After the amazing news that Sony has successfully made the PS2's epic back catalogue available to play on the PS4 via emulation, my mind instantly shot back to evenings and weekends spent with friends, tearing through some of the most iconic games the 21st century has had to offer, thus far.
Games that are now irreparable, lost in translation or were straight up "borrowed" forever by friends or family members will soon be ours to traverse once again. But which games exactly? Which games would be perfectly suited for retro gamers and the new generation of players to come together and enjoy?
Last month PlayStation UK tweeted the question of which cherished PS2 classic would we like to play again. And after much deliberation and racking of memories, I came up with these 7 games:
1. TimeSplitters 2
Well, what can you say about Free Radical's seminal Timesplitters 2, arguably one of the best split-screen multiplayer shooters ever to happen to man. But not only was the game fast, frantic and heaps and heaps of fun, it had infinite playability due to its map editor and ludicrously customizable multiplayer options. I mean, you could even change the music of levels!
And you could use a brick as weapon. Now that's awesome.
2. Burnout 3: Takedown
The mixture of insane speed and Hollywood-esque action of Takedown was akin to slipping into a unique state of zen, with oncoming traffic whizzing past eyes pinned on your rival as you attempt to smash them into a fence. It's never felt so satisfying, taking out a rival that has been bugging you for 2 laps, or hearing your friend yelp as you send them careering into a truck.
This truly was the epitome of arcade racing, and I didn't even mention crash mode...
3. NBA Street Vol. 2
Bit of a wild card this one, but if you ever played this gloriously ridiculous game you know just how endlessly fun it was. Back when EA Sports BIG was... well... BIG and churning out countless subversive sporting sims, they released this gem which was 3v3 arcade, basketball madness which pitted the the NBA stars of the time against the legends.
Its point stealing game-breaker moves were over the top, create-a-character was tight and the soundtrack was fire! Saying that though, any soundtrack that includes a bit of Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth is a winner for me:
4. Pro Evolution Soccer 3 or 4 or 5 or 6
Do you remember a time when football/soccer games weren't dominated by EA Sports's glossy FIFA franchise? I do. Fondly. Don't get me wrong, I love the FIFA games (from 10 onwards), but the Pro Evo games of the PS2 era were on a whole different level.
Where the FIFA games of the early '00s were fraught with niggling issues (rubber banding anyone?) and a loss of soul, PES was indeed king with its smooth passing, simple animations and the ability to smash the ball into the net from 40 yards out.
5. Star Wars Battlefront II
Battlefront 1 was outrageous to begin with. It set the precedent for how incredible MMOFPS branded in the shiny garb of Star Wars's iconic characters should be (yes, I'm staring at you, Star Wars: Battlefront 2015). The graphics were killer, there were so many vehicles to terrorize bots and other gamers with, lots of infantry groups to choose from (Droidekas FTW) and ORBITAL friggin' DOGFIGHTS.
The action was intense, the switch from ground to air combat was seamless and, and you didn't have to needlessly mine credits and level up in order to unlock a shiny new grenade! How exciting.
6. Silent Hill 2
I still remember borrowing Silent Hill 2 from a schoolmate and nearly caking my pants with fear. And thinking about it now still sends chills up and down my spine. It's a truly unique franchise that manages to manipulate tension, fear and pleasure and make something wholeheartedly thrilling out of it.
The placement of the camera sometimes obscured enemies on the celling which is a touch I love, despite it probably being an issue with the game's design. It adds to the terror and erring nature of anyone who would be thrown into that situation.
7. Manhunt 1 & 2
Still stands as one of the most violent games I've played, the seminal and disturbing Manhunt is a truly awe-inspiring trip into the seedy underbelly of the dark side of man that managed to herald today's blood soaked spate of violent video games.
The stealth mechanics were incredible, and even if the murders may have turned your stomach, they felt as rewarding as heck. What the naysayers definitely chose to ignore when dragging this game through the proverbial bushes of "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!" was the fact that the game offered moralistic questions to the gamer.
It sought to remind you of how fragile the human body and mind is and, as Levi Buchanan said, "If Manhunt succeeds at retail, it will say more about America's fascination with violence than any political discourse or social debate." And it did indeed sell well enough to warrant a sequel.
What did you make of the list?