The PlayStation Classic was announced for a holiday release with the promise of twenty retro classics. When the system was first announced, only a handful of games (including the likes of Final Fantasy VII, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms) were announced, with the promise that the rest would be revealed before the game was launched.
The final line-up of games for the PlayStation Classic has been announced and it's... underwhelming, to say the least.
The full list of games is - Battle Arena Toshinden, Cool Boarders 2, Destruction Derby, Final Fantasy VII, Grand Theft Auto, Intelligent Qube, Jumping Flash, Metal Gear Solid, Mr. Driller, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, Rayman, Resident Evil Director’s Cut, Revelations: Persona, Ridge Racer Type 4, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Syphon Filter, Tekken 3, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, Twisted Metal, and Wild Arms.
This list seems to have a lot of filler and is missing a lot of classics, to say nothing of the fact that the localized version of the original Persona game was filled with censorship and was missing a ton of content.
There are a few classic titles in there to be sure, but most of the content isn't worth the price tag. There are quite a few notable absences, so let's break them down...
The Tomb Raider Series
Lara Croft is one of the most iconic video game characters of all time and many people credit her starring role in the Tomb Raider series as part of the development of the video game genre from a past time enjoyed by children to something more mainstream.
There were five Tomb Raider games released on the original PlayStation and they are all absent from the PlayStation Classic.
The inclusion of the original Tomb Raider almost seemed to be a given, considering how closely associated Lara Croft was with the PlayStation brand for so long. It's puzzling that not a single Tomb Raider game made the list.
Final Fantasy Tactics - And The Other Final Fantasy Games
Final Fantasy VII is one of the most important video games ever made and its inclusion on the PlayStation Classic is a huge get for the system. The problem is that Final Fantasy VII can be purchased on many different systems. Hell, it's even coming out on the Nintendo Switch.
This would have been the perfect time for Square Enix to show Squall and the Final Fantasy VIII gang some love by including their game on the PlayStation Classic, as well as the incredible Final Fantasy IX.
Let's not forget that possibly the greatest Final Fantasy game of all time - Final Fantasy Tactics - is also missing from the PlayStation Classic. This would have been an amazing addition to the system, but it's missing.
The Crash Bandicoot Series
The video game console war once featured mascot characters as their generals, with Mario and Sonic waging a battle of propaganda against each other.
The mascot for the PlayStation was Crash Bandicoot and his absence from the PlayStation Classic in any form is a huge omission, as he is so closely associated with the brand.
The absence of any of the Crash Bandicoot platformer games may be related to the fact that they only just received an HD remaster, so maybe the developers didn't want to dilute any potential sales by offering any of them as part of a retro console. Similarly, none of the Spyro games ended up on the PS Classic due to an upcoming remaster of the original trilogy.
The Non-Final Fantasy Squaresoft Titles
Squaresoft was one of the biggest supporters of the original PlayStation and their games helped to establish the JRPG genre in the west.
Squaresoft released some amazing non-Final Fantasy RPGs, like Chrono Cross, the Saga Frontier games, Legend of Mana, the Parasite Eve games, and Xenogears. This is to say nothing of their fighting games, like the Bushido Blade and Tobal series.
It seems that Square Enix was only willing to part with Cloud Strife, even though many of these other games lack the marquee value of a Final Fantasy title.
The Suikoden Games
Squaresoft wasn't the only company releasing amazing RPGs on the PlayStation, as Konami released the first two Suikoden games on the system.
Suikoden and Suikoden II are epic tales of heroism and war in a fantasy setting, where the player is expected to gather an army of companions and save the world.
Suikoden II is one of the best JRPGs ever made and it doesn't receive anywhere near the credit it deserves. A release on the PlayStation Classic would have helped it find a wider audience.
The Gran Turismo Games
Gran Turismo is the biggest-selling series that is exclusive to the PlayStation brand and it debuted on the original PlayStation console.
Gran Turismo and Gran Turismo 2 offered two of the most realistic racing experiences available to gamers at the time, with a staggering range of vehicles and tracks to play on.
The Gran Turismo games likely aren't included on the PlayStation Classic (let alone on the PlayStation Store) because of licensing agreements: a number of real-life brands appeared in the games.
PaRappa & Um Jammer Lammy
The absence of PaRappa the Rapper on the PlayStation Classic is puzzling.
PaRappa the Rapper and Um Jammer Lammy were two of the best rhythm games on the original PlayStation, which had their own unique flat cartoon style mixed with a lot of humor.
It's possible that PaRappa is absent for the same reasons as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, as a remastered version of the original PaRappa the Rapper game was released on the PlayStation 4 in 2017.
Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is one of the greatest video games ever made. It perfected the formula laid down by the Metroid series and added its own gothic aesthetic & beautiful soundtrack to make it all the more memorable.
It's easy to explain why Symphony of the Night is absent from the PlayStation Classic, as a remastered version was bundled together with Rondo of Blood and released as a PlayStation 4 exclusive.
It's a shame that it's missing from the PlayStation Classic, as it may have elevated the system to a "must buy" status on its own.
The Wipeout Series
Nintendo never showed much love to the F-Zero series, which may have had something to do with the fact that the Wipeout series was doing much of the same thing, only better.
The Wipeout games offered amazing anti-gravity racing coupled with one of the best soundtracks of any series on the original PlayStation.
The absence of any Wipeout game on the PlayStation Classic is another mystery, considering the fact that Sony bought the developer of the series (Psygnosis) and turned it into one of their studios. There shouldn't be any licensing issues at all with any Wipeout game appearing on the PlayStation Classic.
Silent Hill & The Other Resident Evil Games
Resident Evil Director's Cut is a fine addition to the PlayStation Classic, but it was part of a trilogy of games.
Resident Evil 2 is one of the best games on the PlayStation, but it's also being remade from the ground up, so that's likely why it's absent.
There really isn't any excuse for Resident Evil 3 to be missing from the system, as it's an amazing survival horror title and there don't appear to be any remaster/remake plans in the works.
There really isn't any excuse for Resident Evil 3 to be missing
The PlayStation was also home to the original Silent Hill, which is still one of the scariest video games ever made. The original Silent Hill was a PlayStation exclusive, so its absence is also notable.
Those are just a few of the amazing PlayStation games that are missing from the PlayStation Classic. It's disappointing to see Sony half-ass their first attempt at a retro console, especially with the rumors of a Nintendo 64 Classic in the works.
This holiday season may see a fresh battle between the Nintendo 64 and the original PlayStation, which seems like it's going to be an easy victory for Nintendo, due to the shoddy line-up of titles on the PlayStation Classic.