The PS2 remains the best-selling video game console of all time. It’s also possible that it’s a gamer’s all-lot favorite. It’s simple to see why, given the PS2’s huge library. There was something for everyone to play. It could also play PS1 games, which was quite impressive at the point.
Best PS2 Games
1. Final Fantasy XI
When I initially played playing Final Fantasy XI, I was hoping that this would be it, that this would be all I needed. I was hoping it would be the one game that would cause me to drop out of school, buy two months’ worth of food, and refuse to leave my basement.
It drew and held my attention at first. However, after about a month of playing it, I’ve come to realize that it isn’t everything I had hoped for.
Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy playing this game. I like that I can now play a never-ending Final Fantasy with new content released all the time, but the game isn’t revolutionary in any way. Nothing new has been brought to the table, and everything has previously been done.
Granted, they do have players from both North America and Japan on the same server, which is impressive, but I’m not finding that this is improving my gameplay experience.
Everything was new to me when I first played playing an MMORPG. The whole MMORPG thing was new, and there were no expectations because it was uncharted ground. All quests remained unsolved, mysteries may take hours to solve, and the best chance was that you might be the first to find them out.
Many gamers aspire to that thing of fame. That hope has all but vanished with Final Fantasy XI. It’s not uncommon to see new players begging higher-level players for money or assistance in completing quests, which appears to find the sense of success that these gameplay aspects are supposed to provide.
Rather than asking people or searching things up on the internet, I prefer to explore and figure things out on my own. You can tell me not to ask people or read these instructions, but when a group gets together to complete a quest or mission, chances are someone in the group has already looked up a walkthrough. For you to have fun with social games like this, everyone must share their tastes.
While we’re on the subject of quests, I’ve always liked going on quests and discovering new and interesting things. It’s reasonable to say that this game is jam-packed with content, with over 100 quests finished. There are still hundreds of quests to complete, but I’m finding myself less interested in doing so.
Many of the quests are straightforward item fetch and return quests. There are, of course, some intriguing quests that require you to not only find unique goods but also visit various places around the world, including, in one case, places with varying weather conditions.
In the world of Vana’Diel, there are eight elements, each of which can provide a weather effect in a play area. Certain weather effects are only present in specific zones, so you’ll have to travel throughout the world and wait for them to appear.
I also wish there were quests to find rare weapons and armor parts to give the game a collector’s feel. Of course, everyone wants certain goods in the game, but nothing has a cool graphical impact like flames shooting out of a sword or lighting effects on armor.
You’d think that with the fantastic spell animations in the game, they’d be able to easily implement things with animation effects. A Game Master wearing their armor with a blur effect surrounding them was the only thing I saw that had any sort of special effect.
Questing would have been a lot more thrilling for me if there were rewards like those waiting at the end of the path.
Missions, on the other hand, are one of the more interesting components of Final Fantasy XI. They are inextricably linked to the storyline in which you can participate for your kingdom.
Each kingdom has its storyline, yet there are times when missions require all three kingdoms to collaborate to complete a larger goal. Each player gets their storyline and can go at their speed. The problem is that after the first four or five missions, you’ll be compelled to team up with others to complete them.
For example, mission six required me to travel to various kingdoms and complete duties for them, one of which was to slaughter a dragon. My heart began to pound for the first time, and I was terrified of dying.
When you enter the boss chamber to complete mission 6, fast-paced music, similar to that heard in previous Final Fantasy games, begins to play, giving a true sense of urgency and danger. A movie sequence was also shown, which played yet another aspect of the plot.
My group and I charged in, slashing and slicing at the dragon with everything we had. The dragon fell five minutes later, but my heart continued to race. For me, this was the tipping point where I began to enjoy the game more.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed the game thus far, but now that I’ve reached level 30, I’m finding that I have less motivation to log in every day. I’m not feeling the same sense of urgency to get in and maintain leveling as I did in the first few weeks.
There are no big objectives to strive towards, such as obtaining your subjob, obtaining the Chocobo license, or unlocking the advanced jobs. It’s back to the leveling grind at this point, with only quests and missions to look forward to.
With that stated, I intend to play it because it is superior to many other MMORPGs now available. It recently surpassed the 400,000 subscriber barrier, putting it in second place in terms of total subscribers. (EverQuest is still ranked first.)
There are few to no visible issues, the client is highly reliable, and there is so much content that I won’t be able to explore it all for at least another 6 months. By then, there will almost certainly have been more content added to the game via patches, which will keep things interesting.
It’s important to remember that this is not a game for lone players. If you like to hunt alone (then why play an MMORPG? ), you’ll have a tough time after the first 15 levels. Most of the higher-level content will require a group, so I recommend creating new friends to hunt with regularly.
2. Kingdom Hearts
Is Kingdom Hearts an unlikely success, or is it the most certain thing this generation of video games has to offer? While the concept may raise a few eyebrows at first glance — a Square-styled fantasy adventure featuring nearly exclusively Disney cartoon characters? — the idea’s potential begins to shine through.
And Square has fully achieved a large portion of that potential, combining the wealth of characters available with industry-leading production quality to produce a fantastic entertainment experience.
Without spite, despite its imperfections, this is a game that succeeds. It succeeds despite some of the most serious problems that a game has ever had. It features a 3D camera that must be seen to be believed, as well as a difficulty level that is far beyond what players might expect from a “kid’s game.”
Even the most devoted gamers and RPG enthusiasts might become irritated at times, and that’s before you get to the really ugly parts.
But what a plethora of personalities this game offers! New designs are brought to life by superb 3D modeling and animation, resulting in possibly the most effective portrayal of a cartoon world on a console.
While there is plenty of lighthearted humor, the subject matter is frequently addressed at a serious level. Both parts of the unusual duo have given it their all, and the result is something that will hopefully get enough traction to gain the attention it deserves.
Aside from the camera, the combat complexity increases beautifully as the game progresses, with the steady addition of spells and character skills that significantly alter the character of battles. A clever technique experience system, for example, rewards dextrous players with speedier character development.
Bonus experience points are awarded for learning to use particular maneuvers in combat for parries, defense, counterattacks, and other purposes, as well as more successful spell use. It’s a nice push to understand more about the combat system rather than just relying on a hack-hack-hack strategy.
Outside of combat, the game’s quest structure is much more akin to that of Final Fantasy. The time forward through the main plot is usually quite clear, but there are lots of opportunities to veer off on side quests instead.
Every region has reasons to visit for a second or third time, including some intriguing progressive platforming difficulties dependent on the party’s talents back developing.
This game isn’t big on platforming by any means — there aren’t any places where you can fall into a bottomless pit and die — but it does offer a fun mix of action-oriented gameplay components like that. It works well with the RPG elements, giving the game a hybrid personality.
However, several aspects leave one scratching one’s head. The Gummi Ship mini-game is the worst offender in this area, with one of the oddest features I’ve ever seen in any game of any genre. Kingdom Hearts now contains a large number of mini-games, the majority of which are well-balanced.
They’re straightforward and enjoyable, and they don’t detract from the core task of completing the quest. The Gummi Ship, on the other hand, is a completely different animal. This is a cross between a Lego-building simulation, Final Fantasy VIII’s item synthesis mechanism, and a forward-scrolling 3D shooter, which, despite the interesting nature of the proposed melange, manages to provide zero entertainment value.
The shooting is slow and tedious, the ship-building parts are pointless, and the entire thing serves merely to obstruct the game’s areas where it is present.
However, the game reviewer may be speaking louder than the game player. Those battles are tough, but they’re also eye-popping 3D graphical displays. Disney’s animated films, both old and new, have a high graphical bar to meet, but for the most part, Kingdom Hearts meets it.
It’s not as sharp around the edges or as richly colored in its backdrops as a Disney animation, but the point is that when you look at it, you think, “That looks like a Disney cartoon,” not “That looks like a videogame attempting to look like a Disney cartoon.”
Rather than pumping out an insane quantity of polygons, textures, or effects, the animation is the key here (although this engine still produces its share of flashy special effects for spells and the like). The character models in this game appear to be good enough for the animators to run with them, creating stunningly expressive movements for both sweeping gestures and minute details.
The addition of facial emotions and body English to cinematic sequences greatly aids the characters’ acting; the only flaw is the occasional amount of lip-synching cheating, in which textured facial characteristics are replaced for complete 3D animation.
I found the entire game to be extremely impressive. It takes some significant assets in other areas for something with a goofy camera like this to remain an engaging action RPG. Those assets are unquestionably present in Kingdom Hearts.
It’s difficult to convey the coolness of the game’s setting and presentation to someone who hasn’t played it. Yuffie the ninja slams the door, flattening Donald Duck, while Squall and Sora bash Heartless out of second-story windows — improbable, certainly, but doesn’t it sound cool?
3. Mister Mosquito
Every game journalist in the vicinity has seen or played Mister Mosquito, or “KA,” as it’s called in Japan, after several visits to the Tokyo Game Show. Mister Mosquito, a light, hilarious game made by the small Japanese developer Zoom Inc., never looked like it would make it outside of Japan because it’s a clever, innovative game that isn’t a sequel and doesn’t have a “market” per se, or so the conventional opinion goes.
Fresh Games, Eidos’ new company, appears to feel there is a market for hilarious, weird games from Japan, and I agree completely. Gamers are looking for out-of-this-world experiences. The more bizarre the better, in my opinion. I’ll pass out from boredom if I have to endure one more brain-deadening sequel or drab action/racing game.
Mister Mosquito’s goal is plain. As a mosquito, you must feed and store food, i.e. blood, for the coming winter (which isn’t technically correct, because A., only female mosquitoes suck blood, and B., mosquitoes don’t “store blood for the winter,” as far as I can remember), but your main goal is to terrorize the Yamada family during their traditional summer vacation at a small vacation home, by disrupting their routine and sucking their fresh red blood.
You play as a peculiar little mosquito, one that appears to be even mechanical, one that changes colors, grows tremendously fat, and is quite cute.
Mosquitoes aren’t round and beautiful with heart-shaped eyes, as I’ve seen them up close. They’re venomous, tiny insects with a terrifying appearance. But that’s okay, because this mosquito is adorably lovely, and his silent bloodlust makes you weirdly thrilled to be him.
Your job is to suck blood, and the first few levels make it rather easy for you to do so. Green-outline spots such as a light switch, a radio button, and other items are highlighted as you fly around Rena’s room on the first level.
You can hit the light switch or the radio switch by manipulating the mosquito with the left analog and pushing the circle button once you’re in range, which will distract Rena and set her up for your first attack.
She goes for a walk to turn out the light before lying down in bed to sleep. You must fly over to the small highlighted region on her left thigh, then hit the circle button to land.
Then it’s time to have some fun. You puncture her skin by pressing R3, and two monitors show on the screen: one that measures the victim’s fear, and the other an active gauge that measures the blood pumped out of her.
A moving blue bar and a little white circle are contained within the vertical bar. You must keep the circle inside the blue moving bar by rotating the R3 button clockwise, and by doing so, you will successfully drain enough blood to pass the level.
However, it’s when you’re emptying that you’re most vulnerable. As you suck, the victim’s anxiety rises, from green to yellow to orange to red, and you must keep an eye on that meter while also keeping an eye on the drainage meter.
When the anxiety meter reaches red, one of two things happens: you’re swatted or you go into Battle Mode. Mr. Kenichi Yamada (the father), Mrs. Kaneyo Yamada (the mother), or the charming Rena Yamada (the daughter) spots you in Battle Mode. After that, it’s a fight.
The entire experience transports me to the 1970s and reminds me of the film The Valley of the Giants, but with slightly higher production standards.
People are enormous; their hands, eyeballs, crotches, cleavage (yes, cleavage), hands, and whatever else they have are all larger than life, and players can feel the heavy thuds of their footsteps and the forceful winds of their hands as they try to squash you.
Players must discover and attack specific Relax Spots, which are positioned at weird points on the Yamada family, to win in fight mode. Players can also score Faint Points, which daze the opponent for a brief period.
Visually, Mister Mosquito is a simple game. The rooms are plain and designed to display everyday items such as books, boxes, chairs, and the like, and none of them are particularly nicely textured or artistically depicted. And, while there is some detail, a mosquito would see far more.
That, however, is a touch too technical. Mister Mosquito is, after all, an arcade game with a great premise, and its best features aren’t aesthetic. To summarize, the scale, size, and feeling of perspective of the game work exceptionally well graphically.
You’re a teeny-tiny speck in comparison to the humans. And it’s that imbalance, that size disparity, that gives Mister Mosquito a terrific sense that’s all his own.
While the graphics aren’t particularly impressive, the music and sound effects are amazing. And, to truly enjoy the music, you must have heard two types of music: awful elevator music and/or music that plays in the background of a pornographic film.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is genuine pornographic music, and even if you’re not doing anything out of the norm for a mosquito, the game’s subconscious undertones are unmistakably harmonized in this jazzy, cheesy, deliciously sleazed-out porn tune.
It reminds me of PilotWings 64, another game with fantastic pornographic music. And, while having my blessing doesn’t mean much, I adore the beautifully chosen musical score.
Mister Mosquito is a fantastic game to play. The game’s creative premise, brave completion, and the phenomenal amount of laughter (sexually tinged or not, it’s really how you see it) and fun to be had here shouldn’t be overlooked.
It’s a little short and about $10 more than I care to pay for it, and it has a few camera and control problems, but the game’s creative premise, brave completion, and the phenomenal amount of laughter (sexually tinged or not, it’s really how you see it) Hardcore, import, and eccentric gamers buy systems for games like this, and there are few gamers more unique than this.
Eidos’ astute decision to bring this game to North America should be commended. Mister Mosquito, at the very least, should be rented for laughs and harmless enjoyment.
4. Ratchet and Clank
It’s hard to get a word in edgewise with all of the chatter about Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. The gaming world appears to have shifted dramatically in favor of open-design, 3D action games, while the lovely world of platformers, which ruled the roost in the 16-bit period, is urgently attempting to find its way in this brave new century.
Insomniac Games, best known for its PlayStation Spyro the Dragon series, has been quietly working on its most spectacular new 3D platformer, Ratchet and Clank, a hybrid game combining an armory of weapons and a large bag of bolts for currency, for years.
Players must attack, arm, and defend themselves using various methods as they go through a series of platform-style tasks. This is where the game differs the most from Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, the system’s other huge platformer.
Insomniac’s current-generation debut is a natural continuation of the 3D platform genre, incorporating features from numerous previous games, like Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, Jak, and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, and plenty of Super Mario 64.
It mimics bits and pieces of those games in many ways while branching out into slightly new terrain. Isn’t that, after all, the whole point? We acquired these new systems to try something new and different, and Insomniac’s game offers a comfortable mix of classic gameplay components and a few new ways to play. It isn’t groundbreaking, but that isn’t a problem because it is terrific solid long-lasting entertainment.
Ratchet and Clank immerse players in a fantastical world filled with dirty, destructive creatures and young wild daredevils eager to impress. Ratchet is a brash young upstart, an alien creature with a somewhat furry appearance who fixes things.
He’s the stereotypical young man wanting to leave home in quest of adventure, riches, and perhaps even fame and glory. But who exactly is he? Insomniac has remained tight-lipped about who he is, other than to say he’s furry and alien. Nothing in the way of a backstory.
He’s the ultimate platform character, with pointed ears (the new fad), furry, a penchant for “cool” things (gadgets, hoverboards, etc. ), and, of course, attitude (a la Sonic the Hedgehog). Hm…
Clank, on the other hand, is a fleeing robot. The malevolent Blarg race has fled their planet, which has become polluted and over-populated beyond recognition, and seeks to establish a new one utilizing resources from other worlds, although at their expense and doom.
Clank was supposed to be used as “components” in the new rebuilding process, but he bolted. He takes off, but his spaceship gets shot down in Ratchet’s backyard; they meet, talk about the terrible state of the world, and decide to work together to fix it. What’s remarkable about this story is that each character has slightly different goals and responses to the challenges they face.
Ratchet, the young buck, wants to kick some nasty dictatorial butt, but he also wants adventure, coolness, and maybe a little glory — not necessarily in that order. Clank is more virtuous, in the sense that he is innocent and logical, yet he is determined to play the rules to rescue the galaxy. So, even though Ratchet carries Clank on his back, the two aren’t always on the same page.
They frequently quarrel with one another, ‘dis each other, and go out on their own. Players, like in Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie, get to play as both characters, however this time they get to play as Ratchet and Clank on their own (unlike Jak and Daxter where you only played as Jak).
While the missions aren’t organized consecutively, the world is, at least at first. Ratchet and Clank must accomplish each of the 20+ missions, each of which is a planet, to unlock the next one. Players can buy or acquire weapons and gadgets (there are 35 in all), refill ammo supplies, and perform tasks, and each level usually has multiple paths to complete missions.
Ratchet and Clank is a decent platformer that is based on several well-known premises. You jump items by jumping, smacking, and running, and by doing so, you open new items and worlds. To evade opponents, you employ dexterity and hand-eye coordination, and you study their routines to attack and kill them.
In this aspect, Insomniac’s game does not deviate from the traditional definition of a platformer, however, it does put the genre on a slightly new spin. Players are awarded financially for defeating foes and collecting items, and the prizes aren’t new levels, but rather more powerful weapons and gadgets.
There is no limit to how much you can collect, therefore you may always go back to previous realms where opponents reappear to collect more.
Ratchet has a wide range of abilities. Walk, run, swim, jump, double jump, hang, shimmy, and sideways jump are the basic moves. Ratchet can hit foes from behind with his wrench, jump up to perform a jump-attack, and toss it like a boomerang, a medium-length missile.
Ratchet’s ability to use the wrench is unaffected. Clank is initially ineffective, but as the game progresses, the two buy pieces to improve and tweak his powers. Clank provides players with a Heli-Pack upgrade after only two levels by purchasing an upgrade at Al’s RoboShack, allowing lengthy and high jumps similar to those found in Super Mario 64.
Later on, it evolves into a jetpack upgrade, and so on. After around ten levels, players discover that they’ve amassed a plethora of weapons, gadgets, modifications, and other items, allowing Ratchet and Clank to perform some spectacular and highly entertaining maneuvers.
Even if it isn’t the most unique or original game I’ve ever played, Ratchet and Clank is a genuinely fun experience. The game is essentially a platformer, with weapons changing their shape here and the monetary system tugging at its boundaries there.
However, it is a large game that will take a long time to complete. And, when compared to other games in this genre, it stands out for its length and level of complexity.
Insomniac’s game and Naughty Dog’s game are very similar because the two teams share technologies, which naturally makes the games look similar, even though they are very distinct in approach and concept. But it also makes them feel alike. It’s hard to put exactly what it is, but they do.
5. Wild Arms 3
Wild Arms 3 is unquestionably the offspring of its parents. You are free to interpret that whatever you want. After all, the only time the series hasn’t been overshadowed by better games is when it initially came out, before Final Fantasy VII altered the RPG market in North America. Since then, it’s been second fiddle to Final Fantasy VII, then Chrono Cross, and now the current crop of PS2 RPGs.
Nonetheless, it has the same allure as its forerunners. The fantasy/western concept has always been good for a bit of quirky fun, and the dungeons are loaded with more interesting brain-teasers, backed up by strong character design and soundtrack creation.
Depending on your tastes, the series’ first attempt at entirely 3D graphic presentation has yielded mixed results, but what the series has always done right, Wild Arms 3 does as well.
With the PS2’s RPG lineup dwindling this fall, this could be a good way to pass the time until the next wave of big names arrives in 2003. Aside from the graphics, it’s a fairly conventional game, and that’s what a sizable portion of the market still wants to play.
The majority of the game’s characteristics, both good and bad, are instantly identifiable from previous titles in the series. However, the battle system has been changed to free-roaming 3D regions, making placement a more difficult and yet less tangible element.
The Brownian motion of the characters around the battlefield affects ranged and hand-to-hand attacks, which is something to consider quickly when preparing attacks from round to round.
Special maneuvers and magic (known as Arcana) are used to enhance standard weapon attacks, and both are fuelled by Force Points. Characters do not have a constant amount of energy that fuels secondary attacks; instead, Force Points ebb and flow in response to battle activities.
Evading enemy attacks and effectively striking adversaries earns you Force Points (certain items can also help you gain more), which you can spend on more powerful attacks and support abilities.
This is still the battle system’s best aspect because it’s impossible to run out of FP completely; there’s always the opportunity of gaining more through normal combat activities. FP reserves also have a subtle effect on the strength of ordinary attacks, thus there’s a benefit to not utilizing that extra FP.
There is an automatic fight option that gives AI control of the player characters, although I didn’t use it very frequently. It serves its purpose effectively, providing a good range of possibilities for tweaking individual character behavior and developing better team plans, but I’m still wary of handing over complete control.
In a pinch, it feels as if one can never regain control fast enough. Even under manual control, the battle system goes quickly enough that it rarely becomes tedious.
With the opportunity to create their first real-time 3D game, the makers of Wild Arms 3 decided to go a little imaginative. Wild Arms combines basic, bright colors, sharp black outlines, and a semi-transparent overlay to give the characters a “sketchy” aesthetic, rather than the standard texture maps used in games like Final Fantasy X.
It’s not like The Bouncer’s hazy filtering; it’s a texture overlay on the characters rather than a full-screen filter, so it does not affect the backdrops.
In principle, this should produce something akin to Japanese animation filtered via Sergio Leone’s vision. In practice, it’s not nearly as cool, but it certainly doesn’t look bad, and the character designs provide a helping hand to the graphics.
The colors are vibrant but not excessive, and each member of the group has a distinct appearance. The lighting effects also work well with the character models’ flatter textures, since illumination from things like muzzle flash shines brightly across them.
When the soundtrack for Wild Arms is at its best, it’s good. The game’s best moments are when it’s quieter, with only a little woodwind and acoustic guitar playing — in other words, when it’s embracing its Western roots. The more of those noises I heard, the more I desired them.
The music isn’t nearly as suitable or effective when it shifts to conventional synthesized RPG melodies, even if it does work out your speakers a little more.
The series has yet to make the transition to the spoken conversation (which, given the voices in Grandia, isn’t necessarily a bad thing…). As a result, for this day and age, it’s left with a pretty limited variety of effects.
Few stand out, however, the main party’s distinctive weapons have a decent mix of shooting, and several of the bad guys manage to make more than the normal thwacks and odd slimy noises.
Wild Arms 3 is, on the whole, a very bad game. It may not be among the PS2’s A-list titles, both past, and future, but it is a solid game with only a few minor issues, much like its predecessors.
For example, I’m still baffled by the inclusion of the search system — I can’t picture anyone enjoying it in Wild Arms 2 — but other RPGs have been riddled with much larger riddles.