Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fifteen Years of Playstation 2

Fifteen years ago, Sony released the sequel to their mega-popular PlayStation console, the PlayStation 2. Being many families’ introduction to the DVD player at the time (including my own) the PlayStation 2 utterly dominated the sixth generation of video games. It’s really not difficult to see why when you look at the vast library it supported, its DVD player, and backwards compatibility to the original PlayStation. The PlayStation 2 holds a special place in my heart in part because it is the first console that I paid for myself.

While working at Wal-Mart as a teenager I snagged the elusive console at the time with a copy of Onimusha and put it on layaway with a bit of my meager paycheck going to pay for the console and game. After the Metal Gear Solid 2 demo came out with Zone of the Enders I swapped out my games. Making the final payment, I took the big blue box with me on the bus home and proceeded to hook it up. Firing up the demo of Metal Gear Solid 2 and I was simply blown away by the graphics. The Dreamcast had come out a year earlier and definitely had some great graphics but what was shown in MGS2 was basically reality. Not only was it beautiful to look at but it was a lot of fun to play with so much that can be done on a frigate. Never before had shooting at inanimate objects just to see how they react would be so much fun.

After spending quite a while with the demo I finally booted up Zone of the Enders. I remember being pretty hyped about this game because it’s a new game from Hideo Kojima. It had mechs, explosions, and it was described in an EGM preview at one point as being “Legend of Zelda with mechs”. How could I not get excited for it!? Zone of the Enders had some fantastic moments in its own right even though it was a short, fairly easy experience with a whiny young protagonist and taking the word “cockpit” to its literal conclusion for the Laborious Extra-Orbital Vehicle(LEV). Basically the proper names of the mechs of the game. I completed the game in a few hours which is remarkable for myself as completing games is very uncommon. It ended with a cliffhanger that left me wanting more and I never touched the game again and ended up selling it several years later. I did pick up the sequel which was supposed to improve upon the original in every way and my limited time with it seems to suggest that that is true.

Soon the PlayStation 2 would become my preferred method of gaming and in fact it has the largest library in my personal game collection. Like the original PlayStation, the PS2 kicked off as many new franchises if not more, as it continued from the previous console. Grand Theft Auto 3 introduced me to the open world of crime and destruction. The mishmash of Final Fantasy characters and Disney characters in Kingdom Hearts. Nailing the solo to Cowboys from Hell in Guitar Hero. Battling demons with the celestial brush in Okami. Climbing the giants to slay them in Shadow of the Colossus. Slaying the Greek gods in God of War.

Obviously there are plenty of great games that have come out on the PlayStation 2, far too many to cover here but I’ll cover individual ones sometime in the future, that the console stands as one of the greatest to have come out.

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