With PlayStation Classic's release less than a month away, I went to PlayStation HQ this week for three hours of hands-on time with Sony's nostalgic mini console. It shows its selection of 32-bit classics like Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil: Director's Cut just fine, but the features of the device are pretty much the least.
To be released on December 3rd, $ 100 PlayStation Classic 20 plays from Sony's first console and includes two controls – not Dual Shocks, but the standard D-pad-only models originally delivered when PlayStation first hit the shelves in 1
PlayStation Classic also replicates one of the slightly annoying features of Nintendo's boxes: To return to the game selection menu, you must reach the console yourself and press the Reset button. The button that would have opened the disk drive on the PlayStation itself is also functional on Classic. You use it to change discs in multiple disk games. Power is still Power.
There is never a guarantee that a plug-and-play system like this will get emulation properly, but from my time bouncing between PlayStation Classic games, this part seems to be good enough. The games look and sound accurate, their mid-90s sharp pixels look like you could grill a block of cheese with them. (A list of open source software licenses available in the PlayStation Classic menu, said it uses the open source PlayStation Emulator PCSX ReARMed.)
Some games show a lot better on an HD display than others. Ridge Racer Type 4 has especially an unclear, dithered effect on its text which I thought was pretty nice when driving through a CRT, but it's hard to read on a modern set.
Strange, many of the games on PlayStation Classic were the European versions. When I started Final Fantasy VII for example, I got the classic "Licensed by Sony Computer Entertainment of America" screen. But when I drove Battle Arena Toshinden Grand Theft Auto or Tekken 3 said the screen "Licensed by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe." There are some small differences that I could spot in the games, such as having to select a flag in the UK from a menu if you wanted Grand Theft Auto s text to display in English.
PlayStation Classic assigns a separate virtual memory card to each of the games. game. When you exit a game you have saved and return to the menu, there is a memory card icon below which allows you to view or delete storage data just as you did on the original PlayStation. Save the data icons that appear in this menu, just as they were on the original, so your first Final Fantasy VII playback will be represented by an icon of Cloud, the other of Barrett, and so on.
I'm less impressed with the way Classic manages its "save anywhere" feature. You only get one such track for each game. When you press Reset, the game will automatically be saved in the track. Start the game, play a little more and tap Reset again and you will not be offered another track to save. You will only be asked if you want to overwrite the game stored in one track. Nintendo's systems have four storage machines, which would be nice to see here.
"Bare-bone" is probably the most accurate summation I can give of PlayStation Classic so far. There are no special display limits or graphical display options. It is a QR code that uploads manuals on the PlayStation site, but it was not functional during the preview event. It is a screensaver option that will curb the screen after a few minutes. Even the game selection menu itself is strictly utilitarian; There is no nostalgic theme song or other sweet additions.
PlayStation Classic will at least get the job done. The controller feels excellent, identical to the original. The box itself is cute. Emulation is accurate. Game selection … well, your mileage may vary on one. If you want to go on a nostalgia trip and experience what games like Siphon Filter liked before you have dual-stick control, PlayStation Classic will be here for you soon.