Retro STrife wrote:Nice going Eagle - that list reads like a "Who's Who" of must-play PS1 games. I played each of those series back in the PS1 days. Crash Bandicoot 3 was the first game I owned for my PS1; great game and it remained my favorite in the series even after playing Crash 1 & 2 (I think 2 was the weakest). Never was a big Spyro fan, but still it's a solid platformer. Great memories playing the first Syphon Filter - that was an impressive series when it started out on PS1, but I'd be surprised if a third-person shooter like that still holds up today (how was it?). Played the hell out of the THPS series, loved THPS 1-4 (2 and 3 were my favorites), lots of good times with siblings spent playing those.
And naturally Final Fantasy VII is one of my all time favorites. Like you, I had heard all the statements that it no longer holds up these days. Well, after going about 20 years without playing it, I finally revisited it a year or so ago. And like you, I found that it is still an excellent game. If you ask me the biggest factor in FF7's enduring success - I think it's undoubtedly the characters. The cast of characters (especially Cloud and Aerith) is probably the best of any RPG ever, and arguably the best of any game ever. The characters and story hold up as classics today, even if the gameplay is becoming dated. IMO the lifelong connection that gamers developed with those characters in the '90s is why the FF7 universe still remains popular today, despite being 20 years old and having no real sequels.
Have you played Metal Gear Solid? If you haven't, I highly recommend that for your next PS1 game. I think, viewed objectively, Metal Gear Solid is the best PS1 game. And it still holds up great today. I played it a few years ago, and was shocked it still played so well. As I played it, I kept thinking "Man, this could be released as a new game today and still be considered great." Fun gameplay, great story, and the best cutscenes of its time. Worth playing for sure.
Yeah I really did miss out on some absolute essentials back in the day! I usually had some experience with them, even if it was only briefly at a friends or in demos. I'm gonna blame it on not getting a Playstation until mid 1999 and entering my awkward teenage years at the same time affecting my gaming choices.
Apart from CTR, Crash Bash and an underwhelming demo of the first game - I never properly checked out Crash Bandicoot until a few years ago. Totally agree 3 is the best, it's got the best variety, bosses and replayability - it's the only one I'm really tempted to try to 100%. But oddly, despite that, 2 is my favourite and I felt 1 was the weakest. Still massively enjoyed all three.
Spyro, again was only a demo experience. I've started playing the 2nd one and I've enjoyed both a lot more than I was expecting to. In some ways I actually prefer them to Crash, but I tend to dip in and out of them. I can only really handle playing 2-3 levels in a row before needing a break for a day or two, whereas Crash I could sit for a marathon session and only need a 10min cool down if a bit of nerd rage started setting in.
I do have a real soft spot for Syphon Filter. I owned 2 and 3 back in the day (never completed either, but played and completed the first game a few years ago) and I remember thinking even then that they seemed outdated with their blocky graphics. I can't put my finger on what about it really engaged me and still does. But how does it compare today? I still can't put my finger on it but it really does have a certain charm about it. The voice acting and the dialogue is even worse than I remember but it's mostly cheesy in an entertaining way like a late 80s action movie. It's weird as well, because all the games have their own over-the-top set-pieces straight out of a 80s action movie that are just so ridiculous... but the gameplay takes itself seriously. It might even be the gameplay that's the real winner, it seamlessly blends action and stealth (the 3rd game not so much though), even the mission objectives change on the fly. It's rarely ever boring. Everything about it, right down to the conspiracy storyline is dated, but I still had a lot of fun, and maybe that's what I find so endearing about it.
FF7 made me care about the characters so much. I knew the Arieth bit was coming but it still got me. In some ways it made her dialogue and actions in the build up to the infamous moment even more heartbreaking. The whole game took me on a rollercoaster of emotions I wasn't expecting, all the characters have their own flaws and heartbreaking moments and it all just mixes together perfectly.
I can't wait to go replay MGS. I owned it when it was newish but never managed to complete it. I revisited it a few years ago intending to see it through, but I think life just got in the way. Got a few games in mind lined-up to play, but MGS is definitely near the top of my list.