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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Need for Speed ProStreet (PS2)
Racing 13 November 2007
The 11th installment in the popular racing game series developed by Electronic Arts. In contrast to the previous parts of the game, this title completely abandons the idea of illegal races and transfers the action to professional racing circuits. Players take part in a number of challenges divided into four race variations: Drag, Grip, Drift, and Speed Challenge, in the latter the driver who reaches top speed wins. Successive victories unlock new challenges and cars. The game offers 26 licensed car models that can be customized with the Autosculpt system. The authors emphasize the recreation of crashes and the realistic damage model that influences the car’s performance. Fans of realism were given the option of turning off all the driving assistance, like power steering and ABS, which makes driving much more simulator-like.
Test Drive Unlimited (PS2)
Racing 20 February 2007
A new incarnation of the popular racing game series launched back in 1987 by Distinctive Software and Accolade. Test Drive Unlimited was developed by Eden Games, the creators of the V-Rally franchise, under the aegis of Atari. The main change in relation to its predecessors is the vast open world set on the faithfully recreated Oahu island, which can be freely explored. The players can undertake a number of various racing challenges to earn cash that lets them buy new vehicles for their garage. In total, there are over 90 licensed cars and motorcycles to choose from. In the game, we can modify our avatar by dressing him in designer clothes and even buy a new house with a bigger garage. The title features an innovatory multiplayer mode that, similarly to MMO productions, enables thousands of players to compete at the same time.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PS2)
Action 06 June 2006
A spin-off to the iconic Grand Theft Auto series. The game was first developed for the PlayStation Portable handheld console. The story of Liberty City Stories takes place a few years before the events shown in GTA3, on the streets of the same metropolis. During the game player becomes Tony Cipriani who after coming to the city is caught up in the dirt of corruption, mafia wars, and drug traffic. The objective of the game is to work for the Leone mafia family, increase its influences and build up Tony’s reputation in the criminal underworld. The gameplay of GTA: Liberty City Stories employs the well-received mechanics of the series and offers an open world filled with story missions and side activities alike. As always in the series, there are many vehicles (including motorcycles, motorboats, trains and ferries) and weapons to use. However, due to the limitations of the PSP console, some things were slightly simplified.
Need for Speed: Undercover (PS2)
Racing 18 November 2008
After the slightly more realistic ProStreet, in which the players raced on professional racing circuits, the popular Need for Speed series returns to city streets with a traditional, arcade installment. Developed by a Canadian EA branch, Undercover puts a special emphasis on the storyline. As an undercover cop, the player has to infiltrate the ranks of a racing gang. To do so, they have to prove their worth in a series of driving challenges, including regular races, time trials, highway battles and outruns. As usual, the players receive a massive number of licensed cars which can be modified both visually, and in terms of their performance. The game's improved visuals and excitable soundtrack are complemented by cinematic cutscenes featuring mainly Maggie Q (Mission: Impossible III) and Christina Milian - a singer.
FlatOut 2 (PS2)
Racing 30 June 2006
FlatOut 2 brings a continuation to a "brutal" racing game developed by Bugbear Entertainment. The original game combined regular racing competition with unlimited destruction - both cars and environmental objects could be damaged and / or destroyed. In FlatOut 2, the creators focused on extending the scope of mayhem the player witnesses, thus the only real challenge the player can encounter in this game constitutes of making it to the finish line in one piece. What's more, the crashes and car damage are visually even more impressive than in the original FlatOut, thanks to the improved graphics and an upgraded engine behind the in-game physics. The game offers 16 fully customizable cars, as well as 8 drivers differing in driving style and attitude towards opponents. FlatOut 2 brings both single player and multiplayer experience, for up to 8 players in the latter case. Additionally, Destruction Derbies were also included, similar to the original game. In Rag Doll events the player will "ski jump" or drive through fiery rings for example.
Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (PS2)
Racing 09 July 2001
The third installment in a series of popular racing games developed by Polyphony Digital since 1997, originally for the PlayStation console. The titular mode constitutes the main part of the game - the player participates in subsequent racing challenges, earning adequate licenses and money, which can be spent on new cars and parts for them. The game offers over a hundred licensed car models belonging to the world's most famous brands. Each of the available cars can be customized to a substantial degree, for dozens of parts can be replaced and the player is allowed to experiment with different car settings. Racing takes place on asphalt tracks (majority of them appeared in the previous installments) and completely new gravel sections. As usual, the game does not lack realism in terms of the driving physics. Additionally, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec offers new, incredibly detailed visuals, which constitutes a major improvement since the release of the installments for Sony's previous-generation consoles.
Need for Speed: Underground (PS2)
Racing 17 November 2003
The seventh installment in the legendary racing series developed since 1995. Created once again by EA Black Box, the game brings revolutionary changes to the series, focusing on illegal street racing, popularized mainly by The Fast and the Furious movie. This time, apart from usual races, the player can take part in several racing events, such as drifting competitions or drag races. The game offers a wide set of licensed cars popular among the illegal racing aficionados. The game stands out with a wide array of car customization options it delivers - the player can buy licensed car parts produced by the most popular real-life manufacturers. Money is an important aspect of the game, because the player spends the cash they earned in races to buy new cars and parts. Need for Speed: Underground features a diverse soundtrack as well. The player can listen to a variety of genres, such as rap, techno, or metal.