What games and accessories should I get for my Playstation 2?
June 17, 2004 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Playstation 2 fans: I have just invested in a Playstation 2 for a game room in my house. Now I am trying to put together a library of games that has something for everyone, from little kids to psychotic bikers; what titles do I need? Also, what are some useful accessories? I have found a lot of review sites on the net and are taking them into account, but I often find that the collective wisdom of AskMeFi gets to the point a lot better for these type of questions. Thanks in advance for your help.
posted by TedW to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (47 answers total)
First, if you want to bring mp3s into your stereo, or more importantly, play avi files on your TV, you need the Gameshark Media Player. It's the best accessory ever.

I'll leave the game suggestions to the people who are better qualified for it, except to say that I still enjoy "The Getaway" after having it over a year.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:12 AM on June 17, 2004

I got a PS2 about six months ago.

I've greatly enjoyed the Dance Dance Revolution games: specifically, DDRMax and DDRMax2. Also, shell out an extra $60 for this dance pad--it may seem initially steep, but it's far more accurate than off-the-shelf soft pads, and takes the game to a whole new level of enjoyment. And if you're not in shape, two months of playing every other day will do wonders for your constitution.

As far as non-dance games--lately I've been playing a whole lot of Disgaea (a strategy RPG), but I also recommend Final Fantasy X (a straight-ahead RPG) and R-Type Final (a shooter). I'm a bit of an SRPG junkie--I'm finding Disgaea to be both strategically deep and extremely addictive, though the game mechanics are easily exploited. If you want an SRPG that's rigorously designed at the slight cost of some customization options, I strongly recommend Gladius, by Lucasarts. It can be had for $20 these days, and is criminally underrated.
posted by Prospero at 8:15 AM on June 17, 2004

Final Fantasy X - RPG
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - Shoot, Drive, Drive, Shoot
Tekken IV - Fighting (Good 2 player)
Ratchett and Clank (1, not 2) - Platform.
Some sort of Sporting Game. (Again - two player, so good.)
posted by seanyboy at 8:19 AM on June 17, 2004

Gran Tourismo is required.
posted by falconred at 8:27 AM on June 17, 2004

agreed - And Grand Tourismo.
posted by seanyboy at 8:28 AM on June 17, 2004

GTA3, GTA:VC are musts. Just trust us (and ignore anyone who disagrees). I'm not a fan of golf in real life, but the Tiger Woods series is good for replayability. Plus it's easy to pick up but hard to master, so it truly is "fun for all ages". The SSX and Tony Hawk series are must-haves as well. You can probably find THPS4 on the cheap. Any of the SSX games are terrific (though the second, SSX: Tricky, is the weakest of the three).

There's so much else that nothing's coming to mind. I would echo Hizzoner's suggestion about the Game Shark Media Player, but there's a new accessory coming out this year that does all that plus provides a small USB key for transferring saves and stuff.

Accessories: you need a memory card and a multitap is nice for more than 2 people (pay the extra money and get the Sony to avoid compatability issues). DDR + a dance pad is great. Unless you live above someone. The Gran Tourismo series is also a must, especially when GT3 can be had on the cheap.
posted by yerfatma at 8:34 AM on June 17, 2004

I just want to say "on the cheap" one more time.
posted by yerfatma at 8:35 AM on June 17, 2004

It's all about the Bandicoot.
posted by contessa at 8:35 AM on June 17, 2004

Response by poster: It seems like a steering wheel is a good investment for the driving games; are there any that stand out? And I forgot to mention for our international contingent that I am in the USA so am limited to what is available here (although would love to hear about what is available in the rest of the world)
posted by TedW at 8:37 AM on June 17, 2004

the Metal Gear Solid series
Desert Storm
Medal of Honor
Colin McRae rally
Virtua Fighter 4
Winning Eleven 7 International (soccer)

if at all possible, use it only for games. I used my first PS2 as a dvd player almost daily and...
I'll just say that now I have another PS2 .
posted by matteo at 8:48 AM on June 17, 2004

Note that the Gameshark media player requires a PS2 network adapter.

Definitely get GTA3 and VC.

I don't have a wireless controller, so I can't comment on those, but I consider my cord extension an essential part of my system. Mine came in a $20 set of PS2 accessories and included a remote control (required to play DVDs) and memory card. If you have more than one device hooked up to your TV get a component switch box (like this, though mine's not "auto-sensing"). That thing solved about six headaches at once for me.

I haven't played any of the other games in the series, but Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is delightful and does a far better job of capturing the "magic" of the book than the movie does. You could mow your lawn in the time it takes some scenes to load, but the quality of game play is worth the tradeoff.

I'd rent a driving game before plunking down $50 for one, because they might just not be interesting enough for you. Besides, GTA has all the elements of a great driving game (minus the spectacular array of cars found in, say Gran Turismo). Plus you can do drive-by shootings.
posted by arco at 8:52 AM on June 17, 2004

Oh, and Simpsons: Hit and Run is a blast (it's built on the same engine as GTA), but it does get a bit tedious after a while. If you're a Simpsons fan, at least rent it, or buy it if you can find it for under $25.

Pay attention to Cheap Ass Gamer to find great deals as they come along, particularly the every-one-in-a-while 25%-35% off coupons from EBGames. You can really stock up.
posted by arco at 9:07 AM on June 17, 2004

I really enjoyed Jak II. And if the ps2 version of Fight Night 2004 is anything like the xbox's, I'd recommend that too.

Oh, and the same goes for Prince of Persia. That game is a thing of beauty.
posted by crumbly at 9:13 AM on June 17, 2004

I'm still a big fan of the ps1 title, Twisted Metal 2. As far as I'm concerned, that's still the best game playable on the PS2. I also dig those Midway classic game collections they've been releasing -- they're an awesome deal for $19.95.
posted by ph00dz at 9:17 AM on June 17, 2004

For kids and immature adults (like me), the SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom game provided endless hours of nonstop amusement, and is good for kids because it's not extremely difficult to play.
posted by vraxoin at 9:20 AM on June 17, 2004

(oops! I just realized the "switcher" I linked to above was $180. Mine is a manual switch and cost about $20. It doesn't have all the bells and/or whistles as the thing I links to, but you get the idea. Most places that sell games should have them.)
posted by arco at 9:23 AM on June 17, 2004

The tony hawk games are great fun
posted by Mick at 9:24 AM on June 17, 2004

I like Metal Gear Solid 2. Some of the best gameplay I've ever seen, though the story is perhaps a bit too clever for its own good.

For a different take on racing games, the Need for Speed Series (thinking specifically of Underground and the older Hot Pursuit 2) is pretty sweet.

Ace Combat 4 is a great fighter jet sim, if you're into that, and Deus Ex, while old, is still one of the greats of its genre, imo
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:28 AM on June 17, 2004

Personally, I 'd say GTA 3 over GTA:VC, but you may still be able to get a duo pack for a saving on both. If not, then maybe put off buying one, as the other will keep you going for a lonnnnnnnnnnnng time (and I mean that in a very positive way). Splinter Cell is good, dont know what the new flavour is like. Silent Hill games are good for survival horror. SH3 had excellent reviews though haven't played it myself. Didn't like MGS2 mself. I also find that Final Fantasy games devolves into endless repetition and wouldn't recommend them. Not a big fan of driving games generally (but don't let that put you off taking other recomendations) but for some reason have always liked every version of Wipeout and you should be able to pick up wipeout:fusion for a song.
I'll also ditto Medal of Honor (except that level in the mine cart which pisses me off).
posted by biffa at 9:32 AM on June 17, 2004

Here's my list (bearing in mind I'm from the UK so some titles might be different.)

- Eye Toy: this is a USB camera which allows you to appear in the games you're playing. A game called Eye Toy Groove puts your picture in the middle of dancing games.

- Any of the Dancing Stage games - Megamix, Party etc

- Sonic Heroes (hard to master but extremely cute)

- Rez, with Trance Vibrator peripheral... this is a very odd and arty game but strangely addictive. Plus it has a vibrator attachment, which is good way of appeasing the significant other.
posted by skylar at 9:41 AM on June 17, 2004

The Logitech cordless controller is very nice.

As for games, something from the SSX series of snowboarding games is a must. Also, the most recent Madden or NBA Live if you like football or basketball.
posted by sad_otter at 9:50 AM on June 17, 2004

I consider my cord extension an essential part of my system

Ooh. Good point. I have those too and completely forgot about them. (Also, at least some of the PS2s in stores now have the network adapter built in).
posted by yerfatma at 9:59 AM on June 17, 2004

I'd like to put in a mention of Koei's Dynasty Warriors series (and their new little brother, Samurai Warriors). They're button-mashing chaotic beat-em-ups with beautiful graphics (well, as long as not too many people are onscreen) and decent 2-player co-op play. I'm still working my way through beating DW3 with everybody before I'm letting myself get too far into DW3: Xtreme Legends, an expansion of sorts that mixes stuff up and adds a little. The most recent release was DW4: XL which I have about a year or so before I'll be able to get started with, at the rate I play.

But if you're looking to pick one up, sitck with either Dynasty Warriors 4 or Samurai Warriors. And kiss your free time goodbye (if you're the sort easily hooked on repetitive games that nevertheless encourage replay).

I'll also give a quick recommendation to Soul Calibur II. I prefer the first one on the Dreamcast, but you can't play those games. You can, however, play PS1 games so also pick up Crash Team Racing (the Bandicoot again) for 4-player kart action and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the best 2d game single-player RPGish platformer.

Another beautiful PS1 game is Squaresoft's Legend of Mana. It's fun to play and even pretty enjoyable to watch.
posted by codger at 10:09 AM on June 17, 2004

Since it's a Game Room, you can't go wrong with Sports Titles. I like NBA Street, Madden, Tiger Woods Golf, and pretty much all the EA Sports titles.
posted by chaz at 10:09 AM on June 17, 2004

Oh, and as long as you don't have a projection TV, give the lightgun games a try. Pick up a GunCon (or 2) and Time Crisis 3. The PS1 had great party games called Point Blank (there were 3 of them, also by Namco) that are fun for two players at a time and can be set up with something like sixteen players in a tournament. I can't speak for any other light gun games, but I'm sure some are pretty decent. You can't go wrong with Namco, though.
posted by codger at 10:17 AM on June 17, 2004

Accessory: Modchip.

If you plan to let others play your games, especially kids or people you don't know too well, you'll want backups of them for when they get beat to hell and back. :-)
posted by shepd at 10:24 AM on June 17, 2004

I second the recommendation for Disgaea... this is the best game I've played in a long time. It's cute, funny, and endlessly replayable.

Suikoden 3 is a better RPG than Final Fantasy X, in my opinion. The gameplay is much more solid, and you've got more control over the characters' movements.

DDRMAX2 is a must. It's so much better than the original DDRMAX that you only need MAX2, unless you really want both... and keep in mind that DDR Extreme is coming out in the fall! IMHO the cheap DDR pads are the way to go, because all soft DDR pads will break after 6 months or so of heavy use. Stick with the cheap 2-for-$20 ones on Ebay, but you should definitely mod them so they'll play better and last a bit longer.

Skygunner is a fun game... kind of an anime flying/combat sim. There's a lot of slowdown with this game, but I had a lot of fun with it, regardless, and it can be had very cheap.

To be honest, I think that the PS1 had better games than PS2. Fortunately, you can still play 'em on the PS2. Some excellent RPG/strategy games for PS1 are Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy 9, Brigandine, and Front Mission 3.
posted by vorfeed at 10:30 AM on June 17, 2004

posted by rushmc at 11:04 AM on June 17, 2004

as for the steering wheel accessory apparently there is a new one, the Logitech Driving Force Pro with a 2.5 turn (900 degrees) "lock to lock" which is realistic with real cars which is important for a game like gran turismo. It's a little pricy but playing a game with 200 degrees of rotation makes you cry.
posted by rhyax at 11:25 AM on June 17, 2004

Disgaea is really addicting and really hard to find. The same people made La Pucelle Tactics, which is out now and supposedly similarly good. But I can't believe nobody's mentioned War of the Monsters for when you just wanna wreck shit. Also, Dark Cloud 2 for the action RPG category.
posted by furiousthought at 11:35 AM on June 17, 2004

Space Channel 5 Special Edition is a fun music/rhythm title. It includes the first Space Channel 5, previously available only on Dreamcast, and Space Channel 5 Part 2, which was only available in Japan for a long time. Two games for ~$15 isn't bad at all.

If you have any pro wrestling fans in your house, get the WWE Smackdown titles. The depth to which you can customize a character is astounding. Lots of replay value.

I'd second the Tony Hawk nomination, and the Virtua Fighter 4 nom, though you should only get Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution, which is a special edition of Virtua Fighter 4 that was released later.

Also, don't forget that you can play PS1 titles in your PS2. There are a few gems like PaRappa the Rapper (didn't care much for the second PS2 version), UmJammer Lammy and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo that are worth playing.
posted by MegoSteve at 11:47 AM on June 17, 2004

I've had lots of fun with MVP Baseball 2004 and Fight Night 2004 (boxing), if you're into sports. Tony Hawk Underground also may the most fun in the series.

Magazines? EGM tends to be the best out there now, covers all systems though.
posted by ALongDecember at 11:54 AM on June 17, 2004

General games :
SSX Tricky, a snowboard racing game for 2 players.
Crashteam Racing is still the best multi-player (more than 2) cart racing game, even though it's for the PS1. There was a PS2 Crachteam Racing game but it totally sucked ass.
Amplitude is a hard-to-describe music based rhythm game for several players.

I like platformers, so, along those lines, these are the best ...
Sly Cooper & the Thevius Racoonus is fun while not being too frustrating.
Jak & Daxter 1 / 2
Ratchet & Clank 1 / 2
Beyond Good & Evil

None of these are brand new games, so you won't be paying more than $20 for any one title. Also, you'll need to buy a 4-player adapter for the multiplayer.
posted by crunchland at 11:57 AM on June 17, 2004

Response by poster: So far, so good. I got the network adapter equippped box on sale and bundled with an accessory pack (extra controller, controller extensions, remote control) and ATV Off-road Fury 2, so my basic setup is ready to go. A cheap AV switcher does solve headaches, as I am using an older TV without many inputs. So far I have bought the GTA duo pack, Final Fantasy X, Tony Hawk 4, Medal of Honor Frontline, and Crash: Wrath of Cortex. There are a lot of other titles that seem to keep popping up, though, and some more obscure ones that sound interesting, so it looks like I will be heading out with Visa card in hand again soon.
posted by TedW at 12:40 PM on June 17, 2004

I'll second the eyetoy.

It's fun for all ages and has added bonus of making you work up a sweat.

(and a second for Amplitude - very unique and addicting game)
posted by deathofme at 2:24 PM on June 17, 2004

Games that every serious PS2 owner must have, in my opinion:
  • Rez is brilliant.
  • One of the GTA games is absolutely mandatory. I prefer 3.
  • State of Emergency isn't as good as GTA, but is good stupid blowing-shit-up fun in the same style.
  • Ico. One of the best puzzle platformers ever.
  • Gran Turismo 3. The original killer app for the PS2, and still amazing. Can't wait for 4 to come out.
  • One of the SSX games. 3 is the best, imo.
  • One of the Tony Hawk games. Last I played is 3. It's better than 1 and 2; not sure how the later ones are.
Now, if, like me, you're a sucker for racing games:
  • Burnout 2 is a great arcade racing with a very fun "who can make the biggest wreck" mode.
  • Grand Prix Challenge is the best of the F1 games I've played.
  • V-Rally 3. CMR3 probably has a better physics model, but is alot more limited, featurewise. The WRC games are fun, but just not as good.
  • XG3 or XGRA -- futuristic hoverbike racing. Extremely fast reflexes necessary.

I'm sure I'm missing some. There are so many good titles.

Oh! And if you want a classic in the "psycho biker" genre (literally), pick up a copy of Road Rash, for the original PlayStation. It's one of two PS1 games that I have never replaced, as long as I've had my PS2. (The other being Oddworld)
posted by jammer at 2:43 PM on June 17, 2004

If I had to single out just one game from this generation, it would be:


It moved the artform forwards on all fronts (art, sound, programming, and design), and is pretty damn cheap these days. Plus you'll score points with serious gamers, just for having it in your collection.

Plus it's one of only three games I keep in my desk drawer for reference. The other two being Devil May Cry, and Jak & Daxter.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:44 PM on June 17, 2004

I'd just like to add

- SSX3 (sorry crunchland, it kicks ass over Tricky, plus it has network play)
- Medal of Honour (the original, if you like shooters)
- The original Dark Alliance was a lot of hack hack slash slash fun, few years old now so you should be able to pick it up for cheap, haven't played the sequel but its more of the same.
- If you like survival horror I'd recommend Fatal Frame. Scared the crap out of me, but its a weird game that's not for everyone.
- Ape Escape 2. What's not fun about catching monkeys?
- I'll second Soul Caliber II, Ico and GTA3.

inpHilltr8r, you weren't on Malice were you?
posted by arha at 4:55 PM on June 17, 2004

Worms 3D is great fun for your inner child AND psychotic biker.

It is fun, light multiplayer goodness, though a couple of technical mysteries slightly detract from the fun (you have to share a controller, you can't invert y axis). But if you can deal with these inconveniences you will have a lot of fun.
posted by shotsy at 5:47 PM on June 17, 2004

That's good to hear, arha! I've got SSX3 on my amazon wishlist, and expect to get it for my birthday in a few weeks. I picked up SSX Tricky this past weekend, and I can't seem to stop playing it.
posted by crunchland at 6:15 PM on June 17, 2004

crunchland, you will love it. Looks better, more tracks, IMHO better controls and physics (while still being completely OTT and fantastic) and a more open ended design. I've played all the SSX games to death and 3 is by far my favourite.
posted by arha at 6:29 PM on June 17, 2004

Will Rez work on a U.S. PlayStation 2?
posted by substrate at 7:57 PM on June 17, 2004

If you're ever looking for a good cooperative multiplayer game, you've gotta try Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance.

And when you beat that, get BG: DA II, then Champions of Norrath.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 9:03 PM on June 17, 2004

winning eleven 7
kingdom hearts
onimusha 3
posted by juv3nal at 9:36 PM on June 17, 2004

i have never heard of rez, but it looks cool, was it released in the US, amazon.com has it for like $80 but amazon.co.uk has it for like £7 ?
posted by rhyax at 10:17 PM on June 17, 2004

Just to make sure you do--GET REZ! It is by far the best game on the PS2. And yes, it works in the US. Errr. I mean, you can buy it in the US. It was published here. It doesn't come with the vibrator, though.
  • Virtua Fighter: Evolution
  • Tekken 4
  • GTA: Vice City
  • Kingdom Hearts
  • an Onimusha game
  • EyeToy is way more fun than you'd expect, but the cam's crappy
  • Red Faction 2. b/c you've got to have a PC-port FPS
  • a Bond game. b/c you've got to have a Bond game.
  • if you want an RPG, FFX is pretty and soapy, Xenogears is long and cerebral, and .Hack has a brilliant concept but gets kind of repetitive

posted by jbrjake at 11:26 PM on June 17, 2004

Oh, I am so dissappointed. No one has mentioned Airblade. Now at $20, its the best PS2 game I've played.

No one else has tried it, or no one liked it? I've wondered at the lack of a second version.
posted by Goofyy at 12:09 AM on June 18, 2004

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