Sony announces the PlayStation Classic

It was in the cards, Nintendo has been releasing their classic mini consoles, Sega has been licensing their properties to make mini consoles… Now Sony has joined the pack, following the popular formula of shrinking an iconic console to fit in the palm of your hand and stuffing them full of classic games that meant something exclusively to that particular console.  The PlayStation Classic is here.

The PS Classic will come with an HDMI cable, two of the non-DualShock type controllers and a USB cable to serve as the power source. It’s going to release on December 3rd for $100 in a lot of territories, packed with 20 games, five confirmed right now.

  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Jumping Flash
  • Ridge Racer Type 4
  • Tekken 3
  • Wild Arms

I’d say this is great news. This is a great move for Sony as it caters to PS fans and retro gamers alike. There are a fantastic amount of PS games that could be placed into the system, sadly only 15 more can make the cut. So, you would think that only the most popular games for the system would be considered like the integral Metal Gear Solid, genre defining Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill, at least one Crash Bandicoot game or Spyro title, another racing game like game like Gran Turismo 2 and maybe even Ape Escape.

So… what’s the bad news?

There is a lingering problem with a few of those games I mentioned. A lot of those classics utilize the DualShock controller. Not just for the rumble feature or the analog sticks individually, but in some cases in unison! I can say that I prefer the use of the analog sticks in Crash Bandicoot: Warped and Gran Turismo. Hell, Ape Escape won’t even work without a DualShock because it was designed around it. Metal Gear Solid has some easter eggs concerned with the use of the DualShock controller. Not including a DualShock controller or offering one as a separate purchase would be doing a disservice to any PlayStation fan, or any consumer in general.

Is $100 dollars a fair price?

Simply put, yes. But further analysis would say that a consumer is getting their money worth in hardware and software alone. If we take the price points of the PlayStation One Classics that are available for the PS3 and PS Vita on the PSN store, they range from $5.99 to $9.99. Do the math and 20 games at six bucks a piece plus the hardware included is a steal. Also, I would say that Sony is going to cherry pick from the work that they have already done emulating those for the PS3/Vita.

Are people going to hack it?

Yes as well. Assuming that when you plug it into a computer, it will be recognized as a writable device.

What else is there to know?

At the moment, not much else. Just the five confirmed games and initial specs. Who knows… maybe you can hook your console up to a computer and download extra game packs. Maybe Sony is holding back and will release a DualShock controller compatible with the mini console, because honestly, it’d be a damn shame not to. There might be other built-in features like save states, rewind capability etc. that have yet to be announced. And judging from the instruction manual schematic included with the promotional images, the memory card slots aren’t going to do anything.

 

As excited as I am for this, there are still some hardcore fans that have yet to be pleased.

Impressions: Jak and Daxter HD Collections (PS3)

https://i0.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61k9TsqlzOL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

The collection contains the original three games and sadly does not have ports of the PSP games Jak and Daxter The Lost Frontier which continues the story after the third game nor the standalone Daxter which takes place just before the events of Jak II. In all the games you play as Jak and your partner Daxter, is the comic relief. Jak remains silent for the first game but become vocal later in the series. All three of the included adventures are well worth the time it takes to beat them.

While I haven’t yet jumped into the last piece of the trilogy, I can safely say that the first two games are ported gracefully with a few enhancements as well. I have played Jak and Daxter to completion several times, the other two only a couple times. That being said, I am more familiar with the first installment. Nothing seems to changed structural overall. The frame rate has been increased, the resolution is clearer and the animations are smoother. However, like everything from the previous generation, you can’t judge an aged product by today’s expectations, that would just be unfair. So we have to rewind a little bit … having played all of them on the original platform helps make decisions on how I feel about it now.

Jak and Daxter is a fun, whimsical platformer with bright colors, a basic story and characters, tight controls and very good production values. It’s a resilient game that any gamer can have fun with. It’s something we don’t see very often in this generation of gaming which I think is a shame. Naughty Dog really made a leap here from Crash Bandicoot and the effort is shown however, I always thought something on this scale was expected from them: a fully 3D adventure game as opposed to Crash which only allowed linear paths to the end of a level. Playing Jak for the first time in five or so years, it’s refreshing to get away from all the complications and mechanics that a lot of games bring to table. Most of all, Jak is fun and easy to pick up. While most of the game consists of collecting items to progress the story through each of its expansive worlds, it doesn’t hold back the fun factor. Although, I do remember the camera being less of pain and more versatile, playing it now made me wish I had more control over it. For a game made in the early 2000s, I am pleased with it but, the camera has a hard time getting around corners and sometimes won’t budge within closed and claustrophobic environments.

The following two sequels to the series are much different than the first but, similar to each other in nature. Both Jak II and Jak 3 keep the platforming elements of Jak and Daxter, adds a single “sandbox hub world” to the mix, provides vehicle travel and gives the protagonist the use guns which some might find objectionable given the quirky overtones the prequel had. If you play them all back to back, you can see the different direction Naughty Dog took with the series and any player will notice how different each of them play within the first five minutes. Both of them are much darker in story, character development in addition to the world. It’s a more mature game, if the ESRB rating didn’t give that away, than Jak’s transform move and attacks will. The story and plot elements really pick up in latter of the two games, the first game really seems weaker in the writing department the more you get into the series. Jak 3 is bigger than the second, adds onto the innovations and changes from it and I remember really liking it just as much as Jak II.

Personally, the first will always be my favorite. I’ve played the hell out of it and almost wish they would go back to it and do a spin off or something just to experience the Jak and Daxter world again. The $40 price tag is fair I suppose, although I would pay $60 for all of them. If you have a PS3 and haven’t taken the time to play through these excellent games of the past generation then you are really missing out.