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Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: September 17th, 2020, 6:11 pm
by ratsoalbion
We've decided that our next single platform special podcast will be all about the mighty behemoth that was Sony's PlayStation 2.

Please post your pevailing memories and opinions on that machine, its hardware, peripherals and its library of games below.

Re: Our next console special podcast recording (4.10.20) - Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: September 19th, 2020, 10:26 pm
by Jobobonobo
My first experience with the second Playstation console was really peculiar compared with the original with it’s at the time mind blowing graphics, FMV cutscenes and polygonal T. Rexes. When it first came out in late 2000, we rented it with two games: the original Timesplitters and some racing game; Ridge Racer, Formula one, can’t remember. Honestly, I was a little underwhelmed. Sure the graphics were considerably nicer but I remember just thinking the games we rented were….alright. The PS2 did have a pretty mediocre launch lineup and older more cynical gamers than me at the time might well have thought that Sony was a one hit wonder with the original Playstation if this was what they were offering in the next generation. However, games were not the primary reason we even rented the PS2 in the first place. It was to see what these mysterious “DVDs” were all about. You could watch films on a disc, madness! Since DVD playback was a major selling point of the PS2, we were curious to find out more.

We rented Lake Placid, the one with the giant crocodile and while the movie itself was so-so, we were more than sold on the technology itself. We could pause and there would be no static lines like on videotape! The picture quality was so much higher and selecting chapters meant that you could easily replay your favourite parts as much as you like at the push of a button! This was a very smart move by Sony and I am sure many a PS2 was sold based on its use as a DVD player alone. This made up for the meh launch in many ways but thankfully this console does become more than a DVD player in the span of a year.

It cannot be stated enough how when the games eventually arrived, they ARRIVED. The Grand Theft Auto Series, Jak and Daxter, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Red Star, Ratchet and Clank, God of War, Sly Cooper, Katamari Damacy, Bully, Okami, Shadow of the Colossus and so, so much more. The amount of stone cold classics this console has produced beggars belief. No matter the genre, no matter the age group, the PS2 had it. You could play no other console but the PS2 for your entire life and you would be more than satisfied. To go from mediocre launch to one of the most successful consoles of all time is an incredible transformation and while the PS1 established Sony as the cool new kid on the block, the PS2 ensured Sony were here to stay. Without question, one of the most important consoles of the 2000s.

Re: Our next console special podcast recording (4.10.20) - Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: September 20th, 2020, 10:36 am
by chase210
I think one of my biggest gaming regrets is being completely ignorant of the outstanding PS2 library as they released. I was only a child when it released, and I was a gamecube. We had a PS2 in our house, but I never played it, and as it was before I ever talked about video games online, I was entirely ignorant to the waves of quality games on PS2.

It wasn't until 2008, when I had a 60gb PS3 that was backwards compatible that I began to engage with the PS2 library, and what a library it is. Two fantastic final fantasy games, and one which is my favourite of the whole series! (It's 12). The Ratchet & Clank original trilogy! Although I don't think the series truly reached its peak till the PS3 era, the quality of the PS2 trilogy can't be denied. God of war! Sly Cooper! Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3! Shadow of the Colossus! Okami! Kingdom Hearts! Jak & Daxter! I know I'm leaving a lot out here, but phew. Like I said, my only regret with the PS2 is I didn't get to these games sooner.

Re: Our next console special podcast recording (4.10.20) - Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: September 21st, 2020, 10:17 am
by TheEmailer
3D's potential finally realised.

The ps2 for me is when the promise of 3D games truly came to fruition. Previous consoles had 3D, but in awkward or comprised fashions. This console really enabled a smorgasbord of genres to go full 3D. As a teenager during this time I lapped up these new experiences and for me ps2 has the widest range of classic games in multiple genres.

Of course the one game that really heralded this era is GTA 3, its impact is so hard to quantify.

I must also mention PES here, this really was the apex of the series. Every year a high quality product through the generation.

I was going to give shout out to games in genres, but this post would be way too long. So many great games.

Re: Our next console special podcast recording (4.10.20) - Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: September 21st, 2020, 9:45 pm
by Cornelius_Smiff
Being a fortunate enough soul to have grown up for the most part with the gaming industry itself, I have been able to see its evolution first hand. From my first doughy eyed experiences as a mere babe on my sisters Commodore 64, to the black slab of cool that was the Mega Drive, the untouchable Amiga, the ubiquitous PS1 and the smattering of other consoles I was lucky enough to have a go on round mates houses, I have been blessed to experience some wonderful moments in my circa 33 years of gaming.

Interestingly enough I never got to experience these machines early on in or indeed completely across their given lifespans, and in the case of the Amiga long after it was dead *cough* 1997 still the best year ever! However, this was to change with the PS2 which to this day is probably the only console I have experienced relatively early on in its run and up to its eventual obsolescence.

I can remember vividly the hype and chatter regarding the PS2, and it being a forgone conclusion that it was going to be a released. Nothing could prepare me for the first time I clapped eyes on actual footage of it. That ‘Fantavision’ demo (yes, the one with the fireworks!), which as largely superfluous from a gaming point of view as it was, still looked superb and only served to increase the hype in my then 16-year-old sponge of a brain.

I wasn’t fortunate enough to obtain one at launch. I had a plan though... I had naively taken up a summer job for earning meagre wages in the hope of scraping together the required funds. Alas, my £200 was insufficient to nab one from my local ‘Another World’ store in Nottingham, which was at the time the only place left where you could reasonably hope to grab a pre-order, albeit at a vastly inflated price. To save my fragile ego, I won’t intimate how short I was in monetary terms, but rest assured my subsequent through gritted teeth £200 splurge on Warhammer 40k figurines will tell you how naïve I had really been and how woefully short I was.

My best friend at the time who often had the latest consoles bought for him had also managed to get a PS2 at launch. There we had it, despite my earlier monetary failures I was able to finally experience this previously unattainable machine and I was hooked instantly. The sleek black box with subtle hints of purple spoke to a futuristic ambition not only in its design but in the games it would duly deliver.

Fast forward another year and my spotty 17-year-old face on Christmas Day aghast at the box I was holding aloft in my quivering angsty hands. I had one! Yes, it was mine!

As fate would have it, a rental store had opened up nearby specialising in DVDs and most importantly to me, video games. I hastily gathered up my Christmas money to go and rent GTA III. They didn’t have it in stock…. Booo! I was undeterred though and absolutely had to get some games for it. I settled for ‘AirBlade’, ‘Alone in the Dark’ and ‘Half-Life’, the latter becoming an all-time fav when I finally got round to playing it properly on PC. It has to be said that despite my lack of memory card at the time, I had a blast those first few days and despite saving to the systems local memory and being unable to turn off the console I was in heaven. You could cook an egg on the thing because I had played it that, but I didn’t care, I had my dream machine finally and it was bloody fantastic!

It’s often quoted that the PS1 is when gaming grew up, I would say the PS2 is when gaming settled down, got a job, a house, 2.4 children and a dog. For me it’s when gaming began to homogenise and settle into the high concept well oiled machine we still see today or at least in its production values, its approach to game design and most importantly in its partially format agnostic library. The PS2 in essence had no real viable contenders, evident by it being far and away the best-selling console of all time. Maybe this is why it seemed to get the best of everything including the so-called console exclusives such as ‘Resident Evil 4’, which to me is still the definitive version of not only arguably the best game from this particular generation, but from any generation period.
Whilst the PS1 always felt ubiquitous in terms of sheer units, the PS2 was a behemoth in comparison and massively outsold its predecessor. It was everywhere.

If I had to look back on the games that personally meant a lot to me, I would be here all day, but I would be remiss if I didn’t list a few: -

The GTA games, ICO and ‘Shadow of the Colossus’, ‘MGS 2 and 3’, ‘Silent Hill 2’, ‘Gran Turismo 4’,’ Medal of Honour: Front Line’ the aforementioned ‘Resi Evil 4’ and the obscure curio ‘Prisoner of War’, whose theme tune I still whistle to this day. Among them I would argue you were treated to the best entry of their respective franchises. On the the subject of ports, it was also the first time I had a chance to play a £5.00 from HMV version of Deus Ex, which to this day remains the single greatest gaming experience of my life, loading screens and all. This game changed my life!

Later in its cycle I found excitement in the slightly janky yet enjoyable ‘Killzone’, the most fun game ever made (possibly!) in ‘Black’ and finally the wonderful Rockstar opus that is ‘Bully’. It would be impossible to list every single game that impacted me during this time for fear of extending an already lengthy opinion piece, but its numbers in the high double digits.

In closing, it’s ironic when I think about that of all the machines I’ve owned, this is perhaps the one I am least bleary eyed and nostalgic about at least in a sense of longing for it. The only tangible theory I have is that perhaps because I was able to experience it fully from start to finish across most of its vast library, I was able to get some sort of closure as a result. Thinking about it now this machine took me from world weary adolescent into adulthood and took my gaming passion along with it. It’s somehow actually slightly sad that I don’t really pine for it that often, but maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it’s the most complete epoch a gamer can truly hope for and as a result I can be at peace with that.

A truly great machine and if PS1 was the birth of modern gaming as we know it today, the PS2 was surely it's workshop.

Re: Our next console special podcast recording (4.10.20) - Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: September 29th, 2020, 12:09 pm
by EvilNinjaPhil
I bought a PS2, but you know what? I traded it in for a GameCube when that was released.

Before I confirm if I regret that decision, lets examine the decision itself; I enjoyed having a PS2, I enjoyed the games I had. I think the main game I remember from the short period that I had it was State of Emergency, pretty sure I had GTAIII as well plus I first played the Dynasty Warriors series via one of the PS2 magazine cover discs. But, as soon as I saw the GameCube and Luigi's Mansion and Super Monkey Ball, thats what I wanted to play. I'd owned and very much enjoyed a PS1, but I never felt fully invested the same way I was in my Saturn or Dreamcast. I looked at the games on the PS2 and what was going to be on the Gamecube and thats what I wanted, at the time I could only really afford one console so I packed up the PS2 and traded it in once Nintendo's purple cube landed in the UK.

Now. Do I regret that decision? In a way. It didn't take long until it was obvious that the Gamecube was going to go the same way as the Saturn and Dreamcast I had previously mentioned; crushed beneath Sony's grey and black consoles. The Gamecube was a great console that I enjoyed but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't cast an eye over to the growing PS2 library with an envious eye. That initial PS2 launch line up wasn't the best, but by the time it got into it's stride this changed massively. Get to 2004 and I'm missing out on Gradius V, Katamari Damacy, GTA San Andreas, Metal Gear Solid 3 to name just a few. I mean, that same year I get Metroid Prime 2 and Paper Mario for my Gamecube that year which is great, I don't regret owning my Gamecube but I do regret missing out on that library of PS2 games. Sure, I can go back to them now but that isn't the same as playing them at the time.

Re: Our next console special podcast recording (4.10.20) - Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: October 1st, 2020, 12:16 pm
by Angry_Kurt
The PS2 was the console from which I became a gamer. I owned a PS one and a Gameboy beforehand and played Roller Coaster Tycoon on my PC but in those years I was basically a young child that was only playing games based on what the coolest box art was (which led to me playing some awful stuff in hindsight).

I went to a friends house and played on his PS2 on Vice City and was totally floored by it, from then I really wanted a PS2 but had to wait around a year until the next Christmas to get my hands on one, which was an agonizing wait, thankfully I could play RCT to pass the time.

To this day it is my favourite Christmas Day, I was like N64 kid opening that thing. 3 games came bundled with it and my sister asked for The Sims with it, which I actually ended up playing a lot too. Those 3 games were 007: Nightfire, London Racer 2 and The Hulk. The Hulk was awful, I really wanted to like Nightfire but found it too hard as I was still quite young and struggled with the first person perspective which I had never come across before and London Racer 2 was actually pretty fun and weirdly the only game I have ever seen my mum play, even if it was just one race.

Over the following years I started buying gaming mags to see what I should play and became really entrenched in gaming and so I would say the PS2 is the reason behind why I am working in the gaming industry today.

My highlights from the PS2 would be GTA San Andreas (often forgotten that it was a PS2 exclusive for a while), Spider-Man 2, Guitar Hero, Gran Turismo 4 and James Bond: Everything or Nothing. Controversially I was also a huge Driv3r fan at the time but I think a lot of that love was clouded by my ridiculous hype for it, so I kind of refused to acknowledge that it was actually bad. It was the first game I ever pre ordered so I wanted to believe it was great.

Re: Our next console special podcast recording (4.10.20) - Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: October 3rd, 2020, 7:42 pm
by ColinAlonso
I had three distinct phases with the PS2.

The first was in my teens. My brother bought the console after launch and we played some great 'big name' games on it; the GTA's, Metal Gear Solid 2, Final Fantasy X, Devil May Cry, SSX Tricky, Need For Speed Underground 2, Timesplitters 2 etc.

The second phase was in university. Every PS2 there was a Pro Evolution Soccer machine. 4, 5 and 6 were all in play at any one time and usually with a MultiTap attached. I have a special fondness for the mighty Pro Evo 5 AC Milan team. I also received my brother's PS2 as he moved on to the PS3.

The third phase is where the PS2 stops being just a really good console and becomes my favourite. I finally had decent disposable income and start picking up niche titles; Persona 3 and 4, Gitaroo Man, We Love Katamari, Okami, even the likes of Airblade, a pure 7/10 game in my mind, and the compromised port of Psychonauts were entertaining. Even after getting a PS3 and even into the 2010's, I was buying a couple of PS2 games each year.

The PS2 had such a large library that it could appeal to many types of gamer. It continued to appeal to me even when my tastes changed and developed over a period of 12 years. I eventually retired the machine but if I had enough space I would get a CRT TV and hook it up again.

Re: Our next console special podcast recording (4.10.20) - Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: October 3rd, 2020, 8:18 pm
by Mr Ixolite
The PS2 marked a broadening of my videogame horizons, and passing of the torch of franchises. Thus, my first Christmas with the console was a double feature of Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, the newest installment in one of my most cherished PS1 franchises, and Jak and Daxter. One of those games left a bigger impression than the other, and it wasn’t the one with crushingly long loading times. Then history repeated itself next year when Ratchet and Clank faced off with the 4th and extremely dire Spyro the Dragon game.

My PS1 library was defined by a few dutifully collected franchises, but with most of these old favourites – your
Raymans and Megamanss- gradually petering or flaming out, and my regular diet of 2D and 3D platformers drying up in general, I needed to find new pastures. And so I took the incremental step into the nebulous genre of “3rd person action adventure”, helped along by the edgier direction taken by my new Naughty Dog and Insomniac stalwarts. Sad to say, I was the exact right age for the increased swearing, violence, and goatees of Jak 2, and I eventually found myself with God of War, which came out just in time for my 18th birthday and briefly made me feel like a very Big Boy.

I was now obsessively collecting Ratchet and Clank and God of War games instead of Spyro ones, but I also found time to try out things like Zone of The Enders, Beyond good and evil, Shadow Of The Colossus and Okami. And while Squaresoft would thoroughly alienate me with Final Fantasy XII, it also gave me perhaps the ultimate fusion of my favored 3D platformer and JRPG genres in the form of the lightning-in-a-bottle first Kingdom Hearts.
Ultimately, my PS2 library is a stepping stone- filled half with attempts to carry over or substitute the franchises I liked on the PS1, and half with attempts to branch out slightly and take chances with new things. While the former half gave me cherished games like Klonoa 2 and Final Fantasy X, it’s the latter that resonates most with me now. It was a process of learning that maybe there were better ways to consume games than unquestioned franchise or developer commitment- a lesson which was admittedly hard learnt considering how many Kingdom Hearts games I’ve ended up playing.

Plus, I am currently on my third replacement console, just on the off chance I want to play War of the Monsters again, so it must’ve done something right.

Re: Our next console special podcast recording (4.10.20) - Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: October 7th, 2020, 9:20 am
by Good Shot Janson
I’ll keep this as brief as possible. Others will touch on the more popular franchises, but there are two AC’s you simply must touch on. The Alpha-Charlie’s of my heart. The Ace Combat “holy trinity” of AC 4, 5, and Zero, as well as the phenomenal Armored Core series from From. Ace Combat Zero was the pinnacle of the Ace Combat series and Last Raven was the apex of Armored Core, both PS2 gems that cannot be overlooked. As such I’ll be submitting a track from each series in the Sound of Play forum. Say what you will about both series, I could write a novel about both but I’d rather hear your perspective. I will say that I’m currently flying jets for a living and Ace Combat played no small part in that. Cheers.

PS can we please have some more Armored Core!? Dark Souls is fine but I want my Gundam simulator.

Re: Our next console special podcast recording (4.10.20) - Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: October 7th, 2020, 9:32 am
by Good Shot Janson
And of course I forgot to post my tracks. So from Ace Combat Zero, this is Zero. Honestly how could it be anything else. Heavy handed aerial chivalry metaphors aside, this is an epic track from an epic fight. Ace combat zero was unique in that its bosses (for the most part) weren’t mega weapons or super vehicles. You fought enemy ace pilots in normal jets that were simply bad ass. It’s a lot like Blood Borne or Dark Souls where the boss fights are great, but the REAL boss fights are against other hunters or invading players. (Which leads into my second pick). Anyway this is the climactic track of the climactic battle of the greatest Ace Combat game ever made. This is Zero.

Secondly, I have a feeling the Armored Core series is going to get the shaft. Don’t do that. AC2 launched the PS2, and Last Raven was there at the end. From Software has always been able to convey a sense of doom and dread... not for what’s to come but for what has happened. In Dark Souls we are presented with a world in decay, a world past it’s prime. Take this feeling and multiply exponentially. Welcome to Armored Core. Welcome to a world in which humanity is run by organizations raping a polluted and barren planet in search of resources to dedicate to a war that will only hasten the destruction of humanity. If there’s any track that encapsulates this sterile corporate apathy, along with the frantic pace of mecha warfare, it’s this track from AC3 remixed for AC NEXUS. This is Super Monkey Likes Daddy. Now come on From, give us more depressing Mech combat!

Re: Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: October 11th, 2020, 10:10 pm
by stvnorman
My girlfriend and me had just bought a flat in East London and moved in together right before PS2 launch, so this was a very nervous early test of our new relationship - money was tight and there I was wanting to spend a fortune on this thing that she had no interest in (nothing’s changed!), and then when I eventually did, also use work holiday for me and not us for launch day!

SSX was the start point, and PS2 will forever be linked with that series in my mind, especially SSX 3, which remains a top ten all-time favourite. Silent Hill 2 isn’t far behind, though I have Cane and Rinse forum member and friend Suits to thank for that because I’ve only played it for the first (then second and third) time this year on the machine he very kindly gave me to replace my broken original. TimeSplitters is another all-time favourite that was writing genre rules rather than following them, and as a result still feels such a joy to play today. Pro Evolution Soccer 4 is probably where I spent the most time though, with hundreds of hours spent in Master League, but by now in the house in Bedford we bought just before we got married!

Re: Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: October 12th, 2020, 4:29 am
by DeadpoolNegative
I think we can all agree this is still the best of the PlayStation Sequels.

Re: Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: October 12th, 2020, 11:27 am
by ReprobateGamer
For me and my then partner (now wife) - the decision to buy a PS2 was easy.

We kept access to our PS1 collection (Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Crash Team Racing, Parasite Eve 2, Dino Crisis, Tekken 3), we gained access to new games (Code Veronica) and we gained a DVD player (Stargate was the first, for the record). Prices of DVD players were much the same as for the PS2 so it felt like a bargain ...

For a pair of cash strapped students this all seemed to work - we could (and did) sell the PS1 to make up a bit of the shortfall, and all the existing games and peripherials (the Namco Guncon for instance and the memory cards!) worked on the new machine.

We continued with my questionable taste in DVD's, her love of the RE franchise, Metal Gear Solid 2, Prince of Persia, God of War, Summoner, Burnout 3

And it was the ease that we had moved from one gen to the next that made us purchase a PS3 right before the backwards compatibility was removed from the line (RIP my two Guncons though ...)

The PS1 was the console that got me back into gaming and my wife into gaming full stop - the PS2 was the console we just expected to have

Re: Sony PlayStation 2

Posted: October 14th, 2020, 6:52 pm
by Megadirt
I woke up on christmas day after having lost interest in my PS1 I became feverish for the PS2 after playing Dead or Alive 2 at my friends house. I snuck downstairs and saw it sitting on the sofa from Santa. I quickly snuck back upstairs and started tidying away my ps1, taking Final Fantasy VII out of the tray. My mum came in and said "Is that it?" and I pretended like I had just decided to tidy my ps1 away for no reason at 5am and did not know what she was talking about. I remember being insanely excited to get it plugged in, but weirdly I have no memory of what games I had, but my Christmas money went on Tekken 4, which my brother and I hammered a million hours into.

I do remember that I became obsessive about buying games starting with the Sonic Mega Collection and Resident Evil 4 a few years later, which ended up with me working in GAME. I had EVERYTHING, and played almost none of it until recently. I remember seeing GTA III and thinking to myself, they finally did it, those crazy bastards....they finally did it.

The two things I became obsessed with were Vice City and Singstar 80s. For your own amusement, I'll clarify the image, by saying that I was at this point, in a metal band, so imagine two massive long haired tattooed metallers, drinking too much absinthe and singing A little respect by erasure at each other for hours and hours every weekend.