By Josh Speer / March 4th, 2015
As today marks the 15th anniversary of the prolific PlayStation 2, which was easily one of my favorite all time consoles, we here at oprainfall saw fit to honor it with lists of our favorite games. While initially I was only planning on doing a Top 5, it quickly became apparent that number would not suffice. So I culled through my memory banks, and managed to narrow it down to a Top 10 list of my favorite PS2 games of all time. The list has a wide range of genres, from RPG to Action to Simulation to Platformer. For simplicity’s sake, I will list them alphabetically, and not in any particular order, since I would find it near impossible to grade them from most to least favorite. That said, here is the first game –
Contra: Shattered Soldier
Since I grew up playing the insanely difficult Contra series on the NES and SNES, it was an easy choice to pick up Shattered Soldier for the PS2. Little did I know that I was going to revise my definition of challenging once I played this game. This was a vintage Contra experience, but ramped up to 11. Unforgiving levels, brutal bosses and an absolute plethora of bullets to avoid. What I especially appreciated about the game was that you were armed with interchangeable weapons from the get go, making it more a matter of skill or memorization when you succeeded, rather than dumb luck. It was also beyond satisfying to memorize the level layout and enemy patterns to the point where I beat it on the hardest difficulty, a requirement to unlock all the levels.
God of War II
Say what you will of God of War’s legacy, call it derivative, crude or overly violent, but this game was one of those I really enjoyed on the console. Granted, it did have a bit of a cliffhanger ending, but the game itself was very enjoyable, while sporting great graphics for the time. Most of all, I have this game on my list since it got me past a very dark period in my life. There’s little as cathartic as beating the living hell out of virtual enemies to vent one’s rage and depression. For that, I sincerely thank Kratos.
Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil
While I didn’t normally come to Sony for my platforming fix, the main exception to that rule was Klonoa 2. I don’t recall ever playing the original, but I was hooked on the sequel. It was basic, unique and challenging, all wrapped together in a candy cute shell. I was captivated by the strange universe Klonoa inhabited, full of menacing yet adorable foes and tricky jumps. The only unfortunate thing was that the Klonoa series didn’t get many more sequels.
Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color
While I would venture many of you are familiar with the first 3 games on my list, I bet this next one has many of you stumped. Even I cannot remember exactly what made me rush to buy it. I think it was likely due to me reading a preview of the game in a gaming magazine, since that was usually where I found my new gaming addictions back before sites like GameFAQs and wikis became commonplace. What I can tell you is that I was utterly captivated with Magic Pengel. Imagine a Pokemon-style RPG game, but instead of capturing monsters, you draw them to life. It’s a simple hook, but it fascinated me. While the battles were much simplified compared to Pokemon, you had a lot of control over what you could create visually. Better yet, the design and color of your pengel determined their attacks and stats. I actually ended up buying a second memory card just to dedicate to my numerous creatures in this game, that’s how hooked I was. While I am more than sad it was seemingly a standalone title, it is probably my most played PS2 game of all time.
Mega Man X: Command Mission
My next opinion might be unpopular, but here goes. Mega Man X: Command Mission was a far better RPG experience than the Mega Man Legends series. Whereas Legends took my familiar blue bomber and made him unrecognizable, Command Mission was a bit like a fan service RPG, taking my favorite robots and putting them in a turn based RPG. That’s all it took to get me excited, and keep me playing. While it is not the best game ever, and is incredibly linear, it is still a hell of a lot of fun, and I recommend it to any Mega Man fan out there who hasn’t yet played it.
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