It has been 20 years since the release of PlayStation 2 in 2000. Compared to human, that is the age of an adult, so we can imagine how old this console is compared to the latest PlayStation 4. But do you know that this console hosted a lot legendary JRPG that are still worth to play even 20 years later? If you don’t, then witness these top 7 greatest JRPG of PlayStation 2 era. Better late than never!
7. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King was originally made for PlayStation 2, and ported to 3DS with the same title. The Android and iOS version of the game was released in 2013 in Japan and worldwide in 2014. The trademark of this game is its artwork made by Akira Toriyama (known as the creator of Dragon Ball), and the cell-shading textures that was popular in PlayStation 2 before.
In this game, we will play as the silent hero (players can create a name for him) who is a royal guard of Trodain. One day, the villain boss Dhoulmagus cast a spell on the castle and turn everyone into animals and plants. It is the job of the hero and his companions to bring peace back to the world.
6. Suikoden III
Suikoden III is a RPG developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo and published by Konami exclusive for PlayStation 2. The game was released in Japan and North America in 2002 and as the third installment of the main series. The game’s story is presented through the Trinity Sight System, with the plot is explored through three different viewpoints rather than having only one hero like in the prior games.
The Trinity Sight System divided the scenario into three main path: Hugo, Chris, and Geddoe’s story. The three chronological chapters act as the prologue of the story and the players can switch characters and point of view after finishing each chapter. At the end of each character’s Chapter 3, they will meet at Flame Champion’s hideout as turning point before continuing to the next chapter.
5. Star Ocean: Till the End of Time
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is the third main game of the Star Ocean series which was developed by tri-Ace and published by Square Enix for PlayStation 2 in 2003. Nobody has questioned tri-Ace’s quality since the first Star Ocean game made in 1996. The graphics, the gameplay, and especially the battle system astonished the players ever since the beginning up to this third main title.
The game starts with Fayt Leingod, the main protagonist having vacation on a giant spaceship. Later, he was forced to escape through an escape pod when the ship was attacked and ended up in an underdeveloped planet. His story continues until one day he learned that outside of their 3D world they live in, there were 4D beings in the fourth dimension that they have to defeat to protect their own existence.
4. Kingdom Hearts
Kingdom Hearts firstly released in 2002, for PlayStation 2 and bringing new sensation in playing RPG at that moment. It introduced the action-RPG mechanics with hack-and-slash battle system. Instead of waiting for turns, we can keep whacking and smashing the enemies with the signature weapon of the main character. Quite a breathe of fresh air while people busy talking about Final Fantasy X at that time.
The main protagonists is a young boy named Sora who lived with his two childhood friends; one day they got separated and Sora begin his adventures, leaving his home in Destiny Island. From time to time, he learns that he is the chosen Keyblade wielder who has the duty to save the world from evil. During his adventures, Sora finds new companions from the legendary Disney characters: Donald and Goofy.
3. Persona 4
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 is the fifth game of the Persona series which was released in multiplatform: PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3. The successful initial release for PlayStation 2 has made Atlus decided to bring the game into next-generation consoles. The enchanced port of Persona 4 titled Persona 4 Golden was released for PlayStation Vita/PS TV in 2012 following its success.
The story follows a group of high school students dealing with a mysterious TV channel which distorted the truth of who they are and their identities. A string of bizarre murders related to the TV channel begins to disturb their peaceful town. Together, they explore the mysterious world inside the TV and rescuing other victims from death. The answer of who was the serial killer lies inside the TV.
2. Suikoden V
Suikoden V is a RPG developed by Konami and Hudson Soft and published by Konami for PlayStation 2 in 2006. The game is the fifth main installment of the main Suikoden series. The battle system changed back to six characters party rather than the four characters party of Suikoden IV with each character is individually controllable. Suikoden V also adapts the skill system that was used in Suikoden III.
The story centers on the political struggles of the Queendom of Falena and takes place six years before the events of the first Suikoden. We will control the main protagonist, Freyjadour as the Prince of Falena and must set out on a journey gathering allies while dealing with the problem of the nation. Like usual, this game features a vast array of characters with over sixty characters usable in combat.
1. Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy XII is a fantasy JRPG developed and published by Squaresoft for PlayStation 2 in 2006. This game is a part of Final Fantasy series with some changes in gameplay: an open world, a seamless battle system, a controllable camera, and many more. In normal gameplay, this game requires about 65 hours of gameplay, excluded the optional contents that spends about 40 hours of play duration.
The game takes place in the fictional world of Ivalice, where the empires of Archadia and Rozzaria are waging an endless war. Ashe, princess of Dalmasca which caught between the warring nations meets Vaan, a young adventurer who dreams of becoming a sky pirate in command of an airship. By creating a resistance movement, Ashe and the party rally against the tyranny of the Archadian Empire.
Two decades are not a short period of time and yet, those games are still worth to play even in these days. If you are asking how it can be possible, then you better try at least one of those games and you will understand why. My favorite is always Kingdom Hearts. The gameplay mechanics are so unique at that time and still be used in Kingdom Hearts III with some improvements. Old but gold, isn’t it?
Which one do you think is the greatest JRPG of PlayStation 2 era? Have you played most of those games? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.