Best PS2 RPGs That Are Stuck On The Console

Ever since the beginning of video games, role-playing games have been a favorite genre among gamers. In an interactive medium, games naturally lend themselves to allowing players to embody fictional characters and travel to larger-than-life worlds. Often, the best games aren't limited by their console releases and are ported or remastered for newer and current console generations.

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However, one of the limitations of video games is that not all games are available on console generations newer than the ones that introduced those games. Many of the classic RPGs initially released on the PlayStation 2, such as Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy X, have been remastered for later generations. However, great and enjoyable RPGs haven't. Some games will unfortunately be lost to time, no matter how much they deserve otherwise.

6 Dark Cloud 2

While both Dark Cloud and Dark Cloud 2 are available exclusively on the PlayStation 2, the spiritual sequel is the most highly praised of the two. Released as Dark Chronicle in Japan, Dark Cloud 2 has players control two characters, Max and Monica, who use time travel to help stop an Emperor from destroying the world.

While it's not the most engaging story, Dark Cloud 2 does feature some excellent hack-and-slash fun. Procedurally-generated dungeons keep the action engaging, with weapons automatically leveling up after a certain number of kills. A city-building element is also introduced, with the player using items known as “Geostones” to rebuild towns within the world. A possible Dark Cloud 3 was considered by developers Level-5 if backed by popular demand, though it seemed to never see the light of day. However, Dark Cloud 2 may see a PlayStation 4 port.

5 Shadow Hearts: Covenant

Anyone with a PlayStation 2 who loves alternate history or Lovecraftian horror should instantly add Shadow Hearts: Covenant to their must-play list. A sequel to the admittedly mixed-received Shadow Hearts, Covenant takes place across Europe and Asia in an alternate World War I. Players can play as either the German Army lieutenant Karin or original Shadow Hearts protagonist Yuri, as they lead a party battling against real-world villains and unfathomable enemies.

Shadow Hearts: Covenant is a great choice for anyone looking for a narrative-based RPG. The game is noted for incorporating dark settings, well-written characters, and humor that all combine well for an entertaining story. On top of that, Covenant offers a balance of linear and non-linear gameplay, with the game’s second half allowing for further exploration of the Eurasian setting. The game also utilizes unique action-RPG features, most notably a system called the “Judgement Ring,” which is used both in and out of combat to succeed (or fail) at crucial actions.

4 Champions of Norrath

A spinoff of the famous MMORPG EverQuest, Champions of Norrath allows for both single-player and multiplayer participation in this fantastical setting. Players create a character who goes through various quests to save the world of Norrath, first helping elves win a war against the orcs, and later traveling to the underworld.

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Taking place before the events of EverQuest, Champions of Norrath applies many of the same elements found in the traditional MMORPG, though in a smaller setting. Much of the game will be familiar to anyone who loves fantasy RPG games, from exploring towns and dungeons to gaining new abilities through an Ability Tree. But in Champions of Norrath, players can import characters and even join up to three other adventurers while exploring Norrath. With the re-release of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance on main consoles, perhaps Norrath will be given the same treatment.

3 Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria

A sequel to Valkyrie Profile, Silmeria not only has an unrelated story to its predecessor, but takes place in an alternate timeline as well. Players play as both Alicia and Silmeria, two characters who inhabit the same body throughout the game. Silmeria, a Valkyrie who is supposed to collect the souls of warriors and deliver them to Valhalla, disobeys Odin and is reincarnated in the body of a princess, Alicia. When Silmeria awakens within Alicia, they are forced to flee as Odin sends another Valkyrie to bring Silmeria back to Valhalla.

Split into six chapters, Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria mixes an epic narrative with unique, if complex, gameplay systems. Players can spend plenty of time exploring towns and dungeons, unlike in the original Valkyrie title. While dungeon-exploring is done in 2D, the game switches to 3D when entering its exciting combat. Utilizing a party system, Valkyrie Profile 2 also offers the chance for a second player to drop in to control any other party members during the combat.

2 Rogue Galaxy

While initially rumored to be a possible Dark Cloud 3, Level-5’s sci-fi action RPG still offered fans something both new and familiar. Players take on the role of Jaster Rogue, an agricultural worker who eventually becomes responsible for the fate of the entire galaxy.

Level-5’s most ambitious title to date, Rogue Galaxy offers a galactic level of content for its time. The story may be considered lackluster by some, but Rogue Galaxy makes up for that with its strong combat system and range in its design. Featuring plenty of sidequests to keep players busy, Rogue Galaxy boasts a unique and memorable visual style as well.

1 Xenosaga Trilogy

Released from 2002 to 2006, Xenosaga is split into separate but equally exciting episodes. In the distant future after Earth has been abandoned, human scientist Shion Uzuki and android KOS-MOS escape an alien attack and are eventually drawn into an intergalactic conflict.

A sci-fi epic told across three games, the Xenosaga trilogy is mostly noted for its complex and engrossing narrative. Long and frequent cutscenes may seem unappealing to some gamers, but anyone looking for a narrative-driven experience will likely enjoy all three entries of the trilogy. Episode III, released in 2006, providing a satisfying conclusion to the story. While its uncertain whether any of these games will be released beyond the PlayStation 2, the first episode of Xenosaga was soon adapted into an anime titled Xenosaga: The Animation.

MORE: PS2 Games That Support More Than Two Players

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