Review by KasketDarkfyre

"Review 400: King of the Next Gen Systems? Maybe..."

Sony has been proven over the past few years to know what they are doing when it comes to gamers all across the world. By giving the consumer a ton of different games spanning across several different genres and not only that, but creating a couple of their own, the Play Station 2 is a machine that offers several options in a small little box! Capitalizing on a processing unit that rivaled most computers at the time of its release, the Play Station 2 was able to recreate arcade games with near perfect conversion, offer several different types of input devices with the addition of a modem and DVD driver. What this creates, is what was toted at the release as the ''Hub of your Entertainment Center'' and quite frankly, it is!

There was apparently a call of displeasure from the gamers who had devoted their time to the original Play Station, saying that there wasn't a reason to buy a PS2 when they already had the original and several games to go along with it. To combat this problem, nearly ever single Play Station game that PS One owners had, could be played through the PS2 without much disruption save for the truly older games {namely the ones that came in the original book casings} and could be saved on the machine with the use of a regular Play Station memory card! Backwards compatibility is something that has never really been done before unless you count the 32X hardware that the SEGA corporation had tried years earlier with their powerhouse, the Genesis. With this in mind, and the problem somewhat solved, it was time to get down to business and truly show Sony fans just what the machine could do!

Visually, the PS2 has produced some of the most stunning games that are on the market to date. Ranging from games such as the picture perfect Tekken Tag Tournament to the crystal clear Silent Scope 2, the true power of the PS2 can be seen in these games and other ones such as Zone of Enders and the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 2! With the amount of realism that you'll find here, it's hard to find another system at this time that can beat out what the PS2 has already accomplished. The introduction of anti-aliasing technology allows for less image break up and very low amounts of polygon ''jaggies'' that have plagued every New Generation system that has come out on the market. If you add into this the ability to use real life video clips and in some cases, music videos {Such as the Saliva Spy Hunter Video}, Sony again proves that the visual part of the game is one of the most important and in the end, what makes the main point of the system! Some of the most outstanding examples of this comes with the following games:

Tekken Tag Tournament - Fighting game featuring fluid characters.
Silent Scope 2 - Detailed sniper shooting with realistic action.
Devil May Cry - Dark and moody with exceptional detail.
Gran Turismo 3 - Detailed tracks, lighting, and exotic cars.

Audio advancement in programming and the abilities that the PS2 allows has taken real audio and converted it into a sound that makes excellent use of a good stereo system. With that in mind, some of the top games that are on the PS2 to date have the most amazing music quality that can be heard outside of actually being live at a concert. This aspect has apparently been ported over from the original Play Station when, in it's later days, could produce music from top name bands, convert it, package it in a game and it all sound true to life. This, in my opinion in a great step up above the games of old, where MIDI music and computer programming to make this music were the standard, and if you got top composers to create this music, you were damned lucky! Now, the standard fare is actual bands using their actual songs in different games with examples of this being:

Dave Mirra Free Style BMX 2 - Godsmack ''Awake''
Cool Boarders 2001 - Fear Factory ''Edgecrusher''
ESPN X-Games Snowboarding - Fenix TX ''Ben''
Gran Turismo 3 - Snoop Doggy Dogg ''Dogg's Turismo 3''

Moving onward, you run into the perphials part of the game that run in the form of several different controllers, memory cards, a hard drive, cheat devices, a mouse, arcade sticks, keyboards. The list does go on and on. One of the most impressive features that I've personally used a few times is the ability to link up two PS2's and two televisions through the ILink cable. This allows the gamer to hook up with another and play a game on two totally separate televisions without much more than having two copies of the same game! Games that allow this feature, open up a brand new type of competitive game play that is only featured in the Arcade, or, if you're lucky enough to find the cable, for the original Play Station. Handhelds are being excluded of course, simply because there isn't one that matches or packs the power that a home system does!
Through the use of the USB Ports located on the front of your machine, you'll find that the devices that you use range from a keyboard {for Internet accessibility eventually} and a mouse that allows you to play certain games that have the point and click feature. This feature was originally started with the mouse for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and then moved onward to the Sega Dreamcast.

One other feature that really makes the PS2 stand out is the fact that it has a built in DVD driver so you can play your DVD movies. It features the ability to lock out Level 8 {R Rated} movies with a passcode, and plays nearly every DVD that is coming out on the market to date! However, you'll find some serious problems if you use your PS2 too much to play the DVD's, and in some cases, newer ones that are just now coming out at the time of this writing {Star Wars: Episode 1 and Snatch} won't play at all due to driver conflicting problems, and even some older ones that wouldn't play with the Japanese version {Alien Resurrection {won't play either. If you're die hard about DVD's, then this proves that you shouldn't just buy it for the DVD player, and possibly, you should have a stand-alone player to go along with it!

As far as games go for the system, there is a wide variety of genre games that pretty much encompass every type of game imaginable. From action to sports, to music and role playing games, there isn't a genre that isn't touched and there are several that just keep getting better and better with some of the examples listed below:

-Devil May Cry: Offers intense combination systems, items to find and plenty for things to blow up and destroy.
-Zone of Enders: Offers several different missions revolving around the Mech craze that everyone is into, with insane weapons and a unique fighting system.
-Spy Hunter: An awesome follow up on the original game that features new weapons, several objectives and a ton of objects to destroy

Role Playing
-Summoner: Turn based RPG with several items, magic spells and characters to control as well as a wonderful storyline.
-Orphen: Based on the popular Japanese Anime, it features an awesome story, and intense exploration.
-Eternal Ring: Several items, weapons, creatures and a deep story line that hasn't been matched yet, except by the Final Fantasy series. Strategy
-Kessen II: Hundreds of characters on screen, several options and a huge army to control along with beautiful visuals and excellent voice acting.

-SSX: A killer snow boarding game with several different characters, tracks, options and tricks to perform. One of the launch titles for the PS2 and a well known, well liked game all around.
-Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2: Extreme sports taken to the next level with several real life riders, over 1500 tricks and plenty of cool secrets to unlock.

When you move through the PS2 library, you've got a ton of games that you can play that will satisfy just about any gamer out there on the market. When it really comes down to it, there are three contenders in the new millennium console battle, with the Microsoft X-Box, and Nintendo Game Cube trailing far behind in this little war. With the amount of technology that was placed into this machine, Sony has placed a stake in the video game world without much of a fight thus far! Something that you may find in future days, is that the race for the top is already pre-ordained, without the Play Station 2 having to put up too much of a fight. Games that are coming out now, and ones that are on the way as well as the Internet capability that is promised and in the works, anyone who is a Play Station fan, will find their hard earned money well spent on this little piece of history!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/25/01, Updated 10/25/01

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