I've been spending all morning trying to figure out what my top 5 PS2 games are (DEEPLY studying my options..while I attempted to beat Guitar Hero II on hard. My arms hurt.), and really, that has proven to be quite the stunt. Choosing just 5 games is almost impossible, due to the sheer volume of PS2 titles, and the fact that I haven't played half of them. So. I'm spewing together five titles that I graded on replayability, gripping gameplay, and overall sheer enjoyment. And before you scan my selections and start writing your hate mail, bear with me, read the whole thing, and THEN send me hate mail :)
In no particular order:
1. Grand Theft Auto series: Vice City and San Andreas (Rockstar, 2002 & 2004)
Let me tell you a little backstory about this series for me. I dinked around with GTA III on my friend's PS2 many many years ago. I bought a PS2 for the sole purpose that Vice City was being released, because III was that fascinating to me. This series has completely raised the bar of console gaming, period. Throw the controversy aside, I'm not a violent person. But sometimes when you come home from a rotten day of work and sit in traffic for an hour, you REALLY want to blow something up, run over a person, etc. Honestly, I couldn't care less about the storyline of these games (Vice City's is way better though), just running around causing havoc is what the game is all about, and I have probably logged 100+ hours on both Vice City and San Andreas. Physics are great, there's tons of things to do, wide open gameplay, HUGE map, mindless violence at it's best. And I couldn't choose which was better, so I chose both Vice and Andreas.
2. Devil May Cry (Capcom, 2001)
Wow. Just, wow. Another one of my first purchases for the PS2, I was beyond intrigued at the design of this game. The stylized gameplay was of like nothing I had ever seen before. The storyline is fantastic and gripping, and Dante is a bad mother flower. Enemies are of many shapes and sizes, and battles are exciting, not to mention freaking TOUGH AS NAILS! The game in it's entirety was a pain in my rear end to beat, and it's still one of the tougher games I've played. But it's so satisfying that even an impossibly hard game such as DMC is worth replaying many, many times.
3. Kingdom Hearts (Squaresoft, 2002)
Now I can hear all you shouting "Ashley, you girl, why the hell would you choose such a wussy title?" Well, I AM a girl, but that doesn't mean I play Barbie's Pony Adventure. My taste in games varies from the light to the evil, nasty, gory greatness. And all you arm pumping manly men who think that you are too manly to play Kingdom Hearts, try it. I guarantee you'll change your mind. Let's talk about originality. This game is so original! What an interesting marvel to bind Disney characters with Final Fantasy characters. The story actually meshes pretty well, and the levels are fun. Remember that word, fun? This game is plain fun. I had an absolute blast going through the levels of movies that I grew up with. And if you didn't, you're lying. Gameplay is simple but amusing, and certain bosses, levels, and mini games are quite challenging. It's definitely not a kids game. I could play this one a thousand times over.
4. Ratchet and Clank series (Insomniac, 2002, 2004)
Let's be clear about something before I start. I'm talking about the above three R&C games, Ratchet & Clank, Up yor Arsenal, and Going Commando. I see these as the basic R&C games, not the little spinoffs and the PS3 title that I have not yet played due to lack of PS3. So here we go. Ratchet and Clank. I could explain the entire series in one sentence: It's a blast. No pun intended. Seriously though, it's one of the greatest platformers of the newer systems. There's a good deal of humor in the series, which I am quite fond of, and even defeating enemies is really humorous. It's light hearted but takes a chunk of strategy as well. The weapons of variable and all are fun to use, and each one is useful in different situations. The levels are pretty in their own right, more cartoony than anything but adds a bit of originality to the series. Each game is equally replayable. One of my favorite series of all time.
5. Medal of Honor: Frontline (EA Games, 2002)
Ohhhh I know I'm going to eat a lot of dog doodoo for this one, but I can't lie. I love this game. I am a guilty WWII game addict (Hi...my name is Ashley....and I'm addicted to WWII games...."hello Ashley".), but I've played a lot of them, and I wouldn't necessarily throw them up on a top 5 just because they're WWII games. This game is just that good. I've always been a fan of the MoH series and this won gets, well, the Medal of Honor. The game starts out on Normandy beach, which is just wild to be thrown into a game so intensly. Battles are long and glorious, you find yourself ducking on your couch trying to stay low enough not to be sniped. Levels are grey and smokey, much of what I would expect a ravaged Europe to look like during war. It doesn't take long to beat the game, which is disappointing, but it's a great shooter, and it makes you thirsty for more. I've replayed it many many times. It never gets old.
So now that I have my top 5 up, I know you're all saying WTF mate?! No Final Fantasy? No God of War? No Shadow of Collosus? What is wrong with you? The simple answer is: I haven't played them yet. I own them, all of those mentioned. And I'm sure that once I do play them my top 5 may change. If you look at my game collection, I own over 200 titles on 8 different systems, so obviously I haven't gotten to everything yet, and I won't play a game that I own simply because I feel like I have to. I wait until I think "hmmm, I think I'd like to try this one out". I'm also not like those schmoes that can play 11 games at once and keep the story straight (like my husband...), so I only play one game at a time (currently Mass Effect). The other thing about choosing 5 top games is that there are only FIVE. Simply choosing 5 titles on the PS2 is like choosing 5 teeth and pulling the rest. There are just so many good games for that system. And no game so far has really stood out like "I am the best game EVAR!", it's a matter of choosing great games out of a collection of great games.
I do however have some honorable mentions that aren't necessarily the top, but they deserve to have the "hey I'm pretty cool too" award.
1. Guitar Hero: Rock the 80s, because it's the best compilation of songs of any GH, but I don't own it because I have the 360 version of GH
2. Star Wars Battlefront II, because it's one of the better multiplayer games for the PS2
3. Killzone, also for it's multiplayer. Not a good single player, but amazing multiplayer.
Okay, now you can send me your hate mail. :)