15 Best PlayStation 2 RPGs Ever

The SNES and PS1 are always the top choices when discussing the finest role-playing game consoles, and with good reason. But there’s a compelling case to be made for the PS2, which not only merits a mention in that discourse but may even emerge victorious.

The PS2 is a symbol of this remarkable period in the genre’s development when we were both reaping the rewards of the PS1 generation’s ambition and experiencing firsthand how PS2 technology made genuine 3D gaming far more feasible than it had ever been. As a result, a select set of developers were able to see the realisation of their greatest ambitions in a manner that had previously been unattainable.

You may already be aware of the quality of a few of the games on this list, but taking a closer look at the top PS2 role-playing games will show you just how many truly outstanding games were available for this system.

15. The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age

On the one hand, I feel a little guilty ranking this game above others that have had somewhat more positive reviews, are a bit more inventive, and, in some circumstances, may just be superior to what was effectively EA’s Final Fantasy X with a Lord of the Rings theme.

However, there is merit to the fact that, during a period when the films were still the biggest thing in the world, The Third Age offered us a real Lord of the Rings role-playing game. Fans were able to immerse themselves once more in Middle-Earth thanks to this peculiar fusion of reenactments from films and original narrative, and the game continues to be one of the greatest methods to revisit your movie memories with remarkable longevity.

14. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne

You take on the role of a high school student in an utterly odd post-apocalyptic role-playing game, where you must navigate a Tokyo that is overrun with demons in order to fight the forces that rule this reality. To put it mildly, it’s a little strange.

Unquestionably, much of the appeal of this game lies in its basic oddity, but Nocturne’s demon recruitment and spot-focused fighting system are what really entice players. This enormous adventure’s severe difficulty and sporadic unevenness are easily forgiven because of its immense complexity and creative display.

13. Radiata Stories

Some people have criticised Radiata Stories for either never really gripping them or taking too long to “click” for them. I must admit that I do receive those complaints. The slower-paced storyline and more laid-back approach of this game may not be to everyone’s taste.

Still, I will always be appreciative of how this game handles its NPCs. In addition to offering players the option to enlist over 176 NPCs, each of whom has unique powers and a story to tell, this game goes above and beyond in making sure that every player feels as though they are actually living in this world. Those who enjoy this epic won’t mind replaying it because you can’t possibly see everything in one playthrough.

12. Tales Of Symphonia

Even though Tale of Symphonia is mostly known as a GameCube RPG, it is a fantastic game that deserves to be included in any discussion regarding the greatest role-playing games on this device because of its subsequent PS2 port.

The captivating tale and striking visuals of Tales of Symphonia help set it apart from some of its rivals, but the game’s amazing combat system is undoubtedly its true highlight. Between “strategy game” and “RPG,” Tales of Symphonia’s amazing combat will most likely keep you interested from start to finish in a manner that few other genre titles can fully match.

11. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse

More appreciation should be given to the PS2’s library of shockingly good role-playing games than it currently receives, and what better way to start the celebration than by discussing this amazing X-Men game that established a benchmark that contemporary superhero games are still striving to meet?

The main attraction of this ARPG is undoubtedly its vast cast of playable characters, all of whom can be enhanced with gear and experience points. However, what really sets it apart from less successful copies over the years is how well it replicates the feeling of putting together the  perfect team of characters and sending them into battle against formidable opponents.

10. Kingdom Hearts 2

Sometimes it’s difficult to believe that the Kingdom Hears series is real at all. With the incredible Kingdom Hearts 2, this dream project—which was nevertheless also so much beyond our wildest expectations—arguably reached its pinnacle.

This game’s worlds, bosses, and plot of this game easily rank among the finest in the series, what really sets it apart and makes it unique from this age of PS2 RPGs is how all of those elements work together.

9. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

The fact that Dragon Quest VIII adheres to the themes and cliches of its predecessors is probably the one thing you might find fault with. This RPG isn’t the most avant-garde of its day, for sure.

But again, it’s difficult to actually criticise you for sticking with what unquestionably succeeds when you’re expanding upon the franchise that contributed to the establish and define JRPGs In addition to being one of the most visually stunning JRPG experiences ever made for the PS2, this one is also incredibly epic and masterfully designed.

8. Xenosaga Episode I – Der Wille Zur Macht 

“Deep” is the adjective I hear most frequently used to characterise Xenosaga. It is undoubtedly a more accurate description than the label of “complex” that this role-playing game occasionally receives, but the truth is that it is difficult to condense this game into a few words.

A thoughtful analysis of the human condition, Xenosaga manages to extend even the most personal ideas over a galactic adventure that seems as big as any other role-playing game of this generation. The character and fighting systems in this game are actually pretty good, but the captivating story of Xenosaga is what really sticks in my head.

7. Grandia II

Grandia II is undoubtedly the greatest role-playing game that was ever released for the Dreamcast, so it’s hardly surprising that the PS2 version of the game also manages to claim a prominent spot on this list.
Grandia II ticks a number of the best JRPG boxes while maintaining a very distinct personality. These include its real-time battle system with movement constraints that are almost RTS-like and its war-torn planet filled with unique characters and themes.

6. Shadow Hearts: Covenant

Shadow Hearts: Covenant is a Lovecraftian horror role-playing game that takes place in an alternate timeline of World War I. It’s one of those games that can sell itself just based on its basic ideas and description on the back of the box.

But, in order to fully understand Shadow Hearts’ depth—as with many of the games we’ll discuss on this list—you have to play it yourself. With its amazing Judgement Ring, which controls most of the action, and its clever use of the Sanity Metre to heighten the suspense throughout the JRPG, Shadow Hearts is a daring attempt at some very amazing concepts that more than make up for its failures.

5. Dark Cloud 2

Even if Dark Cloud 2 included only of its more conventional role-playing game components, I’m confident that it would still have a place on our list. It’s difficult not to be impressed by the ARPG combat, story, and characters in this game because of its distinct qualities as well as the way they conceived several ideas that are now much more popular.

But what actually makes Dark Cloud 2 unique are its world-building and time-traveling mechanics. If it weren’t so complicated, creating a better world and having the ability to see the advantages of your plans in the future would undoubtedly be repeated.

4.  Persona 4

For a very long time, the Persona series has been praised almost universally for its extremely weird story themes, sense of style, and capacity to turn the most fantastically absurd ideas into incredibly captivating gameplay sequences.

This game is joyful in almost every way, from its creative idea to its implementation. Persona 4 reexamines almost every facet of the JRPG genre in a way that pays homage to the spirit that inspired them while simultaneously reinvigorating the genre. It’s an impressive, and somewhat approachable, testament to the possibilities of this genre.

3. Final Fantasy X

There was a growing perception in the weeks and months before Final Fantasy X came out that it would be a big new Final Fantasy game that would even surpass Final Fantasy 7 in terms of its influence, and that it would be the PS2’s first true system seller.

I believe that Final Fantasy X surprisingly lived up to a lot of the expectations. Final Fantasy X skillfully addresses what many saw as some of the gameplay flaws in the series while capitalising on everything this franchise has accomplished up to this point. It is still, in many respects, the Final Fantasy title that is most straightforward to suggest to anyone who are interested in learning why this particular RPG series has influenced so many different generations and genre changes.

2. Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance

As I noted earlier in this piece, the PS2 was home to several amazing role-playing games that aren’t usually given the credit they deserve. It’s safe to say that Dark Alliance is the shining star in that area.

If you could persuade yourself that Dark Alliance was nothing more than a Diablo ripoff, it would still be considered one of the greatest games in that questionable subgenre. However, someone has to voice their opinion about how this game not only made the formula playable on consoles but also redesigned it to make it one of the most purely enjoyable cooperative role-playing games ever released on a platform.

1. Final Fantasy XII

Although Final Fantasy XII received positive reviews upon release, it has always been a contentious addition to the venerable series. While some critiqued the game’s larger changes to the Final Fantasy formula—which was only recently reimagined in Final Fantasy X—others focused on the game’s more subtle elements, such as its writing, music, and characters. It seems like that conversation is still going on today, to be honest.

Nonetheless, my admiration for Final Fantasy XII has only increased with time. This game simply excels at capturing the essence of this franchise without ever feeling like it’s solely relying on the series’ laurels, from its daring Gambit system that feels far more approachable and common than it did when this game launched to the way it makes its overworld feel far more significant than it does in many other FF games.

Naturally, discussing this game would be incomplete without discussing its story, which is among the best in this franchise’s history as well as among all RPGs. With all of its imperfections, this game is just a fantastic success.

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