PlayStation 2 for me is the core and the role model for modern RPG we know today. There are a lot of series we know today that start from PlayStation 2 and still implements the game mechanics used back then. With all its limitation as a pre next-gen console, it can still give birth to a famous franchise such as the Tales series and Suikoden series. So, here are the top 7 PlayStation 2 JRPG with the best storylines for you.
7. Tales of the Abyss
Tales of the Abyss is a Japanese RPG from Namco Tales Studio and published by Namco in Japan, December 2005 (October 2006 in North America). This game was originally made for PlayStation 2, but later it is also released for 3DS. Tales of the Abyss is the eighth mosthership title in the Tales series and the tenth anniversary title. The game features musics by Motoi Sakuraba.
Tales of the Abyss focuses on Luke fon Fabre, a young swordsman whose pampered life turns upside down when he becomes the target of the military-religious organization known as the Order of Lorelei. Together with his companions, he attempts to discover the truth and significance of his own birth, as well as unravel the mystery of The Score, the prophecy that bounds humanity for thousand of years.
6. Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga I & II
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga is a duology of RPG developed by Atlus for PlayStation 2 in 2004. It acts as a spin-off of the Megami Tensei series. Despite being released at separate times, the Digital Devil Saga is a two-part series that needs to be played together as one to fully understand it. Like other games in Shin Megami Tensei series, Digital Devil Saga is a dark RPG completely aimed at adult audiences.
5. Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Shadow Hearts: Covenant is a RPG developed by Nautilus for PlayStation 2 in 2004. Shadow Hearts: Covenant is the sequel of Shadow Hearts game and the second entry in the Shadow Hearts series. At that time, this game features two DVD-ROM discs instead of the usual one and provides over forty hours of gameplay according to the publisher. The game is also known as Shadow Hearts II.
The story starts a few months after the events of Shadow Hearts. The game sets in alternate time line during the World War I, with Yuri Hyuga as the main protagonist. The heroes are drawn into an intriguing plot involving the demons of the demonolatry, the chief advisor of the tsar of Russia and a man from the main character, Yuri Hyuga’s past. Three characters will fight in a turn-based battle against the enemies.
4. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne is the third installment of the Shin Megami Tensei series which was released for PlayStation 2. It was developed and published by Atlus in Japan and North America, and by Ghostlight in Europe. It has multiple versions of the game: the original version was initially published in 2003 by Atlus, while a director’s cut version was released in the next year.
The main protagonist is a high school student living in modern-day Tokyo who transformed into a half-demon when the world undergoes an apocalyptic event called Conception. On the brink of rebirth, Tokyo transformed into a world filled with demons. The protagonist becomes the key to change the fate of humanity. To do that, he recruits demons in Vortex World to fight alongside him.
3. Xenosaga Trilogy
Xenosaga trilogy is a series of RPG developed by Monolith Soft, the same team behind Xenogears and Xenoblade series. The Xenosaga trilogy, just like Digital Devil Saga, was released separately but must be played together as one to experience the whole story and to understand the complexities. Just like Xenogears, themes of philosophy and religious symbolism are used to great effect in this trilogy RPG.
2. 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.
1. 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.
PlayStation 2 is a classic console which acts as a stepping stone of RPG. Many of popular next-gen RPG uses the mechanism of PlayStation 2 JRPG. Although I’m a fan of Tales series, this time I have to go with Suikoden V. The depth of the plot and theme caught my attention and this game often listed as one of the top PlayStation 2 JRPG. Even in Suikoden series itself, Suikoden V has always been at the top.
Which one is your favorite PlayStation 2 JRPG? Do you have another title with nice storyline? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.