T-McBee’s Top 10 PS2 Games

PS2games copy

The Playstation 2, the game console of my high school and college years. Heck, it’s a gaming system I would still go back to even to this day. The Playstation 2 (or the PS2) is one of first consoles that ran its mark over a decade and had a huge library of games, whether they were exclusive for the system or were available for the console. Since I didn’t own a Sony Playstation during my childhood and pre-teen years, the PS2 became the console that got me interested in Sony games.

This is T-McBee here counting down my Top 10 PS2 Games. Here are the rules:

1. One game per franchise.

2. The following choices are my personal picks. So if you see your favourite games not on the list or not at a high spot on the countdown, please don’t complain to me about it. In fact, you’re welcome to mention your favourite PS2 games either here or at the forums at itstailtime.net.

Well without further ado, lets crank the X, square, triangle and circle buttons to begin the list.

10. God of War 2

As a female gamer like myself, I don’t mind playing some of the God of War games, especially God of War 1 and 2 for the PS2. It was tough to decide which one I like more since both games are solidly good, though I have to choose God of War 2 for improving the gameplay and presentation.

 God of War 2 may not had a great story like God of War 1 did, but it was the graphics, the levels, the combat and even the problem solving made this one memorable for me. Everything you see once you progress through the game really mind blows your brain out for how epic it is. God of War 2 even included a special features disk that shows the making of God of War 2, which I thought it was a nice treat for anyone who are into behind of scenes content in a game.

God of War 2 is a fun game, but I do feel that it plays just like the first game, except with slightly better controls and a quite a lacklustre story (especially its ending). From fighting a giant colossi to riding on flamed winged pegasus, God of War 2 game acquires all the blood carnage and action you need in an M-rated game.

9. I-Ninja

When gamers are introduced to 3D platforming games for the PS2, it’s either  Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank or Sly Cooper. For me however, I-Ninja was the first 3D platform game that I played on the Playstation 2. It may had borrowed elements from other platforming games, but it still was one fun game to play.

This underrated gem was so fun, but acquired a lot of challenges that made the platforming and missions pretty difficult. Sometimes the revisit missions became kinda redundant since it was practically the same kind of missions. What I really liked best in I-Ninja was the overall presentation. The visuals were colourful, the animations were smooth, the music soundtrack was catchily badass and the voice work was pretty good. If you have Billy West voicing the main character, you know it’s going to be entertaining.

I-Ninja had some creative aspects and a fun sense of humour in the overall experience. While it may not be a perfect game like other 3D platformers for the PS2 (i.e. the camera not going at a 360 degree angle), but it is still one game that I can appreciate that stars a ninja character.

8. Rogue Galaxy

Japanese RPGs were big when the PS2 was popular in sales. I stumble across hearing about Rogue Galaxy for the first time when I watched an episode of Reviews on the Run that reviewed this game and the hosts gave it a good score. Many years later, I bought an unused copy of the game at a game store and found it as one fun RPG game.

Rogue Galaxy has a story that’s generic and borrows many elements from Star Wars, but that doesn’t mean that the gameplay of it is terrible. The action combat is quite fun in Rogue Galaxy and it feels like a breath of fresh air to go into your paused inventory while you are in battle or a boss fight (which you don’t see a lot in many Japanese RPG titles). But I think the addicting factor with this game is the items and weapons you collect in the game, Which the things you can collect can upgrade your party’s abilities.

Rogue Galaxy is a massive game that is worthy to at least try out. However there are a few problems I had with the game, such as linear/mazed level paths, the repetitive random battles (though you can exit them pretty easily), the party’s AI and enemies called the Mimics. Those treasure chest monsters are a pain in the ass to beat!

Despite the flaws and nitpicks I have with Rogue Galaxy, there was enough content and gameplay value that still satisfied me.

7. Chulip

Chulip is one of the weirdest games that I ever played on the PS2. After checking episodes of Game Grumps playing a bit of this game, I somehow got the urge to purchase a copy of Chulip and it entertained me for hours with its bizarre humour and strange design. The game is like Harvest Moon, but with a bizarre tone and style like Earthbound.

Chulip is a unique game with a catchy soundtrack, nicely detailed environments and a sense of humour that isn’t like any other game I’ve played for the PS2. Unlike Harvest Moon, this game has a more narrative direction and lets you explore the towns at any time, though it isn’t easy to walk at night where creepy ghosts and a determine police officer will automatically giving you a game over. In other words, save your game a lot in order to progress Chulip further.

While Chulip can be a difficult game to play with brief directions of what your objectives are, it is still one of the most oddly fun games that I have ever played. So if you want to try out a Harvest Moon like game combined with really odd humour, this is a game not to miss out… unless you don’t want to see some stereotypically depicted character designs.

6. Sly 2: Band of Thieves

Back in high school, I thought the Sly Cooper trilogy wasn’t my cup tea due to it’s pretty cartoony visuals. However, after trying the Sly games in 2010, I literally ignored my stupid teenager self and found the three Sly Cooper games worthy for the PS2. But if I had to choose one game from the franchise, I would have to go with Sly 2: Band of Thieves.

Sly 2: Band of Thieves became a superior game for me due to the improvements it made compare to the first Sly Cooper game. The story in the game was nicely paced and surprisingly entertaining compare to the other Sly games, though I will say its humour wasn’t as strong as the comedy presented in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. The gameplay for the most part is fun and amusing, though missions that involved turrets, luring enemies and cannons felt like a chore to accomplish.

Overall, Sly 2: Band of Thieves made improvements and made the experience memorable. The cel-shaded visuals made the worlds and characters in the Sly series feel like a graphic novel or Saturday morning cartoon coming to life, but in game format of course. Lesson to learn about the Sly Cooper games… Don’t judge it before playing it.

5. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

The Jak and Daxter series was pretty popular during the PS2 era and it is a shame that the franchise fell quite into obscurity once the PS3 was out (until the HD collection and PS All-Star Battle Royale). Many fans would prefer the bad ass sequels from the series, but there was something about Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy that I liked more.

Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is one of those collectible platforming games that reminds me of the older games on the N64 like Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64 and Super Mario 64, except with dialogued voice work and more polys in the 3D model assets. The game has colourful worlds to explore and witty comedy that makes the characters fun and pretty lively. In fact, I find the character Daxter to be funny and less annoying in this game compare to his role in the sequels.

Overall, Jak and Daxter: the Precursor Legacy is a vibrant game with an old school vibe that will make some players think it reminds them of the Crash Bandicoot trilogy for the PS1. While the story and gameplay isn’t as edgy tone or long as Jak 2 or Jak 3, but the game has a lot of creativity that makes it a worthy platforming game. Less is always more.

4. Okami

To be honest, I didn’t find Okami that great the first time I played it on the PS2. When I finally completed the PS3 HD version last year, I literally made the dumbest mistake of my gaming experience. While I already loved the art style the first time I played Okami, replaying this game again immediately put this game in my top 5 on this list.

Other than the art style looking like beautiful celestial brush art, the universe in Okami is massive with peaceful environments, odd characters, weird humour and adorable animals you can feed food with. There is enough hours of gameplay with this action adventure game to keep one player occupied and addicted to. My one major gripe with the game is that some of the cinematic scenes are quite long and are not skippable in the first play through experience. Now that is not for gamers who are speed runners.

People may think Okami is a Legend of Zelda clone, though I find the game greatly developed than many Zelda games. Okami is very original with its fine constructed story filled with heart and humour. It is tough to see cel shaded games that’s beautifully crafted like this one, especially that interpreted Japanese calligraphy and culture with great respect.

3. Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando

People who know me well that I do enjoy playing the Ratchet and Clank games and it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t add one of the games on the list. The PS2 trilogy of the series were so much fun to play, but for the Ratchet and Clank game that I found myself replaying a lot, it had to be Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando.

What made Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando my favourite PS2 game from the franchise was the new and familiar content the game had and had good improvements compare to the first game. It had racing, arena combat, two puzzle gadgets, space combat, weapon and armour upgrades, crystal collecting, giant clank missions…this game had it all. The story and humour was pretty good too which will easily entertain gamers of all ages.

Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando had some tedious boss fights (Thug Leader second fight) and a bit of a  underwhelming finale, but it’s the variety of gameplay and the subtle humour that made this Ratchet and Clank game different and worthy to check out. Plus the game had some pretty good surprises in the cinematic scenes.

2. Kingdom Hearts

I’m either hearing cheers or rants from readers for placing Kingdom Hearts on the runner up spot. The original Kingdom Hearts is basically the game that wanted me to get a PS2 back in high school and if it weren’t for one of my friends who liked Sony game consoles and had a copy of this game, I wouldn’t had a PS2 to begin with.

Since I am a fan of Disney animations and films, I had great expectations with this odd crossover game. The more I played Kingdom Hearts, the more I became so attached to the game. I literally feel in love with the level designs and the animations with the game, though some look pretty cheap in the cutscenes. The concept of travelling to many Disney worlds (including a few original locations) with a memorable story was engaging from beginning to end.

People have complained about Kingdom Hearts for its clunky controls and camera issues and would prefer Kingdom Hearts 2 instead. For me however, what Kingdom Hearts 2 didn’t have that Kingdom Hearts had was heart and it became a game that I enjoyed playing so many times during high school despite some of the game’s flaws.

1. Beyond Good and Evil

I know this choice was quite predictable for my number one spot, but what I can say? Beyond Good and Evil is a game that  I kept an eye on for the many great receptions it got from critics in 2003. When I first played the game for the first time around college, the game left me speechless for how unique and heartwarming the overall experience was.

Beyond Good and Evil may not be the most beautifully designed game, but I cannot ignore the originality, the atmosphere and unique character designs that the game contained. It had an awesome soundtrack, photoshooting creatures, an unexpected direction in the game’s presentation and having one of the coolest female protagonists I ever seen in a video game. Sure, the game has some bad glitches and an anticlimactic epilogue scene, but either way, I was still fascinated by Beyond Good and Evil.

It is a shame that Beyond Good and Evil made poor sells at its original release, but on the plus side, it build up a cult following years later. Personally, this game got me invested in video games more and to be open with game concepts that are creative and quite innovating in terms of gameplay, presentation and storytelling. Beyond Good and Evil isn’t only my favourite PS2 game, but you even say that it is one of my favourite video games of all time.

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