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Top 50 PS2 Games of All Time: #40 to #31

40: X-Men Legends:

X-Men Legends brought the X-Men franchise back into focus. There have been a few really good X-Men games in video game history, and a ton of terrible ones. X-Men Legends was the first truly great one in a long time. It has a lot of traditional beat-em-up elements along with some minor RPG elements. The story is good, the characters are great, and you can play as both modern and old-school incarnations of many X-Men characters. It's not a perfect game by any means. I had a few complaints that stopped me from finishing it. But, X-Men Legends is a great game that actually spawned an entire series. X-Men Legends 2 followed, and then the series morphed into Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. I never played any of those because the only one in the series I own is the original as of now, but I do plan on picking those up eventually.


39: Soldier of Fortune Gold Edition:

Probably the goriest first-person shooter I played on the PS2, but also one of the most fun. Soldier of Fortune is a bloody, intense, action-packed shooter. One of my favorite aspects of the game was the fact that shots to different body parts produced different results. Back then, it was actually rare to have a FPS like that. This was a really fun game, and the gore makes it unique because a lot of FPS games really don't have that much gore oddly enough.



38: Spongebob Squarepants: Battle For Bikini Bottom:

I'd bet you never expected to see this on this, did you? Believe it or not, this is a great platformer reminiscent of Super Mario 64 and the original Jak & Daxter. There's a lot of item collecting like other 3D platformers of the time, but the gameplay is varied and solid, the characters and story are taken right from the show, and the level design is good too. It's not quite memorable enough to stack up with the top-tiered platformers on the system (platforming is one of the PS2's strongest genres), but if there were a second tier, Spongebob would be amongst them. The sequel, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, is almost as good, although it's shorter, doesn't have as much variety, and the cutscenes are made up of unimpressive still shots from the movie whereas in Battle for Bikini Bottom, they're all in-engine cutscenes. However, it does use the same engine, so it's still a great game. Those two are games I would highly recommend to platformer fans.



37: Disaster Report:

The definition of a cult classic on the PS2. If I were to briefly describe Disaster Report, it would be a mix of a traditional puzzle solving adventure game (with no combat), with a survival horror game, except instead of dodging zombies and other mythical creatures, your enemies are natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and burning buildings. The premise is you're a reporter on a manmade island which is suddenly struck by a series of natural disasters, and you must escape alive. This game is unique, fun, and totally memorable. The graphics were terrible even for the time, but I don't care about graphics if the gameplay and premise are great. This game is definitely worth checking out. It has a sequel called Raw Danger which I haven't gotten around to playing yet, but it's on the list for sure.


36: Star Wars Starfighter:

I'm not a big Star Wars fan, but this is one fun game. This is a mission-based shooter where you fly a starfighter and shoot at enemies both on planets and in space.  You have an incredible freedom of movement in this game. You can fly upside down and all around in any direction with the greatest of ease, which makes this game unique and a lot of fun. The game is played from a first-person perspective unless you optionally switch to a behind-the-ship view, but I thought that actually made the game harder to play and less exciting, so it was all about the first-person view for me. The sequel, Jedi Starfighter, wasn't quite as memorable but it used the same engine, so it was good too. My only big complaint: The final few levels of both games are impossible. Not difficult, but rather impossible to beat without cheats. But the early to mid parts of the game are great.



35: Alien Hominid:

It was definitely a rare sight to see a game like this on a console until the advent of Xbox Live Arcade. Alien Hominid is a 2D, hand drawn shooter similar to Contra and Mega Man. You play as an Alien invading the Earth and being attacked by Earthly military forces. The game is hard just like the classic games it emulates, but it's hugely satisfying. Alien Hominid actually has decent variety as well, and several attacks to choose from. This game is a classic and definitely worth playing.



34: Killzone:

As soon as Sony decided to release their own first-person shooter set in a futuristic environment, the comparisons to Halo began. Killzone is not Halo. They're completely different in style and approach. They're both good on their own merits. The original Killzone was very underrated. Some reviewers simply gave it bad scores because they were expecting a Halo game and that's not what they got. On its own merits, Killzone is a great, fun, challenging, and dynamic first-person shooter with great controls, level design, and decent characters. As you'll see later in this list, it's not my favorite FPS on the system, but I loved it. The online play was decent too, as this is one of the few games I actually played online on the PS2.



33: Viewtiful Joe 2:

Another side scroller, except unlike Alien Hominid, Viewtiful Joe is a beat-em-up. I actually played Viewtiful Joe 2 first, as I haven't gotten to play the original yet. Viewtiful Joe 2 is a fun, fast-paced beat-em-up. Like any superhero, Joe has super powers. His powers include slowing down time, which causes his hits to do more damage, and speeding up time, which allows you to make your hits insanely quick. Both powers also have puzzle-solving elements too. I can't say enough good things about Viewtiful Joe. This game is so much fun.


32: Soul Calibur II:

Not quite as arcadey as Tekken, but not quite as simulationey (I'm using a lot of fake words today) as Virtua Fighter, and with the inclusion of weapons, Soul Calibur is one of the great 3D fighting franchises. The PS2 version added Heihachi, admittedly not as cool as Link in the Gamecube version, but the game overall is still awesome. Like a lot of fighters, it lacks quite a bit in replay value especially for single-player, but this is still an awesome fighter.



31: Half-Life:

This console version actually expanded on the original PC version, updating the graphics somewhat and adding some exclusive modes. Otherwise, though, this is a great and very faithful port of the PC classic. Admittedly, I for one actually prefer playing FPS games with a controller as opposed to the old keyboard and mouse setup, so the PS2 version of Half-Life was great for me. And considering it was the only console port of Half-Life to see a full release, you could kind of call Half-Life a PS2 exclusive, if you don't count PC in the equation. As for the game itself, so much has already been said about Half-Life that there's really no need to talk about it. The long and short of it is, Half-Life is one of the greatest shooters ever made. First person shooters even to this day can trace their lineage back to Half-Life, as Half-Life pretty much made the first person shooter what it is today.

And that's all for this part. My next blog will contain #30 to #21, and then we'll be down to my Top 20 PS2 games of all time. Every game on this list is easy to recommend, especially if the premise or source material is something that will interest you. Thanks for reading!

Jason

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