So I finally received the Classic over the weekend and spent some time with it. It’s every bit as bad as the reviews have said it is. If it wasn’t for the hacking scene ramping up, I would have skipped it all together and frankly that feeling is renforced after actually experiencing the lackluster, pure cash grab effort put into the unit.
There are two stories here really. There’s the story of the hardware itself which is superb. The mini PlayStation is beautiful. Pure nostalgia, it feels premium, the specs are excellent and the controllers are fantastic reproductions. Sony went all out on the hardware and packaging front.
......and then you turn it on.
The menu is simple and the carousel selection is fine. Complain as you will but it’s a straightforward and simple interface that I don’t have an issue with. What I do have a problem with is the complete lack of settings. No border options (I wouldn’t use them anyway but they should be here!), no scanline filter to speak of either. That’s an incredible omission given the way these games were designed to be displayed. I knew it coming in but I’m still floored by the fact that it’s nit included considering the fucking emulator supports it!
Thats not even the most egregious problem. No, I’m not going to bother mentioning the PAL roms. We know they are there and a problem already. No, it’s the absolutely horrid video output of the thing that deserves the greatest disdain. It appears that they have enabled some kind of bilinear filter that completely smudges the shit out of the visuals. It’s like turning on one of those 2xSai shaders in an emulator that makes proper 2D pixel work look like a fucking pastel drawing. It’s gross and shows that Sony didn’t give a proper fuck about displaying these games as intended. It really makes you appreciate the care Nintendo put into something like the SNES Classic. A system that handles its video output extremely well and shows those games off in proper 720p with correct integer scaling and actual interpolation implemented to help keep edges smooth while scrolling (an enhancement over the NES Classic). Not to mention a CRT filter (which can be massively improved by hacking the console) and a proper 8:7 pixel perfect option.
Instead, we get one of the fugliest video outputs I’ve seen on these mini consoles. I popped in the original Resident Evil through my PS2 and Framemeister at 720p with no other frills and it’s night and day in comparison to the PS Classic. Retroarch and an updated version of PSXReArmed will go a long way to fixing these problems but it shouldn’t require the hacker commiunity to fix Sony not getting even the most basic shit right.
So yeah, this thing is a disaster. Sony should be ashamed of releasing a product that even the likes of ATGames would scoff at from a software and video output perspective. This should have been a celebration of one of the greatest gaming platforms to ever exist. This should have been an easy slam dunk with even a little effort and pride from the folks who worked on this. Instead Sony earns the shameless cash grab moniker for this one. Thank goodness the hacker community will save this thing but hacking it and adding titles/features should have been the icing, not the actual cake.:/