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The Playstation Experience - Part 2

Continuing where I left off, my last year of history with the original Playstation ends and the era of Playstation 2 and onward begins with the next part of....

It's kind of easy to describe the year 2000 in my own words. In short, it just felt like a part 2 of 1999 with the year coming and going as we were given little news about the PS2. But to hold us over while we waited that year we were given a few games for the old gray box. Insomniac Games gave us a third (and final) Spyro The Dragon game, Squaresoft knocked it out of the park with Final Fantasy IX, and Sony even had their own RPG known as Legend of Dragoon as a way to remember the Playstation by.

They may not be as impressive to look at today, but back then Final Fantasy IX had some of the most breathtaking cinematic scenes on the Playstation for its time, setting the stage for the soon-to-come Playstation 2.

At the time I was staying at my uncle's house, as my parents and I didn't have a place of our own (yet). We were staying in Ohio to live a bit closer to my mom's side of the family while we could, and while I had my own belongings stored in an upstairs room to bunk, my Playstation and the games for it remained in a downstairs area which I turned into a gaming room. It was actually a nice experience, huddled up in a blanket on a recliner couch in a cool room in solitude as that Sony Entertainment logo startup got me warmed up for some well deserved gaming.

I didn't have the chance to get a handful of games this year like I did the years prior since my older brother was out of a job and planning to join the air force, however I was able to get my hands on Final Fantasy IX and, after being able to play Legend of Dragoon at a kiosk at a Wal-Mart electronics area, I managed to coax my parents into buying a copy since I was also starting to catch up with my grades in school.

I also got Crash Bash, a Crash Bandicoot party game as a birthday present, but at the time I had no idea that Naughty Dog wasn't involved with franchise anymore. It still had its fun factor. Sadly this was the end of the road for Playstation games I got, as spending money was getting tight and my parents decided to move back to Virginia, this time in a different area. So fast forward another year and I get word from my older brother that he wanted to order a Playstation 2 for me after hearing that it was announced, no joke.

At this point I'd already read a recent Playstation Magazine issue giving the specs, console design, and graphical capabilities of the system, so you could say I was pretty darn happy hearing this news one afternoon. Since my mom and stepdad were working again at this point, I also got the chance to take my pick of a few titles. The downside was that the memory cards were quickly going out of stock at stores, making their selling price steep for a good while.

Dark Cloud took me by surprise at launch. Not only did it feel like it took inspiration from Zelda, but it changed up the concept by having you go dungeon crawling to restore villages to their proper state while keeping yourself from getting thirsty and preventing your weapon from getting damaged from battle as you level it up.

Dark Cloud, Jak and Daxter, Devil May Cry and Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex were my choices for the games to have starting out with the new system, and I was happy to hear that I could play my older Playstation games on it as I got rid of my old Playstation console. Jak and Daxter made for a fun follow-up platformer from Naughty Dog and I loved seeing the cartoony charm from the company make its way over to a new title, though it only took a few days to beat. Dark Cloud on the other hand had me busy for weeks. Not just leveling up my swords and other weapons, but there was a fishing minigame that rewarded points - big ones if you caught a good enough catch. I'd use those points toward rare weapons and other useful items when I'd saved enough.

Devil May Cry had my blood boiling though, with its difficulty, and I had stood the test of a real game challenge as I pushed myself forward with harder enemies ahead. Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex felt like a tryhard Crash platformer from new company Traveler's Tales as they tried to incorporate the same aesthetics in previous Crash Bandicoot games. But it just felt off, and the long load times in and out of levels made it an experience worth forgetting. The following year my parents and I had moved again, but still in the same state.

Vice City became one of my favorite Playstation 2 games for the longest time, adding more features and a better targeting system than GTA 3, and it even got me into 80's music.

From 2002 to 2007 I spent the PS2 era in my new house in VA, gaining a boatload of games throughout those years such as Grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City, Ratchet and Clank 1-3, Jak 2-3, Radiata Stories, Final Fantasy X, Devil May Cry 3, Sega Genesis Collection, Mega Man Anniversary Collection, Mega Man X Collection, Metal Gear Solid 3, and the two acclaimed Kingdom Hearts games that were also popular.

But as 2008 rolled around I felt that it was time that I move to North Dakota where my older brother had been for the past few years to see what he'd been up to since leaving my parents. I got a decent paying job for a while too, earning myself the long awaited Playstation 3 which had already been out.

One of Sony's most iconic Playstation 3 game franchises (and my most favorite) was Naughty Dog's new Uncharted series which set the standard for storytelling (and action) for a next generation console.

I'm just gonna run by this one short and say that I didn't really pick up too many Playstation 3 games compared to 2, But the ones that captured my interest were Uncharted 1-3, The Last of Us, LittleBigPlanet 1-2, The Ratchet and Clank, Jak and God of War trilogy remasters, Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction and Metal Gear Solid 4. Aside from its physical game library, Sony also brought the Playstation Store, a digital store via the PS3 menu that also allowed you to buy these games digitally, along with my favorite feature.

The Playstation Store featured a TON of old school Playstation titles for downloadable purchase and even included some games that were normally a steep price to buy physically in online stores, with Mega Man Legends 2 being an example.

Playing these old games was bliss on my HDTV, and I racked up a lot of play hours on my Playstation 3. But as time passed, I felt that it was best to move back to Virginia again after dealing with North Dakota's weather for too long, and saying my goodbyes to my fellow employees from the restaurant I was working at. A year after the Playstation 4 launched I managed to snag a pre-owned one, but since I had a wallet apocalypse paying for the system itself I was left with just getting one game for the moment, LittleBigPlanet 3.

Uncharted 4 was a fitting end to what was a great trilogy, even better was Naughty Dog giving a wink to old school Crash Bandicoot fans during a particular cutscene near the beginning.

Hear me out though, despite LittleBigPlanet's cutesy looks, its online community levels have some pretty fun ideas when they're not basic platformers, but hey, not everybody my age plays LittleBigPlanet. Anywho, aside from getting Uncharted 4 sometime later, I also picked up a couple of remasters too, such as Resident Evil 4, Dead Rising, and even Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy. To make the experience even better, it was awesome seeing that Dark Cloud was available to buy digitally through the new store. I finally played the game with HD upscaling, and it made me want to go back to 2001 again.

I still have a way to go to upgrade my PS4 library, but until then I think I'm happy with what I have at the moment.

So, did you experience all of the Playstation's home console generations growing up? Leave a comment and as always, see you next time!
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jkatz Posted on Feb 02, 2019 at 02:57 AM

I unfortunately never got to experience the PS2 in its prime, but I did pick up a bunch of titles for cheap a few years ago. My personal favorites would have to be Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, Max Payne, and of course, GTA San Andreas. I couldn't get into Vice City for some reason so I never finished it, but I did enjoy cruising around the streets of Miami while blasting Iron Maiden, Judas Priest....and The Human League.

I didn't have too many games for the PS3: just Heavy Rain (really enjoyed it), Skyrim (loved it), and Read Dead Redemption (liked it, never finished it).

Now that I have a PS4, I already have a lot of games, including Spider-Man, RDR 2, Doom, plus a few more I can't remember right now. All in all, not bad for a kid who grew up without a console because his parents hated video games.

Benjanime Posted on Jan 31, 2019 at 10:34 PM

i think overall the playstation and playstation 2 had the best library of games aside from nintendo and the xbox. i never did get around to playing resident evil 2 and 3, but i played the first game at a friend's house during my middle school days. gotta love that hammy voice acting!

Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 31, 2019 at 09:49 PM

I think the majority of what I played on the original Playstation consisted of Metal Gear Solid, the Resident Evil games, and the Tomb Raider series.

Benjanime Posted on Jan 31, 2019 at 09:38 PM

to update since writing this article my PS4 library itself got a little update since january, i got just cause 3, dragon's lair trilogy, red dead redemption II and spyro reignited trilogy.

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