Review by Megaman1981

"I like Nintendo systems better, but Grand Theft Auto, Castlevania, and Contra can't be played on the Gamecube."

October 26, 2000. This was the day that Sony unleashed upon the United States the Playstation 2. While the new system didn't have a very good launch lineup, the system sold millions. It was released a year ahead of the Gamecube and Xbox, and because of that, the PS2 is in fact the most popular game system in America. I however, didn't get a PS2 when it was released in the fall of 2000. Instead, I was more concerned with The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask the day the PS2 was released. However, after getting a nice tax return last year, I decided to finally invest in Sony's hardware. It was strange because I have been a Nintendo fan my whole life. It was now time to step over to the dark side. It was a move that I was happy I made.

The overall design for the PS2 is much different from the Gamecube. Instead of being a cube, it is instead a flat, long console. The nice part is that the PS2 can be placed horizontally or vertically. There are two buttons on the console, a reset button and the open button for changing disks. The power button is located in the back of the unit. There are two controller ports and two memory card slots. Also, a word of caution. This holiday season Sony decided to redesign the PS2. The new PS2 is much smaller, only the width of a quarter and, weighs only a single pound. Another word of caution is if you decide to buy a used PS2. Do not buy a used system from the first year. These systems are designed differently. Well, actually they break in about three or four years because the lens dies out.

The system has perfect sound. There is no noticeable difference between the PS2, Gamecube, or Xbox in the sound department. Graphics are a different story. First, the PS2 is a year older than the Gamecube and Xbox, so the graphics are not quite as good. Be warned, they are not as bad as people make them sound, but they are not as good as the other two systems. Still, the graphics are impressive in games such as Grand Theft Auto and Castlevania.

The controller is the same as the PS1 controller except it's now black. You can control movements using the analog stick or D-pad. There is the basic start and select buttons. There is another analog stick which is used for different things depending on the game. The square, triangle, circle, and X buttons are back, and are used for jumping and shooting, etc. The L1, L2, R1, R2 buttons are on the top of the controller, and the L3 and R3 buttons can be accessed by pressing either one of the analog sticks. I must say that this controller ranks up there with the N64 and NES controllers. I still think the Gamecube one is better.

So what would a system be without games? First let me say that the launch games basically stink. You know, the games released during the system's first year. Second, a lot of the older titles are now in the Greatest Hits catagory such as Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank. Third, the system is backward compatible. That's right, all of your old PS1 games work on the PS2, so don't throw out that copy of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night just yet. If only Nintendo would think that way. Finally, the PS2 has a massive library, and I'll list the essentials. Grand Theft Auto 3, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, Contra: Shattered Solder and Neo-Contra are reasons why I invested in this console. Other great games include Final Fantasy X-2, Darkwatch (a very good Halo clone), God of War, Haunting Ground, Metal Slug 4 & 5, the Jak and Daxter series, and the Ratchet & Clank series. Also third party support that includes, Prince of Persia games, Pac-Man games, Soul Calibur, Splinter Cell games, MVP Baseball, the Madden series, and the Hitman series. There are also some very nice retro collections on the system as well. The Mega Man X Collection, the Sonic Mega Collection Plus, and the Mega Man Anniversary Collection are a solid choice if you want to play games of the past. One final note, the best game on the PS2 is Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. People say San Andreas is better, but they're wrong.

What a difference a year makes. These were the words everyone said when the PS2 had been on the market for a year. Well, I'm saying that as well. A year ago I thought that Sony had ruined the gaming industry. I thought this because they had stolen two of my favorite franchises from Nintendo; Contra and Castlevania (and Mega Man as well until the Mega Man Anniversary Collection came out on the Gamecube). Now I see it in a different light. After a year of owning my PS2, I now realize that the gaming industry needs Sony. It's a magnificent console, and it's worth owning just to play the Grand Theft Auto series. It's a good way to spend some money because I also got to experience some of Sony's great first party games, not to mention the PSone games as well. In conclusion, I never thought I would ever own a piece of Sony hardware, but it happened. I don't regret it at all. Now I'm a huge fan of both the PS2 and the Gamecube. They both make high quality games, and will always be around. Basically, I'm glad I bought the PS2 because now I see that the world of video games doesn't just revolve around the house of Nintendo.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/16/05, Updated 02/21/06


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