Requiem for a game console

A look back at the ultimate PlayStation 2 games
By MITCH KRPATA  |  March 20, 2007

HAUNTING: Shadow of the Colossus

With the release of God of War II this week, the book is all but closed on the PlayStation 2. New releases will continue to trickle out, but now the blockbuster titles will appear on the newer, shinier PS3. To bid farewell to our old friend, the PS2, we offer a look back at some of the titles that defined the most popular game console in history. In chronological order:

Sony Computer Entertainment
Released September 25, 2001

The jury is out on whether a game can be considered art, but Ico supports the argument that it can be. Set in a crumbling, cavernous castle, Ico conjures feelings of dread and sadness from moment-one. There’s hope, too, in the form of the luminous Princess Yorda. If you can make it through this game without feeling any sense of attachment to her, I submit that you are something less than human.                  

Released December 18, 2001
Most RPG fans will tell you that Final Fantasy XII is the one to beat on the PlayStation 2. But the reasons they’ll cite — less linear gameplay, more intricate character leveling, and a more sophisticated combat system — are exactly why Final Fantasy X is the better choice for the generalist gamer. You get the sweeping storyline and dozens of hours of gameplay without sacrificing the sense of urgency of an action game. The same RPG guys will deride FFX’s weak protagonist, Tidus; in rebuttal, I offer Auron, one of the baddest supporting players in game history. Dude powered up by getting sauced.

Released September 21, 2004
Has anybody played Katamari Damacy and not had their socks charmed right off? It’s the sort of bizarre game that makes perfect sense while you’re playing it, but is impossible to describe to others. Your drunken father, the King of all Cosmos, has accidentally destroyed all the stars in the sky. To replace them, you need to roll around a thing called a Katamari, which sticks to anything it touches. When your Katamari is big enough, it turns into a star! You get it, right? You will. Just play it.

Sony Computer Entertainment America
Released November 2, 2004
You can’t go wrong with any of the Ratchet & Clank games. They’re all action-packed platformers with a cunning sense of humor and an engaging visual style. Up Your Arsenal, though, was the first example of a Sony property getting it right with regards to online play. The weapons-based gameplay translated well into squad-based multiplayer. In particular, Siege mode was a welcome addition to the attack-and-defend mechanics normally seen in first-person shooters.

Released November 17, 2004
Picking up Metal Gear Solid 3 was a disorienting experience. Snake’s radar had been his most invaluable asset in eluding foes, and now suddenly it was gone. Different camouflage options helped Snake hide in the woods and the tall grasses, sometimes only feet away from patrolling sentries, but without the radar his new nickname, “Naked Snake,” was all too apt. The tension never let down through Metal Gear Solid 3, and the fight with elderly sniper The End surely ranks as one of the best boss battles ever.

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