PlayStation Plus retro classics disappoint according to experts

PlayStation Plus May 2022
PlayStation Plus May 2022

One of the biggest highlights of Sony’s revamped PlayStation Plus is the inclusion of classic titles from the PS1 era. However, since launching the updated service in select regions, retro gaming enthusiasts have voiced their disappointment at the quality of these emulated titles.

So what’s the hullaballoo? So far, the PS1 classics available are all based on PAL (Europe and Australia) versions for each respective title. This means that they run at 50hz (frames) as opposed to the 60hz adopted by other regions, resulting in a noticeable reduction in refresh rate. In some cases, this can cause issues with the on-screen action not matching up to a game’s audio.

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Our friends at Digital Foundry explored the new PlayStation Plus a little further. The technical gaming experts examined all PS1 classics currently on offer, reporting various issues they encountered.

In short, here’s an explanation of what’s gone wrong:

PAL releases are a bad choice for a service like this. Essentially, the PS5 can only output a minimum of 60hz for games, but these games are made for 50hz displays. Since it no longer divides evenly into the refresh rate, there’s no other option but to vary the length of time [an individual] frame is displayed, resulting in inconsistency and judder.

Their in-depth analysis also digs into the visual fidelity of these classic games and how Sony’s display options don’t go far enough in bringing them into the modern era, at least when compared to other emulation alternatives.

Sony has reportedly released a patch to try and resolve the PAL-related issues. According to Windy Corner TV, a new update upscales classic titles by “blending” framerates, though this is causing issues of its own.

Previously, PlayStation Plus offered monthly free games as well as access to online and multiplayer features. When it relaunches in June, it will introduce a three-tiered system which unlocks access to a wide library of games, spanning every PlayStation generation, although excluding PS Vita titles.

The full line-up has yet to be confirmed, though we do know that PS1 game trophy support is being rolled out across first party titles, Syphon Filter being the first.

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Written by
Senior Editor bursting with lukewarm takes and useless gaming trivia. May as well surgically attach my DualSense at this point.

2 Comments

  1. They compare the emulation on a PS5 with some other emulator and claim the filter it applies looks better than Sonys filter. But that’s entirely subjective. I think the Sony option looks better. A bit blurred, but that helps.

    But what does anyone expect from Digital Foundry? They seem to claim anything Sony does looks worse (even when it doesn’t). They’re good at counting though. Frames per second, pixels, how much money MS are giving them.

    • They’re not comparing how blurry it is, but noting that the scanline effect doesn’t match to the game resolution, that scaling options are wonky, and more. I don’t think he really minds the blurriness.

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