PlayStation Classic reviews: Is it any good?

The first reviews for the PlayStation Classic have started to filter in, and they’re… mixed. Lukewarm, you might say; not unlike the reaction to the console’s announcement.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the PlayStation Classic is a miniaturised version of the original PlayStation console from 1995, which comes with 20 pre-loaded titles and a faithfully recreated PS controller – that is, the original original, sans analogue sticks and DualShock support. It’s due for release on the 3rd December 2018 and – in the UK, at least – will retail for around £90.00.

And although it’s still a month away, some journalists have already been granted the opportunity to try it out and share their first impressions. Eurogamer, for instance, went with the disconcerting slugline of, “We’ve played the PlayStation Classic, and it’s underwhelming,” citing “mediocre emulation” and “an anaemic list of games” – although the website did admit that there was still some enjoyment to be had in the swirling pool of disappointment.

First off, the obvious point – the list of games on the PlayStation Classic isn’t exactly mind-blowing, and Eurogamer offers some interesting thoughts on this issue…

“…as arguably the first console of the modern era, it’s also one of the first bogged down with issues of licensing when it comes to music tracks brought in from elsewhere, or in the case of Gran Turismo with auto manufacturers. Getting hold of those licences again could be a pain – in some cases, it’s an impossibility.”

So whilst notable titles such as Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider and WipEout are conspicuous by their absence, I think most of us will concede that this isn’t necessarily down to Sony being “mean” or “out of touch with its audience.” Rather, securing the licenses for such high-profile franchises could price the PlayStation Classic out of the market, if indeed such licenses could be acquired in the first place. That being said, the game selection is not insignificant, and will undoubtedly turn some on-the-fence gamers away. Heck, I’ve never been in awe of this console, but if it were to feature all of my favourite PlayStation titles condensed into a simple plug-and-play device, I could certainly be swayed.

In terms of the console’s other features, Eurogamer was similarly critical, expressing disappointment in a bare-bones menu system with few customisation options, as well as some noticeable lag in 60fps games such as Mr Driller and Tekken 3. 

Moreover, GameSpot was also underwhelmed in its assessment of the PlayStation Classic, stating that “while it does its job of delivering old games to your modern TV, the lack of any other features is disappointing.”

The website also notes that there are no border or scan line options to help ease the look of lower resolution titles, particularly those games that haven’t aged as well such as Ridge Racer. However, unlike Eurogamer, GameSpot feels that the classic games run as smoothly as they did on the original PlayStation, and believes the retro polygon models hold up to the upscaling of modern TVs.

Another positive take-away is the way in which the original console’s buttons have been utilised; the Reset button takes the player back to the main menu, whilst the Open button is used to simulate the switching of discs in games such as Final Fantasy VII. 

Despite these momentary glimmers, GameSpot’s overall summary doesn’t do much to allay people’s concerns about Sony’s latest console…

“…our early impressions are pretty mixed. The PlayStation Classic does exactly what it intends, letting you play these games at a sharp 720p with a simple setup and no fuss. But the product feels a bit bare-bones, with no visual customisation and controllers that lack analogue sticks and rumble support. The game selection certainly doesn’t feel like ‘the greatest hits of the console’ the way the NES and SNES classics did…”

So yes – far from glowing praise at this stage, but plenty to think about. Personally, I still think it will sell well.

How do you feel about the PlayStation Classic? Have these early reviews influenced your decision to purchase? Are you excited to relive some fond gaming memories on December 3rd? Let me know in the comments below.

  • Click here to pre-order your own PlayStation Classic and help support this website.

One comment

  1. On the whole, PlayStation games haven’t aged very well due to the nature of the graphical and gameplay enhancements happening at that time. The NES and SNES still look charming with their pixel-based art style, and the game concepts are simplistic enough that they’re still fun now. PlayStation started working with 3D polygon models that look like absolute garbage from a modern perspective, and they got ambitious with the genres, attempting 3D action and shooter titles that feel clunky and non-responsive next to modern games inspired by these classics. Gamers owe a lot to the PS1, but I can’t envision many people really wanting to go back and relive playing these games.


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