DAR Games Retro: 7 Classic PlayStation 2 Video Games

By @TrueGodImmortal

While the PS4 is the system of choice today, some years ago, many of us had one thing on our mind: the PS2. The PlayStation 2 system takes the cake as the greatest of the Sony consoles, and it is very high on the list of the greatest gaming consoles ever. One reason that made it so great was the extensive catalog of games that kept gamers busy for hours and hours. Those games ranged in genre, length of gameplay, and quality, but we loved and appreciated them all. Today, I wanted to take a look at 7 legendary PS2 games and what they meant to the gaming world. Let's get into it.

*The Warriors (2005)

-Based on the classic film, when this game dropped, I was torn. I wasn't fond of the 1979 film like that, but I knew of it of course. I knew going into this game, it was either going to be extremely enjoyable or slightly miss the mark, but when I saw Rockstar was behind the game, I instantly felt like the game was in good hands. I was correct. This is a straightforward fighting game essentially, with enough action and adventure within it to keep you engaged for hours and hours. For me, exploring Coney Island for extra missions was the icing on the cake, while training inside the Warriors headquarters was a nice added touch and gave it a more realistic feel. Fighting your way through the ranks and into the final missions of the game is the objective and the actual attacks are also fun, whether it's a 2-3 combo, wall smash, body cross attack, or of course, our favorite, weapons attack. This was such a well planned out game that it would end up becoming a huge seller and one of the greatest games of the later years for PS2. Many feel this is the greatest game adaption of a film, and they are absolutely correct.

*Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution (2002)

-The original Virtua Fighter 4 was a success and a very important arcade game, but the updated version released for the PS2 was even better. With great mechanics and fun gameplay, this game was essentially a classic. There were two new characters added to the game and they adjusted the style of the existing characters, which was a nice added touch. They didn't stop with the adjustments there, as they would end up slightly tweaking the stages as well. Virtua Fighter 4 was a solid game in its own right, but the additions and fixtures in Evolution made it an all time classic IMO. The graphics improved, the characters improved, the stages improved, the gameplay gained more variation, and they even improved the ranking system. Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution is a legendary game and one of the first to really expand and improve THIS much.

*Kingdom Hearts (2002)

-The third edition of the game still hasn't dropped.... and it's been almost 16 years since the first one releases. Still, the initial game was a huge hit on the PS2, showcasing that you can mix two worlds together and have one hell of a result. I enjoyed the game personally, but what I loved most was how it took on a life of its own following the release. It was a departure from the usual style of RPGs from developer Square, but this one caught on quickly with the RPG crowd. Mixing in Square characters with Disney characters, this game had a nice balance of role-playing and action, and the three main characters being Sora, Goofy, and Donald Duck was a welcome narrative. All in all, there is so much that can be said about Kingdom Hearts, but the fact remains, it's seen as a classic game and one of the greatest ever and rightfully so. Who would have ever thought that a Final Fantasy and Disney mashup would spawn something so special?

*Gran Turismo 4 (2005)

-The most underrated racing series in the history of the genre had a truly legendary edition of their famed series in 2005. This game was the best of this series IMO, though I do have a personal preference for the 2nd and 3rd editions, but this was head and shoulders above the other editions. I always believed that this was going to be the last game in the series, and it took nearly 5 years for the next edition, but this was a great game to release and then take a hiatus with. With over 700 cars included in this game, many of which that can be seen as luxury cars, the game has a perfect blend of older classic vehicles, the debut of pickup trucks in the series, and even attempts at more futuristic vehicles (there is a 2022 model in the game). There are 51 tracks, mostly from previous games, but some modifications were added to give them a fresh feel. The mechanics of the game were the smoothest they had been in the history of the series and I would rank the gameplay as top notch. Gran Turismo 4 is a classic and it was a huge seller, ranking as the 2nd biggest game in the series commercially, but the most popular worldwide.

*Bully (2006)

-Rockstar was one of the premier  companies for PS2 and they make an appearance on this list multiple times. This game is a bit underrated in essence, as many people focused on the controversy around it instead of the gameplay, but it's still seen as a classic to many. This game was released at a time that PS2 was about to go out of style in a way, as Xbox 360 was already in stores and PS3 was on the way. Still, that didn't stop this game from being a huge success on the PS2 and keeping the power of the PS2 alive. Set in the fictional town of Bullworth, the story follows a student named Jimmy and his journey in school to rise through school ranks amidst bullies, nerds, etc, and of course, with this being a Rockstar game, there is an open world environment. The game has some controversial elements to it, but it has a lot of freedom for the gamer, which made Bully a very enjoyable game and an interesting experience. There is a rumored sequel in the works, but this game could very well be seen as the last true PS2 classic.

*ESPN NFL 2K5 (2004)

-Of course, there is no way to have a list with versatile choices and not mention the greatest football game of all time. I would be absolutely out of my mind to not mention this game on a list like this. For the last 13 years, we've sat through Madden games that hit the mark, missed the mark, and had a lack of variation, but we all remember 2K5 very fondly. It's simply ahead of the class, and the release of the game was mind blowing in itself. The game was sold for 19.95, becoming a more affordable option for gamers, a marketing strategy that worked immense wonders for the 2K brand, so much so that it forced EA Sports to sign an exclusivity deal with the NFL. Despite my personal disdain for that, I can't blame EA Sports. There was no way that they could have competed with a game like this. Madden 2005 was the best game of the series, and yet 2K5 still blew it out of the water. There were so many great features, with so many additions, even bringing in celebrities to add an element that wasn't available in the competition. The best part of the game is that you never got bored. Living in your house (The Crib), adjusting things, along with the franchise mode and the ability to create your own team, and there's so much more to it. 2K outdid themselves with 2K5 and the game even holds up well today when you revisit it. Simply put, 2K5 is the holy grail of football video games.

*Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)

-In many ways, 2004 is one of the best years in gaming history. I could go on and on about that year in gaming, and as you see, a few of those all time classics made this list. I thought about excluding this from the list for various reasons, but the truth be told, there is no way you can discuss legendary PS2 games without mentioning the universal greatest game ever for casual black gamers. Yes, casual black gamers don't make up the actual community of gaming, but even outside of casual gamers, die hard gamers know the truth about San Andreas. It gave you an experience like no other GTA game, as it was a far cry from Vice City and GTA III. This game still keeps the open world exploration aspect of GTA, but takes it from the landscapes similar to previous games and brings you closer to LA and the West Coast way of life in the streets. The focal point of the game is Los Santos, as we go through the life of CJ, and encounter so many intricate moments. CJ looks to find the truth about his mother's murder (the reason he returns to Los Santos), rekindle old gang friendships, and clash with corrupt cops. The biggest plot twist that hits is what makes the game so engaging and changes the course of everything (fuck Big Ryder and Smoke). It's a very well put together story that allows for so much freedom in the gameplay like most GTA editions, but the element of the West Coast black experience being a focal point of the game is what made it so enjoyable. San  Andreas is the highest selling PS2 game of all time, and it holds a special place in gamers' hearts, making the inclusion of this classic on the list a no brainer. The same could be said for all of these games. PlayStation 2 gave us so many memories and so many classics, but the ones listed here are just special.



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