One of the perks of the new PlayStation Plus Premium subscription service is access to a number of classic games from the PlayStation vaults. While the list of PS Plus Classics is still small, Sony has confirmed that you can expect its retro library to grow in time. For those fans of retro gaming who don’t own a PS2, PS3, or PS Vita, this option is the next-best thing. In addition to quality-of-life upgrades, select games also come with trophy support, just in case you always wanted a few retro kudos for your efforts in classic titles.
Keep in mind that the classics library–PS1, PS2, and PSP–is only available to PlayStation Plus Premium members. The classics library mostly contains PS1 and PS2 at the moment, with just a couple of PSP games up for grabs. Streaming PS3 games on PS Plus also requires a Premium membership. But essentially, if you’re looking for some nostalgia, you should opt for the Premium membership over the slightly cheaper Extra subscription.
Our list of the best classics for PlayStation Plus Premium members includes some all-time greats that will take you back to the age of CRT TVs and wired controllers. But now you can play them with your fancy wireless DualSense controller and on a gorgeous display. We’ve excluded PS4 remasters of classic games that originally released on PS1, PS2, or PSP. That means you won’t find Patapon or Locoroco on this list.
For more suggestions, you should also check out our list of the best new PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium games to play right now, and every game in the PS Plus Extra and Premium library.
Ape Escape 1 + 2
Ape Escape set a new benchmark for the PlayStation by being the first game to require players to use the DualShock controller. The zany platforming game, which made use of both analog sticks, quickly became a runaway success. As the title suggests, Ape Escape revolves around capturing escaped apes with a variety of gadgets. The sequel launched on PlayStation 2 and added new gadgets and better graphics. We’re recommending both Ape Escape games on the service, but you’ll probably get the most enjoyment out of them by starting with the first before moving onto the more refined sequel.
Dark Cloud 2
What happens when you combine time travel, RPG elements, and at least one power-hungry Emperor hellbent on destroying the world? You get the cult-classic PS2 RPG Dark Cloud 2, one of the pioneers of cel-shaded visuals and loaded with an impressive amount of flexible gameplay options. The original Dark Cloud is also on PlayStation Plus. If you have dozens of hours to sink in lengthy RPGs, go ahead and start with the first game. We explicitly chose Dark Cloud 2 because it removed some of the tedious grinding found in the original.
If you’re looking for a cerebral challenge, Echochrome is well worth looking at for its collection of brain-teasers and elegantly minimalist design that provides a fresh perspective on puzzles.
Hot Shots Golf
The first game in the Everybody’s Golf series, this original title might look simple but it’s full of fun and challenging scenarios that make it well worth checking out today if you like arcade golf games.
Another terrific puzzle game, Mr. Driller is fast and frantic exploration as you battle against time and the threat of blocks falling on your head, burying you under a mountain of colorful rubble.
Jak and Daxter 1-3
Jak and Daxter haven’t been given a PlayStation revival yet, but until that day arrives, the Naughty Dog duo’s original trilogy of platforming misadventures deserve to be revisited. We recommend playing them in order. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is a traditional action-platformer that tells the origin story of the unlikely heroes. Meanwhile, Jak 2 shakes things up significantly by taking players to a sprawling metropolis. You could compare it to Grand Theft Auto. And Jak 3 introduces larger vehicular combat and massive wastelands. All told, this is a trilogy that shouldn’t be missed.
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
Follow me! Wonderfully weird, the first Oddworld was a visual delight that focused on pacifistic puzzle-solving, telepathic powers, and exploration of a world where being at the bottom of the food chain could result in a grim demise.
As first-person shooters began to rise up in popularity, Red Faction came along with an ambitious idea to create a world that was more destructible than a Michael Bay movie set. The Martian uprising story wasn’t half-bad either. Red Faction II is also available for PS Plus Premium subscribers.
Resident Evil: Director’s Cut
The game that set a new standard for survival-horror when it was first released in 1996, the original Resident Evil is still a spooky and unnerving game of expertly crafted zombie terror. With this Director’s Cut, expect that horror to be amplified with a selection of features that improves on the original.
When you’re playing as a character named Jaster Rogue, you know you’re in for some JRPG fun. A triple-threat of ahead-of-its-time gameplay, well-aged visuals, and an epic story set amongst the stars, Rogue Gallery is an underrated gem from the PS2 era.
Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter
Not just another great entry in the library of Star Wars space combat games, Jedi Starfighter added to the formula by incorporating Force powers into outer space dogfights. Unique gameplay, a great selection of starfighters, and replayable missions helped put a new spin on Force feedback.
Stealth-action gameplay was on the rise in the late ’90s, and Syphon Filter stood tall as one of the best that the genre had to offer. Terrific characters, a gripping plot, and polished gameplay combined to create some memorable espionage action back in 1999.
Why spend $10,000 on Tekken 2 when you can grab it through a more affordable PS Plus subscription instead? It might be decades old, but the first Tekken sequel shows no signs of ring rust in its old-school King of the Iron Fist tournament action.
Wild Arms 1 + 3
Another JRPG series that’s well overdue for a return to the spotlight, the first three Wild Arms games are available on PS Plus Premium. Whether it’s the PlayStation original or the third game in the series on PS2, this franchise deserves to be explored to see how wild west action, magical firepower, and vibrant visuals were combined to create a stunning JRPG series. We’re mainly recommending the stellar first and great third entries in the series here, as Wild Arms 2 was an underwhelming experience. That said, if you love the first Wild Arms, you may still want to check out the follow-up entry before moving to the PS2 era for Wild Arms 3.