Since Lord Spencer and I are collaborating on a Syphon Filter blog series, I decided to use this as an opportunity to take a look at the PS4 and PS5 Classics Catalog. I was fortunate to pick up my PS5 only a few weeks ago! Thus, I tested Syphon Filter on both consoles to get a feel for some of the differences between the versions. So with all of this in mind, let’s take a look at Sony’s Classics Catalog features and settings, using Syphon Filter as the game to explore the settings with.
As of now, all PS1 and PSP games in the Classics Catalog contain the following features: rewinding, save states, upscaling, and three custom display options. Syphon Filter also comes with trophy support, which is not included for the full Classics Catalog.
For trophies, Syphon Filter contains 16 in total. As usual, the hidden trophies contain some spoilery elements. The rest of the trophies are obtained through doing some arbitrary task in the game, or for finding secrets. Only 6 of the 16 trophies are non-hidden trophies. This includes the platinum trophy.
I would have liked to see a more robust trophy lineup. Years ago, one of the primary talking points of Syphon Filter was the taser weapon. If done right, you could fire the taser halfway across a D.C. city blog, hit a guy in the head, and fry him to a crisp. Such a feat is deserving of a trophy. Isn’t that why The Agency hired Gabe to begin with?
The PS5 Versions Output at 1440p
For my setup, I’m gaming on a 40” Samsung LCD TV. This TV is from 2010, so it outputs at a 1080p resolution. Although I cannot comment on any higher resolutions, this game looks exactly how I want it to look in 1080p.
Proving that the game looks as one would “expect” is of course not necessary, but it’s totally doable. If you have an original PS1 lying around, go ahead and plug that thing into your flat screen TV. Then promptly deal with your disgust at how blurry the image looks. All of this is proof that the Classic Catalog contains some level of upscaling underneath the hood.
While we don’t have a ton of technical details about how the upscaling works, the PS4 games from the Classics Catalog output at 1080p and the PS5 games output at 1440p. While it would have been nice if the PS5 versions took advantage of 4K, PS5 players will have to settle with 1440p. For comparison, the original game was displayed at 240p in its 1999 release.
When you first boot up the game, a splash screen greets you with a picture of either the DualShock 4 or the DualSense, guiding you on how to access the menus. The “start” and “select” buttons have been moved to the touchpad. This means the “options” button is where you access the aforementioned features. The “share” button acts as it normally does, allowing you to take screenshots, videos, or broadcast your game.
All Classics Titles Offer a Rewind
The options menu gives you a timeline of your play session. This timeline is how you access the rewind feature. The timeline displays screenshots of the game. To rewind back, simply select a screenshot to return to that point in your playthrough. The timeline begins when you first boot up the game, and it remains there throughout the entirety of your play session. However, when you turn off the game the timeline will be lost.
The timeline is also where you access save states. Loading a save state does reset the timeline, so you may want to save your current progress before loading a previous save state. On a similar note, when you click “load & save,” the load option appears as the default option. Because of this, it would be very easy to lose your progress by accidentally clicking “load” instead of “save.” So for those of you using save states, navigate this menu carefully.
Save states are entirely optional, and entirely separate from the built-in memory card. So any PS1 game that had a memory card on its original hardware will have a software-based memory card on the PS4 and PS5. As expected, memory card files and save states are all transferred to the cloud if you’re using cloud storage with PS Plus. Similarly, PSP games have a software-based memory stick.
As far as image settings are concerned, the menu offers three visual presets: default, retro classic, and modern. I did not notice a huge difference between default and modern. The retro classic setting gives the game a slightly darker tone. It also adds scanlines, which some people will love or hate. The retro classic is my preferred video setting. Since some of the corridors are immensely dark, I was forced to use the flashlight from time to time – a true Syphon Filter experience.
One Graphics Filter Offers Scanlines
The rewind option came in handy during my playthrough of Syphon Filter. While playing through the second mission, I encountered a graphical glitch that caused the floor to disappear. The game froze, and I had to rewind to a stable part of the map. Also on screen was an impressive display of flashing colors. The pixels went entirely haywire. This happened in the same spot each time I walked up to it. Through my entire playthrough, this only happened in that location. I tried to recreate the glitch in order to get a screenshot, but sadly it didn’t occur again on my second try.
Syphon Filter also has the option to switch between NTSC (60 Hz) and PAL (50 Hz). I can’t say for sure if all of the Classics Catalog games offer this feature, as I had difficulty finding this exact information online. I also had trouble confirming if all of the Classics Catalog offers 60 Hz and 50 Hz in all regions. But for anyone playing Syphon Filter in PAL regions, you should have no problem running on hardware that requires 50 Hz.
That wraps up all of the features and settings for the Classics Catalog. Truthfully, the games have been released at a frustratingly slow pace. But Sony’s official blog typically posts new releases on a monthly basis. It should also be mentioned that not all of these games require a PS Plus subscription. The Syphon Filter games in particular can be purchased as standalone games without a PS Plus membership. The only feature you’ll miss out on is the option to back up your saves to the cloud.
But with all of this in mind, what do you guys think? Will you be playing Syphon Filter on your PS4 or PS5? Did you opt in for the PS Plus premium membership? And if so, what do you think of the Classics Catalog offerings so far?