By teekomeeko 14 Comments
Recently I grabbed a few games out of a box, namely Kingdom Hearts 2, Shadow Hearts: From The New World, and Metal Gear Solid 3. The rest of my stuff is at my parents' place in another box, and I'm frankly too lazy to go there, so those were my choices when I decided to once try out a PS2 emulator. I figured to try again with a game that apparently runs really well, so I decided to make an ISO of Kingdom Hearts 2 and go from there.
Holy Lord that game is pretty when run by a great computer. It looks, to be quite honest, like a stylized 360 / PS3 title. Unfortunately, thanks to PS2 limitations, it's obviously an old game. One of the things that always pops out is when a pre-rendered movie that is supposed to look in-engine shows up - it looks like garbage because it is not anti-aliased all to hell by my video card.
Another issue are the incredibly empty areas. At one point Aladdin talks about enjoying the hustle and bustle of Agrabah, especially with Genie gone on vacation. As he says this, the camera pans to a vacant "market." It's kinda funny actually, but it made me think of the market section early in Uncharted 3 - it was totally filled with patrons. That kind of thing makes me really appreciate newer games.
It's too bad this tech can't be outright purchased by Sony, enhanced for PS3, and put out there so anyone can play PS2 games in that level of quality, but without the occasional emulation annoyances of a weird texture or unexpected slowdown (I really only get them during a black loading screen, or pre-rendered movie so I don't mind). Or hell, use this software to remake the games, add Trophies, and boom: "PS2 Classic."
These screenshots should show the difference, and it can actually look a bit better; I'm using a Macbook Pro in bootcamp (the hardware has less issues with this emulator than my PC somehow, so why not), therefore I'm not getting the best combo of resolution / anti-aliasing I want, but who cares when it looks good.
That's running in native resolution mode, with nothing special for visuals on top.
This is 2X native, but looks way grainy as an image on GB. In reality, running live on my TV (otherwise known as "monitor 2"), it's damned gorgeous, and I look forward to seeing what other of my favorite old games work well.
As for the game itself: man, it is so Japanese. I've actually started replacing the word "hearts" with "souls" in my head, because that's what they mean and had to stylize up. Also, this game seems to think I'm mentally handicapped, which is also a very Japanese thing. Look, I know that's Sora, Donald, and Goofy - don't tell me every thirty minutes (or less!) as if I forgot. This game is way too hard for kids, so as an adult I can't help but feel insulted by the way it treats me.
I noticed when I first played it that the first half of the game is terrible, but I didn't quite realize how bad until now. It's kind of a mess, really, with no forward movement to the story and no real point. It's Disney forcing Square-Enix to stop telling a pretty good story and sell DVDs because the first game took off like gangbusters. Or at least I hope it is. It would sadden me to think that it was the developer's idea to make that many bad, empty, pointless segments all strung together, though I guess it wouldn't shock me.