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Ten Gems of the PS2 Generation

Sony’s PlayStation 2 turned fourteen years old yesterday. So what better way to celebrate, than a look back at ten of the greatest (and weirdest) titles ever to grace the platform?

 

1 – SSX Tricky

SSX Tricky

Remember playing the first SSX and thinking, “this is good and all, but it’s just not ridiculous enough”? Well someone at EA Big clearly thought the same. So in SSX Tricky, they let us breakdance on our boards, upside-down, in the air, to the sound of Run DMC. Yeah, that’ll do it.

2 – Onimusha 3: Demon Siege

Onimusha 3

The 2004 RPG/Hack ‘n’ Slash took us on an epic journey across Edo-period Japan through to modern-day Paris. Featuring the big-screen talent of Japan’s Takeshi Kaneshiro and Frenchman Jean Reno, Onimusha 3 was an instant classic with gorgeous visuals and a fantastic story. There’s a PC version available on Steam, but the whole series is just crying out for a proper HD remake on the current-gen.

3 – Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3

Metal gear solid 2

The two PS2 Metal Gears on the other hand, have received the HD treatment, and well deserved it is too. Hands-down, two of the best ‘tactical-espionage-action’ stealth-em ups ever conceived, thanks to an iconically gruff performance from David Hayter and some often insane, but hugely engaging storytelling by auteur, Hideo Kojima.

4 – Airblade

Airblade

According to Back To The Future, we should expect to have hoverboards real soon. In the meantime though, there’s Airblade. Released back in 2001, Airblade is a cyberpunk, Tony-hawks experience with a catchy, hip-hop soundtrack and some sic multiplayer modes. There’s a story in there somewhere too, but it’s a bit too easy to forget about when you’re tricking off skyscrapers.

5 – Kengo: Master of Bushido

Kengo

One of the more obscure gems on the platform, Kengo was the closest thing you could get to realistic one-on-one samurai combat without getting yourself arrested. It even featured Zen mediation, helmet splitting, and a candle-extinguishing mini-game; as well as a brilliantly tense local-multiplayer.

6 – Gregory Horror Show

Gregory horror show

Speaking of obscure, Gregory Horror Show was a title like no other. Based on a Japanese animated series, the game saw you collecting lost souls for Death in a haunted hotel run by an aged, sentient, paper-craft mouse. All the while evading the other residents, including a nurse-lizard with a giant hypodermic needle, a family of dogs with cleavers embedded in their heads, and a Mexican-cactus challenging you to mortal combat – to name but a few. Not for the faint of heart or easily traumatised.

7 – Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy X

Opinion tends to be divided on the franchise’s tenth entry, but whatever you might think of Squenix’s 2002 JRPG, FFX represented a huge leap forward in the PS2s capabilities. Stunning 3D environments, beautifully animated cut-scenes and a truly epic storyline made Final Fantasy X one of the greats. That laughing scene though…

8 – Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts

Sticking with the JRPG theme, 2002s Kingdom Hearts, was a bizarre mashup between the universes of Final Fantasy and Disney. A concept which on the surface, really shouldn’t have worked, but in fact resulted in one of the most colourful and varied worlds ever to grace a console.

9 – Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill 2

I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, I found it far too easy to get to sleep. That was until Silent Hill 2 came along of course. An impeccably designed, atmospheric, and terrifying experience, SH2 is a psychological horror that’ll stay with you whether you want it to or not.

10 – Ico & Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the colossus

These two have earned themselves something of a reputation over the years, and rightly so. Boasting some of the most-jaw dropping environment design, excellently composed soundtracks and heart-string-tugging stories in gaming, both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are two of the medium’s greatest examples of ‘videogames as art.’ We just wish the team would hurry up with The Last Guardian… please?

John Hatfield
There are two things in life John enjoys more than anything else: gaming and writing. In 2014 he decided to combine the two, and Level-Clear was born!

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