This blog is a part of my 10 day countdown until the PlayStation 4 is released! Be sure and check in everyday for more! The following list is only my personal top 10 and does not reflect any of the other members of Middle of Nowhere Gaming. The PlayStation 2 was where gaming really started to pick up for me. I was finally old enough to appreciate a little bit of story and not just fun gameplay; but at the same time was still not old enough to delve into the deep stories like Final Fantasy. Be sure and let me know what games you think belong on this list!
This was the fourth game developed by Neversoft in the Tony Hawk series. It was released in 2002 by Activision on several consoles, but I only played it on the PS2. I was going through middle school at this time and was really getting into the whole “skater-punk” scene. I had spiked hair, rode skateboards, and listened to all sorts of punk rock; I was a cool dude. This game was the epitome of what I wanted to be as a 12-13 year old. There really isn’t a whole lot to explain about this game other than it was a kick ass skateboarding game that I could play with all of my friends.
If you haven’t heard of the God of War series by now you must be living under a rock. It is a third person action-adventure game developed by Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released on the PS2 back in 2007, which was surprising for most people because the PlayStation 3 had been out for a while by that point. The God of War series is loosely based on Greek mythology and is set in Ancient Greece. You play as Kratos, who is now the God of War after a series of events that takes place in the first game. Kratos is then betrayed and killed by Zeus. The rest of the game is about Kratos’s journey to get revenge on the King of the Olympian Gods. The gameplay is fast and fun. You swing two blades around with different combos to destroy all kinds of mythological beasts. Kratos also earns magical powers that he can use in his combos as well to make things more interesting. There are a few puzzles in the game to switch it up from just being a hack and slash style of game. This is definitely a game everyone should play if they like action games or just Greek mythology. You no longer need to get the original PS2 copy as you can buy it now in HD with all of the other games in the series and trophy support added.
Grand Theft Auto III is an open world action-adventure video game released in 2001 by Rockstar Games. It was the first 3D game in the GTA series and was also my first GTA game to ever play. The game is set in Liberty City, which is supposed to be based on New York City, and follows a criminal named Claude. He has to try and work his way to the top of the crime world in this game in order to get revenge on his girlfriend who betrayed him in a bank heist. GTA III is all about driving sweet cars and shooting people; at least that’s what it was all about for me. I was the kid that would go look up all of the cheat codes on the internet and write them all down, then come back and enter them to have unlimited ammo and flying cars. This game was basically just a giant sandbox to play in. I loved every minute of the crime life I was living in this game.
The Ratchet and Clank series was one of the most fun series I had a chance to play on the PlayStation 2. This was the third game in the series, and was easily the most fun. Insomniac Games was able to perfect their tried and true formula to make a spectacularly funny platform shooter game. This game was released in 2004 but has since been rereleased in HD as part of the Ratchet and Clank HD Collection and includes trophies. The gameplay doesn’t change much from all of the other Ratchet and Clank games, but this one adds many new weapons and a deeper upgrade system. The story follows Ratchet and Clank as they try to stop Dr. Nefarious from destroying all organic life. The plot really isn’t what is important about these games; instead it is all about the fun gameplay. This was one of the first games that I took the time to beat multiple times.
Star Wars: Battlefront is both a first and third-person shooter and is based on battles in the Star Wars series. It was developed by Pandemic Studios and released in 2004 by LucasArts. The gameplay in Battlefront is “conquest-based”. The objective is to either destroy all of the enemy forces or to capture and hold all of their command posts simultaneously for 20 seconds. Battlefront could be played co-op with friends or online. I loved this game with a passion. It was the first time I had ever played a first person shooter and it was amazing. It is probably what led me to become obsessed with both Halo and Call of Duty later on. I honestly didn’t care about Star Wars in the slightest at the time when I was playing this game, but the competitive shooting style gameplay had me hooked.
Resident Evil 4 was originally released on the Nintendo GameCube in 2005 but was later ported to the PlayStation 2. Just like the rest of the games in this series, it is a survival horror video game developed by Capcom. The story of RE4 follows Leon S. Kennedy, a US special agent, who is sent to save Ashley Graham (the President’s daughter) from a crazy cult. While on the mission Leon finds out that there is much more going on in this rural European village; experimentation with a parasite that is turning people into zombie-like monsters. The game plays from a third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective. It has been criticized by many for feeling like it has “tank-controls” because of its slow moving nature, but in all honesty that never seemed to make it a bad game. It was so good that my buddies and I beat it a combined six times together. Resident Evil 4 is by far the best Resident Evil game released to date. It deserves a place in the top 10 on every console it was released on.
The Tales of franchise is my most adored franchise of video games. It wasn’t Tales of the Abyss that got me hooked, and it’s not even my favorite of the series, but that doesn’t take away anything from how amazing this game is. Abyss is a Japanese Role-Playing game developed by Namco Tales Studio and was published in 2005 by Namco in Japan and 2006 in the US. The story follows a young, spoiled child of noble birth named Luke fon Fabre as he gets mixed up in a giant world-ending ancient prophesy. Luke and his new friends (your other party members) team up as they try to figure out how Luke is connected to the prophesy as well as attempt to save the world from its apparent destruction. This game was spectacular. It gets a lot of grief from some fans of the series because of how unlikable Luke is towards the beginning of the game, but in all honesty, that is what makes the game so damn good. As you progress through the story Luke grows up; you get to see him as he matures and becomes a bad ass. This is definitely a game worth playing.
Dark Cloud is an action role-playing game developed by Level-5. It was released in 2000 by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan and then in 2001 in North America. The story follows a boy named Toan, who is given a magical stone that has the power to rebuild the world which has been destroyed and locked away. Toan has to traverse randomly generated dungeons and fight creatures in order to obtain different parts of the world so that he can then come back out and put everything back in place. The dungeons are not only randomly generated, but so are the enemies and the items you can receive in them. This makes it much more fun when you have to repeatedly enter the same dungeon area to find more parts of the village you are trying to save. The battle system is fun and there is a big cast of characters that all have their own special weapons. Speaking of weapons, the upgrading system is enormous. I was tempted to put this game at number 1 on my list because of how much time I put into playing this game and how much fun I had designing my own villages after saving all of the pieces. Level-5 hit it big time with this game and it is a shame the series didn’t last very long.
When Square-Enix decided to publish a mash-up between Final Fantasy and Disney, I was extremely confused, but that confusion ended up transforming into a giant love affair. Kingdom Hearts is an action role-playing game that was released in 2002. As I said, it is a cross between Final Fantasy and all of the Disney movies, which ended up making it extremely popular. The story follows the main character Sora as he searches the different Disney worlds to find his friends who mysteriously disappeared. Sora becomes the wielder of the “Keyblade”, which is a sword in the shape of a key. The fighting mechanics are hack and slash for the most part but it is really fun because you can throw in some magic as well. Plus there are different looking Keyblades that represent each of the Disney worlds. As a little kid playing this, I was basically on cloud nine. I was able to interact with Tarzan, Hercules, Jack Skellington, and many of my other favorite Disney characters. I had not played any Final Fantasy games at that time, but there are also several of those characters in the game too, which gave that fan group a reason to play it as well. Kingdom Hearts was remastered in HD recently and included in a bundle with a few of its sequels, and is definitely worth checking out.
What do you think about my list? Did I include all of your favorite games? Should I have put a different game on here? Be sure and let me know in the comments! This post can also be found at Middle of Nowhere Gaming!