The g1s Top 50 PS2 Games: #30-21
It’s installment number three, and we’re starting off big! The last two entries were big, but now we’re getting into the real good stuff. Now, why don’t we start off by ripping time and space a new one?
30A. Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner [Written by That Guy Named X]
Beyond the Bounds
The Second Runner is the sequel to 2001’s Zone of the Enders, directed by Hideo Kojima; A game about giant robots with giant robot penises beating each other up for increasingly convoluted reasons. Sadly, not with said giant robot penises. It is great, mostly because it builds on what the original game was all about, fast-paced melee combat with free movement in a 3D environment; while also taking away most of the things that held the game back. Where the first game was mainly spent moving around in a large map where you could (and often needed to) freely access different smaller areas, this one is entirely linear, you move on from one area to the next as you advance through the game. Which serves the game better, the levels themselves are now much larger which in turn helps make the combat less about fighting smaller groups of enemies on a map and more about fighting larger single waves of them thrown at you.
The combat is what makes this game so fun, it’s a fast and intuitive system where you really only have one or two attack buttons and a series of subweapons, some of which have different uses depending on the range of your attack. So combat is less about complex moves or memorization and more about skill, timing and knowing how to dodge or use your weapons effectively, and the game throws you a few curveballs along the way to mix things up. Especially in the boss fights, where you’ll fight anything from armored trains to giant spherical mechs the size of a small mountain; arguably the best of which is the fight with Anubis, which had been hyped since the latter half of the previous game and all of it is paid off in a series’ of boss fights that take up about the last third of the game. All of this, coupled with a distinctive visual style with some genuinely good mech designs, and a near brilliant sound design and score make the game not only very enjoyable on its own right but what I still think is one of the best sequels in the medium to this day. Giant Robot Cock.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Dark Side: Narrative wise, the first game is better by a mile (the less said about Ken, the better). Game wise, no contest. ZOE2 has some of the most fun combat ever, period, not to mention one of the most broken and awesome late game power-ups ever.
RememberTheAGES: The first title Zone of the Enders was a decent demo but had some pointy edges. The Second Runner lived up to the statement "Highspeed Mech Action." Dingo is an entertaining and very cool protagonist that come to enjoy rather quickly as he has a strong personality. The combat is fast and very fluid with cool stylized cut-scenes mixed in-between combat to tell a story and a good one. If you enjoy action games, Mech games, or anime like games ZOE The Second Runner just might be down you alley. It is easily in the best Mech games you can play out there. I can safely say it is not boring, there is plenty to do during the story to feel as though there is no down time between plot points.
30B. Timesplitters 2 [Written by Craigieboy]
Return to Planet X
The Timesplitters franchise wasn't the most popular fps to emerge on the PS2, but I did gain one of the largest cult followings of any gaming series. You only have to do a quick Google search to find out how fanatical the fan-base are with their petitions and facebook groups, begging for another sequel. Timesplitters 2 is also considered by many as one of the best in the series along with the 3rd game, Timesplitters: Future Perfect.
While Timesplitters 2 didn't have a detailed campaign or online play like the 3rd game, it was still a great shooter because it had something that very few games had, a sense of humor. Games like Battlefield and Call of Duty try to be all serious, but Timesplitters decided to go in the other direction. The game is just fun at it's very core, and one of the most fun things about it was the multiplayer. Timesplitters was always meant to be played with friends. Not only did you have a fully co-op campaign but you also got 16 multiplayer maps with over a hundred characters to choose from which included an accountant, a dinosaur, a gingerbread man and of course the infamous monkey. Everyone loves monkeys.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Shoggoth8852: Time Splitters 2 encapsulates everything great that FPS titles used to be. Fast paced, light hearted and, you can play as a variety of monkeys in multiplayer!
WhatThePuck: Can you think of another game that allows you to fight zombies in Notre Dame cathedral with a flamethrower?
29A. Kingdom Hearts [Written by Bygjuce]
Kingdom Hearts is a very special game to me. I was a senior in High School when it was released, and I remember seeing a commercial for it one morning before school. I was a huge fan of Disney and Square, both companies being huge parts of my life and essentially creating the soundtrack to my childhood. Seeing all those Disney and Square characters with "Simple and Clean" playing in the background was just so magical. It's impossible to put into words. All I knew is that I needed to play this magnificent game. There was only one problem: I didn't own a PS2, and I was a high schooler with no job. Thankfully, I had plenty of friends with PS2s. To pay for Kingdom Hearts, I ended up trading in a bunch of games at Funcoland and saving up lunch money to cover the difference. But was the game worth all those long, foodless lunches? You damn right, it was!
Booting up the game for the first time, I knew I had something special. That intro - with its abstract imagery and J-Pop remix - was so awesome! But it was the gameplay that hooked me. Combat was nothing I'd every experienced before and was everything I had ever wanted in an Action RPG: Real-Time battles with seamless Inventory/Magic selection menus that didn't require pausing and breaking the battle's flow. Menu selection was handled with the right analogue stick and came with a learning curve, but it worked very well and was immensely satisfying once you got the hang of it. The marrying of the two universes worked brilliantly and made my inner child explode with glee. It was always a treat to see the next world you had to save, and an even bigger treat when you got the next character on your team, though it was a bit disappointing that you couldn't actually play as anyone other than Sora. Nevertheless, I freaking fell in love with this game. I was inexplicably captivated by its cheesy plot and obsessively played the game until I finally beat it, almost shedding a tear as Sora and Kairi vainly reached for each other's hands... But who could forget those optional bosses, eh? Remember how incredibly badass and difficult Sephiroth was in this game? What a bastard! I actually felt like I accomplished something when I finally beat him. It sure did take a lot of skill and zero girly feelings to beat him, that's for sure! (Stupid Kingdom Hearts! Making me feel stuff!)
Thoughts from other g1s:
Shoggoth8852: Kingdom Hearts was a breath of fresh air to the genre of JRPGs and while it lead to a convoluted plot, the original entry stands up as an incredible experience.
metabro: Before the countless spin-offs to ever portable system ever, and before admittedly tiresome friendship speeches, and before the laughably convoluted story, there was a simple idea to combine the universes of Final Fantasy and Disney. Gamers had no idea what to expect from this unexpected announcement. Thankfully, Kingdom Hearts ended up becoming one of the most beloved video game franchises in video game history. The bizarre crossover worked surprisingly well from a story perspective and the worlds were beautifully made. Combine that with fun boss fights (especially the secret ones), the Olympus Colosseum, and the addictive mini games and you have a great start to a famous series.
29B. Soul Calibur III [Written by Dark Side]
For some reason, this is considered the very worst of the Soul Calibur series. I have to ask; did you guys not play Soul Calibur IV? Also, you're wrong. Soul Calibur III is actually my favorite on the whole, because it does far more than any game in the series before it, and does it all better than all the sequels after. While it's the weakest in terms of new character additions (only Setsuka is memorable), it makes up for that in simply damn near everything else. I don't think I've seen a game with this much content outside the RPG or strategy genres in my many years, and I may have spent more time with this baby than even Persona 4 or Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
The game has a ton of single player modes, and they're all fantastic. The more in-depth character campaigns with added choices and story elements really flesh out the fascinating lore of the series, while the league and tournaments offer a lot of challenge. Even the mini-game challenges are good fun, and the strategy mode put into this one is a lot of fun. A few of the twists and turns the story takes are really awesome, and the freedom to either use your given team or make your own was a great idea. There's an incredible amount of things to unlock, not to mention the amazingly detailed and layered character creator. Soul Calibur III's may not have the same level of insanity of something like Saints Row IV, but it makes up with the incredible amount of items to buy and wear, along with brand new styles to use for your character. That mode along is a major time sink. The game even started getting the ball rolling in getting more casual players comfortable with the mechanics, with a very detailed tutorial mode. The amount of right SCIII did far outweighs any faults it may have had.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Phroday: SC3 took everything I loved about SC2 and kicked it up a notch. 42 characters and a character creation mode that hosted a number of unique fighting styles and highly customizable bodies and gear to make the game your own. They could have left it at that, but they included the Chronicles of the Sword, where you make your own fighter and take them through their own story in the SC universe. It is a feature that has typically failed when attempted elsewhere (see Mortal Kombat) but it manages to work and be realistically challenging and fun.
Mach5Mike: Everyone says that Soul Calibur II was the last good game in the series. While I don't deny that it's an amazing game that every fighting fan should play, I also think that Soul Calibur III deserves its fair share of praise as well. In terms of everything that Soul Calibur II did right, I thought Soul Calibur III did all of it just as well, while doing so much more. An expansive character roster that includes almost every character who has ever shown up in the series? Check. Each of those characters has extra weapons with special abilities? Check. A jaw-dropping soundtrack that deserves an official iTunes release? Check. Has the gameplay been drastically changed? Kind of. Sure, the inputs for most characters' moves were altered, but the game is still played like every Soul Calibur game before it: a 3D 8-way-run fighter, with moves controlled by four different commands. This game also introduced the awesome character creator feature, which allowed for both original characters to be created from scratch, and even edit the colors of standard characters, so every player can add that personalized touch when playing as their mains. Aside from all of that, there is so much more to Soul Calibur III, such as story modes for each character, a strategy role-playing game mode, unlockable modes, artwork and character features, and so much more, that I could write an entire book about it. If you love the Soul Calibur games and haven't played part III, I highly recommend it, you might be surprised by what you've been missing. If Namco wants to develop another HD Online edition of one of the past SC titles, I vote for Part III to be next; at least I wouldn't have to complain about guest characters not being included on each console....
28A. Marvel Ultimate Alliance [Written by Shoggoth8852]
Marvel Ultimate Alliance came by way of Ravensoft to grace not only the PS2 and Xbox, but also these new consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. While technically a new IP, Ultimate Alliance plays a whole lot like previous Ravensoft titles X-Men Legends and X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse. Ultimate Alliance on the PS2 offered players a chance to play as up to twenty-three different characters from Marvel Comics in squads of up to four characters each. Different character combinations would even offer boosts such as stat upgrades if your party was comprised of members of The X-Men, Avengers or, Fantastic Four. As though 23 playable characters and multiple familiar cameos weren’t enough though, your team must face off against a league of villains (both super and otherwise) comprised of forty-seven members including power houses such as Galactus, Thanos and, Dr. Doom.
Ultimate Alliance takes players through five acts and, roughly twelve levels full of beat-em-up action. The levels are nicely detailed representations of places from various Marvel comics and strewn about are collectibles such as toys and comics which unlock characters, extra missions, concept art and, other extra goodies. Like in the X-Men Legends series, characters level up and can use points to unlock new skills. It wasn’t a very deep system, but it was rewarding nonetheless. Overall, Ultimate Alliance was well received, gaining high scores from multiple reviewers, magazines and, websites, eventually spawning a sequel in Ultimate Alliance 2. If you’ve got a few bucks kicking around it’s easily found and inexpensive to boot!
Thoughts from other g1s:
Dark Side: I played on the Wii, but it's roughly the same experience. This is one of my all time favorites, not just because of how fun the game itself is, but all of the nerdy fanservice and references. Raven Software really knew their shit. I wonder what they're doing nowada- ...oh. Call of Duty support. ...I'm sad now.
Phroday: While the X-Men Legends games were good, Ultimate Alliance game you the best (even today) feeling of kicking some ass with your favorite super hero teams. The game followed several story lines plucked straight from comics with great villains and locations to work within. You could hop around to each of your four characters in single player or even bust out that dusty old multi-tap for some great 4 player co-op where you can really experiment with the effects different characters working in unison can do.
28B. Mortal Kombat: Deception [Written by -Mazer]
FINISH HIM! Mortal Kombat: Deception is the second entry of the Armageddon trilogy, and it chronicles the rise of the Dragon King and the fall of the Deadly Alliance. Taking everything from Deadly Alliance, Deception ups the ante by adding more modes, more violence, and more characters to its already generous roster. It was also the first Mortal Kombat to introduce combo breakers, suicide finishers, and level fatalities.
On top of this, it transformed Konquest mode (which was all text based in Deadly Alliance) into a full fledge adventure mode where players played Shujinko as he traveled the various realms of the Mortal Kombat universe. Deception was the first Mortal Kombat game to explode the MK realms and provide a deeper more insightful storyline to the MK franchise. It really put the series' mythology to the front line and would help combat the argument that fighting games cannot have a great story. Not to mention it was stock full of content including 400 unlockables in the Krypt, a Puzzle-Fighter style mini game, Chess Kombat, and the aforementioned Konquest mode. The combination of all these features, the updated fighting system, the deep storyline, and single player content that puts Mortal Kombat: Deception on this list with ease.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Jack_Red89: I know some people will disagree with me. I honestly enjoyed Mortal Kombat: Deception more. A great character selection with an amazing Konquest Mode. Sadly in the following game it bombed badly. Again I really like looking at the levels with ways to kill. That's right you can find ways to kill your opponent. As proven a few times playing it a few years ago. You can kill your opponent twice through this rather than most finishers which is one. The weapons are very fun to use in battles. Puzzle Kombat can be addicting to play. Chess Kombat can be frustrating at times but a enjoyable experience. This also has one of the absolute best stories.
SanjiSasuke: Mortal Kombat Deception was the proof that even with as different as the "new" MK had become, it wasn't bad at all. The gameplay was fun, the story was actually pretty engaging and the Krypt was stepped up. Plus a vastly improved Konquest mode really helped to keep the Kombat fresh.
27. Bully [Written by Dark Side]
The Big Game
This is the single best game Rockstar has ever been responsible for. There, I said it. Bully is so good that I am amazed Rockstar had anything to do with it. My problems with Rockstar either stem from their general immaturity or failing to be blend their landmark sandbox gameplay with their narratives that demand structure. Bully does not suffer from these faults. it's immature, but that works in its favor. There is a structured plot, but it doesn't suffocate you like GTA tends to do. Most importantly, Bully is a game that truly feels alive. Never has Rockstar made a game that just comes together so perfectly, with no one element distracting from the whole. This is as close to a perfect game as they have ever gotten.
Bully is a game about a bully's bully named Jimmy, a troubled kid who tells it like it is and doesn't have the patience for people's crap. He's an agent of change in a batshit crazy school, the only sane man among armies of hilarious cliques and psychopaths. No, I mean real psychopaths, just look at Gary. The game never takes itself too seriously, always going for a comedic jab here and there, really making Rockstar's immature and blunt comedy work properly in a setting that's all about immaturity. Each and every student is a person you know, sometimes doing jobs for them, other times just watching them walk around. Even the town outside is filled with that same amount of care and personality. There's barely any random faces, everyone has personality and a life they live. All the game styles you're challenged to are good fun, and the game never feels too frustrating. Most importantly, the game remembers it's supposed to be about player freedom and offers a lot to do whenever you want. Wanna prank some kids? Do it. Those bullies getting too mean? Give them a wedgie. Just wanna chill and attend class to unlock new items and skills? Go for it. The game is an explosion of content with a fun story, a truly alive world and a perfectly fitting sense of humor. Unlike the modern day GTA games, Bully understood perfectly what it was and what the player wanted, and it remembered to deliver. Now how about that sequel, Rockstar?
Thoughts from other g1s:
Phroday: This is the title I really enjoyed most from Rockstar, but it flew so far under the radar. It was a tighter open world experience with a goofy and cliche in a good way atmosphere. The weapons were non-lethal and the story took a standard, but somehow unexpected arc exploring Bullworth and the stereotypical but enjoyable inhabitants. Now, we just need to see Jimmy take on college with a potato cannon in tow.
WhatThePuck: Little known fact - this game contains the first bisexual male protagonist in gaming. Jimmy Hopkins is equally interested in girls and guys, and is portrayed none the worse for it.
26A. Final Fantasy XII [Written by Phroday]
I have enjoyed much of the Final Fantasy series. I started with VII probably two years after it released, then popped over to IX then VI and IV. Then I saw a nice expanse of nothing while I explored a bunch of western RPGs. Some time after release, my younger brother lends me his copy of XII to try out. This game was a far cry different than any Final Fantasy I had ever experienced, but still extremely familiar. The graphics were stupid good, probably the best looking game to grace the PS2. I was running around and exploring the strange corners of Ivalice with zero random battles. All of the monsters were just hanging out to see. Now, they all had assorted rules of aggression on them. This meant that the gigantic ultra-powerful T-Rex you run into early in the game could care less about you, while the tiny chicken lizards run from you in fear of your sword. Quickenings were the new limit breaks that could stack in ways to give you a super powerful special. Summons are now Espers who take the place of your teammates and just straight up engage in combat. And combat was more action oriented than ever, while remaining strategic by allowing you to give your team members each a different battle plan. As you level up, you can customize each character’s progression through the licensing board. Make tanks and healers and whatever you want.
But that is all nothing without what has made the series great since its roots; the story. The story is a fresh take on a classic trope. The orphans Vaan and Penelo get mixed up with one of the coolest characters the series will ever know, Balthier, and his bunny lady friend. Things happen and then you are plunked into battle amidst royalty with all kinds of stabbed backs and things darker than anyone realized. Actually, I have to go back a moment and emphasize how cool Balthier is. He is a classy sky pirate who is supremely cock-sure and charming as all get out. He is Han Solo. I think this might be the most overlooked title in the franchise. Even in the Gametrailers Retrospective on the series, XII got kind of a glance as opposed to any analysis. But it is beautiful, insightful and totally worthy of sitting on this list.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Dark Side: I don't care what anyone says, this is one of the greatest Final Fantasy games ever made. Hell, I can even forgive Vaan at times, simply because his actual character arc isn't that bad, even if it is pointless. It has one of the best narratives in the series, some of my favorite characters, and a battle system that's surprisingly fun. There's also soooooooooooo much to do if you're willing to put in the hours. This was Square-Enix's perfect way to say goodbye to the PS2.
Tommahawk: While people tend to give quite a lot of shit to this entry in FF franchise, I enjoyed the game very much. License board is a dramatic improvement over sphere grid. Though the original release runs into problem of characters being pretty much carbon copies of each other in later levels, but International Zodiac Job System (sadly released only in Japan) fixes that by assigning classes to Zodiac signs, which improves replay value of a game and gives each character unique skills, depending on their chosen class. And while high level characters get to max out their board, it allows for some great progress customization in early to mid portion of the game. IZJS fixes a number of issues the original release had. Clan hunts are fun to do, though I still have to beat Yiazmat. Summons follow in the footsteps of FFX, which is good. Too bad the battle itself didn't do that. While I understand what they attempted to achieve with battle system they had in a game, it just doesn't feel very Final Fantasy-ish. While I still could give commands to party members, I just felt that much control of a battle was taken away from me by introduction of gambits. If they want to go more hands on action approach, just take a page of Parasite Eve's book and leave us with only one character to control.
26B. Tekken Tag Tournament [Written by Phroday]
Fighters were always a favorite among my friends in college. Hours spent battling back and forth playing with randomly selected characters, like real men. Tekken Tag Tournament added in the fantastic tag team mechanic to deliver more heated and diverse battles. However, it differed from other tag systems by calling it a loss as soon as any character is defeated. This means you could lose with your partner sitting at full health. In addition to the fast arcade action, you had a whopping 35 characters to tag between. This was a cast made up of almost every character the series had featured over 3 titles. And only four of them are Jacks.
The graphics and sound were beefed up a bit. Using the engine from Tekken 3, Namco utilized their experience to make great improvements to the player’s fluidity as well as the stages. Also, no Tekken game is complete without a goofy extra game. This time around, it was Bowling. Now, while their take on Volleyball might be my favorite, this one was a pretty good time. Each character had a unique style and strength. This went awesome when it came to Bryan Fury and the assorted Jacks because you would bowl in a Terminator point of view. Go pick it up used or get the HD PSN release. Very worth it.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Jack_Red89: I am a very big fan of Tekken series since child hood. Some of the finest fighting games I ever played. At the time had the biggest character selection. Some of the best levels in any Tekken game. You get to play bowling yes I'm not lying. It has amazing graphics for PS2's standards. My only complaint is most endings are poorly done. Despite this it's ranks very high in fighting games.
SanjiSasuke: Tekken Tag Tournament was the PERFECT Tekken game for its time. So many characters, so many possibilities. I seriously played it for DAYS, the bowling, the tournament mode, story mode to get all those cool endings. Everything put together so well.
25. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City [Written by Woodyman]
A Flock of Seagulls - I Ran (So Far Away)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a personal favorite of mine and well deserving to be on this list. It had the right amount of balance with side quests and new things to do but didn’t overwhelm the player like San Andreas did, where you had to worry about eating or working out constantly. In addition, the game takes place in the most fashionable era ever, the 1980s, and is a Scarface/mafia themed excursion that takes place in a city based on Miami.
In GTA: Vice City, you play as Tommy Vercetti. Tommy was a mafia hitman who was sent to jail after a drug deal went wrong and he killed numerous men. The Liberty City mafia wants Tommy out of the city so they set him up in Vice City under the watchful eye of coked out lawyer, Ken Rosenberg. Tommy is supposed to oversee a cocaine deal but the deal gets ambushed and the money and drugs are gone. The Liberty City crime boss, Sonny, believes Tommy stole the money and drugs and orders him to pay it all back. Now it’s up to Tommy to get everything back, find out who ambushed the deal, and pay back Sonny. Instead, Tommy rises as the crime lord of Vice City.
As mentioned above, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City adds a lot to the GTA series without overburdening the player. The gameplay is similar to other 3D GTA games of the time. It’s a free roaming game where you travel across a large city doing missions and side-missions for a series of insane and criminal characters. Most of the missions are illegal in nature, so you have to worry about other criminals and the cops. The changes Vice City makes to the city are Tommy Vercetti and property management. The protagonist from GTA: III was silent and pretty much had no personality, Tommy is different. He’s your typical mobster. Tommy is smart, but also very quick to resort to anger and violence. You can see where he’s coming from, and thus relate to him. In addition, Tommy shows a softer side when necessary with some of the female characters. The other addition is property management. Throughout the game, Tommy will acquire ownership of properties that he can use as another hideout, or to generate income. Each property has its own missions in which you have to get rid of competition or get supplies, but they really make you feel like a mob kingpin, taking over the city.
Thoughts from other g1s:
That Guy Named X: I still think this is as definitive as the GTA formula gets. Even though in many respects San Andreas is a much better game, I still prefer this one overall.
Jack_Red89: WOW before playing GTA V recently. I thought for many years that GTA: Vice City was the best. Even now has some of the best graphics for it's genre. The best soundtrack of the entire series. It also has one of the best cast they ever had. Again this game nailed all the characters. You get plenty of missions around Vice City. The world actually makes me want to go there. One of the finest GTA stories ever with GTA V's being better. You get a lot of very good codes to play around with.
24. Suikoden V [Written by Dark Side]
Wind of Phantom
If you call yourself a JRPG fan and have not played at least one Suikoden game (exclude IV and Tactics), hand in your badge. There's a damn good reason the Suikoden series is largely called one of the finest series of RPGs ever made, and that's because they're really some of the best. They break the mold, working in fantasy with a heavy amount of political drama and making it all easy to understand for even the dumbest bastard among you. It has a gameplay style all its own, putting you in charge of an army and on a quest to find the 108 most important people in the world to change the destiny of the world for the better. Ask anyone their favorite, and you'll get a lot of answers. Almost all of them will be II. But until I play that fabled second game, my favorite will always be V.
The game has you playing as a young prince of a thriving kingdom that has some in-fighting among the governing bodies. The first few hours start slow, building the conflict with little gameplay, but its all time well spent. You really get attached to the cast, and when shit hits the fan, it really gets to you. From here, the game begins proper as you start learning the ropes in running your own fighting force, and that includes a lot. You can take part in trade between the various regions to make money once you understand how to play the market, you can look in various towns and dungeons for people willing to join your cause, or you can just defeat some monsters and earn loot the old fashion way, along with a ton of other things. There's sidequests galore in every entry in this series, and V is no exception. The strategic battle system is also welcome, allowing your party formation tom play a heavy role in how battles go.
What V has over all its other brethren in the series, however, is presentation. This game just looks amazing. Each and every character is filled with color and expression, which is good due to the heavy amount of in-game graphics cutscenes. Said scenes are really well directed, never wearing out their welcome, partly because of the fantastic story and acting, and also due to just being so nice to look at. I have to give a lot of praise to the script, its really good. Every word of dialog is well thought out and fitting for every character, giving everyone their own sense of personality. Nobody feels cookie cutter here, not even the most insignificant character. The villain, Gizel, is especially memorable, a true asshole among manipulative assholes that you just want to beat the shit out of, while his dad has a sense of power and humanity to him that helps keep things from becoming too black and white. It's definitely one of the best tales in any JRPG I've ever played, and the care that went into it is awe inspiring. I demand the next FF game take some notes, maybe it will actually be tolerable then.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Marduk: It wouldn't be a top 10 list of PS2 games without a proper JRPG. As a series Suikoden was seriously underrated compared to Final Fantasy. Extensive npc interaction and a massive variety of companions and abilities that could be added to your team made each Suikoden a massive game. The only reason it's so low on this list is because I couldn't bring myself to put a JRPG above so many games that completely changed the series or genre they were part of.
23. Katamari Damacy [Written by Dark Side]
Que Sera Sera
What a surprise this game was. Katamari Damacy came out at a time where most of us western gamers have never experienced such a concentrated amount of Japanese quirkiness in a single game before, which says a lot as we were already well vested in Metal Gear. The bigger surprise is that Katamari Damacy was good. Like, really good. Amazingly good. One of the best games ever made good. The series it spawned sadly burned out (I blame the awful PSP version), but we'll always have our memories, and there was a ton to love. It's a game that allows you to roll people up into a giant ball, you kind of have to love it or else you have no soul.
As a game, Katamari Damacy is brilliant. It takes a page from the Ape Escape series, allowing near all your controls with the two sticks. You can move and turn your giant katamari with each stick, making a perfect and intuitive control scheme that mixes in some quick turns with the trigger buttons to simply things further. It was something completely new, and it worked perfectly in only a way gaming controllers can allow. The level design was also very impressive, offering tons of challenge with a wide array of obstacles to prevent your journey from being a breeze. Building a person swallowing katamari really felt like an accomplishment, simply due to how long it took to get there. The game is a tad short, but it's always fun to go back and replay each time.
Of course, what really put Katamari Damacy on the classics list was the presentation. This game weird, letting you in on that fact with an intro scene where a flamboyant space god drinks with some pandas and rainbows and accidentally destroys all the stars in the sky. This continues further as the entire game looks like it was made out of milk cartons, the music is a wide variety of Japanese pop and easy listening with and endless parade of nonsense and word salad, and the occasionally strange and unexplained thing in the area, like Ultraman fighting Godzilla. There is not a moment of this game not filled with color and weirdness, and god bless it for that. Katamari Damacy was so weird that even Japanese audiences wouldn't bother with it, yet it became a big hit here in the west. I guess we just sometimes appreciate pure whimsy more than the country that influenced it most.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Phroday: It is really hard not to fall in love with this game. Even without drugs. The majestically packaged King of Cosmos, speaking in record scratches, commands you to roll up random crap around you for him to make into new planets, moons and stars. Everything is so simple and happy as you grow larger and larger. Starting with pins, dice and mice, only minutes later you are rolling up islands, weather systems and god. Not to mention some of the best game music ever. Na nana na na na......
WhatThePuck: Madness and genius are often hard to tell apart. When Katamari Damacy was born, no-one was sure which was on display. But the results speak for themselves, with h one of the most brilliantly innovative puzzle games made in decades. There is a simple primal joy to be found in this game that few others on the Ps2 can match.
22. Def Jam: Fight for New York [Written by bushidoblader]
Beezle feat. Bonecrusher - See About Ya
“Why is this game so good?”
-Pat, of the Best Friends Zaibatsu
Videogames and celebrities do not mix. Unless it’s a sports game or a music game, celebrity video games are usually awful. That being said, Def Jam crushes my previous statement like the aptly named Bonecrusher. Featuring a large roster of characters (each with a unique fighting style), a detailed create-a-character with its own story mode, and a variety of match types, this game brings the fun with each over-the-top fight.
The roster is comprised mostly of Def Jam artists as well as a few celebrities and original characters. Each character implements a unique style comprised of street fighting, martial arts, kick-boxing, wrestling, and/or submission styles. Each style has its unique advantages and unique knockouts assigned to it. Aside from that there are tons of over the top moves. Snoop Dogg fight like a hardened Kung-Fu master, Flava Flave fights using a drunken fist boxing, Danny Trejo is a toned down Machete, and Method Man is practically Zangief. And if you’re not interested in any of the main cast, you can always create your own character and deck him out in all kinds of bling, apparel, and tattoos.
Arenas in the game range from boxing rings, junkyards, night clubs, construction yards, bars and other places suitable for a brawl. Aside from the standard one-on-one, there are a multitude of match types. These matches range from team battle (in which you and a teammate take on two other fighters), free-for-all (in which four fighters duke it out), Subway Match (where you can throw your opponent onto the path of a moving train), Demolition Match (where you destroy your opponents car by smashing his face into it), and many more. The game also features 4-player multiplayer (if you have a multitap) allowing you to share the mayhem with your friends. Like I said before, this game is great. Whether you want to smash Slick Rick’s face onto his Escalade or play with friends as you frantically avoid being thrown into a train, you are bound to have fun. Just remember to watch where you run else you get countered grabbed by Method Man.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Dark Side: A game where you can make Machete and Snoop Dog fight. What else needs to be said, really?
Bygjuce: I was a HUGE fan of Def Jam Vendetta, Fight for New York's predecessor. I enjoyed the ridiculous combination of rappers and wrestling, especially since the game used the THQ wrestling engine found in the N64 classics WCW/NWO Revenge and WWF Wrestlemania 2000. Thankfully, the game knew how ridiculous it was and played it up with over-the-top finishing moves and goofy taunts. Unfortunately, Fight for New York took itself too seriously and changed its tone in order to appeal to a different crowd, losing a lot of its charm. They changed the combat up, too. Overall, it was still fun. Also, it had Slick Rick, and that's cool.
21. Silent Hill 2 [Written by the Silent Hill Tourism Committee (WhatThePuck)]
Theme of Laura
Feeling like you're missing something in your life? Had a problem in your life you just can't seem to shake? Wanting a trip that will put you in touch with your inner survivalist but finding that backwoods Spain isn't scratching that itch? Then come to scenic, beautiful Silent Hill, too. We pride ourselves on being able to help you get in contact with the real you, taking ordinary people from all walks of life with seemingly normal outlooks, and cutting through the banal lies of the world to expose the raw seething emotional core built upon your own eternal guilt and self loathing lust. Also, we've got boats.
Come see our very, very friendly locals. Wow, fellas, no need to keep your hands to yourselves. The women may look like grotesque mockeries of the female form deliberately oversexualized and stripped of humanity to mock the simplistic lust of the repressed sexuality of our guests and turn them into simultaneous horrific beasts and male fantasies, but they sure do know how to have fun. And for you ladies feeling very naughty, Mr. P. Head is here to represent the savagery and brutality of the male sexuality unrestrained, with all right to take others as instruments for his own desire given to him by his weapon, all the brutality of it justified wholly by the sins of his victims. Remember girls, you know what they say about guys with big knives.
Feel our uniquely charming atmosphere. Experience our famous year-round fog that only conceals the horror that lurks around every corner. Come see our quaint shopping district, our state of the art hospital, our world famous hotel, all of which are familiar enough in a abstract manner to be able to trigger similar memories that our decorating style will cast in a horrific light. Meet fellow travelers who show a dark reflection of your memories as they show your perceptions and fantasies of people in the harsh light of day. Enjoy our puzzles, and then enjoy Gamefaqs as you give up trying to figure out what the hell these puzzles mean. Why, just listen to this story of previous guest James Sunderland. After losing his wife to illness, James came to this town after receiving a letter from her, his lack of drive and goals in life leaving him time to throw everything away in pursuit of her. When he came to this city, he was a shell of his former self. But through the trials and tribulations, he came to figure out his life in a mature manner. And with our help, you too can be abducted by aliens or find out a dog has been torturing you. So come spend your holiday with us. You've tried enjoyable holidays, now try Silent Hill, too.
Thoughts from other g1s:
Finn: An incredibly scary yet so beautiful. One of the most horrifying games with a great and touching story, a prime example of a horror game done right.
Dark Side: About the only other game that got me so damn scared besides this one is The Suffering, and that was only at the beginning and during a hallway chase. But Silent Hill 2 never once stopped being unnerving as all Hell. The camera angles and messy control make you feel powerless and in the dark, and the game is built so well around that to build atmosphere that it always remains terrifying. Just the smallest noise is enough to make me lose my shit in that game, one of the best horror works of any medium, period.
Up next is the bottom half of the top twenty, and things are going to a get a bit dark. Or, should I say ...black?