The selection of games is only one part of what makes a classic games collection worth picking up. A good collection also needs a well-designed interface and strong emulation. Thankfully, the Sega Genesis Classics collection really hits the mark on both fronts.
The collection’s 3D front end consists of a bedroom filled with Sega memorabilia, a console and TV, and a shelf full of Genesis games. From there, you can adjust a variety of settings, browse the games library, visit the games menu, and hop into online multiplayer. The interface looks great and is fairly easy to navigate.
The extras menu lacks any historical/museum content like you’d find in Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. But it does have optional single-player challenges for 20 of the included games. The only rewards for completing them all are Achievements/Trophies, but completionists should enjoy them. Separate from the Challenges, many of the games in this collection get their own fun Achievements/Trophies too.
The actual emulation in Sega Genesis Classics is very impressive to my eyes and ears. You can play games on the front-end room’s virtual television, at full height with selectable borders, or stretched to fit the full widescreen display. Further options include scanlines, multiple antialiasing styles, and more. All games support multiple save states and instant rewinding functions as well, making the occasionally unfairly difficult games of yesteryear much more completable. Oddly, the collection only provides two control configurations, but they should fit most players’ needs.
The one unimpressive aspect of Sega Genesis Classics is its online play. Things look good at first, with matchmaking helping you find any open game rather than separate matchmaking for each game. Games can be filtered out of matchmaking too. The host player can navigate the front-end, save and load states, and change games without booting the second player. The second player has a brief window to confirm game changes, and only multiplayer games appear on the shelf during online multiplayer.
What’s wrong with online multiplayer then? Why, the netcode. Without hyperbole, Sega Genesis Classics has the worst netcode of any game I’ve played in this console generation. Whether playing with someone near or far, the game is unplayably laggy for both players. I would hope for Sega to fix the netcode in an update, but the long-released PC version’s netcode is just as bad as the console versions. The developers at d3t limited seem totally incapable of writing proper netcode, which is a real shame.
Even though Sega Genesis Classics has the worst imaginable netcode, I still heartily recommend it to classic gaming fans. Every other aspect of the collection is top notch, and you can still have plenty of fun with local co-op – just as many of us did on the original Sega Genesis/Mega Drive.
The Co-Optimus Co-Op Review of SEGA Genesis Classics is based on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game. Codes were provided by the publisher for review purposes.
The Co-Op Experience: Players can team up online or on the couch in those titles that support it
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.