PlayStation Plus Classic Games Emulation Doesn’t Hold Up Well In Early Tests

Sony recently released its new PlayStation Plus tiers in certain regions, including the first volley of classic games available through the upper tier of the service. Digital Foundry took a look at the service and concluded that while this is a definite improvement over the PlayStation Classic mini-console, it’s far from perfect.

In the Digital Foundry video, analyst John Linneman notes that this should be considered a preliminary evaluation since the service hasn’t fully launched in all territories. And he says to start that this is better than the emulator included in the PlayStation Classic, and includes some nice extra features like hi-res rendering and a rewind function.

But then Linneman gets into some of the technical details, which are less than flattering. Starting with Ape Escape, the analysis confirms many of these games are using the PAL versions, rather than NTSC, causing frame pacing issues with the type of displays used throughout much of the world. To make things stranger, the cutscenes have a variance to the frame rate that makes it even more juttered than usual. In-game, it runs at 25 fps. An update issued during the analysis period seems to have added a smoothing feature, but that has the side effect of making a “ghost” effect on objects in-game.

In the case of Ape Escape and other PAL versions, the games are also running slower than intended and in unusual aspect ratios. Various aspect ratio options are available, but it seems that most of them don’t function as they should, stretching the video or otherwise displaying incorrectly.”

The emulation also includes some visual mode options, which present their own challenges. For example, a scanline option imitates the look of a CRT display, but the scanlines don’t match the pixel grid of the game, which means that some pixels get split in half. It’s a small touch, but it may be distracting.

You can watch the full video for the breakdown for more, including details on PS2 and PSP emulation. The new PlayStation Plus is scheduled to launch June 13 in the US. It comes in three tiers: Essential, which includes the current Plus benefits like multiplayer access and a couple of games per month. Extra includes a catalog of up to 400 games from the PS4 and PS5 libraries, and Premium includes that as well as back-catalog games from PlayStation, PS2, PSP, and PS3 libraries. For more, check out the leak of PS Plus games for June.

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