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.
Shadow of the Colossus (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Syberia II (PS2)
Adventure 29 March 2004
A sequel to the excellent adventure game created by Benoit Sokal and studio Microids. Syberia II continues the plot of the first installment - it presents the further adventures of Kate Walker, an American lawyer. Her intention of finalizing a contract led her to the adventure of her life. The game starts in the same place where the first Syberia ended – in the Russian city Romansburg. This time Kate decides to follow the trail of Hans Voralberg, the heir to an automaton factory, for her own reasons. The woman joins Hans and she helps him discover the mystery of the last living Mammoths. The greatest change in comparison to the first game lies in the quality of the graphics and the increase of the gameplay dynamics. Many new graphic effects were added, including dynamic shadows and an animated snow. Syberia II takes place in completely new locations that are much more different from each other than previously. During her adventures Kate will visit, among other places, the North-West passage and the village of the Youkol people.
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.
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.
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.
Deus Ex (PS2)
RPG 25 March 2002
A cyberpunk first-person perspective action RPG developed by Ion Storm, studio led by the legend of the video game industry, Warren Spector – co-creator of such cult series as Ultima and Wing Commander. Deus Ex takes place in the middle of XXI century, in a world filled with terrorism, corruption, poverty and a mysterious disease called the Gray Death. The player assumes the role of agent JC Denton and discovers that a secret organization named Majestic 12, which eventually intends to rule the world, is responsible for the deadly virus. The gameplay mechanics of the game combine FPS, stealth and RPG features. Thanks to special nanotechnological augmentations the protagonist has inhuman abilities that can be gradually improved as the game progresses. Denton can use various weapons which can be also modified. The story of the game is non-linear, and depending on the choices made by the player it might led to one of three alternative endings.
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.
RTL Ski Jumping 2007 (PS2)
Sports 17 November 2006
Another installment belonging to a popular franchise of ski jumping simulators published by the German RTL Group. Similarly as the previous installments, the 2007's edition offers a comprehensive experience that includes mainly training sessions on smaller jumps, subsequent World Cup events, and World Championships. In one of two basic modes implemented, the player can assume the role of a jumper to compete over the Crystal Globe, visiting 41 faithfully recreated jumps on their way. In the other mode, the player becomes a trainer and leads their team to victory through 15 licensed international contests divided into 3 leagues. Practically, the player can take part in all the significant ski jumping events: regular contests, championships taking place on the largest jumps, summertime Grand Prix competitions, the Four Hills Tournament, and team rivalry. As the jumper achieves subsequent victories, they gradually gain both prestige and better equipment.
Call of Duty: World at War - Final Fronts (PS2)
Action 11 November 2008
A spectacular first-person shooter (FPS) set during the Second World War. The game was developed by Treyarch, Activision’s subsidiary. It’s three-chapter campaign spans across the years 1942-1945, being set on Southern Pacific and the Eastern front. We observe the events from the perspectives of three soldier (two Americans and one Russian), and we get to take part in such military operations as the defense of Stalingrad or the Battle of Okinawa. As usual in the Call of Duty series, the missions are heavily scripted to make the action seem more cinematic. Gameplay boils down to shooting sequences, in which we use a variety of historical weapons. In addition to a single player campaign the game also includes online multiplayer with new game modes: co-op and Nazi Zombie.
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.
Neighbours from Hell (PS2)
Logic 01 November 2004
A very humorous strategy game with adventure game features. In Neighbours from Hell the player is tasked with making the life of his neighbors as miserable as possible. The player assumes the role of a participant of a reality show who is tasked with presenting the toxic relations between the inhabitants of a single block of flats to wider audience. The action is shown from the side perspective and the game consists of fourteen scenarios of different difficulties and types of tasks to complete. Not only must the player set various traps and pull sophisticated pranks on his neighbors (for example by breaking household items), but he must watch for dangers as well. Some flats are guarded by dogs that make completing the task harder. During the game the player is constantly forced to improvise and discover unknown properties of seemingly useless items. The humorous tone of the game is highlighted by nice, cartoonish graphics and a catchy soundtrack. The game uses a simple, intuitive interface.
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.
Resident Evil 4 (PS2)
Adventure 25 October 2005
The fourth major installment of the cult series of survival horrors created by Capcom. In the game the player assumes the role of ex-cop Leon S. Kennedy, a character well known from the second entry in the franchise. As a special agent responsible for protecting the presidential family, he goes to Europe in order to find the missing daughter of the US president. The trail leads to a small village in Spain. The village is controlled by a mysterious sect and the citizens are infected with a virus which causes mutations. During the game one will face hordes of zombies as well as more demanding bosses, such as giant monsters or the powerful leader of the sect, Osmund Saddler. Resident Evil 4 retains the dark feel of the previous installments and the game contains puzzles, but gameplay mechanics were greatly changed and the new engine allowed the developers to create faster and more dynamic action sequences. The game also contains many quick-time events.