The Sony PlayStation 2 is nearly 7 years old. Yet today was the first time I actually sat down and played an actual PS2 game. I got this PS2 unit some months ago, mostly for DVD playback. I have tried out a few PlayStation 1 titles on it. But I also have 3 PS2 games laying around.
The first one is called Evergrace, from the confusingly named FromSoftware. Apparently, this was a PS2 launch title. I purchased it while procuring a bunch of other cheap, old games from an eBay seller. Even though it was already in MobyGames (sans screenshots), it was cheap and in new condition, and I thought it might be nice to try a real PS2 game, and an RPG at that. I was disappointed. First, I tried to dutifully digest the manual before delving in since RPGs can be complicated. I have to pinch myself to keep from falling asleep since the manual goes into so much storyline. I skim the section on the controls and figure that they’ll make more sense in context, so I fire the game up. The first order of business is to check my speakers to see if anything is wrong. Nope– the music really is that cacophonic. Then the game assaults me with the same storyline I didn’t care about from the manual.
Eventually, the game gets rolling and you essentially have 2 characters to choose from — a guy and a girl — who will follow different paths in the game. Evergrace bills itself as an action RPG with an emphasis on equipment. I guess I’m supposed to kill creatures, get currency, exchange it for goods, and kill more creatures. I found the store, found out I was broke, went outside and tried to kill something, and learned that I was fairly ineffective in this task when using only my bare hands. I got bored of this quickly though I tried to give the game a fair shake. I even went back to the insomnia-curing manual a few times but couldn’t maintain the motivation.
The next title, Orphen: Scion of Sorcery, was also a launch title. I’m beginning to think that early adopters were awfully forgiving. I know these kind of graphics reigned supreme at one point but they seem fairly ho-hum these days. There is also the fact that for the past 7 years, I have largely been examining magazine and internet screenshots of PS2 games rather than seeing the actual games in action, which tends to elicit a far different reaction.
Anyway, Orphen— I had never looked too carefully at the literature for this one. I had always assumed it was an action game where the hero fired magic bullets. While that’s part of it, the game turns out to be of the genre action-RPG. RPGs really left me behind somewhere along the line. Mostly, I am used to the classic NES turn-based stylings of the original Final Fantasy game, the Ultima: Exodus port, and the classic Dragon Warrior series. The principle action in Orphen consists of encounters where characters square off with a number of enemies and quickly attack using offensive magic spells or magic weapons, or parry attacks with a magic shield. It’s RPG-ish, in a fast-paced way.
There is also some kind of storyline tying this all together. Based on the opening scenes, it was pretty obvious that Orphen must be based on an anime series, and sure enough. I’m not especially fond of anime to begin with and this game’s characters seem to embody much of what I despise. Still, I gave it the old college try. It’s a tad slow-going as you walk a few meters, run into a pre-scripted story advancement sequence, walk a few more meters, get more story, an enemy encounter, and then repeat. Apparently, that’s the whole game. The game’s copy lists as one of its key features “51 action-packed, event-based encounters.” I got through 5, maybe 6 of them, depending on how score is kept.
Finally, I decided to actually play a dreaded sports game– NHL Hitz 20-02. Generally, if I wind up with a sports game in my collection, it’s because A) it was dirt cheap, and B) because I wanted to study its multimedia files. This game served its purpose to that latter end. But how does the game play? The Hitz series is apparently a totally X-treme hockey experience based on licensed NHL teams. “No rules” is the overriding theme. The game assaults your auditory senses with Limp Bizkit in the opening FMV. Then there is quite a variety of activities available. Not only actual hockey, but violent minigames, such as body checking a number of players within a set time limit.
When I finally set up a screen capture process for my PS2 and Saturn games, at least I will know exactly what to capture for these 3 titles and be done with them.