Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)
Action 25 October 2004
The seventh installment in the controversial Grand Theft Auto series – one of the most popular game franchises in history that brought Rockstar Games company international fame. The series has been letting the player start as a petty criminal and work his way to the top of the criminal underground. This next part of the series is the biggest one so far, featuring world – the State of San Andreas – almost three times larger than Vice City. Among many innovations, there are several thing worthy of mention: improved AI of civilians, option to recruit gang members, increased number of interactive buildings, hunger factor, swimming, and new means of transportation (e.g. bicycles). On top of that, there game features numerous extra activities, highlighting the sandbox character of gameplay. The game features the atmosphere of the 1990s, apparent in both the graphics and the soundtrack available via the numerous in-game radio stations.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2)
Action 27 October 2002
A new installment in the bestselling series of action games. The game expands the ideas introduced in the third entry in the franchise, released in 2001. The game was developed by the authors of the previous installments who, after having been bought by the American giant, were transformed into Rockstar North. The game takes place in the 80's in a completely new metropolis called Vice City. The player becomes Tommy Vercetti, who was sent by his boss to establish a foothold in the city while taking care of the local gangs and corrupted police. The game has similar mechanics to its predecessor and focuses mostly on completing various non-linear story missions. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City added some new features, such as the possibility to use motorcycles and helicopters. The graphics, inspired by aesthetics of the 80's, were greatly improved as well. During the game, the player is accompanied by a varied soundtrack broadcast by several different radio stations.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005) (PS2)
Racing 15 November 2005
The ninth installment in a legendary racing game franchise created by Electronic Arts company. After two Underground games, featuring illegal night street races, the franchise went back to its roots, combining ideas from the two most recent titles with classic elements. The player’s goal is to climb to the top of a black list of the most wanted drivers. Again you get to explore a huge virtual city, taking on different racing challenges. These include circuit, sprint, drag, elimination, time trial, speed challenge, and police pursuit. After completing enough of these you can challenge subsequent drivers from the black list. Apart from elements typical for the series, such as licensed cars and diverse soundtrack, the game features complex car customization, both in terms of appearance and performance.
Shadow of the Colossus (2005) (PS2)
Action 14 October 2005
A third-person perspective fantasy action game created by Sony. It is one of the best-reviewed games in the history of PlayStation 2. Shadow of the Colossus follows a young traveler named Wander who explores a fantasy world on his horse. He is looking for a way to resurrect a girl burdened with a cursed fate. The only way to do it is by defeating the sixteen colossi that live in various regions of the world. The gameplay focuses solely on searching for the colossi and fighting them in epic, very challenging duels. Each of the enemies is many times larger than the main protagonist and must be defeated using a different strategy. The key to defeating them is to find their weak points and hit them with a sword enough times. Depending on enemy type, it might require the player to shoot arrows from a bow, climb on the giant body of the colossus or use the environments to his advantage.
God of War II (PS2)
Action 13 March 2007
A follow-up to the Sony's bestselling slasher released in 2005, whose plot is loosely based on the characters and events from Greek mythology. In God of War II we, once again, take on the role of Kratos, a Spartan warrior seeking vengeance, who, after having killed Ares, has become the new god of war. Tormented by nightmares of his past, the hero – despite the goddess Athena’s warnings – descends to Earth to help his fellow Spartans in conquering Rhodes. His actions infuriate Zeus, who cripples and kills our hero. Finding himself in Hades, Kratos learns that to turn back time and change his fate, he must find and kill three legendary Sisters of Fate. In terms of game mechanics, the second part of God of War doesn’t differ too much from its predecessor, though developers gave players completely new attacks and placed on Kratos’ path a lot of logical puzzles, which require – aside from fast fingers – a sharp mind.
Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven (PS2)
Action 28 January 2004
A 3D action game that takes the players to the 1930’s USA, the time when criminal underground flourished. The game was created by Czech developer Illusion Softworks, mainly known for the highly acclaimed tactical shooter Hidden & Dangerous. The story focuses on a rookie gangster named Tommy, who takes his first steps on the path of criminal life by doing jobs for an influential mafia family. Gameplay comes down to exploration of a virtual city and completing a string of story missions, featuring many subplots. While playing, you will engage in street shootouts, bank heists, car pursuits, and assassinations. The creators did their best to recreate the evocative atmosphere of the USA in the 1930s, and implemented weapons and cars from that period. Insanity 2 game engine made it possible to generate interactive, bustling city with road traffic and changing seasons.
Action 30 November 2001
An FPS set in a science-fiction world, created by the debuting American studio Valve Software. The story takes place in secret research facility of Black Mesa and begins the main character of the game – Gordon Freeman - arrives at the facility. As a result of failed experiment that opened an inter-dimensional portal, the laboratory is invaded by aliens from planet Xen, and our protagonist has to fight for survival, facing not only alien creatures, but also soldiers of a special forces unit, sent in to cover up the disaster. The goal of the game is to escape from the destroyed facility with the assistance of its other workers. Half-Life has been acknowledged as a cornerstone of the FPS genre, skillfully combining FPP with horror elements and complex plot.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2)
Action 17 November 2004
The third major installment in the stealth game series developed and published by Konami and a continuation of the Metal Gear franchise, created by Hideo Kojima back in the eighties. The game takes place in 1964 on Soviet Union territory. The player becomes a special operative, code-named Snake, whose current task is to extract a Russian scientist working on a mobile, nuclear-capable launch platform. Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater, for the first time in the series, takes the action from industrial area to a jungle. This led to the addition of completely new movements for the main protagonist, who now fights not only humans, but animals as well. The developers also implemented a new close quarter combat system and improved character's range of movement, which now allows you to change your position while holding enemy as a human shield.
The Sims 2 (PS2)
Simulation 24 October 2005
A sequel to the bestselling human life simulation game – The Sims (2000). The Sims 2 was developed by Maxis Studio (SimCity, EA Land, and others) in cooperation with the Electronic Arts company. Players again take care of virtual characters leading them through their entire lives – from early childhood till elderly age. The main goal is to achieve as high Life Score as possible, which stands for how well a sim leads his/her life. When compared with its predecessor, The Sims 2 offers much more complex character creator and a wider array of available objects. A new, more efficient game engine allowed for presenting the life of the sims in fully 3D graphics.
Tekken 5 (PS2)
Fighting 24 February 2005
Another installment in one of the most popular series of fighting games developed for years by Bandai Namco Entertainment. In the fifth edition of King of Iron Fist Tournament a set of well-known fighters makes its appearance alongside three new ones (Asuka, Raven and Feng). Each character has their own motivation and goals, which constitutes the background for spectacular duels. Tekken 5 employs the well-known mechanics of its predecessors. As usual, the features four types of strikes (weak/strong punch, weak/strong kick) intuitively assigned to gamepad buttons. Combat takes place on three-dimensional arenas, where several interactive elements can be found, such as walls, columns or statues - these objects can be used in combat. Apart from the main tournament, Tekken 5 offers various game modes, such as versus, training or the adventure mode requiring the player to fight his way through waves of incoming enemies.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (PS2)
Action 06 March 2007
Another spin-off to the legendary series of sandbox action games, developed by Rockstar Games for the PlayStation Portable console. As the title of the game suggests, its action is related to GTA: Vice City. The title takes place in 1984, two years before the events shown in the other game. The main protagonist is Victor Vance – an ex-soldier who currently works for various gangsters. By completing various jobs given to him by mafia bosses he slowly rises through the ranks of the criminal underworld. The gameplay isn’t very different from other installments of the series. However the developers added many new features such as the ability to swim, fly a helicopter or enter buildings. This made the game mechanics even more similar to the mechanics of full-fledged installments in the series. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories offers a large number of weapons and gadgets as well as a varied soundtrack that accompanies the player while driving cars.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (PS2)
Adventure 03 November 2003
An action game with RPG elements – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, developed by Visceral Games in cooperation with EA Redwood Shores, is based on the license of a hit movie by the same name. The game allows players to assume roles of over a dozen characters known from the silver screen – one can play as Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and many others. Player’s task is to destroy The Ring of Power and defeat the Dark Lord Sauron. The gameplay builds on battles against hordes of enemies. All the bloodshed takes place across twelve diverse battlefields – these include Minas Tirith, Fields of Pelennor, The Black Gate and The Path of the Dead. As the story progresses, one can develop particular characters, gaining access to more powerful combos that can be used in all the battles to come. An additional treat, featured by the PC / Windows and home consoles releases of the game, are the cutscenes taken from the third part of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, along with the soundtrack composed by Howard Shore. Players can enjoy this experience either in a single player mode, or accompanied by one more player.
Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)
Action 23 October 2001
Another installment in the controversial series of action games started in 1997. Grand Theft Auto III was developed by the authors of the original game, the DMA Design studio, this time under the wings of Rockstar. The third entry revolutionized the series by unleashing the players into an open, fully three-dimensional world brimming with virtual life. This was possible thanks to the RenderWare technology. The game takes place in Liberty City, a virtual adaptation of New York. The main protagonist is a young man named Claude who dreams about becoming the boss of the underworld and taking revenge on people who almost sent him to prison. The story of the game is non-linear and develops as the player completes dozens of assignments from various mafia bosses. A large arsenal of weapons can be useful in completing these tasks. The game also contains dozens of vehicles which – similarly as in the previous installments of the series – can be used with no limitations.
Need for Speed: Underground 2 (PS2)
Racing 17 November 2004
A sequel to Need for Speed: Underground, a best-selling 2003 game from Electronic Arts, which changed the shape of one of the most popular car racing franchises. The game takes you to a virtual metropolis that thrives after dark. For the first time in the history of the franchise, the city is completely open for exploration. As you ride around its streets you can challenge the drivers you meet on the way or learn more about the favorite locations of the street racing community. The gameplay mechanics did not change much; rather, the developers focused on an even more detailed recreations of licensed cars and car parts used for tuning. The game’s graphics were noticeably improved, featuring all sorts of new visual effects. The soundtrack keeps equally high level, as usually featuring songs by famous artists across a wide spectrum of genres.
Beyond Good & Evil (PS2)
Adventure 11 November 2003
An action-adventure 3D game, created by Michel Ancel, the father of the iconic Rayman series. The plot of Beyond Good & Evil takes place in an alternative reality, on planet Hyllis, inhabited by a peace-loving nation of humans and humanoid animals. Their world has been attacked by an aggressive Alien species, the DomZ, apparently to claim its resources. The protagonist is a young reporter named Jade who, once involved in the war, begins to reveal a conspiracy and the shocking truth behind the planet's defenders - the Alpha Sections. During her journey, the main character can count only on her camera (photos of rare plants and animals can be sold, earning us money to buy, for example, health restore items), innate investigative abilities and her trusty Dai-jo staff. Beyond Good & Evil features elements of a dynamic action game, including arcade combat, platforming, various vehicles, riddles, and a gripping plot. The locations are colorful, varied, and fully three-dimensional.
Need for Speed Carbon (PS2)
Racing 01 November 2006
The tenth installment in the bestselling racing game series originally launched back in 1995. The game lets you play as the main protagonist of the previous game. He returns to his home city only to find his domestic street racing scene taken over by rivaling gangs. As you take on new racing challenges, you take back your home town one district at a time. The game’s mechanics employ the well-proven solutions introduced by its predecessors, while introducing several new elements at the same time. Those include, first and foremost, canyon duels, which require much attention, as it is possible to run through the traffic barriers and roll down the slope. The other novelty is the team; you can assemble your own crew, and its members can aid you during races, e.g. by blocking your rivals. Additionally, the game features cut-scenes with real actors, several dozen licensed car models, as well as vast car customization options. Regarding the latter, Autosculpt module lets you modify almost any element of the car body.
Gran Turismo 4 (PS2)
Racing 22 February 2005
The fourth installment of the best-selling racing series for the PlayStation consoles. With Gran Turismo 4, Polyphony Digital went above and beyond, included an astonishing number of 500+ models of cars made by 80 most important car manufacturers of the world. Each car was recreated in the smallest detail and can be significantly customized, both visually and mechanically. There were 100 racing tracks prepared especially for the game – some circuits are completely new, the rest are the updated tracks from the previous parts of the franchise. The backbone of the game is the simulation mode in which you gradually expand your garage, which can accommodate up to 1000 cars, with the money you earn. The game features a number of novelties, like the upgraded 1080i graphics and Photo Mode for making pictures during races and putting them in a special virtual album.