Fight me! The ps2 was the golden
age of RPGs
– AllAn CraiG 7/12/17 – 9:37Pm
Follow Allan as he tries to convince you you’re wrong.
The internet is a fantastic tool capable of educating and enlightening people all across the entire world. So naturally, we don’t use it for this purpose in the slightest. Rather, the internet is akin to a construction site port-a-potty where the entire world gets to step inside and scrawl their volatile opinions for others to read and subsequently become enraged over every schism.
Gaming is no exception. Hell, it might just exemplify the trait. Starting in schoolyards where one kid found out another kid had a different system than him, the schism over what was better and why rages harder than your relatives at a Post-election Thanksgiving dinner. PC vs consoles, console vs console, genre vs genre. Delve into any or all of them and you come to a shrubbery maze of smoldering opinions ready for a spark to ignite them.
I am that spark.
RPGs (role playing games) or JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing games) depending on which game you play, have been a genre since the Glory days of the original NES, a lovely gaming console you could actually find in stores in abundant supply (You hear me, Nintendo, you bastards? I want my mini-NES!). The genre found it’s legs during the SNES era, which has some of the best entries of all time and is widely regarded as the “Golden Age of RPGs” by people who must have stopped playing RPGs since that era. For reasons which are my own, I believe the PS2 era is where the genre truly blossmed (and also faded, but that’s an article for another time).
What follows is one madman’s attempt to convince you the wisdom of which he speaks. Remember, gaming is subjective and this is just my opinion. You might feel differently but this is a free country and you’re entitled to your wrong opinion.
By the time the last PS2 rolled off the production line, it had more RPGs than Nickelodeon has SpongeBob episodes. Upwards of roughly 180 or so, falling under the RPG label–be it Japanese RPG, Strategy RPG, Action RPG, or just hybrid games with a pinch of RPG elements, like bastard stepchildren. That’s a considerable amount of gaming at your disposal if you can peel yourself away from other, lesser genres. Most RPGs average at 20-40 hours to complete, meaning you’ll likely wring more bang out of your gaming buck.
Even if you don’t like every offering the genre puts on your dinner plate, there’s still plenty there to gobble down. Variety, after all, is the spice of gaming. I’m fairly certain Ghandi said that.
I posed this argument in an oine discussion recently and the slobbering masses had the unmitigated gall to question me. “But Allan,” they said, in a voice I suspect makes small children cry, “Quantity doesn’t mean much without quality. Why, the SNES was the true Golden Era because it was home to our golden calfs which sit atop our pedistals of gaming worship such as Final Fantasy III (actually VI) and Chrono Trigger.”
This is somewhat true, but also not. It is absolutely true that some of the best standard bearers for the genre proudly stand atop that era’s mantle, however the number of true top tier RPGs–gods though they may be–can be counted on two hands.
One hand, if you only want the true gems. Outside of that, you’ll be hard pressed to slake your thirst for role playing goodness unless you’ve
Meanwhile, on the PS2, you have a multitude of golden selections to choose from, many of which are some of the highest rated contenders in the genre if not the series they happen to belong to.
If you’re a Final Fantasy fan, the series tenth installment is on PS2. It has a sequel, which isn’t as widely loved, but your mileage may vary depending on how much time you spent as a kid putting dresses on dolls.
The Persona games, which already had two stellar showings on the PS1, jumped into the ratings stratosphere with Persona 3 & 4 and solidified it’s place as a top tier player in the genre. The highly anticipated Persona 5 just released on PS4 to btoh critical and fan adulation.
Suikoden is a lesser know series if you’re not a JRPG , but in it’s five game run over the PS1 & 2 eras produced more quality entires than not. This includes Suikoden III, which was a critical darling at the time of it’s release and subsequently became hard to find in the years followings.
DragonQuest VIII is a PS2 legend, not only considered one of the best on the system but also the best in the series that started all the way on the original NES.
Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2 both call the PS2 home. Ditto Tales of the Abyss, one of the best entries in the long running “Tales of” games. Even If you want a one shot rpg, there’s more than enough of those as well. Titles like Rouge Galaxy, Radiata Stories, MS saga, Dark Cloud, or the sanctioned fanfiction that is Lord of the Rings: The Third Age. If you wanted to play an entire vein of classic rpg series, their veins ran through the heart of the PS2 era. Which leads me to my third point…
In RPGs, legacy matters. Fans of one game will–hopefully figuratively–claw their eyes out over the prospect of a new installment. It’s this dedication that’s kept a number of series going across multiple gaming console generations like familial genes.
A number of those stalwart series which got their start in the NES, SNES, or PS1 eras blazed onto the PS2 with multiple entries. Word at the time was that the PS2 was a breeze to program games for and the system’s considerable library spoke volumes in that regard. Many a beloved series had multiple entries on the consoles. There are, to note:
Two main entry Final Fantasy games (and several spin offs)
Four Wild Arms games–three main entry gAmes and a remake of the first game.
Three Suikoden games.
Three Grandia games
Two Persona games
Two Kingdom Hearts Games
Five .hack games
Three Xenosaga games
Three Shadow Hearts games
Two Shin Megami Tensi games
Three Tales games (though one is super rare and expensive, admittedly)
Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter. A game so wildly different from it’s predecessors that Capcom has been sitting on the series ever since.
Need I go on?
The truth is irrefutable. Once you realize you can have quality RPGs by the armload, you don’t need another system besides the PS2. If, for some reason, the Gaming gods curse you to live alone on a deserted island with only one gaming console and one genre to occupy your time, the PS2 and it’s RPG library are a sure bet– Assuming you also have electricity, shelter, indoor plumbing, and bountiful food on this island.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to pull my PS2 Slim out of the closet. All this reminiscing is riling up my nostalgia juices.
“The Iron Nurse”
Allan Craig, LPN