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Question Graphics quality on Playstation 2

ibex333

Diamond Member
Mar 26, 2005
3,903
47
91
I never owned a PS2, and I picked it up for thirty bucks with Marvel vs Capcom 2 just to experience some titles I missed. I am well aware there was plenty of remasters since then on better systems but I don't care about that. I like the tiny size of the PS2 slim, and I feel like it still has plenty of life in it.


What really surprised me, is how horrible the graphics quality is. The sprites in MvC2 are so blocky and pixelated! I played this game on a friend's 360 and I am certain the sprites were much smoother and sharper. Is something wrong with my PS2 or does it really have such crappy graphics? I am using a component cable which should give me the best quality possible on a PS2, and the system certainly doesn't have any issues playing the game at full speed.


I have yet to try some other titles... Maybe other games will look much better. The only thing I can think of is perhaps my 1080p monitor is stretching the game out too much. I do own a 720p monitor and will definitely try that, but I did try changing the display mode already. Tried 4:3, tried zoom, stretch, 16:9, nothing makes any difference. Even a 4:3 box. Oh, by the way, my friends monitor is also 1080p,

Also, how the heck were people playing fighting games on these controllers? The D pad is certainly not designed for hadoukens and shoryukens.
 
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fralexandr

Golden Member
Apr 26, 2007
1,908
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91
www.flickr.com
I never owned a PS2, and I picked it up for thirty bucks with Marvel vs Capcom 2 just to experience some titles I missed. I am well aware there was plenty of remasters since then on better systems but I don't care about that. I like the tiny size of the PS2 slim, and I feel like it still has plenty of life in it.


What really surprised me, is how horrible the graphics quality is. The sprites in MvC2 are so blocky and pixelated! I played this game on a friend's 360 and I am certain the sprites were much smoother and sharper. Is something wrong with my PS2 or does it really have such crappy graphics? I am using a component cable which should give me the best quality possible on a PS2, and the system certainly doesn't have any issues playing the game at full speed.


I have yet to try some other titles... Maybe other games will look much better. The only thing I can think of is perhaps my 1080p monitor is stretching the game out too much. I do own a 720p monitor and will definitely try that, but I did try changing the display mode already. Tried 4:3, tried zoom, stretch, 16:9, nothing makes any difference. Even a 4:3 box. Oh, by the way, my friends monitor is also 1080p,

Also, how the heck were people playing fighting games on these controllers? The D pad is certainly not designed for hadoukens and shoryukens.
Isn't the xbox 360 the equivalent to the ps3?
 
Mar 11, 2004
19,312
1,792
126
I never owned a PS2, and I picked it up for thirty bucks with Marvel vs Capcom 2 just to experience some titles I missed. I am well aware there was plenty of remasters since then on better systems but I don't care about that. I like the tiny size of the PS2 slim, and I feel like it still has plenty of life in it.


What really surprised me, is how horrible the graphics quality is. The sprites in MvC2 are so blocky and pixelated! I played this game on a friend's 360 and I am certain the sprites were much smoother and sharper. Is something wrong with my PS2 or does it really have such crappy graphics? I am using a component cable which should give me the best quality possible on a PS2, and the system certainly doesn't have any issues playing the game at full speed.


I have yet to try some other titles... Maybe other games will look much better. The only thing I can think of is perhaps my 1080p monitor is stretching the game out too much. I do own a 720p monitor and will definitely try that, but I did try changing the display mode already. Tried 4:3, tried zoom, stretch, 16:9, nothing makes any difference. Even a 4:3 box. Oh, by the way, my friends monitor is also 1080p,

Also, how the heck were people playing fighting games on these controllers? The D pad is certainly not designed for hadoukens and shoryukens.
Oh yes, the PS2 is getting new releases all the time. :p

You're really surprised by that? The PS2 came out during a transitionary period where the industry was starting to go from often like what 240 or 360i based resolutions (not quite that simple) to 480p. I think a fair amount of PS2 fighting games were ports of Dreamcast/Naomi based arcade games (with the substantial differences I believe leading to the PS2 versions to be lower quality than the Dreamcast versions; there are some exceptions that were good quality but you'd have to look up which ones), and some were from before then even (basically being ports of games that predated even the Naomi/DC hardware, if not from possibly even like early Saturn/PS1 era arcade hardware). A decent amount of the 360 ones were reworked for HD (although I think some of them were still mediocre ports, its game dependent, I think there's some that have multiple versions or were part of collections).

It will be very game dependent, but don't expect miracles. I think that's why cel-shading was being pushed during that era, as it was a way of overcoming some of the graphics issues of that era via art direction. The PS2 was notorious for its jaggies as well. I personally have always found a lot of the Japanese developed games of that era (and even into the PS3/360 era) to be ugly due to having really rough texturing/no-AA and some other things that give them a really rough overall appearance. There's been videos and articles about why the Dreamcast often had a more pleasing graphics (especially when using VGA output) and why, especially the early PS2 games had "jaggies" so bad.

I'm sure the monitor's scaling isn't doing it many favors either. You could consider getting something like a Framemeister or some of the other hardware used to improve visual quality of older systems with more modern displays, but that'll be extra and I don't think it'll work miracles itself, and you might be better off seeing if you can get some older CRT TV for cheap. It'll be a pain to use, but maybe you could get lucky and someone can't get rid of it otherwise and would be willing to bring it to you and carry it in just so they can get rid of it.

I'm sure Digital Foundry and MyLifeInGaming (as well as others) have some good videos that might help on getting the most out of the situation.

PS2 maxed resolution is 480p so it's going to look pixelated compared to anything HD.
For the most part that is true (although I think there's a fair amount of games that don't even do 480p). There are some select few that can do 1080i, with Gran Turismo 4 being probably the most well known.

Here's a list that offers some insight: https://en.everybodywiki.com/List_of_PlayStation_2_games_with_alternative_display_modes
 
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Oyeve

Lifer
Oct 18, 1999
20,926
318
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IMO I thought the PS2 had the worst graphics of that generation. I thought the Gamecube games looked the best to me.
 

WhiteNoise

Senior member
Jun 22, 2016
898
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The PS2 was awesome though at the time. Man I played the heck out of that system. I had a 32" Sony Trinitron CRT TV that I used then and it was glorious.
 
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Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,283
62
91
Yeah, I really liked the PS2. I picked up a slim at the end of production (I have a launch PS3 with the full backwards comparability via hardware, but they were no longer being made either and given how many people were having issues with the early PS3's I figured it was only a matter of time before mine died). Funny thing is my original PS2 still works just fine (and is still very functional since I have the network kit and a SSD hard drive in it).

I will say that I have tested various cables for the PS2 and found that the brand of the cable also matters (try and get Sony's official cables). The good thing is that the PS2 cables used the same connector as the PS3, so it is still possible to find decent cables for the console. If you really want the best out of it, component to an external upscaler is the way to go, but that is only if you are a serious collector (it will probably cost $200-400 to get a decent setup, but the good news is that you can use the good ones for not just the PS2, but NES, SNES, Genesis, etc...).

And, it is true, you can't beat having a CRT for these older consoles. I specifically went out and bought a 27" CRT (from a TV repair shop) when my 19" CRT died last year.
 

CZroe

Lifer
Jun 24, 2001
22,362
238
106
Oh yes, the PS2 is getting new releases all the time. :p

You're really surprised by that? The PS2 came out during a transitionary period where the industry was starting to go from often like what 240 or 360i based resolutions (not quite that simple) to 480p. I think a fair amount of PS2 fighting games were ports of Dreamcast/Naomi based arcade games (with the substantial differences I believe leading to the PS2 versions to be lower quality than the Dreamcast versions; there are some exceptions that were good quality but you'd have to look up which ones), and some were from before then even (basically being ports of games that predated even the Naomi/DC hardware, if not from possibly even like early Saturn/PS1 era arcade hardware). A decent amount of the 360 ones were reworked for HD (although I think some of them were still mediocre ports, its game dependent, I think there's some that have multiple versions or were part of collections).

It will be very game dependent, but don't expect miracles. I think that's why cel-shading was being pushed during that era, as it was a way of overcoming some of the graphics issues of that era via art direction. The PS2 was notorious for its jaggies as well. I personally have always found a lot of the Japanese developed games of that era (and even into the PS3/360 era) to be ugly due to having really rough texturing/no-AA and some other things that give them a really rough overall appearance. There's been videos and articles about why the Dreamcast often had a more pleasing graphics (especially when using VGA output) and why, especially the early PS2 games had "jaggies" so bad.

I'm sure the monitor's scaling isn't doing it many favors either. You could consider getting something like a Framemeister or some of the other hardware used to improve visual quality of older systems with more modern displays, but that'll be extra and I don't think it'll work miracles itself, and you might be better off seeing if you can get some older CRT TV for cheap. It'll be a pain to use, but maybe you could get lucky and someone can't get rid of it otherwise and would be willing to bring it to you and carry it in just so they can get rid of it.

I'm sure Digital Foundry and MyLifeInGaming (as well as others) have some good videos that might help on getting the most out of the situation.



For the most part that is true (although I think there's a fair amount of games that don't even do 480p). There are some select few that can do 1080i, with Gran Turismo 4 being probably the most well known.

Here's a list that offers some insight: https://en.everybodywiki.com/List_of_PlayStation_2_games_with_alternative_display_modes
A lot of the Neo Geo fighters on PS2 run at 240p. Could it be that this does too and what the OP is experiencing is the typical problem with 240p on modern TVs? Virtually no TV with digital processing will properly handle 240p over composite/S-Video, which will ruin 60hz effects and will cause plenty of other artifacts... not to mention, poor scaling quality as it attempts to deinterlaced non-interlaced video and then scale to the display panel’s native resolution. Heck, they usually don’t even do a great job scaling 480i.

I do have one HDTV which will properly recognize PS2 240p with component cables but not with S-Video or composite. Of course, true analog TVs with no digital processing just do what they are told and properly display 240p and 480i without scaling. Best option by far, though I still lean on the OSSC for convenience (not dragging a CRT into the living room). It’s faster than XRGB Mini Framemeister and properly handles both 240p and 480i.
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,283
62
91
Best option by far, though I still lean on the OSSC for convenience (not dragging a CRT into the living room). It’s faster than XRGB Mini Framemeister and properly handles both 240p and 480i.
Very true. That said, I have and use both. They have their purposes. A decent CRT is really hard to beat for the older consoles since the consoles and games were designed with them in mind. The developers used all kinds of tricks and hacks that worked on CRT's to get a lot more image quality out of the consoles and the TV than otherwise possible, but those same things translate extremely poorly to modern digital TV where every pixel is able to be discretely controlled.

If you are serious about playing these older systems, I would have to recommend getting a CRT. You can still find good bargains out there (heck, like I said, I picked up a 27" TV/VCR/DVD combo this year which has internal processing which can fully accept RGB inputs (typically something only seen on arcade cabinets in the US, however pretty standard in Europe and Japan) for only $100. There are deals out there like this all over the place (and sometimes even better). You need to do a little research on the CRT ahead of time and look at it in person. Also, for old consoles, avoid any of the HD CRT's. Yes, they were some of the last ones made, and thus have the newest parts, but they also typically act just like modern TVs as well and will not give you good results (the only thing they give over modern TVs is the ability to use lightguns).
 

CZroe

Lifer
Jun 24, 2001
22,362
238
106
Very true. That said, I have and use both. They have their purposes. A decent CRT is really hard to beat for the older consoles since the consoles and games were designed with them in mind. The developers used all kinds of tricks and hacks that worked on CRT's to get a lot more image quality out of the consoles and the TV than otherwise possible, but those same things translate extremely poorly to modern digital TV where every pixel is able to be discretely controlled.

If you are serious about playing these older systems, I would have to recommend getting a CRT. You can still find good bargains out there (heck, like I said, I picked up a 27" TV/VCR/DVD combo this year which has internal processing which can fully accept RGB inputs (typically something only seen on arcade cabinets in the US, however pretty standard in Europe and Japan) for only $100. There are deals out there like this all over the place (and sometimes even better). You need to do a little research on the CRT ahead of time and look at it in person. Also, for old consoles, avoid any of the HD CRT's. Yes, they were some of the last ones made, and thus have the newest parts, but they also typically act just like modern TVs as well and will not give you good results (the only thing they give over modern TVs is the ability to use lightguns).
I actually have several Sony HD Trinitrons and they do not work with most light guns (original owner of a KV-30XBR910).:( Surprisingly, they also don’t work properly with Hi-Def NES and UltraHDMI even though those were developed using an HDMI analyzer to be supposedly 100% compliant. *shrug*

They work fine in 480p, 720p, or 1080i with a PS3 or BD player but Hi-Def NES only works in 640x480 and UltraHDMI doesn’t work at all. HD Trinitrons are very particular but they do look great, even for retro consoles. You might notice a screen tear here or there and there is a bit of latency from the image processor, of course, but they seem to handle them MUCH better than modern TVs.

The other late non-HD Trinitrons are ideal for 240p and most can be easily RGB-modded or used with HD Retrovision cables for much better quality than North American users were used to back in the day. I was always an S-Video fan back in the day so it’s a bit less of a leap for me but I still love seeing RGB on these things! There are still some examples where you want a lower quality input like composite to take advantage of NTSC artifact colors and fake transparency effects. Having a late-model analog TV with a good 3D comb filter drastically helps for those titles while preserving the effects that take advantage of composite’s lower quality.
 

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