Hello you lovely individual you, and welcome to yet another of my wonderful Top 10’s! Now, when I was growing up, I was a little in the minority – Obviously I loved the PS1 era, with Medieval, Crash Bandicoot, Sypro and much much more that really did bolster the PS1’s library…However, to me, nothing could quite beat the monolith that was the Playstation 2…Allow me to indulge a little as I count down my top 10 PS2 games of all time…
10) Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
At the time, GTA: San Andreas looked to be one of the most realistic, violent and controversial ‘crime-sims’ of it’s era, far surpassing it’s predecessors GTA 3 and GTA: Vice City – Following the story of CJ, and his rag-tag group of homies aiming to make money off the mean streets of Los Santos; still beloved to this day, I myself do love to roam around the somewhat blocky streets of Los Santos, and remember many of the most difficult missions to this day.
9) The Simpsons: Hit & Run
From violent city-exploration games to…Well, a relatively family-friendly one! The Simpsons Hit & Run, at the time, was not only a beloved driving game; it was a challenge and a half – Notorious for it’s drastic difficulty spike in the final seventh chapter of the game, and noted for it’s unique maps, wide variety of cars on offer, and detailed exploration and easter eggs, The Simpsons: Hit & Run was a love letter to fans of the original show that won the hearts of kids all across the UK.
8) Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Developed through a partnership between Square Enix and Level-5 Inc, Dragon Quest VIII has cemented itself as one of the most influential and expansive JRPG’s on the PS2 – Spanning over 70 hours of gameplay, post game content and a large, encompassing story, Dragon Quest VIII remains as one of the franchise’s best and most beloved titles; I myself have sunk countless hours into this gem, and still frequently play through it to this day.
7) Katamari Damacy
Now here’s where we get into some of the more…Unique titles of the PS2 – Katamari Damacy puts you into the diddy little shoes of an alien prince, tasked with rolling his Katamari Ball up with objects littering the Earth…These could be cars, people, animals…Anything! Whilst the gameplay does take some getting used to, there still to this day isn’t anything quite like Katamari Damacy on the market, and it’s just one of those games where…You have to see it to believe it.
6) Persona 3
You may remember that, once I first joined Respawning back in August, I wrote a review for Persona 3 – My points to this day still stands, with it’s signature dark plot, harsh difficulty, depressing subtones and lovable cast of colourful characters, Persona 3 remains as one of the most emotional and tearjerking JRPG experiences I’ve ever gone through.
5) Ratchet and Clank 2
Now for a bit of an…Uncommon opinion. Many people harp that Ratchet & Clank 1 / 3 are the best titles in the franchise…I’d like to disagree with that point – In my eyes, the design, arenas, exploration, weapons and enemies of Ratchet and Clank 2 far surpasses both of these games. Shoot me, I don’t care! With a fully fledged bestiary, brand new, innovative weapons and gadgets, and more secrets than you can shake a stick at, Ratchet and Clank 2 leaves me hopeful to see what the new rebooted franchise has to bring to this amazing game.
4) Kingdom Hearts II
Hoo’boy, now we’re getting into the close contenders here! Kingdom Hearts II is, in my eyes, the second best JRPG to ever grace the PS2 (Note how I said second there), bringing everything that a sequel should to the table – Fixing the mobility issues of Kingdom Hearts I? Check. Bringing more powerful and bedazzling combos to the game? Check. Adding layers of new complexity and weaving it in seamlessly? Oh hell yes – This, mixed with the legendary Final Mix version of the game curates into one hell of a fine wine, metaphorically speaking; with the 1.5+2.5 Remix out on PS4 this March, what better time to indulge?
3) Shadow of the Colossus
Of course this had to make the list. Did you have any doubts?! Shadow of the Colossus, whilst originally much grander in scale, is a titan of a game to play (Haha, witty joke…); with 16 gigantic Colossi to take down, each feels more like their own level rather than fully fledged boss fights – Inspiring future titles such as Dragon’s Dogma and of course The Last Guardian, Shadow of the Colossus stands high amidst the test of time, and continues to be referenced, played and looked upon as one of the PS2’s few near-perfect games.
2) Jak II: Renegade
Now these next two are more…Personal to me. When I was a wee little lad, around 6 or 7 years old, going over my Dad’s house on Sundays (I lived with my Mum at the time), we loved to play PS2 demo disks and Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy; soon after my Dad’s Commadore 64 died (Well…Moreso puffed a lovely burst of smoke and died), he saw that a sequel to Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was close to releasing…Jak II: Renegade. This edgier, darker take on the Jak series time-travelled the game forwards a good number of years, introduced a much more menacing threat than the original Lurkers, and kept to all the established designs and lore developed by the first game – One of my fondest memories was trying to tackle the Drill Excavation Facility self-destruct mission, getting stuck one night when I was sleeping over; one Chinese takeaway, and a bowl of sweet’n’sour chicken later, and we had finally conquered it, and went on to beat the rest of the game…I was sad after completing it, and was glad we were able to make such memories together…However the sadness didn’t last long…Because…
1) Dark Cloud 2 / Dark Chronicle
He then went out and bought this masterpiece. Dark Chronicle, as it was known in the UK, was a JRPG created by Level-5 Inc, and was a sequel to the beloved Dark Cloud; I’ve come to put hundreds upon hundreds of tireless hours into the game’s randomly generated dungeons – Following two time-travelling protagonists, Max and Monica on their journey to defeat the malicious Emperor Griffon – Featuring hundreds of evolving weapons, over 20 follower companions and even god-damn town building, Dark Chronicle was our favorite game, and will be forever more. Here’s to you pops.