The PlayStation 2 was home to a bevy of stellar JRPGs, some of which managed to be genre-defining in their own right. From the legendary Final Fantasy X to the marvelous nature of Persona 4 — even though its Golden counterpart was an improvement in every way, shape, and form — there's no shortage of incredible JRPGs on the PS2 that has been quite notable in their own right.
However, that being said, there are certain JRPGs on Sony's console that are also heavily underappreciated, in no small part due to the genre's golden age slowly fizzling out around this time that made a ton of games go under most people's radars. Keeping this in mind, here are ten of the greatest JRPGs ever made for the Ps2 that didn't receive the love they deserved.
10 Jade Cocoon 2
The Jade Cocoon series is easily one of the most underrated JRPG series of all time, with the second game in the series serving as a noteworthy improvement over its already excellent predecessor.
It's a shame that most JRPG veterans have absolutely no clue about the Jade Cocoon franchise since these titles are brilliant in nearly every department. They are, undoubtedly, still worth tracking down in this day and age.
9 Shadow Hearts
A JRPG that uses Lovecraftian themes and elements to deliver a brilliant tale that's further augmented by stellar combat, it's a shame that not many people have played the Shadow Hearts trilogy properly.
Any fan of unique JRPG stories should definitely give these games a whirl. While Shadows Hearts: Covenant is generally considered to be the best in the franchise, each entry is notable for being a highly memorable experience.
8 Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy
Featuring a massive cast of characters, a story that manages to keep things fresh — for the most part, at least — and an excellent alchemy system that takes on the role of crafting in this game, Mana Khemia 2 deserved a ton of praise and sales upon release.
Unfortunately, the game received neither and ended up being one of the forgotten JRPGs for the PS2. A shame, since there are many good concepts in Mana Khemia 2 that are still enjoyable to this day.
7 Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana
While the rise of Atelier Ryza might've finally given this JRPG franchise the plaudits and fame it deserves, there was a time when the Atelier series was nothing more than a niche product. The franchise has excellent titles across the board, even if most garnered little to no attention in the West.
The title that suffered the most in this regard was Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana. By all accounts, the mechanics and polish present in this title should've made it an instant classic...yet, instead, it became a forgotten gem of the past.
6 Dark Chronicle
Dark Chronicle — also known as Dark Cloud 2 — is one of the most impressive sequels ever made for a JRPG. It was clear that the developer, Level-5, absolutely adored this concept and the fans that played them, as seen in the fact that the sequel improved on pretty much every aspect established in the first game.
The end result is a title with an imaginative combat system and excellent graphics, held back only by a story that treads on familiar ground and ends up being somewhat of a chore to get through.
5 Suikoden V
The Suikoden series is in dire need of a revival. The fanfare surrounding this once-massive JRPG series became rather muted after the third game, which split fans down the middle as many saw it as a sign that the series was in decline. The release of Suikoden IV was also pretty disappointing, and fans lost all hope in the next game in the series.
While the first few hours of Suikoden V might make it clear as to why fans had given up on this franchise, it's only after people get through this slow burn that this entry shows its true colors and transforms into one of the greatest JRPGs of all time. This slow start might be a pain to get through, but players with enough patience will be rewarded with engaging gameplay, a great story, and some of the best characters in a JRPG.
4 Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
Upon release, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter ended up being a highly divisive experience due to its stark departure from the usual modus operandi of this franchise. Consequently, most gamers wrote off this title as a failed experiment.
However, in the modern era, the retrospective for Dragon Quarter has been quite positive, with people finally enjoying the massive challenge posed by the game's combat while simultaneously getting thrilled by the darker twists and turns in the game's story.
3 Arc The Lad: Twilight Of The Spirits
When most people seek out a great JRPG to try out, there are two factors that receive the most attention: the story and the combat. Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits excelled in both these departments, which makes it rather disheartening that the game never received the adoration it truly deserved.
The tactical combat is an absolute blast to engage in every single time, and the story is brilliantly interconnected and makes for some truly exciting moments indeed.
2 Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song
Originally released on the Super Famicon in Japan, Romancing SaGa ended up being a fairly notable JRPG series over the course of its run. Therefore, it seemed like a rather pragmatic move to remake the first game for the PlayStation 2 so that international audiences could experience the introductory entry in the series for themselves. Naturally, that is not counting the Final Fantasy Legend games that preceded Romancing SaGa.
Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song excelled in this regard, serving as one of the greatest remakes of all time and a fine entry point for the series itself. It's a shame that more people don't talk about this series, since it warrants all the plaudits it has received and more.
1 Xenosaga Episode II
When most people think of Tetsuya Takahashi, the first game that would come to mind is either Xenogears or Xenoblade Chronicles. However, there's one particular franchise that Takahashi was at the helm of which isn't nearly as popular: Xenosaga.
The second game in the series received a ton of fan backlash for changing the tone of the story and the design of the characters a bit too much. However, people who try out Xenosaga Episode II now will be able to enjoy what is easily a stellar character-focused entry in the trilogy.
NEXT: 15 JRPGs With The Deepest Lore, Ranked