November 12, 2006 - Sony may have included the PS2's CPU and GPU with every PlayStation 3 system, but the system still appears to be having some problems with backwards compatibility. Just in time for the PS3's second anniversary (the second day it's been on the market in Japan), Sony passed on the specifics.
Now accessible at the Japanese PlayStation.com site is a page for seeking out the backwards compatibility status of PS2 and PS1 titles. The Japanese page can be accessed here[/URL]. By inputting the title, publisher name, release date or product number (an eight digit code containing four letters followed by a hyphen then four numbers), you can seek out the status of the 7,841 titles in Sony's database.
A warning about this search engine. It's a bit tough to read, as it lists all versions of individual games separately. A game might have its main version listed separate from its limited edition, its budget version, its second budget version, and so forth. This is one of the reason you'll find over 350 games listed under Konami, although Konami hasn't actually released that many games.
Most of the titles have the following message next to them "Currently, there have been no reports of major problems during play." Whether or not the games actually don't have a problem, or there is a problem but Sony hasn't found it yet, is up in the air.
We did find a few problem titles by looking through the list. Here's a quick run down.
Tekken 5: A number of modes don't play background music properly.
Xenosaga Episode II: The opening movie sometimes stops and sometimes doesn't properly play background music.
Code Age Commanders: Problems (including data loss) with save game data.
Radiata Stories: Background music during movie scenes may not play back properly.
Star Ocean Till the End of Time (includes Directors Cut): Movie scenes may not have proper sound playback.
Driving Emotion Type-S: BGM may not properly play back during races
Gran Turismo 4: The screen may freeze following the title demo.
Hot Shots Golf 3/4: Some sort of problem with the controls becoming unresponsive
Operator's Side: The game freezes at the logo screen when started up with the Seamic controller
Onimusha Dawn of Dreams: Screen will occasionally appear 2cm to the right
Hyper Street Fighter II Anniversary Edition: The screen will not appear correctly in some instances. The S.F.II Movie cannot play properly.
Megaman X7: There are times when the background music won't play properly
Devil May Cry: The screen will sometimes freeze during the title demo
Onimusha: During movie playback, the sound will occasionally stop
Suikoden III: Cannot read PS1 data during the game.
Silent Hill 2: When going from the title screen to the demo screen, the screen may freeze
These are the major problems we found looking through the numerous pages for Sega, Namco, Capcom, Square Enix, Sony and Konami.
Some problems, including those for Ace Combat 5, Oz, SOCOM and so forth, were fixed with the System 1.10 update. Sony still lists those problems in the database.
We also noticed a few recurring problems, sometimes based off a common feature, sometimes carried across an entire series of titles. The PS3 Virtual Memory Card specifications do not allow for PS2 games to read PS1 data, which is something that's apparently used in Suikoden III and a few other titles. Most of the microphone-compatible games seem to have problems. Konami's dance/music games seem to have a number of problems.
In addition to the software compatibility issues, Sony has made public the issues that arise due to hardware differences between the platforms, specifically the PS3 not using physical memory cards, not using a multitap, not having rumble built into its controller and other issues related to different hard disk and USB specifications.
As previously announced, you can keep using your PS2 game saves by purchasing a Memory Card Adapter (which is currently harder to find in Japan than actual PS3 units, it seems). Once you have the adapter, you'll be able to transfer your save files to the PS3 hard disk. The only catch is that games whose save icon displays a "No Copy" icon in the PS2 browser cannot have their data copied over.
The PS3 can't use a multitap. However, Sony states that this shouldn't be a problem with the system's ability to recognize seven Sixaxis controllers simultaneously.
Regarding USB peripherals, Sony states that some software that use such peripherals may not run properly on the PS3. It asks that users conduct the manufacturer of such products. As noted above, games using a microphone peripheral seem to have problems.
HDMI also gives problems to PS2 games. Sony states that as of 11/11, when the PS3 is connected to your entertainment center using HDMI, PS2 and PS1 games will output only in 2ch digital. When switching to Dolby/DTS modes for PS1 and PS2 games that are compatible with these sound systems, you'll get no sound output. For now, Sony recommends using an optical cable for such titles. This, of course, will require that you go into the settings menu and change the audio output cable.
The PS3 has no i-Link port, so you can't replicate the i-Link link-up feature from PS2 titles. The i-Link port was used as a bonus in only a few titles and was removed from future PlayStation 2 revisions.
Games that use the hard disk will currently not run. The problem is that the built-in PS3 hard disk cannot currently be used as a PS2 hard disk. We haven't tried it out ourselves, but this means games like Final Fantasy XI and Nobunaga's Ambition Online won't work.
For now at least. The good news is that Sony plans on making hard disk based PS2 games compatible in a future system software update. The list of titles that will work once this magic system update is carried is basically just Nobunaga's Ambition Online, Final Fantasy XI and the Play Online viewer, and Front Mission Online in all their variations, including expansions.
Other backwards compatibility problems will also, hopefully, be fixed in future updates. It's doubtful that the PS3 will every be fully backwards compatible, though, as even the slim model PS2 doesn't play back some PS2 titles properly.
Thanks to IGN.com for sharing the news with us!