Last week I wrote about the discontinuation of the PlayStation 2. Today I will talk briefly about some of the games that I spent most of my time playing on the system. These are not necessarily the highest rated games that were available, and yes, it will be RPG heavy. This is my genre of choice and what I enjoy playing. Enough explaining, on with the list.
The four .Hack games only got average reviews. What attracted me to the series was the setting of an online game, only it was played entirely offline. I picked up the series after the third game had been released, so I managed to play most of the games back-to-back. During my wait for the fourth game I also bought the anime to add some more back story to the world in which I was playing. The games could have been so much more than they were, going further to simulate the online RPG experience by adding crafting and optional quests in areas that did not get used much. Overall I enjoyed the experience, and it prompted me to try a real MMO when I was done.
Ring of Red
Released early in the life of the PlayStation 2, this strategy RPG added some extra mechanics not typically found in type of game. Set in an alternate history post World War II world where Hitler ordered the deployment of Armored Fighting Walkers (essentially large crewed Mechs using 1940s technology). In this history Japan did not surrender in 1945, and the United States of America did not deploy the atomic bomb. Instead Japan was invaded, conquered and occupied by both Soviet and American forces leading to a Communist North and a Democratic South. The game is set in a period of political unrest between the two Japans in which the protagonist become involved.
History was a subject I loved at school, and the setting of the game appealed to me. Add steampunk Mechs in a strategy RPG and there was little I could find wrong with the game. That was until I got several missions in and got bored waiting for my guns to reload, then waiting until my accuracy was high enough to fire. Each combat between two units took about five minutes to complete and a turn could take up to half an hour. I revisited the game many times over the years but always stalled a few missions in when the waiting eventually got to me again.
Final Fantasy X
The first Final Fantasy game to be released on the PlayStation 2, also released fairly early in the consoles life. At this point I had played all three Final Fantasy games on the first PlayStation. Picking up the next installment of the series just seemed natural. I played through the game once by myself, then again with my girlfriend a couple of years later. Despite not being a gamer, she appreciated the story of the game and would often complain if I went too long with playing the game for her. If and when an HD port of the game is released I will play through it again to do all optional content that I skipped the times I played before.
Jade Cocoon 2
I was a fan of the first Jade Cocoon on the PlayStation. The sequel simplified the monster merging mechanics found in the first game. Instead of slightly altering the model of the monster, merging instead gave a new attack and reset its level to one while retaining most of its stats. The level cap for monsters was very low, but when merged at the cap resulted in a significantly more powerful creature once it reached the cap again. Combat also involved a lot of strategy, so the eight monster team needed to include a mix of offensive and defensive abilities. Despite having little replay value, my enjoyment of the game had me replaying it as often as once a year until I bought a PlayStation 3.
One of the best strategy games ever produced. Nippon Ichi had previously developed La Pucelle: Tactics for the system, but Disgaea was published first outside of Japan. The story, mechanics and the pacing of the game made me fall in love with the developer and most of their work since. Characters from the series continue to show up in other works by the company and even spawned their own anime that followed the events of the game. A direct sequel is due to be released in Japan later this year and will surely be translated into English. Ten years ago, even after playing the game, I could not have predicted how far the series would come.
Readers! What are the games you played the most on the PlayStation 2? Would any of my favourites be in your list? Let me know in the comments!