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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Red Dead Revolver (PS2)
Action 03 May 2004
A third-person perspective action game developed by Rockstar Games, a company known for Grand Theft Auto and Midnight Club series. The game features a Western setting, starting during the final years of 19th century and the player assumes the role of Red, a man filled with lust for revenge. During his early years he witnessed the death of his parents at the hands of Mexican bandits that wanted to claim possession of a gold mine located on Red’s parent’s land. After many years he returns to his homeland and his main objective is to kill as many thugs as possible. The game, considered to be a Wild West version of Grand Theft Auto, is mostly about completing story missions and dueling based on the best movie westerns. The developers provided the characteristic style of the Wild West and recreated locations, buildings and characters that are typical of the genre. The players also have access to thirty different weapons, including revolvers, shotguns, rifles and explosives.
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.
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.
Adventure 25 September 2001
A third-person perspective action-adventure game developed by the Japanese developer Team Ico. The story tells about a young boy named Ico who was marked with an eternal curse. Due to that curse, he was born with mysterious horns on his head and, similarly to his predecessors, he is to be taken to a mysterious castle where he is going to be slain. While awaiting death, the boy notices a girl locked in a cage. The girl happens to be a princess – the daughter of the cruel queen that rules the castle. Ico decides to free the girl and their fates will from now on depend on the player who is tasked with helping them escape from the fortress. The game combines characteristics of an adventure game and a platformer. During the game player will face many puzzles, traps and merciless demons. What makes Ico exceptional is a strong focus on the development of emotional bond between the two protagonists who have no one to depend on but each other.
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.
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.
Action 17 October 2006
Also known by the title Canis Canem Edit, Bully is a controversial action game developed by Rockstar Games. Originally, it was released for PlayStation 2, it was soon followed by Scholarship Edition for the next generation of consoles and PCs. The story takes place at the fictional Bullworth Academy, which combines an elite education facility with re-socialization grounds for juvenile offenders. The player assumes the role of a teenager who is trying to survive in these unusual circumstances. The protagonist encounters both strict teachers and unfriendly peers. The game is played from the third-person perspective and the player completes different assignments requiring them both to make friends among the peers and play different pranks on the teaching staff. The protagonist can join a local gang as well, which is trying to maintain control over the area forcefully.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2)
Action 13 November 2001
The fourth installment in the Metal Gear series created by Hideo Kojima. It is a direct sequel to the 1998's Metal Gear Solid. The game features two main story chapters. The first casts the player in the role of Solid Snake (the protagonist of the previous installments), whose job is to infiltrate a ship transporting a new variety of the eponymous mech. His other task is to stop a group of Russian mercenaries trying to obtain it. The second chapter of the story takes the player to a deep sea sewage treatment facility, overrun by a terrorist group known as Sons of Liberty. Here, the player is put in the shoes of a different agent called Raiden, Snake becomes the player's support and ally. In terms of gameplay mechanics, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty does not bring any significant changes to the solutions employed in the previous installment. However, the characters have a few more options of interaction with the game world. Thanks to the PlayStation 2 console's capabilities, the game features improved visuals and high-quality cutscenes.
Devil May Cry (PS2)
Action 16 October 2001
Developed by an internal development studio of Capcom, a third-person perspective action game emphasizing its dynamic, very spectacular combat system. Originally, the game was intended to be another installment in the Resident Evil franchise. The plot of Devil May Cry is set in a modern setting on the fictional Mallet Island. During gameplay you follow a dark warrior named Dante – half-man, half-demon – who must face the ruler of the underground world Mundus, who was defeated thousands of years before by Dante’s father. The action revolves around skillful elimination of waves of enemies with the use of gradually-upgraded tools of destruction. Each stage is rated on a special scale that examines your time, fighting style, items used, and damage received. Interestingly, Dante can transform into a demon for a short period of time, during which, surrounded by a special aura, he spreads destruction even more vigorously.