What should I know before buying a Playstation2?
February 2, 2005 6:45 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about buying a playstation2, what should I know before I take the plunge?

Knowing little, I assume the redesigned and shrunk ps2 would be preferable to the older model. Can I expect either version to actually work playing playstation one and two games as well as dvd’s? I know that the xbox is the way to go for modding and emulators, but are there any ps2 mods or emulators I should know about? Does the new model ps2 have any technical issues? Overheating? Anything else I should know? Any game recommendations that haven’t been made yet or that no one knows about?
posted by meditative_zebra to Technology (16 answers total)
while the new ps2 has built in ethernet, I understand that you can not plug the hard-drive thingy into it. Thus, it may not be compatible with games such as Final Fantasy (whatever the hell number they're up to). There are NOT very many of those games, though.

Also: I could be wrong.
posted by jaded at 7:01 AM on February 2, 2005

The only Final Fantasy game that uses the Hard Drive is the online Everquest-esque one. I think that's the game that requires the hard drive.

There's been some people reporting overheating problems with the new PS2s, but I have one and have had no problems. But I also haven't really played it for more than 2-3 hours at a time.

Whatever you do, just make sure you pick up Karaoke Revolution. And Dance Dance Revolution.
posted by emptybowl at 7:32 AM on February 2, 2005

The only game you're not going to be able to run is Final Fantasy XI, which is the MMORPG game that requires the HD. Final Fantasy X, X-2, and XII do not/will not require the Hard Drive.

The smaller one is preferably, yes. But both will play PS1/PS2 games and DVDs.
posted by Remy at 7:32 AM on February 2, 2005

Oh, and if you're buying new, the slim model will be your only option. If you're going used, you should be able to find some of the older ones, if you really wanted one.
posted by emptybowl at 7:32 AM on February 2, 2005

Yep, the 'new' slimline PS2s are the only ones you can buy new in a store right now.

If you're interested in import gaming, these are probably your best bet - either model can be fitted with a modchip (there's a chance getting a slimline machine modded might be a little more expensive, since I've only seen them with the newer, pricier Matrix Infinity chips, but I'm no expert and that could be complete rubbish), but the slimline machines lend themselves much better to the use of swap discs - with the original model you'd have to wrench the disc-tray out while the machine was turned on, whereas the newer flip-lid version just needs an incredibly simple tweak to allow you to open the tray without the machine resetting.

If you couldn't care less about imports, the only thing to think about is reliability - I've heard horror stories (in the UK, at least) about ridiculously high return rates in stores since the slimline PS2 was introduced, due to disc read errors, for the most part. Some of the 'old', bigger PS2s have similar issues, though, so it's probably best to take the plunge and pick up a new one - it'll be under warranty easily long enough for any defects to show up. For what it's worth, I used to have a v10 machine (the last version before the slimline was released), which was starting to disc-read-error a little after eight or nine months' use. I replaced it with an earlier version (v5, i think) which has been incredibly solid ever since. And I swear it outputs a clearer picture.

Quick game recommendations: Rez, Space Channel 5 part 2, Frequency/Amplitude, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, the Silent Hill series (particularly 2), Gitaroo Man, Katamari Damacy, Viewtiful Joe. But I love music games and like 'em ridiculously difficult, so YMMV.
posted by terpsichoria at 7:51 AM on February 2, 2005

Keep in mind that PS3 is expected to be released at some time in 2005 (the current talk all seems to say May), at which point they are likely to stop releasing new games for the PS2.
So be sure you really want to spend $150 for a new system that will only be compatible with new games for a few months.
posted by Kellydamnit at 8:02 AM on February 2, 2005

I wholeheartedly second the purchase of Amplitude. Fantastic game.

Hey, terpsichoria, do you have the boardband adapter for your PS2? Maybe we can get together and play Amplitude online sometime.

On preview: Isn't the PS2 coming out in 2006, not in 3 months? Plus, with the amount of PS1/PS2 games that are currently released, you could play for years before running out of great stuff.
posted by emptybowl at 8:04 AM on February 2, 2005

If the PS3 is released in May, I'll eat someone else's hat. Right off of their head. I'd be surprised to see it in 2005, to be honest. PS2 releases aren't going to stop anytime soon - even after the PS3 release, they'd be insane to suddenly abandon such an enormous userbase... Sony are all about the PSP release right now, which is a different beast entirely.

emptybowl: sorry, no PS2 BB kit for me right now - the idea of competitive Amplitude kinda calls to me, though. If only I could persuade my girlfriend to put Resident Evil 4 down for long enough to try split-screen...
posted by terpsichoria at 8:09 AM on February 2, 2005

I think Kellydamnit is confusing the release of the PS3 with the rumors that Sony will have an ANNOUNCEMENT about the PS3 in May.
posted by emptybowl at 8:30 AM on February 2, 2005

Whatever the rumors are, video game systems are usually released much later than the rumors preceding them indicate.

That said, I just got a slimline PS2 for Christmas, and I love it. Yes, there are some issues about noncompatibility, which you can read about on the Playstation website. I have not had any disc read errors or overheating problems, although it does get warm. I recommend keeping it in an open space in your entertainment center, or even out in the open. The damn thing is SO small that you could put it anywhere.

As for game recommendations, I highly recommend checking out the Greatest Hits series. They retail for $20 and if you haven't been playing video games in the past couple years, you can pick up lots of games that really made waves when they came out. Also, I have found that lots of online retailers have plenty of less-popular games for $12-20.

I recommend SOCOM II if you like first/third person shooters with lots of strategy. Also, 007 Everything or Nothing if you want to blow stuff up and shoot bad guys. It's like an interactive Bond movie, and has a great 2-player set-up if your significant other likes to jump in.

Go get one. It's great.
posted by MrZero at 9:43 AM on February 2, 2005

Conventional wisdom dictates that you shouldn't play DVD movies in a PS2 unless you want to wear the thing out.

Also, with the amount of $20 games in the PS2 catalog, you will be able to play quality games for cheap well into the next generation of consoles.

In addition, PS2 support is likely to continue well into the life cycle of the PS3--the installed userbase is too large to be neglected. Madden 2005 was released for the PS1, if that's any indication of the life of the previous Sony console.

Relatively obscure recommendations: Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (RPG); Gladius or Growlanser Generations (strategy RPGs); Gradius V (horizontal shooter); Bombastic (puzzler).
posted by Prospero at 9:55 AM on February 2, 2005

emptybowl: That may be my error. I just recall my PS2-obsessive saying it was due out this year, and a quick google said they would have a playable demo at E3, although it's not something I personally follow so I don't know if it's been pushed back.
Goes to show, xbox people shouldn't try talking about play stations. :)
posted by Kellydamnit at 10:48 AM on February 2, 2005

The one advantage to the older (large) model PS2 is that you can install a standard IDE hard drive and use the excellent HDLoader (review 1) (review 2). Games can be ripped from the dvd and played from the hard drive, reducing load time. It also boots up to a nice menu system organizing your games.

No mod chip necessary, but you need the official sony network adaptor.
posted by phatboy at 10:57 AM on February 2, 2005

I'd also recommend tying up any loose ends as far as relationships go, and stocking up on food and beverages in the house. If you're like me, when you first get the machine you'll want to play for a couple of days straight.

And, if you can, find a copy of Ico -- by far my favorite game ever for the PS2. It should be available for cheap.

Game on!
posted by papercake at 11:19 AM on February 2, 2005

The Ratchet & Clank games are much better than the Jak & Daxter games in all ways.

The Sly Cooper games are among the most gorgeous you'll ever see (cel-shaded animation in a PS2 game!) but not that interesting or complex. It's a little bit of a let down, but see if you can get them used for cheap or borrow from a friend.

Everything else that's been said is true. Forfeit every other aspect of your life for the machine!
posted by glyphlet at 12:28 PM on February 2, 2005

Having started in PC gaming, jumped to console gaming and jumped back to PC gaming, I'd tend to say this is the wrong time to by buying a console at all. With the current generation at the end of its life, PC games are currently far superior, even on older hardware.

I put together a PC from spare parts (ie; cost=zero) for a friends birthday and it can play World of Warcraft. No current generation console's ever going to manage that.

You might be able to find some enjoyment in older titles that you haven't played before, like ICO, but you will be lamenting the poor graphics quality compared to pretty much any PC with a few hundred dollars spent on it in the last year.

My PS2 is just a DVD player now. I probably spent near A$1,000 on games, some recent purchases I haven't played for more than 30 minutes.

If you're only going to be playing old games anyway, or money is a big issue, I recommend picking up a Super Nintendo or MegaDrive/Genesis and a bunch of games at a swapmeet (trash and treasure/car boot sale) or pawnbrokers.
posted by krisjohn at 2:54 PM on February 2, 2005

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