ps2_diamond.jpg

SB Recommends Playstation 2 Games

One of the most popular non-portable game consoles made. Released with two major different models: the larger original and the much smaller “thin” version. If you know someone that only owns one recent-ish console, this is probably it. Its popularity meant tons of games were released for it, from shovelware to hidden gems. Also had good backwards compatibility with PS1 software.

Modding the PS2 is usually done via a hard drive mod, or a fliptop. (Someone with PS2 modding knowledge should fill this in more.) You can get a memory card loaded with Free McBoot off eBay for around 10 USD, which lets you play all the “backups” you want.

  • The Adventures of Cookies and Cream
    • meauxdal: Grab a friend and play the heck out of Adventures of Cookie and Cream. That game is a goddamn marvel. From Software's most lighthearted aesthetic meets devious learning curve.
  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War / Ace Combat: The Belkan War (PAL)
    • alvare: AC0 is the Arthurian Legend seen trough the eyes of Ernest Hemingway in the Spanish Civil War, and it plays like a Grip car from Ridge Racer T4 in Oxide Station from Crash Team Racing driven by Saki from Sin & Punishment. It also has all the classic AC missions with a 10-stars addition: Enemy Ace Squads, while achieving the perfect flying arcade-feeling, letting you easily fly so close to the ground you can hit tanks with your plane at the same time you give your buddy an order, you check your map and you yaw right.
  • Armored Core 3
    • mothmanspirit: It's hard and looks amazing. Nothing like sniping fighter jets out of the sky from an oil rig at sunset. Some A+ Kota Hoshino tunes and atmosphere too.
  • Amplitude
    • mothmanspirit: Like Guitar Hero but you don't have to swing around a plastic guitar like a douchebag or listen to Aerosmith. Recommended for “Cherry Lips” by Garbage.
  • Baroque (also on: PSN, Wii)
  • Beatdown: Fists of Vengeance (also on: PS2, Xbox)
    • mothmanspirit: Beatdown Fists of Vengeance is some essential PS2 shit. It turns into a fighting game when you get to bosses and they're shit hard, like that lady with a katana, and for some reason characters do this weird lewd tongue thing. It has the most perfect grimy PS2 streets next to Shinobi.
  • Beyond Good and Evil (also on: Gamecube; Xbox, HD Re-release available on XBL; PSN)
    • The Blueberry Hill: Vapid. You should have better things to do with your time than playing this.
    • Wourme: A very memorable game. I find it hard to criticize even the aspects that may deserve criticism.
    • Rudie: I find it a nice little game.
  • The Bouncer
    • MattCD42: This game was ripe with potential. One of the best beat 'em ups ever to grace the PS2. Unlike the other greats of the same system it had the idea of divergence and set moves and was a quick game to play through. I've played this game so man times. Honestly the multiplayer was what really drove it home back in the day. The ragdoll physics when someone would hit the floor, the random flying panthers.
      I really have more fond memories from playing this game than any other single video game. Say what you will but if someone made another one of these, probably with a touch more polish I think lots of people would have a blast playing it.
  • Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter / Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter (JP)
    • The Blueberry Hill: It's much lauded in the forums, so worth trying yourself. The game's structure, and the way the combat works, are both interesting, but the rest of it's still cringe-worthy JRPG tropes: the characters most particularly. If the game didn't have a gross, helpless, lolified Nina, I may have been able to make it all the way through.
    • Rudie: The ending might have redeemed it for you. There's the chance that you can fail at this game, and as you approach THE SURFACE tension builds if you have enough overpowered Dragon Power left. If you go to 100% It's game over, and you'll have to restart the 15 hour or so game.
    • Felix: It's similar to Ogre Battle in that it's a really complex & interesting adaptation of a western RPG to something more jRPG-like, but the pacing doesn't quite work and it's a slog to play past a point. Was really forward thinking for 2003 (you can fail and have to start over! Except the game is way too long to work as a roguelike and doesn't have interesting enough randomization), and the battle system is very good in theory, but it's just too much of a PS2 game for what it wants to do. They could've gotten a great DS remake out of it. The music is great too.
  • Burnout 3 (also on: Xbox)
    • boojiboy7: A racing/car-crashing game with an addictive “puzzle-ish” mode. The Xbox version gets the nod due to custom soundtrack support allowing you to replace the hideous pop-emo schlock on the disc.
    • Rudie: Hey! I like 3 or 4 of that pop-emo schlock! The PS2 version does look amazing with almost too long load times.
  • Burnout: Dominator (also on: PSP)
    • Lainer: As it happens, Burnout actually becomes a better driving game if you take out the Crash mode. Tossing in the ability to charge up a boost bar while boosting (but only if the new bar is completely filled before the current boost ends) infuses courses with all the intensity of surviving a bullet hell storm.
  • Castle Shikigami 2 (NA)/ Shikigami No Shiro II (JP) / Castle Shikigami 2: War of the Worlds (PAL) (also on: DC, GC, NAOMI, PC, PSN, XBox)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Worth playing for the legendary “localization” alone, but it also happens to be a pretty decent (and damn hard, at least for genre newbies like myself) co-opable shmup.
    • The Blueberry Hill: I find the enemy/pattern design pretty boring, and would recommend Psyvariar 2 over this if you want to play something with bullet grazing (which is a fun mechanic). The game lacks that meatiness (or crunchiness, or—) that I need in a shooter. I haven't played the translated version.
  • Castlevania: Lament of Innocence
    • tacotaskforce: LoI was the closest CV ever came to being an actual Metroid game. There's lots of things hidden in out of the way parts of the levels, or made inaccessible because you hadn't found a certain ability relic yet. There's no level grinding either, and enemy drops are usually just pretty baubles made to take up space in your inventory.
  • Contra: Shattered Soldier / Shin Contra (JP)
  • Dark Cloud (also on: PSN)
    • Felix: Billed for some reason as a “Zelda killer” back in its day, it's actually a really boring dungeon crawler stapled to a really good 3D Actraiser! Unfortunately to this day there's no way to just play the Actraiser segments. The sequel is a little less sparse, though it's also one of the earlier examples of Level 5 just shitting a bunch of RPG shit onto a disc and calling it “charming.”
  • Dark Cloud 2 (US)/ Dark Chronicle
    • MOAI: This is a game about having an overwhelming amount of things to do. Yes, there's randomly generated dungeons to crawl. But you could also build a town. Or take photographs. Or invent things. Or upgrade your weapons. Or play golf. Or catch some fish, and then put them in a tank together and have them fight to the death. Etc. It was certainly impressive back when I first played it.
  • Demon Chaos / Ikasugami (JP)
    • Loki: an excellent mousou type game, that's available pretty cheaply. even if you don't enjoy the game itself, the graphics are actually awe-inspiring and worth the price alone.
  • Devil May Cry (also on: 360, PS3)
    • gatotsu2501: The camera, controls, leftover elements from Resident Evil and just general roughness of the formula on display all age the game pretty severely at first, but stick with it until you learn its rhythm and it's pretty darn fun. If nothing else, like Ocarina of Time it's still worth playing to witness ground zero of the beginning of an era and invention of a genre.
  • Devil May Cry 3 (also on: 360, PS3)
    • boojiboy7: So Devil May Cry 2 sucked. I say that as a person who played a lot of it, and even enjoyed it. It wasn't a good game, and it missed a lot of the fun of the first game. Devil May Cry 3, however, makes up for it, by giving you more weapons, fighting styles, and a general sense of light-heartedness to round out the combat engine form the first game. More than any other game in the series, DMC3 is about figuring out how you like to fight, and perfecting that. It's like a fighting game, except instead of fighting an equal, you fight hordes of minions, then an equal.
  • Drakengard
    • Lainer: The style of Berserk co-opted by a terrible action RPG. Drakengard is not a good game. Watch/read an LP of it. The sequel is more playable, but not worth playing.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: This was the game that singlehandedly killed my faith in Square Enix and I don't think I can ever forgive it for that.
  • Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (remade for 3DS)
    • Rudie: It's a Dragon Quest game with fucking good graphics. If you've never liked any Dragon Quest games, this isn't going to change your mind. If you do like Dragon Quest games, well this is a new one with fucking good graphics, a well told but by the numbers story, and no Dharma. If you've never played a Dragon Quest game, this is as good as any to start with. You fight monsters, run back to town, and go back out fighting more monsters exploring the world just a little more. Exploration is a dream because of the fucking good graphics though.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: The English localization is incredibly charming and British-flavored. The gameplay is pretty much the first “modernized” Dragon Quest and it has the virtue of playing the way you might remember Dragon Quest or similar games playing from your youth rather than the way they actually do.
  • Dual Hearts
    • Lainer: Someone in Japan really liked the Spyro games. Then they made an RPG where you solve villager's personal problems by jumping into their dreams and jumping on platforms and beating up monsters, but they probably wanted to make a Spyro game instead.
    • Rudie: PAL gamers lucked out on this sucker. One of the most entertaining games I've ever played. You are one of those soldiers against giant ants, centipedes, and UFOs, just like an old movie. The only objective in the 100+ missions is destroy them all. In co-op mode the framerate drops are more 'Awesome' than 'Distracting.'
    • Loki Laufeyson: It's also one of the best co-op games of the modern day! Hard enough to be fun for good players, yet easy enough for others to actually survive the stage!
    • The Blueberry Hill: Sandlot's typically wonderful sense of scale, mixed with an alien invasion scenario. Wonderful co-op (with each character having differing movement option), wonderful as a solo game (I still play in in half-hour bursts). One of the first PS2 games you should buy, if you're playing catch-up, and don't have access to EDF 4.1. Aesthetically it's more 50s B-movie like than the new games, which is fun!
    • 1CC: Everything up to Hard and Inferno is just warm-up anyway. That's where you have to plan and coordinate each and every move with your buddy, come up with inventive solutions, and be efficient as fuck. It's where the games are at their best, it just takes too long to get there.
  • Enthusia Professional Racing
    • Gironika: Level up your cars rather than tuning them for cash. Best balanced car-list to date and the only game to care about real driving. Like, an automatic gearbox that fucking works like a real gearbox. Cruise and it shifts early, give it the boot and there's a kickdown. And it has fading brakelights as well!
  • Fatal Frame (NA) / Project Zero (PAL) / Zero (JP) (also on: Xbox)
    • Lainer: This is the only game I had to stop playing because of mental exhaustion.
  • Final Fantasy X (also on: PS3, PS4, Vita)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: This is one of my big SB-taboo opinions (along with “Ocarina of Time is good” and “some parts of Demon's Souls are bullshit”) but I really don't think FF10 is that bad; in fact I think it's one of the better games in the series. None of the most common points of criticism ever seemed especially bad to me: the plot, the voice acting, the alleged linearity, the Sphere Grid. The battle system (which borrows stealthily from FF Tactics) is one of the best turn-based RPG systems of all time. The pacing is as tight and consistent as anything I've ever seen in the genre this side of Chrono Trigger. The world is pretty imaginative and interesting, which is notable in a series only sporadically known for thoughtful world-building. The art direction and soundtrack are first-rate. The minigames are so sadistically, uniquely awful that it becomes hilarious. The writers seem like they were really enamored with Xenogears when they came up with the plot, which is okay by me. It's hokey in a nostalgic, 90s-anime kinda way. I dunno. Maybe I just like it because it's reminiscent of Chrono Cross and The Wind Waker. I like my melancholy island games.
    • Felix: for me, this was the exact moment that Square fell off a cliff, never to recover. It's true that it's not that far off from Final Fantasy VIII (which I think is leagues better) and that the linearity makes relative sense, but it all feels so trivial in practice without the warmer trappings of the SNES and PSX titles. The postgame stuff just sort of apathetically lets you break it; the optional bosses take far too many unnecessary hours of prep compared with their compatriots in earlier installments. It wouldn't be nearly as irretrievable if not for the characters and writing being *so* bad; the narrative scope is theoretically interesting, but the shift to PS2 tech and fully voiced dialogue saddled Final Fantasy with mid-tier anime melodrama production values for many years, which with the dismal mechanics really sinks this one. I think it's generally accepted that JRPGs became increasingly comfortable with anime crap and grinding as the genre became more niche in the early aughts and onward, and how much you dislike FFX is probably tied to how bad you think these things are, and how successfully you believe Square's earlier work avoided them. For me it's a lot.
  • Final Fantasy XII (also on: PS4)
    • Rudie: I'd probably like this game more if it didn't have 40 hours of downtime where nothing happens in the middle of it. Because of that I look at it as beige as the US cover art.
    • Felix: Whereas reading a Final Fantasy VII or VIII plot summary makes me think “this is really bombastic and schlocky, I remember why I liked it so much as a kid,” Final Fantasy XII is more like “WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE AND WHY ARE THERE SO MANY CONSONANTS IN THEIR NAMES.” The story goes from not that compelling to not even there somewhere around the 2/5 mark, and it's easy to see why the fans rejected it, but the battle system — you write AI scripts along the lines of “Heal when HP < 20%” for your party members so that three of you can fight in real-time with only one player character — is one of the greatest things ever in a jRPG, and I'd play ten more games just like it if I could.
    • The Blueberry Hill: This the only contemporary Final Fantasy game that has seemed interesting to me. And the appeal mostly comes from the way the combat works. The cast are (probably) still the same intelligence-offending twits, but it didn't grate so much now that the place and interaction with monsters/whatevers feels somewhat sensible and credible. It's also well worth noting that the Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System version (which has an English patch) makes some welcome changes, particularly the availability of all gambits without the need for purchase.
    • Felix: It's a great game in that it provides the most elegant, streamlined take on jRPG random battles (read: a solution to a stubbornly bad thing that makes it pleasantly trivial rather than necessarily exciting) ever made, hands down. Also, as others in this thread have said, the visuals and the world/dungeon design are leagues better than its peers, and while the Final Fantasy-esque aspects of the game's main narrative mostly don't work with Matsuno's storytelling, the extraneous callouts to Final Fantasy in general are surprisingly nice. Avoid the Zodiac edition though; the job system actually kind of ruins the customization options (apparently the PS4 release fixes this). It also upscales ridiculously well.
  • Freedom Fighters / Freedom: The Battle for Liberty Island (also on: GC, PC, XBox)
    • somes: Freedom Fighters was incredibly awesome. a third person shooter where you could direct a tiny squad of soldiers as you decimated a seemingly insurmountable Russian army.
      The feeling I got from fighting against all odds, launching a guerrilla war from the sewers, always drastically outnumbered and pressured to get to the target with limited resources, frantically considering strategy while keeping an eye out for that next APC full of enemy reinforcements—has yet to be matched. I'm still waiting for a third person shooter with half the atmosphere.
    • Toptube: hey freedom fighters is a fun game. its like dungeon siege but with guns all the time. and you directly control one of them. and I like the controls because you can take cover well, without having to rely on fumbly context controls.
  • Genji
    • mothmanspirit: This is for sure one of the prettiest PS2 games. I've never seen such nice sprite based foliage.
  • Gitaroo Man (also on: PSP (with 'Live!' moniker attached))
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Pretty much the same thing as Parappa with a better note display and an added analog-fiddling mechanic that doesn't work too well. Fun for a while, but the English voice acting may drive a person insane.
    • This Machine Kills Fascis: Man. Gitaroo Man is so good. Like, I really thought it was going to be a deeply flawed game that people only like for the aesthetic, but—man—I really loved the non-stop stimulation of it.
      So much fun! Just sheer enjoyment from beginning to end, even when the imprecise joystick made it unduly frustrating.
      If only you could use arcade sticks, it would be a perfect game.
    • haze: I really liked Gitaroo Man's approach to the rhythm game genre. A little bit less “pretense of simulating a real guitar/keyboard/dance floor” and a little bit less “Simon Says press these buttons” following a curved line with an analog stick is so satisfying in a mysterious way. It has nothing to do with playing a guitar, it's just the raw music being fed into you.
      It's like a predecessor to Rhythm Heaven? at least in my mind.
    • Take It Sleazy: I prefer Ouendan/EBA as far as [INiS's] games go but only because I can actually complete them/master them.
  • GOD HAND (also on: PSN)
    • Rudie: Selectbutton's one holy grail. The Right analog stick does not control your camera, but acts as a multi-direction evade. It is the video game all others are compared to.
    • Lainer: Your nostalgic memories of early 90s brawlers come to life as a real video game, no rose colored spectacles required.
    • boojiboy7: A game that feels like the original brainstorming sessions worked like they did for FLCL, in where everyone just suggested something they thought was awesome, and it all made it into the game. Think Mike Tyson is awesome when he talks? So did whoever wrote the enemy's scripts. Think sweet guitar stylings are the shit? So does the soundtrack. Always wanted to punch a man into the sun? Who hasn't?
    • P1d40n3: Pretty much the reason sb hates vidcons really.
    • Felix: The closest modern comparison is Devil May Cry, which is a slightly better game, but if there is any love in your heart, God Hand will make you grin from beginning to end. Fairly low-budget; a half-sarcastic sacred cow.
  • GioGio's Bizarre Adventure: Ougon no Kaze
    • Rudie: I wish someone would have told me the PS2 Jojo games were great. They are great. Ougon no Kaze is an adaptation of the 5th arc of Jojo. It is just about the most perfect video game adaptation possible.
  • Gradius V
    • Rudie: Treasure does Gradius..
    • Felix: I actually like this better than RSG or Ikaruga, as far as Treasure's bombastic modern 2D shooters go. Multidirectional lasers that you have to stop moving your craft in order to fire should be game-breaking, but aren't.
  • Grand Theft Auto III (also on: iOS, PC, PSN, Xbox)
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (also on: iOS, PC, PSN, Xbox)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (also on: iOS, PC, PSN, Xbox)
  • Grandia 2
    • Rudie: This is a terrible terrible port of the great Dreamcast RPG. It is an extremely pleasant JRPG. Great dub and translation. The characters are fantastic anime tropes. Their motivations are always clear. The game's “message” isn't bad either. Just incredibly pleasant.
  • Gungrave: Overdose (also on: PSN)
    • Lainer: After the end of the Trigun anime series Yasuhiro Nightow tried to make a video game adaptation of it. The team eventually conceded that they could not make a video game about an immortal man who refuses to kill anyone, so instead they made a game about a dead man who kills everyone and anything those people happen to be standing next to as well, just because it's there. This is the sequel to that game. One of the player characters is a haunted guitar that fires lightning. Has about five hours of anime bullshit cutscenes, but you can skip that if you want to for the two hours of fuck-awesome gameplay.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Some serious control issues, unfair enemies (suicide bombers with way too much health!) and sloppy graphics hold this over-ambitious little gem back from becoming GOD HAND's firearm-wielding counterpart. Feels a lot longer than it is (that's a good thing), even when skipping all the aforementioned anime bullshit. Mash that square button for a screen-filling display of ballistic carnage that far surpasses anything seen in DMC.
  • Haunting Ground
  • Hokuto no Ken
    • mothmanspirit: I don't know if this is a “good” game, but it's probably the meatiest feeling fighter ArcSys has ever done.
  • Ico (also on: PS3)
    • wourme: I consider this the best game of its console generation.
  • Jak II - insertcredit review (also on: PS3)
    • Rudie: While I am the one person on the planet that doesn't have godly opinions of Jak and Daxter. I adore Jak 2. The controls just feel so tight. The graphics are going to look great forever. It's hard as hell, and I love it for that.
  • Jak 3 (also on: PS3)
    • Rudie: It's Jak 2, in the desert. It has more vehicle missions than Jak 2, and is slightly easier. Has the best plot-twist I've seen in a video game, and it's neat to go back to a war-torn Haven City (setting of Jak 2.)
  • Jade Cocoon 2 / The Story of the Jade Cacoon 2 (JP)
  • Katamari Damacy / Katamari Damashii (JP)
    • Ymer: Katamari Damacy's world rolling is still the most video-gamey thing I've ever experienced.
    • gatotsu2501: I think I may be the only person on earth who just does not like this game. It hits like fifteen different minor game design and aesthetic pet peeves for me all at once (the time limit, the furious kleptomania, the general tweeness of it all, etc. etc.) and the cumulative effect leaves with no affection for the thing whatsoever. It does have a catchy soundtrack, though.
    • Felix: On top of everything else it does so brilliantly, it has one of the best horrible father figures in videogames!
  • KOF: Maximum Impact 2/ The King of Fighters 2006 (NA)
  • The King of Fighters XI (also on: Arcade(Atomiswave))
    • ManekiNeko: The King of Fighters series was overdue for a truly fantastic game, but at last, it's finally come. To put it simply, KOF XI is the best damn instalment of the series since the outstanding King of Fighters: Evolution hit the Dreamcast in 2000. You want high-resolution, hand-drawn backgrounds? You got it! You want intense three-on-three tag team action? It's yours! You want the cheesiest video game boss in recorded history? Too bad, you've got it anyway. But hey, it just wouldn't be an SNK fighting game without one!
  • The King of Fighters 2002 Ultimate Match (JP, also: XBLA)
    • Rudie: A retooling of KoF2002 into a love bath of KoF. A really ungodly amount of characters to shift through.
    • spectralsound: Holy lord, this game is a marvel of architectural level design. Remember those gates in the first level of Demon's Souls, the ones that loop you back around to the beginning? The entirety of King's Field IV is like that — every area loops and spirals around a central tower, with most of them being a short walk away from each other once certain shortcuts are opened. Everything looks and feels like a real place that was steadily abandoned, right down to the enemy paths and locations. There's a real feeling, like Demon's Souls or Metroid, that you are exploring a living world, one with its own rules and idiosyncrasies. It strikes me that this is where From really started to crystallize the game design concepts they would use for the Souls games — lifelike locations, scarcity of resources, understated narratives, etc. I don't know if it's impossible that they could have topped this, but it certainly seems likely that FromSoft felt there wasn't, given the gap of time between this game and Demon's Souls. If you liked that game or Dark Souls, then you need to give this a shot.
    • spectralsound: Both criminally underrated and kind of the apex of the series.
  • Killer7 (also on: Gamecube)
    • Rudie: You press buttons and things happen. Sometimes you don't even need to press buttons.
    • boojiboy7: On a very basic level, even down to the core of its mechanics, Killer 7 is about how little choice any of us have in games, how arbitrary and controlled every part of a videogame is. A taunt, but sometimes a very funny one, wrapped in a wonderful aesthetic. An amazing soundtrack.
    • gatotsu2501: GameCube version recommended if you can get it.
  • Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil
    • spectralsound: Gorgeous and haunting, if you have the right mindset. It's kind of too-easy, though.
    • wourme: Weaker than the excellent Door to Phantomile, but still worth a look.
  • Kuon
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (also on: Gamecube; Mac; PC; Xbox)
    • Rudie: I love this awkward meaty co-op action game.
  • The Mark of Kri
    • Tlon: awesome fighting engine! blocking! fencing! awesome stealth too. brutally hard, but great
  • Maximo / Maximo: Ghosts to Glory (NA)
    • meauxdal: The more I play the more I am impressed by it. Every enemy has characteristics that require a different combat approach, so even with less than a dozen enemy types (could be more, maybe less), each encounter feels weighty and meaningful. Button mashing will get you annihilated as there are bomb-wielding enemies that explode when attacked normally, shield-bearers who block your attacks effectively, pirates who cannot be finished without taking damage except when struck first from behind, ice-blocked enemies that can only be felled with magic or vertical strikes or thrusts (but will pinball away when using a finisher), the list goes on. This game is the ideal version of so many action-platformers. The use of the classic GnG theme as fundamental and ubiquitous motif is pretty interesting, too, from a musical perspective.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 (also on: Xbox, 360, PS3, Vita)
    • boojiboy7: The point where Kojima finally told us what he thinks of us all.
    • Rudie: No, really. People loved MGS1, but some of them took it seriously. This game tries to be ridiculous as possible, and I still find most of it incredibly entertaining (unlike MGS4.) If you pick up the Substance version you get a bunch of VR Missions, some extra no cutscene missions with Snake, and Skateboarding.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: If anything, this is the point where Metal Gear started to take ITSELF seriously. The first game, continuing in the tradition of the 8-bit titles, was a wacky Hollywood pastiche; an energetic, slightly unhinged aesthetic fusion of schlocky 80s action flicks and 70s conspiracy thrillers, as interpreted by a Japanese nerd. MGS2 is… something else entirely, and something that provokes simultaneous unease and fascination. The ending is still subversive and brilliant after all these years, but at the same time you look at the game in retrospect and you can see it laying the foundation that would one day allow something like MGS4 to exist. For better or worse, Metal Gear has never again been as conceptually ambitious as it is here.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (also on: 360, 3DS, PS3, Vita)
    • Rudie: The point where Kojima finally made a video game.
    • boojiboy7: No, really. People loved MGS3, but this one fixed some of the stupid shit wrong with that game (aside from the menus, which still may drive a person insane) and added so much wonderful extra content (the full MSX games) to make it completely worth it.
    • cavefish: When I played Metal Gear Solid 3, my 88 year old grandma made fun of every cutscene and laughed really loud.
    • Felix: Still probably the most interesting and dynamic range of motion available to you in a 3D game, and arguably the best narrative of any game that isn't outwardly artsy-fartsy. To call this an unexpectedly earnest accomplishment, sandwiched as it is between MGS2 (which is great but ridiculous) and MGS4 (which, along with the other post-MGS3 titles, is mostly shit) isn't to undercut Kojima's absurdism or to say that the writing or the acting are necessarily on par with a proper film, but this is an all-around fine videogame.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Gameplay-wise, this is far and away the best Metal Gear game yet made, and where MGS2 took a bizarre and fascinating detour, 3 perfects the first title's vision of a cinematic action game to such a degree that it practically renders it obsolete in retrospect, which is why every subsequent MGS game has been closely linked to it in some way yet none have tried to recreate its formula.
  • Metal Saga
    • Lainer: Not Mad Max: The JRPG, but about as close as we're going to get in an English release. Collect tanks and outfit them with cannons so big they look like they come from WH40k. Collect bounties on colorful criminals and improbable robot monstrosities. Buy a tanuki statue and some wallpaper for your room, then send a wedding dress to your mother.
  • Michigan: Report from Hell (PAL) / Michigan (JP)
    • Sketch: Grasshopper game. Basically an FMV game except with 3D models. You spend most of your time watching cut-scenes and listening to dialogue. There’s a couple of puzzles, sort of, but really it’s all about watching the footage and listening to people talk. I liked it.
  • Mister Mosquito
    • Sketch: Really cool arcade-style mosquito-sim. Weird, but genuinely fun. Like Pilotwings 64 in mosquito form.
  • MLB Power Pros 2008 (also on: DS; Wii)
    • Knurek: I'm from Europe. I shouldn't care about baseball. I've been playing this game (and previous version before that) for years.
  • NBA Street (also on: Gamecube)
    • Felix: Easily my favourite basketball game (I remember enjoying NBA Jam as a kid, but it offers an awkwardly lacking range of movement when I play it now). It borrows the shoulder button trick system from SSX (as this was EA Canada's second PS2 game, after that one) and adapts it to a just-simplified-enough arcadey basketball game. As in the Mario Sports RPGs, custom characters sort of wreck the balance, but you aren't obliged to use them. Just plain feels great, and was one of the best early multiplayer titles on the PS2 for those of us who had PCs and weren't impressed by the FPS ports. The first sequel is a minimal but legitimate improvement; after that they ran out of ideas.
  • Neo Contra
    • boojiboy7: Sing the song, holmes.
  • NiGHTS: into Dreams (JP) (also: Saturn)
    • Rudie: It looks like you remember, but has the option to play it like it actually did. Includes Christmas NiGHTS.
  • Odin Sphere (also on: PSN)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: A side-scrolling action RPG with some pretty graphics and a well-told story. However, they incorporated an awful system that punishes you for stringing together long combos, as a crutch for the damage balancing. Doesn't help that it's extremely repetitive, and crippled by loading times and slowdown. Play it through on Easy to see the best 2D visuals on the PS2.
    • Sketch: The repetitive nature of the combat and item creation renders this a bit of a grind. But oh my god, is it pretty to look at.
  • Onimusha
    • Rudie: Still beautiful. Nothing wrong with this RE-like Samurai zombie slashing game.
    • mothmanspirit: Super pretty and amazing atmosphere. There's an Xbox version where they added a creepy doll and some tug of war-type shit to the battle system.
  • Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (also on: Xbox, PSP)
  • Parappa the Rapper 2
    • mothmanspirit: You could beat this on your lunch break. It's hilarious and surreal as fuck, and the sound design is wonderful.
  • PC Genjin (JP) (also on: Gamecube)
    • Rudie: Hudson released a couple of updates of their classics on PS2 and Gamecube. This was the only one that interested me, and I have come back to it with new eyes. Just like the original game, fuck the Ninja boss. Holy shit that guy is a bastard, and I suddenly don't want to play the game anymore!
  • Phantom Brave (also on: PSP, Wii)
    • TOLLMASTER: Steep learning curve, and the after-game stuff is made for people who like to break a game's systems and bend them to their will. However, this SRPG defies many of the genre's previous concepts and creates a fresh experience. Highly recommended.
    • wourme: This is the only nippon_ichi|Nippon Ichi SRPG that's ever caught my interest (Disgaea seemed too comedy-oriented), and I really liked it. It has gridless maps, interesting and unique play mechanics, and incredibly deep customization that somehow never became tedious to me. One thing I never quite got used to was merging characters, though—I never absorbed any of the ones I actually used. I turned the game off after the story ended and never went back, but I guess you could pretty much play forever if you wanted to.
    • Felix: A little too much anime bullshit, but I agree with the others that this is the only time that Nippon Ichi's “go ahead, break it in half” mentality ever really did it for me.
    • boojiboy7: If you know what you are doing, or read a page in the strategy guide, you will find out you can speedrun this game in under 5 hours with the right random luck combined with a technique. Some people like this about the game, other's don't.
  • Phase Paradox (JP)
    • Swarm: […] another JP game with English voice acting for the PS2. What's amazing is how dry the Japanese translation of the English dialogue is. Something like “we've gotta get the hell out of here right now” is just translated to “早く”, or “don't come any closer or I'll shoot” is just “来ないで”. The gameplay is like a mix between a survival horror game and something like Alpha Protocol, where the game has branching storylines based on decisions you make in about a 5 second window. All the combat in the game isn't controlled in real time though, it's all decision based. It has some pretty nice character graphics since all the backgrounds are pre-rendered and all the characters look modeled off famous actors.
  • Pop'n Music Carnival (JP) (also on: arcade)
    • Knurek: Best with custom controller, but definitely playable on a DualShock (even better, the 9-line songs are very fun to play in co-op). Best song selection from all Pop'n PS2 games.
  • Psi-Ops (also on: PC; Xbox)
    • mothman spirit: You beat dudes up with psychic superpowers! I am on level two, and it seems to have some pretty brilliant level design!
  • Ratchet and Clank series
    • Rudie: I say series because there are about 5 or so games just on the Playstation 2, and you really need to play one. The games started out as platformer with guns and became more run and gun with platforms and sort of swings back and forth. I'd say try Up Your Arsenal (If that's the English name for the third one.) The first game features no side-step, which in a game about shooting things is unacceptable. All the games features some gorgeous graphics devoid of the marks of a PS2 game and slapstick cartoon humor.
    • spectralsound: As much as I enjoy the first game, you probably are better off just skipping it. The second game is hilariously glitchy, and features a final boss that can be beaten in about a minute and a half.
  • Remote Control Dandy SF
    • Cacophanus: I actually thought it was the best implementation of the Sandlot scale/limb control setup. The whole first person camera control was nuts too.
  • Resident Evil 4 (also on: Gamecube, PC, Wii, PSN, XBLA)
    • Rudie: Woah, you haven't played this? You should get on that. I do hear the Wii version is the definitive one now though.
    • gatotsu2501: Perfect example of a game stretched too thin. The first third or so is really engrossing, tense stuff, but by around the time you reach the castle the game has already introduced and explored its most novel mechanics, and starts increasingly to rely on setpieces and gimmicks to keep it going for the next dozen hours or so until it finally sputters out. I can't think of another game that makes such a drastic transition from excitement to exhaustion over its running time. The story and cutscenes are mood-ravagingly, inexcusably bad. (Wii Edition is generally considered the definitive version, though one could argue that its super-slick controls break a game that wasn't designed for them.)
  • Rez (also on: 360; Dreamcast)
    • Sniper Honeyviper: A glorified tech demo with some spectacular visuals and great music. Don't expect Starfox or Panzer Dragoon.
    • Felix: I think people criticize this one too much in hindsight. The early aughts were a pretty heady era of artsy game design and this game is still just really darn cool.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Don't expect Starfox or Panzer Dragoon, but do expect a game that is carefully designed and does a good job of linking gameplay actions to music, which enables—for me—a concentrated state similar to what I experience when playing bullet hell games. It may have received some ridiculous praise, but it is still a fucking tidy game and you should play it (with headphones or a nice stereo).
  • Romancing SaGa / Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song (JP)
    • Rudie: Jesus Christ this game is awesome. For the love of god never play it.
    • boojiboy7: A JRPG that never explains itself at all, and throws you out into its world to live and inevitably fuck up exactly as you will. It is beautiful and insane and I never get more than five hours into it, but I love it all the same. Released in NA without the subtitle.
  • R-Type: Final
    • TOLLMASTER: Advertised as “King of the Shooters.” Unless you are a bullet-hell fan, then this is definitely the case. It's the first shooter to really reward you for playing, even if you suck–there are 101 different ships to unlock. As you practice blasting off and striking the evil Bydo Empire, you'll improve in skill and not feel guilty about it as the number of craft you have slowly rises. As with most R-Type games, Final is a “tactical” shooter–success depends not only upon your skill at shooting and dodging, but making the most use of your power-ups and Force Pod configuration.
    • LaserGun: Boring and uninspired, only play it if you like collecting/unlocking shit for no real reason.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Only boring because of its absolutely glacial pace, it makes the original R-Type seem like a Gradius speed stage. Definitely not uninspired: the last stage has people fucking in the background. You can ignore the collectathon unlockable shit and play it on maximum difficulty like an arcade game if you want, though some of the ships (many of which reference classic Irem games) are really strange and fun.
  • RAD: Robot Alchemic Drive / Gigantic Drive (JP) - IC forum thread
    • Tollmaster: Exhilarating action game that actually makes you feel like you are driving a giant robot. Probably the first game to give the player the sense of scale involved, by forcing the player to drive the robot from the perspective of the pilot, who flys around from building to building on an antigrav device. The combat is deeper that it first looks, but perhaps not deep enough, and the production values–graphics, VAs, etc.–are terrible, but the game is fun enough to recommend a playthrough. The 2P Battle Mode can be fun, if chaotic.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Toll's summed it all up. I just want to add an endorsement for this, and everything else Sandlot has made. Well, I dispute the 'terrible' graphics comment.
  • Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love / Sakura Wars V ~Farewell, My Love~ (JP) (also on: Wii) - Read the thread
  • Samurai Western
    • tacotaskforce: Samurai Western is pretty awesome because dashes are invulnerable and if you dash through a bullet you charge up your super bar and your next attack will be a 1HKO so that when you do reach whoever is shooting you you can end them instantly. Also enemies almost always shoot you all at the same time so you only have to get one counter hit timed right and you'll send like a dozen bullets back to the guys that shot them at you. Also like half the unlockable skins in the game are for characters that aren't even in the game, like the Cow Girl.

Sega Ages

The Sega Ages series is, in general, old videogame game compilations/ports done right.
The following are our recommendations:

  • Vol.9 Gain Ground
    • firenze: The Japanese Sega Ages PS2 remake (Vol. 9) is pretty fantastic. I'd absolutely recommend it. One of the highlights of the early Sega Ages series, when they focused more on remakes than painstakingly accurate emulation. It's a damn shame it wasn't included on the western Sega Classics Collection release.
  • Sega Ages 2500 Vol. 13: OutRun
    • mothman spirit: This 3D remake is beautiful. It's on the Sega Classics Collection too.
  • Vol.20 Space Harrier II Collection (JP)
    • Rudie: Arcade Perfect Space Harrier II and a bunch of ports I could give shit less about.
  • Vol.25 Gunstar Heroes Treasure Box (JP)
    • Rudie: Includes Dynamite Heady, Gunstar Heroes, and Alien Soldier. I'm not sure why you don't own it already!
  • Vol. 26 Dynamite Deka (JP)
    • Rudie: The remake of the Arcade 3D beat-em up Die Hard Arcade. Tons of Sega fanservice inside.
    • Takashi: The PS2 version is the only obligatory import from the Sega AGES collection. It's amazing and completely in English (it also has Saturn mode).
  • Vol. 27 Panzer Dragoon (JP)
    • Rudie: A port of the Saturn version, and a graphical remake. While it's not Zwei, it's still pretty good, and gorgeous.
    • Lainer: PC version actually, but that's just splitting hairs.
  • Vol. 29 Monster World Collection (JP)
    • Rudie: Every Monster World game in one collection. Some people like these games. They are pretty cute and blue skies.
  • Vol. 30 Galaxy Force II (JP)
    • Rudie: I think you're noticing a pattern at this point. This is a lesser known arcade space shooter same graphic style as Space Harrier and Afterburner II. I'm glad I bought it just because of how pretty it is.
    • The Blueberry Hill: A Rail Shooter with gorgeous, gratuitous sprite-scaling. That was enough to convince me!
  • Vol. 31 Virtual On (JP)
  • Vol. 32 Phantasy Star Collection (JP)
    • Rudie: Not the shitty Generations from earlier Sega Ages games. This is the Genesis Phantasy 1 through 4 in Japanese, in English, with adjustable difficulty because fuck these games were too hard.
  • Vol. 33 Fantasy Zone Complete Collection (JP)




  • Sega Classics Collection
    • NeoZeedeater: This collection gets a lot of flack for its poor remakes like Golden Axe but it's must own for Sega fans for the excellent versions of Fantasy Zone, Virtua Racing and Bonanza Bros.
    • Rudie: Golden Axe wasn't a good game in the first place. It's sort of hilarious fun in this game, just because of how bad it is. Bonanza Bros I'd also leave, but that's just me. The version of Space Harrier on here has some awesome opening lines and isn't halfbad on it's own. This collection has the best version of Fantasy Zone that's ever been made. The OutRun remake is also very nice, but kind of outclassed that Outrun Coast 2 Coast is also available. Amazing collection for twenty bucks when these games were going for thirty a piece in Japan.
    • mothmanspirit: I adore the 3D remake of Outrun in this. Gorgeous. Also, 60FPS Virtua Racing. The Space Harrier remake has a completely different and worse aesthetic to the original.
  • Seek and Destroy
    • Lainer: ChoroQ goes to war.
    • Loki Laufeyson: Definitely worth the price it goes for online, which is generally in single figures. Of pennies.
  • Seven Samurai 20XX
    • wasted potential: Has officially entered the pantheon of horrible video games that become fun six years after release.
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant
    • Lainer: A happy middle-ground between serious quest to save the world and light-hearted anime hijinks. The final act of the game is pretty boring, but that might just be because wandering around Japan isn't nearly as novel as wandering across half of WWI era Europe and Russia.
  • Shadow of Memories / Shadow of Destiny
    • Sketch: The main game takes about 4 hours with subsequent playthroughs less than hour. After seeing 2 endings you probably won’t bother playing further, but it’s a game everyone should play once. It’s basically a graphic adventure about time travel, except you’ve a 3D avatar to control. Not much interaction, but still interesting.
    • wourme: Definitely worth playing through multiple times to get the full story.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (also on: PSN; remade for PSP)
    • Persona: Climb a seemingly endless tower of demons at night while dating a hot robot girl, a hot upper class lady, and half your high school at the same time! But really, the only ones worth dating are the robot girl and rich lady.
    • gatotsu2501: PSP version recommended, as the PS2 version contains the “feature” of not letting you issue direct commands to your party members. Besides, this is a game that's perfect for playing on public transportation, in bed, on the toilet…
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 / PERSONA4 (JP) (also on: PSN, Vita)
    • Rudie: An JRPG actually justifying it's 100 hour game time by taking place over an entire school year and having a fantastic balancing act between dungeon crawling, raising stats in the real world, and dating sim. The fantastic writing and translation elevate it to one of the best games you can play.
    • Persona: While playing, I've often caught myself trying to respond to one of the friends in the game because I was so caught up in their conversation that I forgot they weren't real. ;_; Persona 4 is great.
    • spectralsound: i'm actually not a fan of Persona 4. the art and character designs are neat enough, but dungeon crawling is a total slog, and the story and writing was just a bit too anime-esque for me to really get into it. i guess combining and experimenting with different personas (personae?) is a neat bit of depth, but it just never clicked with me.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Has a stupidly long, pointlessly drawn out introduction/tutorial segment (~4 hours) that kept me from getting into it literally for months, and the game as a whole is not quite as conceptually pure as the laser-focused Persona 3. Once it gets you though, it gets you good, and most of its tweaks to P3 both narratively and mechanically are improvements.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne / Lucifer's Call (PAL) (also on: PSN)
    • RamsusAD: You guys are all horrible, no one mentioned SMT3: Nocturne. Shame consume you all.
    • Boojiboy7: Man, this game is amazing, but seriously, fuck Matador.
    • Teflon: And the guy after Matador. Not to mention the one after that. Nocturne would be a lot less frustrating if only the bosses would be say, two levels above what a non-grinding player might be expected to show up at. Instead of six.
    • HarveyQ: It is one of the smartest, least obnoxious JRPGs ever devised. Hard as hell, but not due to grind or any sort of unfair bullshit: if you're smart and patient you will succeed. Gorgeous art direction, awesome soundtrack.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Guys, Matador is a cinch with speed buffs and Bright Might abuse, like most of the bosses.
    • Persona: Tokyo becomes a demon hell and only you have the power to punch gods in the face (with the most visceral SMASH sound ever) and then make them beg on their knees to join you.
    • Felix: Almost every other PS2 RPG is just too slow for my tastes and Nocturne is one of the few that seemed to be built with the console's limitations in mind. Plus it's frequently gorgeous.
  • Silent Hill 2 (also on: 360, PC, PS3, Xbox)
    • Rudie: A very draining and rewarding experience. One of the only games I actually hold as advancing the medium, and explaining any of why that is ruins it. There is a genuinely stupid puzzle near the beginning.
    • boojiboy7: There are a few genuinely stupid puzzles throughout the game, but they somehow fit in the game itself. The game is a commentary on the sexual issues of videogames in the way that MGS2 is a comment on the power fantasy of videogames. Jesus, avoid SH fan communities at all cost though.
    • gatotsu2501: The camera, controls, voice acting, and much of the actual design work are all just awful. It's a testament to the brilliance of the game's plot and aesthetics that it's worth playing at least once in spite of these things.
    • spectralsound: man fuck you gatotsu, this game's voice acting is some the best in videogames this side of Demon's/Dark Souls. the final letter is absolutely heartbreaking.
    • gatotsu2501: LIAR THAT'S A LIE
    • Felix: I agree with Gatotsu to the extent that the only redeeming aspect of actually playing this game is the tension, but it is genuinely narratively interesting.
  • Silent Hill 3 (also on: 360, PC, PS3)
    • Rudie: The most video game like of the series before it started to get farmed out. Probably the most fun to play, even if the story blue balls you so hard.
  • Silent Hill 4: The Room (also on: PC, PSN, Xbox)
    • Rudie: While the other Silent Hill games lend themselves to multiple playthroughs, a lot of this game hinges on surprise and not knowing what to expect. You explore the titular room in first-person, and totally hit the shit out of dogs with a charge meter and typical third-person.
  • Siren
    • Rudie: This game is infuriatingly difficult. Has some good ideas buried in it, but the remake Siren: Blood Curse is actually playable by normal human beings.
  • Siren 2 (PAL/JP)
    • Sketch: Much easier than the first installment, and probably my favourite game on the system. It does things with light and darkness which I’ve only ever really seen in Chronicles of Riddick, and even then not as good, since here you sometimes need to cling to the light for survival.
    • Rudie: Yes it is easier!
    • Victor: Sky Odyssey is one of the system's gems. Outdated, even by the standards of it's day, and uninspired visuals — but man, what a joy. Non-combative, unrealistic flight-sim. Its aesthetic/thematic sensibilities are grounded much closer to the arcade than the computer desk. But, at its core, Sky Odyssey is a videogame based primarily on the skillful manipulation of its physics-based flight controls — which, while not specifically grounded in any high-level modeling of real-world aerodynamics, or anything like this - are dependent upon methodical and thoughtful rudder/throttle control.
      It is a videogame about flying satisfyingly unwieldy aircraft on fantastical missions through collapsing caverns and mid-air jet-stream currents. Pilotwings + Gran Turismo + Indiana Jones.
    • The Blueberry Hill: And the music is by Kow Otani, the Shadow of the Colossus composer!
    • Tulpa: Sky Odyssey is pretty incredible. I didn't like it at first and I still think the controls are a bit too timid and arcadey but the level design is unimpeachable.
    • Mr. Mechanical: It's an arcadey shooter type game with three different main characters who each have their own aircraft with special abilities. You had multiple primary and secondary objectives to complete during the missions, and lots of unlockable stuff if you were good at getting high scores. The only thing I can really hold against it is that it's kind of difficult to control, no matter which control setup you use (I think it had like two different options). It's just confusing because you have to work against the camera sometimes. Very much worth checking out if you're willing to get inside the game and figure out how to really play it effectively.
    • yarusenai: this game is sick. i love this game, it's one of my favorite ps2 games. you know how in like, ace combat or whatever, there are some missions where you have to fly through a canyon and you feel super cool when you do it? this is a whole game based around stuff like that. not gonna ruin it all but you're gonna be flying through canyons, caves, blizzards, waterfalls, and a whole lot more. and it's kinda tough but there aren't many games that have made me feel this cool when i finished a mission.
    • meauxdal
    • mothmanspirit: The level where you're flying into a mine at night is one of the most lovely videogame experiences on the PS2 or anywhere.
  • Skygunner
    • Sketch: Fantastic aerial shooter with anime stylings and a rock solid combo scoring system. I wrote about The Gamer’s Quarter, and it’s definitely in my top 5 games for the system.
    • nocturnedelight: Only game on PS2 I felt bad for selling to Gamestop.
    • Mr. Mechanical: It's an arcadey shooter type game with three different main characters who each have their own aircraft with special abilities. You had multiple primary and secondary objectives to complete during the missions, and lots of unlockable stuff if you were good at getting high scores. The only thing I can really hold against it is that it's kind of difficult to control, no matter which control setup you use (I think it had like two different options). It's just confusing because you have to work against the camera sometimes. Very much worth checking out if you're willing to get inside the game and figure out how to really play it effectively. I had it for a while a couple years ago before I had to sell it but I would like to own it again someday.
  • Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves (also on: PS3)
    • kzkb1: The amount of creativity and variety in Sly 3 is unmatched by anything else I've seen in a 3D platformer. It seamlessly transitions, for example, from rail shooter to a 3D boss fight above the trees like something out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (ie unique play mechanics for the game) to platforming above a level with everchanging telekinetically controlled objects as your only path to a ninja-style battle in a destructible bamboo forest (complete with evil magic being thrown about) to a classic adventure game dialogue tree section (with only one character involved) to controlling an RC car to get through a heavily trapped vault. Or another (non-Asian themed) level might involve stealing a pirate ship in a traditional platforming section, then sailing the high seas from an isometric perspective, during which engaging in JRPG-style 'zoomed in' battles against fleets of enemy pirate ships (during which you have to steer, time your cannon shots, fight off boarding parties, keep fires under control, and then board the enemy vessel yourself), while you get to an island where you have to figure out a pirate map puzzle (using a very cool new map system that only shows up at that point of the game) to find where the treasure is buried. Shortly after that you might travel underwater in a first person view to get sunken treasure, or fight a giant seamonster, or break into a pirate fortress, or have to trick some old pirates through dialogue choices into helping you…etc., etc. It's an astoundingly diverse experience.
  • SoulCalibur II (also on: Gamecube, Xbox)
  • Space Channel 5 Special Edition (also on (separately): Dreamcast)
    • Lainer: Both Space Channel 5 games on a system with a not terrible D-pad.
  • Spartan: Total Warrior (also on: Gamecube; Xbox) - Action Button review
    • Takashi: Simply because it's a good game. Has a pretty cool battle system and GOD DAMMIT ARISTOTLE STOP DYING ARRRGHH.
  • SSX 3 (also on: Gamecube; Xbox)
    • Felix: Really polished arcadey snowboarding game with a reasonably well-implemented open world component. I tend to prefer the second game in the series (“SSX Tricky”) for high score competitions. The first was one of the tightest and most attractive launch titles for the PS2, but is largely obsoleted by its sequels.
  • Star Wars Battlefront II (also on: PC, Xbox)
  • Stella Deus
  • Steambot Chronicles - forum thread
    • hyouko: It's an open-world real-time robot fighting economy/dating simulation with built-in rhythm game. It also has the most enthusiastic title screen of all time.
    • wourme: Some of the vocal music is pretty grating, but everything else about the game is wonderful.
  • Sub Rebellion
    • Rudie: Galactic Attack/Rayforce/Layer Section (AKA the best shooter for the saturn) and 24 other games that range from awful to pretty good.
  • Tetsujin 28-Go (JP only)
    • The Blueberry Hill: For me it's the pinacle of Sandlot's big robot games. The controls are simpler than the others, which I was surprised to find is a good thing! Something I always forget when I haven't played the game for a while is the great potential for interesting player-created narrative here: partly due to the amount the world reacts to actions of the characters (buildings collapsing, a lot of things can be used as weapons, etc.), partly because of the speed of the game (which gives each action big consequence), and partly because of the low quantity of participants (each enemy is a big personality). I guess this is all true of much of Sandlot's output, and a big part of what I like about them. I'm waffling, but if you like very big robots, thoughtfully awkward controls, Gigantor, and player-created narrative try this game. It's in Japanese, but my lack of it was no barrier.
  • The Thing
    • Sketch: I loved the film The Thing, and this is as perfect a game-sequel as I could have wanted. The submarine section was a bit shit, and it goes all shooty shooty in the last levels, but for a while at least, this is a fucking awesome, terrifying homage to the original film. You’ve got to keep your team calm and sane, while keeping a watchful eye on everyone, because you never know, one of them might be The Thing. And it’s genuinely random, because once, I used a blood testing kit on myself because my team mates were freaking out and making accusations about who to trust, and you know what? I turned into a monster and it was game over! Guess they were right.
  • Tokyo Xtreme Racer Zero
    • Lainer: This was the last TXR game to not have licensed vehicles, which also means this was the last TXR game to have real traffic. Sandwiching your opponent between the guardrail and a tanker truck never felt better.
  • Tokyo Xtreme Racer: Drift 2
    • Rudie: Race along laser created realistic mountains of Japan with a glorious amount of healthy flavor text.
    • Adol: race against your rivals then watch them talk shit on the internet
  • Transformers (Armada)
    • Takashi: A Krome Studios Melbourne game that is both insanely beautiful and pretty good game-wise, licences be dammed.
    • Rudie: I'm not sure this game gives you the skills to win.
  • Unlimited Saga
  • Viewtiful Joe (1 and 2) (also on: Gamecube)
    • Rudie: They are pretty much the exact same game. Cool 2d platformer/beatem up with super powers. I liked the Boss Rush because it made me go zen and I got the highest score possible on that stage. Viewtiful.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Doesn't deserve all the praise it gets, but it's a highly entertaining and wonderfully quirky attempt at re-conceptualizing the beat-em-up. Terribly hateful stage late in the game where you have to re-fight all the bosses except everything's covered in purple–I thought they stopped pulling this crap in the SNES era. The sequel unnecessarily tacks on to the mechanics but offers more varied level design. Worth noting that the PS2 version of VJ1 has a playable Dante, although the GC has better graphics, controls and load times.
  • Virtua Cop: Re-Birth
    • mothman spirit: PS2 port of Virtua Cops 1 + 2. The music is Virtua Fighter 2 as fuck. A lot less shooty and more deliberate than other lightgun games. The Japanese release has an option for English text. Like Crisis Zone and Time Crisis 2, I prefer the 90s candy polygons Daytona-esque aesthetic of the original versions though.
  • The Warriors (also on: Xbox)
    • Tlon: A game every beat em up/gaming fan should own. nothing beats slamming a guy headfirst into a brick wall and then wearing his hat.
    • Rudie: One of the best movie-tie-ins ever. It shows the lead up to the actual movie, and the final act is the movie in it's entirety. Great combat where it's possible your team will beat the other dudes without your help. If Godhand is one evolution of the belt-scroll, The Warriors is the other.
    • Winona Ghost Ryder: The Warriors is one of the few good (if not the best) 3D beat-em-up's, and weirdly some of the voice performances in the game come off stronger than in the Walter Hill film.
    • parker: This was the best co-op game I ever played, I hope it gets an hd re-release someday.
    • ChairTax: I seriously spent two whole winter months taking turns in 5v5 and 9v9 brawls with two of my friends. We all had our own custom gangs (mine was “The Grift”), with our own favorite characters, and that customization really elevated the shit-talking and faux stakes. Hell, we'd mythologize our gang members (Vince was my gang leader, but Preston (one of the flash dealers, I think?) was also pretty mean) and build up character-on-character rivalries.
      Really satisfying baseball bat in that game. Can still hear the knock it makes when you're running full speed, coldcocking people.
  • Way of the Samurai
    • ScratchMonkey: pretty unique samurai-based game where the concept is that you're a wandering ronin who stumbles into warring factions in a mountain pass. You're allowed to decide who to help, who to attack and what alliances to make over the course of 3 days. It plays somewhat like Bushido Blade and it's got fun mechanics like the ability to pull your sword in the middle of a conversation and start a fight. If you do get it, check out the tutorial, which is probably the worst tutorial ever made.
    • BotageL: It's kind of like Groundhog Day meets a roguelike meets those old films involving wandering samurai and yakuza wars. The game heavily emphasises replaying the game to try and find the best solution to the conflict in the town. Since you have to restart the game if you die, and it's entirely possible to be killed very quickly by the stronger opponents if you're not skilled with your blade, every single battle is tense.
    • NeoZeedeater: I love this game and it makes me wish the Japanese attempted more games with open-ended design.
    • Diplocephalus: The music is really nice.
  • Wild Arms 4
    • Lainer: How do you revive a second-rate franchise whose previous entry was perhaps the least interesting game of the decade? Gutting the battle system and replacing it with a new tile based system that is both unique and fun is a good start. Making talking heads cutscenes that are actually interesting to watch is also helpful!
  • Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Okay, so don't actually play this game, let alone any of its sequels. They're not good. However, if you really liked the insane world and mind-exploding late-game plot twists of Xenogears, an afternoon spent reading a series plot synopsis and/or browsing the Xenosaga wiki, while listening to Episode I's soundtrack (II and III's OSTs are extremely hit-or-miss, so consider seeking out recommendations on which tracks to bother with before diving into them) is something I can recommend. Just don't be fooled into thinking that anything in the actual games is even remotely as interesting in its execution as it sounds on paper.
  • Yakuza (also on: Wii U (JP only))
    • Rudie: It's exactly River City Ransom in 3D. The random battles really get to you though.
    • Sketch: Basically River City Ransom set in the Tokyo suburbs. This was criminally overlooked, and I’ve seen sealed copies for less than £10. You play a member of the Japanese mafia wandering around Tokyo. Hit people with chains and trashcans. Go to stores and buy food. Do missions. Like I said, just like RCR.
    • Felix: I was really put off by this when it came out, because I loved Sega AV's Gamecube titles (Monkey Ball and F-Zero) and Yakuza just felt so damn stiff, with the random battle transitions and all. I guess it's pretty well-regarded but I never got it.
  • Yoshinoya (JP)
    • Rudie: Learn what it's like to work minimal wage in Japan. An incredibly stressful action-puzzle game. The 'bosses' of each level tell you exactly how they want their food, so you should have some Japanese skill before playing this.
  • Zettai Zetsumei Toshi (JP) / Disaster Report (US) / S.O.S. The Final Escape (PAL)
    • Lainer: The most terrifying horror experience for the first four hours, then a really bad stealth game for the next hour, and then an epilogue. Worth it for those first four hours.
  • Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 2 (JP) / Raw Danger
    • Lainer: IREM figured out what the good parts of the first game were and made a sequel that's four times as long, twice as good, and that runs just as poorly. The slowdown is not exactly a detriment to the game, however.
    • wourme: A great game with a lot of blond-haired people in it.
    • Swarm: That game is real cool, especially on hard where it forces you to be clever with keeping dry and item management.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Sometimes it's taught, sometimes it's actiony, sometimes it's pensive, sometimes it's Lonely Game, and sometimes it's clunky.If I were to buy a PS2 again this would be amongst the first five games I bought. It's terribly ambitious, but does a good job of reaching its goals. And where it doesn't you appreciate the effort; I guess it works a bit like some of my favourite 8-bit era games in that sense, or like something SEGA might have tried on the Dreamcast. Those kinds of comparisons can seem hollow—I know–but the kid's got heart, and dash, is what I'm trying to put across.
  • Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (also on: 360, PS3)
    • Felix: The dialogue is actually problematically bad, and it's weird that the devs seemed to go out of their way to avoid padding the game out at all – the best parts, for me, are when it introduces a new mechanic and immediately drops you in a pretty tough setpiece that you'll end up repeating a few times. I actually like that sort of game design more often than not (though I think it's fairly anachronistic, even by 2003-modern standards), and I appreciate it. Some of those new-mechanic-setpieces are needlessly gimmicky, but not all of them, and the game is reasonably well balanced for what it is. All criticism ought to be couched in acknowledgment of no other game evoking flying-sword-Gundam nearly as well.

See Also

 
 sb/recommended/playstation2.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/25 12:17 by felix
[unknown button type]
 
Recent changes RSS feed Driven by DokuWiki