Would buying a refurbished one from Gamestop be okay? Or do you think it's better that I buy the new version of the PS3?
If it's a version that can play PS2 games, then it's perfect for you, but if not, getting a new one can still supply you with Final Fantasy VII/VIII/IX on the PSN store and XIII as a retail game. Plus XIII-2 will come out eventually..And XIV, but that really isn't worth playing.
EDIT: Oh and the new ones can still play PS1 games, so you can buy the physical games if you want.