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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. CD playback is also excellent.
Overall then, PS2 is the future of gaming and deservedly hyped to hilt. One of the reviewers called it 'all hype and no trousers'. I can see PS2 wearing the trousers in the console mark for a long time to come.
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