torstai 22. joulukuuta 2011

Collection 2011 - Part 2/3

The PlayStation 2 launched in Japan on March 4th, 2000. Despite some true competition - that its predecessor never really had - from both Nintendo and Sega, and the scene's newcomer Microsoft, PlayStation 2 held its place as the decade's most popular and diverse platform for many years. Games for the PlayStation 2 are still made even though its successor's been out for five years, and Sony has stated that production of both the PlayStation 2 and games for it will continue until demand ceases. I've owned several PlayStation 2's, and I BELIEVE the PS2 Slim I have right now is the sixth one - to be honest, I've lost count of how many have broken down or been sold. Why have I wasted so much effort of getting new PS2's? Because the PS2 rules. It is my second favourite console of all time, right after the SNES. Here are some of the reasons why (and why not):

24 - THE GAME | Sony Computer Entertainment | 2006
Notes: DVD | PAL | SCES-53358
Comments: I loved the show, so I bought the game. Kind of an irrational and hasty thought, especially considering the last entry of my game collection for the original PlayStation, but 24 was really promising, and it didn't turn out all that bad - cinematically, it's an amazing game. I indeed bought the game the day it was released, even though I had shunned all licensed games for years, and the reviews weren't too flattering. It had Jack Bauer in it, 'nuff said.
VGMania Rating: [TBR 2012]

FINAL FANTASY X | Square | 2001
Notes: DVD | PAL | SCES-50490 [PLATINUM]
Comments: Once again, a Final Fantasy game I initially didn't like one bit, and it turned out my favourite right after VII and VIII. It was the last of the truly greats, and it hasn't aged one bit - that's probably why Square Enix are currently working on an HD remake. I don't remember getting this copy, I just remember borrowing the game from my ex, and when it came time to return the game, this copy just popped out of nowhere to replace hers.
VGMania Rating: 9.5 / 10

FINAL FANTASY X-2 | Square Enix | 2003
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-51815
Comments: The first direct sequel in the history of Final Fantasy, and a game you've just got to play if you saw Final Fantasy X to the end; that's exactly what Square Enix had in mind when they made this experimental RPG, in which Charlie's Angels meets J-Pop meets Final Fantasy X. It's a fairly good game in its own twisted way, but I don't know if I'm ever gonna play it again. My brother bought this one out of pure curiosity when it was more or less brand new, and to my huge surprise, he loved the game; he never liked playing as a chick in any game before, not even Jill Valentine or Claire Redfield in Resident Evil. That was always my job.
VGMania Rating: 6.9 / 10

FINAL FANTASY XII | Square Enix | 2006
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-54354
Comments: A beautiful game. A huge game. A fantastic game. Alas, a bit dull, around the edges and to the core - definitely not a traditional Final Fantasy story which you could sit down to enjoy a hundred times like the classic games in their prime, more like an endless roam without a real plot. Actually, it's the least replayable game in the history of the franchise if you ask me. I got this one brand new, of course.
VGMania Rating: 8.5 / 10

GOD OF WAR | Sony Computer Entertainment | 2005
Notes: DVD | PAL | SCES-53133
Comments: Sony's undisputed flagship right up until LittleBigPlanet, if you ask me. Third-person action in this vein had definitely been seen before, but no-one had ever seen something quite as epic and violent as God of War. Besides, there had been way too few games that ever dealt with Greek mythology, God of War was like an encyclopedia on the subject. When I first heard of this game, I was totally soiling myself. I got it after a few convincing reviews, and haven't looked back since.
VGMania Rating: 9.1 / 10

GOD OF WAR II | Sony Computer Entertainment | 2007
Notes: DVD | PAL | SCES-54206
Comments: The game that was supposed to be the PS2's final push... four years ago. God of War II did push the PS2 to its very limits, though, and its predecessor over the edge; although I no longer think so, back when the game came out, playing it felt like the first one was a mere prototype. God of War II still remains one of my favourite games of all time. Pre-ordered the game, of course I did.
VGMania Rating: 9.4 / 10

Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-50330 [PLATINUM]
Comments: The legend, named the greatest and most revolutionary video game of all time by many revered journalists and critics. Pretty much the mother(fucker) and father of all sandbox games. It made a difference, but there were a lot of fatal mistakes in Grand Theft Auto III from the start, mistakes that couldn't possibly have been fixed when it came to the unpatchable PlayStation 2 version. A great game... that paved the way for some amazing sequels. I got a brand new copy of this one (as in still wrapped in plastic) a couple of years ago for a measly €15, to simply round out the collection.
VGMania Rating: 8.8 / 10

GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY | Rockstar North | 2002
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-51061 [PLATINUM]
Comments: If someone asked me to recommend a single last-generation Grand Theft Auto game to him/her, I'd say Vice City - even though San Andreas is my favourite. I understand some people dislike that game, for being so technical and so "ghetto", while Vice City is what Grand Theft Auto, the whole series, is all about. It's fun, it's very challenging, it's full of action, magnificent 80's music and great humour, it's pretty much a perfect sandbox game and I actually think I underrated it a bit back when I reviewed it! I think I bought my copy as a side dish to some new game.
VGMania Rating: 9.2 / 10

GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDREAS | Rockstar North | 2004
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-52541
Comments: To keep it brief, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is my second favourite video game of all time. Yep, it ranks as #4 on the Top 50 list, but that's because of its average score; the greatness of San Andreas lies in the whole performance and atmosphere instead of some single quality. San Andreas was the first Grand Theft Auto game I ever really got into, and it truly opened my eyes to the amazing franchise - I thought it was all just some speed-lovin' bastards' hype.
VGMania Rating: 9.7 / 10

GUITAR HERO | Harmonix Music Systems | 2005
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-54132
Comments: Harmonix Music Systems' test drive to create a "fun little rhythm game" for a major console turned out a real moneymaker. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, as was proven in the Guitar Hero franchise's case, but back when the first game came out, it seemed like Guitar Hero's way would be paved with gold forever. Got this one to round out the collection. A little bit late, perhaps, since the mechanics are outdated, but the game has a lot of great songs in it.
VGMania Rating: 8.3 / 10

GUITAR HERO II | Harmonix Music Systems | 2006
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-54442
Comments: It's got a great tracklist, good mechanics, and a tighter grip all around; Guitar Hero II might as well be called the first truly essential rhythm game. When I found out that my first Guitar Hero game - Rocks the 80's - was more or less an expansion to this game, I just had to get it.
VGMania Rating: 9.0 / 10

GUITAR HERO ROCKS THE 80'S | Harmonix Music Systems | 2007
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-54859
Comments: Just as I stated, this is kind of an expansion to Guitar Hero II, meaning it has very little songs in comparison to the rest of the series. I didn't know that, I just wanted a Guitar Hero game out of curiosity and this was the only game I could find bundled with the guitar controller at the time. Some great songs, but truly too few of them.
VGMania Rating: 7.3 / 10

GUITAR HERO III: LEGENDS OF ROCK | Neversoft Entertainment | 2007
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-54962
Comments: Still my favourite Guitar Hero game. Optimal mechanics, an amazing and balanced tracklist. One of the most difficult games of the century. I bought this one together with a friend, later he "sold" his share of the game to me. Actually he does have a share of the game - the box. He somehow lost it, and now I have the disc stored inside Guitar Hero II's box.
VGMania Rating: 9.2 / 10

KINGDOM HEARTS | Square | 2002
Notes: DVD | PAL | SCES-50967
Comments: Just when you think Square can't get any stranger, they make an action-RPG crossover between Final Fantasy and Disney characters. What's even stranger is that the end result works. The first Kingdom Hearts has dull level design and the cinematics suffer due to the horrible plot, but it's a good game, and an even better item to own. Picked this one up from the same video game emporium that sold me Chrono Trigger way back when. It was very cheap to begin with, but I haggled well enough to get the clerk to sell it to me at €20. An original copy of Kingdom Hearts is not the easiest PS2 disc to find nowadays.
VGMania Rating: 8.0 / 10

KINGDOM HEARTS II | Square Enix | 2005
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-54114
Comments: Put Kingdom Hearts in a bowl, add in more fleshed out level design and dynamic gameplay, yet an even further whacked plot, and you get Kingdom Hearts II; that's pretty much it. I pre-ordered the game... BUT my brother broke the original copy and got me a used one as a replacement.
VGMania Rating: 8.5 / 10

Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-50383 [PLATINUM]
Comments: Pretty much the reason I wanted the PlayStation 2 in the first place, and the pattern continued when Metal Gear Solid 4 was released on the PlayStation 3. Despite the huge bombshell of a main character and a plot which some fans found way too twisted, the game remains one of the PS2's top titles. It was one of the first games I got for the PlayStation 2; I got the PlayStation 2 so late that I had to settle with the Platinum version, though. It was way easier to find than an original copy.
VGMania Rating: 9.4 / 10

Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-82013 | Incl. Japanese Promotional Trailer (Bonus DVD)
Comments: In my opinion, the greatest Metal Gear game of them all, and one of my favourite games of all time. Not very easy things to say, but that's how it is. I got this one on pre-order and got a bonus DVD on the side. Honestly, I don't have the DVD anymore thanks to some stupid-ass attic burglars who took a trunk full of junk, in which I had stored a lot of stuff I didn't have any actual use for, but was keeping for emotional value.
VGMania Rating: 9.7 / 10

Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-50306 [PLATINUM]
Comments: Originally, it was exclusive to the Sega Dreamcast. When it became obvious that the Dreamcast would fall, it was remade as Code: Veronica X. Why? Because the game ruled, and it still is a very essential, classic experience to any Resident Evil fan. I had no idea this game was available for the PS2 when my brother first stumbled on it at some video game store. Glad I was enlightened.
VGMania Rating: 8.8 / 10

RESIDENT EVIL 4 | Capcom | 2005
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-53702
Comments: Probably the first game I ever pre-ordered. Not necessarily the best Resident Evil game in terms of what Resident Evil used to stand for, but still one of the top games in the whole franchise, and one of the best action games ever created - not to mention most influential. An ageless masterpiece, if you will.
VGMania Rating: 9.3 / 10

SILENT HILL 2 - DIRECTOR'S CUT | Konami | 2002
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-51156 [PLATINUM]
Comments: Speaking of ageless masterpieces... I think that my love for Silent Hill 2 only grows with time, and if I'd do the review now, I think it'd be even more positive. Silent Hill 2 is a very difficult game to explain, its atmosphere is so thick, and the way it aims to downright terrify the player with its psychological antics, and succeeds most of the time, is unparalleled. The Director's Cut version includes an extra playable scenario that takes about 30 minutes to complete. This game was one of the first PS2 games I got, and believe it or not, I didn't like it at first. I let it be for several months until I, for some reason, got Silent Hill 3. After falling in love with that game from the get-go, I gave Silent Hill 2 another shot and haven't looked back since.
VGMania Rating: 9.1 / 10

SILENT HILL 3 | Konami | 2003
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-51434
Comments: An absolutely fantastic survival horror game, and notably different from the last, as in more violent and gory, but a very easy and juiceless game, since there are only two nearly identical endings and a traditional candid one. This game really sparked my interest in the franchise. I don't know why I bought it since I didn't like Silent Hill 2 at the time, must've been some animal instinct.
VGMania Rating: 8.6 / 10

SILENT HILL 4: THE ROOM | Konami | 2004
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-52445
Comments: Probably the scariest Silent Hill of them all, but the plot takes some extremely awkward turns - not as awkward turns as the gameplay takes, though. The first half of the game is guaranteed entertainment for franchise and genre fans, but the second half is pure hell. This is my only PS2 game to still have its original price tag: €62.90. Pretty steep. Bought it from a now defunct video game store that was my sanctuary before GameStop came into my life.
VGMania Rating: 6.8 / 10

Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-51283
Comments: A good wrestling game when it came out, but one that has not aged very well. The controls are awkward, the gameplay mechanics are weird, the graphics are ugly and the game is all-around stiff. I got this game long after some of its predecessors, from my ex-girlfriend. This was the only game she had on her PS2, and she was never really into gaming.
VGMania Rating: 7.7 / 10

Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-52036
Comments: Officially, my first PlayStation 2 game, still one of my favourite games on the system and the best professional wrestling game in history. When my brother first bought us the PS2, he bought a game for it neither of us liked (see more below), went out, sold it off immediately and got this game to replace it. I wouldn't have really _needed_ any new games for a while...
VGMania Rating: 9.2 / 10

WWE SMACKDOWN VS. RAW 2007 | Yuke's | 2006
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-54489
Comments: A very good game, but the lack of new major features prevents it from being on the mark with the best in the series. I pre-ordered every WWE SmackDown! game from SmackDown vs. Raw 2006 up to SmackDown vs. Raw 2009.
VGMania Rating: 8.1 / 10

WWE SMACKDOWN VS. RAW 2008 | Yuke's | 2007
Notes: DVD | PAL | SLES-54793
Comments: A glitchy, boring, pointless waste of time in comparison to the rest of the series, and the most pathetic amount of truly new features that could even be expected. The story of how I got this copy is the same as above. Not too proud of it.
VGMania Rating: 6.8 / 10


As an added bonus, here are the games I used to own on the PlayStation 2... some of them are far from shitty, so some explaining might be in order. I never sell games these days, missing the hell out of some of these games just might be the primary reason for that. There are also some games in there I would love to review, no matter what they are inside. Luckily I have access to a few of them. 

BLOOD OMEN 2 | Crystal Dynamics | 2002
The first sequel to a game that already had a first sequel, which had a sequel of its own. Help, cross-eyed! Seriously, although it was great to have a Soul Reaver-type of action game with Kain for a lead character, it's obvious that Crystal Dynamics was way more interested in telling the story of Raziel's vengeance than chronicling Kain's rise to power. I sold this game, and seven others, in desperate need of money - I can't tell you the specific amount I got, but I can tell you that I didn't get nearly enough to cover the priceless fee of dropping bombs on my collection. I'm not sure, but I think it was my ex who put me up to it, since she probably saw my financial state as a great opportunity to take a stab at my little hobby which annoyed the hell out of her. 

BUZZ! THE MEGA QUIZ | Relentless Software | 2007
A great trivia game, one that I actually got my ex-girlfriend to play every once in a while. We even bought it together, if my memory serves me right. She was kinda disappointed when I sold the game, but that was because my sister bought me the first PS3 Buzz! as a birthday present; I figured I'd have no use for this one. My ex thought the previous one was better. 

CASTLEVANIA | Konami | 2003
Known as Castlevania: Lament of Innocence in the region that game titles usually make the most sense in. OK, so Castlevania has always stood for things like Vampire Killer, Bloody Tears, Belmont, Dracula, and most of all, originality. Castlevania only has a Belmont (by name only), and yet another boring origin story for Dracula, who is never really seen. On top of all, the gameplay's ripped straight off the PlayStation 2's greatest hit at the time, Capcom's Devil May Cry. Definitely not one of my favourite Castlevania games - even Lords of Shadow is lightyears ahead of it, although it's also yet another reboot and a blatant copy of some other game (in that case, God of War). I originally borrowed this game from a friend, and I didn't like it, but my brother did - so much that when I returned the game, he went out and bought it. I sold it in the "Blood Omen Bundle". 

DEVIL MAY CRY | Capcom | 2001
I do not hate this game. I really don't. When I bought it, I even loved it. After (finally) finishing it - it's an extremely frustrating game - I couldn't bear looking at it anymore. Besides, before long the series really started getting on my nerves. Everyone was screaming their asses off about the supposed omnipotence of Devil May Cry, so I just shut the whole franchise out, overdosed by hype, and didn't hesitate one bit to add this game to the "Blood Omen Bundle". I do regret it now, quite a bit, and the game has become one of the reasons why I've thought about going through GameStop's "garbage" to scoop up as many lost PS2 games I can at some point. I don't know how it is where you're from, but here those games are God damn cheap, true bargains. Might take a while to find something decent, everything half decent moves really swift. 

FORBIDDEN SIREN | Sony Computer Entertainment | 2003
First tell me how many bad Sony-exclusive games you've seen. There are not many of them, I can tell you. This game - simply known as Siren in the U.S. and Japan - was perhaps THE most promising survival horror game in history. The graphics were simply jaw-dropping, the promotional art was extremely stylish and the game was indeed made by a Sony-owned studio back in Japan. Everything was on its side... and it turned out one of the weirdest and worst "action" games I've ever played! This game was confusing and God damn horrible to begin with, and as if the gameplay wasn't bad enough, the game had a confusing story that was supposed to be something original in the vein of all those critically acclaimed J-horror movies - which means all dialogue was spoken in Japanese to add to the confusion and my personal nuisance. This game left my collection rather quickly.
I still love you, man. The game just
wasn't good, that's all.

GHOST HUNTER | Sony Computer Entertainment | 2003
All that rant about Sony exclusives was a bit premature, 'cause I had no recollection that Ghost Hunter was made by Sony as well. This game had awful controls, but what bothered me most about it...? Well... you have a box, you set it on the floor, the hatch opens and sucks a ghost right in. What on Earth gave the writers that idea??? The game was supposed to be some sort of a one-man Ghostbusters, with one-liners flying all over the place. It just didn't work for me at all, so I sold it. 

GRAN TURISMO 3: A-SPEC | Polyphony Digital | 2001
Well, this was one fantastic game, but I really didn't need another Gran Turismo. This wasn't really my game to begin with, it was my brother who bought it, and eventually sold it off when he got tired with it... or ran out of money for cigarettes, I don't know. 

This game's release was the fans' fault. We asked for it, without stopping for one minute to think about the consequences of an admittedly impressive handheld game faithfully ported to the PlayStation 2 - it sucked. It was generic, a huge step backwards when it came to Grand Theft Auto on a major console. It hurt to let it go, though, it had a great and worthy story - I sold it in the "Blood Omen Bundle". Didn't get much for it, since it was a budget game to begin with. 

Now this game was generally better than its predecessor, but the PS2 port suffered from most of the same bad mechanics and simply re-scaled graphics. Sold this one in the "Blood Omen Bundle" as well. 

HEADHUNTER | Amuze | 2001
Actually, I never even played this game. I can't even remember watching the game for one whole minute. My brother bought it, played it for a spell and sold it. I guess he thought it was "OK". 

HITMAN 2: SILENT ASSASSIN | IO Interactive | 2002
As much as I usually love playing as an assassin (say "as an assassin" five times, real quick), I never got into Hitman. I really tried to like this game, but just didn't. My brother, on the other hand, never could stand _anything_ related to Italy, so he never even touched the game though he bought it. I sold the game in the "Blood Omen Bundle". 

As an avid fan of the works of Mr. Tolkien and upon learning that this game was actually based on the book rather than the movie, I couldn't help wanting this game. Storywise, it's a decent adaptation, but when it comes to the gameplay, the game is dull, short and awkward. I sold it in the "Blood Omen Bundle". 

PROJECT ZERO | Tecmo | 2001
This critically acclaimed survival horror game - known as Fatal Frame in the U.S. - was my first PlayStation 2 game, and I just didn't get a hang of it. I actually asked my brother to go and sell it the same day he bought it. 

A damn disgrace to the Resident Evil franchise, a survival game based on co-operative work, which is remarkably dull and pointless as a single-player experience. Nice graphics, and that's all there is to the game. This was the eighth and last game I sold in the "Blood Omen Bundle". 

One of the most critically acclaimed and influential video games of the 21st century thus far... and I didn't really love it. I liked it, but I felt kind of guilty of having the game and its fancy cardboard box cluttering up my shelf and gathering dust. So, my friend - the collector - broke my PS2 (one of them) and immediately got me a new one without asking me first, and I knew he didn't have a lot of money, so I rewarded him for his noble deed with my copy of Shadow of the Colossus, which I knew he loved. 

Another critically acclaimed stealth action title which sported some hidden greatness I could never really comprehend. My brother bought it for Tom Clancy's name on it - not quite the epic fail Rainbow Six: Lone Wolf was, far from it, but the game really didn't make a difference to me whatsoever. Would love to try it again, though. 

WWE SMACKDOWN! VS. RAW | Yuke's | 2004
A very disappointing sequel to WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain. This one broke down in use. 

WWE SMACKDOWN! VS. RAW 2006 | Yuke's | 2005
Same as above, this one broke down in use, but the difference is that the 2006 edition of WWE SmackDown! was an awesome game littered with great, new features. If it wasn't so dated due to its seasonal nature, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it back the minute I see it.

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