Sunday, March 10, 2013

My top 20 PS2 games

So, I was skimming over Roy's Top 20 PS2 games blog once again and it sparked my interest in doing a similar list, so without further ado, here is the list of games from the PS2 era that meant something to me. (Tried to include pics of gameplay for each, but it's hard to find screenshots for some games).

20. SOCOM: Us Navy Seals

There have been a ton of Socom games, 4 on the PS2, 4 on the PSP and even a couple (much different feeling) titles on the PS3. But the first one really sticks with me. It had a very unique feel to how it controlled and played, felt so fluid and thought out compared to most silly third person shooter titles. Giving orders to your squad mates was pretty awesome at the time too.

19. The Getaway

Ahh, the Getaway. I never beat the title because I couldn't deal with the horrible camera system enough to see it through. That said, it still makes the list because it was such a cool concept which made it fun to drive around London, England (recreated for the game) and had a very dark, cool story to go along with it. Not an easy game by any standard, it made it so much harder when the camera decided to do it's own thing while you were trying to evade or take out a bad guy.

18. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Ahh, Ghost in the Shell, how I love you. My favorite anime series enjoyed a decent game on each the PS1, PS2 and PSP (sadly it skipped the PS3), this version based around the 'Stand Alone Complex' TV series and kicked a lot of ass. It had a unique feel to it, but was set up as a third person shooter in which you controlled Motoko and Batou from the series in a story that lined up well with the series it's based on. Lovely to delve into fandom like this and it'll always be part of my favs.

17. Time Splitters: Future Perfect

Ahh, Timesplitters. A comical series that shared a lot of the awesome gameplay mechanics of the old Goldeneye and Perfect Dark series on the N64 (the dev team was made up of a lot of those whom worked on those projects). The multiplayer was prob what held me, as I played many hours running around gunning fools with friends and family, but the story was fun to play too. Just an awesome series all around that needs to come back! I would love to see a Timesplitters HD pack :)

16. Transformers

Forget the horrible movie tie ins, this game was THE transformers game before High Moon came out with War for Cybertron. Funny, that I hadn't even heard of it when I bought it on an impulse and I absolutely loved every minute of it. Felt like it drew from most Transformer references for it's world and played out in large levels set with tasks and bosses and pretty much complete freedom to go at it as you pleased with a number of playable characters. Some of the bosses were freaking mammoth!

15. Persona 4

I haven't played any of the others in the series, but Persona 4 really impressed me. It's weird, it's quirky, I don't like the limited day/night cycle (that's just a preference I have in games, don't like feeling rushed to complete stuff) but I really enjoyed being sucked into the weird world in which these school kids live and the nightmare like world they slip into and battle weird looking things in. It's just such an 'out there' idea compared to a lot of games I play and for that, I love it.

14. Primal

Primal had it's rough edges; it's camera wasn't perfect at keeping up to the action nor it's action incredibly fluid, but if you could play past that, you found a lovely story about a girl whom is sent into a comma after an attack on her and her boyfriend; said comma allowing her to enter another realm which needs help in balancing good vs evil in order to straighten out things in her own world. What plays out is a totally unique game with a couple of very endearing characters and a journey that is worth the time put into it.

13. Champions: Return to Arms

Couldn't find a proper screenshot worth using, but this title is easy to picture. Isometric kind of camera view in a fantasy setting not unlike a Diablo or DnD game, should set up a visual nicely. The gameplay is basically the same at the above mentioned titles as well and while I'm not huge on those kinds of adventures; my brother and I latched onto this sucker and destroyed it to the 10th greatness. We started and for 4 solid straight days (minus short bathroom/food breaks and a few hours to sleep) we took our characters (mine a warrior, his a mage) through each of the 4 difficulties (they allowed you to transfer characters from a finished game into a new game + sort of deal). We blew through every quest, side quest and arena challenge the game had and enjoyed the hell out of doing so.

12. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

I think, initially, I borrowed this from a friend and got hooked, which lead me to buying my own copy. While I didn't seem to click with Ratchet and Clank, I intantly 'clicked' with this game. Not sure exactly why, but I absolutely loved the world, the characters, the humor and the entire adventure. I didn't much care for the guns and focus on making the series more mature that happened in the sequels (though, are still very good games) but the first was pure whimsical platforming fun.

11. Tomb Raider: Legend

Tomb Raider is one of those series that I tried (before Legend) and couldn't really get into. I felt they were clunky and kind of uninteresting. But, Legend changed that. Legend had a fluidity to it that made it fun. Not sure exactly why I decided to give this one a try as I didn't have a great time with other ones, but I'm glad I did. I loved going through out the story and the central hub in miss Croft's manor was really cool, I spent a long time collecting unlockables and challenging myself to the acrobatics in place in the gym part. I think Crystal Dynamics breathed fresh air into the franchise with this title.

10. Killzone

Killzone got a ton of hype around the time for being 'the Halo killer' which probably hurt the game in some gamers eyes, but I loved the style of it and the enemies were instantly iconic. While later games in the series seemed to stick to a more structured format in story progression, the original Killzone really brought you across many different areas which I found refreshing. It also had 4 playable characters, each unique and cool. The heavy controls were a nice change too. The A.I was kind of dumb, but I didn't mind, the game was still fun to play thought a few times :)

09. Beyond Good and Evil

Gasp! Beyond Good and Evil. So refreshing, such a unique feeling game. Also one I commend for such a strong female lead character. BG&E is one of those titles that kind of went somewhat unnoticed by a lot of gamers, but loved by those whom found it. Sporting a wonderfully unique world and an equally unique visual style, the game focused on light third person fighting and first person photography. It's a unique mixture and worked well with it's story of a sort of 'government/big company abuse and deceiving of the people' political take on things which kind of got much more grand as things went on.

08. Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Wille zur Macht

Xenosaga was one of the first RPGs that felt like the RPGs of old to me while showing me a fresh new world to explore. I absolutely loved the first one and spent many many hours in it. I even remember spending a ton of time it the card battle mini game which made up a very tiny portion of the game. I remember there being a lipsync problem, but aside from that I had no issues with it. The space setting very much appealed to me, the anime esthetics and characters were charming, the music wonderful and the whole experience one I'll always remember.

07. Burnout 3: Takedown

Burnout 3 was the racer for me in the PS2 generation. The speed, the mix of pure arcady racing, boosting, an entire mode dedicated to destroying your car in spectacular crashes and racking up bonus points for causing mayhem as other cars pile up... pure awesome. The game still looks decent, plays wonderfully and is just much fun. I'd love to see an HD upgrade of the game for download.

06. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

All of the Grand Theft Auto games have a place in my heart as I marveled at GTA 3 for it's scope (that we didn't see so massively in the series before then), the sublime Vice City for it's setting and characters but finally, San Andreas for blowing the rest out of the water. The characters, story, scope, amount of things to do, customization, insane soundtrack, freedom... everything was just on another scale. I beat the title and must of put hundreds more hours into it, exploring, trying to ramp things on bicycles, making my character obesely fat and then annorexily skinny, jumping out of jets in attempts to see how low to the ground I could get before pulling a parachute and surviving, jumping off cliff for the same purpose... the list goes on and on with the amount of stuff you could have fun with. Lovely game.

05. God of War 2

The first God of War surprised me with how much I ended up liking it. GoW2 came very late in the PS2 cycle (compared to how soon after the PS3 came along at least) and boy oh boy did it take advantage of the PS2 to pump out an awesome game that looked spectacular. The story of Kratos continued and added so many new features and weapons that, it again, blew me away. I loved taking down bosses, ripping the wings from Icarus (I think that was GoW 2... lol) and going after Zeus. Love the series and this one really solidified that. Wonderful to look at, fluid control, action packed orchestral soundtrack, brutal gameplay and one bad ass character.

04. Soul Calibur 2

I was introduced to Soul Calibur 2 via one of those PlayStation Magazine Demo discs that accompanied the publication every month. It provided, I think, 1 or 2 levels and 2 or 3 characters, but that was enough for me to put hours of my life into. My sis and I played that vs demo a ton before I actually got a copy of the game (sometime later). Then I made it my task to go through each and every mode and hone my skills, learning each character, loving the game. I remember Kilik being one of my faves, along with Talim and could pull of just about any move they had and counter like it was no ones business. I've been a fan of the series ever since even if none have quite given me the feeling that SC2 did on the PS2.

03. Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts is a series that I kind of lost track of. With 2 PS2 games, a GBA, DS, 3DS, PSP and Mobile games... I'm lost on the story. But the original is one I will always cherish (along with the second one). Funny, that I got the game for Christmas, assuming my sis would dig the idea and it turned out she didn't at all, yet I loved it. The idea is kind of weird one, but one that worked so wonderfully for the team and Square Enix. Fantasy characters thrown into a story that takes them across the Disney universe of worlds and characters in a quest, more or less, for friendship and love. Can't get much better than that. The action, the story, the characters, music, theme, gahh, its all just so wonderful. Such a 'feel good' series.

02. Metal Gear Solid 2

Metal Gear Solid 2 was my first foray into the world of MGS and one of my first purchases after my initial purchased of a PS2 (which I bought with GTA 3 and Turok). It honestly blew my mind. The very cinematic, adult feel to the game, the sneaking around, the situations you get yourself in, the confusing story, the out of this world Metal Gears, the soft moments, the 'OMG Ive been spotted' rushes to safety or the leaving porn for guards to get distracted by - it's all added together to mix up one wonderful title. I've since been a big fan of the series and MGS4 stands as one of my favorite, emotional titles I've ever played. MGS2 comes in strong second to that and will always remind me of the feelings going through it.

01. Shadow of the Colossus

Ahhh, Shadow of the Colossus. Such a unique title. When you really get into the game, it's scary, it's wonderful, its beautiful, its lonely, it's exciting, thrilling, depressing and a ton of other emotions. The fact that I describe a game with emotions should tell that it's one hell of an experience. The premise is simple, you must take down 16 bosses in a giant landscape to gain the power to bring back a love of your life. What unfolds in anything but a simple premise. From the first Colossus you scale (the things a MASSIVE), to the end boss and sequence... it's all a surreal trip that leaves a lot of the messages and meanings to the game in your hands, hinted at with your journey but never spelled out to you completely. Love the idea. Wish more games took this approach.

That concludes my list. I hope you've enjoyed reading it, hope you can relate to at least some of them as I loved going through and thinking back on them.  Thankfully, some of these titles have been brought into the PS3 generation with HD collections (namely: Persona 4 (Vita), Jak& Daxter, Tomb Raider Legend, Killzone, Beyond Good and Evil, God of War 2, Kingdom Hearts (coming soon), Metal Gear Solid 2, Shadow of the colossus) and so a new generation can continue to enjoy them even if they dont own the PS2.