There was that time back during the PS2 where I went back and played PS1 games that I recalled having pretty good graphics. And I realized that these games have really awful graphics compared to what I was playing.

Last night, I pretty much had my PS1 moment except by comparing PS2 games to PSP and PS3 games. I recently finished both Sly Cooper 1 and 2 on their HD Remakes, and realized that they had left intact a few of the old SD cutscenes. The contrast between the new HD content and the old SD content was dramatic. I spent about $13 on 6 PS2 games at gamestop this week and decided to actually play through some of them to see how dated they actually looked.

I’ve been playing lots of PS2 games in the last two years, but mostly sprite based ones like the NIS, Vanillaware, and Gust games. These still look great even on the PS2. FF12 seems pretty tolerable as well but it was a AAA game at the end of the PS2 lifecycle. This was my first time going back to lesser known 3d titles in years.

I’m not certain that the $13 I spent on the 6 games was actually worth it. The first one I tried was Ruff Trigger, a knockoff of Ratchet and Clank that came out late in the PS2 lifecycle. The game though looks completely awful. It definitely felt like going back to FF7 after playing FF10. Not only that, but the control scheme was dreadful. The lockon feature didn’t work at all. The voiceovers were lousy, and the gameplay was just dull.

The next one I went back to was Vexx. It feels like a Jak clone a bit. It feels a bit like ruff trigger in the combat system, but the control was better, and the graphics were slightly better despite it being a 3 year older game. Compared to the HD Remake of Sly though, it still looks terrible. I imagine though that I could keep playing this one if I need a break from modern titles. The load times are irritatingly long for such a primitive title.

The last one I played was Gungriffon Blaze. I hate to say bad things about this because it fast and interesting, but the control scheme is completely irritating. It’s far too easy to turn up and down, and the up and down was inverted on it. The stick usage is also reversed from my expectations. It also has you firing weapons with the face buttons instead of the triggers, while using both sticks. I’ll have to dig into it later to see if I can touch up the controls to something more usable. The game still looks awful as well to my HD-addicted eyes.

Other games picked up include Tower of Druaga and Xenosaga 2. I don’t have high hopes for these, but at least they were cheap.

What surprised me most was that I can play PSP games on the exact same monitor and not have it assault my eyes with awfulness, and PSPs are theoretically lower powered than the PS2. I don’t know what it is about the PS2 once you’ve really gotten used to the PS3, but it’s just not very good…