When the specifications for the Xbox were announced, Microsoft took great care to point out the inclusion of the hard drive and the broadband adaptor in the original retail package. It was a huge blow for the guys from Japan as it highlighted some of the PlayStation 2’s deficiencies. Sure, those inclusions gave Microsoft the advantage on paper but it hasn’t translated so far in the marketplace. Sony isn’t one to lose a battle though, no matter how small, so it has released the 40GB internal hard disk drive amidst the fanfare of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XI
. But unless you’re a huge fan of Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games there isn’t much incentive for you to purchase it, at least not for the time being.
When you throw down that Benjamin at your local store here’s what you get: the HDD unit, an install disc, some instructions and a DVD case containing backup copies of Final Fantasy XI
and Square’s PlayOnline
interface. Final Fantasy XI comes pre-installed so its inclusion is just for backup purposes in the event that the data becomes corrupted. It’s a nice foresight by the people at SCEA and Square as it doesn’t leave gamers helpless when they screw things up. Installation is pretty simple, unscrew your Network Adaptor (required but sold separately), put the two pieces together and then install it into the expansion bay on the back of the PlayStation 2. No computer knowledge is required so even the average consumer will be able to piece it together.
When you boot up the PS2 you’ll have a new option in the browser that allows you to access the HDD. When you pick the icon you get a number of new icons including the one that allows you to play FFXI (more of that in our upcoming FFXI review) and Square’s online card game TetraMaster
. Although the HDD doesn’t eliminate the need for the Memory Card like many of us had hoped, it does allow for more storage space. You can move your saves from the memory card to the HDD to free up more space. That way you won’t have to delete your old Kingdom Hearts save game to free up space for SOCOM. Then when you’re done with SOCOM you can move that data to the HDD and swap it out for the Kingdom Hearts data when you’re ready to dust it off and pull it from your shelf. Yes, I would have rather preferred that Sony allowed me to save directly to the HDD but this alternative solution provides some minor consolation.
One of the upcoming features of the HDD is the ability to download future content. We assume that this will work in the same manner as the Xbox Live downloadable content. Sony will be starting the trend with downloadable content for SOCOM II
and will continue with more features for the upcoming Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain
. This could prove to be crucial when it comes to getting the most out of our games. Hopefully other developers will follow Sony’s trend and continue to update their games after their release.
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