Just last week, Sony announced the PlayStation Classic, a retro-inspired miniature system packed in with 20 titles from the original PlayStation. Following in the footsteps of other classic consoles such as the NES, SNES, and various iterations of old Sega and Atari consoles, Sony is looking to make their case now in the ‘classic’ market space. However when Sony officially announced the console, only five of the 20 games were revealed, with Final Fantasy VII, Wild Arms, Tekken 3, Ridge Racer Type 4, and Jump Flash making up the first quarter of the lineup.
With three-quarters of the system’s lineup unannounced, what games should be considered to fill void Sony has left for the PlayStation community to debate over? With the surge of older games being remastered or re-released for the PlayStation 4, should some titles be exempt from the list? With roughly two decades of time between the release of most of the system’s games, will licensing or legal rights to certain properties force Sony to pick and choose other titles? This list takes a few of these factors into account, while also fueling most of the choices out of sheer excitement for what is ‘wanted’ on the console, and not what can be.
Here are the 15 games we’d like to see on the PlayStation Classic:
With a bar set as high from its predecessor in terms of JRPGs, Chrono Cross does an exceptional job at not only continuing the story left by its prequel, Chrono Trigger, but is presented in a way where its story stands on its own. For JRPG standards, Chrono Cross does away with the random minor battle encounters that typically plague similar games, allowing players to both grind for experience and progress the story at their own pace. With the giant rise in popularity for the genre during the PlayStation 1 era, it only makes sense that the sequel to one of the greatest role-playing games of all time should make the cut.
Before the days of Forza taking over the racing simulation and sandbox space, PlayStation and Polyphony Digital set the standard for racing games with the Gran Turismo series. Gran Turismo 2, often referred to as GT2, capped off as the fourth best-selling PlayStation 1 game of all time with nearly 10 million copies sold. Gran Turismo has been a mainstay as a quality first-party game for Sony, so a strong case could and should be made to bring on one of the most successful exclusive racing games onto the classic. Given Polyphony Digital still works with Sony, Gran Turismo 2, or Gran Turismo 1 at the very least, should be considered sure bets to be added to the PlayStation Classic.
The mid to late 90s saw the introduction of three-dimensional worlds and platformers, but many of those same games show their age in 2018. While Tomb Raider falls into the category of games that are tough to go back and play given their cumbersome tank controls, the era of Lara Croft is an important one that not only pioneered a gaming icon, but also kicked the door down for woman protagonists in major AAA games. The dual-wielding treasure hunter might be tough to handle considering the constrained controlling system of the series’ first few entries, Tomb Raider II deserves to be the representation of the early days of franchise especially considering it was one of our favorite Tomb Raider games ever made.
Between the two Dino Crisis games that launched on the PlayStation 1, the sequel is certainly a more user-friendly experience with better controls and a scoring system fitting the traditional arcade feel of older Capcom games. The original Dino Crisis, however, is presented as a dark, eerie, and claustrophobic survival-horror game much like Resident Evil began as. While it’s not only a test of managing ammo and taking down dozens of velociraptors, the mystery in Dino Crisis is filled with uncertainty and tough decisions, with multiple moments of player choice showing its effects on protagonist Regina’s comrades towards the latter stages of the campaign. Most PlayStation fans may look to games such as Silent Hill or Resident Evil when talking about survival-horror, however the tone of Dino Crisis is reason enough to include it in the conversation.
Before the likes of Guitar Hero, Rock Band, or even Dance Dance Revolution, PaRappa the Rapper was one of the first rhythm-based video games to garner an audience with its quirky characters and story. While the game’s campaign is incredibly short, the back end of being able to ‘freestyle’ in earlier levels adds a replay factor that can see players racking in extra hours trying out new beats and scores. PaRappa the Rapper was remastered for the PlayStation 4 in 2017 to celebrate its 20th anniversary, but it’s one of, if not the most popular of any rhythm-based games to grace the PlayStation 1.
With the wider popularity and Activision owning the license to Crash Bandicoot, there’s a chance the final list of games on the PS Classic won’t include any of the three games found in the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy that released last year. One Crash title that could make it as one of the games, however, is the well-known racing spin-off, Crash Team Racing. Given the PlayStation Classic comes packed in with two controllers, Crash Team Racing can be seen as an immediate parallel to Super Mario Kart for the SNES Classic, and while it’s no Super Mario Kart, Crash Team Racing does for PlayStation fans what Mario Kart has done for the Nintendo ecosystem. With goofy racing consisting of all the characters from the franchise, Crash Team Racing is a strong contender that will surely add variety to the PlayStation Classic’s lineup.
Given the news of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, there’s a chance the PlayStation Classic won’t have any of the original three games on it. Spyro, fortunately, hasn’t been cursed with the same fate as most 3D platformers from the PlayStation 1 though, and holds up well enough for the remastered trilogy to be expected in the near future. If one of those games makes it onto the system, it should be Spyro Ripto’s Rage!. As far as the first three games from the PlayStation 1, the jump from Spyro 1 to Spyro 2 is the greater of the two sequels. Ripto’s Rage sets the stage for the remainder of the trilogy, from the base-level controls to supporting characters. It may not be the best Spyro game from the original PlayStation, but it surely is the most important.
Even though Konami and Sony have confirmed the re-release of both Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night on the PlayStation 4, the PlayStation Classic was announced just before and could indicate there will be two new ways to play Symphony of the Night by the end of 2018. Symphony of the Night has been widely regarded as not only one of the best PlayStation 1 games, but also one of the best video games of all time. Its simplistic pixelated side-scrolling style is expertly infused with a plethora of hidden secrets and difficult bosses, offering a masterclass in gameplay design while not straying too far away from the visuals of its predecessors from the NES and SNES console eras.
While many of the PlayStation JRPGs are considered some of the best in the genre, the same can be said about nearly all of their sequels, with Suikoden II no exception. Suikoden II succeeds in bringing closure to the story arcs from its predecessor while still being able to bring on newcomers to the series without making feel out of place. Like most JRPGs, Suikoden II offers numerous amounts of side objectives and activities that would allow any player the opportunity to be fully immersed in the game world, even if its lower-res worlds do look a bit dated compared to other games that released around the same time.
Although the other JRPGs that made this list are some of the more well-known titles on the PlayStation 1, Legend of Dragoon is the odd one of the bunch. Its turn-based battle system doesn’t have nearly as much depth as the average role-playing game and follows the typical story tropes that come with the genre, leaving little in terms of surprising climatic moments. However its take on combat with the Dragoon and addition systems adds an extra element of skill that requires more than just time to grind, but precision in timing and awareness. Legend of Dragoon is also a game that sold best in the United States, meaning (at least for this region’s audience) it could make a big splash if it were to make it to the PlayStation Classic’s lineup.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is the one game everyone would like to see on the PlayStation Classic, but likely won’t get. While classic two-minute sessions are what people will be looking for, being able to acquire the license for all of the game’s music could be too big of a hurdle. The art of mapping out runs, nailing the perfect grinds and aerial tricks in order to max out specials and high scores gave the game the ultimate dose of replay value. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is a brilliant achievement in gameplay that gets its hooks into any player who’s ever wanted to shred through some of the best the extreme sport has to offer.
In an era where open-world exploration and 3D environments were starting to pop up in games more frequently, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver did so in a way that continued to push the standard, especially on the PlayStation 1. As an action-based game filled with tons of puzzles, and the ability to teleport between different dimensions in the same environment, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver continued to push the genre in the right direction, as well as portray a beautiful gothic setting with a strange demonic protagonist named Raziel. For a 3D-designed world that controls well and has an upgrade system that keeps the gameplay interesting, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is a definite hit on the PlayStation that many would be pleased to have the chance of playing again.
At last year’s PlayStation Experience, Shawn Layden announced a remastered version of MediEvil would be coming to PlayStation 4 sometime in the future. While the reveal drew excitement from fans, there’s been no news since. This absence of any information could be a good excuse to get the original game onto the PlayStation Classic, since it appears there’s still some time until MediEvil finally releases for PS4. There’s a clear desire from fans to experience the adventures of Sir Daniel again, and a port to the PlayStation Classic would be a great idea while Sony continues to work on the remake.
With the re-release of Resident Evil on PlayStation 4, and the remastered Resident Evil 2 releasing on the system this January, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis hasn’t received the same love its two predecessors have gotten in the past few years, though that may change eventually. Where Resident Evil 3 stands apart from the first two games is the greater emphasis on action, pitting a larger number of enemies against the player at all times, while also including the relentless Nemesis creature. The story of may not last as long as the other titles, the combination of fast-paced action and survival-horror makes Resident Evil 3: Nemesis a strong candidate for the PlayStation Classic list.
While it wasn’t the first game in the series, Metal Gear Solid is arguably the title that put the franchise on the map, with the story continuing all the way up to as recently as 2015 with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It also defined a lot of key elements that inform the stealth genre. The fandom behind the PlayStation 1 game still resonates today with a number of fan projects inspired by the 1998 classic.
The PlayStation 1’s library is one of the deepest of any console ever released, with a wide variety of titles to choose from which makes this list even more difficult to trim down at just fifteen games. It’s tough to pick out an exact list though, as Japan and the western region will receive a different list of games when the PlayStation Classic launches this December. There are sure to be a number of titles that overlay regions, such as the five already announced games, but given both the quality and quantity of games Sony has to choose from, there’s sure to be something on the final lineup for everyone.
The PlayStation Classic releases on December 3, 2018.