Review by Dragon9
"This one is on top for a reason!"
First of all, I must point out to you, that this review is NOT biased in any way, shape, or form! I didn't get a PlayStation One until 2000, and I didn't get a PlayStation 2 until Spring of 2002. I had previouly been a complete Nintendo loyalist, and never saw anything that I liked in PlayStation. However, I didn't know that a Final Fantasy series even existed, and when I saw my friend playing Final Fantasy VIII one day, I knew I just HAD to go and get a PlayStation One and that game! So, a few months later, I did. The graphics were pure genius when compared to Nintendo 64's choppyness and the music was like nothing I had ever heard! On top of all that, that game was much longer than most Nintendo 64 games. Therefore, I then got Final Fantasy VII, Tactics, IX, and that was about it. I also got RPG Maker, which pleased me as well. When I heard about PlayStation 2, I automatically asumed that it would be the same as the first one, with a couple of new bells and whistles. Then, I heard of something which was entirely new: backwards compatibility! Yes, finally you can play your old system's games on your new system! Also, I found out more about there being DVD capabilities, audio CDs, and online capabilities, all of which are crucial things in a console system's success. It was comparitively better than the GameCube, because it had both audio CD and DVD capabilities, and the GameCube doesn't. Also, the memory card can hold 8 MB of memory! Most games only take from 70 to 300 KB, so you'll have a lot of room to record your video game information! No more of those annoying, limited 'blocks' of information needed to record game information. The PlayStation One's standard memory card only has 15 blocks of space available, and alternate ones usually have 30. So, 8 MB is far more superior. As far as games go, they are very expansive. Previously, a large game would take anywhere from two to five discs, and lots of blocks of memory. Now, a large game can fit on just one disc, a use up a reasonably small amount of space off of the memory card! This is truely excellent! Now, on to the key factors of a game console:
This is one of the most stylish-looking consoles I've seen yet. Previously only available in black, new colors (including red, white, dark blue, yellow, and platinum) will soon be released. A stand that allows the PlayStation 2 to stand upright is also available, which adds a little unique flare to the design of the system. This system allows a lot of stuff to fit inside, without making the system look bulky and/or awkward.
Graphics Power: 10/10:
One of the most amazing things in this console. Final Fantasy X has some scenes where the characters look very realistic, as well as some other games. Not all games need realism, and some lack it on purpose, which is okay too. There are hardly ever any choppy graphics, and everything flows very well.
Nothing new here from the PlayStation One's updated Dual Shock controller. Sony has done very well with this, as the rumble feature is built-in to the controller, not an add-on that you have to buy separately. The positioning of all of the buttons is done very well, and it makes any game easy to play. The only thing lacking here is that the L3 and R3 buttons (the clicking feature in both analog controller sticks) aren't used much except for in the DVD menu. However, you can buy a DVD remote separately, to allow easier control of playing DVDs. Overall, this is another of the stand-out featues of the PlayStation 2. If you don't like the standard PlayStation 2 controller, there are always plenty of alternate controllers available for purchase, though generally not from Sony or offical. Lots of alternate controller colors are available as well, including ones that are see-through. Also, a device known as the Multitap is available, which allows there to be 4 controller ports instead of just 2, which is a must-have for those that have sports, racing, and/or other multiplayer games.
Selection of Games: 7/10:
Yeah, there are a lot of games, but Sony hasn't found a true mascot just yet. Nintendo's got Mario, Luigi, Pikachu, Link, and the list goes on...
PlayStation 2's strongest features so far are Final Fantasy X, Kingdom Hearts, and Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City. To tell you the truth, I only have a few games for PlayStation 2, as I don't really like any of these 'new-comer' games just yet. I have nothing against new companies, I just think that they need some time to feel out their place in the video game industry. There are a lot of games, just a few are true winners, though. If you like sports games, any system you choose has a nice selection of these; generally every sports game is released on each system.
If you like RPG games, Final Fantasy X, Kingdom Hearts, Dark Cloud, and Wild ARMS 3 are all great choices. As far as adventure games go, I've heard a lot of good things from Jax and Daxter. Pretty nil for puzzle games though; Nintendo has always been the one with the goods when it comes to these. Racing games are always plentiful enough on most consoles. For 'survival horror' games (like Resident Evil), PlayStation has already been succesful in the Resident Evil series, and PlayStation 2 has one as well, but GameCube has Resident Evil Zero, the prolouge to the series, not previously released on PlayStation or PlayStation 2. First-person shooters (like GoldenEye 007) are always available on all consoles, however, they aren't always being released at all times, and later become more hard to find.
How Long will I be Playing?:
This is also an important factor in consoles and video games in general. I think that, since this system can play PlayStation games, PlayStation 2 games, DVDs, and audio CDs, you'll surely be playing on this console a lot. Since the games for the PlayStation 2 are quite expansive, your gameplay time will be quite high, and nowadays, most games have a feature that keeps track of your gameplay time.
This is the factor that really blows me away! When it first came out it was $300. At first, this may seem like a ridiculous price, but when you consider that your getting a PlayStation, a CD player, a DVD player, and an all-new PlayStation 2 player, the price is quite reasonable. Now, the PlayStation 2 is $200, even more reasonable than before. GameCube is $150, but it lacks audio CD and DVD capabilities, so the PlayStation 2 is clearly the better deal. Xbox (which I don't have) does have audio CD and DVD capabilities, but the DVD is an optional feature, and you have to buy something for it separately. Also, Microsoft is a newcomer in the video game industry, and there aren't a lot of games that appeal to me right now from the Xbox.
Final Score: 9/10:
I think that the PlayStation 2 is a really stellar deal, and I'm sure that the online features will be used to a greater extent as time passes. Sony is also talking of a PlayStation 3, which will not be a console, but a chip that you can put in your computer to allow you to play PlayStation 3 games. This is being planned to be released around 2005 to 2007. This is mostly speculation and rumor, however.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/15/02, Updated 04/20/03
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