Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I recently began playing Okami for the PS2, and it made me realize something.  The PS2 might have been the best console for RPGs to exist to date.

There's a few reasons for this, and to demonstrate, I'll make a short list.

1) Graphical Limitations: While the graphics of the PS2 are very appealing and impressive for the time, it also limited how much "realism" could be inserted into a game without it looking hokey.  Due to hardware and storage limitations, putting too many realistic polygons into a game would severely hinder it elsewhere.  BUT!  There is a plus side to this.  Without the burden of hyperrealism, games were allowed to have a distinct style.  By looking at a screenshot, you can see that graphical distinctions were really noticeable.  From Dark Cloud, to Persona, to Final Fantasy, each game had a distinct style that they used.  Hell, look at Psychonauts.  The game has it's own art style, it's not afraid to be different.

Comparing this to the PS3 for a moment, most of the high profile games for that system are all done in a realistic sense (in terms of overall graphics).  God of War, Bayonetta, Brink, and FPS all try to latch onto this realism that escapes them, for better or worse.  While I'm on the PS3, I will give mention to 3D Dot Game Heroes.  I salute their ability to go against the grain.

2) Improved Soundtracks: Don't get me wrong, I love some soundtracks from the SNES days.  But there's only so many 16-bit loops you can listen to.  This improved with the PSX/N64, but the audio was pretty iffy at times.  On the PS2, we started to get some nice, crystal clear sound that could really sell a mood.  Not much to say on this one.

3) Gameplay: While interesting and exciting concepts were released in previous generations, the PS2 took them and ran with the ball.  Take the Tales of [x] games for example.  On the SNES and PSX, their combat system was a nice change from the typical JRPG turn based combat.  Now on the PS2, the combat doesn't get bogged down, no matter what flashy attack is going on, or how many enemies are on screen.  This same 3D, Active battle also worked well in the Star Ocean game for the PS2 (Til the End of Time).  The games just feel smooth and polished.  While this all can be attributed to the developers putting some good QA on the games, I doubt this type of fluidity would be available on older consoles.

Sure, I'm probably bias, and I'm sure there are current gen RPGs that I'm omitting, but for my money, with it's healthy game library, and above points, I'm proud to say that I'm a PS2 gamer.


  1. Couldn't agree more. There need to be more games for current-gen systems that try to break out of the mold of grey-and-brown attempts at realism.

  2. Real is brown, apparently. Never mind all the bright vivid colors, BLOOM AND BROWN FILTERS EVERYWHERE.