The Playstation was released 20 years ago this week (in Europe) and it goes without saying that it changed the video game industry as we knew it.
With a lifespan of nearly a decade and a library of games consisting of more than 2,000 titles, the Playstation was home to some of the most iconic, innovative, influential and genre defining games the world has ever seen.
The task set before me was daunting, how do you compress such an expansive library of games into just 20?
With some rules; this list is my own personal choices and is in no way meant to be a definitive list, but the rules I’m using are;
- Only one game per franchise
- When a game is part of a franchise, they are inter-changeable (e.g. if I select Resident evil 2 it could be changed to 1 or 3 if you prefer that one).
- I could only pick from the games I have personally played.
Let’s get to the games!
20. Destruction Derby 2
The sequel to; arguably, the most fun launch title the Playstation brand has ever had!
While ‘Destruction Derby’ was great fun, it was a flawed game that suffered some a poor career mode, controls (especially when heavy damage was sustained) and a draw distance that made the racing modes incredibly difficult!
Thankfully though this sequel fixes all of these irks and the result is a unique racing title that had great graphics and some amazing gameplay! The damage model is still jaw dropping (for a PSOne game) and cars got flipped, stripped and engulfed in flames; ‘Destruction Derby 2’ was a great sequel and a great game!
19. Syphon Filter
On release, ‘Syphon Filter’ was a pretty big deal. It was a beautiful third-person action game that melded the gameplay of ‘Tomb Raider’, ‘Metal Gear Solid’ and ‘Goldeneye’ and created a game that felt unique. As special agent Gabe Logan, you are tasked with stopping the villain’s from unleashing a biological weapon on Washington DC.
With hugely varied missions, beautiful motion captured graphics, amazing sound direction, good enemy A.I. and controls that utilised the dual shock controller ‘Syphon Filter’ was simply a joy to play.
It was one of the best action games on the system and a real coup for Sony.
18. Wild Arms
‘Wild Arms’ is an example of how a well designed game can be more than the sum of its parts. While there were better looking RPGs on the PSOne, and RPGs with better battle systems and some with more involving stories; there are none that do all three of these things as well as ‘Wild Arms’.
There were so many little touches in this game that all add to the overall quality, the top down action had a diverse mix of combat and puzzle solving that kept the game flowing and the player guessing. The story was in-depth and never confusing; and rather uniquely, you played through three mini prologues that brought the heroes together, which was a great story telling device and tutorial.
‘Wild Arms’ was and still is a very special RPG that should be experienced.
17. Ridge Racer Type 4
The fourth installment in the ‘Ridge Racer’ series was a huge departure from the franchises established formula of pure arcade racing and added a more ‘Gran Turismo’ flavour of seasons and car collecting. The racing was still very much arcade focused and the two types of car (drift and grip) changed your driving style drastically.
Ridge Racer Type 4 is a beautiful, fast (with a silky smooth frame rate) and addictive racing game and for my money it is the best traditional racer on the PSOne that is still infinitely playable today!
16. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Although not as famous as ‘Tomb Raider’ and certainly not as popular ‘Soul Reaver’ is undoubtedly a great adventure game on the PSOne.
The player is Raziel a vampire who evolved wings before Kain and condemned, on his quest for revenge. This game was home to the best graphics on the system, everything is animated with fluidity, the world is as haunting as it beautiful and the effect of changing from the material to the spirit world is spine-tinglingly brilliant.
It’s aged brilliantly thanks to a great PC and Dreamcast port, but the PSOne version is well worth a play today!
15. Parasite Eve
On release this was a graphical tour de force!
Featuring pre-rendered backgrounds of unparalleled detail and character models that should be impossible on a PSOne ‘Parasite Eve’ is the definition of AAA. Thankfully Square gifted this game with gameplay to match the sumptuous graphics. Falling into the action RPG category and marrying it with survival horror plays out brilliantly, the involved and imaginative battle system is also a work of genius.
Although the sound is lacking, the overall package makes for a game that is genuinely creepy and with monsters straight out of your nightmares (and FMV to set them up as grotesque as anything Hollywood can produce) you can’t go wrong in playing this under-appreciated classic.
14. Twisted Metal: World Tour
While not the most technical of games of this list, there are only a few that can boast better gameplay and fun.
‘Twisted Metal: World Tour’ improves on everything that made the original game fun. The vehicle handling and graphics were substantially improved, the characters are far more memorable, the levels are much more varied and the weapons are just sublime.
While the story mode is surprisingly good for a game of this nature this game comes alive in multiplayer, although only two player it keeps aggressive AI enemies that ensure the chaotic nature of the rounds are not diminished.
Although it has not aged as gracefully as the others on this list, it is still a blast and still more than worthy of your time.
13. Tekken 3
Tekken 3 represents the pinnacle of the series; as well as having an in-depth and rewarding fighting system it also had the most balanced and memorable range of fighters and game modes of any 3D fighter of its era (and arguably since).
The game is heaving at the sides of all the extra content Namco put into it, there was a beach volleyball game mode (Tekken Ball) that was a great diversion, Tekken Force was a superb side scrolling beat’em’up and there were over 10 unlockable fighters. When we pair this with the new side-stepping ability in the main game we have a fighting game that; although not the best arcade conversion, had enough to ensure it was still a great, great fighting game.
12. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
Undoubtedly the best of the Crash Bandicoot series!
‘Crash Bandicoot 3’ evolved the series to the heights previously only occupied by Sonic and Mario. With big, chunky, colourful graphics with animation other games wished they could achieve paired with absolute 2 1/2D platforming heaven. I feel this represents Naughty Dog at their imaginative best.
An absolute must play for fans of great games.
11. Dino Crisis
Like ‘Soul Reaver’ this game isn’t as famous as its better marketed title; in this case ‘Resident Evil’, and again this title eclipses its more illustrious cousin in certain respects.
‘Dino Crisis’ represented the move from pre-rendered backgrounds to fully polygonal worlds, and while this doesn’t sound very exciting it opens up whole new possibilities for horror. Mikami still uses static camera angles to set the tone of every shot, but now the camera is free to pan with your character, more importantly the dinosaurs now have the ability to follow you through doors. While these sound like minor details, the expert execution of these ramps up the tension and places ‘Dino Crisis’ firmly into the upper echelon of the survival horror genre.
Again even today this is an absolute must play!
Do you agree with my choices?
Any you’d put higher in a top 20?
Any you’d cut out completely?
Flame/Celebrate my choices in the comments below!