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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4

Game Profile
PlayStation 2
Idol Minds
GENRE: Party
PLAYERS:   1-4
March 11, 2003
Auto Modellista
EverQuest Online Adventures
Final Fantasy XI
Madden NFL 2003
My Street
NFL GameDay 2003
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
Tribes: Aerial Assault
 Written by Matt Partington  on August 20, 2002

Special: We'll be online, will you?

As we veer closer and closer to the PlayStation 2 bombarding the online gaming universe, questions are bound to arise. Well, you've come to the right place--Gaming Target's Sony Online Outlook and FAQ. Here, we'll answer your suspicions, give you suggestions, and hopefully tie up any loose threads. Interrogation shall begin with some commonly asked questions. Read on, apprentice, read on.

What's All This About the PlayStation 2 Going Online?

Why, it's the next evolution in console gaming! No longer will you have to play with computer-controlled AI, or your buddy sitting next to you. You can engage with real people who literally live across the country! It will be very similar to online PC gaming, which has become too predominant in the gaming industry. Even though this has arrived two and half years into the PS2's life span, PS3 will rightfully have online gaming as a median. It's here to stay; we suggest you welcome it with open arms.

What Do I Need?

Obviously, you need a PlayStation 2 console. Aside from that, you need the Sony Network Adaptor being released on August 27 this year. If you don't have a reserve from EB, Babbages, GameStop, or any other gaming store quite yet and plan to get online ASAP, get out of the door right now and pre-order your copy today. After that, you'll need an online connection, which I'm assuming you have since you're reading this.

How Much Will All This Cost?

The Network Adaptor is priced at $39.99, and if you don't already have a PS2, an additional $200. Games will be priced between $40 and $60. You're looking at about $100 to start off - that is if you want a new game that doesn't come with the Network Adaptor. A keyboard is an accessory you can buy, but there isn't a first-party one from Sony quite yet (will be released early next year). Your local computer store should have them, make sure it's a USB connection, not the standard PS/2. Most USB keyboards are priced at about $30, but search around the stores and you're bound to find a deal much less. This goes for a mouse also, which as commonly expensive.

How Do I Get Online?

Dial-up users will simply unplug their phone cord from the back of their computer, and put it in the Network Adaptor that is snugly placed in the PS2's Expansion Bay. Broadband users have more options then this. The easiest way is to unplug your Ethernet cord (the one that looks like a thick phone cord), and snap it into the Network Adaptor. This works quite fine, but don't expect to get online with your computer. A router is another option, providing 4 to 5 cable ports. This will slow your connection down, but at least you can get online with your computer at the same time. Various other ways can be used, choose what suites you best.

Will Online Gaming Cost Money?

Currently, there is only one game that'll charge, and that's Final Fantasy XI. We can safely assume a $10 monthly base fee, but that's still up for negotiation. Sony has no intentions of charging for their first-party titles, whether third-party companies want to charge you for using their servers is up to them alone. It looks good so far though; only one game presents a fee. The Network Adaptor costs no money to use.

What's Broadband?

Broadband is mainly a cable or DSL internet connection. Instead of using your telephone plug, it uses cable outlets (cable internet) and satellite inputs (DSL). Broadband can top 100 times faster than narrowband, giving you a much quicker response whether it be downloads, uploads, or surfing the web. If you have dial-up, you're stuck in the past, and should probably look into getting a broadband connection for evident reasons. Money is always the biggest factor. If you can't afford it, that's understandable, because it comes at a pretty penny.

Why Can Certain Games Only Be Played With Broadband?

This is obvious: broadband is so much faster! Servers can't always maintain the speed difference, which results in game lag, and no one benefits from that. Many games will let narrowband users to play online, but with less options and fewer players (hey, at least you can play!). Unlike Microsoft, who is usually all central servers produced by Microsoft for all games, Sony relies on the individual companies to use their own servers.

But We Can't Get Broadband!

In most cases this isn't true--in fact 80% of the United States is supported by cable or satellite online providers. If you still believe it's not in your area, then you might no be looking hard enough. Relevant to this is the comment ?It's too expensive!? Yes, it is more expensive than dial-up, but it's more than well worth your earned dollars. Usually priced at about twice the amount of narrowband, you're still getting something that'll solve those stupid loading problems you experience with 56k. AOL even offers high-speed internet access now. If worst comes to worst, you can pay a little more for satellite broadband, which is accessible nearly everywhere in the United States.

But Why Should I Play Online?

Good question, and I don't have much of an answer, except ?why wouldn't you?? This is the future of console gaming; do you want to be left in the dust? I know we at Gaming Target don't. It is a relatively large investment, yes, but it's worth it in most peoples' minds. This will enhance your playing experience, and could double the amount of gameplay hours. No, at this point, most games don't supply online play, but some do, and there's gotta be one out there that catches your eye. Keep scrolling for a list of games.

What's Sony's Future Plan for Online Play?

As far as we know, SCEA is going to take advantage of this opportunity, and so should you at some time. Early next year, Square plans to release their PlayOnline service, hoping to further advance online console gaming for every person, regardless of internet connection or location worldwide. The sheer amount of money that Sony has put in for servers and resources should prove to you that this is no fad or joke, it's a priority for their community. Hopefully, someday, online console gaming will reach the stature of online PC gaming.

Will I Be Able to Browse the Web?

Not currently, but Sony has very big ideas concerning this. A Netscape Web browser is already in beta format. When SCE America will finally decide to launch it is unknown, but we'd predict around the same time PlayOnline approaches.

Will All PS2 Games Be Online?

It might seem like that temporarily with all this chatter, but no, not even half the games will support online play. There's plenty of fantastic single player games being released, so don't fret if you can't connect, this fall is swarming with potentially great video games.

What About The Hard Drive?

Sony pretty much shut up about the Hard Drive for the time being, but expect a release for $80 around the time Final Fantasy XI is launched (FFXI requires the HDD). We'll be sure to keep you updated about this exciting piece of hardware however.

The Games:

For your enlightenment, here's a list of upcoming ambitious online PS2 titles. Some are already out, some will be released before launch, some at launch, and some far after (check the release dates for further information). There seems to be a great variety of genres, hopefully satisfying most gamers' needs.

Release: August 27, 2002 (launch)
Genre: Action
Summary: SOCOM is SCEA's ?go-to-guy,? their ?main man,? and their lead online title. For many players, this will be the first reason to get online with the PlayStation 2. You might not like the tactical, slow-paced gameplay of SOCOM, but it'll serve as a fantastic flagship online title. Up to 16 people can play at once, and the engine even supports clan play, urging gamers to get the most for their money. This game is going to be huge, join the faction! A real disadvantage is that you have to have broadband to play, but hey, there's always single player.

Final Fantasy XI
Release: Q1 2003
Genre: Massive Multiplayer Online RPG
Summary: Sure, the release is far off, but how can you think of the PS2 being online without FFXI cramping your thoughts? Supporting hundreds of thousands of players on a few enormous servers, you'll travel on continents that supposedly take more than 10 hours to walk. Many gamers are frightened, squirmiest, scared of what their favorite RPG franchise has come to, but don't be, because we can promise it'll be just as amazing as past installments. After all, has Square ever granted us a bad Final Fantasy? I think not. Squaresoft is still working out the server kinks in Japan, but FFXI should be revving to go by the time it hits the states. At this point, there'll be a $10 monthly fee. Why? Get this. Whether you have 56k or broadband, live in the U.S. or Japan, or are playing on PC or PS2, everything will happen on the same servers. Wow.

Auto Modellista
Release: November 2002
Genre: Racing
Summary: Interesting, because it's a racing game. More interesting, because it's a cel-shaded racing game, which is practically unprecedented! Quite fascinating it is, hopefully the gameplay will be as beautiful as the visuals. There have been some server problems at this point, although they very well may be fixed by release. Gentleman, start your engines!

Madden NFL 2003
Release: August 13, 2002
Genre: Sports
Summary: The football game veteran has once again arrived, with that classic core gameplay and a few fresh elements such as ?getting skinny? and a training camp mode. Sadly, Madden 2003 only allows 2 players online, which is a huge drawback (there's always next year), but it does entitle communication with a keyboard, something lacking in NFL 2K3. Madden 2003 is as good as ever, but really doesn't consent well with online capabilities.

Release: August 13, 2002
Genre: Sports
Summary: Not yet praised as much as the Madden franchise, Sega Sports returns with a better looking, better playing, and overall better game for this season. The 2K series has been around, but never quite topped Madden despite its tough competing. Is this the year for Sega football? Maybe, but 2K3 hosts up to 16 players online at once. Yowza! Disadvantage? Of course, it doesn't support any type of communication! That's surprising since past installments possessed intercommunication on the Dreamcast, and it worked well.

NFL GameDay 2003
Release: August 13, 2002
Genre: Sports
Summary: Holy crap, GameDay doesn't suck anymore! It looks like this franchise is finally out of the hole and hoping to get back with the fiercest. Numerous elements have been improved, including gameplay in general. GameDay '03 does dominate one category: online qualifications. Up to 16 players, and full-time communication (during the game, and out of the game) practically entail this succession. If you're looking for the best online play, and could care less about the single player modes, this is the title for you. Although still not in the same league as 2K and Madden, 989 Studios is back in the fight.

Frequency Online
Release: August 27, 2002 (launch)
Genre: Music
Summary: If you were lucky enough to experience Sony's trippy music game Frequency last fall, it's just gotten better; Frequency is back, and online with a maximum of 8 mixers. What's even better is that Frequency Online is complementary with the Network Adaptor, and completely free to play!

Twisted Metal: Black Online
Release: August 27, 2002 (launch)
Genre: Car Combat
Summary: To get this online add-on of TMB, you simply have to send in a coupon that's presented with the Network Adaptor. It's free, so why wouldn't you get it? Up to 8 players can play with broadband, but only 2 with dial-up.

EverQuest Online Adventures
Release: Q2 2003
Genre: Massive Multiplayer Online RPG
Summary: Have you played EverQuest on the PC? If you haven't, then you probably missed one of the most addictive games ever created. (Any game entitled ?EverCrack? should hence so.) Contrary to popular belief, EverQuest Online Adventures will not cost money, Sony has no plans for a fee. It's quite fantastic that Sony is bringing this PC game over.

Tribes: Aerial Assault
Release: October 15, 2002
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Summary: Another PC-game-gone-console is Tribes: Aerial Assault. Much like Tribes 2 for PC, Aerial Assault is still an entirely new game from the ground up. Highly involving team strategies and tactics, your teammates will make the difference between life and death. DSL and above can play with 16, cable with 8, and dial-up with 4 maximum. With limitless options and smart AI, many gamers will be satisfied with this title, especially those former fans of the PC games.

My Street
Release: December 2002
Genre: Puzzle
Summary: My Street is a peculiar game, and really appeals to the younger audience. You live on a street (whoa, I never would've guessed that!) with a collection of other gamers. The competition is fierce, with dodgeball, marbles, and more! Sure, it isn't for those more mature patrons, and there won't be much running over innocent civilians with a garbage truck (not yet!), but who says it can't be fun?

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
Release: November 5, 2002
Genre: Extreme Sports
Summary: THPS3 was the first truly online PS2 title, so we're pretty darn sure that THPS4 will be online, although it isn't ?officially? confirmed. Most all gamers missed THPS3 online, those USB modems were expensive and tough to find. This should provide a better playing experience if it is in fact online. Just keep your fingers crossed why don't you!

That's a fine abundance of games if you ask me. Sure, it'll fulfill most gamers' needs, but those who are looking for some more titles should know that there's much still on the way. Some other future online releases include: ATV Offroad Fury 2, NBA 2K3, Arc the Lad Online, Vib Ribbon Online, Resident Evil Online, Nobunaga's Ambition Online, Ace Combat Online, Hot Shots Golf Online, Tokyo Xtreme Racer Online, and several more.

There you have it, our PlayStation 2 online outlook and FAQ. If you have any remaining questions, feel free to email, and I'll gladly answer any queries you may have. Excuse me; I have to go prepare for August 27th.

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