I bought myself a PS2 just before xmas 2001 (couldn't wait till the big-day) so thought I'd review some games I've bought and keep a list of useful sites in NZ and abroad that sell or review PS2 games and accessories.
I used to play loads of PC based games back when machine spec's were pretty basic and new titles weren't too demanding. Things are so different now. It seems like every new or updated game requires an updgrade of memory or video, and disk space is always a bloody battle
Thats why I gave up the PC rat-race and bought myself a console. My 1st one was a Nintendo64, bought a half-dozen games for that, traded it with my cousin for a PS1 and bought a few games for that. But when I caught sight of the quality of the PS2 output I just knew I had to do buy one !!!
Isle of Man TT - After about a month of game-play I can now categorically state this game totally rocks the house!!. The bike physics seems as bang-one as you can expect from a console, the bike and scenery renderings are awesome, the sound is leagues ahead of the Moto GP and games, and the gameplay which forces you through challenges that result in you actually learning the track is pretty cool.
Alpine Racer 3 - bought this cheaply recently on an online trading site as a kind of 'when your bored' filler game. Its very much arcade style and your pretty much confined to a fixed route down the mountain in each of the race locations. It'd be great to see a less linear ski game some time that let you go cross-country or gave you more options for picking your way downhill, in the mean time tho this is kinda fun, but dont pay full price for a copy.
Crazy Taxi - this is a good clean no-brainer game thats easy to play and not too taxing (excuse the pun) on the brain. You play the part of a taxi driver in a city that looks suspiciously like San Francisco and run about town picking up fairs and dropping them off as quickly as possible. Not a long termer but definately a nice distraction. Good one to drag out over a few beers with friends who might not play many games.
The Getaway - If you like 1st person shoot-em-ups and the likes of Grand-theft-auto then you'll probably like this one too. Its a mobster kinda setting in modern-day london and you get to play the part of a getaway car driver who's on a revenge buzz or a cop who's chasing the bad boys. You can play the game missions if you want, or just bum around the city checking out the sights, running over pedestrians and generally wreaking havoc. Good mindless stuff.
Gran Turismo 3 - this was the game that came with the PS2 (I am a drive-sim fan after-all) and its great. The range of cars is wicked, the presentation is way better than GT2 on the PS1 of course. The only gripe I have with it is that the Rally-mode sux. Still you're better off with a dedicated rally game if that's your fancy.
Grand Theft Auto 3 - This was the next game I bought. My mates Dave and Matt were allways playing version2 on their PCs, but I never got into the top-down view. This 1st-person view is a different kettle of fish. Crazy driving, story-line, violence, smut. Perfect. What more could you ask for?
Medal of Honor - I'm a sucker for war movies and 1st person shoot-em-up games, so this one from EA is perfect. It's wickedly immersive, the 1st scene is very saving-private-ryan-ish as you attack the beaches from a landing craft while german machine-guns blast at you from bunkers. I'm only halfway through completing the game but so far I've been impressed.
Moto GP 2 - This game from Namco is based on the international GP motorbike series. I've recently just bought myself a bike and am having a blast on GP2 without the risk of physical injury (other than some RSI). This game is excellent, the physics are great, in simulator mode you're sliding, counter-steering and power-standing just like the legends of motorbike racing. Bring on a SuperBike version is all I can say.
Moto GP 3 - Another excellent effort form Namco, the physics are great and are much the same as its predecessor, simulator mode gives you that same power-sliding, counter-steering feel, plus there's a new cockpit view which looks cool if your spectating but sucks pretty much when your playing as its too small a viewing area and makes it very hard to look-ahead or around approaching corners. Other new features include independant control of front and back brakes and forward/back weight shifting, neither of which I've mastered yet, but both make the game much more simulator than arcade. The challenges (that unlock other bikes etc) seem a little harder than verion 2 ones, but thats a good thing. Generally its not greatly different from version 2, and not worth buying if you already have the earlier version.
Riding Spirits - Yet another racing game (sense a pattern here?), this ones essentially a bike version of Gran-Turismo, you start off with a little money with which you buy a crap 250cc machine, enter some races win prize money improve the bike and eventually move onto another machine and the bigger classes etc etc, you know the drill. The physics and sound are crap and the graphics are marginal, but the gameplay ends up being quite addictive, just like GranTurismo you lust after bigger and better machines so keep on playing for more prize money. Simple and fun. Buy it if you see 2nd-hand or on special.
Swing Away Golf - My real-life golf abilities are somewhat limited (actually I totally suck) and I've never really played a golf-game yet that I wanted to play again. Sadly this is more of the same. It has a career mode where you have to develop player skills which is OK I guess, its easy to play too so is a good one for novice game players (you dont have to use may buttons) but its really nothing special. Buy it on sale only.
State of Emergency -
another one from RockStar, this is another supremely violent game. In fact there's really nothing else to do other than kill/injure/mame as many people as possible with a cool array of weapons. Even has a nice sound-track. There are a few entertaining scenes you progressively unlock but the gameplay is pretty simple. The most disturbing challenge is one where you have to kill 150 zombie-like security/police types, gets kinda sickening once you've killed a hundred or so of the suckers.
V8 Supercars - did I mention I like driving sims? I had TOCA2 on the PS1 which was pretty cool, and I bought it mainly so me and friends could race around Bathurst in the commercials while we were watching the real thing on TV. This PS2 touring-car game is wicked. I've only just bought it but so far I'm loving it. Tons of cars, loads of tracks, the only annoying thing is the American character you play in career mode. I finished the career mode pretty quickly and was actually reasonably entertaining. There's a new version due out shortly but looks like its only on X-Pox and PC initially.
Virtua Tennis - I hardly ever play sports-genre games and even more rarely ever buy one but this game has to be the most fun of all the PS2 games I've bought if only coz its about the only one I can con anyone else into playing multi-player with me. Its just plain hysterically funny playing tennis with someone else on a console, A+ entertainment factor, Buy It !!!
WRC Extreme - as I mentioned I'm a sucker for driving-sims too so was really looking FWD to this one. I borrowed a copy of the original WRC off a friend for awhile then spotted version2 on an online trading site and bought it for $35nz. A bloody bargain, graphics are great, physics arent bad, seems more engaging that the original.