Review by Cybiolink8000

"More successful than the first Playstation, and more fun :)"

Note: This Review was written on Friday March 28th 2003, so anything new that happened to or came out for the PS2 after this date won't be talked about in this Review.

Introduction
After the long-lived Playstation, Sony had the very wise decision to create a follow up to it's original console which would be aptly named ''Playstation 2''. Sony decided to create a new console with new technology because their first console was so successful and they wanted to keep up with times. A lot of the first PS2's were found to be defective in some way or another, but that's because Sony wanted to hurry up and start selling their Console.

Audio Capabilities - 95/100
With an optical output for a surround sound system, you could receive killer sound from your PS2. Without the optical connection, you can still receive quality sound from a surround sound system or even from just your television. Most PS2 games boast game music and soundtracks as well as a wide variety of sound effects. Some games stream music from the game disc, while others store songs in the Console's RAM(Random Access Memory). If you really want to know which way a game stores audio, you can tell by simply opening the disk tray when a song is playing and it should repeat around the last 5 seconds or so over a few times then just stop, or even just ''freeze'' the audio so whatever noise was playing will become never ending. If not, then it's in the RAM. Playstation games generally stored audio in the RAM.

Visual Capabilities - 93/100
Earlier Games had poor use of PS2's power in the graphics department. However, now some games have almost made full use of the PS2's power. Make no mistake, PS2 has a lot of power to be used. For Example, look at Gran Turismo 3. According to OPM(Official Playstation Magazine), Gran Turismo 3 apparently only used 25% of the PS2's power, and it already looks incredible! There are some games that look horrible, but that's the developer's fault, not the PS2's. The PS2 allows developers to make believable games because of the PS2's power, so now we need some quality developers. Maybe Sony should make PS2 games instead of just publishing them. Konami is another Developer that makes good use of the power at hand, with games like Metal Gear Solid 2 and Silent Hill 2 that look incredible. As technology gets better and better looking Game engines are made, games in the future will surely look more and more realistic.

Controller - 96/100
The outside is just like the first Playstation controller(besides the Color (PS - Gray, PS2 - Black)) but it's different on the inside. The controller accepts commands much faster and is more lighter than the first Playstation's. What is really good about it, is that it is light and comfortable, which will come in handy when you play for a long period of time. It just seems to fit in your hands perfectly and the Analog sticks are in good position for driving games. Not only that, it looks cool and you can now get colored controllers.

Peripheral Capabilities - 100/100
Playstation 2 is by far the most capable of extras than any other system. The PS2 has 2 USB ports which can be used for almost anything. Steering Wheels, Keyboards, Headsets, Modems, and it also has an i-Link port which can be used to link up multiple PS2's to play together. Gran Turismo 3 uses this feature, so you can race with up to 6 people on 3 PS2's. The controller ports can also be used for things like the Infrared Receiver for the DVD Remote.

3rd Party Support
The PS2 was made in Japan, and that's where a lot of it's games come from, even more that you think. Most games don't make it out of Japan, because they were made with the Japanese gamer in mind. Most of the games are very original and just simply wouldn't sell in the U.S. A lot of Peripherals come from Japan too, mostly being 3rd Party controllers. Most of the 3rd Party Hardware comes from the U.S. like controllers, steering wheels and the like. Sony makes Controllers, Multi-taps(for multi-player games) and memory cards and there is at least one other company that makes each of those things. 3rd party hardware generally sells for cheaper. It's not Official so it doesn't have to live up to the quality that Sony hardware does.

Looks(Cosmetics)
All PS2's are black, except for the Special Edition ones or newer ones currently released in Japan. The PS2 looks good, but the Memory Card and Controller slots can be hard to find if your PS2 isn't in the light(Due to both the system and the slots being Black). What is cool though, is that the Controller, DVD Remote, and the Network Adapator are also black and they(except for the controller) are styled like the PS2(with the edges on the sides).

Online Capabilities
In 2002, the Network Adaptor for Playstation 2 was finally released. There were a few games that could be played online before the NA came out and if you also had a USB modem, you were ready to play online. Most people didn't so they had to wait until the NA and the online games started rolling out. None the less, the PS2 is finally Online, and there are many great games to play Online against your friends or others. You don't have to have Broadband Internet to get online on your PS2, you just need an Internet connection. 56K can be used to play online but with it you can only usually play 2 players, and you can only play other people who have the same connection as you. There are some games which are Broadband only but only few. In the future, the 40 GB PS2 Hard Drive will be released which Sony says, can hold downloadable games(you'll have to pay a fee) and other things to come.

Extra Features
Since the PS2 was made with DVD games in mind, it can also play DVD movies. If you don't have a PS2 DVD Remote then you'll have to use the controller to navigate. It's not so bad but the remote is better. There are only two bad things about the DVD player. One is that it was made for games, so some DVD movies don't play, skip or freeze. There aren't that many DVD's that do that, so it doesn't matter that much. Secondly, if you have the Remote and an older PS2(Before 2002 or so), then you'll have to use around 1/4 of your Memory Card's space for a file that allows the PS2 to recognize the Remote. As well as playing DVD movies and DVD games, the PS2 can also play the first Playstation format games. So if you had to sell your Playstation to buy your Playstation 2, then you can still play your Playstation games on your newer PS2.

Greatest Hits
The Greatest Hits Program, started with the first Playstation games and is now for PS2 games also. The games for PS2 are $20 U.S.($30 Canadian). What they are basically, are games that sold well and after a while, had a price drop. It all depends on the Game Publisher when and if the game becomes a Greatest Hit or not, but the requirements are that it must have sold over 400,000 copies and be released for at least 9 months. GTA3 has been out for a year and a half and it isn't a greatest hit yet. That's because the game is still selling well, so the Publisher doesn't want to drop the price until it starts selling slower.

Final Verdict
If you were skeptical about getting a PS2 before reading this, I hope I have assured you that it is worth every cent, especially because the PS2(as well as the Microsoft Xbox and Gamecube) lowered in price in 2002. The best thing about the PS2 is it's huge game library and backwards compatibility with Playstation games. Also there are a lot of must have Games on PS2, ''killer apps'' if you will. If you don't a PS2 yet, get one before PS3 comes out. :)


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/28/03, Updated 03/28/03


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