The PS3 is finally starting to justify itself as a system, but we’ve lost the wonder that is backwards compatibility. There are still a few of you PS3 owners that have this feature on your system, but there are also a lot of you that still have a PS2 sitting around somewhere, praying that you remind it of the glory days. I am here to remind you of said glory days. Here are 5 Must-Own PS2 Games.
God of War:
It’s not a kid’s game, but it’s also not a game you should pass up should you be old enough to play it. Both God of War and its sequel pushed the hardware to the absolute limit, but in doing so they gave us Kratos, the most extreme character seen this side of King Leonidas. Kratos is tricked by Ares, the Greek God of War, to become his servant. This results in Kratos accidentally killing his own family (I hate it when that happens). So the only solution is to get back at Ares and kill a god. That’s a premise worthy of praise, and so is this game.
If given the choice between the first and the second game, go with the first. Both are fantastic, and together they’re great (don’t forget to look out for the HD two-pack being released on the PS3), but as a single game, the first God of War has the second beat since it actually has a resolution. Otherwise, expect to sit with your eyes popped as you witness the sort of things they allow to be in video games, and by things I mean insane fatalities against enemies that really had no business messing with you in the first place.
Over the course of the game you will definitely respect the PS2 as something more than just a decent DVD player. You will get to tackle a game that decided how good combat needed to be in a game before it can be considered really good. Many have tried to imitate God of War and few have succeeded.
Dragon Quest VIII:
If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy games, then you may just be a fan of Dragon Quest games as well. Dragon Quest VIII came out and I was shocked to learn that there was not a universal lifting of jaws off floors since the game was clearly made at a level of care usually reserved for overly protective parents. Every single aspect of the game jumped out at me and impressed me. The musical score is beautiful, the graphics are lively, and the voice acting is in my top 5 best for all games.
However, the game is hard. At some points, painfully so. Most players will die over and over and over again before they decide to either level grind for a few hours or give up entirely (wrong answer!). If you stick with it, Dragon Quest VIII opens up into a game that just does everything right. You’ll be shocked to find out that Final Fantasy X isn’t on my list. That’s because Dragon Quest VIII is good enough to take its spot.
You’ve probably seen a Katamari game released on the current system of your choice. And they’re pretty good. But the original two were better than you could ever hope to imagine unless you’ve actually played them. Either Katamari Damacy or its sequel, We Love Katamari, will bring more joy than a parade of puppies with roller coasters strapped to their backs (just imagine that for a second).
The best way to describe these games is: Acid Trip. Katamari games are insanity but in a delightful, “Japan is kooky” sort of way. They play up their weirdness to just the right amount in the first two installments and don’t overstay their welcome. Everything has to do with rolling the Katamari, a ball that things stick to, in order to make it large enough to roll up pretty much everything in the world. I’m certain that drugs were used at some point in conception of this series, because I refuse to believe that someone actually has that much childlike whimsy unless they are either heavily inebriated or live in a chocolate factory (or are Shigeru Miyamoto).
As you roll your way through each stage, you may just fall in love with The Prince (the little green-clad character you control), as well as his father the King of the Cosmos, the one tasking you with rolling Katamaris so that he may turn them into stars and planets since he accidentally destroyed all stars and planets in the universe (I hate it when that happens, too).
Plus, don’t be surprised if you start humming along with the music in the game as it is very different than most any other game music, yet is very wonderful all the same.
Ratchet and Clank:
I’m not sure which Ratchet and Clank game to recommend as there are multiple great titles on the PS2 (and at least one on the PS3). Pretty much start with the first and work your way from there as the games just represent some amazing platforming and fun level design. The developers of this series went on to do the Resistance games on the PS3, so expect great things from their earlier work as well.
Ratchet and Clank centers around using cartoony futuristic weapons to battle robots, such as a gun that turns enemies into sheep. A lot of humor is injected into the titles, finding its way around every aspect of the games. Each title holds up as a fantastic stand-alone game, equaling tons to do and a lot of sequential games to get hooked on.
Basically, this was Sony’s version of the Mario franchise in so much as the games stand out as high quality examples of good gaming, even if you haven’t heard much about the game or know anything about the series. As long as it has Ratchet and Clank in the title, you’ve got a good game on your hands.
Shadow of the Colossus:
Why am I including Shadow of the Colossus and not Ico? Well, I haven’t even got a chance to play Ico yet, and I’ve been trying. I have however got a hold of Shadow of the Colossus and I can safely say that it was one of the most amazing games I’ve played both in the previous console generation as well as the current titles. Problem was, too many people hyped the game as “The Zelda Killer,” therefore I didn’t want to like the game at all due to my undying love of the Legend of Zelda franchise. But we’re not talking about Zelda; we’re talking about Shadow of the Colossus.
The entire game is boss battles. That’s it; I don’t have much more to say about the plot (you wouldn’t understand the plot if you’ve already played the game a dozen times). Just know that you will fight the best-looking colossi you’ve ever seen. Epic is the only word to use for this game. The first colossus you encounter will be huge and you’ll think it’s amazing just climbing up its fur to plunge a sword into the weak spot on its head, but then you’ll see the next colossus and think, “Whoa, that’s a lot bigger than the first one,” and this will keep happening for the entire game.
Graphically, this is one of the most beautiful games on the PS2. It’s impressive to see the landscapes they have laid out for you to traverse. It’s simply amazing. The only downside is that the game is starting to get harder to find. The good news though is that both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are getting HD releases on the PS3, similar to God of War. So hang in there and eventually you’ll get to play the best games on the system, even if you have to wait until they come out on the newer system.