Author Topic: PlayStation 2 (2000 sequel to the popular console from the Sony Corporation)  (Read 1538 times)

Don't forget the Yakuza PS2 games!!!!

NoSleep

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I think the PSX introduced a lot of people to new kinds of gameplay and although the graphics are comparatively crude there is a lot of fondness because of that. Stuff like MGS and Tenchu, Silent Hill and Resident Evil, along with FFVII. For me one of the greatest looking games on the PSX was Vagrant Story. I don't think they ever stray from the in-game graphics even in the cutscenes. It's like a moving comic book.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8n9c51-vR-s

St_Eddie

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Not for me.

I don't agree with Eddie there. PS1 games aren't that unique or charming imo.
Not in the way SNES or N64 games are.

You may not personally agree with me on the PSOne front but as you say, the N64 is a good example of exactly what I'm referring to in terms of a unique aesthetic.  In the case of N64 games; a vaseline blur (due to anti-aliasing) and a lot of fog/mist to hide the poor draw distance (whereas the PSOne tended to use darkness to hide the same deficiencies) are key characteristics of N64 games, making the host platform easy to identify, when looking at a screenshot.

I think the PSX introduced a lot of people to new kinds of gameplay and although the graphics are comparatively crude there is a lot of fondness because of that. Stuff like MGS and Tenchu, Silent Hill and Resident Evil, along with FFVII. For me one of the greatest looking games on the PSX was Vagrant Story. I don't think they ever stray from the in-game graphics even in the cutscenes. It's like a moving comic book.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8n9c51-vR-s
You've reminded me I never got round to playing that. My Platinum copy of FFVIII had an advert for various Square games on the back of the manual (am I the only one who misses games coming with a manual?) including Front Mission 3 and Parasite Eve 2, both of which I bought and loved, but for some reason Vagrant Story escaped me.

None of which has anything to do with the PS2, sorry. So, err, I did enjoy the Buzz quiz games too.

Twed

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The biggest difference (IMO) is that the Saturn had perspective-correct textures, whereas the PS1 is very identifiable in its affine textures (when large polys are used).

Good explanation here: https://retrocomputing.stackexchange.com/a/5021

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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As I heard it, Sony weren't expecting polygons to become the big new thing had intended the PS1 to be a 2D machine.

am I the only one who misses games coming with a manual?
I also miss manuals. I can see why they don't bother with them any more - they usually only contained two or three pages of actual instructions that can all be covered by tutorials nowadays - but I used to enjoy all the extra detail they put into them. I remember the original release of Silent Hill had a really good one, with a really evocative description of the town. The manual for the Platinum re-release, which I have, didn't include it.

St_Eddie

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The biggest difference (IMO) is that the Saturn had perspective-correct textures, whereas the PS1 is very identifiable in its affine textures (when large polys are used).

Yes, thank you for mentioning that.  I wanted to point that out too but I didn't know the technical name for it.

As I heard it, Sony weren't expecting polygons to become the big new thing had intended the PS1 to be a 2D machine.

Pretty sure that was the Saturn, wasn't it?  Once they saw what Sony were doing, Sega hastily implemented dedicated 3D aspects to their console.  It's all a bit of a mess internally as I understand it, which is why it's such a bastard trying to emulate the bloody thing.

The Playstation has its own fascinating development history, of course.  What with it starting out as an add-on for the SNES and all.

I also miss manuals. I can see why they don't bother with them any more - they usually only contained two or three pages of actual instructions that can all be covered by tutorials nowadays - but I used to enjoy all the extra detail they put into them. I remember the original release of Silent Hill had a really good one, with a really evocative description of the town. The manual for the Platinum re-release, which I have, didn't include it.
I'm obviously going way back and showing my age here, but the ones you got with games like Wing/Strike Commander were ace: manual with magazine detailing the world you were about to enter, penpics on other characters and suchlike.

When I was a kid, it really added to the anticipation reading it on the ride back home.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Pretty sure that was the Saturn wasn't it?  Once they saw what Sony were doing, Sega hastily implemented dedicated 3D aspects to their console.  It's all a bit of a mess internally as I understand it, which is why it's such a bastard trying to emulate the Saturn.
That could well be the case. I do remember that the Saturn was apparently shit-hot at 2D arcade conversions. I might be getting mixed up due to Sega's Virtua games. You'd think someone would have seen the potential of 3D hardware based on those.

St_Eddie

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I'm obviously going way back and showing my age here, but the ones you got with games like Wing/Strike Commander were ace: manual with magazine detailing the world you were about to enter, penpics on other characters and suchlike.

I don't know where my big box copy of Strike Commander disappeared to but I fondly remember the manual that came with it.  Well, I say manual but it was more like a book; fucking massive, weighing a ton and intimidating just to be in the same room with.  If I recall correctly, a small forest was sacrificed for each and every individual Strike Commander tome.

NoSleep

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I guess most games include that stuff within the game. Like the books and magazines lying around the scenario of Deus Ex that you can read that fill in detail about the world, or the Bestiary in FFXII that has stories of the world embedded amidst its pages.

St_Eddie

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That could well be the case. I do remember that the Saturn was apparently shit-hot at 2D arcade conversions.

That's the thing; the Saturn excelled at 2D.  Which is neat and all but a bit of a problem when you're competing in the 32-bit race with a console that can run rings around you with its fancy new 3D graphics.  It's little wonder that the Saturn choked on the dust of the Playstation, sales-wise.

I guess most games include that stuff within the game. Like the books and magazines lying around the scenario of Deus Ex that you can read that fill in detail about the world, or the Bestiary in FFXII that has stories of the world embedded amidst its pages.

That's all very well and good but it's no substitute for the likes of the big box Ultima games, which not only included manuals but also other goodies such as cloth maps and tarot cards.  They don't make them like that anymore.  More's the pity.

Twed

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It was excellent at 3D too, but a complete bastard to program for.

(Actually, that's not entirely true. It couldn't do some basic things, like transparent polys. Good article here: https://www.mattgreer.org/articles/sega-saturn-and-transparency/)

St_Eddie

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It was excellent at 3D too, but a complete bastard to program for.

Ah, okay but the fact that it was a bastard to program for was due to Sega hastily altering the technical specifications at the 11th hour, in order to improve its 3D capabilities (due to having to compete with the upcoming Playstation).  I'm hazy on the details (it's been a while since I last read up on it in Retro Gamer) but it ended up being a situation where developers would have to program across two separate chips, thanks to the last minute alterations to the system's innards.

biggytitbo

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I had a good time a few years ago buying up a shit ton of PS2 games for a quid each and either reliving some good gaming memories or playing stuff I missed first time -


Psi ops: the mind gate conspiracy
Second sight
Time splitters future perfect
Project snow blind
Cold winter
Black
Hulk ultimate destruction
Area 51
Tomb raider anniversary
The punisher
God of War 1/2
The suffering
Freedom fighters
Darkwatch
The thing
XIII
Beyond Good and evil







The Punisher was pretty good. Thomas Jane did a top job with the voiceover and while most of the action was "meh", the torture interjections were fun (as censored as they were) and the story was pretty nifty.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

  • He's the one with the flying feet
Shadow of Memories is perhaps a bit too much of a niche obscurity to be called a classic but it is (as far as I can remember) a pretty darn good mystery adventure type of thing. Some malevolent sort keeps trying to murder you, forcing you to unravel the mystery, using a time machine provided by a friendly, but slightly creepy, magic man. It has a branching storyline, with something like six endings which, even now, seems quite ambitious.

Also, the graphics are very distinctly PS2.

Also also, it's better than Shadow of the Colossus. Which is shit.
 

NoSleep

  • feat. Keith Jarrett and his singing parrot
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Shadow of Memories is perhaps a bit too much of a niche obscurity to be called a classic but it is (as far as I can remember) a pretty darn good mystery adventure type of thing. Some malevolent sort keeps trying to murder you, forcing you to unravel the mystery, using a time machine provided by a friendly, but slightly creepy, magic man. It has a branching storyline, with something like six endings which, even now, seems quite ambitious.

I really enjoyed it but it was less a game and more of an animated story where you could decide where the plot went (at a few junctures).

The same games designer did another time travel game for the DS called Time Hollow which has a bit more depth to the gameplay.

Jerzy Bondov

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It was excellent at 3D too, but a complete bastard to program for.

(Actually, that's not entirely true. It couldn't do some basic things, like transparent polys. Good article here: https://www.mattgreer.org/articles/sega-saturn-and-transparency/)
This is really interesting, thanks! I absolutely loved the Saturn but the fact it couldn't do transparent polygons and the PlayStation could drove me mad. To my mind that was the main reason why it flopped. The other day I got my old Saturn out and played a bit of Wipeout, and as soon as I used the shield it all came rushing back. The fucking PlayStation with its fucking transparent fucking polygons.

biggytitbo

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The Saturn could do transparent polygons couldn't it? It was just harder to do so most programmers didn't bother. It also eccentrically used quads for 3d when everyone else was using triangles for some reason.

Twed

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You could make 3D things on screen that were transparent with some work, but there is no usable "please blend this arbitrary polygon transparently, computer hardware" operation, due to overdraw since it uses quads. This video explains it, and a limited workaround: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdD0GvVRSMc

So it's not just a function of effort - there are also hard limitations, like only being able to do transparency over the background and not other polygons in this case. Other games just used a dither pattern (textures with holes in them) which I think looked kinda cool.

biggytitbo

  • WHAT ABOUT THE GODDAM JAFFA CAKES ASSWIPE
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Some of the later games like virtua fighter 2 run at 480p in 60fps, something that no other console was able to do until the next gen, so there was clearly a heap of untapped power in there.

The biggest difference (IMO) is that the Saturn had perspective-correct textures, whereas the PS1 is very identifiable in its affine textures (when large polys are used).

Good explanation here: https://retrocomputing.stackexchange.com/a/5021

That's not true is it?  I don't think the Saturn could render textures perspective correct - and what's more, the basic primitive was a quad instead of a triangle, which often resulted in much worse distortion.  It also mapped from texture pixels to the screen, rather than screen pixels to the texture, meaning that if you plotted a shrunken quad semi-transparent, it could overwrite some screen pixels multiple times, and just leave you with a mess.

The wobbliness of PS1 graphics is definitely a signature feature, partly due to the affine texture mapping, but also due to everything being done with low-precision fixed point arithmetic, and the inaccuracies that it leads to.  Back when I used to develop PS1 games, we used to try to work round it by subdividing big polygons, but you could never work around the arithmetic limitations.

Twed

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That's not true is it?  I don't think the Saturn could render textures perspective correct - and what's more, the basic primitive was a quad instead of a triangle, which often resulted in much worse distortion.  It also mapped from texture pixels to the screen, rather than screen pixels to the texture, meaning that if you plotted a shrunken quad semi-transparent, it could overwrite some screen pixels multiple times, and just leave you with a mess.
Yes, that's covered in the video I linked to above. There's no overlapping sprites, and the VDP1 draws everything as sprites that can't be overlapped with transparency. But it has better texture interpolation for the most part than the affine, PSX renderer, which can't even draw a flat textured rectangle competently if it isn't pointing directly at the camera. There's also the VDP2, which is the high-fillrate chip used for backgrounds, floors etc. which uses truly perspective correct mapping.

In the case of a road, or a long wall etc., both chips give a correct look on the Saturn. On the PSX, you couldn't do a wall that didn't look odd. Walls are pretty basic elements of many games.

It's funny to think that the Saturn's 3D evolved from the sprite scaling stuff in Hang On and Out Run.

I do still play it and in fact replaced my one recently after it broke. Probably mostly play PS1 stuff on it these days; considered replacing it with an original model PS3 but decided against it. I bought my originalinal Slimline one first hand but quite late in the day (2007). As someone who mostly likes cartoonish games of one stripe or another (platformers in particular) it was never going to be my favourite system but worth keeping around to be able to play my favourite PS1 stuff, the Ratchet and Clanks etc.

I do broadly agree with St Eddie on PS1 Vs PS2, but I do wonder if in a couple of years I'll inevitably be talking about "the retro charm" of games I think look like garbage now. That said I suspect PS2 will never raise quite the level of retro enthusiasm Atari, NES, SNES, Game Boy, Mega Drive etc. have enjoyed. The increasing similariry in the libraries of the main consoles and focus on pushing stats over mascots and image since 2000 (Nintendo aside, to a degree) may lead to better experiences for customers but I suspect it doesn't endear quite the same connection that, say, the Mega Drive or SNES did. How would someone quantify their preference for the PS2 over the original X-Box for example, beyond it being the one they bought first or had more games for? I could be way off, but it's interesting that the PS1 Classic didn't sell nearly as well as the NES and SNES classics, although word on the product itself was quite poor.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

  • He's the one with the flying feet
Damn. How did we forget the Ratchet and Clank games? Total classics they are.

NoSleep

  • feat. Keith Jarrett and his singing parrot
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...but it's interesting that the PS1 Classic didn't sell nearly as well as the NES and SNES classics, although word on the product itself was quite poor.

The PS1 classic is an unnecessary purchase, as both games and secondhand original machines are widely available, very cheap, and the software and hardware are very durable. As well as there being the issue of the games not playing very well in the PS1 Classic; how could they possibly get this so wrong? It would have been more correct to have not bothered.

PS2 games and PS2s are both less solid, the games dying from a single tiny scratch and the drives in PS2 being slightly less hardy than the PSX. I'm on my second PS2 (full size) after the first stopped being able to read CDs (which includes a couple of PS2 games as well as all of the PSX games). Apparently you shouldn't stand them upright so the replacement (£20 in 2010-ish) has remained horizontal and operational.

My PS2, after maybe six months, developed a fault so that when loading a game up initially, I had to hold the console at a weird angle so it would read the disc. Never worked out why.

I burned through my initial PS3 (bought maybe in 2005/6) after five years - yellow light of doom. The PS1 probably still works, like the Master System.

Twed

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I had one of the really shitty early Playstations where the plastic lens sled in the CD mechanism would wear out :-(

If I still had it I'd send it here: http://psxplanetcodes.tripod.com/repair.htm

FerriswheelBueller

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Yeah, but Timesplitters was crap even by the expected standards of  console shooters.

Objectively incorrect, the entire TimeSplitters series was a work of art.

I bought a lot of PS1/2 games on the online store for peanuts and still play them on my PS4. I gave away all my consoles over the years, though I assume the PlayStations are still shifting away because they’re rugged and great.