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Looking Back: Was The PS2 Really The Best Console Ever?

With over 160 million units sold, it's the undisputed king of consoles.

Of course, sales don't always translate to quality (as anyone in the entertainment world understands), so the question is simple: Is the PlayStation 2 the ultimate console overall, in terms of quality and sales?

It's an interesting question. The PS2 was like the perfect storm; Nintendo was suddenly facing a stiff competitor in Sony after the original PlayStation hit hard, Microsoft was just starting in the console game (pun intended), and the Dreamcast fizzled. The PS2 outsold the Dreamcast, Xbox and GameCube combined...several times over. That wasn't a race; it was complete and utter domination from start to finish, and we'll never see that again. The industry has changed radically since.

Did the PS2 deserve this lofty status? Well, maybe it did. It had the widest variety of genres (by a long shot), it pushed the boundaries of interactive entertainment almost on a yearly basis, and it had a lot more games available. In the first year alone, the PS2 produced some of the finest titles in the history of the industry: Grand Theft Auto III, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Final Fantasy X, Soul Reaver 2, Red Faction, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, Twisted Metal: Black, Onimusha: Warlords, Devil May Cry and many more. And that was just the beginning.

If you look at a list of the top video games of all time, many of the titles were on the PS2. That should say something. Let's also not forget that it was the first console to offer a DVD player and full backwards compatibility, thereby increasing its appeal right out of the gate. All things considered, I'd say yeah, the PS2 is the greatest...and the sales reflect that.

Tags: ps2, playstation 2, video game consoles, gaming history

7/30/2014 10:07:43 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (28 posts)

Temjin001
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 @ 10:34:58 PM
Reply

As of now the PS3 is tops with me.
and it's not so much about listing out the games that scored the highest with the gaming community but instead the breadth of it's entertainment it offered me over the last many years. I just can't think of another console that has given me as much as this one has.
It'll be a long time before I think of disconnecting my PS3 and putting it away anytime soon.

But yea, the PS2 was great. I was stolen away by Halo, DOA, Ninja Gaiden, Splinter Cell, Chronicles of Riddick, and Kotor on the Xbox back in the day.... not to mention the excitement surrounding Xbox Live at the time. I still played games like FFXII, GoW, Tekken 5, VF4, SotC, and MGS3 on PS2. I didn't game quite as often back then. But yea, the Xbox took the lion's share of my time during the 2nd half of the PS2 era so I'm not as fond to the PS2 as a stand alone unit as a result of that.

EDIT: oh yea, I did Xenosaga on PS2 also. The first one.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 7/30/2014 10:46:27 PM

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SaiyanSempai
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 12:17:48 AM

You just named some of my favorite games on the PS2, even down to Xenosaga. And I spent a lot of time playing Dragon Quest VIII, Amplitude, and Capcom vs SNK 2. Good times.

But man, although the original Xbox had some good games, I just couldn't get past how obscenely large it was - and that first controller of theirs...eeesh!

I guess I'm just materialistic...

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Temjin001
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 1:42:28 AM

I've encountered so many types of controllers in my time I can pretty much adapt to anything. I'm ready to take on the Wii U monster.

Yea, I've played a lot more than that on PS2 of course. But most of them were pre-Xbox releases. As for multi plats I bought most on Xbox because they supported true widescreen formatting (i actually had a Sony CRT HDTV back then) and progressive scan and 5.1 surround sound (back then i did surround sound). most games like GTA simply looked and ran better on Xbox. Just a few had discrete instances of being better on PS2. That being the rain part in MGS2... SSX Tricky had a generally more stable frame rate on PS2 as well.
I played games like Halo 10+ times and Ninja Gaiden about as many times. I also played the crap out of DOA3 and DOA2 ultimate. back then I only hung out on game specific message boards. like for fighting games etc. I didn't really follow console war media. I simply liked what I liked.
I also loved MS's message back then with the Xbox. They nicely contrasted back when Sony were a bunch of stiff suits full of self boasting and arrogance. Hehe boy were they humbled when PS3 hit the scene.
But of course MS went stupid and now they're begging on their knees for forgiveness from gamers in selling us out for presumably greener pastures.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 7/31/2014 1:46:17 AM

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SaiyanSempai
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 8:25:55 AM

I hear you Temjin. Didn't know the original xbox supported widescreen formatting, not that I could have taken advantage of it at the time anyway. And I distinctly remember that Splinter Cell looking much cleaner on Xbox than my PS2 version.

It was certainly more powerful, but I just couldn't get over how it looked. Just couldn't imagine it sitting next to my PS2 and gamecube. And I think the Xbox One has proven how crappy their design team still is. :) Although the 360 was legit.

But yeah, that curse of the third console hit everyone.

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Temjin001
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 10:31:57 AM

yah, the widescreen formatting was a nice feature, but not every game supported it. The original Halo, for example, didn't. And what I mean by TRUE widescreen support is that it literally added more pixel information to the left and right sides of your screen. Games like DOA3 and NG looked gorgeous like this. I think the resolution was something like 800x480 at the time. Some PS2 games pretended to offer widescreen but what they did was an incredibly lame stop gap approach. Take the original 4:3 aspect ratio of games and then CROP the top and bottom of the image off. Yea, ultra lame. You literally had it worse playing PS2 games in widescreen because your field of view was limited by the cropping.

anyway, this performance advantage over the PS2 was in direct result of the powerful GPU the Xbox had, and it's greater memory capacity.

..and yea, the Xbox was sorta ugly. My consoles are pretty much unseen in a cabinet-entertainment center so I don't really care about what they look like. Though I wouldn't mind having something wood paneled looking like the old Atari 2600 ;)

Last edited by Temjin001 on 7/31/2014 10:35:26 AM

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shaytoon
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 @ 10:40:49 PM
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absolutely. this console was everywhere. there wasnt a single person i knew that didnt have one. for the "new generation" of consoles (exiting cartridges) this was the machine to own. i know psx/dc was first disc based and already running in the markets, but those 2 consoles didnt pick up what consumers really wanted until ps2. it was the next gen people were looking for that established where console gaming is going. the ps4 may be in a similar boat. (you can hear the fanboys screaming now)

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Harerazer
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 @ 11:09:36 PM
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Was the PS2 as a console the best? Yes. Speaking strictly hardware it did everything a game console needed to do. Memory card ports, great controllers, Solid construction. As an entertainment devise it played DVDs and audio CDs. Library-wise it offered the most diverse selection ever in the history of the industry. This will never be repeated in any fashion because all of these things came together well and it wasn't all standard. Now we're all spoiled and expect out game console to do everything short of make coffee. The advancement of the cell phone changed the gaming industry as it made lots of our home entertainment issues portable. Today's consoles have nowhere to go so it will depend on software and the biggest games are multiplatform so the reign of the Playstation 2 will live forever.

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Harerazer
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 11:46:11 AM

That being said, the Sega Saturn still ranks tops in my opinion as far as game library by a long shot.

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Geobaldi
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 12:14:33 AM
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In terms of sheer enjoyment, the SNES is still my top console.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 12:28:11 AM

For me it was the PS1. So many awesome RPGs.

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SaiyanSempai
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 12:21:53 AM
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Best console ever, hands down. And lets not forget that the game cases had little memory card holders so you could easily bring your game and save file to a friend's house.

Remember when people did that? Crazy, right?

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Gamer46
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 1:38:06 AM
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Yeah, I'd put it first, slightly ahead of SNES and PSone.

Last edited by Gamer46 on 7/31/2014 1:38:22 AM

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Beamboom
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 1:40:23 AM
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This was before I entered the console world, but even I remember that the PS2 were everywhere.

However, what I associate with the PS2 is party games like Singstar and Guitar Hero. That's all I heard they were used for, and man did I have my sessions with Singstar during late hours and quite a few too many beers over at friends places.

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telly
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 10:55:13 AM

The genius of PS2 was that it found that hard-to-find balance between ultra hardcore and casual appeal, and no one felt alienated by what the "other" gamers were playing. And many of us core gamers who played the heck out of Final Fantasy and Metal Gear on PS2 loved messing with Singstar as well! Has any console ever appealed so much to so many? The answer, as evidenced by the all-time sales numbers, is clearly no.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 11:05:13 AM

You're in Europe so I'm not surprised. Such games were big everywhere but they were especially off-the-charts in Europe for some reason.

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Ather
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 2:38:28 AM
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The problem with sales is, it measures show many people initially are interested in it. Not how many people continue to use it. So whether the PS2 was the best ever, is determined by how many people continued to buy and use it. What good is selling the most systems, if people drop it after 6 months and never look back?

But people prefer money as the decider. Who had initial sales. Who sold the most. Which never measures longivity or replay value.

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Broady
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 5:29:02 AM

Still occasionally boot up the PS2, was playing FF12 about 2 months before FFX HD was released!

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Underdog15
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 9:12:07 AM

haha me too Broady!

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 12:34:59 PM

I'm waiting to to play FFXII again since I'm hoping for an HD port. I've probably played it a dozen times since 2006. such a fantastic game and I love the gameplay.

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Knightzane
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 4:23:47 AM
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The PS2 had Kings Field. Nuff said.

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Broady
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 5:31:12 AM
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Looking at that list of games got to say I could easily go back and play a lot of them again! Particularly MGS2, Soul Reaver 2 & Onimusha.
Thinking about it would love to see another Onimusha game appear at some point, might have to hunt through my collection and get the PS2 back out...

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ethird1
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 5:56:35 AM
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I think I enjoyed the ps1 as much, if not more, than the ps2, as crazy as that may sound. There was just so many good rpgs and strategy rpgs that I loved on it.

Although I acknowledge the ps2 had it all and then some. Monster Hunter comes to mind when I think of the ps2. Phantasy Star Universe was pretty cool. DQ 8 awesomeness.

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Vivi_Gamer
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 6:07:04 AM
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This is a difficult question for me. I can only answer it in this way, I think the PS2 certainly had the most broad selection of titles. It utter annihilated the competition and had a top tier title for every genre. However, I still feel the PS1 had more top quality games.

For me Final Fantasy VII, VIII & IX were all superior to Final Fantasy X - Which is a phenomenal game but I just felt the other 3 were better. Beyond Final Fantasy, the PS2 was a dream machine for J-RPG's - Dragon Quest, Dark Cloud/Chronicles, Drakengard, Kingdom Hearts, Persona, Digital Devil Saga and many more. but then the PS1 wasn't shy of J-RPG quality either with Legend of Dragoon, Xenogears, Koudelka, Alundra, Grandia both consoles really deliver a great job.

I felt Tekken 3 was far better than any of the PS2 iterations of Tekken and still regard it as my favourite fighting game. But Soul Calibur 2 on the PS2 is a might contender, easily the peak of the series, a title so good that the series has been staggering to keep up with since.

Metal Gear Solid has been a series which has had persistent quality. Just looking at the technical advancements from MGS1 to MGS2 is utterly outstanding. All the new features and mechanics in MGS2 just blew me away, its still one of my favourite games to play.

I felt the PS1 had a much better selection of platformers, Crash and Spyro were really in there prime then you had other games like Ape Escape and even Croc. On the PS2 most platformers became 3rd person shooters, the first Jak & Daxter game was the only pure experience for me.

Horror games area mixed bag, I love Resident Evil 1-3 and Silent Hill, but Silent Hill 2 is by far the most interesting horror title, one that doesn't rely on violence and shock factor but thrives on its atmosphere and story telling which certainly got beneath my skin.

Racing games, I think it was even, I adore Crash Team Racing - which I still believe floors any Mario Kart experience - & Ridge Racer Type 4 I love for its smooth handling. Then on the PS2 you have Burnout 3: Takedown! An utter blast for multiplayer mayhem.

This is a conflict I still cannot make a decision on, both consoles have so much to offer. Part of me wants to say the PS1 as it has more of my favourite titles, but the PS2's pure range and scale has not been challenged since. I find myself playing PS2 Games more purely because I have more in my collection. So maybe the PS2 does deserve that throne.

(On a side note, sorry I have been away for a while, been moving house recently and have had no internet. I';m currently at the library and saw this article and couldn't resist :D - I'll be back to pester you all soon no doubt.)

Last edited by Vivi_Gamer on 7/31/2014 6:11:37 AM

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bldudas1
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 7:17:05 AM
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I didn't get a PS2 until last November! I know, crazy, right? So, I don't know. My console back then was the Dreamcast. I loved it.

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SirLoin of Beef
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 7:33:33 AM
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Had Sega not screwed the pooch, the DC might've been able to be called the best ever, in my opinion. I love that great little machine!

Last edited by SirLoin of Beef on 7/31/2014 7:33:44 AM

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telly
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 10:51:09 AM
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I've been saying it for years: though of course this question is tough and subjective, there's a very, very strong argument that PS2 really is the greatest system of all time. That lineup of games is just bonkers. You can see the antecedents of modern game design taking shape throughout the PS2 catalog. The imprint of that generation on this one cannot be overstated. AND it played DVDs out the box, an amazing video format that was all the rage then and is still widely distributed? AND it played every PS1 game? AND you could even use your PS1 memory cards so you could keep all your game saves? I mean holy cow!!!!

And on top of all that, the hits kept coming for what, seven or eight YEARS? That's just an unimpeachable track record. The NES was the pioneer, the Super NES perfected and expanded upon many of those concepts, and either of those are great choices for best ever. But PS2 created the template for both game design and out-of-the-box features that is still the industry touchstone. That may just be enough to say it really and truly was the best ever.

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Friday, August 01, 2014 @ 6:25:58 AM
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alot of my fav games to this day are on the ps2 and i saome how don't see that changing anytime soon so yeah i'd be incline to agree too

happy gaming

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Nynja
Friday, August 01, 2014 @ 3:56:52 PM
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I think it's because our age, Ben.

PS2 generation was the best for me because of the time in my life. I was young and fresh out of school. This was when I had the most free time and was the most care free. The only thing that mattered was games. I had my own job and only 1 hobby - games. All my money and time went into PS2, FFXI, and SOCOM.

Fast-forward 12 years and now with more responsibility I cannot enjoy the games the way I once did. Part of growing up, I suppose.

If I was in my 20s again, I'd have to disagree and say PS4 would be the best generation.

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