Saturday, November 19, 2011

I can has PS2 ?

A friend of mine (who is a little bit better off than me) has a Wii, a PS3, and an XBox 360. His Wii is set up in the living room, his XBox is in the spare room, and his PS3 sits out in the guesthouse. I asked him if he still actually uses his PS3 and he said he's planning to, because a couple of his other friends are playing the PS3 version of Modern Warfare 3 and he wants to play with them.

I don't use my PS2 though, he added, which is how I acquired a PS2 and a dozen games. He apparently has more PS2 games scattered around his house but he gave me (gave, as in freely, not sold) what he could scrape together at a moments notice. This included Time Crisis 3 but no gun :( and a DDR Dance Pad but no actual DDR disc. With my friend being a gun nut (like me) several of the games were FPS games, and several others were racing games (he's also a bit of a petrol head). I prefer my FPS on a PC (I might be biased but WASD + mouse-look still pwns gamepads) and aside from Mario Kart I'm not really into the driving games. In fact as I flipped through the discs my friend had given me I realized his taste in video games is quite different to mine. Still, a free PS2 and a DDR Dance Pad are nothing to sneeze at, even if I didn't have a DDR game to go with the Dance Pad.

I decided to resolve that situation and went online to see what were the best DDR games for the PS2. Apparently DDR Extreme 2 and DDR Max 2 both came highly recommended. As there's a Gamestop just a block from where I park my car on my commute into work I decided to stop in on my way home. There was no DDR Extreme or Max 2, but there was Final Fantasy XII and Dragon Quest VIII. I also decided to grab God of War II for $10, then promptly put it back when I ran across a second GoW II case with a $7 price tag. At the counter the cashier noticed the sticker on the God of War II box was for the first God of War game (bugger), then because I had two very lengthy RPGs and one (apparently quite short) Hack & Slash, he actually suggested I not get GoW II at all. A downsell? How refreshing! Then he couldn't find the DQ8 disc so I ended up only buying FF XII. He looked up which of the nearby stores should have DQ8 in stock, then handed me not just FF XII but the DQ8 case. No point us having the case but no disc, he said. What a nice fellow.

Earlier that week I'd been talking to a couple of coworkers about my "new" PS2 and DDR Dance Pad, and I lamented how I didn't have a DDR game. The next day one of those coworkers came into work and handed me a shopping bag. I opened it up and there inside awas another Dance Pad, along with a DDR game and the original Rayman Raving Rabbids game. No, she hadn't bought it for me. Apparently a friend (who she lost contact with) had once loaned her his old PS2, and when he'd taken it back she had (inadvertently) kept DDR & the Dance Pad (and Raving Rabbids). His loss was my gain.

I now had a DDR game (although it wasn't DDR Max 2) and FF XII, along with the games my friend had given me (which I'm unlikely to play) but I decided I still needed more variety in my new PS2 library. Some online research turned up a few lists along the lines of "Best Looking PS2 games of all time", "Must Own PS2 titles", etc.

I already knew I needed to track down a copy of DQ8, and I'd already acquired FF XII, and both of those were on the list. I also figured I had to have both a Ratchet & Clank, and a Jak & Daxter title. Not having either of those would be like having a Nintendo with no Mario or Zelda games. Sacrilege! So R&C:Up Your Arsenal went on the list, along with Jak 3, allegedly the pick of the bunch for those series. The last one to make the cut and the #1 title on a couple of those "must have" lists was God of War II. The cashier might have been nice enough to give me the empty DQ8 case, but judging my video game preferences based on a couple of titles was erroneous, to say the least. I also wanted a Tekken title, and Tekken 5 is apparently very highly recommended, but it was also $15 and none of the other titles on my list were over $10. I'm sure it will eventually come down to $10, or maybe I'll buy it at a later date for $15, but not just yet.

Gamestop games come with a 7-day money-back guarantee, so the first thing I did once I had the time (being today) was to check that my new, pre-owned discs all worked, and they did. FF XII and DQ8 both looked as good as I had anticipated, Ratchet, and Jak were as cutesy as your standard Mario title, but the winner and the first game I played (after DDR ;) was God of War II, and I was still playing it when my wife finally got home from her errands.

Lengthy RPGs like FF XII and DQ8 are all well and good but sometimes you just want to jump into a game for some mindless slaughter, and God of War not only delivers that in spades but looks damn good while doing it. Not bad for a game on a 10 year old system.