Seafoam Gaming Recommendations for PS2 Classics (NA)
Welcome to Part 2 of my PSN Recommendations series! Last time, we looked at a good batch of PSOne classics available in North America that you should buy before they go away from the PS3/Vita store shutdowns. However, since that article, Sony reversed the shutdowns, meaning you should be able to buy anything listed here and there for a while longer unless the publishers pull out.
Still, I figured I would continue these articles as intended, so they could be referenced for when the shutdown would happen for real! Or if you just want to find fun games to play on PSN. Now, it’s time for the PS3-centric PS2 Classics lineup, which is a lot more limited. Thus, I don’t think I’ll be doing a second part to this recommendation list like I might for PSOne, save for the one I’m going to do on the Japanese lineup later down the line. Everything from the NA store I think you should buy, will be listed here! So let’s get started:
GRADIUS V: Developed by Treasure, this penultimate entry in the Gradius franchise ends up being the most extreme and epic of them all, with a lot of action and intensity that may make Gradius III arcade seem tame. But the biggest difference is unlike that cruel game’s poor balancing, V is well designed and is an excellent scorechaser to boot, offering incentive to just go after high scores as you build up more credits to use in the main game, until you’re finally able to clear the main loop.
But even without focusing on trying to beat it, Gradius V is just a fun ride to pop in for a few minutes and enjoy, either by yourself or with a friend. Considering the super safe nature of its predecessor, this is easily the most impressive entry in the entire franchise, and a great high note to end on for the numbered series, though Rebirth didn’t do a bad job keeping that momentum either.
Growlanser: Heritage of War: A spiritual successor to the Langrisser series, this Atlus-published PS2 entry is definitely worth a look for strategy game fans. While a lot of the PS2 SRPGs are also on the service in general, this is the one I felt was the most noteworthy recommendation, due to being the most unlikely of the bunch to be rereleased, along with one of the most obscure, being part of a great series! While it’s sad Generations never hit the PS3, at least this fun sequel made the jump.
Devil Summoner 1 and 2: Action RPG spinoffs to the SMT franchise, the main noteworthy thing to learn from these games is that the protagonist is a guest character in the upcoming Shin Megami Tensei III remake, due to Atlus porting the version that released around the time of DS2. But besides Raidou’s origins starting here, these are rather interesting action games worth checking out, and of all the SMTs on the service, arguably the only ones necessary for a digital purchase: unlike the other PS2 games, these weren’t given a physical reprint, so you’ll have to go hardcore on spending if you insist on a physical copy… Or just get these for $10 each here.
Capcom VS SNK 2: SNK VS Capcom got a rerelease via the Switch eShop lately, so you can play the other side of the coin via this PS2 Classic! Definitely my personal next game of choice to buy from this lineup, as it’s a pretty highly acclaimed crossover fighter, using a lot of Capcom’s style and variety to create a pretty cool fighter. A must-own for fighting fans!
Grandia III: Grandia I is on PSOne Classics and Grandia II is on Steam and the Switch’s HD collection, along with the first. But this third installment is only available digitally here, on PS2 Classics, and is definitely worth a buy considering how the series pretty much ended after this point. The godawful PS2 port of Grandia II and Xtreme were thankfully absent from our shores, but we did manage to get the one entry that counts, and this complements the HD collection nicely.
RYGAR THE LEGENDARY ADVENTURE: What do you do when Ninja Gaiden is enjoying a 3D reboot on the Xbox? Reboot its sister game on the PS2, of course! This intriguing action platformer was also ported to Wii years later with some downgrades, but this original PS2 entry is where it shines, and is a great modern reinterpretation of the Arcade classic. Considering how there’s seemingly no way in hell they’ll make a sequel or remake of this one, you should probably give this a go for the $10 pricepoint now if you enjoyed the original game.
Shinobi: It’s Sega’s 3D take on Shinobi, one half of the PS2 duology! With a great artstyle and a lot of love towards the source material, this is absolutely an underrated gem for fans of the franchise, though it’s utterly depressing how the sequel Nightshade never hit the PSN, not even in Japan. Still, it’s better to have this one than none at all.
Suikoden IV: It all ends here. The final PS2 classic to release anywhere in the world, and one that’s followed up by a rather pricey finale that sadly didn’t make the cut. The first two Suikodens were excellent, and III was a noteworthy start on PS2, and this, while not nearly as exciting as those first three, is still worth a purchase for the novelty alone: the fact this obscure entry in an obscure franchise that took a lot of fan campaigning to get on PSN after only the first game sat there for years, ended up finishing the entire line of PS2 Classics off?
While it’s sad it didn’t leave to Suikoden V, it definitely serves as a great ending to the lineup and well worth your time and money, though of course if you haven’t played the other three yet, you should probably do those first and just hold off on starting this until after.
So those were a few PS2 gems! The JP lineup has a lot more interesting stuff, so it was rather tough for me to find noteworthy games here, but I do hope the picks I chose end up convincing you to give one of these a shot if you haven’t already. All of these are well worth the $10 purchase and while the PS2 Classic lineup wasn’t nearly as supported as the PSOne, it still had a lot of worthwhile games to check out, which is why it’s so depressing that the PS4 lineup ended up burning out with none of these making the jump to that platform. Despite the cancellation of the shutdown, I still plan on doing download software lists for both PS3 and Vita soon, before we head into the JP side of things a bit later. So be on the lookout for that, and take care!