With dozens of RPGs out there for PS2, the era was extremely successful for the genre fans. But then, if you had to choose only 10 games from all those names, what would your top list include? It is definitely a complicated choice, but it can be done. Judging by their popularity all over the world, some role-playing games have managed to stand up in the crowd.
Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy XII takes place in Ivalice. It was first released in 2006 and chronicles the story of Vaan, an urchin who dreams of becoming a Sky Pirate. Princess Ashe is the only survivor of the Dalmascan throne, so she has to stand up for what is right and fight. She makes friends, but she also sees some of her fellow allies die.
The game features a unique gambit system that allows players to program AI-controlled characters. This adds a layer of strategy to the game as players must carefully consider what actions their party members will take in battle.
All in all, this new game is different from other RPGs because it changes your perspective on the series. There are countless gaming possibilities within every scenario, so each player has a unique experience. Two players are less likely to follow exactly the same path to complete a mission.
Kingdom Hearts 2
The original Kingdom Hearts was such a strange concoction of disparate elements that it’s a wonder any sequel could hope to capture the same magic. Yet, against all odds, Kingdom Hearts II not only lived up to the impossible expectations set by its predecessor but managed to exceed them in nearly every way.
I remember being a freshman in high school, eagerly anticipating the release of Kingdom Hearts 2. I played the first game on my friend’s PlayStation 2 and loved it. I was hooked on the story of Sora, Donald, and Goofy teaming up with Disney characters to save the world from darkness. When Kingdom Hearts 2 finally came out, I was not disappointed.
The game picks up where the first one left off and introduces new gameplay mechanics that make the combat more strategic and rewarding. The graphics are also some of the best on the PlayStation 2, and the soundtrack is simply phenomenal. Overall, Kingdom Hearts 2 is an excellent RPG that any fan of the genre should play.
Tales Of Symphonia
The game follows the tried-and-true JRPG formula of an epic story, turn-based combat, and leveling up your characters, but does it in a way that feels fresh. The world is beautifully realized, with each area feeling distinct and alive.
The combat is fast and fluid, making excellent use of the DualShock controller. And the characters are all likable and interesting, with enough depth to them that you’ll want to see their stories through to the end.
Tales Of Symphonia’s cute art style and intriguing story set it apart from similar games.
Star Ocean: Till The End Of Time
Star Ocean: Till The End Of Time is not really the best-selling RPG for PS2, but those who played it will always put it among the front runners. Why? It is simple. Its characters are outstanding. At the same time, the battle system leaves no room for flaws. It is deep, exciting, and extremely active.
There is a wide plethora of things to do while playing. You can turn a basic character into a fighting monster. At some point or another, you are actually forced to do it due to the challenging tasks. The story is not the best though, yet it is quite interesting. Most importantly, it is unique.
Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance
Darkness gathers in the sprawling Baldur’s Gate. The city is slowly deteriorating, while most of the people are dead. Some others fear going out due to a dangerous gang of thieves. This is when you – the player – step in.
You only have a sword. You are not supposed to know all these, so you get to learn them the hard way. With time, you become the only thing in the way of a great threat. The storyline is exciting, while the action keeps you hooked for hours.
Dragon Quest VIII
Dragon Quest VIII is the eighth mainline installment in the Dragon Quest series. It was first released in 2004 and follows the story of a nameless protagonist who must stop an evil jester named Dhoulmagus from turning all humans into monsters.
The game features cel-shaded graphics, which was fairly unique at the time of its release. Dragon Quest VIII is also notable for its wacky side quests and lovable cast of characters.
The battle system did not “suffer” too many upgrades. All in all, this game maintains the old-school RPG style. The good news is that nothing repeats in it, so you are constantly surprised.
Shadow Hearts II
Shadow Hearts II is the leading RPG for plenty of PS2 players. Unfortunately, it did not benefit from the popularity and marketing of other games. Basically, it has anything you can think of. The story is not the best, but the battle system will kill everything.
It is funny, addictive, and exciting. Each character has unique characteristics, while the game is long and gives you a series of possibilities. If you truly love RPGs, this is a must-play release, so give it a shot.
Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria
Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria is ranked among the most addictive RPGs released for PS2. The graphics leave no room for mistakes. The battle system blends into the decor and can make the fights more exciting. They are funny, rather than aggressive.
Unlike other RPGs, this one is not all about slaying everyone, but about coming up with a strategy. It has a few major improvements over the first release. Most importantly, you are no longer pressured by time, so you can take your time and do whatever you want in there.
Xenosaga Ep. 3
This is the last episode of the series, but the developer has seriously raised the standards with it. The storyline may not kill you, but it is still worth a shot. The game is even better for those who played the second episode.
All the bugs from it have been successfully cleared. This last episode is slightly simplified but easier to play. As for the battle system, you will get hooked from the first fight. It just boosts energy and the will to slay everything around you.
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X comes with some premieres. This is the first game of the series for PS2. It is also the first one to rely on voice acting. At the same time, the cinematic approach to storytelling will hook you in from the first second. It simply takes this aspect to the next level.
As for the gameplay, it represents a mixture between RPGs and TBSs. When battling, you end up with a turn-based battle. When exploring around, you have the option to do whatever goes through your mind.
Dark Cloud 2
Also known as Dark Chronicle in the United Kingdom, Dark Cloud 2 puts you in an innovative young man’s body. The story begins with an unusual visit. Someone from the future visits you and tells you that the world is about to end if you do not correct others’ mistakes. At that point, you need to invent specific equipment and repair weaponry to win your battles. Apart from the addictive story, this game also boosts your creativity.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
The storyline introduces you to a small town shattered by horrific murders. You become the only one who can restore harmony, so you need to split yourself between fights, classes, jobs, friends, and everyday tasks.
Team control is amazing, while strong friendships become the key to being successful. Completing this RPG takes dozens of hours of intense playing. It is not all about killing everyone, but also about investigating murders and making connections. Therefore, it works on your detective skills too. Sometimes, you might get stuck. Go through all the clues once again and your problems will be history.
Shadow Hearts is a 2001 JRPG that follows the story of Yuri Hyuga, a young man with the power to fuse himself with monsters.
The game is set in Europe during WWI and blends elements of horror and comedy. Battles are fought using the Judgment Ring, a timed button press mechanic that stands out from other RPGs of its time.
Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht
Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht is the first entry in the Xenosaga trilogy. It was released in 2002 and follows the main protagonist Shion Uzuki as she works for an organization called Vector Industries Second R&D Division.
Vector Industries is investigating ancient artifacts called “Zohar” that are believed to hold massive amounts of power. The game features traditional turn-based battles as well as real-time mecha combat sequences.
Rogue Galaxy was developed by Level-5 and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2007. The game follows the lead character Jaster Rogue as he joins a band of space pirates called Dorgengoa on their quest to find paradise rumored to exist on an unexplored planet at the edge of the galaxy.
Rogue Galaxy uses a real-time action combat system that encourages player exploration and experimentation with different weapon types and combos.