Then the NPC locks came in toward 2008-2009. About 1/5 of all npcs I talked to would cause a dialog lock, usually if they were a vender, and anywhere in the game. There'd be no dialog in the chat log upon activating them, and all control and movement would be frozen. Could only do say/ls/pt/tell chat and that was it. No way to free myself from the lock without resetting ps2.
And that's when I hung it up for good. Even after the infamous "disk full" problem, I eventually got the PS2 up and running again. Even when it would crash when I ran too close by the Bastok embassy in N.Sandy, I could deal with it. But once the game started locking up (without crashing) when I was trying to talk to the OP warp NPC, that was it.
I honestly don't know how the JPs can live with this particular bug. Or maybe this bug is somehow only in the NA version.
So when did the locks and freezes start?
The NPC lock-up problem started with a specific major update, I think it was the first Abyssea/Lv 80 cap.
As for everything else, I started in 2008 on PS2 and it was always bad about slideshow mode under the right conditions (like a bard in another party in Pso'Xja spamming buffs, yeah), and cutscenes. I eventually got the feeling that end-of-Besieged crashes were often actually due to the cutscene at the end crashing. (Cowering with fear in the NW corner about 15 mins before the time limit still helped a lot.)
As for "teh grafix ar bettur!", I'm just going to point to those six-foot flowers just south of oasis in dunes. They are not in the PS2 version, and I was even surprised when I first saw them.