"Live in y⚪ur w✕rld. Pl△y in ⬜urs."
This is the best-selling game console ever, so you will find it has an absurdly vast library. It's backwards compatible with the original PlayStation, which was the best-selling game console ever before that, so... say what you will about the PS2, but a lack of games is never a problem. As a downside, it also got a ton of shovelware, so let us help you get the good stuff.
When buying the console, there are certain points to consider. Only the older, "fat" consoles can take the hard disk expansion (Unless you are good at soldering), which is required to play Final Fantasy XI; but the earliest versions are notorious for their fragile lasers. The newer, "slim" consoles come with built-in ethernet, and are usually regarded as more reliable machines.
A point of contention is the controller - unlike the Gamecube and Xbox, it gave the "sweet spot" to the d-pad, not the left analog stick. While most people are okay with that, some find this design aggravating; if you do, don't fret. Some third party controllers, like the Saitek PS2700 (aka Cyborg V.3) or the Radica Phoenix Revolution, let you swap them to their more usual, ergonomically correct positions. There are also adapters to use Xbox controllers on the PS2.
SOFTMOD NOTICE - FUCK YEAR PIRACY
There are a few ways to easily mod your PS2 to have the ability to play games from a burnt disk, USB drive, internal HDD or over a home network (SMB). The easiest method to play pirated games depends on the model of your PS2. For the original "fat" PS2 model, the easiest method is to use software called Free McBoot to softmod, as it only requries the memory card to be inserted upon boot.
Another method dubbed "Independance Exploit" requires the use of a PS1 "trigger disc" in the tray for the exploit to trigger, making it slightly more cumbersome than FMCB. On the other hand, it allows you to directly boot into uLaunchELF, and also doesn't have a stupid name!
For early "slim" PS2 models, Free Mcboot is still your best option. However, Free McBoot will not work on SCPH-9xxxxx models or later. In this case, your best option is to purchase a SwapMagic 3.8 disk, which will allow you to boot burnt games, as well as ISOs from a USB, HDD or network connection. You cannot pirate SwapMagic. Don't even try. It just won't work.
Free McBoot will require special tools to install to a memory card, such as exploited games, a SwapMagic disk, Action Replay MAX, or an already softmodded PS2. SwapMagic is highly recommended for slim models, but not so much for fat models, as you will need to mod your case. Use AR Max for fats, but take care not to purchase a version without USB support.
Games may require a special patch to be applied to the ISO before burning to enable them to boot. Or don't burn discs in 2017, you luddite. Use HDLoader. You can also use an IDE HDD, a USB drive or a home network (If you have an ethernet adapter) to run PS2 ISOs without the need for a disk, using Open PS2 Loader (OPL). Use WinHIIP to install games to USB/HDD.
HDLoader has it's own set of compatibility fixes that OPL will not recognize. For installing games to HDD over FTP, HDLoader is preferred.
Have you played these games? They need a description to be added onto the list:
- Drakan: The Ancients' Gates
- Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army
|007: Agent Under Fire||FPS / Stealth||Your standard James Bond FPS game with a healthy variety of firearms and gadgets, not to mention a jetpack. Though the single-player campaign is short and not all that oustanding, the four-person multi-player is reminiscent of 007: GoldenEye in the best way possible, with inventive arena stages and lots of explosive fun. Can be used to install MCFreeBoot on your PS2.
Also available on XBOX and GCN.
|007: Nightfire||FPS / Stealth||Continues in much the same vein as Agent Under Fire, with nicer-looking character models but persistently generic level design (This point is debated on; Many think Nightfire's level designs were unique and memorable, decide for yourself.). The (short) story tries to be a bit more mature. Multi-player is a mixed bag: still fun and with more characters, but customizable A.I. bots behave incompetently. At least Pierce Brosnan actually looks like Pierce Brosnan in this one.
Also available on XBOX and GCN where up to six bots can play multi-player. The PC port has online play but is notoriously dodgy.
|007: Everything or Nothing||TPS / Stealth||Arguably the best Bond game on the PS2, with a new third-person perspective and lots of fantastic vehicle-driving sections. The story is a bit meatier and more fun to play through, but the gameplay never rewards a stealthy approach to missions. However it's a short and solid game with the same serviceable multi-player as always.
Also available on XBOX, GCN, and... GBA. (Not worth your time.)
|10,000 Bullets||TPS / Action||An over-the-top shooter where players can slow down time to navigate hails of bullets, Matrix-style. Four playable characters, stylish presentation, and certain RPG elements such as purchasing character upgrades and interacting with characters/game world between action scenes. Excellent jazzy soundtrack. Tanked critically and commercially for being stylistically derivative and mechanically repetitive.|
|Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana||JRPG||A traditional turn-based JRPG with a fun and deep item-crafting alchemy system. Though the story and characters are nothing special they're pretty cute all things considered, and the sprite-based visuals are nice. However if you don't enjoy the idea of gathering recipes and ingredients for item-crafting you'll find yourself with a run-of-the-mill JRPG that could've come out for the PS1. Usually considered the best of the Iris games.|
|Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny||JRPG||Very similar in presentation and general style to the first game, now with simplified combat, alchemy, and invention systems, which make things easier and less menu-heavy. Item synthesis returns in full, and the player constantly switches between two characters focused on fighting and alchemy, respectively. A nice JRPG without oustanding features. Direct sequel to the first, though you'd never know it if you haven't played it.|
|Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm||JRPG||An interesting departure from the previous games, players are based on a hub world and venture out to a series of dungeons, as well as taking on a plethora of side-quests. The party is limited to three characters, but they can switch between different fighting styles. Turn-based combat and item synthesis return mostly unchanged. The lack of variety in settings and time limits imposed on side-quests mean that this is considered the worst of the trilogy, but if you liked the first two games you will probably enjoy this one as well.
The expansive Atelier series continues on PS3 with Atelier Rorona, Totori, Meruru, and Ayesha.
|Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies (Distant Thunder in Europe)||Flight Combat||The first Ace Combat on PS2 brought more atmospheric and high-tension air combat with top-of-the-line graphics and a wider selection of aircraft. The combat is basically the same and equally as solid, adding radio chatter during missions for flavor, and even a well-told story with anime-style cutscenes (with minor edited content in the NA release). Excellent soundtrack and an absolutely breathtaking final mission.|
|Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (Squadron Leader in Europe)||Flight Combat||Features a much increased selection of aircraft, more missions than AC4, and, believe it or not, a conversation system- Your wingmen will talk to you during combat, often prompting you to reply yes or no. (Selected using the d-pad) One of the longest Ace Combat games, expect an engrossing story, containing many feels.|
|Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War||Flight Combat||Arguably the best Ace Combat on PS2, the story is a prequel to all preceding AC titles. Features a "morality system" that will cause missions to play out differently. Has a fantastic story told through radio chatter during gameplay and really neat live action cutscenes between missions. Plays like a dream, and features a wonderful co-op two-player mode, which is a first for the series. The final mission is especially incredible in a franchise full of incredible final missions, as is the OST.|
|Adventures of Cookie & Cream / Kuri Kuri Mix||Platformer||Don't let the abysmal cover art fool you, this is a unique co-op platforming game with tight gameplay. It has a split-screen overhead perspective but constant cooperation is required in order for both players to make it to the end of the level. Though the graphics and art direction are less than stellar, it plays like a dream (it was developed by From Software) and is a total blast with a friend, but can also be played solo. Kind of short, though.|
|The Adventures of Darwin||Action-Adventure / Sim||You play as a monkey who must venture out into the world to find resources, improve his community, and evolve his tribe. Finding and leveling up new resources lets you research more advanced technologies, and evolves you and your friends into little cavemen. On the field, you explore stages and attack enemies with your followers trailing behind you, which looks like Pikmin, but is less about strategy and more about mobbing enemies to death. Though it's cute and charming, it's also a budget title, and can get repetitive.|
|Alien Hominid||Action / Run 'n Gun||Started life as a NewGrounds flash game with comically over-the-top violence and side-scrolling, high-octane gameplay much in the style of Metal Slug. The console release added minor extra content and sharpened up the graphics, but most importantly features co-op play, which makes the game a lot more fun. It still feels a bit shallow and amateur, in a likeably dumb way.|
|Ape Escape 2||Platformer / Puzzle||Explore colorful cartoon stages in order to find and capture cheeky monkeys with your net. Adds more of what made the first game on PS1 such an unexpected success, forcing you to solve environmental puzzles and do some platforming to reach objectives. The series's upbeat atmosphere and slapstick comedy really shine here, even though the music took a hit. Has post-game content.|
|Ape Escape 3||Platformer / Puzzle||An upbeat puzzle-platformer where you run around themed mini-worlds seeking out and catching cheeky cartoon monkeys. Compared to the previous games this has a more overt anime style and tons of side-content, including alternate routes, character choices, transformations, and a full-fledged MGS parody in the post-game. Crisp, colorful, and fun, with a low challenge level but very replayable.|
|Ar Tonelico: Melody of Elemia||JRPG/Dating Sim||The first game of the Ar Tonelico trilogy is a fairly standard turn-based JRPG with all the standard things you'd expect from the genre. It takes place in a world that is a mix of sci-fi and fantasy, where the centrepieces are beings known as Reyvateils who are blessed with the power of song and magic. One of the biggest features of this game is that you get to "dive" into the ladies' minds to power them up and help them mature (if by mature you mean unlock all sorts of weird outfits). The story is nothing to write home about and the protagonist is bland but hey, you get to date magical singing ladies using the "talk" system where you can conversations with the Reyvateils based on topics related to the plot/you while exploring the game world. The game truly shines in its amazing soundtrack sung in a language invented for the game, Hymnos.
While not the greatest JRPG you'll ever play, it is good enough to warrant a playthrough just to enjoy the music.
|Ar Tonelico 2: Melody of Metafalica||JRPG/Dating Sim||The second entry in the Ar Tonelico franchise is a step-up from its predecessor in more ways than one. The story is a sequel to the last game, yet it features an entirely new cast of characters. It is a much better story with a smaller and more focused cast of characters, that you'll probably initially hate. The diving and talk systems are back in full-force along with the "dualstall" system where you can modify the powers of the Reyvateils in baths using magic crystals and toys (not those ones you pervert). The combat system has also been improved for this game, making it it slightly more unique by dividing turns into attack and defence (the focus in the latter is to protect the Reyvateil). The music is also an improvement over the first game and still sounds awesome.
Fans of the game hate the original translation which they claim was both poorly translated and poorly edited. You can find a patch to fix that here.
|Armored Core: Nexus||Mech Combat||Often considered the best game in the series, what Armored Core offers over other mech combat titles is the insane and OCD-baiting level of customization you can do to your robot, which plays out tangibly in combat. The graphics still hold up today (given the console's limitations) and gameplay has a learning curve but is worth sticking with if you have the patience.|
|Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance||Action / RPG||A Baldur's Gate game based on the Forgotten Realms setting, with gameplay basically identical to Diablo: isometric hack-n-slash combat, loot collection and level-ups. Gameplay is linear with few side-quests and the gameworld feels a bit lonely, but co-op play is available and quite fun. Has three playable characters with distinct styles, plus a hidden fourth who you will unlock on your way to the game's super-hard New Game+ mode.
Also available on XBOX and GCN, with a very limited GBA port.
|Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II||Action / RPG||Very similar in terms of gameplay to the first game, and a direct sequel to it story-wise. Features five brand-new heroes to play as, plus two hidden ones, and once again a super-hard New Game+ mode. Co-op play also makes a comeback, but makes the game really easy unless you're on the hardest difficulty. Also, you can now craft and customize your own weapons and armor, which is a very welcome change. Overall a highly addictive Diablo-like, especially if a friend can tag along.
Also available on XBOX with slightly cleaner graphics.
|Battle Gear 2/Tokyo Road Race||Racing||An arcadey touge racing game that is obviously inspired by Initial D but actually pre-dates the Initial D Arcade Stage games. Basically contains all of the mainstay cars from Initial D and some of its tracks (Mt. Haruna/Akina and Mt. Akagi), but is far more challenging as hitting the side of walls severely decreases your speed and the arcade mode's time limits are very strict. Cars are separated into classes but there is no car customisation and extra tracks can only be unlocked if you can finish 1st with a class A or class B car. Also includes a two-player link mode, but no split-screen mode.
Note: this game was released in English for PAL regions only as 'Tokyo Road Race'. Thankfully, the PAL version has 50hz and 60hz modes.
|BCV: Battle Construction Vehicles||Vehicle Combat||Localized only for Europe, this is a deeply stupid game where you fight construction workers on bulldozers and cranes in order to... get them to join your construction company? It's all delivered in over-the-top, hot-blooded, shounen style, with British voice acting to top it off. The combat is clunky, ineffable, and downright awful, but it's worth it for the bonkers special attacks. Definitely a so-bad-it's-good game, worth picking up for fans of weird Japanese titles.|
|Beatmania IIDX series||Rhythm||Beatmania IIDX is a very popular series of DJ-simulator arcade rhythm games in Japan, which saw a total of fourteen (!) console releases on the PS2. Only one was localized, and it's not particularly the best. Importing and getting your hands on a turntable peripheral are recommended. The series on PS2 goes all the way from editions 3 to 16, and later releases feature a greater variety of songs, so newcomers are recommended to start with those. There is no consensus over which release is the absolute best, but they all play pretty similar and are all really challenging, which songs reaching upwards of 2,000 (!) notes.|
|Berserk: Millennium Falcon Hen Seima Senki no Shou||Action||Definitely the best game based on the legendary dark fantasy manga series, which stars a tortured demon hunter wielding a gigantic sword in a world of ruthless monsters and helpless humans. The action is much more satisfying than the clunky Sword of the Berserk (DC), and polygonal models are better as well. Takes a page from Devil May Cry in terms of controls, but overall still feels a bit dry and lacking in content. It does feature voice work by the nineties anime series's cast. English fan translation patch available.|
|Beyond Good & Evil||Action / Stealth||A critical favorite, BG&E follows a freelance journalist in a lovingly-built sci-fi world as she uncovers a massive conspiracy. Photography is addictive for completionists, while melee combat is fluid, if limited, and balanced out by sections that require stealth. The game's short length favors its amazing presentation and strong writing (and voice-acting). Ported to PC, and PSN in HD. Sequel is announced, but may also be in development hell.|
|Black||FPS||There's a barebones story and some awful live-action cutscenes to go along with it, but this game is really just porn for gun nerds, with a slew of realistic and detailed effects cropping up during firefights which you don't see even on newer console games. It's not fully realistic for the sake of fun (it also lacks blood due to rating reasons) but its attention to detail will leave certain people extremely satisfied. Sadly no multi-player whatsoever.|
|Blood Will Tell: Tezuka Osamu's Dororo||Action||You play as a Japanese swordsman with an artificial body, hunting down the 48 demons that hold his missing body parts. The game has 48 bosses that need to be found and killed in order to see the ending. The gameplay is highly enjoyable and shows high attention to detail, with lots of collectible swords to find, and abilities to earn. Aside from some camera issues and annoying platforming sections, it's a classic. You can also play the whole thing co-op; the second player controls Dororo, a weak but endearing kid thief.|
|Bloody Roar 3||Fighting / 3D||The Bloody Roar series are 3D fighting games with the ability to change into beast mid fight offering another layer of depth, the game is very well balanced and is very technical especially at high level play, with a large amount of offensive and defensive mechanics, the game is also significantly faster than most other 3D fighters playing closer to games like Guilty Gear or Vampire Savior.|
|BloodRayne||Action||Fun and hectic action game where you play as a sexy vampire lady hunting down devil-summoning, sci-fi Nazis. Has the edgy-cool flair of nineties comics, and you can feed on your foes to regain health. Enjoyably over-the-top voice acting, gore, and very in-your-face content, considering that the game deals with a somewhat sensitive historical context. The PC and XBox versions look a bit better, but are otherwise the same. Also on GCN.|
|Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter||JRPG / Survival||The weird and divisive final entry in the otherwise traditional JRPG franchise. A dark game that takes place in a dying underground world, adding aspects of survival games to the mix. Your three-person party is usually outclassed and needs to use traps and strategy to survive. Players are actually encouraged to re-start a few times in order to uncover more of the story and make progress smoother. Praised for its unique sense of tension and industrial soundtrack. A love-or-hate kind of thing for most people.|
|Bujingai: The Forsaken City||Action||Stylish 3D action game similar to Devil May Cry, with a flashy protagonist modeled after and voiced by Japanese pop star GACKT. Lots of flashy acrobatic moves and cinematic swordplay in a post-apocalyptic, demon-infested city. The combat isn't very deep, but countering enemies dramatically is fun and boss battles feel especially high-stakes. Pretty short and lacking in side-content, but a good investment for DMC junkies.|
|Bully||Action / Adventure||Take the amoral hijinks and open-world gameplay of Grand Theft Auto and stuff it into an American high school. You play as the new kid navigating his way through cliques and social hierarchies mostly by beating people up and aggravating teachers. The game feels much more linear and story-heavy than your standard GTA, plus you can't just up and kill a dude, but these more traditional adventure game aspects make it unique and fun.
Upgraded re-release available on PC, 360, and Wii.
Known as "Canis Canem Edit" in Europe.
|Burnout 3: Takedown||Racing / Car Combat||The beloved racing series doesn't have the realism purists look for, but features collisions and complete vehicular destruction as part of gameplay, which makes it extremely fun and also highly challenging in the Time Trial modes. Accessible to racing non-fans and full to the brim with content, the graphics still look great. Warning: usually incompatible with third-party memory cards.|
|Bust-A-Move: Dance Summit 2001||Rhythm||Japan-only, final entry in the Bust-A-Groove series. You still input buttons in time to music, but this time you play as part of a four-person dance team, and your goal is to emerge as the best dancer while keeping team energy high. It's a surprisingly complex and innovative rhythm game that can be played solo or with up to three other people, but it gets insanely difficult. Features lots of alternate game modes and spectacular, colorful dance sequences. The eight kooky dance teams are all worth unlocking as well.|
|Capcom Classics Collection|
(volumes 1 and 2)
|Compilation||Two big bags of classic Capcom arcade goodness! A total of 42 games, including gems like Final Fight, Knights of the Round, Mercs, Strider, Captain Commando, Street Fighter II, 1941 Counter Attack, Mega Twins, Forgotten Worlds, and Ghouls'n Ghosts. See the complete list here.
Also on Xbox.
|Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millenium||Fighting / 2D||A huge game at the time of release, with more than forty characters (sprite quality varies wildly). Boasts several different input/super meter systems taken from different previous fighting games, so both Capcom and SNK fans can bring their skills into play. Features three-man team battles and the typical high-stakes, flashy gameplay of the Capcom Vs. titles. The GCN version has easy-mode move input if you're a total newbie.|
|Castlevania: Curse of Darkness||Action / Platforming||3D Castlevania games are usually mediocre, and while Curse of Darkness features some uninspired graphics and art direction, it follows in the footsteps of Lament of Innocence at being a solid and decent 3D action game with the tropes and themes of Castlevania. Features more of Ayame Kojima's hyper-androgynous Gothic character design. Mostly for fans.|
|Castlevania: Lament of Innocence||Action / Platforming||Arguably the best 3D Castlevania game and chronologically the first, serving as an origin story for the series. Applies the backtracking and exploring-heavy "Metroidvania" design philosophy successfully and features some great moments, especially for fans. However gameplay and settings can get repetitive, especially due to limited weapon/magic options. Has some worthwhile post-game content.|
|Champions of Norrath: Realms of EverQuest||Hack-n-Slash||A multi-player hack-n-slash game developed by the studio behind the first Dark Alliance. Gameplay is basically identical: choose and customize one of several character archetypes and set out to kill monsters, collect loot, gain levels, and craft equipment. As always, the Diablo-like gameplay is repetitive but fun, especially with up to four-player co-op (though the game becomes very easy with 3-4 players). Features a very streamlined weapon-crafting system and is in general very accessible. There's no story to speak of, but the world of EverQuest is beautifully realized. Fans of the genre should definitely pick this up. Champions: Return to Arms is a direct sequel that was favorably received but considered to bring nothing new.|
|Chaos Wars||SRPG||A sprite-based SRPG on grid-based battlefields with very similar gameplay to Disgaea and the like, mostly remembered for its obscure crossover cast and hilariously terrible NA voice-acting, which reaches moments of cringe-inducing hilarity. Still the game itself is fairly shallow and short, so it should only be explored by the morbidly curious or SRPG-desperate.|
|ChainDive||Action||A stylish game where you swing through the air by grappling onto midair anchors and racking up your score, there is also a combat element and a fluid sense of progression. The picturesque settings are impressive even if they are mostly just there as backdrop, and core gameplay is deep and addictive even if there is a dearth of extra content or add-ons and such.|
[PAL: Monster Attack]
|Action / TPS||An extremely addictive budget game where you take down Japanese B-movie giant monsters destroying the city by playing as an armored super-soldier. Though the game lacks polish the combat is extremely fun and features wonderfully destroyable environments. Released only in Japan and PAL territories. Has a certain fifties sci-fi movie charm.|
|Chikyuu Boueigun 2|
[PAL: Global Defence Force]
|Action / TPS||Follows the exact same formula as the first game, including the limited budget and cheesy sci-fi ambiance. Adds a jetpack-using second playable character and even bigger monsters. Again it was released only in Japan and PAL territories. Lots of big, dumb fun and destroying skyscrapers.
Ported to PSP (JP-only) and Vita (Worldwide). Followed by Earth Defense Force 2017 (X360/Vita), Insect Armageddon (PS3/X360/PC) and Earth Defense Force 2025 (PS3/PS4/PC), all localized and decently fun.
|Cho Aniki: Seinaru Protein Densetsu||Shoot 'em Up||Cho Aniki returns to the original cartoonish style after the weird digitized romp in the PSX game. Done by Psikyo with 3D graphics and the good old weirdness abound.|
|Chu♥lip||Adventure||An utterly unique game where you play a schoolboy in a shabby Japanese town. In order to kiss the girl of your dreams you need to build up a "strong heart", and you do that by kissing all the other town residents first. You have to find out what the townsfolk want in order for them to kiss you, then venture underground to find a whole other group of weird shut-ins that need to be kissed as well. It can be very frustrating and should be played with a guide, but its lived-in atmosphere, nonsensical dialogue, and charming, retro-pop soundtrack need to be experienced.|
|Clock Tower 3||Survival Horror||The Capcom-developed final entry in the horror series. You play as a schoolgirl transported through time to grim, WWII-era London. A Resident Evil-style survival horror where you solve puzzles and explore stages that are patrolled by ghostly killers, who you need to run and hide from in order to survive, as you have no means of fighting them. It has some really clunky boss fights and annoying sections in general, but strong atmosphere and pretty unnerving violence for a game of the time.|
|Contra: Shattered Soldier||Run 'n Gun||The Contra formula hasn't really changed, but now it has 3D graphics (still moving along a 2D plane), and a permanent set of three interchangeable weapons instead of various pick-ups. There is a slightly more overt element of strategy especially in boss battles, but it's basically running and gunning your way through punishingly hard hell-scapes of grotesque alien monsters.|
|Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex||Platformer||A lot of people give the PS2 Crash games a lot of flak, but fuck them. They're actually not bad, even quite good. Play as Crash, travel the world and collect crystals so you can defeat Doctor Neo Cortex once more. The closest you'll get to the original trilogy and a must play if you're a fan of the franchise.|
|Crimson Tears||Action-RPG /
|Combines the action and combos of a brawler with the structure of a roguelike. Play as three distinct characters and progress through multi-floor dungeons full of monsters and items. Death means the loss of all progress, but you can send in a second character to rescue their fallen comrade. There's a sci-fi story somewhere in the background, but it doesn't really make sense. It does have appealing, cel-shaded visuals, and varied enemies with unique attack patterns. Has an especially brutal post-game dungeon as well.|
|Dark Cloud||Action-RPG / Roguelike||A dungeon-based action-RPG with roguelike progression, tons of variety and content. Interesting dark fantasy atmosphere despite the lighthearted story. Also features a town-building sim aspect with as much potential to hook you as the main gameplay, making this an engrossing time sink. The story kind of drops the ball and there's a good bit of grinding, though.
Available on PS4 through PSN.
|Dark Cloud 2 / Dark Chronicle||Action-RPG / Roguelike||Again combines action-RPG combat with roguelike progression for fantastic results, this time with a more focused storyline and two distinct playable characters. Massive amounts of side-content, crisp cel-shaded graphics, and lots of fun combat options like monster-morphing and mech-riding seal the deal. However the game's atmosphere feels a bit cookie-cutter.
Available on PS4 through PSN.
|DarkWatch||FPS||A mostly forgotten FPS with a big budget for its time, its Western/Gothic horror setting and monstrous characters still look kind of cool today. The story's totally ridiculous, obviously. You play as a vampire and abuse supernatural powers by night while fighting with firearms by day. A morality system determines which path you take and the special abilities you unlock as consequence. A neat and short ride worth a try, which good voice-acting and high production values.
The XBOX port featured online multi-player, but this one features local co-op, so yeah.
|Def Jam: Fight for NY||Beat 'em Up||A hilarious game featuring various then-popular rappers as playable characters in over-the-top street fights, including Snoop Dogg as the final boss. Features customizable clothes and an extensive unlockable array of outfits. The combat system is surprisingly deep (and challenging) for a game of its kind, plus it features an extensive licensed soundtrack. Laughably silly blaxploitation storyline.|
|Destroy All Humans!||Action / TPS||A slapstick alien invasion where you play as a rank-and-file alien soldier in one of six large sandbox environments. Though the game tries to provide for stealth as an option, it's much more fun to rip through the levels with your arsenal of weapons, psychic abilities, and flying saucer. One of your weapons is quite literally an anal probe. The cutscenes and humor have a Mars Attacks! vibe and the game does not take itself seriously at all. It's a bit lacking in content, though.|
|Devil May Cry||Action / Being a Badass||Introduces DMC's "stylish action," high-stakes gameplay, where fluid use of an arsenal of moves and weapons is required to survive challenging enemies. Fixed camera angles, Gothic settings, and a slightly more sober atmosphere associate this game more closely to Resident Evil than later DMC titles, but it's still a different beast. The writing and story are famously over-the-top. Stands the test of time nicely, but has some frustrating boss battles. Also available on PS3/X360 as a part of DMC HD Collection.|
|Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening - Special Edition||Action / Being a Badass||After the disappointing DMC2, Dante's Awakening (a prequel) takes the ridiculous action and style of the first game and turns them up to eleven. Combat has been beautifully refined with four different overarching fighting styles and new, unique moves and weapons, while the RPG-esque character progression remains the same. The story lays the groundwork for the series, combining action-movie stunts with occasional melodrama. The Special Edition adds many extras, including the ability to play as fan-favorite series antagonist Vergil, and crazy difficulty modes. Also available on PS3/X360 as a part of DMC HD Collection.|
|Disgaea: Hour of Darkness||SRPG||The main conceit of the Disgaea series (and most NIS titles) is level-grinding, which becomes its own zen-like purpose. Level up your characters, your monsters and your items on endlessly-generated grid maps. The characters and story, which parody and celebrate otaku culture, and the sprite-based, doujin-esque presentation are also part of the appeal. (It's worth mentioning that endless grinding is not necessary if you just want to beat the game.) Ported to NDS, PSP, and PC/Steam with extras.|
|Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories||SRPG||Has the exact same presentation and basic gameplay as the first game, now with a (mostly) new cast and a somewhat more serious story typical for a JRPG, with multiple endings. Main characters have more distinct fighting styles, while creating your own class-based warriors no longer feels as necessary. There's a lot of very challenging post-game content to be explored, though.|
|Disney Golf||Sports||Basically Mario Golf with Disney characters. Surprisingly good, and very relaxing. Oddly, Mickey is not a playable character, just the commentator.|
|DoDonPachi DaiOuJou||Shoot 'em Up||Very good port of one of the best shmups ever made. Training mode was added, it's extensive configuration options will be helpful in learning game's mechanics. This version also includes Death Label mode which is basically very hard boss rush mode that is exclusive to this port.|
|Dog's Life||Adventure / Dog Shitting Sim||You are the Dog. Shit everywhere. Save your Dog gf. Shit some more. Game of the year all years.|
|Dokapon Kingdom||Party / Board Game / RPG||One of the strangest concepts turned into one of the most fun party games ever. Think Mario Party or Monopoly combined with Dragon Quest; it's all about who has the most money, and you go around leveling up and conquering towns to make it. Tons of things to do as well; multiple classes, weapons, hidden dungeons, etc. Worth picking up if you'll have friends to play it with. |
|Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3||Fighting / 3D||One of the best Dragon Ball Z games ever to be released and fixes all the small problems the previous games had. Over 40 characters, including new ones like Bardock, Broly, Cooler and Omega Shenron and the ability to go Super Saiyan 4 (even Gogeta). Budokai 3 introduces Dragon Universe where you travel around Earth or Namek, leveling up your character and collecting capsules and characters. Has a ton of replay value because of the optional battles (fighting Gotenks as Gogeta, Broly, Omega Shenron, ...) and diversity of characters to play as. Also features Dragon Arena, where you can continue leveling your characters as you fight countless of opponents. Also available on the PS3/X360 together with the first Budokai, but without the (plagiarized) original music.|
|Dragon Blaze||Shoot-'em-up||Europe-only release of a medieval fantasy-themed shooter developed by Psikyo. The four playable characters ride dragons, which can be dismounted in order to shoot from two places at once. It gets predictably brutal, with bullet hell-style projectile patterns and speed. Though the visuals are simple, the art design and attention to detail are great. Also released as part of a compilation along with Sol Divide; both releases are very rare and expensive now.|
|Dragon Quest VIII: The Journey of the Cursed King||RPG||Dragon Quest may not be the most innovative JRPG series ever, but they've perfect its turn-based combat system down to the finest detail which makes it a dream to play. It's still very challenging and grind-intensive, though. The explorable world is massive and beautifully toon-shaded, with a rousing orchestral score, and the content is endless. The kind of game you could lose yourself in for months. Plus, the main cast is pretty basic, but eminently likeable. Was recently ported to iOS, Android and 3DS.|
|Drakengard||Action / RPG / Beat 'em Up||An unusually dark and nightmarish JRPG with hack-n-slash gameplay. Combat gets boring and repetitive pretty fast, and players will be mostly propelled by the uniquely broken cast, twisting story, and mature narrative approach. At least you get to ride dragons, and some boss battles are cool. NiER (PS3) is distantly related.
Drakengard 2 (PS2) is much more playable and less grinding-intensive, but everything else about it is horribly cookie-cutter and generic, ironically.
|Dynasty Warriors 5 / Xtreme Legends||Hack 'n Slash / Being a Badass||Arguably the pinnacle of the DW games, which are very much a love-it-or-hate-it series. Play any one of 50-odd fighters in ancient China, wreak havoc in massive-scale battles, with killcounts in the thousands. It is advised that you not pursue Lu Bu. Has sequels after this, one well-loved one being DW7.
Xtreme Legends adds new characters, modes, weapons, items, etc., but requires the original DW5 to access all features from both games.
|Enter The Matrix||TPS/Beat'em'Up||A pretty good Matrix game with over an hour's worth of original live action directed by The Wachowski |
|Fantasy Zone Complete Collection||Shoot-'em-up||Japan-only compilation of the colorful, psychedelic Fantasy Zone games, which are free-roaming shooters with mild RPG elements. This collection is notable for including Fantasy Zone II DX, a brand-new game done in the style of the original titles, and arguably the best Fantasy Zone game overall. (It was later ported to the 3DS as a standalone, download-only release with some extra additions.) A great collection for fans of oddball shooters.|
|Fatal Frame [EU: Project Zero]||Survival Horror||A legitimately scary J-horror game in a haunted mansion. You use a magical camera to see ghosts and then banish them by taking nicely-composed and well-centered pictures, making it both addictive and terrifying to play. Evidently based on Japanese folklore and legends. Lots of puzzles as well, but none too challenging. The story's not so shabby, either. Watch out for ~rare~ hidden ghosts to shoot.|
|Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly [EU: Project Zero II]||Survival Horror||Featuring different protagonists but very similar gameplay and setting to the first game, FFII mostly fixes the flaws in its formula to create and even more engrossing and horrifying experience. Seriously one of the most effective horror games out there, with a well-told story to boot. The photography score system is as well-implemented as the jump scares. The XBox version has extra content. A remake for Wii was released in 2012, with improved graphics and gameplay.|
|Fatal Frame III: The Tormented [EU: Project Zero III]||Survival Horror||Once again a new protagonist is introduced, but this game's story follows FF1 more directly and eventually tries to tie the three games together. The story's a bit of a mess and the new main character isn't as charming but this time you can play as other defenseless Japanese girls as well. Gameplay remains the same, which is hardly a bad thing. Possibly a weak link in the series, but worthwhile.
The next Fatal Frame sequel was released for Wii, but not outside of Japan. The newest title is for WiiU and will indeed be localized for NA.
|Fatal Fury: Battle Archives|
(volumes 1 and 2)
|Fighting / 2D / compilation||The Fatal Fury series is a landmark in the history of fightans, and here it is, almost complete! And there is not a bad game in here. In volume 1 you get up to FF3, and in volume 2 you get the Real Bout saga. Only the two last FF games (Wild Ambition and Mark of the Wolves) are not in this collection.|
|Final Fantasy X / International||RPG||A very traditional series entry in terms of gameplay, with active turn-based combat and characters with traditional class roles, while still allowing for customization in character growth. Very pretty to look at, with a tropical, Polynesian-inspired setting, though progression is very on-rails. The story is a point of contention, while most agree that the English voice acting is disappointing. It's still a neat and accessible JRPG with great production values and some gorgeous locales. Ported to PS3, PS4 and PSVita with additional content previously exclusive to a Japanese re-release.|
|Final Fantasy X-2 / International||RPG||Unexpectedly a direct sequel to Final Fantasy X. The story's fairly silly at times, and seems to defeat the whole point of the previous game at others. However the combat system is entertaining because the characters can change class in the middle of battle, complete with matching outfits. This makes for very engaging fights, even if some classes are more fun than they are useful. Also features the first canon all-female main cast in an FF game. Ported to PS3, PS4 and PSVita with additional content previously exclusive to a Japanese re-release.|
|Final Fantasy XII / International||RPG||A more open-world and "Western" Final Fantasy in terms of presentation. Has a real-time, command-based combat system that some people find relaxing, while others feel like the game plays itself as it's not very engaging. However the game world is rich and beautiful, the cast is memorable (aside from the protagonist), and there's a ton of side-content. Partially written and directed by Yasumi Matsuno, so expect more political intrigue and less mind-bending twists. The International Zodiac Edition, which is generally considered superior( you'll be stuck in any class you choose for one characther,which can be a bad thing,since some itens can only be acessed to certain classes,but it's only an question of preference between the two versions.) is being ported to PS4 and released worldwide.|
|Final Fight: Streetwise||Action-Adventure||A 3D action-adventure set in the Final Fight universe, with an Americanized, grey-and-brown visual style. However, the combat is quite solid and there's lots of silly stuff to experience in between, including funny mini-games and nonsensical lines of dialogue, which give it a mild Shenmue/Yakuza vibe. Not a great game by any means, but not nearly as bad as the critics said, either.|
|Fire Pro Wrestling Returns||Wrestling||Like other titles in the series, Fire Pro Wrestling Returns distinguishes itself from other wrestling games by focusing on timing and complex strategy, as opposed to the button-mashing tactics with which most wrestling gamers are familiar for 2-D games. So what wikipedia is telling you is that it's fun. Tack on a rather large create a character and over 500 usable slots, and you have a very customizable game. There's also a pretty healthy editing community for the game as well, so you can have other more talented (aspies) fill those slots for you. Fuck that box art is hideous.
Also available on US PSN, and it's compatible with the internet saves as well!
|Forever Kingdom||Action-RPG||Sequel to the ill-received Evergrace, this From Software-developed game (makers of Dark Souls) is an action-RPG where players progress through large areas, defeating strange and unique-looking monsters. The game has great creature design and a pleasant, colorful look, though it can look empty and drab as well. Very resource-intensive, players will have to stay on their toes in order to avoid death at the hands of regular mooks in the later stages. In some ways it's a precursor to the Dark Souls series, though lacking its depth and atmosphere. However, it can be relaxing and zen-like in its own way, especially if you enjoy Phantasy Star Online-style grindfests.|
|Freedom Fighters||Action||Underrated shooter with a similar plot to the Patrick Swayze movie Red Dawn. Noted for its fantastic squad system. Made by the same team behind the Hitman series as well as Kane and Lynch (Its spiritual sequel).|
|Front Mission 4||SRPG||A slightly disappointing entry in the mecha strategy RPG series. Pretty much everything stays the same: complex political storyline, turn-based combat, and expansive mecha customization. However, the game has a sort of bland look and the lack of extra content makes it feel rushed. It's still a fairly lengthy and difficult game that will satisfy series fans, but not the best entry point for newbies. No European release for this one.|
|Front Mission 5: Scars of the War||SRPG||The final entry in the series is also the best, a culmination of the franchise's dense and powerful story. The visuals and music received a major upgrade, and the massive-scale battles of Front Mission 2 return. The story's great on its own, but it has hundreds of cameos and references for dedicated fans. Combat has improved mechanically and aesthetically. You are also allowed to recruit your own pilots, and explore an optional "dungeon" for gear. Japan-only, but an English fan translation has been completed.|
|Galaxy Force II: Special Extended Edition||Rail Shooter||Japan-only port of the classic SEGA rail shooter, which used scaling sprites to simulate 3D, After Burner-style. The game is still visually impressive and a blast to play today, and this port includes a better-looking, smoothed-out mode as well as widescreen support, which immensely improve the experience. Also available on the 3DS with simulated cabinet motion effects.|
|Garouden Breakblow: Fist or Twist||Fighting / 3D||Almost unknown 3D fighting game from Japan (was never released outside of it). Have very interesting game mechanics, such as - ability to break arm/leg/skull, lack of standard health gauge, lack of fireballs and teleports. Fight can take from 20 seconds to 3 minutes. Based on the Garouden manga (from the author of Baki The Grappler).|
|Galactic Wrestling: Featuring Ultimate Muscle||Arcade Wrestling||Arcade Wrestler featuring characters from Kinnikuman/Ultimate Muscle. Loads to choose from, tons of modes, and MURDEROUS super moves (Including Tag Supers!) Uses a modified AKI engine so you know it's good.
More Characters than the gamecube game, but no story mode.
|Gitaroo Man||Rhythm||A rhythm game with a unique, vibrant art style and a zany story about a boy with a magic guitar rebelling against an alien empire. The input system is different from most rhythm games, and gets very hard pretty fast. Once you beat the game you unlock Master Mode, which is plain brutal. However, the story and characters are very charming. Ported to PSP with a bit of new content, including versus and co-op play (requires a second copy).|
|Gladius||RPG||Awesome turn-based fantasy RPG set in Roman times. Made by LucasArts back before they sucked. The premise of the game is to recruit and train a school of gladiators in order to compete in gladiator arenas and stuff. There are 16 different classes to choose from, 15 different landscapes, and a fuck ton of different gladiator arenas. Sold like shit and hard to find now, but since it hasn't caught anyone's attention that it is a good game(despite getting really good reviews), if you can find a copy, it is most likely an inexpensive purchase. Note that the GCN version has signiciantly better load times (which are horrible in this game, sometimes approching a minute mid-match for some abilities on the PS2 verison), so it is prefered.|
|God Hand||Beat 'em Up / Being a Badass||A hilarious and irreverent low-budget action game where the story makes no sense and the supporting cast is full of offensive stereotypes. Whether you dig the B-movie style or not doesn't matter because the game plays like a (very challenging) wet dream, with eight-way dodging, dozens of assignable moves, exhilarating super attacks, and picked-up weapons. Getting your ass kicked only motivates you to be better, plus it's fairly short, though there's unlockable content.|
|God of War||Action / Hack 'n Slash||A Devil May Cry-esque action game with gore and boobs. You play an angry Spartan exacting bloody revenge on most of the Greek pantheon. Gameplay is pretty basic but feels rewarding, plus stage and monster designs are pleasantly creative and grotesque. Sadly boss battles lean too much on cinematic quick-time events, but they sure are fun to look at the first few times.|
|God of War II||Action / Being a Badass||Employs the exact same formula of the first game: a bloody and extreme violence fantasy with a Greek mythology backdrop and a grimdark story. If you thought the first game's plot was at least decent this one will be a disappointment by comparison, but who cares when the boss fights and set-pieces are even more visually assaulting and combat is more fluid?
God of War III is on PS3, and is more of the same with prettier graphics and even more fantastic boss battles.
|Gradius III & IV||Shoot 'em Up||Includes both Gradius III (the original balls-hard Arcade version, not the SNES one) and Gradius IV, with stage select options and other small tweaks.|
|Gradius V||Shoot 'em Up||Developed by Treasure, so prepare for a boss-heavy laser-blasting ride! Contains an awesome soundtrack by Radiant Silvergun composer Hitoshi Sakimoto. No Moai Level this time... :(|
|Gran Turismo 4||Racing||Fuck year Gran Turismo. Race pretty realistically and go VROOOOOOM. Enjoy tweaking the shit out of your car. Almost any single thing can be tweaked. Not recommended for NFS fans, because it's really fucking realistic (enjoy blowing every single turn you arcade bastards). You can pick up the third one for almost no money if you just want to check the series out, but 4 is prettier and has more content.
|Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy||Sandbox||If you actually need a reason to why these are here, then you aren't old enough to play them. Also on Xbox, Xbox 360 and PC.
Each game is available on PS4 through PSN.
|Grandia II||RPG||Grandia is your typical fantasy JRPG with a fantastic battle system that lets turn-based commands play out in real time, placing importance on countering and interrupting enemies. Compared to the first game on PS1 this has a bit of a darker story and edgier cast, but the focus on character development and dialogue brings out the charm in all of them. Graphically it has aged badly, but it's still playable. Word of warning: this version is very buggy compared to the DC original. Or you can try the (patched) PC port.
Grandia III (PS2) has the prettiest graphics and best version of the series's battle system, but has a braindead story and zero charm.
|GrimGrimoire||RTS||A great-looking, sprite-based RTS that puts you in the shoes of an aspiring witch in a Harry Potter-esque school of wizardry, with the typical unit-summoning, resource-gathering, and upgrades of the genre in place of standard JRPG battling. It works surprisingly well on a console due to the vertical layout and the ability to pause to select your next action, surprisingly. The story is what you would expect from NIS, with a host of bizarre characters often named after cocktails for no apparent reason. Available on PSN for|
|Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus||Fighting / 2D||HEAVEN OR HELL, LET'S ROCK! Arc System Works' heavy metal 2D fighter in all its glory. AC+ has a story mode for people who care about the giant clusterfuck that is GG's plot while retaining all the badass gameplay from Accent Core. Also has Kliff and Justice, broken as fuck characters that will get you kicked in the dick if you choose them while playing with friends.|
|GunGrave||Action / TPS||Conceived by the author of Trigun, this is a super-stylish action game where you play as a coffin-swinging, gun-slinging badass. It's completely action-packed and never lets up for anything else, but as a result it's very short. (You're encouraged to replay stages for higher scores and collectibles.) Still, the experience is a blast, with great graphics, art direction, and soundtrack, as well as memorable boss battles and a moody story. It was even adapted into a very watchable anime series.|
|GunGrave: OverDose||Action / TPS||Aside from slightly worse story presentation, OverDose improves on GunGrave in every way: a more extensive combat system, three playable characters with different fighting styles, a longer campaign (but not by much), and some unlockable features. It's still a very stylish, balls-to-the-wall action game where you mow down waves of enemies. Shame about the crappy English voice acting, though.|
|.hack://IMOQ||Action / RPG||.hack://IMOQ (IMOQ stands for Infection, Mutation, Outbreak, and Quarantine, all different games in the series) revolve around the mysterious happenings in a fictional MMORPG called The World. The main character is a boy named Kite. On his first day playing, Kite's friend, Orca, falls into a coma, and Kite is given a mysterious item called the Twilight Bracelet by someone named Aura. Very fun game, but definitely not for everyone. Check out the .hack//G.U. trilogy below if you enjoy these.|
|.hack://G.U. (trilogy)||Action / RPG||Three games: Rebirth, Reminisce, and Redemption. The sequel to above. Good gameplay, but can get a bit repetitive. Has fucking awesome cutscenes and animation that Cyberconnect is well known for, really great character developments in the story and a lot of epic moments. Soundtrack is also really good if you liked the previous .hack music style. Tons of sidequests, characters and stuff to collect if you're into that.|
|Haunting Ground||Survival Horror||Clock Tower in everything but the name. As a defenseless young woman and her companion dog, you explore a beautifully-detailed European castle while solving puzzles. Occasionally you run into one of the game's major enemies, and have to hide for your life. The game's attention to detail, dense atmosphere, and heavy story themes make it worth playing despite some annoying gameplay features typical of survival horror titles. Has multiple endings and unlockables.|
|Headhunter||Stealth / Action||Take the Metal Gear Solid formula, streamline the action, drop the overwrought plot for something that might as well be taken from some 1980s B action/sci-fi movie, and what's the result? Awesome. Originally on the Dreamcast; also had a PS2/Xbox sequel.|
|Hitman: Blood Money||Stealth / Action||Almost as much of a puzzle game as a action/stealth, as there are tons of ways to accomplish your goals in each mission. If you have a small attention span, look elsewhere; this game is for perfectionists. Blood Money introduces a payment system, where the amount of money you make from a mission is dependent on how well you do on your objectives. This money is then used to upgrade your weapons and equipment in different ways. Also has multiple difficulties that actually change the AI, change the difficulty, and reduce how many quicksaves you get, which allows for tons of replayability.|
|Homura||Shoot-'em-up||Europe-only release of a shoot-'em-up with a sort of steampunk feudal Japan theme. The character art is great, but the game itself is sadly really bland-looking. It also lacks more than one playable character or any extras. However it's a really solid shooter with a cool mechanic: aside from shooting, you can draw your sword to deflect enemy bullets and activate devastating slash chains. This feature is surprisingly addictive and adds some replay value.|
|Ibara||Shoot-'em-up||Japan-only port of the beautiful-looking but brutal arcade shooter. Ibara's hidden Rank system means that the game actively tries to kill you as soon as you start doing too well in it, so you have to play while managing your own performance. This is a flawed but playable port, with a training mode and an all-new Arrange mode that makes the Rank system slightly more friendly. Recommended only for veterans.|
|Ico||Adventure / Puzzle||An atmospheric puzzle-adventure with little dialogue and a vague plot. You play a cursed boy helping a forsaken princess make her way out of a misty, abandoned castle. The bloom-heavy dreamlike ambiance is wonderfully done and main draw of the game. The puzzles aren't hard and there are some boring/annoying combat sections. The NA release cut off some extra content which was restored in the HD re-release for PS3.
Shadow of the Colossus (PS2) is distantly related and developed by the same team, also highly worth playing.
|IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix||Combat Racing / Mech Combat||A flawed but unique game based on an underrated cartoon about high-speed mecha combat racing. It's hard to explain, but races consist in managing a team of three pilots while engaging your rivals in direct combat and trying to keep them from crossing the finish line first. There is a lot of mecha customization, and the basic gameplay is really fun. Unfortunately the presentation is shoddy, the game modes are really repetitive, and multi-player is terrible. Still a cool title to check out if the concept interests you, or if you enjoyed the show.|
|Indigo Prophecy / Fahrenheit||Action / Story||The first "cinematic" game from David Cage and his Quantic Dream team. You play dual roles as a man who has become possessed by some unknown force and wakes up after murdering a stranger while also playing the two police detectives trying to hunt him down and solve the case. Immense amounts of hilariously over the top tropes and mini-games mixed with a third act that goes completely off the rails and involves Mayans and aliens, undead sex during a frozen tundra NYC natural disaster, and a mysterious little girl. US version has the nudity censored but it's so awkward, that might be a good thing.|
|Initial D Special Stage||Racing||An excellent arcadey touge racing game that's based on the Initial D Arcade Stage 2 arcade game from Sega. Along with the standard Legend of the Streets/arcade mode and time attack modes where you can race and upgrade your car, this game also includes a story mode that follows the storyline of the series up to the formation of Project D. Sadly, there's no split-screen or any kind of multiplayer mode.
Released only in Japan, but the game is easy enough to play to not require a translation guide (except for certain story mode races). Also has a sequel on the PSP called Street Stage, and one on the PS3 called Extreme Stage.
|Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy||Platformer / Super Mario 64-esque||Another great franchise from Naughty Dog, Jak and Daxter is a lighthearted open world 'collect-a-thon' where you collect lots of stuff together with your annoying ugly |
|Jak II||Platformer / TPS||Goes in a different direction than its predecessor, this combines 3D platforming with Grand Theft Auto and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater gameplay. While it has a rough start, it quickly becomes a very fun and challenging (sometimes nearly impossible) game with a great story and some unforgettable boss battles. The game is drastically different to the first, so give it a chance even if you don't like the changes to begin with. Had a side-story game in PSP's Daxter, which fills in a few plot holes.|
|Jak 3||Platformer / TPS||Once again, Jak Turismo 3 innovates upon the previous title in the series. Now, Jak is a wastelander, doing what he must to survive. While this game still has the great platforming for which the series is known, 99% of the missions are driving orientated. The |
|Jak X : Combat Racing||Racing||Jak goes racing (which Naughty Dog is partly famous for). You can unlock past characters in the series by having certain game files like Jak 1, 2, 3, and Ratchet: Deadlocked on your memory card as well as hooking up to Daxter on the PSP to get more extra shit. WARNING: SOME VERSIONS HAVE A SAVE GLITCH THAT CAN FUCK YO SHIT UP ROYALLY. There are ways around it, so as long as you do what pros on the internet say, you'll probably be fine.|
|Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis||Tycoon / Sim||The best Jurassic Park game out there. You're in control of John Hammond's organization and you have to build a theme park - with dinosaurs. Loads of attractions and tons of details which make up for an awesome and fun experience.
PROTIP: Always check the weather forecast. If there's a tornado coming the next month, activate emergency mode immediately and hope that the tourists run out fast enough. Yes, they're that slow and if a tornado catches them it'll wreck your entire economy.
Also on the Xbox and PC. The console versions have surprisingly good controls!
|Katamari Damacy||Ball Rollan Games||A quirky Japanese game that became unexpectedly popular. After the King of All Cosmos destroys the stars in a night of debauchery, his lilliputian son, the Prince, must roll up all sorts of objects on Earth to make new stars. The simple and addictive gameplay consists of rolling a ball (the titular katamari) in levels full of objects and people, which you must roll up to make the katamari increase in size; as it grows bigger, you can roll up bigger things, like cars, buildings and islands. The low-polygon, cel-shaded look and psychedelic visuals add to its charm, not to mention the notable, multi-genre soundtrack.|
|Killzone||FPS||An ambitious "Halo killer" that didn't quite live up to the hype, but still impresses with a gritty, hard sci-fi design.|
|Kill Switch||TPS||You play as a soldier which is mind controlled by the bad guy while you go through some missions. Also, your memory has been erased and your wife is now dead, so you're seeking for revenge. Yeah, the story is shallow and forgettable, but that's not the point of the game. The thing is this game is the precursor (along with WinBack) of the "cover system" used in pretty much all TPSs of this generation. The gameplay is based on taking cover on corners, boxes and other objects to avoid getting shot and then try to flank them. It has a nice arsenal of sub-machineguns and assault rifles, decent enemy AI, but it's linear as fuck and somewhat repetitive. Anyway, if you're looking for a Gears of War on the good and old PS2, this is your best shot. Also on Xbox and PC.|
|Kingdom Hearts / Final Mix||Action / RPG||Disney/Square crossover that became super-popular. Sora is a kid whose home was destroyed by "The Heartless", and he journeys to different Disney film worlds with Donald and Goofy to rescue his friends, home, and "The King". There's a cornball story to explain this, but combat is the main meat. It's fun and active, with melee, magic, and special techs. Even customize your abilities and what style to main. There's also some (bland) shooting segments as you voyage between worlds. Everything looks quite pretty, the music's great, and the bosses are quite impressive. Final Fantasy 7 and FF8 characters also appear. Even if you don't keep up with the series, at least give this a try.
Final Mix includes the additional bosses, English voices, and new difficulty level from the localized version and adds exclusive content. Released worldwide as HD 1.5 Remix.
|Kingdom Hearts II / Final Mix+||Action / RPG||Three Hour Tutorial. If you survive that, there's lots of new Disney worlds to explore and revisit, and presentation is polished and impressive. Combat has sped up to be a hectic melee fest and downplays magic thanks to quick-time events. Boss battles get even bigger and more visually assaulting here. The melodrama has been amped-up significantly, so you may end up scene-skipping. If you like the story, Chain of Memories comes before this chronologically. If you have an emulator or a modded PS2, the Final Mix version has been translated into English. As usual, there's an extra boss that explains a couple "wtf" moments in the story, extra keyblades, but most importantly, that awesome Roxas fight that was originally a cutscene is fully playable. Released worldwide as HD 2.5 Remix.|
|Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories||Action / RPG||A remake of the GBA game Chain of Memories which helps fill some gaps between KH1 and 2. This version includes several new story scenes and boss battles. Battling is a real-time card-based affair, which takes some getting used to, but still plays like KH. The Disney worlds take the form of randomly-generated rooms which you have some control over; the worlds themselves are all recycled from KH. Other KH games are on PSP and DS.|
|Kinetica||Racing||Think Wipeout meets Extreme G, meets Rollcage, meets SSX, and you'll nearly be there. This game is an absolute blast to play.|
Fans of Wipeout will love this, although the AI can be unforgiving at times.
|Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil||Platformer||Unrelated to the first Klonoa game plot-wise, but has the same addictive 2.5D platform action and puzzle-esque boss encounters, along with similar themes and surprising twists. The fully-3D graphics are impressive and bring the mind the early 3D Sonic titles, and while the game is short, it packs an emotional punch and a handful of amazing setpieces.|
|Last Bronx||Fighting||Arcade-perfect, Japan-only port of a somewhat underrated SEGA fighter. Unlike Virtua Fighter, Last Bronx is very fast-paced and brutal, with the timer set at 30 seconds by default. However, it does have depth and challenge. Also an amazing "urban beat-'em-up" style, an involved story, and a cast full of outlandish gang members with martial arts weapons (and hilarious alternate weapons to unlock). A hidden gem. Also on Saturn and PC, but uglier-looking.|
|Makai Kingdom||SRPG||Play a strategy game by NIS (Disgaea, Phantom Brave, Mana Khemia, Soul Nomad) where you find a book with a villainous soul inside. Great time-waster, very humorous. To unlock everything, you have to play through it multiple times. That said, it's easy to blow through with your new game+ parties, but the unlocked bosses can be assholes. Has a (Japan-only) PSP port with an extra scenario and other stuff.|
|Mana-Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis||RPG||Cook up some danger with alchemy in this spin off of the Atelier series. Sorta like the Japanese version of Harry Potter. Has a fantastic soundtrack, great characters and one of the better turn based battle systems.|
|Mana-Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy||RPG||Same as the above but even better, its alchemy role-playing at its best. Direct sequel to the first, so play that one before you grab this. Just stay away from the PSP ports because of, what else, LOAD TIMES!!!!|
|Marvel vs. Capcom 2||Fighting / 2D||I WANNA TAKE YOU FOR A RIDE! |
|Maximo: Ghosts to Glory||Action / Platformer||The newest cast of characters and series of adventures in the Ghosts 'n Goblins universe, Maximo follows tradition by being damn hard. The game is funny and has that certain 'taste' to it that definitely reminds you of the older Ghost 'n Goblins games. Very underrated, this was an early release on the PS2... and yes, you do lose armor until there's nothing left but boxer shorts. Fun Fact: The artwork for this game was done by the artist who did many of Famitsu's covers and also some of the old Adventure Island covers.|
|Maximo vs. Army of Zin||Action / Platformer||The sequel to Maximo: Ghosts to Glory, this game continues Maximo's unfortunate adventures into the realms of life and death and the escapades required in saving that goddamn princess. Considerably easier than the first game, Army of Zin is also much more polished. It's semi-rare because it did not sell well in it's initial release, due to stiff competition from Devil May Cry (another Capcom game!) and Ninja Gaiden. Sadly, the third game was cancelled.|
|Mega Man Anniversary Collection||Action / Platformer||Very good compilation of Mega Man 1-8. MM7 has some graphical issues and MM8 is based on the PS1 version instead of the superior Saturn one, but otherwise it's all good. As an extra it includes Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters, two cute fighting games previously exclusive to arcades, which are worth playing.|
|Mega Man X Collection||Action / Platformer||Did you enjoy the Mega Man X series? This is pretty much the best of it on one disc, with save files so no more passwords. (Though if you really want them, X and X2 still use them.) Mega Man X and X2 are basically perfect emulation of the SNES originals, and X3 through X6 are all running in a strange pseudo PS1 backwards compatibility mode. This means you have to live with X3's |
|Mega Man X 8||Action / Platformer||The last main title in the X series, X8 is basically everything that X7 should have been. It returns to the good old 2d sidescrolling gameplay, makes Axl into an actually useful character and X is back to his old badass self instead of the agnsty emo from X7. New to this game is the choice between three navigators before each stage, each with their own specialization, as well as a shop where you buy upgrades with metals collected on the stages, basically replacing the old heart and sub-tanks. Also on PC.|
|Mega Man X: Command Mission||RPG||A turn-based RPG spin-off of the X series which actually takes place after X8, you can play with X (who got a weird redesign), Zero and Axl as well as a bunch of newcomers, with a simple yet dynamic battle system and tons of customization as well as lots of sidequests to keep you entertained in between missions. Also on the GameCube.|
|Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance||Stealth / Being a ||The stealth action of the famous MGS1, now with a whiny main character nobody likes! Do cartwheels! Strip naked! Manage to avoid drowning! Prepare to face the consequences of your betrayal! I NEED SCISSORS! 61! The Substance version comes with plenty of neat extras, including a lol-tastic Tony Hawk-esque skateboarding minigame. Still, one piece of a great game.|
|Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence||Stealth / Being a Badass||Become the badass you've always wanted to be. Eat wild animals. Meet strange and violent new people. Be groped and tortured by large men! Reconsider your mental stability! Kill the people you love and be PROUD OF IT. The Subsistence edition comes with two modes of camera (classic and behind-the-back) switchable at any time during gameplay, plenty of neat extras (a theater, Ape Escape minigame, and others), "online play" (not available anymore), and even updated versions of the MSX games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2. This is perhaps the best fucking special edition of any game ever, and the game itself is beyond awesome.|
|Metal Slug Anthology||Run 'n Gun / Arcade / Being a Badass||The first six Metal Slug games (+X) in one convenient package! Also released on the PSP and the Wii. The PSP version is inferior to the PS2 due to loading. The Wii version may be better than PS2 depending on the control scheme you use, but has less loading than PSP overall. For Wii, a Gamecube controller is HIGHLY advised. Sadly, outside of an art gallery, it's just the arcade games with none of the console version extras of previous releases like Training School and such. Still, it's all kinds of cool. As a space-monster-killing soldier once said: WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!? GET THIS SHIT, FOOL!|
|Michigan: Report from Hell||Adventure / Survival Horror||A zany Suda51 game where you play in first-person as a perverted cameraman reporting on a monster outbreak in Michigan. By focusing on different objects you can help your crew navigate obstacles and avoid death, while also focusing on the sexy reporter to boost your "Erotic" score. Different actions will result in distinct characters showing up, and the ending changing. Has the ridiculous and grotesque sense of humor that characterizes Suda games. Received a very limited PAL release in English, but no NA release at all.|
|Midway Arcade Treasures|
(volumes 1, 2, 3)
|Compilation||A collection in three volumes for a total of 52 arcade games, including gems like Defender, Gauntlet, Joust, Paperboy, Rampage, Robotron 2084, Sinistar, Smash TV, Xybots, Hard Drivin', Pit Fighter, Mortal Kombat II, Primal Rage, Hydro Thunder, and San Francisco Rush 2049. That's some hardcore shit there.|
|A strange PS2 launch title. You fly around the house of a typical Japanese family as a mosquito, looking for opportunities to suck the blood of the attractive teenage daughter. While avoiding insecticide and flyswatters, you have to hit your gigantic target's "Relax Points" in order to stop them from chasing you. The premise is accompanied by zany and unnerving scenes as your host family does everything and more to rid itself from you. Has a few unlockables and New Game+ mode.|
|Monster Hunter||Action / Adventure / RPG / MMO||Kind of hard to describe, Monster Hunter is like a mix between Phantasy Star Online and Pokémon, except instead of trying to catch 'em all, you're trying to kill 'em all. The game is divided into two parts, half the missions for your character are purely single player, where the other half are online where you can join a party of up to three other people. Unfortunately, Capcom has canceled Monster Hunter's North America servers in light of all the modern sequels; still a worthy pick up for single player, plus the "early Final Fantasy meets Jurassic Park" atmosphere is priceless. Joystiq best describes the series in saying, "Find it, stab it and then make it into a nice hat!"|
|Monster Rancher 4||Sim / RPG||Arguably the best Monster Rancher game on the system. In this game, you can create hundreds monsters made from scanning any number of CDs, DVDs, PS1 games, or PS2 games. Seriously, you could spend hours, not even touching the main game, just rummaging through your house to try and find your favorite CD's to check out what monsters are in them. You can raise up to 5 of these monsters on an ever growing ranch, feeding them, training them, going on adventures with them, and competing in really awesome tournaments. Try not to get too attached to your monsters, because they age and die. And you'll miss them. ;_;|
|Monster Rancher EVO||RPG||This game gets a lot of flak from being different from the first four Monster Rancher games, and you know what? That's retarded. As far as summoning monster from CDs/DVDs goes, it's exactly the same. So is battling. The difference is in the training. Instead of signing your monster up for some job and then watching a pass/fail clip, you play a short mini-game where they take part in the circus you live in. The game also tries to add a story (it's not very good, but hey you don't gotta care about it), and actually let's you EXPLORE with your monster, which is totally new. The rest is the same; same battling, same cryogenically freezing and fusing, and all that other junk. It's a good game, and in some ways, better than 4, if you can get past the shitty story segments. I miss my Suezo ;_;|
|Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks||Beat'em Up||The PS2 era was a dark age for the Mortal Kombat franchise, with the games varying from mediocre to awlful. But a gleam of light existed in the form of Shaolin Monks, an awesome beat'em up which retells the events of the second game and features one of the best multiplayer experiences ever!|
|Namco Classic Fighter Collection||Fighting / 3D / Compilation||A three-in-one package that includes Tekken Tag (good), Tekken 4 (great) and Soulcalibur II (absolutely amazing). Any of these three are justifiable purchases on their own, but this collection is a blessing for those looking to fill up their fighter collection.|
|Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary||Compilation||A nice package of old-school gaming, with 16 arcade classics like Pac-Man, Galaga, Pole Position, Rolling Thunder, Rally-X, Bosconian, and Xevious.|
|Nightshade||Hack 'n Slash / Platformer||A direct sequel to Shinobi that follows the story of Akujiki (some cursed sword), but this time you play as Hibana, a female ninja. Plays exactly as Shinobi, so if you liked it, get this one also. Anyway, difficulty stays the same so expect having a hard time on some missions and specially on some bosses. This one has a great soundtrack too.|
|Neo-Geo Battle Coliseum||Fighting / 2D||A crossover fighter that pulls characters from every corner of the SNK universe, including Metal Slug, Samurai Shodown and Athena, to name a few. Other than the off-beat roster it is a somewhat lackluster game without much lasting appeal, but a real treat for SNK fanatics.|
|NiGHTS Into Dreams...||Action / Adventure||Japan-only release as far as the PS2 is concerned, but still every bit as good as the Saturn original. Fly through rings in mindfuck levels, listen to the funky SEGA music, figure out boss patterns and all that good stuff. Definitely recommended if you don't feel like getting a Saturn and your PS2 is up to the task.|
|Odin Sphere||RPG / Beat 'em Up||2D side-scrolling RPG that takes place inside a book. Choose one of five heroes armed with magical soul-sucking weapons and stab/shoot/spear/whip the hell out of anything that gets in your way. Gorgeous bosses and engrossing story; quite a bit of lag in certain areas/against certain bosses, but it's fixed somewhat for Europe.|
|Okage: Shadow King||RPG||While the gameplay is very typical RPG flair, this game sets itself apart by having a fantastically gloomy and humorous atmosphere that feels like a Tim Burton/Henry Selnick movie animated by a Japanese mangaka. An early release on the PS2, it still stands out as a cult classic. This game wasn't programmed very well, so there's an annoying bug triggered by saving that results in your latest save file disappearing. Either save twice, or emulate this game and use save states. Don't let this bug ultimately put you off, though, it's a great game with a good sense of humor and superb soundtrack.|
|Ōkami||Action / Adventure||Plays much like a Zelda game, but with a well-implemented painting mechanic, a wonderful sumi-e inspired art style, and plenty of stuff to do in a feudal Japanese world. Not a lot of challenge for power gamers, but still a great game. You will think you're fighting the final boss about three times before you actually do fight the final boss. Average play time is about 50 hours+, so be happy. It was ported to Wii (not great) and PS3 in HD (very good).|
|Oni||Action / Beat 'em Up||What, a Bungie game on the PS2? Yeah, this is from before they were bought by Microsoft. You play as Konoko, a sexy but deadly cop in future Tokyo who needs to stop future crime and shit. It arguably feels more like a Ghost in the Shell game than the actual Ghost in the Shell games. Has a small, but dedicated modding community. Anniversary Edition mod is recommended for the PC version.|
|Onimusha: Warlords||Action / Adventure||Boasts similar gameplay to the Resident Evil series, with fixed camera angles, tank controls and tight resource rationing, but takes place in a fantasy feudal Japan and focuses on melee combat with various magical weapons. Though not particularly flashy, the game builds tension nicely and presents a beautiful setting, along with some awesomely grotesque monsters. Longer than your average RE title.|
|Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny||Action / Adventure||Takes place in the same setting but features a different protagonist. Length has been sacrificed in exchange for multiple story paths, and while combat remains pretty much the same, the controls can be somewhat difficult to deal with.|
|Onimusha 3: Demon Siege||Action / Adventure||Marks the return of original protagonist Samanosuke, now in a time-traveling story that switches constantly between feudal Japan and modern-day Paris, also under assault by demons. In Paris you play as police officer Jacques Blanc, modeled after and voiced by Jean Reno (in French), whose combat style is substantially different. Generally considered a return to form for the series and a strong conclusion.|
|Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams||Action / Adventure||A radical shift for the series, with an all-new cast and gameplay that leaves fixed camera angles, pre-rendered backgrounds and limited resources behind in favor of more typical action-RPG combat. Play as one of multiple characters while the others fight under A.I. control. Can be very tedious, but the level of challenge is more even than in previous games. Has lots of silly extras, including Street Fighter costumes for everyone.|
|OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast||Driving||Official sequel to the classic eighties arcade game were you speed across picturesque highways on a Ferrari Testarossa with a beautiful woman by your side. The vacation-y visuals and smooth framerate are wonderful and keep to the core of what made the original so fun. There's fifteen cars to pick from, three game modes, and a massive selection of songs. Most side-content has to be unlocked by spending points, which can be lame.|
|PaRappa the Rapper 2||Rhythm||The return of the best rapping dog series ever. Got poor reviews for being the much of the same as the first game, which doesn't make sense, considering the first kicked ass, and you can never have too much of a good thing.|
|Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie||Action / Adventure / FPS||That's right, a good movie tie-in! Made by Rayman/Beyond Good and Evil creator Michel Ancel. Apparently Peter Jackson liked BG&E so much he chose Michel's team to create the game!
Play in first person as Jack, or in third person as Kong himself. Really fun, really atmospheric and very faithful to the movie, with some great voice acting from the movie's cast. One of the first games to throw away the HUD and rely on visual/audio cues to let you know what's up. While it's short (4–6 hours) and could use a few more Kong levels it's a great game and worth checking out. Also on the Xbox 360, Xbox, Gamecube and PC. The Xbox 360 version is superior due to heavily upgraded graphics.
|Phantom Brave||SRPG||Loli necromancer and her phantom companions overcome prejudice, do odd jobs for money, save the world. Distinguished from other NI SRPGs in that the movement is not grid-based (which can be exploited, especially on ice levels) and that you can use literally anything you can pick up as a weapon. Even a fish. Even your opponents. The Wii port revamps a number of aspects, such as streamlining stat displays, adding a new scenario, some new items and attacks. Ports on Wii, PSP, and PC/Steam with an extra scenario and other stuff.|
|Pop'n Music series||Rhythm / HAMBURGER SMASHAN'||Beatmania's colorful and equally difficult younger brother. The songlist covers a wide variety of genres, to the point they designate some songs by sticking adjectives together. Japan-only. Console editions of the first six games were on the PS, while 7 through 14 were released on the PS2. There's also a "Best Hits" version, with the fan favorites of those first six mixes. Provided you have some place to buy spare arcade buttons, the special controller is relatively easy to build.|
|Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time||Platformer / Action||An attempt to reboot the Prince of Persia franchise, Ubisoft succeeded with stellar results. A fun platformer where you run on walls like a ninja and can control time in case you fuck up (aka rewind, bitches). The storyline is pretty cool but overall forgettable, and the fighting is decent. They reprinted the game when the (lame) movie came out, so it should be easy to find.|
|Prince of Persia: Warrior Within||Platformer / Action||Picks up where The Sands of Time left off. Has a much darker tone compared to the previous game. Lots of blood, violence and oversexualized women. The combat system has been revamped so that you can now dual wield weapons and execute enemies in style while the platforming is still amazing.|
|Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones||Platformer / Action||The third game in the series. This time around, both the platforming and fighting gameplay are on par, but the storyline is just confusing and dumb. Still, a nice end to the trilogy overall. Had later side-stories on other systems revolving around similar concepts, though your mileage may vary on those.|
|Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy||Action / Throwin' Muthafuckers Across The Room||Pick soldiers up, smack them into walls and then throw them across the room, WITH YOUR MIND. You control your telekinesis (one of four mind powers, one of which, when used on an unaware enemy, has you make their head explode in a graphic display of blood and brain matter AND restore quite a bit of your energy) with the analog sticks. One of the few games on the ps2 to use the havok physics engine for ragdoll fun.|
|Psychonauts||Platformer / Adventure||Explore a summer camp for psychics as Psychonaut-in-training Raz. Levels consist of platforming through manifestations of the charming and quirky instructors' minds. Things become more interesting in the latter half of the game, where you're tasked with rescuing the camp-goers while entering more deranged minds. Plenty of collectibles and unlockable abilities assist in progression, à la Banjo-Kazooie. A sequel has been announced for 2018.
Also available on XBOX and PC.
|R-Type Final||Shoot 'em Up||Stop the Bydo menace for the very last time, unlocking 101 different ships with unique Wave Cannons, Force Devices and Bits. This includes everything from the previous games and even ships from Irem's other shoot-em-ups. Unlocking the ships takes time, and because most of them require using a certain ship for anywhere from 1 minute to 3 hours of flight time, it's kind of tedious, but the sheer variety of weapons can make it all worth it. There's also five difficulty levels, and the two easier modes let you keep your Force and Bits after losing a life if you need the extra edge.|
|RAD: Robot Alchemic Drive||Action / Giant Robots||You pick one of three characters and drive one of three giant robots called Meganites to fight against an oncoming alien invasion. The gameplay is interesting since you don't actually pilot inside your Meganite directly, rather you control from a distance to avoid getting hit (just don't go too far away or your control will miss up). The actual controls are pretty sweet, like whipping your fists like the motherfucking Big O. This game also has some of the worst voice acting ever - which actually helps with the whole 80's anime/monster movie vibe going on.|
|Radiata Stories||RPG||A JRPG where you play as a typical unruly teen boy in a fantasy world. The game's main draw is its persistent world filled with hundreds of characters with unique dialogue, backstories and schedules, most of which can be recruited. Fights are carried out in real-time, but all your allies are A.I.-controlled. Also, you can kick anything and anyone to find loot or start fights. A very fun game for collectors (requires multiple play-throughs to recruit everyone) that's light on story. Has post-game content.|
|Ratchet & Clank||Shootan / Platforman||Be a cat-thing with a robot friend. Use various guns and gadgets (some traditional, some outrageous) as you traverse various planets and kick ass third-person shoot. Some platforming elements, as well as tons of hidden items in every level. Don't be put off because the sequels have more content, all three are worth getting. Had many other sequels and spinoffs after PS2 trilogy on Sony PS3 and PSP.|
|Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando/Locked and Loaded||Shootan / Platforman||The sequel to Ratchet & Clank. More weapons, more gadgets, more variety, more humor. More RPG than the first. Can be hard, especially at the glider segments. This game made Ratchet legendary in Japan for his colossal eyebrows on their boxart. It's like a reverse "American Kirby".|
|Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal!||Shootan / Platforman||The third (and best) game in the series. EVEN MORE CONTENT! Even more RPG than the second, and more mission-segmented and shootan-oriented. Definitely worth picking up.
Has (off- and on-line) multiplayer, but the PS2 servers have been shut down, so expect to fuck around with XLink Kai if you want to play it online. Trilogy's available on PS3 with some bugs, but the multiplayer servers are still up.
|Ratchet: Deadlocked||Shootan / Gladiatan||This game deviates slightly from the gameplay of the first three Ratchet games, as platforming is all but taken out, and Clank is merely a story character. Deadlocked is an entire game made out of the Galactic Ranger missions and arena combat of Up Your Arsenal, with fun extras thrown in, 2 robots that will do your bidding, and a great 2 player co-operative mode. Play the first three R&C games before checking this one out, but it is very much worth playing.
Also on PS3 with online multiplayer, but expect a fair deal of performance issues and minor bugs.
|Rayman 2: Revolution||Platformer / Action||A port of Rayman 2: The Great Escape. Play as Rayman, a limbless hero that has to save Glade of Dreams by defeating the Robo-Pirates. Features many improvements including better graphics, voice acting, a full coherent 3D world, new bosses, minigames and so on. Give this a try if you haven't played any of the Rayman 2 ports.|
|Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc||Platformer / Action||Rayman is back in the third major installment. Rayman has to stop André from taking over the world. This installment is more light-hearted compared to Rayman 2 and doesn't itself too serious, don't want be all DARK 'N EDGY in a children's game. An HD version is available on the PSN/XBLA.|
|Red Dead Revolver||Shootan / Cowboyan||Play as multiple Wild West characters and kill everyone. Multiple characters with different play-styles/weapons make for an interesting single-player and multiplayer experience. Make money and buy new weapons by playing well. Most likely the best Wild West game yet, along with its successor, Red Dead Redemption - unless you're super old and hold a torch for Lucasarts' Outlaws.|
|Resident Evil Code: Veronica X||Survival Horror||It's the first in the series to use 3D backgrounds instead of pre-rendered ones, and features dual-wielding weapons. It's also somewhat more forgiving (you can retry failed scenarios). You play as Claire and later Chris Redfield in an Umbrella HQ infiltration mission. It doesn't look quite as good as the DC original and the voice acting can be taxing, but this version includes new cutscenes mostly focused on Wesker being the camp-tastic badass he is. Also features a battle side-game similar to "The Mercenaries" where you can play as him. This is possibly the best of the classic Resident Evil titles before the shift with RE4. Also on the PS3, but the supposedly "HD" version looks hardly any better.|
|Red Faction||FPS||Be an anti-government violent rebel communist in the future in a colonized Mars. Great setting and awesome fun. Plus you can blow holes in shit using Geo-mod.|
|Red Faction II||FPS||Not as good as the first, but still a solid shooter. Multplayer is awesome fun with a friend as games can last up to one hour.|
|Resident Evil 4||Survival Horror||Turned the series into a more action-heavy third-person shooter with minimal puzzles and more generous ammo/items, and brought back RE2's Leon Kennedy. Fortunately the results are amazing and while the game is no longer scary it still gets quite tense (not to mention gory). The story is the typical nonsensical RE melodrama, now with added self-awareness. An absolute blast to play through, with wonderful level design and pacing.
The GCN original has better graphics, but this has lots of extra content over it. The Wii version is the "best of both worlds" and has the best controls. The PSN HD port is based on this version and boasts PS Move compatibility.
|Rogue Galaxy||RPG||Developed by the people behind Dark Cloud and similar in style and approach, but with a Star Wars-esque space opera setting. The story and characters are pretty nondescript but the gameplay is very fun, with active-time combat allowing for pausing to issue commands. The game boasts ridiculous amounts of side-content including massive optional sub-systems, which will keep you busy for weeks if not months. The cel-shaded graphics are pleasant and the world design is unoriginal, but colorful.|
|Romancing SaGa||RPG||Delicious JRPG/WRPG fusion. Start the game as any of eight characters, each with their own quest. You don't have any fucking EXP or levels as your stats will levels up semi-randomly after battles with no apparent rhyme or reason. No hand holding bullshit here, either. After a character's opening quest, you have access to pretty much the entire world. You gotta find your own quests and figure that shit out on your own. Trying to understand all the systems, subsystems and other technical stuff going on will make your brain explode. You're better off to let things happen and enjoy the ride. This game is for masochists or for people who want something different in their JRPGs. English remake of the first game in the original SNES trilogy, of which the first and third game have fan-translations and are also worth a shot. New Game + Feature will allow you to carry some stuff over (Shop Clout, etc). It's even required to play more than once to access the secrets.|
|Rule of Rose||Survival Horror||An incredibly cinematic game, Rule of Rose puts you in the shoes of Jennifer, a schoolgirl trapped in a world ruled by a group of young girls and their psychotic whimsies. Gameplay is chapter-based and consists of Jennifer and her loyal dog Brown searching for objects or fulfilling specific tasks, encountering enemies and bosses along the way. The game generated some controversy for its perceived sexual themes between minors. The atmosphere, narrative and soundtrack of Rule of Rose are all top-notch, but unfortunately playing the actual game is terribly frustrating due to repetitive tasks and clunky combat. Unless you really want to experience the game firsthand, you may be better off watching a Let's Play of it.|
|Rygar: The Legendary Adventure||Action / Adventure||A spiritual remake of the 80's Arcade/NES title Rygar (which is on the recommended NES games list), you are put in the shoes of the titular hero as you travels through levels in the land of Argool, a fictional island province of ancient Greece, to destroy the Titans who have scoured the land. Your main weapon is a shield known as the Diskarmor, which can be thrown and summoned back via a long chain, and shreds foes with spikes protruding from it's sides. It's usually accepted that God of War |
|Samurai Shodown Anthology||Compilation / 2D / Fighting||Samurai Shodown 1 to 6. Sadly it lacks SS5 Special (because that was sold separately - but it never got an US release), but otherwise it gets everything right.|
|Samurai Western||Arcade / Beat 'em Up / Being a Badass||Actually a spin-off to the Way of the Samurai series, this game places you in the shoes of a Samurai named Gojiro who travels to the old west to kill his brother. That's fucking awesome. Actually has a level system making it similar to the beat 'em ups of old (although I would call it a slash 'em up), with a score card and everything. Character customization is present, and so is multiplayer, but it's sub-par and has to be unlocked. Can be quite challenging. You can slice through cowboys like a knife cuts through warm butter, and the opening intro wants you to KNOW how badass you are. You can play as other, gun wielding characters in other modes.|
|Saru! Getchu! Million Monkeys||Action||Japan-only spin-off of Ape Escape with much harder, fast-paced gameplay. The monkeys have taken over Tokyo with high-tech weaponry, and it's up to you to catch them all with a diverse array of gadgets, including a jetpack and laser blaster. The game starts with you fighting a giant mech and doesn't really let up. Excellent cel-shaded graphics, multiple playable characters (including series antagonist Specter), a surprisingly intense story, and lots of additional modes, including four-player free-for-alls. The best Ape Escape.|
|Second Sight||Stealth / Shootan||Think simplistic splinter cell with crazy psychic powers and a government conspiracy plot. Made by free radical, makers of the Timesplitters Series. Some fun powers and well-designed levels.|
|Sega Ages 2500||Compilation / Remake||A budget series spanning 33 volumes full of Sega classics, either updated, remade, compiled, or all of the above. Not every release is created equal, as a lot of the early volumes are specifically low-rent, but the series got better over time. Notable for porting rare/obscure titles and even Saturn titles onto the PS2 with updated graphics like Dragon Force, Die Hard Arcade, Fighting Vipers, & Panzer Dragoon. Also, the later compilation volumes are about as complete and perfectly emulated as possible, containing all series' titles, ports, continental releases, and sometimes even prototypes. If you can't play imports, see the Sega Classics Collection below.|
|Sega Classics Collection||Compilation / Remake||While the USA and Europe missed out on most of the Sega Ages 2500 series, at least they got this pack as a consolation prize. It includes Monaco GP (not to be confused with Super Monaco GP), Fantasy Zone, Space Harrier, Golden Axe, Bonanza Bros, Columns, Virtua Racing, Out Run, and Alien Syndrome (not in the PAL version).|
|Shadow Hearts||RPG||A JRPG where you play as Yuri, a "Harmonixer" who can basically turn into demons, who meets a girl named Alice, contemplates raping her (not even kidding), then decides to protect her. Do NOT play the first sequel, "Shadow Hearts: Covenant", without finishing this game first!|
|Shadow Hearts: Covenant / Director's Cut||RPG||A turn-based JRPG with a cheekily dark and eccentric setting, an alternate-universe Europe during World War I where monsters and magic are commonplace. The bizarre party and supporting characters, coupled with its offbeat humor, are major points in favor, but when the story gets serious it also gets boring. Fortunately combat is great with a timed hits system to keep players engaged, and graphics, art direction, etc. are very strong. There's also quite a bit of side-content to be explored.
The Director's Cut (JP-only) added some extra content.
|Shadow Hearts: From the New World||RPG||A lighter-hearted sequel to Shadow Hearts taking place in the United States in the 1920's/30's (it's hard to tell). The cast of characters is much more zany than the first game, and the plot much less serious, but the creatures are still just as messed up as always.|
|Shadow of Destiny / Memories||Adventure||A really underrated adventure game where you play as Eike Kusch, a guy that's destined to die and given a second chance to prevent his death by travelling back in time. Some pretty mind fucking twists unveil themselves by the end. Worth a shot if you're a fan of games with time travel or just in the mood for a short adventure game. Also has a PSP port with a completely different cast of voices.|
|Shadow of Rome||Action / Adventure / Gladiatan||Sure it looks like another generic Greco-Roman combat game, but it's by Capcom! Combat is very gory and guaranteed to satisfy, and the story is actually interesting for a change. Probably its biggest shortcoming involves the highly awkward stealth sections in between massive orgies of blood, as the controls were definitely not designed with sneaking in mind and it generally breaks the flow of what is otherwise an explosive and violent action title. Something that might somewhat compensate for this is how unintentionally hilarious said stealth segments might get, which usually involves Octavianus's slug-like resistance to anything. It's also pretty hard to come across, though.|
|Shadow of the Colossus||Action / Platformer||A cinematic game with very few "game-y" elements and a vague, open story. Your task is to travel a barren land, seek out and slaying sixteen lumbering giants. There is very little to do in between these fights other than soak in the atmosphere and ride your horse around, but the fights themselves are visually impressive puzzle-like battles with multiple stages. The size of your enemies and the ability to climb them makes the experience unique. Beautifully melancholy story and ambiance.
This is distantly related to Ico (PS2); the next game in the "series" will be The Last Guardian (PS4).
|Shining Force EXA||Action-RPG||This game has nothing to do with the original Shining Force series, but it's a neat isometric action-RPG. Play as two different characters with various companions and explore a cozy anime world with gorgeous, cel-shaded graphics. Surprisingly, the voice acting is competent and the cast is likable. A bit of a hidden gem if you want a Diablo-like game with weeaboo graphics.|
|Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army||Action / RPG / Solvan Mysteries||A dame shows up at your detective agency and shit goes down. Find and rescue the dame as you uncover the mystery of the Red Cape, fightan demons and unearthing a conspiracy along the way. Skulk around Tokyo finding clues and using demon abilities to manipulate people and the environment. As with the sequel, random encounters leave you in an arena to shoot, slash, and summon demons to help you. While many prefer the second because Gee Bill, your mom lets you summon 2 demons! this one still has fun combat and Tokyo, the story, and boss designs are arguably better in this one. Unless you want the mystery spoonfed to you and love BUGS.|
|Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2 - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon||Action / RPG||An action RPG by Atlus, in which you play as the titular Raidou, a demon-taming private detective in 30s Japan. The story has you investigating some mysterious occurences in the city that eventually lead you to a far-away rural village. It's an unusual setting for the series, but ends up being pretty interesting. As for the gameplay, it's got awesome real-time combat, but you can also do the classic negotiations with demons to get them to join you. Demon fusions also have a greater emphasis on passive skills, unlike other games in the series. In general, it's an all-around improvement over the first Raidou game, and a different experience for SMT fans.|
|Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga||RPG||Another sub-series within SMT, Digital Devil Saga is about gangs fighting for control in a God-forsaken world who suddenly gain the ability to transform into powerful demons that cannibalize their enemies to absorb their powers. As you may have guessed, not everyone feels comfortable with this. You control a group of friends desperately fighting for the promise that, if they are the victors, they will reach Heaven and escape this world. Has an overarching Hindu theme. The skill system is more customizable than usual. Combat itself is standard SMT fare, although you learn new abilities by eating your enemies. The stark visuals are typical for the series and the story is practically a prologue for the sequel, cliffhanger ending and all.|
|Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2||RPG||Obviously, the whole heaven thing didn't work out like you thought it would. Now, you eat more people, and want to kill God in the process.|
|Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne [EU: Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call]||RPG||You control the Demi Fiend, a schoolboy turned into a demon whose actions will determine the shape of the world to come (our world has already ended). You can align yourself with one of several ideologies, which will affect the game's progression and ending. Recruit, fuse and use demons in battle; the Press Turn system heavily emphasizes exploiting the enemy's weaknesses to succeed. A very tough, intelligent and rewarding game. Did I mention that Dante from Devil May Cry is a recruitable demon?|
|Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES||RPG / Sim||The Persona series shares many motifs with mainline SMT, but features teenagers summoning mythological avatars (Personae) to fight evil. This game features a school life/dating sim portion where you establish relationships that influence your party's abilities. The other half is dungeon crawling, featuring a streamlined version of the Press Turn system from Nocturne. Its main shortcoming is your inability to directly control your companions, which can lead to some silly Game Overs. The FES version includes a lengthy quest separate from the main game with Aigis as protagonist. The PSP port fixes the party control issue but lacks FES's extras, as well as the surprisingly excellent cutscenes. on PSN, so get that shit. Also, the warning you get about time in the beginning of the game should not be taken lightly, especially on Hard Mode: Make sure you have a backup of your save file set a few days before every full moon, or you might get stuck in an unwinnable situation in case you didn't prepare well enough, which may happen because some bosses are TOUGH, not tough, but TOUGH. Not finishing the game because of that makes you a casual of the worst kind.|
|Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4||RPG / Sim||Features streamlined mechanics compared to its predecessor (you can now control your party and get around more easily). This time you're the new guy in a sleepy, rural town solving a supernatural murder mystery with your Persona-using friends. It's more unabashedly Japanese than P3, as you will quickly discover, and takes even more time time to get going than its predecessor. Social Links are more interesting (though the characters are polarizing) and the aesthetic is YELLOW EVERYWHERE as opposed to P3's BLUE EVERYWHERE. Remade/ported as Persona 4: The Golden on Vita. It's pretty much a straight upgrade, but if you lack a Vita this one's still great.|
|Shinobi||Hack 'n Slash / Platformer||Hack through linear levels with occasionally repetive design. Has a steep difficulty curve: you will die a lot. The AI can vary from seemingly unconcious to absolutely punishing. Has a great soundtrack, and despite some glaring flaws, this game retains a certain charm, and I find myself coming back to it again and again. Worth way more than the it costs on eBay.|
|Silent Hill 2: Director's Cut||Survival Horror||A separate story from the first game. Great graphics, incredible plot, suffocating atmosphere and legendary soundtrack; horror doesn't get better than this. Includes multiple endings and replay-only extras. The Greatest Hits re-release and ports to other systems include a new intro sequence.|
|Silent Hill 3||Survival Horror||Unlike Silent Hill 2, this is a direct sequel to the original, so play that first. This time you play as a teenage girl, which leads to some cheeky humor, but it's still Silent Hill, with the best graphics on the PS2 to boot. As per usual, the soundtrack is fantastic.|
For SH4: The Room, opinions skew towards NOT recommending it, but some still feel it's worth a play. Some say, "It has some good ideas of survival gameplay, but all very poorly executed." while others feel its "warm reception" is justified, but worth a shot. Couldn't hurt to try it at least once, maybe.
Past that entry, it tends to be agreed upon that only Shattered Memories is worth a damn.
|Silent Scope||Rail Shooter / Sniperan||Play as Falcon, the bad enough dude to save the President while armed with but a sniper rifle and Metal Gear references. A step-away from the usual rail shooter mantra, imagine every bit of sniper action in other games put into one solid bit of gameplay. Be prepared to cry when you miss that very final shot. Two sequels exist and they are all just as awesome.
Note: There exists an actual rifle just for the Silent Scope series for authentic arcade action, if you can find and purchase one.
|Sky Odyssey||Flight Simulator||Ride your plane through various missions searching for a treasure. Lots of great moments, like refueling while flying over a moving train or avoiding falling rocks while flying through a narrow cliff. Very fun.|
|SkyGunner||Flight Combat||Simplified Ace Combat with beautiful manga-style art and good voice acting. The controls are one of the best features, as handling is fun and responsive. Use different secondary weapons and your machine gun to create chains of destroyed enemies to increase your cash multiplier and score better. Different characters have different ships with different special abilities and statistics as well.|
|S.L.A.I. - Steel Lancer Arena International||Mech Combat||Sequel to Phantom Crash on the Xbox. Kind of like Armored Core, but with lighter customization and much smaller selection of parts and accessories. However, it is varied enough to make from lightly armored melee mechas that can jump over buildings to over-9000-health behemoths with rocket launchers up the wazoo, but which can't outrun a slug. Skill evolution happens through robotic AIs you can recruit and put into the mech chassis; each one has a different status growth pattern and personality. Remote controlled mechas duke it out in arenas over the world in a futuristic sport tournament. Story in single player is about an unknown serial killer offing human players and their robotic partners, apparently at random...or is it? All the player can do is fight and buy parts, though. Players can use their SP mechas in multiplayer, or simply use one of the premade ones.|
|Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus||Platformer||While not particularly difficult, this platformer has a ton of charm and is fun to play. Great level design, a good grapple-based platforming system, fun objectives and puzzles, and simple stealth mechanics. Pretty funny in the script department as well, with enjoyable characters and plot. As the first game in the series, the design is a bit more formulaic than the others, and lacks certain things like health meters (you get hit, you die) and the wide open levels of the second two games. Still plenty of stealthy, platformy fun.
The whole series recieved a decent HD collection on PS3.
|Sly 2: Band of Thieves||Platformer||Either the best or the worst in the series depending on who you ask. Introduces two new playable characters for more variation: Murray punches and fights, while Bentley uses bombs and other gadgets. The game is constructed as a series of heists, but with a much more solid plot arc structure and actual heists and plans as opposed to arbitrary key-finding.|
|Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves||Platformer||You liked it when they included Murray and Bentley? Now you get a whole squad to work with. While the thievery aspect takes a bit of a backseat, the variation keeps things quite different throughout. Also now with multiplayer and expanded post-game challenges.|
|Sniper Elite||Shooter / Sim||Realistic sniping sim. Interesting take on WWII and the Cold War. Sometimes unfair difficulty but worth the price if you can find it. Also available on PC, Xbox and Wii.|
|Sonic Gems Collection||Compilation||A fun collection entry filled with some old school Sonic games. Classics like Sonic CD, Sonic The Fighters, Sonic R, and some Game Gear titles are included. The PS2 port is only available in Europe and Japan, and versions outside of Japan had games removed. Also on Gamecube in America, Europe and Japan.|
|Sonic Mega Collection PLUS||Compilation||A sort of "update" to the Gamecube original. Really neato with pretty much all of the blue blur's pre-Saturn games along with Sega Genesis classics we know and love. Framerate is slower on this one. But thats what I heard I'm not sure of it.|
|Sonic Unleashed||Platformer||Forget Sonic Unleashed for the PS3/360, this version is top chili dog. The 2.5D sections are fantastic and are a bigger emphasis, and the boost system has been replaced with one that requires only a single button press. Even the Werehog is more platforming heavy and features minimal combat, making it simply an enjoyable and atmospheric platformer. The puzzle rooms (which have you alternate between Sonic and Werehog) are great also.
Also on Wii, with the option to use classic controller. There's just something about the PS2 version tho. It's ~magical~.
|Soul Calibur II||Fighting / 3D||Often considered the high point of the 3D weapons fighting series, with an eight-way run system, a large roster, a dozen weapons for each character, a lengthy story mode, detailed character models and lavish stages. Heihachi Mishima of Tekken is playable on the PS2 version. Holds up today as the most balanced and well-rounded SoulCalibur offering.|
|Soul Calibur III||Fighting / 3D||Most of the SCII cast returns, with a handful of new characters and the same basic system, but less balanced for competitive players. Its main draw is the tons of side content, including an SRPG-esque single player mode, an engrossing and detailed character creator, and loads of extra modes and bonuses. Some important stuff takes place, plot-wise. Sequel on PS3. Note: Early copies of the game have a memory card-ruining bug activated by deleting any save created before that of SoulCalibur III.|
|Soul Nomad||SRPG||Play a strategy RPG where you are a pretty cool guy who doesn't afraid of eating souls. Superb, interesting game that is probably the best of the NIS SRPG games thanks to many aspects, but especially story and characterization. This says a lot considering how good the Disgaea series is. One of the few NIS games to not see a re-release or port.|
|Splatter Master||Action / Platformer||A budget game where you play as a cute scarecrow-boy wielding dual chainsaws, going up against the demon who created him. The gameplay revolves around earning money through powerful combos and then using that money to buy upgrades and new moves. The environments are surprisingly detailed and attractive, and there's substantial replay value thanks to various unlockables. Europe-only.|
|SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom||Platformer / 3D||An incredibly underrated platformer and one of the best out there. They got most of the cast from the show to reprise their roles (Minus Clancy Brown and a few others) And you go around solving missions to get golden spatulas (This game's equivelant to Power Stars) as you fight robots, defeat bosses, and go through levels full of platforming with FUCKING AWESOME music to back it up. If you're a fan of platformers, don't miss out on this one.|
|SSX Tricky||Sports||Snowboarding. It's fun. And maybe tricky?|
|SSX3||Sports||Pretty much improves everything from Tricky.|
|Star Ocean: Till the End of Time||Action / RPG||A lengthy sci-fi JRPG, unrelated to previous Star Ocean games in terms of plot and more similar to the Xenosaga series in setting and themes. Active battle system comparable to the Tales series, there are several party members which you may recruit or miss depending on your choices. Detailed and varied worlds, but you'll spend way too much time on some of them. Get ready for a potentially infuriating twist. Takes a few hours to get going, mainly after goddamn Sophia leaves. Series continues on PS3/360.|
|Star Wars Battlefront II||TPS / Combat||Only the coolest motherfucking Star Wars game ever. Fight in huge battles from the movies in either the Clone Wars or the Imperial. A surprisingly good shooter, with multiple classes who each have their own specialty. BF2 introduces new units (like the Clone Commander) and heroes, such as Boba Fett and Mace Windu. The heroes control great and can sway a match.|
|Steambot Chronicles||RPG||A non-linear real-time RPG. Play however the fuck you want, from good to evil, without having to do it all through text choices. Think a steampunk Grand Theft Auto combined with Katamari's controls and Dark Cloud's levels of customization. Play music for a living, get a boring job, become a criminal, get an apartment, get laid, become a cage fighter, etc... Has some very obvious technical issues such as loading times and framerate, but it's not unplayable.|
|Street Fighter Anniversary Collection||Fighting / 2D / Compilation||LET'S GET IT ON NOW! Ports of both Hyper Street Fighter II (an update to Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo that lets you choose your character's gameplay style from all the past SF2 games) and Street Fighter 3: Third Strike in one convenient package, very awesome to own. Not released in Japan or PAL territories, but both were released individually there. Tough break. Also includes SF2: The Animated Film in SFII's Gallery Mode. Sadly, it's the censored version, so no delicious Chun-Li shower scene.|
|Street Fighter Alpha Anthology (US/EU)|
Street Fighter Zero: Fighters Generation (JP)
|Fighting / 2D / Compilation||Contains Alpha, Alpha 2, Alpha 2 Gold, Alpha 3, Alpha 3 Upper and Super Gem Fighter: Mini Mix. Wow! That's a lot of awesome shit! They're all arcade-perfect ports that include dip switch settings, sound tests, and character color pallete editing. There's also an unlockable game called Hyper Street Fighter Alpha. Which is similar to HSF2 in that you can select which version, from the Alpha games, of a character to play as. It's versus-mode only. Although you can still set 2P to CPU, you'd need a second controller or switch ports to select your opponent.|
Japanese edition of this compilation has even more games because when localizing it, Capcom cut out two variations of Alpha 2 (known in Japan as Zero 2). So Japanese PS2 owners got original Japanese Zero 2, it's American version Alpha 2 (included in US/EU SFA Anthology), Zero 2 Alpha (Japanese rerelease of American version) and Zero 2 Dash (console port of Zero 2 Alpha, known in the US as Alpha 2 Gold and included in US/EU SFA Anthology). Each subsequent revision added new characters and changes to the game. Every game in compilation also has character's movelist in the pause menu. So if you care about such stuff Japanese edition of this collection is the way to go.
|Street Fighter EX 3||Fighting / 2.5D||Never heard of this game? Not surprised. This seris is often looked down upon since it was only published by Capcom, not developed. Made by Arika, the same people who also made Super Dragon Ball Z. The 3rd of a series of the very first 3D Street Fighter, it has its own type of 3 on 3 fighting, character customization, and some pretty nice visuals for 2000. There are also characters originally from this series mixed with II/ALPHA characters in.|
|Stretch Panic||Platformer||One of Treasure's lesser known titles, so much can be said about this weird fuckin game. Your 12 sisters have been possed by the demons of vanity granting their deepest desire, you must use your scarf-hand-thing to pinch and stretch the fuck out of your sisters, who have all been morphed into twisted monsters, to exorccise the demons. It seems to have a moral standing, maybe against vanity (it was all a bit pretensious). I highly recommend it though, being very experimental and fun and would recommend it. Think 'Power Puff Girls' meets 'Speed Grapher'. Known as Freak Out in Europe.|
|Suikoden V||RPG||Chronologically takes place two decades before the first Suikoden title, but knowledge of the series isn't necessary to enjoy this. Recruit 108 different characters to build up your HQ. Quick, six-character battles with a skill customization system and lots of flavor and background to the world. Graphics, pacing and writing are all better than the last game, and this is considered the best Suikoden since the PlayStation days.|
|Super Dragon Ball Z||Fighting / 3D||Real nice DBZ fighting game made by Street Fighter 2 members and Arika. Originally an arcade game, then ported to the PS2. Worth your money because of how it's done well and it's fighting mechanics are actually done like a big name fighting game.|
|Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror||TPS||The comeback from Gabe Logan into the PS2, surpassing the crappy Omega Strain in every way. This is direct port from the PSP version. It's pretty much the same game with somewhat upgraded visuals and a right stick on your DualShock controller, but lacks the online multiplayer sadly. I'd recommend the PSP version for that matter, but if you need a decent TPS on your PS2 you can get this and have hours of fun. Includes a Story mode composed of 28 missions, lots of weapons, collectibles, achievments, etc.|
(volumes 1 and 2)
|Compilation||Taito was one of the arcade giants back in the day, and here's 68 games to show you that! Among them you will find classics like Space Invaders, Jungle Hunt, Elevator Action, Rastan, The New Zealand Story, KiKi KaiKai, Gun Frontier, Metal Black, RayStorm, Darius Gaiden, and G-Darius.|
|Tales of Legendia||Action / RPG||An oddball entry in the long-running Tales series. Senel and his sister Shirley are adrift at sea when they come across a colossal island-ship where a bustling community has formed. Combat is the usual Tales fare, but lacks multi-player and Mystic Artes (or another form of "super attacks"), while character designs are more exaggerated and colorful than the usual high fantasy anime look. It's original in that the game is divided into an initial main quest which, after its conclusion, gives way to shorter quests that explore each main character's past. There are also fairly frequent anime scenes. Somewhat ignored by fans, you should give this a try for a different kind of Tales.|
|Tales of the Abyss||Action / RPG||A successful entry in the Tales series and a fan favorite, it takes place in a world made up of six elementary particles called Fonons; when a seventh is discovered, it generates chaos and instability. The cast is varied and full of personality and there are abundant skits. It could also be said that the protagonist is a subversion of the typical silent protagonist, as he tends to say exactly what you're thinking. Combat is very fun, with free-range motion and several techniques and Mystic Artes. Likely to remind players of Symphonia. The USA version actually has extra content, so don't get the JP original if you were considering it for some reason. If you want the skits voiced (golden hilarity awaits) then get the undub version, it's floating around. Also on the 3DS with less loading.|
|Tekken 5||Fighting / 3D||The ultimate Tekken game up to this points. Break faces like you have been, but now much smoother than any previous incarnation. Great game for parties. Enjoy throwing combos against noobs who think they're cool. Also includes the arcade versions of the first three Tekken games unlocked from the start.
>inb4 /v/irgin and parties
|Tekken TAG Tournament||Fighting / 3D||Essentially a team battle version of a Tekken game. Now you can pick more than one character at a time, huzzah! Get this instead of 4, it's basically the same game but much improved. The tag element adds a whole new element to the game. In fact, imagine the TEKKEN 3, with early (but still ass-kicking) PS2 graphics and tag-fighting elements. What you'll get? PURE GOLD! Get it! Also, contains the fuckawesome "Fight!" speaking guy from Tekken 3 instead of pussies from later games.|
|Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven||Stealth / Being a Ninja||Play as fucking awesome ninjas and go stealthan and ninjan. Also has a couple of great prequels on the PS1. All Tenchu games after this one are pretty meh though.|
|Test Drive: Eve of Destruction||Racing||Very innovative gameplay compared to most racing games. Instead of driving pimped-out Civics and fast Ferrari's, you take control of rustbuckets and try to fuck up every other car in the race. Similar to the Burnout series in terms of demolition and car destruction. Has a ton of game modes from the classic demolition derby to the suicide race, which has two groups of cars going in opposite directions.|
|The Bouncer||Action / RPG / Beat-'em-Up||An early PS2 outing for SquareSoft which combines beat-'em-up action gameplay with RPG stat growth in a stylishly dystopian future world. You play as one of three characters while the others are A.I.-controlled. While the combat system is interesting your companions are useless, boss battles are clunky, and the game feels like it ends before it started. At least you can replay it with a different main character. Goes for cheap nowadays.|
|The Godfather||Sandbox||Fucking badass fedora wearing GTA clone that is really polished and has a great story. Has a level system that you can use to power up your moves or guns and it allows for a lot of open world play. Kill the dirty red, blue, and green mafia bros and take their territories. Go into shops and take over their businesses for "protection money". Sometimes they have black market businesses upstairs, such as a brothel. Rob banks and blow up safes. Basically 1940s GTA.|
|The King of Fighters 2006/Maximum Impact 2||Fighting / 3D||A 3D King of Fighters game, sequel to Maximum Impact (in fact, its JP/EU name is Maximum Impact 2), but much better done. Unlike MI1, it's quite enjoyable. However, the roster is sadly thin in numbers until you unlock more characters. Even then, there's a fuck ton of other unlockables, many of which will appeal to fans of other SNK games/series. Depending on your nostalgia, you might want to change the voices from English to Japanese, though the English VA's are quite amusing at times.
Has a Japan-only upgraded version (Regulation A) that adds four more characters and restores the classic 3-on-3 gameplay from other KOFs in exchange of the Story Mode and cheap-ass Armor Ralf.
|The King of Fighters '94 Re-Bout||Fighting / 2D||A HD remake of the the first game in the series, with all new 3D backgrounds full of cameos from later games. Now with the ability to edit your team an including Saisyu and Rugal as playable characters.|
|The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga||Fighting / 2D / Compilation||Collects KOFs 95, 96, 97, and 98. That's a lot of KOF! Enjoy your team battle games! Each is just different enough to warrant various play-styles.|
|The King of Fighters '98: Ultimate Match||Fighting / 2D||One of the best King of Fighters just got better! Adding in every character from '94-'97, more EX versions, added stages, customizable fighting styles, and updated selectable 3D backgrounds. It even includes the original '98. Any SNK fan will tell you that the underdog Sports Team rocks! Also available on XBLA for 800 MSpoints.|
|The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match (Tougeki ver.)||Fighting / 2D||Unlike 98 UM, this game isn't much a remake but a whole new game based on the original KoF 2002, with all new high-res backgrounds, illustrations, more moves for the characters and a awesome new soundtrack. It has the most characters yet in the whole series (a whooping 66 characters), including practically everyone from the NESTS saga plus some, as well as replacing Totally-Not-Tetsuo with a original character with the same gameplay. Tougeki version adds a few balancing tweaks here and there, thus being the preferable version. It was later ported to the Xbox 360 and PC.|
|The King of Fighters XI||Fighting / 2D||The first official main-series King of Fighters game not to be named by the year it came out. As the eleventh game in the series, KoF XI starts the series with a fresh new faces and story, gameplay adjustments like full tag-team gameplay and Dream Cancels, and nice new 2D sprites. Not the height of the series exactly (you'll have to determine that yourself, though!), but definitely a great game and a must for any fighting fan. Has some exclusive characters and stages to the PS2 version, along with being able to edit sprite colors on every character for your own personal pallet swaps.|
|The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers||Hack 'n Slash||Okay, this game is fucking awesome. Play as Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, or Islidur, and fuck shit up. Also on Xbox and Gamecube.|
|The Punisher||TPS / Being a Badass||Play as the baddest anti-hero ever. Shoot shit up with 15 different guns including a fucking awesome flame thrower. Awesome interrogation mode that lets you make an enemy's face interact with many different sharp objects(such as fan blades and buzz saws) to squeeze out info. The game makes you feel like a total badass the entire time. Also, it's made by the same guy's who made the Red Faction and Saint's Row games, so you know it's guaranteed to be fun.|
|The Red Star||Beat-'em-Up / Shoot-'em-Up||Based on a mostly unknown comic of the same name, though the game's plot is different. The setting is an alternate-universe revolutionary Russia that combines steampunk and magic. Play as one of three distinct characters through isometric beat-'em-up stages, then fight bosses in overhead-view, shoot-'em-up affairs where you'll have to memorize the bullet patterns. There are also straight-up horizontal shoot-'em-up sections interspersed throughout the game. There is two-player co-op. All in the all the game is rather short, but highly replayable, challenging and rewarding.|
|The Simpsons Hit & Run||Sandbox||A Simpsonized version of GTA. Catches the feel of the show very well and is great fun. Lots of fan service with references to various episodes. The best Simpsons title since Konami's original Simpsons Arcade game, and way better than the semi-recent next-gen EA offering.
Also on the Xbox, Gamecube and PC.
|The Sword of Etheria||Hack 'n Slash||An excellent and great-looking action title that has been largely ignored, mostly because it did not get an US release. You control a young swordsman named Fiel who fights alongside Almira and Leon, two powerful spiritual warriors (who are AI-controlled). The hectic combat is focused on generating lengthy air combos and finishing them off with spectacular Deathblows. The story is chapter-based and actually quite satisfying for what could have been a mindless action title, and has an overarching The Wizard of Oz theme, which is especially brought out in a secret mission in which you play as Fiel's little sister, Dorothy. Developed by the same team behind most of Castlevania. If you can find the PAL version, get it.|
|The Warriors||Beat 'em Up||Awesome take on the events during and surrounding the cult classic gang movie from the 70's. Beat the shit out of anyone who crosses you, steal car stereos for money, and escape gangs that chase you as you make your way back to Coney Island after being framed for killing the leader of New York's largest gang.|
|Thunder Force VI||Shoot 'em Up||The final entry on the classic Thunder Force series done by Sega. Very underrated and a bit on the easy side (for shmupfags, that is) but still worth a play.|
|TimeSplitters||FPS||People tend to forget that the prequel to Timesplitters 2 is an impressive FPS in its own right. It was a PS2 launch title, and remains a PS2 exclusive.|
|TimeSplitters 2||FPS||Goldeneye/Perfect Dark, but faster with tons of content,challenges and game modes. One of the best FPS of the gen, especially on PS2. Great single player and co-op campaign, incredible amount of challenge and arcade missions, tons and tons of levels and characters to unlock, a mapmaker mode, GOOD BOTS for multiplayer, and some great humor. You have no excuse to have never played this classic. Don't forget you can change the controls. The default scheme sucks. May also be recieving a complete remake, depending upon what |
|TimeSplitters : Future Perfect||FPS||Although EA published this, it's still faithful to its predecessor. Once again, tons to do and unlock. You still can't jump. Campaign and mapmaker are more robust, and more weapons with more variety. Better or worse than TS2 depending on who you ask.|
|Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3||Racing||Shutokou Battle 3 in Japan. Race all over the Tokyo highway system. The game feature a plethora of cars and pretty deep customization options. Extremely grindy but fun and relaxing. This is the first game in the series to feature license cars. The US release does have a glitch that prevents you from 100% the game without a cheat device.
If you love this one, check out Zero, which is somewhat a remake of Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2 on the Dreamcast. The Tokyo Xtreme Racer Drift games are more mountain pass racing games, ala Initial D, rather than Street Racing. The sequel is on the 360, as Import Tuner Challenge. Ubisoft bought the rights to ITC and Crave owns the TXR name.
|Tomb Raider: Anniversary||Action / Adventure||Released a year after Tomb Raider Legend, Cristal Dynamics made this "re-imagining" of the original Tomb Raider. It plays just as Tomb Raider Legend, but with more exploration and puzzles than action. The story and levels are more or less the same of the original Tomb Raider, but with added features and changes that improve the experience pretty much in every way. This game takes longer to finish than Legend, which is a good, and there are a lot of artifacts and relics to collect. By doing so, you unlock outfits, artwork and other extra stuff. This is the best of Lara from the last years. Also on PC, Xbox 360, Wii and PS3 (included in Tomb Raider Trilogy).|
|Tomb Raider: Legend||Action / Adventure||A few years after the failure of Angel of Darkness the franchise was rebooted and Tomb Raider Legend was born. The story goes around Lara trying to gather fragments of an ancient sword. The game controls are now more intuitive and all-around better than previous entries, and it have some balanced doses of action, exploring, puzzle solving and platforming. It's a rather short game to finish, but you may still have missed a lot of secret artifacts. Also on PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, GC, PSP, and PS3 (included in Tomb Raider Trilogy).|
|Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3||Sports||As close as it's gets to a THPS2 on the PS2. Pro Skater 3 is pretty good, the gameplay is a bit more classic compared to the recent games, and includes Darth Maul from Star Wars as an unlockable.|
|Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4||Sports||Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 is another great entry into the franchise. Instead of using a timer for each level, areas are able to be skated through freely. Objectives are placed throughout each level and can be accessed whenever you want. Nine levels in all, same as the previous game.|
|Tony Hawk's Underground||Sports||Tony Hawk's Underground is rather different from the previous titles, in that it actually has a story that will make you want to punch your TV from one of the most irritating pricks in gaming ever. It's an excellent game, however, that plays really well. The sequel? Not so much.|
|Tony Hawk's American Wasteland||Sports||Remember all those weird and somewhat annoying additions to gameplay mechanics present in every game after 3? Well, they're not so annoying and actually useful here, although that makes the game a bit too easy. A first for the series, THAW is not level based and instead free-roaming, with said levels being substituted for missions. A lot of fun with it's superb character creation, decent soundtrack, and off the wall 80's punk vibe. Enjoying skating the shit out of a pseudo-Hollywood while listening to The Doors.|
|Twisted Metal: Black||Vehicle Combat||You play as a clown with fire as hair, who kills enemies in cars while inside his own car. What fucking more do you want?|
|Under the Skin||Action / Adventure / Trolling simulator||A short game with a well-formed and fun central mechanic. You are an alien whose mission is to cause mayhem on Earth, so you are let free on various settings where you must disguise yourself as a human and rack up points by humilliating others with a host of unique traps. The game ends before the gameplay can get tiring, though its multi-player mode adds some replay value. Includes a Resident Evil 3 level.|
|Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria||RPG||Sequel (and prequel-it's complicated) to the cult classic tri-ace game, this time focusing on Lenneth's sister Silmeria. Takes advantage of the jump to 3D to expand the already awesome battle system of the original, with a focus on tactical, position-based gameplay revolving around breaking off specific enemy parts to get items. Overall has a ton of complex, interesting systems, a great soundtrack, and stunning visuals, making it one of the PS2's underrated gems. Unfortunately the plot is lacking the awesome narrative hook of the first game with its tragic Einherjar backstories, but it's still a fantastic game that any RPG enthusiast should give a try.|
|Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection||Fighting / 2D / Compilation||Contains arcade perfect ports of Darkstalkers, Night Warriors, Darkstalkers 3, Vampire Hunter 2 and Vampire Savior 2. So if you like the series (or simply good fighting games) it is the best collection available for any system.|
|Viewtiful Joe||Platformer / Beat 'em Up / Being a Badass||Henshin a go go baby! An amazing platformer with beat 'em up elements, Viewtiful Joe lets you control an |
|Viewtiful Joe 2||Platformer / Beat 'em Up / Being a Badass||More Henshin a go go baby! Plays the same as the first game mostly, except your girlfriend from the first game, Silvia, joins you in your toku-ass-beatin' adventures! Switch between the two at any time, adding a nice bit of depth. Instead of Mach Speed, Silvia (known as Sexy Silvia in-costume) has a Replay power, which lets her re-do any action she attempted up to three times. Sadly, no Dante this time around.|
|Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution||Fighting / 3D||Probably the most balanced series of fighting games. Enjoy technical matches, you noob. Evolution is a better package. Includes two new characters, a "Quest" mode (where you go around playing the CPU as if you were in the arcades), and a 10th Anniversary mode that allows you to play the arcade mode in VF1 graphics.|
|War of the Monsters||Free Roaming 3D Fighter||Pick a 40 story tall monster and kick the shit out of another, equally huge, classic movie monster ripoff. Each one has a completely unique appearance, feel, and moveset. Matches involve 2-4 monsters duking it out in a fairly large assortment of "arenas" full of environmental hazards like tidal waves and earth quakes. Fully destructable environments, complete with tiny screaming people, make you feel like a 140ish foot tall killing machine. Topping off the cake is some of the most fun multiplayer in existence. There's also a few entertaining minigames, and a couple of badass boss battles. A hugely unappreciated classic.|
|Warriors Orochi 2||Action / Being a Badass||Dynasty Warriors 5 + Samurai Warriors 2 = epic. Like the others, you'll either love it or hate it.|
|Way of the Samurai||Action / Adventure / Being a Badass||The entire point of this game is to be a samurai. Do whatever you want within a day and a half of game time, as a samurai. Side with whoever you want, kill whoever you want, just do whatever you want. As a Samurai. Very interesting game with varied endings depending on your actions, and since it's short, you can keep replaying the same character over and over, improving his wardrobe, sword's stats, etc. You can also take the weapon of fallen enemies/allies and store it or use it yourself, which adds a very interesting collection aspect. Really underrated classic.|
|Way of the Samurai 2||Action / Adventure / Being a Badass||The sequel to Way of the Samurai is just a great improvement, with the same great game-play, time and freedom, but with a new set of stories, characters, longer playtime, and a bigger world. A lot more swords to collect too. Story-wise it's actually a prequel. The better of the two, but it's really just worth it to own both since they have different locales. Some people prefer the first game because they feel this game has weaker stories, but again, both are worth owning. Sequel on PS3.|
|We ♥ Katamari||Ball Rollan Games||Sequel to the surprise hit Katamari Damacy. Now that the series has a fan following on Earth, the King orders his overworked son to go down there and roll up more stars to please the audience. The gameplay hasn't changed except for a couple ancillary features, and some new levels are very fun; you can also now play as the Prince's many cousins if you can find them (and roll them up) throughout the various levels. The new hub level, a storybook sort of place, is notably cute, and this time each level carries a bit of a story with it (you will also get a look into the famous King's past), but overall it is more of the same. (That isn't necessarily a bad thing.) More Katamari on XBox/360, PSP, PS3.|
|Whiplash||Platformer||You play as a weasel handcuffed to a bunny trying to escape the product testing lab where they were forced to have chemicals tested on them. What it lacks in innovative gameplay it makes up for tenfold in hilarious humor and pure fun.|
|Wild ARMs 3||RPG||RPG that takes place in a fantasy Wild West setting with a nice cel-shaded sketchbook style. The world map takes getting used to, but it gets better when you get horses. Has a unique battle system that involves firearms, which you can improve the fuck out of, and an unconventional, but nifty, skill points system. Has a New Game+ and it is recommended to play twice as there are plenty of times where early parts contain Easter eggs that will make you shit bricks once you connect the dots. WA1 and 2 are also good, but the graphics take re-adjusting to. WA4 and 5 have mixed opinions, but you may want to look into them if you like this.|
|Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht||RPG||The spiritual prequel to Xenogears on the PS1 by Squaresoft. Made by a different company, though, so the story is completely different due to copyright shit. Cutscene heavy, but has a great soundtrack.|
|Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse||RPG||The sequel to Xenosaga Episode I. Is generally considered the worst of the three, but still worth playing. Has a more realistic styling to it, a turn off to many people.|
|Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra||RPG||Considered to be the best of the series, Xenosaga Episode III concludes the series on a good note. Is also notoriously hard to find nowadays.|
|XIII||FPS||Awesome James Bond style story where you play as a secret agent (voiced by David Duchovny, of The X Files fame) framed for murdering the president. Team up with war veteran general Carrington (voiced by Adam West, yes, that Adam West) as you try to regain your memory and clear your name. A decent, not great, first person shooter. The game has cel-shaded graphics, and comic book style cutscenes. Title is pronounced "Thirteen".|
|X-Men Legends||Action / RPG||Command the X-Men in an awesome squad-based real-time rpg. Everyone is unique, with tons of powers and abilities to upgrade and equipment to find. Tons of team combos. Runs better on another system though, as the load times can be fucking long as well as frequent.|
|X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse||Action / RPG||Same deal as the first game, but now you team up with the Brotherhood, which essentially doubles the roster of characters.|
|Yakuza||Beat 'em Up / Being a Badass||Walkin talkin Like a Dragon. Kick everything's ass, get laid. Roam a city doing just about whatever you want, from buying soup at the store to getting laid at the hostess clubs. Combat is fun, with different melee attacks, the ability to use environmental items as bludgeons, and an experience system which upgrades your health and moves.
Was remade as Yakuza Kiwami for the PS4, PC, and Xbox One. Lacks the English Dub but plays more like the modern Yakuza games. Also features more appearances from fan favorite Goro Majima!
|Yakuza 2||Beat 'em Up / Being a Badass||Still Like a Dragon, fight gameplay better than the first game as you can now attack different directions mid-combo, now with bare knuckle boxing a tiger. More to do and more ass to kick and names to take. Sequels are on PS3.
As with the first, was remade as Yakuza Kiwami 2. Includes a new campaign with Goro that follows up on his storyline from Yakuza 0.
|Zone of the Enders||Action||A third-person mech combat game taking place in the distant future, and brainchild of Hideo Kojima (MGS). A young boy whose space colony is destroyed finds himself in the cockpit of a mecha that everyone in the galaxy seems to be after. It's very pretty and combat is fun, if not somewhat repetitive, but it's over before you can get tired of it and generally sells for little. Multi-player is actually very fun, too. Now available on the PS3 with HD graphics as "Zone of the Enders HD Collection", which also includes 2nd Runner.|
|Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner||Action||"Bigger, better, faster." and it lives up to this tagline claim within the first 30 minutes of gameplay. New enemies, new 2nd weapons, a new grapple system, and an overall more polished feel make this a must-buy. The anime cutscenes look great, and the overall graphics push the PS2 to its limits. Pretty good plot too if you like Kojima's convoluted ANIME stylings. Look up ZoE 1 first or the game's plot and references will make little to no sense. Also harder to find than the first one. PROTIP: Get the PAL Special Edition version for improved graphic and shit. Also, ZOMG GRADIUS IN 3D! Use Konami Code in Vic Viper fight to unlock it. Now available on the PS3 with HD graphics as "Zone of the Enders HD Collection", which also includes the first game.|
The PS2 is reasonably emulatable, provided you have a decent PC (recommended 3.0 GHz dual-core). Some games work flawlessly, better than the hardware, others work well, and some don't work at all. It's highly recommended that you don't go farming downloads for ISOs or ripping games to your PC en-masse without checking whether they will work or not.
The best (and most actively developed) emulator is PCSX2. However, you will need to find your own BIOS file for it.
Also, although many of the PS2 classics were, or are going to be remade\re-released in next-gen consoles, emulating with PCSX2 might be a great way to improve the visual experience of some titles. Tried to play something with your ol' PS2 on a HDTV and the graphics looked awful? Hardware Mode allows you to increase the native resolution of the game in order to fix that. Still not happy? Enable the visual hacks and add some MSAA to the mix.
STILL not happy? Paste this on the emulator folder and configure the .EXE in order to add even more AA, Bloom, Sharpen and a bunch of other cool effects to the emulation (Use a guide here, since things might get tricky). However, keep in mind that those "forced improvements" are going to demand even more of your gear, and FPS drops might occur.
ALSO, note that emulating isn't magic, and the "core material" will be in 480p at best, which means that 3D\polygon-heavy games will benefit much more from those changes than 2D\sprite-based games: You better off sticking closer to the native resolution with titles like Disgaea, Soul Nomad, Tales of Series, etc. For every game you decide to emulate, check with the PCSX2 Wiki for compatibility info and contribute your own if possible.
The PS2 homebrew scene is tiny and undedicated. But with modding comes backups and "unofficial demos" so you may be interested. FreeMcBoot is the tool of the day, though installing it can be a hassle. You'll need ESR to boot disc backups, you can run games from an HDD with HDL, and USB Advance to load from a USB. You can also use Open PS2 Loader (OPL) to launch from usb, hdd or network, if you have an ethernet adapter.
|Consoles||Sega Dreamcast - Nintendo Gamecube - VM Labs Nuon - Sony PlayStation 2 - VTech V.Smile - Microsoft Xbox|
|Handhelds||Nintendo Game Boy Advance - Game Park GP32 - Nokia N-Gage - Nintendo Pokémon Mini - Bandai WonderSwan - Tapwave Zodiac|