THE PlayStation 2 is one the highest selling gaming consoles of all time (155 million units sold) and has more than 3,800 games released.
It’s hard to argue the importance of this system and its impact on the gaming landscape, let alone write up a top 10 list of games I would love to see available on the Playstation Deluxe program, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway.
But while I was not the owner of a PS2 console in its heyday, I am the owner of multiple iterations of it since I became a gaming collector.
In this list I will not be including games that have had the remake treatment on newer consoles (Resident Evil 4, Shadow of the Colossus) although I’m a huge fan of preserving the game in its original form and think it would be great to see these remade titles. I’d like to think of them as a shoe in the list that doesn’t require a mention. So here we go:
Rule of Rose (2006)
While you will be forgiven if you have never heard of this Japanese inspired survival horror title, gaming collectors know all too well about this game. Some consider it a Holy Grail item that will never be obtained physically. This is with good reason.
This game made by Atlus (makers of the Persona RPG series) was released in Japan, but when it came time for moving and selling units to the west, the NTSC (North American) and PAL (European & Australian) territories had no interest. While the game did release in the areas, there was a very small print and finding this game on eBay in these english speaking versions can cost you onwards of $800AUD, not to mention the limited amount to choose in from.
The game itself sees you play the role of a 19 year old woman in 1930’s England trapped in a school (world) of young creepy girls. Due to its physiological horror settings, it often drew many comparisons to Silent Hill and was inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairy tales which have spawned a few Hollywood movies since.
My wallet would definitely appreciate this title being on the Deluxe package.
The Simpsons: Hit & Run – (2003)
A TV series that has been arguably one of the most popular animated TV shows of all time, gracing our televisions since 1989 – that’s older than some of the readers, I’m sure. But one of the most requested games for a remake or remaster each year over on social media has got to be The Simpsons: Hit & Run.
Some of the games this franchise has spawned have been questionable up until now, the likes of Simpsons Wrestling, Road Rage and Skateboarding were not received well by fans of gaming or the TV series. But then that’s the effect of GTA (Grand Theft Auto 3 to be exact) An open world, third person action/crime game that released and changed the gaming landscape forever, influenced one of the most popular TV shows of all time.
This Simpsons game title took its liberties with the GTA series and made it their own. You could play as members of this crazy sitcom family, steal cars and complete missions by taking matters into their own hands when an alien conspiracy unwinds in the town of Springfield; the show’s main town.
In the PAL areas, well at least Australia, when I think of this game and its expansion I think “Right game, wrong time”. This was a single player game but was intended to take advantage of the PlayStation 2 network adapter – Sony’s online service that was created in response to the popular Xbox Live Service introduced. But let’s face it, PC gamers have been enjoying online the longest here (and for free).
Now as I said, I never owned the PS2 in its heyday so I never knew of online play for the console until much later in the console’s life cycle; definitely none of my friends had this service or spoke about it. The premise of these RE games was great, though. You would control one of many survivors left in the zombie ridden city of Racoon City, thanks to an experiment gone wrong by the evil pharmaceutical company known as – The Umbrella Corporation, the series’ main protagonists.
Players could either choose free-play or scenarios (the games main story) They were then tasked with surviving the Zombie outbreak and the ability to swap items found in the game along with the game feature of being infected by the zombies instead of just dying. Players would eventually turn (into zombies themselves) if they didn’t heal up and survive to attack their former team mates.
This would be amazing for modern gamers to play and while the game was criticised for its lack of voice chat. The tech savvy users of today and PlayStations acquisition of Discord could be a solution to right these wrongs.
Def Jam Fight for NY – (2004)
“Come and take a walk with me” by American rapper Joe Budden is a song permanently imprinted in my head because of the sheer amount of times I finished this game when it was out. Why? Because I finished this game so many damn times!
Welcome to the underground world of celebrities and rappers taking part in a gangster inspired underground fight club run by none other than The Dogg Father himself, multi platinum album seller, Snoop Dogg. The game itself is, at its heart, a wrestling game. But with so many different ways to play the game, in many ways made it the best wrestling title of its year.
Players had a choice of five different wrestling styles (limited to three per play through) – Street Fighting, Kickboxing, Martial Arts, Wrestling and Submissions. With each combination of styles came its own unique fighting style, the game had it all. A fantastic story where you would rise through the ranks, fall in love, face betrayal and be trained by American singer, actor, presenter, comedian, and activist, Henry Rollins.
For wrestling fans out there, this game’s fighting system was created based on arguably the most popular WWE and WCW games of the Nintendo 64 era, WWF Wrestlemania 2000 and WWF No Mercy. This game can be enjoyed by all fighting genre fans.
Kya: Dark Lineage – (2004)
In another multiverse, this title may have been the Crash Bandicoot of its time. A game with a simple premise, Kya, the female title character’s half brother has gone missing after being pulled through a portal and she sets on an adventure to go find him.
In this colourful and amazing new world the players are immediately introduced to danger in the form of the games main enemies, a bunch of wolf like creatures known as Wolfen and the games friendly natives known as Nativs (really mind bending stuff here) but what i wasn’t expecting was how much fun this action/adventure platformer would offer.
While it may not have been perfect, the variety of platforming, sliding, stealth and action sequences in the game made it truly exhilarating. You get this sense as it introduces to you all these as it doesn’t take its time throwing you right into the action right after the games intro.
Outlaw Sports series – (2002 – 2005)
A series of sports titles that consisted of Golf, Tennis and Volleyball. The Outlaw sports series was a different take on the traditional conservitive games. Gone were the serious commentators and we were all introduced to a little known comedian at the time Steve Carell who took the reigns for Outlaw Golf and Outlaw Volleyball later to be replaced by fellow American comedian Dave Attell.
While the games did adhere to the traditional rules of the sports, they did have whacky power ups and the ability to start fights with opposing teams (your caddy in golf) to increase your momentum metre, which played a big part in the games ability to win points. Almost like a high luck skill point in a classic RPG. It was useful in order to win the game.
Matching these power ups was an insane cast of characters which to choose and play as. These ranged from strippers, wanna be rappers to ex cons. The title really ramped up the sexuality, violence and stereotypes, making this a fun game for those wanting to get away from the realism of the simulation sports titles.
Michigan: Report from Hell – (2005)
Another lesser known title, fans of Suda 51 and his quirky Japanese company Grasshopper Manufacture responsible for such titles as the No More Heroes series and cult classics Killer 7 and Lollipop Chainsaw may also not be too familiar with this one either.
You are a rookie cameraman on your first job, filming the weird happenings in Michigan where a fog has taken over the city in this survival horror title. You play the entire game behind the camera and are able to follow the reporters and (annoying) sound man as you seek to uncover the truth behind all these weird leech like monsters, some which appear to have human likenesses. While it is possible for the reporters to die, there are 5 in total, meaning the show will go on.
But with the main duties of a cameraman are to film the story, you can actually go two ways about this. On the top of the camera is a meter, E – S E means Erotic, S stands for suspense. As the reporter and survivors are talking, you are able to set up the most suspenseful angles to make the story look dramatic. Or do you not tell the reporters that there is an obstruction behind them, causing them to fall and letting you catch them in a compromising position? The game also touts simplistic controls. Simply use the X button to focus, the L2 to nudge people or enemies out of the way or the Triangle to warn your co-stars.
With the release of Grand Theft Auto the Trilogy: The Definitive Edition released late last year, unfortunately there was no love for the prequel stories that originally released on the PSP – Sony’s first attempt to take on the handheld market. These titles later made a release on the PS2 console so originally, they were all available on this generation.
Liberty City and Vice City Stories took place before GTA 3 and Vice City where you take control of the complimentary non playable characters from the original titles. Antonio “Toni” Cipriani (LCS) and Victor “Vic” Vance (VCS) had their day in the sun with these action packed titles which filled in some gaps of the main story titles and gave perspective to other characters you didn’t get to know too well.
I think one of the highlights of these games had to be the addition of US Pop icon Phil Collins who played himself in the 80’s set of Vice City and even had a concert where he played one of his more popular song “In the air tonight”
While it was more of the same from all the GTA titles before, there’s a reason GTA 5 has sold upwards of 155 million units as of November 2021. It would be great for the GTA fans who may have missed out on these after never owning a PSP in the early 2000’s
Arguably one of the best known and respected racing car sims of its time, the Gran Turismo series has seen a lot of changes over the years. Along with their releases being longer apart these days. There is a reason that the latest Gran Turismo 7 was so heavily criticised by many players for its in-game currency and gameplay – in my opinion and it is due in part to these amazing titles of its time.
While the basic premise of these games has stayed the path since the first title arrived on Playstation back in 1997, such as the goal of gaining all your special licences so you’re able to drive specific cars throughout the games career mode and win money in races to buy more cars. It would be great for gamers to see the game’s origins and its effect on so many other racing sims out on the market today. The likes of the Forza series and Dirt games definitely owe a lot to this great franchise that has been around for 25 years now.
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy 7 – (2006)
While I haven’t added any of the other Final Fantasy games to the list, there is a good reason. Square Enix, the company behind this fantastical series has done a great job of its own remaking and remastering of their games over the years. While I know some of us don’t like to pay for these, they have taken their time and released them all on other consoles as the years have passed. Along with the amazing Final Fantasy 7 (FF7) remake over the last few years, Dirge of the Cerberus is often forgotten.
Not the traditional JRPG style of game that the series is known for, it ditches its turn based action, turns it on its head and makes an action/adventure third person shooter, RPG hybrid. With the popular over the shoulder aiming that was made famous in Resident Evil 4. With the game set three years after the events of the original FF7 game, you take control of Vincent Valentine, who briefly appeared in FF7 but now takes centre stage in this title. Also appearing are other characters in the multimedia collection set within the universe of FF7 (that’s what Square Enix calls it)
With the Final Fantasy universe taking so many different universes, they always spent a lot of time on the FF7 series and it’s easy to see why as there is just so much lore and story in this universe they created that the fans appreciate. I just wonder if they have plans to involve this in the remake previously mentioned?
And there we have it. This was a very hard list to make, especially due to my coming late to the party for the PS2 and the sheer volume of games made available on the system – but if I’ve missed out on any of your favourites, please don’t forget to hit up our social media @gameonaus over on Twitter and Instagram!