The little Emotion Engine that could (Top 10 PS2 Games)

Playstation 2 is one of my favorite consoles. Right up there with SNES, and PSone. If I had to guess why, it'd probably be because of the sheer volume of quality JRPGs. So when I saw this thread on GAF talking about top 10 PS2 games, I figured I'd toss mine in. Why not do it there? Well, apparently I'm not allowed to ever have a NeoGAF account. So here it is.

Fair warning, this list is pretty boring. Noting on here you haven't seen a dozen times before. Also, this list is ranked from favorite to least favorite. You might not agree with the rankings, you might not even agree with the selections. However, it's just an opinion, I'm not here to argue which games are the best. Just the ones I like the most. Have fun, enjoy the fact that I like lists.

List items

  • It's tough to pick between Episode 1, and 3. I love both games a lot, and they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. However in the end I feel like I enjoyed the first one more. It was exactly what I wanted, a good follow-up to Xenogears. I was hyped to play it, and when I did, I wasn't disappointed. I've certainly played it more in any case.

    It's the beginning of an epic trilogy, and while the second game wasn't that great, the whole story is one of my favorites. Also love the characters, with KOS-MOS being one of my all time favorites.

    I'll exclude Episode 3 just out of fairness for other franchises on this list. I just think it'd be lame to list 3 next, for pretty much the same reasons as 1.

  • Okay, calm yourselves. I know that this opinion is likely to get me shot on Giant Bomb, but in all honesty I liked Persona 3 more than 4. I like the story more, and I like... well some of the characters more. That's the tricky part here, because I feel that while I might like characters like Mitsuru and Junpei more, the cast of 4 is stronger in the long run. Still giving it to 3.

    A lot of that might also have to do with the fact that 3 was my first Persona game, and that's always special. I also like the FES package in particular, because it added an extra campaign and a bunch of extras. The only downside to P3 though is that you can't control the other party members, and that's one thing I'll cede to 4's credit. Even if Portable might have fixed it for 3.

    I dunno, it's tough. I like both games a lot. Same situation as with Xenosaga, I won't put 4 on the list out of fairness. But my gut tells me I like 3 more. Even if I can see some improvements in 4. So there you go!

  • Suikoden 3 is special. When I first played it, I fucking hated it. Felt totally ripped off that I bought it, threw it in a pile, and didn't play it for months. I don't know why I went back to it, but I'm sure as hell glad that I did. It was my first Suikoden, it inspired me to go back and play the first two games, and helped establish myself as a big fan of the series. This one still remains my favorite however.

    Out of all the games, I think I like more of the 108 stars in this game more than any of the others. I also liked the Trinity system, and that the main characters were actually... well, characters. Not that I have any problems with Tir, Riou, or Freyjadour.

    Suikoden V is pretty great too, but not sure it really makes the cut on this list. It's worth an honorable mention though!

  • Alas, this kind of marks the end of quality Tri-Ace games in my eyes. Valkyrie Profile, the first one, is my favorite game of the last decade. As it turns out, 2 is pretty damn good too. Different though.

    The combat system is alright, I don't think it's nearly as good as the first game. It's the story, and the characters that really sell it for me though. And while it sucks that the Einherjar in this game are pretty throw away, that main cast is bumpin'.

    I'm kind of hoping that Tri-Ace will bring Valkyrie Profile back again someday, and finally make that Hrist game. Yeah, I know they did the DS game, and that was okay, but give me a real sequel, or prequel, or something that has more to do with Valkyries - for chrissake.

  • This is my favorite "modern" Final Fantasy, easily. Out of all the Final Fantasy games, the list goes like 6, 4, then 10 for me. This was also the last time I really felt fondly about a Final Fantasy game. It's got an excellent combat system, great story, and some pretty cool characters. Actually I think the whole cast in this game is pretty cool except for like... Khimahri. Yeah, even Tidus. Haters gonna hate. Look up McMANGoS on youtube if you wanna feel some love.

  • I feel kind of bad for putting Nocturne down this far, it's really one of my favorite games of all time, but I guess I can't bring myself to put it above the first five. Nocturne was my first Shin Megami Tensei game, and still remains the best outside of Persona.

    It's tough as nails, but really rewarding when you get a great team put together. The story is incredible, and the music is some of the best ever. The style of the game is chillingly good, and well, I ran out of things to say!

  • Now, this one is kind of tough. I'm putting it on the list because I have really fond memories of it, but I've honestly only played it once. Not something I can say about any other game on this list. However, that memory of the first time I played it is so strong that I feels like it deserves a spot on this list.

    Shadow Hearts, the first game, was already pretty awesome. It came out of nowhere and was published by Midway of all people, which I found a bit odd. Had no idea what I was going into, and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. And as far as I can recall, 2 did everything the first game did, but better.

    The combat system in this game is pretty unique, and a lot of fun. But again, it's the story and the characters that really sell it for me. As well as the setting, don't think I've played any other JRPGs with this sort of setting, let alone many games period.

    I'm definitely going back and playing this whole series again later this year. So I'll keep your informed on this decision.

  • What? This game isn't a JRPG! It doesn't belong on this list! Oh wait, yeah, it does. I'm a big fan of the Silent Hill series. I think it does, or at least did Survival Horror much better than Resident Evil, or anything else for that matter did. It's certainly scarier and more disturbing in any case.

    2 though, damn, what a fine game. I know this is a pretty popular pick amongst pretty much anyone who owns a PS2, but it's totally worth it. The story in this game is easily the most fucked up in the series, and that's what makes it the best. It also didn't hurt that it was one of the first PS2 games where I was like "Damn, that looks REALLY good". Still holds up pretty well in my opinion too. Combat? Well, not really Silent Hill's strong point. Moving on!

  • Alright, I know. You hate MGS2. 3 is way better, right? Well, not to me. Don't get me wrong, I love 3. I love the whole MGS series. But 2 is special in many ways to me. Firstly, the demo was amazing. Seriously. The MGS2 demo included with Zone of the Enders is one of my favorite games ever. Yes, the demo. I played the shit out of that thing. Secondly, biggest surprise ever? NO ONE knew about Raiden ahead of time. Something impossible nowadays really, it was pretty awesome back then. Even if everyone hated Raiden (I don't.) Finally, and probably the ultimate reason. Out of all the MGS games, I feel that Sons does the best job of making Solid Snake look like a complete badass. Not being able to control him for most of the game, and instead hoisting him into this position as some legendary badass is incredibly effective. Still not convinced? Fine, go. Go listen to your Snake Eater song. (I like the song too!)

  • Finally we have Yakuza 2. If there's one reason this game is on my list, it's because I have the biggest mancrush on Kiryu. Aside from that, it turns out it's a pretty sweet brawler/rpg hybrid with an awesome story. I've really come to love the Yakuza series, which is a little surprising considering I thought 1 was so-so. And while 4 is looking to be the best in the series to me, 2 still holds up as an excellent PS2 game.