Review by Sour DieseL
"PlayStation steps it up again!"
The Sony PlayStation yielded a massive success and more fuel to the fire of the console wars. This prompted Microsoft to join the fray with the Xbox and this would be around the time that Sega got wiped off the map as far as making consoles went. The PS2 was such a more upscale console and Nintendo fans were sticking with their tried and true console developer that there was little to no love for the Sgea Dreamcast. The Sony PlayStation 2 would be the first Sony console to utilize online gaming in some special instances, with games such as EverQuest. The PlayStation 2 also offered backwards compatibility, allowing PS1 games to be played on it. So a PS1 owner could trade in their PS1 for some money, keep the games, and buy a PS2. It even allowed PS1 memory cards and kept the CD playback feature. It also was the first console to allow you to watch DVDs on it, and a remote could be purchased as well to get through the menu and such quicker, meaning you don't have to memorize what buttons did what.
Game Library: 7/10: This era is when the industry started to get a little lazy. The quality of games at this point were on a downhill slope since the last console, but now it's gotten even worse. That's not to say there weren't some great games for it though. Capcom continued the Resident Evil franchise by releasing Resident Evil 4 on this console, as well as others later on. Capcom also brought Devil May Cry exclusively to the PS2, a new series which turned out to be well-loved but hey, it's Capcom. Squaresoft released Final Fantasy X early in the consoles lifetime, and Final Fantas XI and X-2 later on. The Mega Man X series continued here but met with a mixed reception, especially Mega Man X7. Much, much later in the consoles life, the popular rhythm game Guitar Hero came out and has been a massive success ever since. If you like golf games, the Tiger Woods series is right up your alley. The Battlefield, Call of Duty, and Medal of Honor games also had a few games on this console are simply amazing if you like first-person shooters. For MMORPG's, the Everquest series was what you wanted. Sony also continued it's popular Metal Gear Solid series here. The PS2 also featured several new Castlevania games for fans of that series. For righting games, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 and the three Mortal Kombat games released for the PS2 were simply fantastic. The great and yet sadly unrecognized Fatal Frame series also saw releases on this console. A couple of Tales games were released for it as well. The Grand Theft Auto series finally got more expansive on this console and drew in much criticism from concerned parents and conservatives. The man who created the Twisted Metal series (which also continued on this platform with Twisted Metal Black and Twisted Metal: Head-On) also created the first God of War game for this console, which become a massive success overnight. Plenty of good games, as you see, but not as many as the classic consoles.
Controls: 10/10: The controller is exactly the same as the PS1's dualshock controller, but is labeled as the "Dualshock 2". In the middle you have the Start and Select buttons, the first of which is used to start your game from the main menu or pause a game. On the right side you have the standard X (sometimes referred to as "cross"), O (usually referred to as Circle), Square, and Triangle, all arranged in the standard arrangement that goes as far back as the SNES games and even also ended up being adopted by the Microsoft Xbox. Below Start and Select you have two joysticks, one of which is usually used for looking around, the other one for moving around. The D-pad served usually as an alternative to the left joystick, allowing you to still move around with the D-pad. For the shoulder buttons, R1, R2, L1, and L2 make their return. The twist to the joysticks is that they can actually also be pushed in just like buttons themselves, serving as "R3" and L3", the uses of which varied widely depending on what game you are playing. That's the controller for you, and it's pretty easy to pick up and play, shouldn't be much of a problem as it still resembles the SNES controller.
Game Difficulty: 5/10: Well folks, this is where the difficulty of games really begins to decline. In virtually every game you now can save after every stage and have checkpoints in between. I don't think any number of games for this console has standard system for keeping track of lives. For the games that do present a challenge, you can just keep reloading your save. This appealed much to the casual gamer and you may fit the bill yourself, but it can't be denied that the difficulty of games had taken a sharp spiral downward. For the most part (though again, there are some exceptions), bottomless pits do not exist anymore, and a lot of games now have "trigger" or "rhythm" sequences where you have to push whatever button is indicated on the screen. This all just serves as a method to hold the player's hand some more, though some argue that these sequences are really difficult, so it depends on the player really. You won't find much of a challenge on this console though, you have to go back to older consoles for that.
Graphics: 10/10: Once again Sony delivers with even more powerful graphics, allowing for such things as facial expressions and the like to be shown, and the full-motion video sequences looked great. Most environments are now fully rendered in 3D and are both expansive and beautiful, as well as very detailed. Hair on characters moves now as well, helping make them look much more realistic. The graphics are superb and outclassed the Gamecube by miles. Not much other than that to say here really. The graphics look fantastic and helped pave the way for the popular Blu-Ray format. Of course, this comes with loading times that are longer than the PS1, especially the blue disc games that were released early n the consoles life, which had a tendency to stop working after a couple of years at fault of the PS2. The fixed up that problem though by making their games on standard DVD-ROMs after that though and all was well.
Audio: 10/10: Midis were simply outdated at this point and the MP3-grade audio was in full swing on this console as well as others. Games were now able to support full voice acting thanks to the discs' larger size, instead of just hearing them in cut-scenes. The sound effects are done just as well, perhaps with real sound effects inserted such as guns for first-person shooter games and the like. Gone are the days of blips and bloops that we heard on older consoles and soundtracks could be fully orchestrated. Even the environments have sounds, such as wind blowing through the trees in a game or birds flying overhead. Overall, the soundtracks and quality of those soundtracks, as well as the sound effects are great.
Overall: 7/10: The only major problem this console suffers from is the lack of difficulty in it's games, but that goes for all consoles that came out in this era. This actually seemed to improve slightly with the PS3, 360, and even the Wii, as far as difficulty goes. It finally got stepped up a notch. The PS2 era, however, not so much, and it saw the death of Sega's console production. The PS2 has some solid games though and is still worth a buy if you can't afford a PS3, so go ahead and get one today!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/07/10
Game Release: PlayStation 2 Hardware (US, 10/26/00)
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