The PS2 builds on its home-entertainment value by doubling as a DVD player, which allows it to play thousands of feature-length movies and other video programmes, and outdo the VHS format in both audio and video quality. Most DVD movies allow you to select alternate audio tracks, supplemental footage and a host of extra features. Like the original PlayStation, the PlayStation 2 also will play audio CDs.
The PlayStation 2 was designed with future expandability in mind. The unit comes with two USB ports and a Type III PCMCIA expansion slot--the latest standards in PC communications. It also comes with Sony's own i.Link interface, which can connect it to a variety of high-tech Sony products--from digital cameras to notebook computers. Read our PS2 Hardware Guide
The minute you press the power button (PS2 has a power switch at the back and a standby button on the front) and those green and ice blue lights flicker on, you know you are on to something special. Gone is the diamond and BBC Sports tune and instead is a deep space graphic and single chord. The main screen is a series of revolving spheres, set to the sound of waves and wind and navigation is simple with easy to follow menus. If you want to play a disc (be it CD, DVD, PS1 or PS2) select Browser and pop your disc in the drive. Want to set the time? Click System Configuration. Spookily, my PS2 was already set at the correct date and time when I first switched it on. 24/11/00, 7:30am if you're interested(you're probably not!). The much heralded backwards compatability works well, although the texture smoothing option and faster disc speed is not as noticeable as I thought it would be. I played Tomb Raider: Chronicles with the texture smoothing option on and it looked slightly smoother, but there wasn't really much difference. I bought Tekken Tag, Ridge Racer V and FIFA and while these games are excellent in both graphics and playability, they are not as good as games like SSX(a must buy) and the recently released Zone of the Enders (Z.O.E). The latter title is especially good as it includes a playable demo of Metal Gear Solid 2. If there was any doubt that PS2 isn't the future, it is blown away by MGS2.
DVD playback is good and clear, with the control pad mechanism working better than expected.Read more ›
First and foremost, the most startling thing about this new silver version (like, what's wrong with black??) is that it runs almost silently.
And when I say silent, I mean, if you change channel or turn off your tv and don't notice that the lights on the front of the console are still on, it's easy to go to bed and leave the PS2 switched on.
The original black boxed PS2 was notoriously noisy, howling like a banshee, especially when compared to the Xbox and even the Dreamcast (R.I.P.).
Apparently the DVD drive - and a few other things, all of which are imperceptable to me - have been improved (see below).
Personally, I hate the colour but love the improved cooling mechanism.
Speaking as a seriously disgruntled owner of an original black PS2 which went beserk, wouldn't always boot up and chewed up game discs* I have to admit, albeit begrudgingly, that the newer silver model is bringing back memories of why I bought the damned thing in the first place.
Although the Xbox has stolen some of the market and is winning over a lot of the hearts and minds of people who wouldn't have bothered with the PS2's back catalogue previosly, the Sony console is still an awesome bit of kit, or, should I say, it's still the best supported console on the market.
The box is only as good as the game you put in it and the PS2, whatever the colour (Japan has red, yellow, blue...) is still the best supported platform on the market.
On the downside is the fact that you still have to fork out an extra £20 for a memory card before you can even start using the thing.
It would surely make life easier for gamers if Sony were to bundle the consle with one memory card and raise the price by, say, £10-15? Oh well...