instantly made a name for itself and should please fans more than Destruction Derby. However, it is a wonder why Twisted Metal II wasn’t included instead of the original.
Wild Arms – Also available on PSN for a very low cost (I think I bought Wild Arms on a PSN sale many years ago for like $2), Wild Arms received positive reviews at the time for its turn based battle system but with Zelda style dungeon puzzles that require tools and party swapping to solve. Playing this today, however, is very slow paced and hard to look at. It is an RPG, but I would rather see another Square RPG listed instead. Or even Legend of Dragoon. However, the whistling opening video still is a great intro.
In terms of quantity of games, a roster of 20 included games is close to the number of games included in the NES and SNES Classic. One thing to keep in mind, however, is the higher price point. Granted, two controllers are included and most of these are 3D games so having the higher price is justifiable. The big mystery that has fans speculating is whether or not this console will have the capability of downloading more games from an internet connection. There is a port on the back of the unit that has not yet been identified yet. Could it be an Ethernet connection that allows you connect to a modified version of PSN? Sony already has the interface for it. Or, is that port just a simple cover to make it resemble the original system from a cosmetic stand point? In my opinion, this console will NOT connect online, just like Nintendo’s systems, but that doesn’t mean Sony won’t eventually release a PlayStation Classic 2 that will have other games bundled with dual shock controllers. Why buy one or two other downloadable games when they can sell you a whole additional bundle?
Either way you look at it, this lineup of titles is not going to please everyone. With this said, let take a look at some omissions that range from “what were they thinking,” to “would have been cool to have.”
Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon games – this one is obvious regarding why they were not included. The Crash Trilogy is already out on current gen units and Spyro is coming very soon. Re-releasing this games could cannibalize sales of these modern versions. The same goes for Medievil as that is also supposed to be remade in 2019.
Where are the other Square games? – FF7, yes, sure. But what about 8 or 9? Tactics? Vagrant Story? Brave Fencer Mushashi? Xenogears? Chrono Cross? Parasite Eve? The list goes on. Having only one Square game is a sin when the console was packed with quality titles from the RPG giant. However, some of these games made use of the Dual Shock controller and rumble features so this is perhaps why games didn’t make the cut.
Other RPGs – Legend of Dragoon. Legend of Legaia. Valkyrie Profile. Ogre Battle. Tactics Ogre. Vandal Hearts. Alundra. The other Personas. Suikoden. Arc the Lad. The remake of the Lunar games. It is easy to keep going here.
Castlevania Symphony of the Night – This game was just re-released again as part of the Requiem pack on PS4 so it is easy to see why it was not included in this Classic console.
Lack of a sports game – the SNES Classic also didn’t have a true sports game (not counting Super Punch-Out!!) so this could have been something for the PlayStation Classic to gain the upper hand.
Klonoa, Tomb Raider, Wipeout, PaRappa, both Mega Man Legends games, Tron Bonne, and so many more.
The point is the original PlayStation had over 2,500 games released for it. This Classic system has 20. This means there is no way everyone is going to be pleased. The good news is, you don’t have to wait until December to play these games as most are available through PSN right now. Instead of buying a PlayStation Classic, go buy a used PS3, Vita, or PSP. Or, if you want to wait, it is probably only a matter of time before hackers break open the console to add whatever game you please. Let’s just hope that the controller cords are long enough though.