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There Are Only 3 Near-Perfect PS1 Games, According To Metacritic

The PlayStation Classic may have bombed when it debuted in 2018, but the original PlayStation console sold incredibly well (via MarketWatch). While Sony's first attempt at console gaming earned a reputation as the home for acclaimed and beloved franchises such as "Final Fantasy" and "Metal Gear Solid," only three titles within its library were nearly perfect, and they may not be the first games that come to mind when you think of the PlayStation 1.

According to review aggregation website Metacritic, these three games are the only PlayStation 1 titles to achieve an average critical review score of 96/100 or higher. This doesn't mean that they were the best-selling titles on the console, but they certainly aren't hidden gems either. In fact, PlayStation fans are likely familiar with all three of the franchises that these offerings belong to thanks to the fact that they've each received sequels or remasters on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

3. Gran Turismo makes its enormous debut

Based on a Metacritic score of 96, "Gran Turismo" takes third place. Developed by Polys Entertainment (later known as Polyphony Digital), this title went on to become the PlayStation 1's best seller – at least if you count the versions of the game that came boxed with promotional PlayStations. A pretty impressive record for an IP's debut title.

As several critic reviews pointed out, "Gran Turismo" did a lot for the racing simulator genre. "Is it really that realistic? The answer to that is a plain 'YES.' When you have a PlayStation steering wheel, you could practice for your real-life driver's license with this game," All Game Guides wrote. Of course, some of the critic responses definitely show their age. GMR Magazine, for example, said in its original review that, "The replays had some of us doing double-takes to make sure we weren't watching real race footage." People likely wouldn't make this comparison today, but plenty of writeups praised the actual gameplay.

GamePro's review cited "Gran Turismo" as having, "unbelievable depth, raucous arcade action, challenging sim gameplay, and more cars than a mall parking lot." All of this glowing feedback wasn't lost on fans either, with the user score on Metacritic sitting comfortably at 8.6. This strong start helped the series generate some staying power. The most recent entry, "Gran Turismo 7," earned a collective 87 from critics following its 2022 release. However, "Gran Turismo 7" also set an unfortunate Metacritic record by earning the lowest user ranking ever.

2. Tekken 3 punches its way to number two

"Gran Turismo" sits below "Tekken 3" despite the fact that the Namco-created fighter has an equal Metacritic score of 96. It's unclear what led this arcade-style brawler to a higher spot, but it could pertain to the fact that "Tekken 3" has a better user rating score on Metacritic than "Gran Turismo." Regardless, both games rest only four points shy of perfection.

Several critics loved "Tekken 3" so much that they questioned whether it would receive any worthy sequels. IGN stated, "The only gripe that we'd have with it is that Namco's set the bar so high that we shudder with anticipation and dread over what the designers'll have to do to top this." Likewise, GamePro's review said that a project hoping to outshine "Tekken 3" would "need to have a ton of moves (T3 has over 100 per character), multi-hit combos (all T3 fighters can pull off 10-hitters), outstanding graphics (T3 has no breakup on the fighters, no 'blind spots' where clipping occurs, and no slowdown), and seamless gameplay that includes juggles, counters, and linking moves." That's an awfully large list of requirements for a fighting game to deliver on to go toe-to-toe with "Tekken 3."

Much like "Gran Turismo," "Tekken" has remained a successful franchise, with the newest entry, "Tekken 8," scheduled to land at some point in 2023.

1. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 takes the cake

Only two points separate "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2" from a perfect Metacritic score of 100. While a 98 places the skateboarding simulator above its competition in the eyes of critics, its 7.4 user score rests significantly lower than both "Gran Turismo" and "Tekken 3."

Plenty of user feedback on Metacritic asserted that this title is overrated, but critics celebrated "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2" in their original reviews. GameSpot highlighted the larger levels, more robust trick catalog, and refined gameplay, while Happy Puppy said it "could possibly be the best game ever." In fact, that sentiment rang true for many critics judging by the game's status as the highest ranked original PlayStation title on Metacritic and the fact that Metacritic listed it as the second best game of all time across any platform.

The 2020 remaster "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2," which included both the first and second entries in the series, didn't quite reach the same heights as the original "Pro Skater 2," though an 89 for PS4 and a 90 for PS5 is still impressive.