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The PlayStation 2 has one of the biggest and most diverse game libraries of any system ever. With literally thousands of games to choose from, many can easily get overlooked. Today we are going to take a look at some hidden gems on the PS2. These games are ones that may have flown under your radar but are worth picking up and playing through. Lets jump in with our first game.
Oni is a third person action game developed by Bungie and published by Rockstar Games. This was one of favorite games back in the day, but for whatever reason I never hear people talk about it. The game did a lot to break new ground by blending third person shooting with hand to hand combat and it flows between the two seamlessly. It has a gripping story with many twists along the way. The game is super cheap these days so if you see it definitely give it a chance.
Before Rock Band and Guitar Hero Harmonix first got into music rhythm games with Frequency. And man this game rocks. Its played with a normal controller but its fast paced chaotic gameplay makes up for not having a guitar to play on. It has a great soundtrack as well and if you are into games like guitar hero then you need to give this game or its sequel amplitude a shot.
8. Ace Combat
Though the Ace Combat series is relatively popular, the last installment of the series on the PS2 seems to be forgotten by most people despite it being one of the best games on the system. Developed by Namco and released in 2006 this game was very late in the life cycle of the PS2 when people were gearing up to get their hands on a PS3 or Xbox 360. However, this game is beautiful as it has some of the best graphics and the story line is very immersive. It’s a prequel to Ace Combat 5 and explains the Belkan Wars. If you are into arcade flight sims, this game is defiantly for you.
7. Klonoa 2
Next we have Klonoa 2, a 2.5 D platforming game developed by Namco and released in 2001. I've talked about how much I enjoy the Klonoa series before, but this entry is my all time favorite. The way the game flows makes it a load of fun. I love that even though it is technically 2D, you can change the plane you are running on. It also has these other gameplay elements like the water board segments that do a great job breaking up the gameplay so it never gets stale. If you get the chance, you have to play this gem.
6. Graffiti Kingdom
Graffiti Kingdom is one of the coolest and more unique games on the system. Developed by Taito and released in 2005, the player is able to create characters (known as "Graffiti Creatures") by drawing their body parts and assigning a function (such as "leg" or "head") to each part. Attacks and movement can also be customized. It was mindblowing to me when I first played this. If my character needed to fly I could just draw him wings and he could fly, if he needed to go faster I could draw his wheels; all very innovative game mechanics for its time. The game however was relatively unknown to most people despite its high praise from critics.
5. Jade Cocoon 2
A great RPG that is often overlooked is Jade Cocoon 2. Developed by Genki and released in 2001 this RPG has a massive 3D world to explore and over 200 cut scenes with full voice acting. The depth of this game alone should have been enough for it to be noticed by the masses, but most people overlooked this game and instead opted for the popular Final Fantasy series. However, Jade Cocoon 2 gives it a run for its money. If you are looking for an RPG to sink countless hours into this may be what you are looking for.
4. Growlanser Generations
Growlanser Generations is both a compilation of Growlanser II and Growlanser III and the sole North American release of both games. The North American localizations of both games were produced by Working Designs and released in 2004. The games feature an isometric perspective, squad-based battles between diverse parties, a complicated system of cause and effect as fights play out, and customizable character development. As one of the better tactical RPGs on the system it is worth picking up.
3. Heavenly Guardian
Heavenly Guardian is a scrolling shooter game developed by Starfish SD and released in 2008. Another game that was released super late and was for the most part looked over by most gamers who had moved on the next gen. But this game is super fun. The game was originally going to be released as a sequel to Pocky & Rocky on the SNES. Due to legal issues with Square Soft they were forced to change the title and characters while maintaining the core game play. If you are into SNES style shooters make sure to check this gem out.
2. Haunting Ground
Haunting Ground is a survival horror game developed by Capcom and released in 2005. The story follows Fiona Belli, a young girl who wakes up in the dungeon of a castle after being involved in a car accident. Fiona seeks to escape the castle and unravel the mysteries of it and its inhabitants. The game shares many similarities with Capcom's earlier survival horror title Clock Tower 3, and has been described as a spiritual successor to the Clock Tower series. It is said to be one of the best horror games ever made so if your are lucky enough to find a copy of this make sure to give it a play.
And finally, Ico is a puzzle-platformer and action-adventure game that came out in 2001. The game is based around a boy meets girl concept. The game has beautiful visuals and fun gameplay. The puzzle solving never gets stale and the story is amazing. Although not a commercial success, it was critically acclaimed for its art and story elements and received awards, including several "Game of the Year" nominations. The game was later rereleased on the PS3 bundled with Shadow of the Colossus; another amazing game. So if you want to check it out I'd recommend playing it on the PS3.
Do you agree with my list? Let me know what your favorite PS2 games are in the comments below.