Top 10 Reasons to Keep Playing the PS2
It's not dead yet! No, really, we swear!
November 5, 2008 - If you haven't noticed by now, we're getting a little thin on content PS2-wise. Yes, the game is still getting its share of releases -- many of which are also going to the Wii (though we could always use a few more) -- but the days of looking forward to major first-party releases and genre-redefining debuts are likely past us now that most developers have dedicated more resources toward figuring out how to get the PlayStation 3 to work its magic or the PSP to continue doing its thang.
So we started thinking. How exactly can one continue to squeeze what remaining life still exists in our favorite little black brick (or, uh, slab given the slimmer design of more recent models)? Not surprisingly, you'll probably see plenty of crossover with some of the other features we've posted recently, but that's only because they're both solid reasons and part of a dwindling number of incentives for those still willing to ride the last-gen train all the way to its final stop. Before that happens, however, we're going to get a bit more mileage out of things.
|New SingStar Games!|
See? Sony isn't completely finished with their karaoke franchise on the PS2. Three games were released just a few weeks ago; Legends, Pop Vol. 2 and Country, and Abba is coming soon (on both the PS2 and PS3), meaning there's still plenty of SingStar to be had. Personally, we're just dying to get our hands on SingStar Death Metal, SingStar Vocal Trance and SingStar Punk. All three will make the rest of the office hate us even more, while giving us reason to hide our shame as we belt out way more songs than we have any right to know all the words for. Well, except for that Punk one; everyone should have a good repertoire of punk songs to pull out from time to time. Chicks dig it!
|Still the De-Facto Home of RPGs|
It's fair to say that, as PS3 owners, we're rather starved for some quality role-playing goodness. It's getting better thanks to stuff like Valkyria Chronicles, but even this late in the PS2's life, it's still the home of some of the best RPGs out there. Persona 4 is probably one of the surest things this year after P3: Fes, and if you like boobies and thinly-veiled innuendo, there's Ar Tonelico II hitting soon. And then there's always the backog of stuff, which brings us to...
|It Has a HUUUUGE Library of Great Titles|
We've made much of the PS2's incredible raft of titles in just about every genre you can think of because, well, it's awesome. Generally speaking, if you can think of a type of game, chances are there's either an exemplary or an as-yet-unbeaten example of that genre hitting at some point during the system's lifespan -- and often more than one. Throw in the cheap price of new releases and Greatest Hits titles and you have a win-win combo of some of the best games of the past eight years.
Ask any casual gamer (say, a grandparent or parent or soccer mom) what the biggest barrier to entry is for checking out a game system and they're likely to tell you they don't really want to shell out a few hundred dollars just to see what all the hoopla is about. Though the Wii doesn't seem to be having many problems at its price point, the PS2 sports more games and costs half as much. Sony's re-focusing of the system for casuals with great games like Buzz! and SingStar also means there should be plenty of fodder for those just looking for something easy to pick up and play.
"Cheap" is a subjective term, really; the system has been out for almost a decade and it's barely less than half the price of when it was launched. Yes, it's the cheapest system out there still getting games, but the staying power of the system at its $100-plus price point is a testament to how well the hardware can still be moved by the software. As we've already mentioned (plenty of times, in fact), the price of everything related to the system, from new releases to the best-of games to hardware tends to run cheaper than any of the other consoles on the market, making it far, far easier to build up that back catalog while on a budget. Hey, it's a recession, right? Best to stretch that dollar.
|Cheaper Than the Wii But Games Look Almost Identical|
Oh, c'mon, admit it; whether because third-party devs don't care or because they don't have to (the games are selling anyway), the Wii's graphical prowess hasn't been flexed much beyond first-party efforts (and yes, we're well aware of The Conduit, and we want to see more games of that quality). It'll get better, sure, but for folks that don't care about graphics, grabbing a PS2 at its current price point (or even when it finally dips below $100) plus all the cheap games means a better, longer return on the initial investment. Mmmm... We smell pitchforks, torches and unchecked fanboy rage coming.
We're as guilty as anyone of hauling our gaming system and whatever clicky plastic instruments we have on hand to bring over to a gaming-starved friend's house or a party because, well, it's a fun social experience. Lugging around the behemoth that is the PS3, however, isn't fun, and as the PS2 has continued to be whittled down to smaller and thinner dimensions -- and now even includes the power supply in its diminutive profile -- not to mention its standard-def roots, means it can go just about anywhere and hook up to just about any display while not diluting the experience any. It's light, it's cute, and there's plenty of stuff to bring along.
|It's Better Than the Original|
This is sort of a catch-all for the reason the PlayStation 2 is still around, really, but it's true. As great as the PS one was, the PS2 has stuck around longer and stayed more relevant thanks to Krazy Ken's brilliant hardware design. The perfect storm of the system overwhelmingly holding market share has also meant developers went ga-ga in learning all the ins and outs of things. Both factors combine to make the PS2 everything from a solid DVD player to a resource for some of the best games ever made. The PS one was solid, yes, but eight full years later, it wasn't anywhere near as popular or entertaining. The PS2, on the other hand, is still packed with awesomeness.
|Indie Devs Welcome|
They haven't yet announced it here in the States, but in Europe, Sony has completely opened up the PS2 for developers to make, offering to sell (for around $10,000) or even give away in some circumstances, the dev kits for the system. They've also waived the certification process across the pond, meaning games no longer have to pass Sony's requirements checklists and can just charge ahead with being... well, hopefully better than some of the "professional" stuff released by Phoenix Games. Soooo, aspiring devs, start bulking up on your Intro to Programming classes and get to making something cool!
|New PS3s Can't Play PS2 Games|
This is a big one, and easily the number one reason why people should even have to hang onto their PS2s. Until Sony deigns us worthy of playing all those amazing games on their system (conveniently, we're guessing software backwards compatibility will be solved just as the PS2's death knell is rung), the only way to have full, complete access to every single PS2 game is to down a PS2. Yes, you can still track down a PS3 with full or partial compatibility (usually at a premium), but only having the PS2 hardware will allow you to play all PS2 games.