The PS2 Classics section of the PS4 Store has the potential to give players the chance to stroll through memory lane and get all nostalgic over one of the golden ages of gaming. Unfortunately, there simply isn’t enough there to match the grand legacy of the PS2. Sure, there’s some fantastic options, such as Bully, Red Dead Revolver, Rogue Galaxy and the recently added Jak games, but there’s always more to be done.
We’ve already published a list of 5 games we’d like to see added, which you should check out, but in case Sony are looking for any more ideas of what to add, here’s an additional list of 30 games we’d like to see join the PS2 Classics roster.
You might not have heard of Urban Reign, but anyone who loves beat ‘em ups should have. Developed by the Tekken team, Urban Reign shares more with the popular fighting game than just Paul Phoenix and Marshall Law. Flashy combos and an emphasis on juggling are what’s needed to pummel your opponents, but the real highlight of Urban Reign is how versatile the gameplay is. Even though all attacks are executed with simple button presses is astounding. It’s still as fun to play today as it was back in 2005.
Ahhhhh, Clover Studio. Taken from this world too soon, but the mark you’ve made on the gaming industry is still felt today. A game like God Hand couldn’t just come from any studio, it took one with imagination and insanity. Clover had both. Another beat ‘em up, God Hand is famed for its insane enemies, ludicrous special attacks and for being absolutely friggin’ hard yet thoroughly addictive. God Hand might have been Clover’s epitaph, but the PS2 Classics program can give the game new life.
Capcom vs SNK 2
2001 was the year we made contact, as Capcom and SNK collaborated once again to create CvS 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001. The 3v3 crossover fighter brought together the likes of Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Rival Schools, King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, Samurai Showdown and more. Capcom vs SNK also birthed the popular Ratio system, which allowed you to assign power throughout your team, whether that be a team of 2 weak guys and a stronger character or 1 god tier boi. Now that Capcom and SNK are (kind of) friends again, with both Akuma and Geese Howard appearing in Tekken 7, maybe the time is now for a re-release.
Soul Calibur III
You may be asking yourself why Soul Calibur II isn’t taking that spot, and the answer is simple: Bandai Namco already pushed the re-release button on that one. No sense in re-re-releasing it. Soul Calibur III, on the other hand, has been left out in the cold. Though it’s not quite as good as its predecessor, SC III introduced features like Character Customisation and Creation, which became mainstays in future releases. Please be in Soul Calibur VI, please. Soul Calibur III was also stacked with content, with multiple single player modes including the RTS-lite inspired Chronicles of the Sword mode. Combine that with the tried, tested and adored gameplay Soul Calibur has pioneered for decades, and you have a prime re-release candidate.
Ape Escape 3
The pinnacle of primate pursuit simulation, Ape Escape 3 took the series’ patented madcap antics and turned the dial up some more. Though Ape Escape 2 already features on the PS2 Classics section, the third instalment introduced more levels, more enemy types, more abilities and more simian stupidity. It also had a mini game that allowed you to play a condensed version of Metal Gear Solid where every character was replaced by a monkey. If nothing else, Ape Escape 3 deserves a remaster for that alone.
Katamari Damacy/We Love Katamari
If Ape Escape 3 is manic, Katamari Damacy and We Love Katamari are the equivalent of doing acid for 5 days straight with Hunter S Thompson. We can’t stop here, this is batshit insane country. Both games place you in the roll of The Prince, a tiny little green guy who rolls a Katamari, which collects things in order to get bigger. That’s about as sane an explanation you can get for the Katamari games, they’re like pockets of infectious lunacy that always bring a smile to your face. That kind of positivity would make a fine addition to PS2 Classics.
From overwhelming positivity to Cold War-esque Soviet paranoia, Freedom Fighters is probably the first place most gamer’s minds go to when someone says “PS2-era squad shooter”. Set in a alternate history where the Soviets dropped the nuke on Berlin to end World War 2, you play a plumber caught up in a resistance movement as the Russians invade New York. It’s basically Red Dawn 2: Big Apple Blues. As a squad leader though, you could command up to twelve resistance members to take on the Soviets. Whilst it might seem archaic now, Freedom Fighters was a revolution back in 2003. Pun absolutely intended.
Burnout 3: Takedown
Ahhhhh, Burnout 3: Takedown. 3 seconds into The F-Ups singing Lazy Generation during the intro and you know you’re in for a good time. Sit back, relax and unwind by shunting your opponents into oncoming traffic. Though it wasn’t the first Burnout game, Takedown was the one that finally mastered the formula. Drifting barely road legal cars around the bends of Silver Lake, or driving a van full speed into a busy intersection to cause a 50 car pile up still hasn’t gotten old. If EA love money so much, this should be a no-brainer.
Def Jam: Fight For New York
Admittedly, this one is more of a pipedream than most of the list because Def Jam: Fight For New York uses real life rappers for most of its roster. The issue becomes one of licensing, as certain rappers may not consent to having their image appear in a re-release. If that’s the case, the whole thing is fucked, which is a shame as the game was a genuinely enjoyable wrestler/brawler powered by the infamous AKI engine, responsible for popular games like WWF No Mercy. Def Jam had a style; an identity that’s still unique today. It was bloody, brutal and brilliant.
SSX Tricky/SSX 3
The undisputed pinnacle for virtual snowboarding, SSX has pioneered the art of looking cool whilst going down a mountain for years now. Whether you prefer the bigger personality and style of Tricky or the mountain free roaming aspect of SSX 3, both games are still sitting at the peak of the genre, so much so that even future instalments of SSX couldn’t match up with the brilliance of Tricky and SSX 3. If EA aren’t going to make a new SSX game, why not let us relive some nostalgia?
Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
You’d think there’d be more Hulk games out on the market. To play as that big green gamma goliath as he rampages around the city, destroying everything he comes into contact with, is the ultimate in wish fulfilment. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is the perfect version of that. Anything in Hulk’s world can and will be destroyed, and Hulk’s clashes with the military and their Hulkbuster armour suits are always a thrill. Even the 2008 Hulk film borrowed plot elements from this game, unknowingly or otherwise, with Ross and Emil Blonsky chasing down a self-exiled Banner. The Incredible Hulk game was just that: an incredible Hulk game.
Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction
Could you imagine a game like Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction coming out in today’s climate? A game where American forces invade North Korea and you can call in an air-strike on Pyongyang? Yeah, that’d go over well. Controversy baiting aside, Mercenaries was ahead of its time when it came to open world exploration, as you free to engage with the world and its multiple factions any way you saw fit in order to hunt down the 52 North Korean targets. Plus, there were cheats where you could play as Indiana Jones and Han Solo, so it was possibly the best game ever made.
Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
So let’s make a “bold” statement (see: a statement that most would probably agree with anyway but whatever). Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast is one of the best racing games of either the PS2 era or any era. The crossover of addictive drifting gameplay and Ferrari fetishism is a beautiful. Cruising around a sunny beach in a Ferrari F50 with Magical Sound Shower playing through the speakers is a treasured memory for a lot of gamers, myself included. To relive that in 1080p would be nothing short of glorious.
Shadow of Rome
Rome has always been an interesting backdrop for video games. The political intrigue coupled with the constant betrayals, deceptions and all round scumbaggery means it’s easy to create a compelling narrative, whilst the Roman Legion waging war and Coliseum lends itself well to bloody action-adventure games. Shadow of Rome featured both, combining the sword swinging action of Gladiatorial combat with some stealth gameplay in a plot focused on the assassination of Julius Caesar.
Spartan: Total Warrior
You would think with a name like Spartan: Total Warrior, we’d be leaving the Romans behind, but alas no. Spartan is a hack and slash game where you play an unnamed Spartan who must repel an invading Roman army and maybe figure out your past while you’re at it. Spartan: Total Warrior is actually a spin-off of the Total War series that came about due to Creative Assembly’s failed attempts to develop a true Total War game for consoles. Though the result didn’t quite equal the likes of God of War, Spartan: Total Warrior is an enjoyable romp through ancient mythology all the same.
Who wants more Japanese silliness? You do? Step right up and enter the bizarre and wonderful world of Gitaroo Man. A rhythm action game with dripping with personality, Gitaroo Man requires split second button presses and precise command over the control stick to achieve success. You play as U-1 who, with the help of the dog Puma, can transform into the legendary Gitaroo Man and do battle with nefarious aliens with the power of rock. With awesome visuals, addictive gameplay and a fantastic soundtrack, Gitaroo Man captures everything it means to be a PS2 Classic.
Super Monkey Ball Deluxe
Super Monkey Ball was one of Sega’s smash hit franchises of the 2000s, with a simplistic premise that hid a difficult learning curve. Similar to Marble Madness, you had to navigate a ball to the exit without falling off the edge. The ball also contained a monkey, which we’re pretty sure is some kind of animal rights violation. Super Monkey Ball Deluxe combined the first two games into one bumper package, including 240 Challenge Mode levels, a full Story Mode and 12 unique party games that could be enjoyed with up to four players. Monkey Fight still remains a brilliant party game, and Super Monkey Ball Deluxe is worthy of a remaster for that alone.
Urban Chaos: Riot Response
One of the most underrated and underappreciated FPS games of the PS2 era, Urban Chaos: Riot Response used to be called Zero Tolerance, and it’s all about just that. As a member of the newly formed T-Zero squad, a riot response team armed with advanced gear and weaponry, your job is to clean the streets of the Burners gang who’ve been terrorising the city. Though the front cover leads you to believe that Urban Chaos is quite the serious shooter, the voice lines, the cinematic killcams and comedic hostage situations give the game an almost tongue in cheek, action movie feel.
GTA: Vice City Stories
Previously a PSP title, GTA: Vice City Stories is the untold story of Lance Vance’s brother Vic. You know, before he becomes a hunched over crack fiend, gunned down at a drug deal during an early Vice City mission. In Vice City Stories, Vic is much more of a badass, leading the criminal enterprise while Lance Vance is too busy dancing and being a prick. Whilst not as expansive as San Andreas in terms of things to do, VCS contains one of the more engaging single-player stories in the series, and the ability to buy properties to expand your empire led to a surprisingly deep side game. Also, Phil Collins made a cameo, which is a thing. I guess.
If you’re looking for a little bit of fun south of the border, perhaps Total Overdose is for you. A camp and goofy adventure through the seedy underworld of Mexican drug cartels and El Mariachi references, you play as Ramiro Cruz, who goes undercover for the DEA to take down drug lords and perhaps find out the truth behind his father’s murder. The gameplay took the best parts of John Woo style action films, replacing the trademark doves with copious bottles of tequila, as you use bullet time to shoot dodge your way through the levels. It might be considered politically incorrect by today’s standards, but Total Overdose is plenty of fun regardless.
Killer7 is perhaps one of the few games of the PS2 era that I could say I was too young to appreciate. The convoluted plot, strange gameplay mechanics and difficult combat made Killer7 a confusing and unenjoyable experience for 12 year old me. Now, 12 and half years since the game came out, perhaps now I’d be able to wrap my head around what the fuck was actually going on. Suda51 has gone on record multiple times and said he’d love to revisit the game at some point, so it’s certainly possible I’ll get my wish.
Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror & Logan’s Shadow
Originally PSP titles, Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror and Logan’s Shadow reinvigorated the long running stealth action franchise, after the weaker critical reception of The Omega Strain. Instead of the open ended levels introduced in the fourth game, both games opted in favour of the more traditional linear levels of the first three games. Dark Mirror also introduced improvements such as cover shooting, whilst Logan’s Shadow refined the system and allowed you to take enemies as human shields. Both games would make fine additions to the collection of any stealth fan.
Developed by the same team who brought us Dynasty Warriors, Kessen focuses more on the tactical side of battle, as opposed to the DW approach of “big strong man with big weapon doing big damage”. Before each battle, players must assign and place units across the battlefield whilst taking into account the strength of the opposing army. Winning is case of managing your morale, having a bigger army and making sure your men are actually loyal. We want no betrayals in our shogunate.
One of the most recognisable and well-regarded hack and slash series in video games, the original Onimusha Trilogy gave players the opportunity to murder the shit out of hordes of demons across Feudal Japan and occasionally Paris. Onimusha 3 with Jean Reno was a bit weird in that respect. The series has been dormant for a while now, largely due to the poor sales of Onimusha: Dawn of Shadows. Still, the original 3 hold a special place in the hearts of many gamers, and they would likely jump at the chance to relive the adventures of Samanosuke.
If nothing else, Ghosthunter has one of the best names for a main protagonist you could possibly have: Lazarus Jones. Lazarus fucking Jones. You can’t get much better than that. As for the game itself, Ghosthunter is exactly what you think it would be. You roam around, hunting ghosts. It was a mix of action and horror, with what critics described as some of the best graphics of its time. Of course, now it looks dated and weird, but it just goes to show how far we’ve come over the past 15 years.
The pioneer of the first person modern military shooter, Black was Criterion’s first foray into the world of guns and explosions. Traditionally known for the stellar Burnout series, Black saw the studio apply the same concepts of massive cinematic destruction that worked for the racing series and apply them to an FPS. Unsurprisingly, it worked like a charm, with Black getting rave reviews from critics and a huge amount of fan support even to this day. With Black now backwards compatible for the Xbox One, why not let PlayStation gamers relive those glory days too?
Viewtiful Joe 1 & 2
Remember back near the start of this article, where I said that Clover Studio were mental? Here’s further proof, as if it were needed. Viewtiful Joe 1 and 2 were both side scrolling beat ‘em ups that were as deviously difficult as they were bonkers. Playing as the titular Joe, and sometimes his girlfriend Silvia, you travelled across movies taking on all manners of evil doers. Due to the cinematic situation with which you found yourself, you’re able to use powers like Slow and Mach Speed to defeat your enemies and look good doing it. In a world full of negativity, we could all do with being a bit more Viewtiful.
Need for Speed: Underground 2
Just one mention of Need for Speed: Underground 2 has probably caused Riders of the Storm to start playing in your head. Sorry (not sorry) about that. Underground 2 was the racing series arguably at its best. Fast cars, plenty of drifting and more garish vinyls than the first 3 Fast and Furious films. If the future of the series is to be some identity-less shell of its former self, then at least we should be able to reminisce about what once was. Just be sure to change the soundtrack to omit that one Lostprophets song, for obvious reasons.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi
What? Don’t look at me like that for sneaking a Dragon Ball mention into one of my lists. Budokai Tenkaichi saw the DBZ games move from a traditional fighting game to a behind the back perspective and more arena fighter vibe. This one has more of a personal value for me, as it was the game responsible for getting me into and educated on the Dragon Ball series as a whole. The Z Battle Gate mode encompasses all the highlights from Dragon Ball Z, GT and the movies, whilst the World Tournament disregarded the story in favour of beating the crap out of people.
Persona 3 and 4
Persona: the school simulator where you beat up the bullies and take over- no, wait. That was Bully. Persona is the JRPG take on let’s go to school, where you take classes by day and take out demons by night. Though ordinary gameplay plays out like a traditional turned based RPG, the true joy of Persona comes from managing the schedule of your virtual boy genius. Studying for tests, making friends, attending clubs; all of which will help you to become a better demon slayer.
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