Forget your Call Of Duty, Dark Souls and Skyrim – for us more rustic gamers, the PS2 was the peak of modern gaming.
It blew our minds when it first came out with longer games, mindblowing graphics and the opportunity to play actual DVDs on our games console. And while the technology has been far surpassed since, many would argue that some of the games haven’t.
Here are 16 games which seriously defined Sony’s second in what is now a long line of Playstations – which one is your favourite?
Nowadays, a game is nothing if it isn’t set in a vast open world that you can traverse through for an hour and only reach a single settlement – but back in the Vice City days, this was a big as free roaming games got. With so much chaos just waiting to unleash, carrying out the missions was just a bonus. This was GTA at its peak.
Slammed for its lack of storyline and its unrelatable characters, this entry in the RPG series got a hard rep from die-hard FF fans. But as a stand alone game, it’s something pretty spectacular. Boasting huge freedom, seamless battles and hours upon hours of side content, I adore this game just as much as I like 7,8 and 9. Shoot me.
On paper, blending Final Fantasy and Disney seemed the corniest of ideas but something about this worked so well that it has spawned seemingly endless sequels, prequels and spin-offs. Tapping into nostalgia and skill based RPG gameplay, the hybrid was pulled off with great finesse and as I was drawn in, I completely forgot that Donald Duck wasn’t an action adventure protagonist but a cartoon character originally designed for young kids.
The Raiden factor turned a lot of people off who were hoping for plenty of Solid Snake action, but when we were clamouring for more stealthy gameplay that only MGS can deliver, this was a welcome arrival on the PS2. We missed Snake too – but we still loved sneaking around the bases and winding up the guards. Snake doesn’t work as well in open, desolate plains (and without David Hayter’s voice) – we preferred him like this.
At the time of release, this game, paired with Ico, didn’t get any of the love that it deserved but it has since won a place as a cult classic and for good reason. The main one being the sheer atmosphere – combining wondrous environments and towering golems with a whimsical soundtrack was a recipe that created something divine for the eyes and ears as well as entertaining us.
Grand Theft Auto in a school. We got away with stuff we always wanted to try at school. Basically you got to act like a complete shit. I never really got into the plot – I was too busy starting fights and winding people up. Childish but very fun.
The first Final Fantasy to arrive on what was the next gen console at the time, Final Fantasy X showed us what RPGs could really be with extra resources. An amazing soundtrack, strong narrative and fast game mechanics overruled the questionable voice acting. I do still long for the days when RPG characters spoke in text bubbles.
Remember when Crash was like this and not taking part in ludicrous spin-offs like Twinsanity and CTR rip-off Nitro Kart? Yes, the PS2 entry lost the love of Naughty Dog and never reached the quality of the PS1 entries – but it was still a solid game which proved we really don’t have enough good platformers. And we still don’t. BRING BACK CRASH.
It wouldn’t be a Sony console without another Tekken entry, and this one expanded the character roster even further, sharpening everything up and introducing new features that meant we just had to spend forty quid to have another punchfest. Worth every penny, to be fair.
Us Westerners didn’t previously have a huge exposure to the Dragon Quest series, the most popular of the RPG brands in Japan, surpassing even the titan that is Final Fantasy. So this was a revelation. Comprising cute graphics, traditional gameplay, a bouncy soundtrack and a deeper than you first realise narrative, this was a total gem and remains worth a play even to this day.
Everyone seems pretty bored by racing games these days but back when there was still excitement to be found in pretending to drive fast, this was wowing fans when it made its PS2 debut. The graphics and control mechanisms in particular were smooth and sharp, surpassing expectations of what many thought the console was capable of.
So why didn’t Naughty Dog work on Crash, you ask? This is what they were doing. And you can tell it’s theirs too as it is every bit as fun as any Crash or Spyro game. Jak and Daxter worked in a more open way than a level after level platformer, giving players freedom to simply explore and see what they could find.
‘How can this be a game?’ many asked when this was announced. But its fun nature made it accessible for both adults and kids alike and since then, Lego games have come out for just about everything. Next up – Lego Hollyoaks.
With a gothic, Castlevania feel, Devil May Cry was more than your average action adventure game. Utilising many of Dante’s moves and skills meant that you were expected to do more than jump and slash – and gloomy atmosphere and backstory provided the necessary hook to pull us in.
Drunk party nights would never be the same again. Back before Rock Band complicated everything, owning that plastic guitar and beating a Journey song meant you were one of those rare things – a cool gamer. Street cred which we all wanted. I could never do it well – but I had great fun trying.
Back in the early 2000s, the closest we could hope for anything Final Fantasy VII remake related was this unsung hero. It followed the story of Vincent Valentine and actually surprised me with how competent a shooter it was. It was never going to reach the quality of the game it was based on. But on its own, it was a good challenge – and the references to FF7 characters ticked the necessary fanboy boxes.
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