Review by M. Fletcher

Reviewed: 10/29/02 | Updated: 10/29/02

The best of the next-gen consoles. Utterly magnificent and well worth the price tag.

This is a review of the European Version of the Console

The Playstation 2 is the best of the next-gen consoles. I'm writing this about 10 months after I received it for Christmas. This has given me sufficient time to assess most of the aspects of the console and relay them back in an entirely unbiased review.

The Playstation 2 looks the part. Get a stand and place it upright and it will look much better. It is also much smaller than the XBox, and can fit into a backpack if you are going away to a relatives house in the country for the weekend.

Graphics Provided
Some of the games use the consoles power to great advantage. Games such as Metal Gear Solid 2 are prime examples as they look realistic and have included all features that you would see of movement in real life, such as hair swinging about etc. Other games do not take advantage of this. Robot Wars is an absolutely disgraceful game with mediocre graphics which look like they have come from the PSX. This shows the vast range of graphics available from the games. In general, however, most of the graphics supplied in games are either average-fantastic.

The Controller
Maybe not the best of the next-gen controllers, it certainly does its job well. Most of the games are suitably adapted to the controller and use button combinations that are realistic such as the back buttons as opposed to a back button, X/O/Square Triangle and a directional button. You have probably seen the layout of the controller. But if you haven't, here is a short description of it:
-The directional buttons are placed on the left hand side, at North, South, East and West.
-The control buttons, X/O/Square/Triangle are placed on the right hand side in a diamond like shape. Triangle at North, Square at West, X at South and O at East.
-The shoulder buttons are placed on the 'shoulders' of the controllers. R1 and R2 on the right hand side and L1 and L2 on the left hand side.
-There are two analog sticks. In most games, the left analog stick is an alternative for the directional button whilst the right analog stick helps position the camera. This is evident in games such as Hitman 2.
-The select, start and 'analog' buttons are placed in between and just above the analog sticks. The start button is generally used for pausing the game, whilst the Select button has its own unique function is each game. The analog button lets you decide if you want to use the left analog stick or not.

Although you will not notice this until you play certain games, all of the buttons are pressure sensored. In Metal Gear Solid 2, when you hold up a guard and need to bring the gun down, releasing the square button slowly will activate the pressure sensor allowing the gun to come down. It is a very nice addition to the Dual Shock controller from the PSX.

You will notice when you pick the controller up that it is substantially lighter than the Dual Shock was for the original Playstation.

You're Playstation 2 console can be used as various other things, namely a DVD player and a CD Player. Although the CD Player is a nice touch, the same level of sound and quality can be achieved on any given CD Player. The DVD player is brilliant. The picture and sound quality are brilliant and the Playstation 2 provides an alternative for those who want a DVD player and something else to occupy there time, and all for less than £170 with a game. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Most of the sound is clear in games that have made the effort. Some of the games sound quite mumbly because the producers cannot be bothered making it clear. All in all, the audio is very nice, especially when used to play DVD's and CD's.

As with the original Playstation, you are able to delete memory card files without having to load up any games. A new feature to the console is the built in clock which you should change as the clocks go back and forward. This clock is used to display the time you saved your game at etc. The built in date manager is also used to great effect in certain games such as Metal Gear Solid 2 where if you enter your D.O.B. at the start as the date on the console it comes up with a message saying 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY!'

You are able to connect up to four Playstation 2's using an I-Link. The only game that comes to mind that can actually use four Playstation 2's is Timesplitters 2. Other games, notably Gran Turismo 3 use this feature to provide a new twist to gaming.

You are able to play DVD's and CD's on it. You are also able to play original Playstation 1 games, allowing a bigger game base for the console. You'll still be able to put in your favourite PSX game, but you have to be sure you have in the right kind of Memory Card or else it may screw it up.

The gameplay on any console is important. The Playstation 2's power provides graphics and gameplay unmatched by any of the other consoles. If a console has the potential for great gameplay however, and none of the games companies produce games to use it, then it is wasted talent. The games companies, however, deliver fantastic that push the Playstation 2 in every aspect.

There are currently many brilliant games for the console out already and with several more on the way it provides more choice than the XBox or Gamecube. Games worth noting are Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. These two games excel in gameplay whilst Metal Gear Solid 2 beats all others in graphics but Pro Evolution Soccer 2 delivers the greatest multiplayer experience. There are games to suit everyone and your taste is bound to be acquired for.

Scores with a short summary of each:
Looks: 10/10
Looks the part.

Graphics Provided: 10/10
Has alot of potential, up to the games companies to deliver.

The Controller: 9.5/10
Almost perfect.

Options: 9/10
Enough to keep you occupied for years.

Sound: 10/10

Features: 10/10
Enough for you to customise it to your tastes, but not enough for it to be confusing.

Expansion: 8/10
Chances are you'll never get 4 PS2's and 16 people willing to play together for a game of anything, but still if you can, an unmatched experience.

Compatibility: 10/10
A much larger game base than the other consoles.

Gameplay: 10/10

Games: 10/10
Games to suit everyone. The consoles power is really displaced in games like Metal Gear Solid 2 and Grand Theft Auto III/Vice City.

OVERALL: 10/10
The graphics the console delivers, the sound it produces, the vast game base. If you have time to spare and have money in the bank, you should strongly considered buying this.

Value for Money
At £170 with a game, you can't really go far wrong. It has a much bigger game base than the other consoles and is only £10 dearer than an Xbox which is about twice the size and has half the value for money. I strongly recommend purchasing this console if and when you get the money for it.

Concluding Word
Ever since my parents bought it for me at Christmas, I don't think a day has gone by (except when I've been on holiday) that I haven't turned the console on to do something with it. Such as watching my new DVD or to have another go of my favourite game.

If you are buying any of the next-gen consoles. I recommend that this be the one you purchase. The XBox just isn't as good and the Gamecube is aimed at a younger audience. Plus the PS2 gets exclusivity on the GTA series until 2004.

To summarise, the console is worth every penny and you will not be disappointed if you go out and buy it at this very second.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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