As we get closer to today’s Sony event and the unveiling of the PS4, we’re taking a trip down nostalgia lane and counting down the best games to ever grace the PlayStation platforms. This time around, we’re featuring the top 5 PS2 games. Remember, games are representative of their respective series, so you only make it on a list once. These titles don’t have to be PlayStation exclusive, but if they are multiplatform, there must be significant ties to the PlayStation’s heritage. Without further ado, here are the top 5 games for PS2:
#5- Jak and Daxter (Series)
Combing platforms and puzzles with an assortment of weapons and vehicles, Jak and Daxter is as much a part of the PlaySation’s heritage as any other exclusive. The games feature a sweeping assortment of locations, taking players across different times and through desserts, mountains and jungles. The series made its mark with a focus on variety, allowing players to use either melee or, beginning with the second game, ranged shooting weapons. Following the tale of Jak and sidekick Daxter, the story first begins when Jak accidentally turns Daxter into an ottsel, the game’s fictional mash up of an otter and weasel. From there the journey begins, as the two friends discover lost secrets and ancient mysteries on route to attempting to return Daxter to his former self.
#4- Shadow of the Colossus
It was a toss-up, deciding which of Team Ico’s fantastic adventures to add to the list. But in the end, Shadow of the Colossus was the clear choice. With an emphasis on exploration and strategic combat, Shadow of the Colossus gives players the opportunity to save the life of a young girl by bringing down sixteen massive collosi. Each fight was a puzzle in itself, as individual colossi could only be beaten through exploiting weaknesses unique to themselves. The deep sense of grand adventure was displayed through the game’s scenic vistas, as protagonist Wander roams the land on horseback in search of the giant beings. No game has ever quite captured the same sense of wonderment as Shadow of the Colossus; that feeling of first glancing upon a massive colossus and the epic battle that ensued. If The Last Guardian can provide even half of the excitement this game did, it will find itself on a future list of the top PS4 titles.
#3- God of War (Series)
Oh Kratos. You promised that in the end, there would be only chaos. But by the time you were through, I don’t think even chaos wanted to stick around. The critically acclaimed action-adventure title redefined genre mechanics that, to this day, are still being replicated. From the use of quick-time-events during boss fights and finishing maneuvers, to a free-flow use of interchangeable weapon types allowing for endless combinations and hit counts, to the controversial use of, erm, Ménage à Trois, as a constant minigame throughout the series, God of War has become a household name of industry-changing proportions. Taking players through a quest to eventually slay as many characters from Greek mythology as possible, Kratos has gone from soldier to God and felt just about every emotion a man can feel, until reaching a breaking point that just about everybody regrets pushing him to. When a franchise reaches the point where people call any game even remotely similar in structure a “God of War” clone, I’m pretty sure you’ve “made it” in the business.
#2- Sly Cooper (Series)
Sly Cooper. That thevious racconus. The sole reason I have to lock my doors at night (I wish.) Belonging to a genre all its own, Sly Cooper is technically a platformer with a heavy emphasis on stealth mechanics. All the usual platformer staples are there: Tons of collectibles, intricate level design, and a focus on exploring every square inch of a stage to find hidden objects. Winning major brownie points with me for combining comic book and film noir motifs, Sly Cooper is just about everything I’ve ever wanted in a video game without ever actually knowing I wanted it. The cast of characters stand out as some of the best around, and the gameplay is top notch, making the visually-intriguing series an instant classic. Admittedly, I haven’t gotten the chance to play through the series’ fourth installment, Thieves in Time, but even if it isn’t as crisp an experience as the original trilogy, it still belongs on my shelf as a sign of fierce loyalty for great franchises.
Combining Japanese myth, legend, and folklore, Okami takes a beautiful story and serves it up with even more gorgeous aesthetics. Taking the form of an adorable white wolf, players journey through the land as the reincarnated Shinto sun goddess, Amaterasu, in a quest to break the curse placed upon the land by Orochi. Introducing a unique brush stroke mechanic, Okami made gesture controls cool long before the DS and Wii ever refined the practice. Using the “Celestial Brush”, players could create “miracles” that helped solve numerous puzzles as well as offer a variety of battle tactics throughout the action-adventure romp. Unfortunately, the game released just as the PS3 was moving into the spotlight, and so despite critical acclaim, the game never received the commercial success it deserved. Yet even with such luck, Okami managed to receive a Wii port, an original DS game Okamiden, and an HD remake for the PS3. Not too shabby, Ammy.
There you have it, the top 5 PS2 titles. Considering the console had one of the longest running life cycles ever, I’m more than a little sure you’ve got your own opinions about what games belong in a top 5 list. Feel free to share them in the comments below.