"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. And it is retro-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 only 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 most other consoles, it gives 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. And there are adapters to use Xbox controllers on the PS2.
SOFTMOD NOTICE - FUCK YEAR PIRACY
Not many people realize this, but the PS2 actually supports sticking an IDE HDD into the Expansion Bay via the Network Adapter. Coupled with some nifty softmod software, you get to pirate for the PS2 without having to mess with chips. Once you get FMCB on it, the older PS2 doesn't even need the Optical Drive, unless you really wanna play real copies of games or PS1 games.
Also shit like free mcboot exists and so on as well.
- Positive Metacritic Reviews
- Neutral Metacritic Reviews
- Negative Metacritic Reviews
- No Review Listed
Have you played these games? They need a description to be added onto the list:
- Ar Tonelico: Melody of Elemia
- Ar Tonelico 2: Melody of Metafalica
- Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
- Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II
- Drakan: The Ancients' Gates
- Indigo Prophecy
- Mega Man Anniversary Collection
- Mega Man X Collection
- Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army
- Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria
|007: Agent Under Fire||FPS / Stealth||Awesome Bond FPS. Great Multiplayer. (Can be used to install FreeMCBoot)
Also available on Xbox & GameCube.
|007: Nightfire||FPS / Stealth||Fuck yeah Nightfire. Bitchin story, Bondan with Brosnan, and fucking amazing multiplayer. Sequel to Agent Under Fire.
Also available on Xbox & GameCube.
|007: Everything or Nothing||TPS / Stealth||The best Bond game with two analog sticks. Also home of one of the best motorcycle sequences in gaming. There's also a pretty good co-op campaign to play through with a bro.|
|10,000 Bullets||Action / TPS||Basically Ninja Gaiden with guns. Released in PAL and NTSC-J only. Has a pretty bad reputation critically.|
|Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana||RPG||The first Atelier series released in NA and possibly the best on the PS2 Trilogy. Cuteness overload.|
|Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny||RPG||Improves a lot of things over the first one BUT it is way more straight-foward and simplistic in terms of battle mechanics and alchemy ( so its easier, not necessarily a good thing). Story is long and a bit dragged but good, overall. Even more cuteness overload and a generally good and eye-candish game.|
|Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm||RPG||Considered to be the worst Atelier on the PS2 but if you liked the two above, you'll probably going to love this. Same thing but with different characters, story and more content. And even more cuteness is present ( but the visuals, for some reason,seemed to take a hit from the first two). Sequels on PS3|
|Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies (Distant Thunder in Europe)||Flight Combat||A flight simulation game with tons of exciting combat, fucking stellar controls and visuals, top quality sounds and music, perfect atmosphere, and even a great storyline to boot. Unlockable planes and a perfect difficulty curve make this one game you'll never want to let go of. This game started the trend in series to have FUCKING MOTHERFUCKING EPIC last missions, with great soundtrack and almost unbelievable shit comming at you.|
|Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (Squadron Leader in Europe)||Flight Combat||Seriously just as good as Ace Combat 04 in every way, and maybe even improved with tightened controls. Your wingmen might annoy you though, with their constant radio chatter. It doesn't help that one of them sounds like Bill Paxton at his most obnoxious. Anyway, you can be assured, that after beating the game, every time you'll hear "Razgriz", you'll get a permanent goosebumps. Also, AC5 is the longest one from the PS2 era AC's, with over 27 missions, and few having dual choices and different missons going after them, depending from each one you've triggered.|
|Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War||Flight Combat||A prequel to all the other Ace Combat games, this has all the great things you've come to love and expect from such a top-quality series. The final battle is one of the most epic fights in history of gaming. PERIOD. When the Spanish guitar kicks in you know SHIT IS GETTING REAL.|
|Adventures of Cookie & Cream / Kuri Kuri Mix||Platformer||Awesome and original co-op game where you play as two pink and brown bunnies trying to find the moon in time for the Moon Festival. By From Software. Each player has one side of the screen, and you have to help each other out by pulling switches and hitting buttons that affect obstacles on the other player's side. Each level has a timer, and when either of you get damaged you lose some time, but you can collect gold and silver watches to regain lost time. The co-op is very well-made, and tons of fun with friends. You can even play the game with two people on the same controller, or controlling both screens by yourself. Definitely pick this up if you have a bro to play with.|
|Alien Hominid||Run 'n Gun||Alien Hominid has you playing as a little yellow alien basically just fucking shit up. Basic gameplay is similar to Metal Slug, but you can jump on people and bite their heads off, dig in the ground and catch enemy's legs, ride Yetis and more addictin' shit. Better to play in co-op with a friend.|
|Ape Escape 2||Platformer / Puzzle||Ape Escape 2 motherfucker. Apes loose, gotta catch 'em. Not as animeish as it's sequel, and the music took a slight hit. As a small bonus, after fully completing the game, you can play as Spike from the first and totally rip shit up. Not much point given you've beaten everything, but damn it feels good. Monkey Climber = infinite rage.|
|Ape Escape 3||Platform / Puzzle||The gameplay, which revolves around exploring large worlds and solving puzzles to catch monkeys with your net, remains the same, but many bells and whistles have been added. Play as a boy or girl, find tons of hidden collectibles, replay levels for alternate routes, unlock super-powered Morphs with distinct styles, and play a full-fledged MGS parody in the post-game. Pop culture references abound. Crisp and colorful presentation in Saturday morning cartoon style. Challenge level is low, but consistent and appropriate.|
|Armored Core: Nexus||Mech Combat||Arguably the best Armored Core game in the series, this game is full to the brim with everything the series is known for, such as complicated controls and WAY too much mech customization. It's great to try and make a mech that is completely and utterly you, and if you get friends in on the game, the splitscreen multiplayer is a blast.|
|Beatmania IIDX series||Rhythm/YOU ARE THE DJ HIT THE KEYS||Sequel series to the original arcade DJ simulator. Tough as nails with the hardest songs exceeding 2000 notes(!), but with an eclectic pumping song list it has many devoted followers. Are you up to the challenge? Japan-only aside from one anemic US release (that for some strange reason can be found in a whole lot of GameStops, sans controller). Starts with 3rd Style and goes to EMPRESS + PREMIUM BEST -- the 16th in the series and a 2-disc release. New players in the series may want to start with the later mixes, due to better tuning and variety in music. Check out this site for more info. Oh, and be sure to grab a DJ controller.Long-time fans can be VERY particular about which is the "best" mix, mostly revolving around the songlists, so you're probably not going to get any kind of consensus if you ask the community. Luckily, the vast majority of songs have been recorded and upped to YouTube, so sampling them is pretty easy if you want to decide where to start on your own.|
|Berserk - Millennium Falcon Arc: Chapter of the Holy Demon War||Action||A really solid DMC-type action game, only now with Berserk. Much better than the mediocre DC game, and worth at least playing if you're a fan of the manga.|
|Beyond Good & Evil||Stealth / Action||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 currently in development hell.|
|Black||FPS||A single-player-only FPS by Criterion, the Burnout series devs. It's pretty much Hollywood action movie style gun porn. Vague story focusing on US govt black ops. Pretty damn fun and worth a play. Graphics are nice (Depth of field, motion blur, lighting bloom, god rays) and excellent crisp sound design (gunshots become deafening in confined spaces, ringing ears etc.). Physics and environment are really detailed for a PS2 game. Weapons feel powerful and structures/cover/walls have multiple destruction levels; blowing holes in or even flattening it, concrete crumbles to expose steel, fire fights will kick up lots of dust/debris indoors etc. Awful live-action, unskippable cutscenes before missions. Also the Hollywood style might disappoint pure realism fans; large magazine capacities, enemies take lots of damage, no blood for rating reasons (but tons of swearing). Cliff hanger ending with no sequel. Complete lack of any multiplayer.|
|Blood Will Tell: Tezuka Osamu's Dororo||Hack 'n Slash / Being a Badass||Blood Will Tell is a game based on an manga by the guy who made Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka. You play as Hyakkimaru, a Samurai with no natural limbs. His limbs were sacrificed by his crazy father to demons when Hyakkimaru was only a child, so instead of regular limbs, you have things like SWORDS FOR HANDS. I'm not sure if you're paying attention but that's really badass. You can also play as the titular character, Dororo, a little thief |
|Bloody Roar 3||Fighting||Under looked fast paced fighting game with tremendous depth and a hook that sets it apart from most other games in its genre. lots of fun for both beginners and veterans of fighting games|
|The Bouncer||Beat 'em Up / Action / RPG||SquareSoft's first PS2 title already had the cinematic bombast and Nomura-tastic character design that would make them so successful on that console, but The Bouncer feels unfinished as a game. The combat system is an interesting combination of beat-'em-up button-mashing and RPG-style character growth, but your A.I.-controlled companions are mostly useless and the game ends before it feels like it's really started. A neglected game with some good ideas that goes for cheap nowadays.|
|Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter||Survival RPG||A huge departure from Capcom's colorful JRPG series, Dragon Quarter drops an oppressive atmosphere on the player at all times as the characters struggle to escape a dying underground world. There is a strong emphasis on survival due to item scarcity, while the battle system is vaguely reminiscent of Quest 64, where the player must rely on traps, terrain and strategy to survive. Its most controversial aspect is that it encourages the player to re-start the game repeatedly to uncover more of the story and progress more smoothly, as it's quite challenging. An RPG unlike any other, and a love-it-or-hate-it kind of game.|
|Bujingai: The Forsaken City||Hack 'n Slash||A really cool and stylish hack-and-slash game ala DMC made by Taito / Red Entertainment. You play as Lau, a martial artist expert and demon hunter. The character design is inspired on Gackt, a Japanese glam rocker that looks overly androgynous. He's the voice of Lau, also. Gameplay-wise is similar to DMC, but with more emphasis on platforming with the ability of walljump, wallrun, glide, etc, which makes the pace of the game enjoyable. Some platforming parts are bitchy, tho. Check out the tutorial to get them straight from the beginning. Something to remark is the counter system, that gives the game some movie-like fights with bosses and sub-bosses. You'll get to understand it when you play it. Named Bujingai: Swordmaster in PAL territories.|
|Bully||Adventure / Being a Dickhead||One of Rockstar's more lighthearted games, takes the mayhem and one-man-vs-the-world style of GTA and applies it to high school, where you must play your school's cliques against each other for your benefit or just pummel them into the ground. The setting and characters have tons of personality, and the game has fixed objectives and a more rigid progression then the usual GTA.|
|Burnout 3: Takedown||Racing||
Racing where you can slam into, and therefore wreck the shit out of, your competitors. Control your crash with aftertouch to crash into other racers. Tons of challenges and timetrials that are some of the most frustrating and fun you'll ever have on ps2. And some great looking graphics for the PS2.
Note: Tends to hate the shit out of third-party memory cards, Sony card highly recommended.
|Capcom Classics Collection|
(volumes 1 and 2)
|Compilation / Remake||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||2D Fighting||A huge game at the time of release, with 40+ characters (sprite quality varies wildly), each having a unique Arcade ending, and many surprising new fighters. Has multiple systems based on the workings of many previous fighters, which makes it easier for anyone to learn the ropes. Pretty unbalanced, but still a blast. Also on GCN, with easier move input.|
|Castlevania: Lament of Innocence||Action/Adventure/Platforming||One of the most underrated games in the series and (arguably) the best one in 3D. It's a prequel set in 1094 so its an origin story of sorts that explains some of the staples of the series (i.e. how the Vampire Killer Whip was created and Dracula's pre-vamp days). Also, it has probably one of the best soundtracks for any game ever. The only major downfall of this game is the environments get repetitive at times.|
|Chaos Wars||SRPG||An SRPG mostly known for its relatively obscure cast of crossover characters (Shadow Hearts, Gungrave, Growlanser and more) and its hilariously awful voice acting. Otherwise it is a fairly run-of-the-mill SRPG with tactical, grid-based battles and sprite-based presentation. A horrible little gem for the curious.|
|ChainDive||Action||2.5D side-scroller game where you play as this special agent dude in fancy armor. Grab onto green orbs in the sky with your trusty green grapplingwatchamacallit. Kill shit in midair with an ice sword and chain (!) attacks for extra points.|
|Chikyuu Boueigun (Earth Defense Force/Monster Attack)||Action||You shoot swarms of giant ants, giant spiders, giant robots, Godzilla monsters, giant UFOs and even bigger UFOs. Game is low on plot but who cares, the action is pure refined gold. Released as part of the budget simple series series in Japan, and it got an English release as "Monster Attack" only in Europe. Made by the same guys who made Robot Alchemic Drive so you know this is good.|
|Chikyuu Boueigun 2 (Earth Defense Force 2/Global Defence Force)||Action||See above, except with bigger, badder monsters. As with the first one, the English version was only released in Europe. In addition to the soldier from the first game you get a second playable character, PaleWing, who has a jet pack and shoots lasers and shit. This game has 2-player co-op. Has two sequels: "Earth Defense Force 2017" (Xbox 360) and "Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon" (PS3, Xbox 360, PC). A remake was released for PSP in Japan.|
|Chu♥lip||Adventure||The game's bizarre premise asks you, as the newcomer in town, to coax the various residents into kissing you so you can rack up experience and reputation, and eventually smooch the girl of your dreams. This is done by exploring each of the eccentric townsfolk's lives in order to make them happy. The nostalgic fifties setting is very well-done, but a lot of the game's humor and style didn't translate. It's also frustratingly obtuse a lot of the time. Enjoy its off-kilter charm with a guide.|
|Contra: Shattered Soldier||Run 'n Gun||Basically a 2D Contra game with 3D graphics. Still side-scrolling, epic hard boss fights and action. It's the Contra you love, just prettier. Instead of picking up weapons, you always have 3 which you can switch between at any time. They also have charge up effects, which are a bit stronger than just rapid-firing away, although that's still a very acceptable alternative.|
|Dark Cloud||RPG/Action/Sim/Roguelike||Interesting mash-up of Zelda-style gameplay and typical RPG stat systems stuffed into a roguelike, the real kicker is the fact that there's also a Simcity-esque town building aspect not too unlike Actraiser. Does suffer from a slogged storyline and typical grinding, still a great experience and definitely worth picking up.|
|Dark Cloud 2 / Dark Chronicle||RPG/Action/Sim||Dark Cloud 2 takes everything from the first game and improves ten times, just as a sequel should. The only gripe is that the atmosphere in DK2 feels very cookie cutter, whereas the first game had a very unique, hard to describe feel to it. However, it is definitely recommended.|
Ridiculous story and over the top gameplay. You play as 19th Century Gunfighter turned into a vampire. You spend the whole game blasting away at the undead, skeletons, supernatural spirits. Its over the top and tons of fun and great for multiplayer if you have a friend over. Highly recommended overlooked PS2/Xbox game.
|Def Jam: Fight for NY||Arcade Wrestling||A bunch of stupid rappers beating the crap out of each other somehow made into an awesome fighting game. Strong RPG elements; create a fighter and customize his appearance, voice, clothing, fighting styles, move list, and train their stats up. Also a detailed shopping and hip hop fashion cosplay simulator. Crappy/laughable blacksploitation movie story provides a decent premise to beat the shit out of real world rappers. Complex and satisfying fighting system, and the game can be surprisingly hard on the normal difficulty. Local multiplayer for up to 4 vs and FFA. Extensive soundtrack. Also Snoop Dogg's the final boss, so it's all good.|
|Destroy All Humans!||TPS||Be an alien in 6 large environments. Blow up people and vehicles with advanced alien weaponry, throw them around with your psychic powers, fly around in a flying saucer to blow up buildings, and play through several dozen missions to take over the human race. Oh, and you can anally probe people to make them shit out their brains.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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 and PSP 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.|
Basically Mario Golf with Disney characters. Surprisingly good, and very relaxing. Oddly, Mickey is not a playable character, just the commentator.
|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 / 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 Quest VIII: The Journey of the Cursed King||RPG||The standard DQ gameplay hasn't changed much, but it's still a great game. There are new skill trees divided into different categories. Powering them up boosts your stats and gives you new abilities, though you still also learn spells as well. Level 5 uses their cel-shading technique masterfully here for the massive, beautiful world. Being a long game, VIII is only beaten by VII in length. The US soundtrack is also from the symphonic suite CD and sounds absolutely incredible. Same goes for the good voice acting and characterization. A number of players have gotten their DQ start with DQ8, and it's a great one to start with. Especially since it goes so cheap nowadays.|
|Drakengard||Action / RPG / Beat 'em Up||You run around as Caim, just a dude who wants to fuck his sister and murder people as much as possible, slashing motherfuckers up. Grimdark version of Dynasty Warriors. Only you get to have awesome aerial battles while piloting a fire breathing dragon. It's fun to watch huge armies shit their pants as you fly over them and annihilate them with fire. Your allies include a blind pedo and a cannibalistic baby eating elf bitch. Has a sequel, though the MC in that is FUCKING HORRIBLE.|
|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.
|Fatal Frame [EU: Project Zero]||Survival Horror||Thanks to a magical, ghost-banishing camera, Fatal Frame blends the tension of survival horror with the addictiveness of photography games, where getting a perfect shot is also beneficial to your progression through the haunted mansion. The gameplay naturally sets you up for tons of scares, interrupted occasionally by challenging but doable puzzles. The atmosphere is taken from Japanese horror cinema à la Ju-On or Ringu, and the story is surprisingly good.|
|Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly [EU: Project Zero II]||Survival Horror||Continues in the same vein as the first game, but now with a different protagonist in a different, haunted countryside town. The enthralling story is even better (and masterfully told), and the game hits the sweet spot between wanting to score points with photographs and being absolutely terrified of continuing. Easily the high point of the series, and a survival horror classic overall. Ported to XBox with various extras.|
|Fatal Frame III: The Tormented [EU: Project Zero III]||Survival Horror||Though the game once again stars a new protagonist, the story follows the original Fatal Frame more directly, and eventually characters from the first two games join you and become playable. The plot attempts to tie the three games together--with mixed results--, but is overall a very solid effort once again, even if not much has changed, and will satisfy series fans looking for closure on the story. A fourth entry was released for the Wii, but is JP-only (fan-translated).|
|Final Fantasy X / International||RPG||FFX set the series' current standards for breathtakingly cinematic presentation, unique fantasy worlds, and romantic, sweeping stories with philosophical undertones. The game is fully-voiced and still a delight to look at, though the writing and voice-acting are a different story. Turn-based combat and rigid, class-based characters make a comeback, along with many callbacks to earlier titles. The game is very on-rails, with little optional exploration, but lots of side-content. As per usual, the ending is a point of contention. Worth a try.
International release includes English voices and adds additional exclusive content. This version was also used for the European release.
|Final Fantasy X-2 / International||RPG||Surprisingly, a direct sequel to FFX which revolves around Yuna's life after the events of the previous game. With Rikku the thief and new character Payne in tow, the three set out to become bounty hunters, errand runners, and pop idols, among other things. The combat system is very unique, as it allows the three to change classes ("Dresspheres," complete with unique outfits) in the middle of battle, a feature that some love and some hate. The story is ridiculous even for FF standards, so don't give it too much thought. A bizarre and unncessary, but fun romp.
International release includes English voices and theme songs (all menus are in Japanese though) and includes exclusive content, such as dresspheres, an additional playable storyline and battle arena mode.
|Final Fantasy XII / International||RPG||The last FF for the PS2 was first directed by Yasumi Matsuno (FF Tactics, Vagrant Story), who left halfway through. The result is a muddled but interesting story of political intrigue and hammy romance where virtually everyone is more interesting and important than the placeholder protagonist. Combat is like playing FFXI offline with pausing for command selection, and the Gambit system triggers specific actions under certain conditions (but is optional). The amount of side-content is staggering, but exploring it (with a guide) is encouraged. Recently there has been a translation patch made for the International Zodiac Job System version of the game, which features class-based character growth instead of the free-form License system, and features that make combat more engaging.|
|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!
|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||Strategy with robots and a weird European/South American political plot. Get ready for CUSTOMIZING FUCKING EVERYTHING, since there are so many parts and different types of each class of part. Really difficult too; you'll most likely have to restart every mission a few times before you can beat it.|
|Front Mission 5: Scars of the War||SRPG||Initially only available in Japan, but fully translated by the hardcore fans from Frontmission.info, which really deserve to be thanked. Basically, this is regarded as the ultimate Front Mission game by many followers of the franchise, since almost every gameplay aspect was improved compared to FM4 and the plot is basically a love letter to those that played the four titles that preceded this one, featuring lots of cameos and references without losing its own charm. If you ever played and liked any Front Mission game, this is a must-have.|
|Garouden Breakblow: Fist or Twist||3D Fighting||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 fun, fun rhythm game about a young teen who wants to gain the love of the girl of his dreams, so he learns guitar. This suddenly reveals the amazing truth that he is somehow a space-faring-superhero-rock-god-thing. Totally fun, and despite what people will tell you, it's nothing like Guitar Hero. Check it out for it's quirky and addictive fun that you will play over and over to master. Cry when master mode destroys your self esteem. Also on PSP, which may be easier to find|
|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||CLOVER Studio's swansong, a game that returns to the halcyon days of beat-'em-ups, with its nonsensical story and exaggerated character design. Pick from dozens of different moves and assign them to different buttons to create the best combos and strategies. The presentation's lack of polish and endless pop culture referencing are part of its B-movie charm, the soundtrack is as fun and eclectic as the game and the battle system is remarkably solid. Its lackluster reputation with critics has earned it a cult following but it's a (considerably) challenging experience with high replay value. Now available on PSN for download.|
|God of War||Action / Hack 'n Slash||Be Kratos, an asshole from ancient Greece who wants to kill everyone because he killed his own family. Traverse through nicely rendered Grecian level-scapes as you hack 'n slash your way to the top of Mount Olympus with two blades attached to long chains to kill Ares. Very similar to Rygar: The Legendary Adventure, although this came a few years later so it's much more polished and is thus better for it. Plus Kratos is soooo much more grimdark than Rygar is. Made quick-time events popular.|
|God of War II||Action / Being a Badass||You want more God of War? Here's more God of War. Watch Kratos get butthurt and start ripping things to shreds again with his Blades of Chaos. Better than the original, gameplay-wise. Story-wise... not so much.|
|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.|
|Grandia II||RPG||Though unrelated to the first game in terms of story, Grandia II boasts the same fantastic active-time battle system and strong characterization, this time with somewhat more mature characters and a sardonic, likeable protagonist. Though the plot is predictable, it's supported by a memorable cast. Graphically it hasn't aged well, but continues to be an excellent JRPG. The DreamCast original is much less buggy, as is the PC port after applying patches.|
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 $9.99.
|Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus||Fighting||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 / Causing a shitstorm||An ultra-stylish action-TPS, combat is mostly about filling the screen with artillery in search of specific bounty targets. You play as mysterious mercenary Beyond the Grave in a dystopian, corrupt megalopolis. Surprisingly for the genre you move quite slowly, so positioning and melee combat are as important as shooting, though this isn't exactly a strategic game. Very short. Sequel GunGrave: Overdose is also on PS2. Was adapted to a manga and anime.|
|.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||A true-to-the-genre survival horror title where combat is almost never an option, the game mostly consists of escaping a variety of terrifying enemies who will chase you restlessly through the traps and puzzles of a massive castle. Your A.I.-controlled canine companion is vital to negotiating obstacles and handling enemies, as the player character is physically and mentally fragile. Beautiful settings and a grim story with multiple endings, along with side-content and unlockable costumes for the busty protagonist.|
|Headhunter||Stealth / Action||Take the Metal Gear Solid formula, streamline the action, drop the pretentious metalinguistic 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.|
|Ico||Adventure / Puzzle||An elliptical game with a skeletal story that is open to interpretation, where a young boy with a curse and a lonesome princess join forces to escape the giant castle where they've been left to die. You control Ico, and have to solve architectural puzzles to aid Princess Yorda in your joint escape, with occasional, shallow combat sections. The game's atmosphere, enhanced by its use of bloom, are a big part of its critical appeal and timelessness. Short, with little extra content in the NA version. Ported to PS3 in HD with extra content restored. Shadow of the Colossus is distantly related, and developed by the same team.|
|Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy||Platformer / Super Mario 64-esque||A good platformer with whimsical, early-PS2 graphics and good controls, made by Naughty Dog (who did Crash Bandicoot). While the game's fun and absolutely worth playing, the series changes a lot in the second and third titles in the series. Though there's definitely a "je ne sais quoi" about the first that the latter two don't quite have. Goes amazingly cheap nowadays.|
|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||Driving Simulator||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||First-person Shooter||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||Third-person Shooter||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.
|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.|
|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.|
|The King of Fighters 2006||Fighting||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 Collection: The Orochi Saga||Fighting||Collects KOFs 94, 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||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 XI||Fighting||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 to the PS2 version, along with being able to edit sprite colors on every character for your own personal pallet swaps.|
|Kinetica||Futuristic Racer||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.|
|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.|
|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. One of the few NIS games not to see a re-release or port.|
|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||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.|
|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!|
|Mister Mosquito||Puzzle||A quite bizarre and weird game, feeling almost Katamari-ish. The whole game revolves around you flying around different stages and trying to "affectionately" suck blood to survive. Try not to get squashed! Plenty of fun to be had.|
|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 ;_;|
|Namco Classic Fighter Collection||Fighting||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.|
|Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles||Action/Adventure||Back when the show had promise, before that dumb Sasuke subplot/DARK N' EDGY. An underrated game that puts you in Naruto's shoes doing various missions and such for the Leaf Village and whatnot. Pretty fun in general if you like the show, and if you just like mission based action/adventure, then this is a pretty good entry for you. Sequel ain't too shabby either.|
|Naruto: Uzumaki Chronicles 2||Action/Adventure||Pretty fun and includes more characters and a cleaner, crisper graphical look, compared to the first one. This time around, it features a filler-based plot (because you know how much naruto fans love those, right?) that involves a puppet clan trying to destroy the leaf village etc. Theres also a 2-player versus mode now too, which is pretty decent to say the least. All in all, if you want to buy this game, its fun and worth it in the long run.|
|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||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 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.|
|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||Say hi to the sequel of one of the most famous arcade games from the 80's. After 20 years, Yu Suzuki gave his approval to SEGA for a follow-up of the original. 15 different Ferrari cars, including the ever-loved Testarossa on 3 different game modes are guaranteed to give you enjoyment. This game features some of the prettiest visuals you can get out of your PS2, super smooth framerate, very responsive controls, and a HUGE, GLORIOUS OST that includes remakes and remixes of the originals (including the less-known sequel Turbo OutRun), the songs from the first game, and some new tracks too. Nearly everything is unlockable with points you earn from playing. Your mileage may vary with that.Also on Windows and Xbox.|
|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 and PSP.|
|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: 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.|
|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||As the young Radiata Knight Jack Russel, make friends and influence people by kicking the shit out of them. Every NPC in the world has their own schedule; stalking people has never been so fun! Plays a bit like a cross between Star Ocean, Suikoden, and a Saturday morning cartoon. Has a ton of characters and a number of endings.|
|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. 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. Definitely worth picking up. Now with (off- and on-line) multiplayer!|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Resident Evil Code: Veronica X||Survival Horror / Adventure||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. Soon to be ported to the PS3 in HD with Move support.|
|Red Faction||Shootan||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||Shootan||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 / Action / Being a Badass||RE4 took the series direction into a third-person-shooter action style game with some slight horror elements, and the results are spectacular. The story subtly parodies both RE games and horror tropes. This port adds some extra stuff and real widescreen 480p support (unlike the Wii or GCN versions). An essential sixth generation game. Ideally, get the Gamecube version for better graphics, but this one is pretty close.|
|Rogue Galaxy||RPG||A sci-fi JRPG by the same people behind Dark Cloud (it has a vaguely similar feel in the character designs and aesthetics). The cast and setting are strongly reminiscent of Star Wars, and generally speaking the plot and characterization are nothing to write home about. (They're not abysmal, either.) If you're a completionist than this game will be both heaven and hell for you, though, as there are heaps and heaps of side-quests and fully fleshed-out side-games, such as raising and pitting insects in interstellar tournaments, synthesizing new items in a laboratory, and taking down several optional bosses for bounties. Combat is action-based and revolves around giving different characters battle commands, and graphics are quite pleasant.|
|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 untranslated SNES original, of which the third game has a fan-translation and 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 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.|
|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 (US version only).|
|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||Picks up a few years after the original game, taking place in an alternate-universe 1915 where monsters and magic are commonplace. Graphics are quite polished, and the game's atmosphere is uniquely weird and idiosyncratic for a JRPG. The cast is made up of oddballs as well, such as a gay vampire wrestler and Princess Anastasia Romanov, though some are duds. Each character has a lengthy optional side-quest that fleshes them out nicely, and there is a ton of side-content in general. The story is a sort of alternate, behind-the-scenes take on World War I history, and takes the player all across the Old World and Japan. Battles revolve around the series' trademark Judgment Ring, which keeps the player active and alert, and the game puts up a reasonable level of challenge. Overall a very solid, stylish and lengthy JRPG.
Director's Cut is a japanese re-release featuring additional content and gameplay changes.
|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 distant prequel to Ico, this game shares its predecessor's economy of story, trademark lighting techniques, cinematic, nearly HUD-less presentation and ambiguous resolution. This time you control a wanderer who has entered a forbidden, abandoned island in search of the power to bring his loved one back to life. To do this, he must seek out and slay sixteen Colossi, slumbering earthen giants. These sixteen long, impressive, puzzle-like battles form the bulk of the game, while the rest consists of roaming the miles of desolate island territory. Some battles are done on foot, while others are carried out on your loyal steed, and consist of finding ways to climb the massive Colossus and pierce its weak points. Like Ico, it is short, but features several post-game challenges and extras. Critically lauded. Ported to PS3 in HD with a stable frame rate, which the PS2 version lacks.|
|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. 5 dollars 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 $5 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.
|The Punisher||Third-person Shooter / 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 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 and Gamecube.
|The Simpsons Road Rage||Arcade Racing/Crazy Taxi Clone||A complete rip-off of Sega's Crazy Taxi series. Sega apparently agreed and sued Fox over it! While not great it's still a fun little game and well worth playing, especially if you're a fan of the series.
Also on the Xbox and Gamecube.
|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||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||Collection||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 Heroes||Platformer||Control four teams of three characters, each composed of a speedster (Sonic/Amy/Shadow/Espio), a brawler (Knuckles/Big/Omega/Vector), and a flier (Tails/Cream/Rouge/Charmy), switching between team members on the fly in Sonic Adventure-style levels. After beating the main story with each team you'll need to complete some hidden levels to face the true final boss. Light on story, but has some humorous character moments for fans. A halfway decent game for those who enjoy 3D Sonic.|
|Sonic Mega Collection PLUS||Collection||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.|
|Soul Calibur II||Fighting||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||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 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.|
|SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom||3D Platformer||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.|
|The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie||3D Platformer||Made from the same engine as Battle for Bikini Bottom, this game is techinically that game's sequel, as it contains many elements from that game. It follows the same plot as the movie, and has you collecting Goofy Goober Tokens to progress (As that Mindy is a fucking bitch) and get through levels and bosses. It's debatable whether this or BFBB is better, but they both have FUCKING KICK ASS MUSIC!|
|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||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||Fighting||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.|
|Street Fighter EX 3||3D Fighting||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 DragonBall 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'|
|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 DragonBall Z||2d Fighting||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||Third-person-shooter||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.|
|The Sword of Etheria [JP: OZ]||Hack-'n'-Slash||An excellent and great-looking action title that has been largely ignored, mostly because it was only released in PAL territories (as The Sword of Etheria). 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 it, get it.|
|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 4||Fighting||A decent Tekken game. While probably considered the worst out of all of the main series Tekken games by fans, its still a fun game to play iregardless. Story wise, it does a decent job of telling the Tekken story in a more indepth way through long ass opening cutscenes and more consturcted endings. If you want to collect Tekken games, this one isnt cringingly bad or anything. But if you feel like getting one or the other, get Tekken 5, it has way more content worht playing.|
|Tekken 5||Fighting||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
>inb4 /v/irgin and parties
|Tekken TAG Tournament||Fighting||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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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||Probably the most balanced series of fighting games. Enjoy technical matches, you noob. Evolution re-release is better.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Yakuza 2||Beat 'em Up/Being a Badass||Still Like a Dragon, now with bare knuckle boxing a tiger. More to do and more ass to kick and names to take. Sequels are on PS3.|
|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 3.0GHz 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.