The new PS Plus is almost here! The Laptop Mag team has picked the PS1, PS2 and PSP classics they’d love to see on the Premium tier of Sony’s subscription service.
I won’t go into more detail about the specific tiers here, but I do want to talk about one: PS Plus Premium. For $17.99/£13.49 per month, you get all the benefits of the lower tiers (two free games a month, access to a library of up to 400 PS5 and PS4 titles) and an additional 340 “original PlayStation, PS2 and PSP generation” games.
As someone who grew up with PlayStation (you can see a rather embarrassing picture of me at 8-years-old in my Gran Turismo 7 review), revisiting old games is what I’m most excited for. But what gems do we want to see on the service? Here are our picks.
1. SSX Tricky
Snowboarding games peaked at the end of 2001 with EA Sports Big’s SSX Tricky. Everything was larger than life, from the insane uber tricks and bonkers level design, to the gorgeous visuals, soundtrack and eccentric characters.
But the best bit of this is the almost-worryingly addictive gameplay. The control scheme is perfectly laid out across the PS controller, tracks have an awesome flow to them, the different board types add an exciting tactical element and the difficulty curve scales excellently as you play through.
Yes, I know we’re getting something similar soon in the form of Project Gravity: a spiritual successor from the creator of the SSX series. But nothing beats the original and after firing up my PS2 recently, the formula has not aged a bit.
- Jason England
2. Ape Escape
Few games successfully elicit such a potent sensation of unfiltered joy as Ape Escape. Every level is bursting with creative environments and unique methods of traversing them, with non-linear exploration encouraged as the player’s targets are scattered throughout each corner of every area.
The plot revolves around hundreds of apes with unique gimmicks getting lost in different timelines; some wielded sub-machine guns, others fired rocket launchers, at the main protagonist, Spike. With this baseline story, the developers were free to explore all sorts of wacky set pieces from medieval castles and Japanese temples to intriguing epochs such as the Jurassic Era and Ice Age. Ape Escape even takes players into the future, subjecting them to creepy high-tech facilities before eventually tossing Spike into a tank. And although the game is joyous, newcomers should prepare for that joy to be in conflict with constant frustration. To put it briefly, these apes are far too clever for their own good.
Ape Escape is an undeniable classic, and although the series is great, the original is easily the best, yet it’s also the most difficult to get your hands on. Its sequel, Ape Escape 2, is currently available on PS Now, and it would be fantastic if its predecessor could join it when PS Plus Premium launches.
- Momo Tabari
3. Twisted Metal: Black
While racing delights such as Forza Horizon 5 and Gran Turismo 7 have become the pinnacle of today’s car games, I’ve been waiting with bated breath for the next Twisted Metal. There aren’t many games like it; not even modern vehicular combat titles such as Destruction AllStars can hold a flame to Calypso and his deranged contestants. While all of the entries will receive a warm welcome on PlayStation Plus, it’s Twisted Metal: Black that I’ll be diving into once again.
Yes, yes, it’s already on the PlayStation Store, but having it as part of a subscription that is readily available to jump into makes it all the sweeter. Speaking of “sweet,” Twisted Metal: Black gave me the darker storylines I didn’t know I yearned for, with secrets and cryptic messages that all lead back to the iconic Sweet Tooth. And that’s only one of the creepy, yet intriguing, characters to learn about.
Getting back into the driver’s seat to set other wicked, personalized cars ablaze with an assortment of signature weapons and projectiles, such as Crazy 8’s electrical field surge or Spectre’s ghost missile, will be a blast. If you have yet to experience everything from the “Paint It Black” opening sequence to the fast-paced combat, you’re in for a (twisted) treat.
- Darragh Murphy
4. The Getaway
My heart warmed to British gangster films like Lock Stock and Snatch. The Getaway was an incredibly ambitious project that, on one hand, captured the essence of those movies in a classic cockney escapade, but also brought quite the technological achievement that gave birth to a tonne of things we’ve grown accustomed to with today’s games.
It starts with a faithful recreation of London — more specifically Marylebone, Mayfair, Westminster, Soho, Bloomsbury, St Pancras, Holburn, Lambeth, Southwark, Borough, Finsbury, Clerkewell, Shoreditch, Barbican, Broadgate and City Of London. That is a massive map that you can explore in free roaming.
On top of that, you’ve got realistic driving physics that put your skills to the test, and while the on-foot and shooting sections are pretty bare bones, the fact that there aren’t any HUD elements, and you’ve got to establish your character’s health by looking at the blood stains on his jacket, makes the whole thing feel like the films that inspired Soho Studios.
- Jason England
5. Silent Hill 1 and 2
I have yet to play Silent Hill 1 or 2. As a fan of horror games, it’s almost like committing a cardinal sin by not having played these beloved classics. On the contrary, however, I’ve been patient. These games aren’t easy to come by on platforms these days, and the Silent Hill HD Collection wasn’t well received compared to their original counterparts.
When the Resident Evil 2 Remake came out to critical acclaim, this gave me more hope that a Silent Hill 2 Remake was on the horizon. So far, no results. Who knows? Maybe that will still come one day, but with PlayStation Plus, both of what are arguably the best entries in the series will be available to play. This means I get to be spooked the heck out by Pyramid Head — and the disturbing, yet engaging, story I’ve heard so much about.
Making these classic titles easily accessible will finally give players young and old a chance to experience the chilling joys of the original Silent Hill, before the time when Kojima’s now sorely missed P.T. hyped them up. I’m prepared for all the nightmares.
- Darragh Murphy
6. Second Sight
The original “Control” from the team behind Timesplitters. This was quite a dramatic pivot from Free Radical Design, from an addictive FPS that is light on story, to quite a dark, third-person action thriller with interesting psychic powers.
Its visual style is reminiscent of Timesplitters, but that’s where the similarities end, as you’re plunged into the shoes of parapsychological researcher John Vattic (who wakes up in an isolation cell with no memory).
What follows is a series of fascinating levels with mind-bending puzzles and great combat, all fuelled by the addition of psychic powers, including telekinesis and mind manipulation. There’s nothing quite like this.
- Jason England
7. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Strangely enough, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was my first experience with Big Boss before heading into Hideo Kojima’s other Metal Gear titles. The franchise’s story is fairly convoluted, so getting into Peace Walker was pretty bizarre — especially with flashbacks of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater popping up and characters being named “Hot Coldman.”
Even stranger, however, is that I absolutely loved it. From its story about nuclear warfare and Snake figuring out what happened after the events of Snake Eater to an incredibly diverse system of combat and strategy including creating your own mercenary squad known as the Militaires Sans Frontières, Peace Walker is secretly one of the biggest Metal Gear games in the franchise — and it was exclusively on PSP. It’s amazing how much the developers packed into Peace Walker on such a small portable device.
Despite now playing the other MGS titles, I’ll probably still be just as confused as I was when I first started Peace Walker over a decade ago. But that won’t stop me and plenty of other Metal Gear fans from delving back into an incredible Big Boss experience.
- Darragh Murphy
8. Persona 3
One of the brightest jewels in the PS2’s JRPG crown, Persona 3, was yet another incredible entry in the Megami Tensei series — packing hundreds of hours of RPG gameplay, a gorgeous visual anime style, and story that hooks you from the get-go by tackling complex and adult themes.
Much like other Persona entries, this stands head and shoulders above a lot of RPGs, which was no mean feat on one of the best consoles for the genre. There is just no end to the amount of different things you can do beyond the standard role playing elements, such as a wealth of life sim features — and even some dating gameplay too.
Plus, one thing that has become clear to many lovers of this series is that the game is hard to find and play nowadays. Having it appear on PS Plus Premium would be a quick fix to a long-running problem with older Atlus games.
- Jason England
9. Syphon Filter
Much like The Getaway, Syphon Filter is heavily inspired by the movies it tries to mimic in story, tone and impressive set pieces, and chances are you already know this game guns for action movies.
The recipe for this action classic is an amalgamation of elements that have worked so well in other titles: think like a blend of Splinter Cell and Goldeneye with some 3D exploration to boot.
FMV sequences provide good story context to each of the varied levels, and while the controls do have a fair bit of PS1 woodiness to them, this is still an entertaining flashback to the 3rd person shooters of old.
- Jason England
10. Die Hard Trilogy
Die Hard Trilogy is one of my earliest gaming memories, alongside its sequel, Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas. I’ll never forget sitting in front of a tiny TV and watching my brother walk through an eerily empty warehouse before blasting enemies with a shotgun. Alongside the on-rail sections where players take down baddies running around a mall, it’d be fascinating to revisit these games and see how they hold up.
Unfortunately, even if these were titles that a large number of PlayStation fans wanted to see appear on the service, the chances are slim. Die Hard Trilogy and its sequel likely won’t make it onto PS Plus Premium due to ownership. After all, these games are based off of a series of films published by Fox, which is now owned by Disney. Sony will likely make its job as easy as possible and stick to games it already owns (or titles from publishers that it still frequently does business with). It’s easy to imagine how much of a hassle it would be to approach Disney for an unpopular game that the company didn’t even make and just happens to own through acquisition.
- Momo Tabari
11. Croc: Legend of Gobbos
Croc’s first adventure dropped in 1997 for the original PlayStation. It was a magical time for platformers with Crash Bandicoot and the (soon to be released) Spyro The Dragon a few months later.
But everyone’s favorite Crocodile was an iconic adventure that I absolutely loved playing as a kid. The first level soundtrack is still in my head to this day! To get that again on the top tier of PS Plus would be lovely.
It was a close call between this and Gex: Deep Cover Gecko, but revisiting the games helped me make the decision; the “adult humor” of Gex had me cringing so hard that I nearly fell off my chair.
- Jason England
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Jason brought a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag, and he is now the Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.