Let us face it: the majority of the 20 pre-loaded PlayStation Classic games are far from being real classics. In my recent review I called them a “bizarre selection”, and it is safe to say that such titles are unlikely to impress any younger gamers. For this reason, I am going to show you what the magic grey box was really capable of.
Below are the 10 best PlayStation 1 games ever.
Before getting to the meat, I would like to emphasize that rankings are fun to read and bring back pleasant memories, but they are mostly based on opinions and experiences. So, if my picks are not yours, you can politely disagree by leaving a comment. 🙂
Without further ado, let us begin our two-part journey:
(Affiliate Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that – at no additional costs to you – if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a commission)
10. Silent Hill (Konami 1999)
Silent Hill is one of the grand series that started on the PS1 and then expanded to numerous sequels and some interesting stories. But as you know, the original always remains the best and it has a lot of charisma attached to it too.
In this game you follow Harry Mason as he tries to find his missing adopted daughter in the town of Silent Hill. As he browses the city he finds a cult that tries to revive a deity. And in doing so, our main character figures out who his adopted daughter really is.
What made Silent Hill so good is its unique focus on breaking the mold and coming up with some creative and very distinctive game ideas. The game is designed to be very intense and does require to push the boundaries.
Playing it again after 20 years perfectly conveys that sense of nostalgia associated with the platform. Plus, the game itself is amazing and despite the older graphics, it still comes with one of the best and also one of the scariest stories in a video game. In 1999, this was a cult hit and unlike anything out there.
9. Final Fantasy VII (Squaresoft 1997)
The fact that this RPG is getting a remake soon clearly shows how popular it still is among gamers. In Final Fantasy VII you follow Cloud Strife, a mercenary that tries to stop a corporation from using the life essence of our planet as an energy resource.
Despite not being the first in the series, FF7 is the most memorable, because – in addition to the return of the veteran staff, along with Hironobu Sakaguchi, the series creator – it introduced new game mechanics, and it is also the first in the series both to be played in 3D, and to have full motion video.
It is easy to see why Final Fantasy VII was revolutionary: it broke the boundaries and did come up with beyond creative ideas. The game did cost a lot to make, but it earned a lot too, and the sheer idea of being able to play a remake does electrify fans.
You know, there are some rights to wrong (Aerith anyone?), and according to sources it should have slight changes from the original…
8. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Konami 1997)
What really made this game work for me was the great horror theme here. The platforming was very solid and the best part was the combat and enemies. You really had that vampiric vibe that you just cannot find in modern games.
The map was great, and I particularly liked the way the character moved around and how you could interact with the environment. A lot of people find this to be one of the best in the Castlevania series.
For me, this is one of the best platformers of all time and it still holds up years and years after its release. The story is also very intricate and fun to go through. If you want a great PS1 platform game, you cannot go wrong with this one.
7. Gran Turismo 2 (Sony 1999)
Gran Turismo 2 was and still is one of the best and most iconic racing games. It brought a lot both to the series and to racing games overall. The visuals were astounding, and the interface is something we have in most racing games right now. Also, the realism in this title is staggering to me. The AI was particularly brutal at times, but also fair and you were encouraged to play again and again to learn the tracks and improve your times.
I remember I had to play this game for countless hours until I got to win my first race. My then friends thought that something was definitely wrong with me, as I was by no means a simulation racing gamer. The truth is that Sony hit the jackpot with this one. Top quality goes beyond personal tastes, period.
I believe that Gran Turismo is indeed one of the best racing series of all time. if you love this genre, this game is an absolute must. Even if it might feel a bit dated by modern standards, it packs a punch and looks downright amazing.
Being more passionate about simulation than arcade racing could result in a gaming addiction…
6. Fifa: Road to World Cup 98 (Electronic Arts 1997)
If you have read this, you already know that we are talking about my favorite PlayStation 1 soccer game. I pretty much liked everything about it: the visuals were great, the graphics were next level, and – to my 1998 eyes – the gameplay was extremely similar to what you could see on the pitch.
All this without forgetting the amazing AI and the atmospheric World Cup mode. If you are passionate about sports games and especially soccer ones (like me), you should definitely try what is considered one of EA’s best Fifa efforts to date, a real cult classic!
Modern FiFA games improved on this and that really tells a lot about Fifa RTWC 98’s quality and the great features that brought to the table.
And it’s a wrap for the first part, retro folks! But no worries, our journey is going to resume soon!