Sony’s PlayStation 2 has a huge library of games, and some of the best games ever made are in that library. TimeSplitters 2, Metal Gear Solid 2, Final Fantasy X, Shadow of the Colossus, and many, many more games made the second generation of Sony’s platform the go-to place for gamers, but for every classic, there were several turkeys and some really great games that didn’t get the love they deserved. Some of these hidden gems may have their own cult following, or they may have become classics years after they came out. But at the time, neither the critics nor the public paid much attention to them.
Let’s look at some of these names.
We’ll start with an entry that has stirred up a lot of debate. Manhunt was not, in the usual sense of the word, underappreciated. It sold pretty well, and a lot of people talked about it. But this attention was for all the wrong reasons, which most of us already know, so we won’t go into them here. Under all of the debate, there was some really great gameplay that is often forgotten. If you take out the violence and snuff movie parts, you’re left with a surprisingly solid and well-made stealth game that requires careful planning and a strategic approach to defeating your enemies.
Sure, the game’s violence and grimy, gruesome look made it stand out and get all the attention, which is exactly what Rockstar wanted. However, the game itself was great, and it’s a shame that many people may have missed out on it because of its less tasteful parts.
This is another Rockstar game that was first made for the PSP and then moved to the PS2. The Warriors was a kind of prequel to the movie of the same name from the 1970s. It showed how the street gang in the title got started and gave more background on each of the larger-than-life characters.
On the way to that fateful meeting with Cyrus, the leader of the Riffs, there was a brawler-style mechanic that let you fight the gang’s rivals one-on-one. When you add minigames where you can steal car radios, rob stores, and leave your gang’s graffiti tag everywhere, you have a game that captures the feel of the movie while expanding on the original story and giving you a deeper look at the Warriors. If only a game based on a movie from the 1970s would have gotten more gamers excited.
Rygar: The Legendary Adventure
Rygar came out before the God of War series. It was an updated version of the arcade and NES game, and it let you play like in Devil May Cry. As Rygar, players went on adventures around the island of Argus, where they faced all kinds of mythological enemies. The Diskarmor, which is a shield on a chain, was the weapon of choice. This gave Rygar a wide range of attacks, like Kratos’s Blades of Chaos, and the upgradeable shield could give him new abilities. It could also call on gods with a lot of power.
Rygar was a good action-adventure game that didn’t get as much attention as the God of War series, which came out about three years later. It wasn’t as polished or impressive as that series, but it was still a good game that many people didn’t know about.
Survival horror is one of the most important genres of the early PlayStation era. After Resident Evil came out on the PSOne and made it popular, a lot of games that were just like it came out. We’ve all heard of games like Silent Hill, but we’d bet that you haven’t played Extermination.
Extermination was a full 3D survival horror game with some of the worst voice acting ever (it was sped up or slowed down to match the lip-syncing, which made it funny), but the gameplay was great.
As a member of an elite military team, you were sent to check out a research station in Antarctica that had gone dark. When you got there, you found creatures that looked like Things everywhere, and there weren’t many people left alive.
The game’s combat and exploration were like those in Resident Evil, but it had some great extras. The modular weapon you carried could be changed in any way you wanted, and there were puzzles in the environment that you had to solve. Also, there wasn’t much ammunition, so it was often best to run away from a fight. Dennis, the main character, could get sick if he was around enough enemies.
Even though it wasn’t as polished as the Capcom games, Extermination was a great start to the genre, and in some ways it was better than the games with bigger budgets.
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII
Square Enix, which used to be called Squaresoft, knows that the seventh game in the Final Fantasy series is popular because it has made several spin-offs, including this one, Dirge of Cerberus.
DoC changed the series from a turn-based RPG to one where you shoot from the third person. FFVII fan favourite Vincent Valentine fights Deepground, an organisation that wants to bring back a creature called Omega. He uses his Cerberus pistol, as well as a machine gun and a shotgun.
The game was a mix of shooting games and role-playing games, or RPGs. Many FFVII fans didn’t like it because it was action-based, which is a shame. Even though the game wasn’t a masterpiece, it was pretty good and had some nice mechanics and fun fights. And we got to play as Vincent Valentine, which was always a plus.
This one is strange. Gungrave was a simple third-person shooter with some interesting and unique design, especially in its characters.
Grave, the main character, was a gunslinger who had died and come back to life. On his back, he carried a large coffin full of weapons. Combat was quick and stylish, like in movies like Equilibrium, and Grave’s use of his pistols and special weapons made for a great arcade experience.
The game was short and too linear, which was a shame, but it did lead to a sequel and an anime, which isn’t bad for a game that most PS2 owners probably don’t even know about.
The Suffering (2004)
Psychological horror usually comes from Survival Horror and other similar genres, you know, the ones that work well with the suspenseful nature of psychological horror.
So, what would a game like that look like if you made it more exciting?
I suppose it would look like The Suffering.
The Suffering, which was made by Surreal Software, is a fast-paced horror game where running is only a last resort.
The Suffering is one of the best horror games on the PS2. It has a bit of a Silent Hill vibe to it, and it has a morality system that affects how other characters treat you and what kind of ending you get.
The Adventures of Cookie & Cream (2001)
Before making the “hard but fair” roguelike series Dark Souls, the company From Software made games in a wide range of different genres.
The Adventures of Cookie & Cream was their first PS2 game. It had a cutesy style that was very different from what they are known for now.
I’d recommend it because of how well it works with other people, which is clear from how it was made.
And it seems like people need to work together here, not just that it’s a nice thing to do.