PlayStation Plus revamp brings unannounced features to older games

While we already knew that the revamped PlayStation Plus would allow Premium-tier subscribers to play a selection of classic games, Sony’s been a little bit cagey on how it will actually work. Now that the service has officially launched in a handful of Asian countries, we’re learning more about how playing these classics will actually work—and there are a few surprises.

For starters, the selection of games includes at least a few Sony didn’t announce prior to launch. As Eurogamer reports, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee for the PlayStation 1 and Ridge Racer 2 for the PlayStation Portable are both available for purchase in regions where PSN is now live. Those weren’t on the original list.

What’s more, early screenshots of the games running through emulation—those originally released for PS1 and PSP—look much crisper than you might expect, pointing to some decent tech running the games.

The best rundown of the emulation tech we’ve seen comes from YouTuber Mystic. He put together a fairly exhaustive breakdown of the emulation tech using Abe’s Oddysee, which he accessed through the Malaysian PSN.

The video is worth a full watch, but we’ll run down the highlights. First, playing a PlayStation 1 game on PS4 or PS5 means you’ll have access to save states and a rewind feature. That puts it in line with the emulation Nintendo has implemented for Nintendo Switch Online, as well as its NES and SNES Classic boxes. (What’s interesting, however, is that the Nintendo 64 games on NSO don’t actually support rewind, so these PS1 games are the most advanced/recent to support a rewind feature in official emulation.)

Next, you’ll be able to choose between three different visual presets: Default, Retro Classic, and Modern. Mystic found that the Default and Modern options both seem to rely on similar image filtering techniques, with Default being brighter, while Retro Classic adds in a scanline filter to replicate old CRT TVs.

Finally, at least in terms of major settings, you can pick the aspect ratio or resolution the game displays at. The Native Resolution setting displays it at the original pixel size—leaving a ton of black space on your display, unless you’re rocking a teeny tiny monitor. 1:1 makes the image a square, Square Pixels ensures pixels are always displayed as squares (duh), and Wide Zoom stretches the image to fill your display completely. The last two options, 4:3 for 16:10 and 4:3 for 16:9, will look the most natural, with the proper setting depending on the ratio of your display.

Mystic also noticed a handful of other details. For one, trophies won’t be forced into every PlayStation 1 game, though we already knew that at least one will add them. For another, purchasing a PS1 game on its own (rather than playing it through a Premium subscription) may be very affordable. The Malaysian prices all work out to be somewhere in the range of US$5 to US$10. So if there are a few classic games you’ve wanted to try out and don’t feel like paying a monthly subscription, you should be able to grab them without breaking the bank.

The new PlayStation Plus launches in the U.S. and Canada on June 13th, and in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand on June 23rd.

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