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Gaming

The 10 Best PlayStation 2 RPGs to Play If You Haven’t Yet

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Image Credit: Nikita Kostrykin/Unsplash

If you can’t get enough of RPGs, then the PlayStation 2 is definitely worth digging out of your attic. The PS2 has an almost endless supply of amazing RPGs that you probably didn’t even get the chance to play.

Head to your nearest gaming store, and keep an eye out for these RPG titles. Trust me, they’re worth it.

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1. Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits

Honestly, when I first looked at this game’s cover art and scanned the story on the back of its case, I thought it was lame. I picked up the game on a whim and started playing when I got home. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised Arc the Lad‘s awesomeness.

The game tells the story of the conflict between the human race and the Deimos, or demon clan. Throughout the game, you play as two estranged brothers who are both half-Deimos, half-human and live completely different lives. Engage in turn-based combat as you scramble to find the powerful Great Spirit Stones before they fall into the wrong hands.

2. Rogue Galaxy

Rogue Galaxy follows the story of a young man named Jaster. He lives on a desert planet Rosa and has always wanted to travel through space. After Jaster gets confused for the legendary bounty hunter, Desert Claw, he gets picked up by a group of space pirates. Together, they work to find the mysterious Planet Eden.

Unlike most of the other RPGs on this list, Rogue Galaxy allows you to engage in real-time combat with a team of other fighters. The enemies you encounter are completely random, and you can quickly switch between fighters in your party. This hack and slash is perfect for a gamer looking for a fast-paced adventure.

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3. Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love

Want to play a dating sim, visual novel, and an RPG? Well, Sakura Wars is all of the above. Set in New York in the late 1920s, you play as both Shinjiro Taiga and the New York Combat Review. It’s Shinjiro’s job to take command of the New York Combat Review, a fighting team made up entirely of women who disguise themselves as a theater group.

This quirky game lets you freely explore New York, as well as interact with other characters in between turn-based battles. Dialogue plays an essential role in Sakura Wars—choosing the correct responses when chatting with members of the Combat Review will make your team more powerful.

4. Dark Cloud

In Dark Cloud, you play as Toan, a boy who’s been given a mystical stone known as the Atlamillia. This stone gives its user the ability to reconstruct ruined lands. Toan teams up with his friends to defeat the Dark Genie, a villain who has brought destruction to several villages.

Explore dungeons, defeat creatures in real-time combat, and gather essential items along the way. When you collect an Atla, you can use it to start rebuilding the villages around you.

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5. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Shin Megami Tensei is a well-known RPG series that’s still prevalent today. Like other games in the series, you play as a silent protagonist. After Tokyo becomes infested with demons, you must attempt to survive using the powers given to you by Lucifer—it’s up to you to decide what will become of the Earth.

Convince demons to join forces with you and strengthen your power. This turn-based game will quickly suck you in with its engaging storyline and strategic gameplay.

6. Wild Arms 3

Wild Arms 3 takes place in a pseudo-Wild West and tells the story of Virginia Maxell, a Drifter who seeks out excitement on the planet Filgaia. After teaming up with three other Drifters, they traverse the world together and uncover strange mysteries about their home planet.

As you explore the areas around you, you’ll unlock portions of the map—in other words, you’ll have to do a lot of exploring to advance. You’ll also randomly encounter enemies that you have to battle using turn-based combat.

7. Dragon Quest VIII

In Dragon Quest VIII, you play as the Hero, a silent protagonist whose goal is to conquer the malicious Dhoulmagus. This cold-hearted bad guy cursed the kingdom of Trodain, turning the King and princess into a troll and a horse.

Dragon Quest VIII differs from the other games in the series, as it’s the first to incorporate visual tools that let you switch to first-person perspective and move the camera around characters. Jam out to this RPG’s awesome soundtrack as you come across random battles—use magic, attack, or whip out an item in turn-based combat.

8. Shadow Hearts

Shadow Hearts is a continuation of the PlayStation game Koudelka—it has the same supernatural setting and some of the same characters as well. This haunting game centers around Yuri Hyuga, a Harmonixer who can gain an immense amount of power by merging with demons and gods.

Embark on a mission to help Yuri’s beloved Alice Elliot escape from an evil alchemist. This turn-based game uses a Judgement Ring that designates different areas for critical hits and misses.

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9. Tales of the Abyss

In Tales of the Abyss, you’ll learn the story of Luke fon Fabre, a sheltered young man who’s suddenly taken away from his comfortable lifestyle. He’s tasked with saving the world before two warring kingdoms decide to end it themselves. During his adventure, Luke meets new friends and discovers the truth about his identity.

If you’ve played other games in the Tales of series, you’ll already be familiar with Tales of the Abyss Flex Range Linear Battle System (FR-LMBS). The biggest difference between this game’s combat system and its predecessor’s is that you can freely run on the battle plane.

10. Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht

In order to make sense of this Xenosaga game, you must play Episode II and Episode III as well. Episode I takes place thousands of years in a future where humans live in space and are at war with the alien race Gnosis. You’ll step into the shoes of scientist Shion Uzuki, and even get to play as her android KOS-MOS, along with a group of other characters on her team.

As you explore the map with your party, you’ll have to battle enemies at predetermined points. All in all, it has a pretty typical turn-based combat system.

Don’t Miss Out on These PS2 Classics

The price of some of these games has skyrocketed, as they’ve become harder to find. Fortunately, you can find a remake of these games on newer consoles such as the PS4 or Nintendo 3DS. It definitely doesn’t beat the classic feel when playing it on a PS2 though.

Some games just don’t get the attention that they deserve. These TurboGrafx-16 games may have been forgotten, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth playing.

Emma Roth
Emma is a staff writer at WhatNerd. In addition to being an avid writer and tech geek, she's a fan of games, anime, manga, and more. She's based in Connecticut.
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