4th Annual PSX Extreme Awards (Part 2 of 3)
Namco did it once with Tekken Tag Tournament, and they've done it again with Tekken 4; they were able to completely deflicker pretty much the whole image, and implement an effect that comes close to being full screen anti-aliasing. Not only that, but Tekken 4 can also be run with progressive scan 525i, which greatly increases the overall picture quality, and is especially noticeable on larger, more high-definition, TV screens (27'/32' Sony WEGAs, 32' Sony Trinitron XDRs, 43' Toshiba rear-projection HDTV, and etc). This feature pretty much eliminates any noticeable flickering and aliasing when the game is run on a more sophisticated television, and creates a really crisp and clean picture - owners of high definition screens should be pissing their pants by now. The overall look of Tekken 4 is practically perfect. Since Namco ported the software off of PS2 based arcade hardware, System 246, the result came to be quite expected, as Namco has always managed to make their console Tekken titles seem to look better or on par with their arcade counterparts (and it should be mentioned that the PS2 version of Tekken Tag Tournament looked light years better than the arcade version).
Silver: Virtua Fighter 4
Bronze: Rygar: The Legendary Adventure
Graphically, Wild Arms 3 is superb. Making use of cel-shading that's been rather popular as of late, the game does a great job of portraying an anime look. Each of the characters in the game even the NPCs are unique looking and each has a good amount of detail to their models. Everything from belt buckles to flora patterns on the clothes, there's a lot to each of them. The downside to this though is that the models can sometimes look a little muddy due to lack of hi-res textures up-close and a little rough near the edges in close as well. The frame rate in the game is a rock solid 60 fps with the exception of several battles in the latter game when there are a lot of effects going on at the same time. Otherwise, the game is silky smooth in motion a treat for the eyes.
Silver: The Mark of Kri
Bronze: Sly Cooper
Cars. Speed. Police. Helicopters. Mines. Speed. Roadblocks. Speed. Mayhem. Speed. Mayhem. Speed...I think the point has been made clear. Returning to its true roots, Need for Speed: HP2 has it all. Everything you wished for has been granted. For starters, the game boasts a fantastic and huge car lot that spans 50 cars. Not just ordinary cars...cars you only dream about. Ferrari's, Lamborghinis, BMWs, McLaren F1, Aston Martin, Corvette, Fords, and many, many more! Every vehicle is a joy to drive and none of them are annoying or have weird handling tendencies. Getting adjusted to the game should take no longer than two minutes. The game is so well crafted, that even a first time NFS gamer could get his grips with the game in no time.
Silver: Virtua Fighter 4
Bronze: Medal of Honor: Underground
Second to none, is exactly what Medal of Honor: Frontline's soundtrack and sound score is. Featuring a masterfully crafted and orchestrated soundtrack, Frontline impresses every bit as did its previous brethrens. Everything is just so incredibly pulled off, that it helps and define the motion picture elements of this game. The voice acting is done well, too. It occurs frequently towards the beginning of the game, and on occasion throughout the rest of the game - mainly from the German troops as they converse with one another. The sound effects sound every bit as good as they look, if you can imagine that. Pair this game up with a Dolby Surround receiver that features a sub woofer and the works, and you've got yourself WWII in the comfort of your own living room.
Silver: Kingdom Hearts
Bronze: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Regarding the sound, Rygar is somewhat of a mixed bag, though its good parts greatly outweigh the bad. Composed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Rygar features perhaps the best-orchestrated soundtrack of any game released this year, and arguably one of the best soundtracks altogether. The tunes tie in so well with the game and the setting, that the only way to describe the soundtrack is as being 'perfect'.
Silver: ATV Offroad Fury 2
Bronze: Dance Dance Revolution MAX
SOCOM's stealth aspects are what make it such a great single-player experience. While multi-player is what everybody's been bragging about, SOCOM has a great solo mode that'll take you through 12 individual missions, ranging through different locales and environments, including Turkmenistan, Congo, Alaska and Thailand. You will of course be faced with many objectives per stage, some that are crucial to complete, others that aren't quite as important. Your mission objectives will be given to you via headset and not speakers. So expect to hear your duties given to you straight into your ear. SOCOM arsenal of weaponry is quite vast to say the least. There are 21 primary weapons, such as sniper rifles (M40 A1, M82 A1, M87 ELR, SR-25, SR-25 SD) machine guns (AKs, HKs, etc), shotgun, and even a grenade launcher. The secondary weaponry consists of 7 hand guns, including a 9MM SD pistol, Desert Eagle.50, .226, MARK 23 SD, MARK 23, M9 and a Model 18. Lastly, SOCOM features equipment such as an ammo box, binoculars, C4, claymore, smoke grenade, stun grenade, frag grenade, laser designator, and much more. Something that I have yet to stumble across is the ability to wear thicker (or thinner) armor. Other than that, SOCOM features a ton of weaponry and lethal equipment.
Silver: NFL 2K3
Bronze: Suikoden III
PS2 Online Game of the Year
"Having played a two and a half hour session of SOCOM online, I used the headset quite often. I'd chat with my fellow teammates, and not just about SOCOM, but other subjects such as other online titles, and the locations of the people in the room. Let me assure you that the headset works almost flawlessly. During an online multiplayer game, it's like a phone; you just hold down the circle button until you hear a beep, from there on you have 15 seconds to talk." -- Arnold K.
2) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
3) NFL 2K3
Best Multi-player (Offline)
Easily of the most addictive games ever made, Sega Sports tennis reigns supreme with its unparalleled multiplayer gameplay. Sega Sports Tennis defines the term "party title", as it is easily one of the best games to throw into the PS2 with friends around. Sega Sports Tennis was a fantastic and addictive title on the Dreamcast (as Tennis 2K2), and it is every bit as sensational on the PS2. If you manage to find a copy of the game and are in the market for a great tennis title, go for it!
Silver: Marvel vs. Capcom 2
Bronze: TimeSplitters 2
Stay tuned for: Publisher/Developer of the Year, Best game that isn't a PS2 title, and the staff's GOTY top-5 picks...
1/16/2003 PSX Extreme Editorial Staff