Review by Boeing737

"An excellent console - when it works!"

I bought my PlayStation 2, in 2001, for the sole purpose of playing excellent games. I was attracted by the large number of games for the console, and the fact there were games I were interested in.

The console itself looks quite stylish, although the new PS2 is much better looking. It feels solid, and is easy to use. The official controller is excellent. It will fit in your hand perfectly and all buttons are easily accessible. The console is also compatible with PS1 games, and can play CDs and DVDs also.

There is such a huge variety of games available. Just walk into any gaming store and see for yourself.

My review is aimed at the "old" style PS2, not the new Slimline.

Looks stylish. Available in a variety of colours, mainly Black and Silver. Can be used either horizontal or vertical. They have gone as far as to make the "PlayStation" logo on the disk tray able to rotate!

Ease of use:
Console itself is easy to set up. Plug it into a power outlet, then use the supplied cable to connect the console to your television. Controller is very simple to use and understand. Loading a game is automatic, and is self-explanatory anyway.

The console has the ability to play CDs and DVDs as well as PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 games. A DVD remote controller is available seperately, if you do not wish to use the control pad. The console has two control pad ports, and you can get a multitap so you can use more controllers. It also comes with two memory card slots, two USB ports, an iLink port, and on the back has an optional Optical Out port, which you can use instead of the AV out if your television supports this. There is also an Expansion Bay on the rear.

The PlayStation 2 performs very well, despite newer consoles being significantly more powerful. Remember the PlayStation 2 was released in 2000. Some games can take longer to load than others, and some (mainly the GTA series) can suffer frame-rate drops. Some games have graphics which look photorealistic.

Everything you could ever want. From racing, RPG, sports, simulation, puzzles, adventure, strategy etc. No other gaming platform has this many games to choose from.

Control Pad:
It is very usable. Has 4 shoulder buttons, 8 main buttons, two analogue sticks, and a button to select between analogue and digital (only works with some software). The analogue sticks can also be pressed down acting as 2 more buttons. All buttons are pressure sensitive. The official Sony control pad is very durable, and extremely comfortable. All buttons are easy to access. It also comes with a built-in vibration function.

If you are planning on purchasing a brand new PlayStation 2, take any extended warranty that is offered. Basically, this console is very unreliable. I make that statement from personal experience, and from what I read. The original PlayStation had problems with loading games, and unfortunately the PlayStation 2 has as well. That's not to say that you WILL experience problems, just that many people have. The problem lies in the disk drive. Many PS2's will experience what is known as a Disk Read Error or "DRE" for short. This only becomes apparent after a fair amount of use.

The most common one is that when you insert a disk, it will display an error on screen, and won't load. Is usually caused by a dirty/damaged disk, but can be caused by the drive itself being unable to read the disk. Nobody knows what causes the latter. It could be down to dirt being able to develop on the laser, the laser wearing out, or the drive itself wearing out. May be fixed by cleaning the lens, or clearing out accumulated dust from the drive. Changing the laser's height and increasing it's voltage may also work. there's plenty of guides available on the Internet.

The other common fault is getting an error while playing a game, followed by scratching/clicking noises. Again rectified by opening the console (which takes a while) and lubricating the drive gear.

I do believe these to be very serious problems, which have not been addressed, or rectified by Sony. It lets a good console down.

The new Slimline PS2, which has superseded the original, is basically the same technology, albeit a lot smaller, with a flip top instead of a sliding disk tray. The iLink port (which enables PlayStation 2's to be connected together) is no longer included though, but it comes with a network adapter built in, for online games, which was a separate accessory for the original PlayStation 2. Unfortunately the reliability problems seem to persist on this console as well. Rumours about overheating are around the internet, and the disk read errors are still common.

Despite this technology being almost 5 years old, its still usable, and I would thoroughly recommend it. The huge catalogue of games for it should help you decide your purchase. Make sure you get some kind of extended warranty on it, in case the console does fail. The PlayStation 3 is due for release next year, and no doubt the tradition of good games will also continue. PS1 and PS2 games should also work on it. I hope they just make a console that will last!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 08/18/05

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