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PlayStation 2 software choices
Hardware without software is like a TV without programs. As you probably know, the PlayStation 2 is more than just a DVD player -- it even plays games.
With more than 20 titles available at launch, choosing the right software might actually be harder than finding the console. To help you figure out what games are worth playing, have a look at our descriptions and reviews so you can make an informed decision.
'Armored Core 2'
Mech fans take note. "Armored Core 2" takes combat to the next level with the ability to create and assemble a fully unique machine with more than 1 million possible combinations. Players can then use their custom AC (Armored Core) to participate in a variety of missions ranging from destroying opposing AC's to rescuing artifacts. As players advance through the ranks, they can choose between multiple story lines that affect the availability of parts to upgrade their mechs. In addition to the single player missions, a one-on-one battle mode is available in addition to a fighting mode that utilizes the iLink cable.
'Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore'
An intense martial arts fighting game, "Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore" combines advanced fighting tactics with stunning visuals and character design. Engage in combat in a number of highly detailed, multi-tiered environments. Players have the ability to toss opponents through windows, over waterfalls and off rooftops to continue the battle below. Play options include story mode, battle record and the two-on-two Tag Battle. New to this version are hidden characters, new outfits and additional secrets to unlock.
The home of "Eternal Ring" is a mystical, remote island where dragons and fierce enemies roam. Playing as a young wizard, players experience battle in this 3-D, real-time RPG from a first person perspective. Changing weather and geography affect gameplay and add additional challenges for the player to overcome in their quest to discover the myths and fables of the island. The mysterious origins of the island are unknown to its inhabitants but clues point to a hidden civilization. Use the wizard's spell power to ward off enemies and increase that power by adding new magic rings to your arsenal in the search for the ultimate ring of power.
"Fantavision" literally takes puzzle games to new heights combining action, strategy and puzzle solving elements. The object of the game is to collect flares of the same color and detonate them to create fantastic fireworks displays. Created from hundreds of tiny particles, the fireworks displays are generated in real-time by the PlayStation 2 and really show off what the system is capable of doing. In addition, a two-player mode has been added for the U.S. release so players can show off their pyrotechnic skills in a head-to-head match.
"Kessen" is a real-time strategy assault in which players control tens of thousands of troops -- including archers, infantry, riflemen and the powerful cavalry -- and engage them in epic battles from the Warring States Period of seventeenth century Japan. Taking on the role of Japan's most fearsome warlords, players guide their battalions into decisive conflicts and provide the leadership to rewrite the history of a nation. Boasting some pretty impressive graphical power, "Kessen" allows over fifty 3-D characters on the screen at once with a high level of detail in the troops as well as the surrounding terrain. It is also the first game for the PlayStation 2 on DVD.
As one of the most successful football franchises ever to grace a game console, "Madden 2001" has some pretty big cleats to fill this time around. Players looking for a graphical enhancement of the series they have come to know won't be disappointed. Those who are looking for a little more aren't likely to be disappointed either. A realistic physics model is touted as one of the biggest enhancements and will allow for a player's momentum to be determined by his speed and size. Graphical touches abound thanks to the power of the PlayStation 2. Players will have specific pads and helmets depending on the position they play. They will also have more clearly defined skin and muscle tone. "Madden 2001"'s Exhibition, Season and feature-packed Franchise modes give players a lot to tackle this time around. Football fans looking for a little gridiron action on the PlayStation 2 would do well to check this one out.
Hop on the saddle and hang on as you take control of the world's greatest 500 cc, two-stroke performance motorcycles. Players compete as real Grand Prix racers on real Grand Prix courses around the world including Japan's Suzuka and France's Paul Ricard. As an officially licensed title, "Moto GP" includes 32 authentic cycles from the world's leading manufacturers like Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha. Offering a clever balance between arcade and simulation, this is one racing title that should keep motorcycle-racing enthusiasts coming back for more.
"Orphen" is a powerful but lazy sorcerer that has always thought of being a hero as too much work. Reluctantly, he sheds those lazy tendencies all in an attempt to help his desperate companions complete their unique quests. Along the way, he surprises himself and discovers the hero inside. Set on the treacherous Chaos Island, "Orphen" is an action-packed RPG that challenges players to conquer puzzles, battle monsters and complete quests on their way to defeat all enemies.
'Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2'
Back for the PlayStation 2 launch is Midway's over-the-top boxing game "Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2." This year's offering features 23 boxers including such favorites as Afro Thunder and Selena, as well as special new characters like pop superstar Michael Jackson and basketball behemoth Shaquille O'Neal. New mini-games like Heavy Bag, Sway Bag and Rumble Pads will help you get your boxer in shape for the championship round. Improved AI insures that the single player experience will offer an even greater challenge than the original.
'Ridge Racer V'
Namco's highly successful racer enters its fifth generation as the PlayStation 2 enters the 128-bit generation. Featuring seven racing modes and a myriad of customizable cars, "Ridge Racer V" is set to be at the front of the pack when it comes to racers on Sony's new console. As one of the original Japanese launch titles, "Ridge Racer V" wowed gamers with effects like translucent glass, reflection mapping, a diverse range of lighting effects and other effects like realistic tire smoke. Watch for the Pac-Man cameos.
The hit arcade game "Silent Scope" makes its long-awaited debut on a home console. Players assume the role of a counter-terrorist sniper tasked with rescuing the kidnapped daughter of the President. Silent Scope features a number of missions taking place in a variety of environments including cities, freeways and sprawling estates. The ultimate goal is to neutralize the target terrorists without taking too long -- or becoming the target yourself.
'Street Fighter EX3'
Lightning-fast fighting action combined with a generous lineup of Capcom's classic "Street Fighter" characters should keep fans of the series happy for some time. "Street Fighter EX3" gives players a variety of attack moves to choose from including the momentary combo, critical parade and character change. Each character has a unique design as well as a number of animations to suit their fighting style. A total of 16 characters are playable with the ability to engage in tag team matches where you can choose to play 1 on 2, 2 on 2 or even 3 on 1.
From the creators of "Descent" and "FreeSpace" comes "Summoner," an original fantasy RPG set in a kingdom where only the strong survive. With powerful forces at their command, Summoners have toppled empires, challenged gods and been known as both saviors and destroyers. To save their kingdom from annihilation, players must journey to the lost empire of Ikaemos, the island monastery of Iona, and the forest labyrinth of Liangshan, questing for the Summoners' rings.
'Swing Away Golf'
Light-hearted golfing fun is the best way to sum up what "Swing Away Golf" is all about. Play as one of seven unique golfers on one of six fantastical courses set in locations like along a beautiful lake or in the middle of a desert. In addition to choosing a golfer, players also get to choose from six different caddies to suit their style. Game modes range from stroke play to challenges including a longest drive contest. For those with a creative urge, a course editor is available so you can design the perfect hole.
Following the success of the PC version, "Unreal Tournament" brings its first-person action to the PlayStation 2. "Unreal Tournament" pits players against the toughest warriors in the galaxy in multiple contests and fantasy-based settings. The goal is to become the Unreal Grand Master, testing your skills against, or fighting alongside, teams of 'bots' or other players. Gameplay modes include deathmatch and team-oriented modes of play, as well as an enhanced version of "Unreal"'s critically acclaimed Botmatch. In addition, "Unreal Tournament"'s advanced artificial intelligence allows players to lead a squad of computer-controlled allies against teams of human or computer-controlled opponents.
'Wild Wild Racing'
"Wild Wild Racing" takes arcade-style racing off-road with the ability to race in spectacular landscapes and through a variety of conditions. A complex physics engine presents drivers with unique challenges and the ability to pull off some crazy stunts. Expansive tracks and upgradable cars add to the exitement of racing alone or head-to-head.
In the year 2037, a terrorist threat at a secret military complex puts the country at risk. It is your task to lead the highly skilled "X Squad" to eliminate the terrorists, save any hostages and recover the secret material. Explosive third-person action features a huge array of weaponry to help you guide the squad to victory. Players can take control of weapons such as the sniper rifle, flamethrower and other high-tech items. As the team leader, you control the four-person unit by delivering tactical commands in an attempt to overcome the enemy.
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