Marseille’s mClassic reviewed

mClassic and Last-generation consoles

Let’s fast-forward a few years and see what the mClassic does to PlayStation 3 games. If the results from the Xbox is any indication, I think we’re in for a treat. We’ll look at a couple games games to get a feel for how it performs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t capture images via HDMI on the PlayStation 3, because there’s no way to turn off HDCP and RECentral 4 wouldn’t play ball. Instead, I busted out my HD Retrovision PS2/PS3 YPbPr component cable, which puts out an excellent analog signal. I piped that into the same converter used by the Xbox and got some pretty clean images.

Uncharted 3

The PS3’s library has plenty of 3D action games, and perhaps the most well-known series on the console is Uncharted. First we’ll take a look at Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, which is my personal favorite entry on PS3. The game’s early interactive tutorial had a couple of scenes where the action stops, so flipping the effect on and off and capturing it on camera was easy.

Uncharted 3 image 1 unprocessedUncharted 3 unprocessed – scene 1. This is one of the best-looking games on the system

Uncharted 3 image 1 processed by mClassic

Uncharted 3 processed by the mClassic. The device’s mix of filters does very well here.

When you look at high-contrast areas of these images, the upscaling and sharpening effects are very apparent, but the antialiasing less so. You’re not going to mistake the game for its PS4 port, but the image looks better with the mClassic than without. Look at the angry guy sitting down on the right. While there aren’t any extra details, his face isn’t a muddy mess. Unlike the retro consoles, the mClassic doesn’t seem to add any over-sharpening halos or artifacts, and the antialiasing looks pretty nice. I think this is a win for the mClassic.

Disgaea D2

Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness‘s art employs 2D sprites on basic 3D backgrounds. The sprites look nice at 720p all by themselves, and the character portraits during conversations feature a lot of detail. Will the mClassic antialias and sharpen these images to fool your eyes into seeing extra detail, or turn them into a colorful disaster?

Disgaea D2 unprocessed

Disgaea D2 unprocessed. The 720p graphics are sharp as a tack, considering the relatively low resolution. 

Disgaea D2 enhanced by mClassic

Disgaea D2 processed by the mClassic. Again, the dongle acquits itself nicely.

Fortunately, the mClassic does well with these images. It pulls out just enough of the rough edges to make the portraits pop without turning the sprites into an over-sharpened swath of colors. Even the low-fidelity backgrounds look better with sharpened textures. For PlayStation 3 or (by extension) Xbox 360 owners, the mClassic won’t beef up frame rates, but it does a nice job giving what’s there new life.

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Ben Funk

Sega nerd and guitar lover

24 Comments
    • Durante
    • 2 weeks ago

    As far as I know I was the first person to implement (and come up with?) this idea, a bit over 8 years ago:
    https://www.neogaf.com/threads/fxaa-for-all-ps3-and-xbox360-games.438638/

    Interestingly, back then some people already asked for a “plug and play” product version of it, which this seems to be. I’d argue it was actually more relevant back then, with many high-end (at the time) console games on 360 and PS3 releasing with no or inadequate AA.

    Reply
    • Dangit Bobby
    • 3 weeks ago

    Why do you call it an “Earth Dollar” when it’s only available in America?

    Reply
    • AnonymousCoward
    • 3 weeks ago

    In regards to the Nintendo Switch use case: setting the Switch to 720p in docked mode does *not* improve its performance since the device downscales the 1080p output.

    Reply
    • jihadjoe
    • 3 weeks ago

    Did you test how much input lag it adds when doing processing? TVs with built-in sharpening or smoothing effects usually add a ton of lag so when gaming it’s almost always been better to turn that crap off.

    Reply
      • Ben Funk
      • 3 weeks ago

      That’s one thing I would have love to have tested, and if someone wanted to provide the gear, I’d happily still test it. The Time Sleuth is probably the least expensive version of what I’d need:

      https://shop.dansprojects.com/time-sleuth-lag-tester.html

      Reply
      • sirdrak
      • 6 days ago

      Less than 1 ms. I have the mCable Gaming Edition and there is no appreciable lag

      Reply
    • DPete27
    • 4 weeks ago

    It looks like a great product that works. Especially for consoles. Seems $100 is a bit high and that ~$75 would attract a larger market via gifting but…

    Reply
    • Waco
    • 4 weeks ago

    I mean, it’s cool and all, but I just can’t see myself ever paying for something like this given the cost and not ultra-significant improvements in IQ.

    Reply
      • Aaron Vienot
      • 4 weeks ago

      I could see myself spending $100, if I still had time to play console games more often. Getting the visual cleanup with the option to un-stretch the HD image would be pretty useful with the N64 and HDMI converter combo I have kicking around.

      Reply
        • ludi
        • 4 weeks ago

        Hah…just doxed myself. Was still logged into my WP account. But everyone will know soon enough anyway.

        Reply
          • Ben Funk
          • 4 weeks ago

          dundunduhnnnnnnnn

          Reply
          • superjawes
          • 4 weeks ago

          Had you not replied, no one would have known, Aaron…IF THAT IS YOUR REAL NAME.

          Reply
        • LMAO

          Reply
          • deputy dawg
          • 4 weeks ago

          YOU DONE MESSED UP A-A-RON!

          Reply
        • Ben Funk
        • 4 weeks ago

        N64 seems to be getting a lot of love with this thing. Several YouTubers seem to like the effect with Rogue Squadron and Mario 64. I don’t have an N64 because it’s a terrible system. 😆

        Reply
          • superjawes
          • 4 weeks ago

          You’re just a Sony shill!

          Reply
            • Ben Funk
            • 4 weeks ago

            I was a Sega shill back when I shilled for consoles. 😀 The early release of the Saturn caught me by surprise so I didn’t get a Saturn at launch, but by November of 1995 I had saved my pennies and bought one for Four Hundred Dollars expecting the next awesome Sonic and Streets of Rage titles. And my Saturn experience didn’t stop me from buying a Dreamcast, either.

            I even married a Sega shill. My wife had a Master System when we were dating. Not sure where it wound up, though.

            • superjawes
            • 3 weeks ago

            (Nested reply limit reached!)

            @FunkyPants I just had to take a shot as a resident Nintendo Fanboy. Had every console that wasn’t the original or a Virtual Boy. I acknowledge that the PS1 was a great console to widen the market, and it highlighted some of Nintendo’s issues (especially with the GC and PS2 era).

            Sega…I just kinda feel bad. Even if the Dreamcast could have survived the PS2, it wasn’t going to survived the PS2 + XBFirst.

          • ludi
          • 4 weeks ago

          Super Smash Brothers. Argument refuted.

          Although I do wish I had a classic Sega. Neighborhood friend had one when I was young and we wasted many hours on that thing. I ran quite a few Sega games on emulator for a while in college a while after, but haven’t done anything with that in a while. Can’t quite convince myself to pick up one of the retro-console kits, due to many competing uses for money.

          Reply
            • Ben Funk
            • 3 weeks ago

            Smash is alright. Melee was so much better, though. The GameCube is underappreciated, for sure.

          • usacomp2k3 (AJ)
          • 3 weeks ago

          N64 Mario Kart is the best version ever.

          Reply
    • chuckula
    • 4 weeks ago

    Thanks for the review Funky!

    Since my main display is now 2K but I do find older games to be quite fun, it’s interesting to see different solutions that allow these games to be more playable at resolutions that were not dreamed of when the games were written.

    Reply
      • deputy dawg
      • 4 weeks ago

      I hooked up the old Xbox 360 to my 2K display and it didn’t look great… it would be interesting to see how much this would improve things

      Reply

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