Best PS1 Games Ever – Retro Gaming the Right Way
We knew you wanted more! Why are we looking at the Best PS1 Games? Well, enough of you out there wrote in after our Best Games Ever article, that we've caved to your demands! If you've not gone and read that article, what are you doing? Go check it out! Go ahead, we'll wait.
Happy? Angry? Ready to find a few more gems hidden in the best games out there? While we love ALL retro games, and have looked closely in the past at games for specific consoles, like the Gameboy advance, this article is going to go deep, looking at the best Playstation One games ever!
For your consideration, a list of the best games ever to grace the tiny grey console. No top list, no genre restrictions, just a cluster of the best Playstation One games.
BEST PS1 GAMES - The Oxymoronic, Ongoing Final Fantasy Series
Let's just get this out of the way now, shall we? You want a list detailing the best PS1 games ever... but you also want a list that gives you new insights into games you've not heard of or played before.
Sometimes I think you ask too much!
The vast majority of this list is devoted to undiscovered gems. Diamonds in the rough. But sometimes, we just need to talk about the classics! So, let's just get the obligatory out of the way...
Best PS1 Games: Final Fantasy 7
Final Fantasy 7 was incredible. It was the game that won the market, changed lives, ushered young men through puberty, and just generally owned the damn console.
A game so good, it made us all forget the horrific side quests... like where you attempt to become more attractive by going to a gym and beating the local gym bros at a squat contest.
Final Fantasy 7 featured lengthy game play, diverse characters, open world elements, hidden bosses, a gorgeous soundtrack, and cut scenes. So many cut scenes.
And we loved every single one.
Best PS1 Games: Final Fantasy 8
Final Fantasy 8 was the emo younger brother to 7. It had more edgy haircuts, twice as many sullen protagonists (two... it had two protagonists), and frankly, the most ridiculous weapon I can think of!
While not the console darling that Final Fantasy 7 became, there's a lot to love about 8. It has a complex in story trading card game, and a serious dark grit to its plot, the likes of which we wouldn't see again until Final Fantasy 10.
Best PS1 Games: Final Fantasy 9
Final Fantasy 9, however, was that creative younger brother who just somehow understands the world on a different level. Moving away from the angst of 8, 9 remembered the roots of the Final Fantasy series, and gave us something stylistically unique. You're a young sky pirate Goku in a travelling circus... and that's where the story STARTS?!
Its cute graphics just set us up for harder hitting emotional gut punches.
If you haven't seen the franchise hit some of the highest peaks it ever reached, then you should really hunt up a copy of Final Fantasy 9. Lucky for you, Sony has ported several of the best PlayStation One games, including many of the Final Fantasy installments, to other platforms. You can even play all three of these games on your phone, depending on your platform.
And to top it off with the shiniest cherry we can imagine, Square Enix is preparing release on their completely remastered Final Fantasy 7!
I can't wait to have my heart broken in high definition.
One more acknowledged classic, and we'll get into the hidden gems... but if I didn't mention this one, I'd get so much hate mail shoved into every opening of my house, I'd think my uncle had been blocking my Hogwarts letter!
BEST PS1 GAMES: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
So, for those younger readers who may not be in the loop, goth was a movement in the mid to late 80s where people wallowed in how sad they were, while dressing up in spikey leather fetish gear. Think of it like a kind of hardcore emo.
Embracing all of the charm of the goth movement, the melodrama of synth-based organ music, extravagant Transylvanian castle backdrops, and the most luscious locks ever to grace a protagonist, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was by and far the best PlayStation One game in the platformer genre.
The thing that really sparks the imagination, even to this day, is the hidden design aspect. You could jump in and play the story, bashing through gothic tropes like a combo of the Kool Aid Man and a Loreal ad.
That's one way to play. BUT, if you looked deeper and went downstairs, you'd discover that the castle in this castlevania, like any good haunted house, is built with eighty percent of it hidden underground! Adding literal hours of gameplay, the hidden areas of Symphony of the Night were not only amazing Easter eggs, they also gave us some of the most unique and interesting boss fights ever to grace the PlayStation one!
Walking the line between nightmarish gothic hellscape, and campy Saturday morning cartoon, with a crispy platformer coating, there's no wondering why Symphony of the Night is considered by many to be one of the best PS1 games ever!
OK, that's out of the way. Now we can get onto some of that good stuff that you should be hitting eBay up for.
BEST PS1 GAMES: Vagrant Story
So, maybe I'm biased... or maybe Square Enix just REALLY understood the PS1!
Do you miss the days when games didn't feel the need to dumb stories down for players? Vagrant Story takes notes from Hollywood screenwriters, starting us "In Media Res" (in the middle of the action), with our protagonist, Ashley Riot, being framed for murder! Jumpcut, one week earlier, and we get to play through the actions, knowing where the story leads!
Story alone isn't enough to make it the best Playstation One games ever? How about crazy gameplay that breaks the mould! Sick of spending all of your RPG time in shops? Vagrant Story doesn't have any! Gather and craft EVERYTHING. Want an RPG with optional platformer elements? Mr Riot can run, jump, and shove things around to enable some insanely complex and intricate puzzle rooms which, even after you've solved once, offer the challenge of "EVOLVE OF DIE!" mode, where you have to complete them again, but this time, against the clock!
So, recapping, a complex tale of action, adventure, with puzzle solving, combat heavy, platforming insanity? Yeah, best Playstation One game contender for sure!
BEST PS1 GAMES: Silent Hill
So, you wanted to play a game set in a town heavily influenced by The Wicker Man?
Well, can I interest you in some Silent Hill action?
I know, I know, you've heard all about Silent Hill 2, and all the fanfare around it (and hey, it's well deserved, but it's a PS2 release, so you can just forget about that here, Mr!). Well, let me tell you something, the original is no slouch... it's actually one of the best Playstation One Games!
The amazing thing that Silent Hill did, is it actually UNDERSTOOD horror! Before this, horror games were just jump scares and monsters.
Silent Hill doesn't give you an action hero. It gives you a putz. A useless, weak, putz who has never held a gun a day in his life.
Which means... don't get into a fight! You're a crap shot with a gun. Use your flashlight to see what's trying to kill you, then, don't be there when it comes to kill you!
The realism here was insane, as well. Do YOU have a health bar? Do you know EXACTLY how injured you are in the real world? Or is it just a vague sense of somewhere between "Pfft, I'm a grown man!" and "I need my mummy!!"
Well, Silent Hill gave us a vibrating control pad, pulsating in time with your heartbeat... but that's it! Are you at 20% or 5% health? No idea. You're hurt. Run. RUN!
Who would have thought the best PS1 game would be amazing because it left you in control of a weenie?
BEST PS1 GAMES: Bushido Blade
Continuing the trend of heightened realism in gaming... and the trend of recommending games by Square Enix, we recommend Bushido Blade!
While playing amazingly entertaining games like Soul Caliber, have you ever thought "there's no way someone could take that many sword slaps to the face without at least slowing down a little!"
Well, Bushido Blade agrees with you! Most fights ended with one firm steel plated swipe! And on the few times it didn't, your opponent was pretty seriously crippled! Maybe it's just the sadist in me, but there's something satisfying in seeing your opponent crawl away from you as fast as they can while they bleed from a massive leg injury!
Well, at least now I have something new to talk to my therapist about on Tuesday!
BEST PS1 GAMES: Micro Machines V3
I can't rave about this game enough. You know and love Mario Kart, right? Right. But you know, deep in your heart, that it doesn't just start fights... it creates blood feuds!
Now imagine if instead of sitting on opposite ends of the room while you silently grumble about your opponent's perpetual luck in scoring Red Shells, you were tied to them, like A MICHAEL JACKSON VIDEO CLIP!
Micro Machines V3 was a premier racing game on the Playstation One, even introducing 'pad share' whereby you could play a four-player game with only two controllers! D-pad for one, buttons for the other... good luck!
Not hard enough? While other games encouraged players of all skill levels, Micro Machines V3 slammed you with no split screen options! You fall behind? Good luck finding your way back to the screen! Gotta be the best racer to be the best at one of the best PlayStation One games ever!
BEST PS1 GAMES: In Conclusion
You can see from this short list of games just how that amazing little grey box started a legacy, now 4 consoles deep. The best PlayStation One games could easily transfer over into a list of the best games ever (which, if you take a look at that article, they totally did!) Sony and their affiliates are busy remaking a large number of these games, which really tells us that there is something special about them!
So, there you have it. You now know, categorically, the best Playstation One games ever to be released. And the best news about it? You should be able to hunt up a working console on ebay, some second hand discs at your local thrift shop, or even check out one of the many emulators out there so you can get your hands on these classics!