The Best RPG Games for PS2

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The PlayStation 2 video game system has a vast variety of role-playing games (RPG) to choose from, many of which are part of major video game franchises. Traditional RPGs tend to have similar gameplay elements --- forming parties of three or four characters, turn-based combat, and venturing into dungeons --- however, there are also action RPGs and tactical RPGs, which feature different types of gameplay with elements of traditional role-playing games.

Final Fantasy

  • Square Enix's "Final Fantasy" franchise is considered by many to be the best of the genre, with each new installment receiving high scores on most major video game reviewing sites. There have been three installments for the PS2 in the main series: "Final Fantasy X", "Final Fantasy XI Online" and "Final Fantasy XII."

    Each "Final Fantasy" game features a different standalone story and distinct gameplay. "Final Fantasy X" plays in the traditional turn-based RPG fashion, and "Final Fantasy XII" eschews the tradition in favor of allowing players to strategically program automatic moves into their characters in order to create a sense of fluid, real-time battle. "Final Fantasy XI," one of the series' most dramatic departures, is an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online RPG) in which players customize their characters and interact online.

    "Final Fantasy X" also spawned a direct sequel, "Final Fantasy X-2."

Other Major Traditional RPG Franchises

  • The long-running "Dragon Quest" series has only had one major installment on the PS2: "Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King," the first fully 3-D game in the franchise.

    "Suikoden," Konami's RPG franchise, had three main installments on the PlayStation 2 in the form of "Suikoden III", "Suikoden IV" and "Suikoden V." While the games have traditional turn-based RPG elements, the series is known for player's goal of searching for and enlisting 108 characters to fight in battle.

    Namco Bandai's "Xenosaga" trilogy, a follow-up to the original PlayStation's critically acclaimed "Xenogears," features an epic robot-based science fiction story with Biblical themes in three chapters: "Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht", "Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse" and "Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra."

Other Traditional RPGs

  • Sony Computer Entertainment's own RPG franchise, "Wild Arms," has three installments on the PS2 ("Wild Arms 3", "Wild Warms 4" and "Wild Arms 5"), all of which are traditional RPGs with western elements. Sony Computer Entertainment also published "Rogue Galaxy," which has science fiction elements.

    The third and fourth installments of the "Shin Megami Tensei: Persona" series were released on the PS2. Published by Atlus, these games combine traditional RPG elements like dungeon exploration with social interaction simulation with the game following the lives of high school students.

Action RPGs

  • Action RPGs combine RPG elements with real-time action-oriented gameplay as opposed to traditional turn-based battles. One of the more popular examples of this genre is the "Kingdom Hearts" series, which pairs "Final Fantasy" characters with personalities from Disney's vast library, ranging from Mickey Mouse to the world of "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Marvel Comics' superhero characters also have been the focus of a few action RPGs: "X-Men Legends" and "X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse" as well as "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance."

    "Dark Cloud 2," the sequel to an earlier PlayStation 2 game, features a variety of activities, including item invention and building entire towns in addition to action-RPG-oriented dungeon exploration.

    Other sequels and spin-offs in the PlayStation 2 action RPG genre include the science fiction "Star Ocean: Till the End of Time", the Norse-themed "Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria" and "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance," a spin-off of the "Dungeons & Dragons" franchise but with a focus on fast-paced action.

Tactical RPGs

  • Tactical role-playing games tend to involve players moving their characters around on a battlefield with a focus on developing an effective strategy to defeat the enemy. Among the most acclaimed tactical RPGs are the "Disgaea" series ("Disgaea: Hour of Darkness" and "Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories") as well as "Suikoden Tactics," a tactical-themed spin-off of the Konami franchise.

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