A new round of reviews for Sony's upcoming PlayStation Classic have been revealed, and they aren't great to say the least. Nintendo started the "classic edition" trend with their mini versions of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) that have been released in the past two years. Sony seems to be basically copying their idea with the PlayStation Classic, but they haven't been able to build as much anticipation as Nintendo did.
The first PlayStation debuted in 1994, and this September Sony announced their mini version of the PS1 called PlayStation Classic. Fans seemed to eat up the idea of the NES and SNES Classic Editions, but Sony hasn't been able to build the same hype for their console. Fans were quick to criticize Sony's mini console since the PS4 still lacks backward compatibility. Many people are considering the PlayStation Classic to be a quick cash grab by Sony, with the console having an underwhelming game library, and by using an open-source emulator. If fans haven't been sold on the PlayStation Classic yet, these new reviews likely won't help Sony's sales.
So far, reviews for the PlayStation Classic have been overwhelmingly negative. Many reviews for the PlayStation Classic admit that the console is a fun collector's item to own, but criticize the console's actual playability, which seems significantly more important. Other reviews praise the PlayStation Classic for accurately representing the original PlayStation and for creating a feeling of nostalgia, but have little else to compliment Sony on. Here's more of what reviewers had to say about the PlayStation Classic:
IGN - Tristan Ogilvie
The PlayStation Classic feels more like a halfhearted acknowledgement than a top-shelf tribute to Sony’s era-defining console. The list of 20 games seems to miss more of the system’s greatest hits than it manages to include. Furthermore, the progress of time and television technology has not been kind to the look of many of these early 3D titles, and the inclusion of digital-only controllers makes many of them feel unwieldy by modern standards. The PlayStation Classic is a neat collector’s item that will look great on a shelf in your games room, but it’s a much more attractive ornament than it is a viable gaming system.
Polygon - Mike McWhertor
Though value is subjective, for $99.99, this is a comparatively expensive way to relive the original PlayStation, only conveniently smaller. Many of the PlayStation games included with the system — with the noteworthy exception of Intelligent Qube — can be downloaded and played on other PlayStation platforms cheaply. Even then, many of these old PlayStation games are hard, sometimes to a heartbreaking degree, to revisit now. But the biggest disappointment with the PlayStation Classic is being left wanting what’s missing, rather than what it offers.
Tom's Guide - Adam Ismail
In fact, there are no options to adjust the visuals of the 20 games whatsoever. I searched desperately to find a way to choose between sharp pixels or some kind of CRT mode, like the NES and SNES Classic allow. Given all the attention lavished on accuracy in the retro gaming scene nowadays, I'm astonished that Sony evidently made no provisions for any of that.
Tech Crunch - Anthony Ha
[There's] may also be something inherently awkward about where these games fall in the industry’s broader evolution: They don’t have the “classic” look or easy-to-learn gameplay of 8-bit or 16-bit Nintendo titles, while still feeling primitive by the standards of today’s consoles. So you don’t get the nostalgia hit of an older game, or the genuinely impressive visuals and depth of a new one.
The Verge - Andrew Webster
Even worse, though, is that there is no home button or any way to exit a game from the controller. Every time you want to switch games, you need to get up and physically hit the reset button on the PlayStation Classic. It’s a needlessly frustrating feature, especially since it was probably the biggest issue with the NES and SNES Classics. If Sony is going to copy Nintendo’s idea, the least it could do is fix some of the problems.
Kotaku - Chris Kohler
Instead of a PlayStation Classic that really celebrates the shared love for this bygone era of games, it’s a product that feels like it was delivered in the spirit of “Oh, you guys still like these old games? Well, here this is, we guess.” The PlayStation’s games are still beautiful, but the wrapping around them is something like putting a Picasso into an $8.99 plastic frame.
Apart from the PlayStation Classic, the PS5 is rumored to be revealed in 2019 for a 2020 release date, but that has yet to be confirmed. Developers are already supposedly working on PS5 titles, and rumor has it that Sony has patented a touchscreen controller for their next console. While the developments on the PS5 will be exciting for many gamers, it just goes to show that the idea of a mini PS1 might not attract very many fans right now.
Despite the negative reviews, nostalgia is still a powerful tool in 2018. Several movies and TV shows are either getting reboots or revivals due to their previous popularity. The NES and SNES Classic Editions also did very well for Nintendo, so much so that they had to re-release the NES Classic Edition this summer. The original PlayStation was a massive hit for Sony, but the PlayStation Classic looks like it could be a potential dud. Granted, the PlayStation is already 24 years old, but some people just don't think it needs, or deserves, a "classic edition" just yet.
Sources: Various (see above)