Tag Archives: resident evil

Ranking the Games of the PlayStation Classic

psx classic gamesWhen the PlayStation Classic was announced a few months ago it was only revealed what 5 of the included 20 games were going to be. It was odd, but considering most places pre-sold out I suppose it didn’t matter. When Nintendo had success with the NES Classic Edition, it meant we were in for more of these devices. Myself and many others tried to predict what would be included on a potential SNES Classic and most people probably came pretty close to nailing the final line-up. Nintendo is heavy with first-party titles and its brand is forever connected with the likes of Mario and Link. With Sony, that first-party recognition isn’t there. During the height of the original PlayStation, Crash Bandicoot was positioned as the company’s mascot, but he wasn’t even owned by Sony. His games were just published by Sony, but the character would eventually come to be owned by Activision. Still, it seemed inconceivable that Sony would pass over Crash, and yet they did! He will not be appearing on the PlayStation Classic as Sony has finally unveiled the remaining 15. I knew predicting the line-up would be more difficult than doing so with the SNES Classic, but apparently I didn’t realize just how hard it would be as I went a putrid 1 for 15 with my predictions.

I suppose if I wanted to give myself bonus points I could dampen that showing by saying I at least hit on two additional franchises. And two of my requested titles (Intelligent Qube and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo) actually made it, even though I thought it would be a long shot to see them included. There’s no hiding from it though, I whiffed big time and I’ll own that. The actual line-up has likely surprised many and it has some nice surprises and some not-so-nice surprises. It’s a weird line-up, and since the PSX era did have some weird games I suppose that’s appropriate. There are three puzzle games among the 20, no 2D fighters, and only one title each from Konami, and Square-Enix. That means no Mega Man, Lara Croft, or Alucard. Were publishers not willing to “play ball” with Sony and its machine? Or was Sony just not willing to pay more for bigger titles? The Japanese version does have some different titles, including Parasite Eve and SaGa Frontier, but the Japanese market is a lot smaller than the North American one so maybe Sony is trying to maximize profits outside of Japan and is less concerned about the home country.


There are a lot of contenders for biggest snub, but Alucard might be the biggest.

This is not an optimal line-up of games, but does that make it bad? Lets suss it out and rank these titles starting with the least appetizing:

20. Battle Arena Toshinden – A decent looking launch title, it was quickly overwhelmed by Namco’s Tekken franchise. Most people forget about this franchise, and with good reason. It’s not a good game, and it’s odd to use this one instead of the better sequel, but even that game isn’t great.

destruction derby

Excited to revisit this one?

19. Destruction Derby – This game was a one-trick pony when it was released in the launch window of the PlayStation. It was cool to see cars explode and get smashed-up and it was sort-of perversely fun inflicting damage on other vehicles, but it was all empty calories. No one should be playing this game in 2018.

18. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six – This was one of the most heavily marketed games of its era. I probably saw more commercials for Rainbow Six than I did Final Fantasy VII. It’s okay, but the PSX port was pretty abysmal. Anyone playing Rainbow Six in 1998 probably shouldn’t have been playing it on PSX. Electronic Gaming Monthly even awarded it a dubious 3.8/10.

17. Jumping Flash! – We knew this one was included, and I even argued it had a place given it was a launch title and was just so very “of the era.” That doesn’t mean it’s particularly good and by today’s standards it’s quite ugly. Unlike the games listed before it though, it has a certain curiosity factor going for it that will make it worth a look when the PS Classic drops, but it might not be a game you actually stick with.

16. Cool Boarders 2 – If you like snowboarding and “extreme” sports games, then you’ll probably have this one ranked higher. It’s all right, but most people will probably wonder why it’s here and not Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (it’s the licensing, folks).

twisted metal 1

I probably logged over 100 hours with this game, but I’ve never wanted to replay it after Twisted Metal 2 came out.

15. Twisted Metal – I loved this franchise on PlayStation, well the first two games at least. The first one though has not aged well at all, and even in the moment, I knew I was playing a junky game, but it had a certain fun factor. The sequel though is way better and actually still playable. I considered it the most obvious lock for the mini console even ahead of Metal Gear Solid so the fact that this game is included but the sequel is not blows my mind.

14. Oddworld:  Abe’s Odyssey – I said the PS Classic has three puzzle games, but you could make the case Oddworld is more of a puzzle game than a true platformer. This game was hyped a bunch as being a game that gave the player numerous ways to solve a problem, but it didn’t really play out that way. It was interesting, but hardly great. It’s graphical approach should hold up well enough though.

13. Wild Arms – One of the previously announced titles, I gave my speech on it already. It’s serviceable, and its simple JRPG mechanics mean it will always remain playable. It’s just a bit crazy to think that this machine has only three RPGs when the PSX was an RPG behemoth, and Wild Arms is one of the three.

12. Grand Theft Auto – GTA was a surprise hit for the PC when it was released, and it was somewhat surprising to see it get a PSX port. It was also the first title I was denied an ability to purchase at a GameStop. Like modern GTA titles, it was arguably at its best when it was just played like a sand box causing mayhem. Unlike modern GTA titles, the actual missions and story isn’t that rewarding and the game was really difficult. It was at least a little easier to handle on the PSX than with a keyboard. It should still be fun to screw around with, but might not have much legs with the PS Classic.


The inclusion of Intelligent Qube is a bit of a surprise. Is it a system-seller? Probably not, but it’s worth a look if you end up getting a PS Classic.

11. Intelligent Qube – This was a surprise inclusion, but a worthwhile one. It’s an interesting puzzle game that’s at least not another brick-falling puzzler. I don’t know how well it’s held up because it’s been many years, but it should be playable and may be a dark horse contender for many folks’ most played title on the Classic.

10. Resident Evil (Director’s Cut) – There’s no denying this title was huge for the PSX, and the Director’s Cut version was superior to the original. It is possibly the worst in the franchise on the PSX though and its controls are not something I look forward to returning to. It took many hours to get a handle on them in 1996 and I’m not sure I still have such skills. Maybe it’s like riding a bike?

9. Syphon Filter – This was basically Sony’s attempt at a first party MGS or Rainbow Six. It was fine for what it was, though I’d prefer a dual shock to play it. It’s going to look ugly, and even Gabe Logan’s running animation looked horrendous in ’99. It might surprise though, and the only reason why I didn’t include it in my prediction was because I didn’t think Sony would release it without dual shock support.

8. Ridge Racer Type 4 – A totally competent racer, but let’s face it, this isn’t the racing game you want. Gran Turismo was the first-party behemoth, but I’m guessing licensing issues made it impossible to include. WipeOut was an alternative racer, but one I’d consider more fun than Ridge Racer. I would have taken Crash Team Racing over this one, honestly, and I’m not sure if I’d even play this more than once on the PS Classic. The racing genre is one that basically improves a lot with better technology, so going back isn’t always fun unless it’s more of an off-beat title. I suspect this still plays well enough though, which is why I’m ranking it this high.


I’m happy to see the original Persona included in this collection, but it’s also not a hard to find game so I wish something like Valkyrie Profile was included instead.

7. Revelations:  Persona – The first game in what is now known simply as the Persona series is the biggest surprise inclusion on the PS Classic. This was not a popular game when it was released, and Persona still has more of a cult franchise vibe than a mainstream one. The first game is not as good as more recent entries with the series really blossoming with Persona 3. It is still playable though, and it’s more strategy-oriented battle system differentiates it from Wild Arms and FFVII. This one is a nice surprise and unlike the original Final Fantasy on the NES Classic, fans who are only familiar with the newer entries might actually enjoy playing the first in the series as opposed to just checking it out for the sake of curiosity.

6. Mr. Driller – The nice thing about puzzle games is that they age well. Mr. Driller is another surprise inclusion. It was well-received in its day, but not really a system mover or anything. It’s fun and charming though and if you like puzzle games with a slight Tetris vibe then you’ll get some mileage out of this one.

5. RaymanRayman was all over the place in the mid-90s. He was so omnipresent that I kind of wrote him off for this system as I never associated him with PlayStation. His game is pretty good though, and its 2D approach should hold up just fine. I never loved Rayman, but I never hated his games either.

4. Metal Gear Solid – I’m not crazy about this list of games, if you haven’t noticed, but I do think it’s pretty top-heavy. The last four are mostly interchangeable, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Metal Gear Solid tops many lists such as this one. My reasoning for placing it 4th is because I think we’re missing out on some of the bells and whistles with this version by not having the dual shock support and a memory card full of Konami games. I also think the game hasn’t aged too well and recent entries in the series really helped to smooth out the gameplay experience. It’s still a fantastic game, it’s just not as fantastic as it could be on the PS Classic.

puzzle fiighter

This is a great choice for inclusion. I have nothing bad to say about Puzzle Fighter.

3. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo – This is probably my favorite puzzle game. It’s incredibly addicting and the rare puzzler that might be more fun in two-player mode than single-player. It’s got a lot of charm and personality and its sprites should hold up very well. I’m a bit surprised at its inclusion, especially given the omissions of traditional Capcom fighters, but also delighted.

2. Final Fantasy VII – We’ve all probably played it. And even though there’s been backlash towards this title over the years because it’s the most recognizable from the long-running series, that doesn’t mean it’s still not in the conversation for best Final Fantasy game. It’s readily available on other platforms so its inclusion isn’t sexy, but it’s also necessary. If you’ve got about 40 hours, you should give this one some time.

tekken 3 jin

The visuals may not wow you like they did in 98, but Tekken 3 is still a blast to play.

1. Tekken 3 – And the best game of the PS Classic is Tekken 3. A late era title, it actually holds up quite well in the visuals department and the game is simply one of the best 3D fighters ever made. It has a huge roster of characters, some fun additional modes and characters, and there should be something for everyone in terms of fighting styles. If you don’t like 3D fighters then maybe this won’t win you over, but I spent many hours with this one and I’d actually be excited to run through it again and try to unlock all of the additional characters and modes. Well, maybe not Tekken Force Mode.


So that’s it; the PlayStation Classic and its 20 games. Are you going to get one? Did you already pre-order one and are reconsidering that decision? I’m over-all not impressed with these 20 games, the majority of which I don’t need to revisit. Even some of the games that I think are fine I still don’t want to really play in 2018. Why play Twisted Metal when you can easily play Twisted Metal Black? Why play Rayman over the easily acquired (and cheap) Rayman Legends? I wasn’t that excited over this console to begin with, as the nostalgia factor just isn’t quite there for me with the PSX era. If the list had turned out to be something closer to what I predicted I might have been tempted. With this list, though? I’m looking at spending 100 bucks to play Persona, Intelligent Qube, and Mr. Driller as the other games I really enjoy I still own for PlayStation and can play them right now if I want. I have a first-gen PS3 hooked up to my TV right now so nothing is stopping me from popping in Tekken 3 if I wish to play it. I’m not everyone though, so for those who loved the PSX and maybe sold all of their old games I can at least see some appeal, but I still feel like this roster is one big missed opportunity.

Forecasting and Perfecting the PlayStation Classic

cute ps

Aww, it’s so adorable!

Sony announced the PlayStation Classic on September 19th and it is set to go on sale December 3rd. Following in Nintendo’s footsteps, the PlayStation Classic is a mini version of the original console with 20 pre-loaded games, a single controller, and HDMI output. It will have support for saves via a virtual memory card as well as numerous display modes to toggle through that will try and preserve the original look of the games or try to smooth them out and update them for today. At $100 MSRP, the PlayStation Classic finds itself priced in-between the SNES Classic and the soon to be released Neo Geo Mini. Making things more interesting, and also frustrating, is that Sony chose to only reveal 5 of the system’s 20 pre-loaded games:  Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Tekken 3, Ridge Racer Type 4, and Wild Arms. It’s an odd form of marketing, but Sony must feel confident it will have strong pre-sales to hold back that information for the time being. It also likely thinks it will help build excitement for the machine if they drip-feed consumers. Maybe it will be a weekly event to reveal another game or two. There are 10 weeks separating the system’s announcement and release so such a strategy is possible, or they could just come in bunches.

Choosing to withhold information on the included games is likely an annoyance for prospective consumers. I know I personally am not pre-ordering a gaming device in which I don’t even know what games I can play on it will be. It does however create the fun scenario in which people like me can speculate on what will be included and also what should be included. Those are two very different questions as if it were up to me I would load this thing up with RPGs, but I’m sure Sony will want a more balanced lineup. Adding further intrigue is the fact that Sony isn’t the first-party powerhouse that Nintendo is. With the SNES Classic, it was relatively easy to predict what games would be included because so many of them were Nintendo developed titles. Those games were not only among the best the system had, but also cost Nintendo next to nothing to include. With Sony’s machine, they’ll likely be cutting sizable checks to Capcom and Square-Enix with this thing.

Lets rundown the games I think Sony is going to include. Since we already know five of them, that means I need to only come up with 15 for this exercise. This is a prediction, so I’ll also include my opinion on if I think the game should be included, and where not, what I would include instead with the idea being I wouldn’t boot a fighting game to add a strategy one and will aim to stay within the genre. Let’s start with the included games:


This was expected.

Final Fantasy VII – This is likely the PlayStation’s biggest game, not the best-selling, but in terms of what it meant to the console. This legitimized Sony with the hardcore crowd since Sony was able to pry a successful Nintendo franchise away from The Big N. And even though it’s readily available on Sony’s Eshop and will soon be available on The Switch, Sony basically had to include it here.

Jumping Flash – This is a game that has not aged well. It’s going to be ugly, and may even make you nauseous due to the first-person perspective, but in terms of early launch window games few spring to mind as being of the era than Jumping Flash. It’s a relic, but one forever tied to Sony’s machine. As a legacy game, it feels appropriate to include.

Ridge Racer Type 4 – Squaresoft may have stole the headlines when it announced FFVII would be on a Sony console, but lets not forget how important Namco was for the PSX early on. Namco supported Sony’s machine rather extensively, and one of its signature series was Ridge Racer. Ridge Racer would eventually be over-shadows by the gear-head adored Gran Turismo series, but its arcade approach remained fun and Type 4 was probably the best of the bunch and is rightfully included.

Tekken 3 – Another Namco staple, the first Tekken was a launch window title and a worthy adversary for Sega’s Virtua Fighter series. It proved to be the best of the 3D brawlers on Sony’s machine far surpassing the likes of Battle Arena Toshinden. Tekken 3 was the final Tekken released for the original PlayStation and it represents the pinnacle for the franchise for the era. It was gorgeous for the time and felt like a game that pushed the system beyond what anyone thought it could do. It’s still my favorite entry in the series and it most certainly belongs here.

Wild Arms – The Sony produced RPG had the benefit of arriving before FFVII. While some blame that game for the lack of success enjoyed by Wild Arms, I knew more than one person who purchased this title simply because they couldn’t wait for FFVII. It’s a totally serviceable RPG and it has its share of fans, though it’s never been a favorite of mine. On one hand, it does represent the early era of PSX role-playing games, but I would not have included it.  Suggested replacementBlood Omen:  Legacy of Kain – a top-down action RPG, Blood Omen was the start of a successful Sony franchise for Kain and eventually Raziel. It had a lot of style, and as a fellow 1996 title and pseudo RPG it would be a suitable replacement. If something could be done about the horrendous load times in bringing it to the system then all the better. It’s possible the sequel, Soul Reaver, will be among the other 15 and if that is the case then I would not include this one.

And now for the predictions! I’m ordering them from most likely to least, and it should be noted, this is entirely subjective for the most part though I’m avoiding any game that was intended to be played with the Dual Shock controller (like Ape Escape), with one noted exception.

tm2 axl

Twisted Metal was arguably Sony’s premiere franchise in the 90s.

Twisted Metal 2:  World Tour – The most successful Sony first-party franchise during the PSX era was probably Twisted Metal, and that franchise’s best game was easily Twisted Metal 2:  World Tour. It took everything that made the first a surprise hit and improved upon it. Better presentation, better controls, a huge roster, and new gameplay additions made this one a blast to play. It’s probably pretty ugly by today’s standards, but still playable and likely still infectious.

Metal Gear Solid – FFVII was the signature third-party game, and franchise, for the PlayStation’s early days, but it feels like it was supplanted some-what by Metal Gear Solid. MGS revolutionized what could be done from a cinematic perspective and its attention to detail was something seldom seen in gaming. It was an instant masterpiece, and also the game that will most suffer by the lack of Dual Shock support. If It wasn’t so important to the legacy of the PlayStation I’d say hold off for an eventual Dual Shock version of the PlayStation Classic.

Final Fantasy Tactics – Another game that is readily available, but also one synonymous with the PlayStation. Final Fantasy Tactics took the guts of Tactics Ogre and gave it a new coat of paint. It’s also a bit more accessible, but just as serious about its story. FFT wasn’t what folks who had just played FFVII were expecting, so it got kind of lost in the shuffle, but has since been more appreciated and is routinely cited as one of the best RPGs ever released. It would feel weird to not include it.

crash bandicoot

I’ve never been a Crash guy, but I won’t deny him his rightful place.

Crash Bandicoot 2:  Cortex Strikes Back – Crash was conceived as the original PlayStation mascot meant to oppose Mario and Sonic. It didn’t really work out that way, since Sony didn’t even own the character, but for awhile he was utilized that way. Arguably his best contribution to that era were the commercials (“Hey, plumber boy!”), but the games were pretty good in their own right. Not really my cup of tea, it would be hard though to deny Crash a spot on the PlayStation Classic and most agree that his second outing was superior to the first. They would also probably argue the third was even better, but I’m guessing Sony is placing an emphasis on earlier games which is why they may opt for this one over Warped.

Resident Evil 2 – Really, the only thing that makes me thing think Resident Evil 2 might not be included is the fact that Capcom is working on a remake as we speak. For that reason, it may prefer to include the original or even the less celebrated third entry. Everyone likely agrees that RE2 was the superior title, so in the interest of keeping things simple, I say Capcom relents and lets Sony have it.

Castlevania:  Symphony of the Night – We’ve long since past the era when Symphony of the Night was an under-appreciated classic. Famously released to a hostile public because it dared to be 2D, most have come to realize how silly a notion it was to declare 2D gaming obsolete and have embraced SoTN as one of the very best games in the long-running franchise. And those that didn’t realize it at the time certainly did when Castlevania 64 was released.

Street Fighter Alpha 3 – Most associate the 16 bit era with the height of the fighting genre, but it was still alive and well come the 32/64 bit era as well. PlayStation was not known for its excellence with 2D fighters, leaving that to Saturn and eventually Dreamcast, but Street Fighter Alpha was an exception. And of the games released in that series for the system, Alpha 3 was the best.

wipeout xl

I had a lot of good times with Wipeout.

Wipeout XL – Perhaps an aggressive ranking, but Wipeout felt like an important franchise during the early days of the PlayStation. The Psygnosis developed futuristic racer could have been mistaken as an F-Zero clone, but the physics and course design made it so much more. XL was the pinnacle for the series, and assuming Sony can work out the licensing issues, I expect it will be included.

Tomb Raider – Lara Croft’s humble beginnings were as an ugly, pointy-breasted, mess of polygons that I’m not sure people even in the moment felt looked particularly good. She was tough to control, but wasn’t a tank like Jill Valentine, and her adventure was pretty damn difficult. She did move onto other consoles, but Tomb Raider always felt like a Sony franchise and it’s likely viewed as important to the console, even though I do not want to revisit it. Suggested ReplacementParasite Eve – not exactly a one for one, but the shooter/RPG hybrid was quite interesting for its era, and as a franchise that never made it off of the PSX, it would be nice to see it here. The sequel is better, but may be hard to get into without knowing what happened in the first.

The Legend of Dragoon – Seeing how successful Final Fantasy was on its machine, Sony decided to get into the RPG business with The Legend of Dragoon. Seemingly thinking RPG fans enjoyed length over anything else, TLoD was gigantic and is probably the longest RPG on the system. It also looked great, and its battle system was okay. Aside from that, it’s not very good, but since Sony produced this one it won’t cost them much to include it and they probably view it as a signature title for the system. Suggested ReplacementValkyrie Profile – Oh boy, does this system not lack for RPGs. You could easily fill the console with 20 RPGs and not run out of quality software. Xenogears is my favorite, and it has an outside shot of being included, but a game that’s also good and brutally expensive is Valkyrie Profile. It would be great to see Sony use the PlayStation Classic as a means of delivering hard to find games to the consumer, but I’d be shocked if they included this one. It would probably cause me to buy one though, since getting a PlayStation Classic is way cheaper than buying this one second-hand.

Gran Turismo 2 – Assuming Sony can sort out the licensing issues, this one feels like a no brainer. Gran Turismo is one of Sony’s premiere franchises, and even though it’s faded some, it’s still remembered quite fondly. And given that its sim approach makes it way different from Ridge Racer, there’s room for it on the Classic as well. Though for me personally, it’s also a game I wouldn’t play.  Suggested ReplacementCrash Team Racing – so it’s not exactly a sim, but I struggled to come up with a more appropriate replacement. CTR was stealthily the second best kart racer of the era, behind Diddy Kong Racing and ahead of Mario Kart 64. Yes, you read that correctly. MK64 is the most overrated game in that long running series and doesn’t hold up, but CTR is frantic, fast, and fun. The only problem is you’d pretty much need to get a second controller.


X found a home on Sony’s console, where Zero was allowed to flourish alongside him.

Mega Man X4 – Capcom is not shy about loaning out Mega Man for compilations, and since he’s featured on both the NES Classic and SNES Classic it stands to reason he’ll appear here. The X series was the most prominent on Sony’s console, and X4 was the best of the Mega Man games released for the system which also included the underrated Mega Man 8. And yet, it doesn’t feel like the most “PlayStation” of the Mega Man games…Suggested ReplacementMega Man LegendsMega Man X4 was just released as part of a compilation of X games. It’s easy to come by. What’s less easy is Mega Man’s first foray into RPGs on the PlayStation, Mega Man Legends. I won’t argue it’s better than Mega Man X4, because it’s not. It just feels like a more appropriate release. The only thing that would change my mind is if Nintendo is already developing a Nintendo 64 Classic and intends to include the port, Mega Man 64, on its machine. If that’s the case, then stick with X4.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 – The Tony Hawk series was a huge hit on Sony’s machine, and the second game was the most well-received. It was basically the first and only skateboarding sim worth playing, and I knew many people obsessed with this game that weren’t even that into skating (but the ones who were into skating were even more obsessed). There are challenges in bringing it to the PlayStation Classic, but I would bet Sony finds a way to get it done. Suggested ReplacementBushido Blade – Confession time! I never liked the Tony Hawk games. Sorry! And since there is no skateboarding sim worth replacing it with, I’ll go with the sword-fighting sim from Squaresoft. Bushido Blade was a really neat take on fighting games as it aimed for more realism. Not total realism, just more. And it primarily did that via one-hit kills. If a guy gets slashed across the gut with a sword that shouldn’t merely take away some of his health bar, it’s going to incapacitate him. As a result, fights could be really brief, but most actually turned into endurance matches. They were tense, and in order to succeed you had to get your opponent to fall for a feint or just get careless leaving them open for an attack. It’s a toss-up which version is superior, this or the sequel, but most seem to lean towards the first since it had more weapon options.

Suikoden IISuikoden II has become such a popular game long after the PlayStation era came to a close that I think it’s actually likely that Sony includes it. It’s on their web store for Vita/PS3/PSP and it was presented as a pretty big deal when it first showed up. Sony probably has a solid relationship with Konami and won’t have too much trouble bringing this one to the PlayStation Classic, but it remains possible that Sony thinks this would be too many RPGs and leaves it out. That would be a very bad move.

parappa smooth

Expect PaRappa to appear on the PS Classic, but don’t expect him to look this smooth.

PaRappa The Rapper – Sony’s flagship rhythm game was pretty well-received. It also helped to popularize what came to be known as cell-shaded graphics. It was recently remastered and re-released, which is why I’ve placed it at the bottom of this list. It’s possible Sony doesn’t want to eat into that at all, plus it’s going to look pretty terrible in comparison, but it’s popular enough to merit inclusion. Had it not been for that re-release I’d have pushed this into the top 10 easily. Suggested ReplacementTobal 2 – I don’t really care for PaRappa, or rhythm games in general, so for my last slot how about something exciting? The SNES Classic certainly benefitted from including the previously unavailable Star Fox 2, and if Sony wants to drum-up some similar excitement announcing Tobal 2 for a North American release would be one way to do so. I believe it was prepped for one, but abruptly cancelled as the era was winding down and the first game did not sell particularly well. As a result, some of the localization may still exist, and if it doesn’t then that might not be much of a hurdle anyway as fighting games usually don’t require much, so how about it, Sony? Give us some sizzle!


Well, that’s it! What do you think? Is this something you would buy? Think I pretty much nailed it or did I miss something obvious? Surely, they’ll try and get a Spyro game onto this thing, but I’m not sure at what game’s expense (alright, probably Suikoden II, but maybe Sony will do the right thing and not include The Legend of Dragoon)? The PlayStation was perhaps my most favorite system as it came around when I was most interested in gaming. I was in my early teens so I was able to obsess over gaming without the distraction of what would follow in high school. Picking just 20 games just highlights how many games have to be excluded, so let’s go out with some honorable mentions. For the most part, these are games I would definitely include on my personal PlayStation Classic, but acknowledge Sony is unlikely to do so for one reason or another:

valkyrie profile

Oh please! Oh please! Oh please!

Xenogears, Final Fantasy IX, Chrono Cross, Tomba!, Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, Vagrant Story, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, Mega Man 8, Mega Man X5, Rogue Trip, Street Fighter EX Plus a, Brave Fencer Musashi, Colony Wars, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Front Mission 3, Spider-Man, Alundra, WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, IQ: Intelligent Qube

Circle Pad Pro: Revelation or Ruination?

Today Nintendo released a new peripheral for its handheld system, the 3DS.  Dubbed the Circle Pad Pro, this attachment adds additional buttons to the 3DS along with an additional circle pad.  To make things slightly more annoying for gamers, it’s only available through Gamestop and will set you back $20.  Me, being the curious person I am (and since I received a gift card to Gamestop for Christmas), I hit the store and picked one up for myself.

The Circle Pad Pro, the best friend of the 3DS or hungry parasite? You decide.

An additional analog stick, or circle pad, is something many gamers wanted on the 3DS from the start.  While it certainly wasn’t a make or break feature, it’s nice to have.  Ever since Sony released its first version of the Dual Shock controller for the Playstation, the dual analog setup has become commonplace on controllers.  Often one stick controls player movement and the other manipulates the camera.  Other games, like first-person shooters, use one stick for movement and the other to aim.  A genre that was once cumbersome with a controller now has gamers feeling right at home.  And going from that setup to a non dual analog setup can be a bit odd, which is probably why upcoming Playstation Vita sports two analog “nubs.”  As I played through Ocarina of Time 3D I sometimes would find myself feeling for another analog stick out of habit to move the camera, and finding none.

Even though an additional analog input is something I would like to have, my initial reaction to the Circle Pad Pro was muted.  Peripherals often never work out well for consumers.  They’re often expensive, cumbersome, and lacking in support beyond an initial batch of games.  Very few end up being worthwhile.  Then again, no one has really tried to release something like this for a portable.  I’m trying to come up with something similar and the best I can come up with is the Gameboy Printer and Camera.  Neither was worth owning.

It looks like it's trying to swallow the 3DS.

The Circle Pad Pro almost looks like it could be a stand-alone device.  It’s much bigger than the 3DS as it’s meant to house the system like a cradle.  The 3DS fits into it snugly without any locking mechanism that could scratch the system or wind up broken.  The fit is tight enough that there’s really no worry about the system sliding out, but just in case Nintendo did include a wrist strap.  The Circle Pad Pro runs off a single AAA battery (included) which is a good thing because the battery life on the 3DS is bad enough as is. For some reason Nintendo decided to fasten the battery cover in place with a non-removable screw.  It’s good that the screw can’t fall out and get lost, but why was that even necessary?  It’s annoying.  The Circle Pad Pro does add considerable weight to the system, making it weigh just about as much as a first generation PSP.  It’s also quite bulky and definitely detracts from the portability of the system. This isn’t something that fits in most pockets.  And as far as I know, the Circle Pad Pro only comes in matte black, so if you have a blue or a pink 3DS it’s going to be quite the eye sore.

The peripheral may be bulky, but how does it feel?  Pretty nice, actually.  The 3DS is small and the rectangular shape may be efficient but it’s far from comfortable.  Often my hands are pretty tired and cramp after 45 minutes with the system, especially after some Mario Kart.  I’ve spent roughly the same amount of time with my first play session with the Circle Pad Pro and can report little to no discomfort.  The attachment makes the system feel more like a controller and the added weight is actually a welcome thing when it comes to the ergonomics of the device.  The second circle pad feels just like the one on the system, which means it’s a tad loose for my taste but it certainly gets the job done.  In addition to the additional circle pad, the Circle Pad Pro also adds two additional shoulder buttons to the 3DS.  They’re clicky buttons, not triggers, but feel fine.

Rear view, for those who like that sort of thing.

It’s not all gravy though.  The peripheral does cover up the game card slot so the 3DS needs to be removed from the Circle Pad Pro to switch out games.  It also covers up the wireless switch and stylus port, which is kind of annoying.  The added plastic on the right side of the system also makes reaching the face buttons a little awkward.  That will definitely take some getting used to.  Nintendo at least wisely left space for the AC input so you can use the Circle Pad Pro while the 3DS is plugged into a wall outlet.

The Circle Pad Pro could be a flawless addition to the 3DS but it would be terribly useless without software that supports it.  That’s why Nintendo held it back for today which just so happens to be the day Resident Evil: Revelations arrived in stores.  Some of you may have already read about that one and how Capcom released it with an embarrassing typo on the game case’s spin, and if you’re wondering, yes it appears every copy is like that.  Apparently anyone who picks up a copy of the game with the typo can get a free replacement insert but I have no idea why anyone would be bothered to go through the trouble.


I picked up a copy of Revelaitons (sic) alongside the Circle Pad Pro.  I was surprised to see that there’s no mention of the device on the game’s packaging.  I figured there would be a tell-tale graphic of some kind alerting would-be consumers that the software supports the Circle Pad Pro but I guess not.  Worry not gamers, Revelations does indeed support the Circle Pad Pro and firing up the game with the Circle Pad Pro attached will cause the game to ask if you wish to make use of it.  I obviously haven’t played enough of the game to render a verdict on how good or bad it is, but I can report that the Circle Pad Pro works, for the most part.

The left circle pad controls your character, Jill, and the right circle pad pivots the camera and makes her turn, pretty much just like a first-person shooter.  When a baddie appears on the screen, pressing the new ZL button causes Jill to draw her firearm and the ZR button shoots.  The regular old R button (actually, that’s kind of new too as the Circle Pad Pro replaces the R button on the 3DS with a new button) causes Jill to bust out her knife or other equipped secondary weapon.  When running around, the ZR button appears to function as the action button which feels kind of odd but I imagine I’ll get used to it.  The face buttons do not appear to be used much though one uses herbs to restore Jill’s health when prompted.  I actually didn’t try the game without the Circle Pad Pro, but I can’t imagine the control scheme working better.

Ready for action!

Visually, Revelations appears to be a stunner.  It’s comparable to Resident Evil 4 or some of the best looking games on the PSP.  A lot of time was definitely invested in Jill as she looks noticeably better than some of the scenery.  The backgrounds I’ve seen have been a little drab but there was some nice lighting on the first scenario which takes place on a darkened ship.  The game immediately places the player in some close quarters which is an uncomfortable feeling, a good thing for a survival horror game.  There’s a lot to take in on the 3DS’s rather small screen and I did experience some minor eye strain after a little while.  And if you’re curious, most of that was spent with the 3D featured turned off (I mostly hate 3D).

I’m pretty optimistic for Revelations.  It feels like Resident Evil and it’s pretty nice looking.  I do find aiming kind of cumbersome as hitting the ZL button immediately brings you into a first-person perspective.  Jill feels kind of slow but the enemies seem pretty quick.  I’ll have to see if that becomes frustrating or not further into the game.  As for the Circle Pad Pro, it does get the job done but if no one supports it then it will just collect dust.  Metal Gear Solid 3D figures to make use of it, and there’s rumors Kid Icarus might as well.  We’ll just have to wait and see.  If it doesn’t bother you to spend the extra dough to get a little more out of Revelations, then I say go for it.  At least it’s not as expensive as the 32X.

Overwhelmed by Games

The last 6 months have been pretty spectacular for gamers.  It’s safe to say, if you have even a passing interest in video games you’ve been pretty busy.  I’m not sure I can recall such a period ever occurring before.  There’s been some excellent falls before where several quality titles were released, but I can’t recall one like this where that epic fall carried over into the new year so strongly.  I’m looking at the upcoming releases and looking at the games I have that I’ve yet to play and wondering how I’m going to get to everything.  I suppose it’s a good problem to have, but some things are going to go missing.  There’s already been one casualty for me, WWE 12, as I just didn’t have the time.  I very nearly bought it anyways as I wanted to do a follow-up on a post I did last year but the reviews I were reading just did not excite me.  I passed on it, better luck next year THQ.

I have begun organizing, in my head, the games I have yet to play.  This is what I’ve come up with:

Games I own But Have Yet to Play

I’ll probably finally finish my adventure in the land of Skyrim this weekend.  I’ve played through every

Soon, my friend, soon.

major quest, save the final one, and even acquired every trophy on the Playstation Network which is something I never do.  When I do finish with that I have a decision to make.  Two other games have been sitting on my coffee table since Christmas unplayed; Batman: Arkham City and The Legend of Zelda:  Skyward Sword.  My plan has been to dust off my much neglected Wii and settle into the land of Hyrule once again but I am wavering a bit.  Skyward Sword may be a very different adventure/RPG type of game than Skyrim but the same sense of grandeur still applies.  I also just finished The Minish Cap on my 3DS, and combine that with several other Zelda games that I played through in 2011, and I’m bordering on Zelda exhaustion.  I don’t want an over-exposure to Zelda to impact my impressions of Skyward Sword any, so a break may be in order.  Plus the alternative is Batman, and Batman kicks ass.  On the other hand, It’s likely to be a long adventure and maybe I should just get it started.  I also bought a new Wii remote and am eager to test out Wii Motion Plus.  I also have Infamous 2 from last summer that I’ve only played once.  Even though I really liked the first one, and the second is pretty much more of the same, I’ve had a really hard time finding the motivation to play it.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back to it.

Following my write-up on Final Fantasy Tactics, I found myself really eager to go check out the original Tactics Ogre.  I recently was able to find a used copy of the PSP edition and have that for play during my morning and evening commute.  I’m currently spending that time playing Mario Kart 7, but I just finished unlocking everything in that so I may be ready to make the switch from 3DS to PSP soon.  If not this week, then probably next.  I still have a bunch of those Gameboy Advance downloads as part of Nintendo’s Ambassador Program.  I really want to play through Fire Emblem at some point, but it looks like that will have to wait.

Games Set for Release Soon

This is where things get complicated.  February and March are loaded with new game releases.  It’s almost to the point where I’m rooting against some of these titles and hoping the review scores come in low so I can just skip them with little regard.  That seems unlikely though.

Tight corridors and zombie-like creatures, now THIS is Resident Evil!

First up on February 7th is Resident Evil Revelations on the 3DS.  Revelations represents a return to the more survival horror roots of the franchise as opposed to the run and gun mechanics of Resident Evil 5.  This is a welcome development for me and it’s been a long time since I’ve played through a true RE game.  The first reviews are starting pop up and they’re pretty positive, though not exemplary. Released alongside Revelations will be the Circle Pad Pro, an attachment for the 3DS that adds additional shoulder buttons and a second circle pad.  It’s being sold exclusively through Gamestop.  I hate Gamestop and as a result never shop there, but someone gave me a gift card to there for Christmas so I’ll just use that on the Circle Pad Pro.  That attachment should also enhance the gameplay experience of another February release, Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater.  This is a port of MGS 3, my favorite of the Solid series, for the 3DS.  It looks every bit as good as the original and is actually a port of the Subsistence version of that title which added a better camera angle amongst other additional content.  I never played that version which just makes me even more interested in this title.  My handheld gaming is looking quite busy!

Not to be undone, the home consoles are fixing for a crowded release schedule as well.  I made an entry on the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo last week, and that gets released in February.  I wasn’t blown away by the demo, but the various gaming media outlets seem pretty high on it.  Regardless, it’s looking like I’ll pass it over for now and maybe pick it up at a later date when things have settled down (if they ever do).  Also being released in February is the latest entry in the Twisted Metal series, simply titled Twisted Metal.  This is the first true TM game since 2001’s Twisted Metal Black, one of the best games released for the Playstation 2.  I was an early adopter of the TM franchise, and save for the shoddy 989 releases, have long loved the series.  This one has me a bit concerned though as it sounds like the developers have focused more on the multi-player aspect at the expense of the single player one.  The various stories in TM Black were what made the game for me, and it’s really disappointing to know that only 3 characters are receiving such treatment.  They’ve also, for the first time, allowed the various drivers to be paired with different vehicles, kind of like the latest entries in the Mario Kart franchise.  This should add more customization to the experience, but it just sounds lazy to me.  I should be super excited for this game, but I’m not.  If it wasn’t called Twisted Metal, I wouldn’t be making a post on it.  We shall see.

March and Beyond

I'm not sure how I feel about this development.

There’s potentially two big console releases in February, combined with two 3DS releases and the games I already own but haven’t played.  March is proving to be no kinder.  The 3DS will continue to get new software including a first-party release; Kid Icarus Uprising.  Kid Icarus has long been neglected by Nintendo since his first and only console experience from way back on the original Nintendo Entertainment System.  He showed up on in the last Smash Bros. game but Uprising will be his first solo title in over 20 years.  Early returns show promise, as Uprising combines on-rail shooting with conventional platforming elements.  The controls are what has garnered the most attention as aiming is controlled with the stylus and has received mixed reviews.  It’s possible the game will support the Circle Pad Pro as an alternative intended for left-handed gamers, but that may be preferred by all.  To help combat the cumbersome controls, Nintendo is including some kind of stand for the 3DS that’s supposed to help alleviate cramping.  This kind of detracts from the portable nature of the system, but whatever.  I’ll be checking in on this one to see how it fares in reviews.

Looming large for console gamers is perhaps the early favorite for Game of the Year: Mass Effect 3.  This is a must play title for me.  Anything less than amazing will be a disappointment.  All of my gaming in the interim will be done with the idea of having a clean slate for when this game hits.  There’s no way I can get through Zelda and Batman before then, let alone any games released in February, so I have no idea how I’ll fit this one in.  I like to only have one game going at a time, and it’s possible the games I have are so good that I’ll be okay with putting ME3 on hold for awhile, but that seems unlikely at this point in time.

Less than a month after ME3 is released Xenoblade Chronicles arrives on Wii.  This figures to be my final Wii purchase but if early indications are to be believed, it should be a memorable final outing.  The struggles to get this one released in the US have been well-documented, and for that reason alone I almost feel obligated to purchase it.  Hopefully the game ends up being worth the wait.

Oh Hell yeah!

Those are just the big titles, the ones I expect to be must buys.  I didn’t even mention the others, the ones that may prove worthy of both my time and money.  I’m talking about games such as Soul Caliber V, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, MLB 12, Street Fighter x Tekken, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and more!  Those are all games I’m interested in, but may be forced to bypass.  MLB 12: The Show seems like the most likely to be purchased because I love MLB and haven’t bought a new game since 2009.  I just hope the new game finally makes the changes I’ve long wanted to see from the franchise.  And just to amke things even more crowded and uncertain, Sony is launching the PSP successor at the end of February as well.  Called the Vita, it very much resembles the PSP but with a ton more power.  This thing is practically a portable PS3 and the launch games actually look pretty damn good.  I’ll have a hard time resisting the urge to check it out, though I know I should.  What is absolutely guaranteed is that I’ll have no shortage of games to play.  If I ever find myself sitting on my couch with nothing to do I’ll be sure to scold myself.  Happy gaming everyone!

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