For a company with a three-decade-long history in gaming, Sony has done a crappy job at preserving its legacy. Make no mistake, we're glad that some of the iconic games from the PS1, PS2, and PS3, as well as the PSP, and PS Vita, are available on the PS4 and the PS5, but there are plenty more that flew under the radar and have never been heard of since.
We're not just talking about middling games either. PlayStation is sitting on a treasure trove of smash hits that aren't available on any other modern console despite remaining popular among fans after all these years.
The silver lining here is that Sony has created a new team dedicated to preserving video games.
We're not saying that Garrett Fredley's hiring means that Sony is working on emulating older PlayStation games for the PS5. Fredley explained as much on Twitter, saying that his new work mostly involves archiving older titles. But, by archiving the source code for both current and legacy games, Sony is also making it easier to emulate said games for modern consoles.
TBD on whether I'll have much of a role to play personally in any emulation work, although I'll share what I can if it comes up. It's only my second day 😅
— Garrett Fredley (@SomeCronzaGuy) April 26, 2022
Having said that, we're assuming the best-case scenario and say that Sony has a virtual console-style emulation in the cards.
If this is the case, these are the classic PSOne, PS2, and PS3 games, that we'd all love to see make the jump to the PS5.
Digimon World 3
Digimon will forever play second fiddle to Pokemon. The gap between these two franchises is so laughably wide that it's unfair to compare them. Dial the clock back two decades ago and the idea that these two were neck-and-neck wasn't as impossible. In particular, the first few Digimon video games were actually quite good. Where Game Freak turned its gaming efforts on Nintendo platforms, specifically, the Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance, Bandai was more of a PlayStation fan.
In total, Bandai released four Digimon World games. Digimon World 3 is easily the best of the four.
Unlike its two predecessors, which were dungeon crawlers that dabbled with life-simulation elements, Digimon World 3 was a JRPG made in the same mold as the likes of Final Fantasy. Set in a world where Digimon Online is an MMORPG that humans can play, Digimon World 3 sees the game's protagonist, Junior, battle his way out of the digital game with the help of his friends and Digimon partners after being trapped inside by terrorists.
Even if you're not a big fan of Digimon, Digimon World 3's charm and fun, as well as the kick-ass card battle mini-game and massive pseudo-open world will draw you in.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Was this ever a surprise? You could make a case for us to fill our list with Metal Gear Solid games and you'd have merit. For years, Metal Gear Solid was synonymous with PlayStation. However, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is a special case - it's only available on the PS3.
Many consider Metal Gear Solid 4 the best game Hideo Kojima ever made, and while it had an annoying penchant for cutscenes, Guns of the Patriot was otherwise flawless. Perhaps it's no surprise that the game won several Game of the Year awards and got perfect reviews from even the stingiest of critics. It's also one of those games that made people buy a PS3 just for a chance to play it.
Even today, we'd understand if you wanted to track down a PS3 just for Metal Gear Solid 4. Of course, there's also no reason for Sony to make anyone go through such lengths for what many consider one of the best video games ever made.
The Legend of Dragoon
The PlayStation One was drowning with so many JRPGs that it took several years for the best ones to go unnoticed.
Case in point, The Legend of Dragoon.
The multi-disc JRPG was a brazen attempt at redefining the formula with turn-based battle sequences that required players to pay attention. This polarizing mechanic divided players at launch. As a result, many missed out on a high-fantasy story filled with dragons and war as well as eye-popping (well, at the time) cinematic visuals and character models with detailed environments that should have warranted at least one sequel.
Alas, The Legend of Dragoon never got a follow-up, but it did gain a cult following over the years.
The rumors of classic PlayStation games emulation for the PS4 and PS5 is an opportunity to introduce this magical journey to a wider audience.
Infamous & Infamous 2
Before Ghost of Tsushima, Sucker Punch Productions had Infamous. Although most may remember the name from the PS4 installment, the first two titles have been stuck inside the hell that is the PlayStation 3. This is a huge shame as both surprisingly hold up well despite their age. Not to mention, there was a time when fans mentioned Infamous in the same sentence as Uncharted and The Last of Us as flagship franchises.
If emulated for the PS4 and the PS5, we reckon that both would benefit from a few minor graphical improvements that could pave the way for another sequel.
An upscaled port of Ape Escape 2 is available on the PS5, but the attention should go to the 1999 original.
The 1999 title was one of the first games to utilize the first DualShock's analog sticks, using them to make hunting down and catching wild apes scattered throughout history fun and exciting. Age hasn't been too kind to its graphics, but this isn't necessarily something that a few touch-ups from already-existing emulation technology couldn't improve with little effort.
Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
On a list filled with console sellers, Gran Turismo stands tall as the biggest of them all. With nearly 100 million copies sold, Gran Turismo is the best-selling first-party PS franchise, and Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec might just be the best of the bunch. Although Gran Turismo 7 might get the most attention these days, the first GT game for the PlayStation 2 was monumental for its time.
Don't forget, the PS2 is the best-selling video game console of all time and its best-selling title was Gran Turismo 3.
It's sad that there is a generation of gamers that never got the chance to experience the first Silent Hill game in its heyday.
Sure, Silent Hill 2 has gotten recognition as the best in the franchise, and the somewhat passable movie adaptations have their fair share of fans, but it's hard to forget your first. Anyone who had the unfortunate luck of stumbling through the mysterious town of Silent Hill armed with nothing but a flashlight and a hardware-limitation fog that worked to great effect at creating the kind of atmosphere necessary to achieve a rare level of suspense and horror will tell you that there's a reason why the original Silent Hill is where you find out why the nightmares exist in a town full of them.
LittleBigPlanet 2 nurtures the creativity and imagination of its players like few console games can. The 2011 sequel used the first game's user-content creation tool, expanded it, and added a level of refinement that lets gamers create new worlds with unique stories. It's hard to believe the kind of stuff that the community has created in LittleBigPlanet 2 over the years. The only problem? Sony discontinued the game's online functionality last year, which is just sad.
A proper emulation for the PS4 or PS5 could give LittleBigPlanet 2 a much-needed second lease on life, even if it's only for the massive single-player campaign that was sorely lacking in the threequel.
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time
Just like Metal Gear Solid, you can argue that Ratchet & Clank deserves to take up more than just one spot on this list. However, for the sake of fairness, we went with just one, and what better title to lead the way for Insomniac Games' best-selling franchise than to name-drop the best Ratchet & Clank game ever?
Make no mistake. We loved Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and critics did too, but A Crack in Time was different. The PS3-exclusive project felt like the apex of everything that Ratchet & Clank stands for that no game has matched since let alone exceeded.