When you pull the teeny, tiny console out of the box, you’ll find it hard to believe that it’s a working machine. The console is that small that it could almost fit directly into the disc drive of the original PlayStation. It’s also really light, to the point that it does feel a little cheap, but thankfully, the detail in the design is there and the buttons as well as the ports on the front and back all mimic the design of the original console extremely well. This is a good thing, as if you’re looking to put the unit on your shelf, it’s an incredibly nice (albeit tiny) replica of the original PlayStation. The only thing missing is that satisfying pop of the disc drive cover, which no longer happens (obviously) when you press the working open button on the right side of the console.
The controller is a much more faithful (if not 1 to 1) recreation of the original PlayStation controller. It does feel weird in the hands at first, due to the lack of analogue sticks (which also brings a significant drop of weight due to no rumble). The buttons feel extremely similar to how they did originally, with the D-Pad feeling as good as ever with the perfect amount of grip in the buttons. The controller cords also feel adequate, providing you don’t sit too far away from your TV, but once again due to the lightness of the console, it’s not a massive deal if you’re got it sitting in the floor or hanging over the edge of your entertainment unit. Sony has opted to use USB for the controller plugs rather than a propriety outlet and they’re really nicely hidden by the original PlayStation controller plug.
When it comes to plugging in and playing the console, you get both a HDMI cord as well as a Micro USB cord in the box. You don’t get an AC adaptor, but most TVs have a USB port which works just fine, or if you’re playing at a desk, you can just plug it straight into your computer USB port. Alternatively, you can use any USB adaptor (from a mobile phone or the like) laying around.
There’s a decent collection of 20 titles on the console and almost certainly at least a handful of titles that you would have played on the original. Games like Grand Theft Auto, Metal Gear Solid. Rayman, Oddworld: Abe’s Odysee, Resident Evil, Tekken, Rainbow Six and Syphon Filter and Twisted Metal are all worth putting at least a little bit of time into (if not playing through to completion).
However, the game lineup is by far the most disappointing thing about the PlayStation Classic. No matter which way you spin it, there’s some games that have gone on to shape PlayStation as a brand that are missing from the console. Games like Tomb Raider, MediEvil, PaRappa The Rapper, Tony Hawk, Wipeout, Silent Hill, Gran Turismo, Croc, Spyro and Crash among many, many others feel like no-brainers inclusions, but they’re nowhere to be found, and putting my hands on the PlayStation Classic controller made me want to play them even more.
More than half of the games are two player (and thankfully there’s a second controller included in the box) and this is where you’re most likely to have a lot of fun. Playing old-school racing and fighting games against another person is incredibly simple, yet fun.
THE VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE
Switching on the console for the first time will make your spine-tingle. The original PlayStation sound coupled with the Sony Entertainment screen as well as the PlayStation logo popping up every time you boot into a game will never get old, and it’s sorely missed in newer console iterations.
The rest of the experience is a barebones, yet serviceable experience. The 20 games are laid out without much fanfare. Clicking into them launches the game as it would have 20 years ago, with you having the ability to save onto a virtual memory card (you get 15 slots for each game complete with their original icons and memory card screen).
From a pure gameplay point of view, they will play how you remember them. Whilst it won’t affect Australians (as it’s how we remembered the games), about half of the games play in PAL, regardless of where you are in the world. Even though it’s not really a negative for us, as it’s how we had them originally, it’d feel amiss not to mention it for the rest of the world.
Pressing the reset button whilst playing a game will take you back to the main menu, creating a restore point. Restore points allow you to boot straight back into the game at the exact moment of where you left off, which is definitely welcomed. You’re able to have one per game and it’s a great way to jump between games without needing to get to a save point.
The open button on the console is reserved for multi disk games such as Metal Gear Solid. When the game prompts you to change disc, you’ll need to push the button to make the console think that you’ve changed the disc, when in reality, nothing has happened.
That’s really where the special features end. There’s no rewind features or the ability to mess around with visual effects. I also would have liked a bit more background info about each of the games on the console (especially considering some of them are really obscure), but there’s none of that either.
IS IT WORTH YOUR MONEY?
I’d say that $150 puts it just in top end of what you should be willing to pay. Even if you’re only getting 10-15 hours out of the selection of games on the console, it’ll be a great thing to whip out with family and friends over the Christmas break and then put on your shelf to go back to from time to time.
At the same time, you couldn’t be blamed for looking at the selection of games and realising that there isn’t a lot there for you. There’s not a lot of titles that most people would have that instant connection with, especially from a multiplayer point of view, so you’ve got to weigh up your nostalgic feels as well as how much you desire having a mini PlayStation 1 (that’s pretty damn cute).
The PlayStation Classic is a decent little package that will fit right into the collection of any hardcore or casual PlayStation fan. Unfortunately, it's let down by the selection of games,. It isn't terrible, but it's definitely lacking some PlayStation defining classics that so many people would have loved to have played again.