Within a year of its launch in 2000, RPGs were amongst the biggest titles for the PlayStation 2 (PS2) with the release of the first "Final Fantasy" title for the console, "Final Fantasy X." In the decade that followed, hundreds more RPG titles were added, and IGN's Top 25 PS2 Games of All Time includes no fewer than nine titles that fit into the RPG genre.
Final Fantasy X
The king of the RPG, the "Final Fantasy" franchise began back in 1989. "Final Fantasy X" is a quest-based game just like any other RPG and is set in another world, Spira, which is ravaged by an evil force, Sin. The background of its main character, Tidus, certainly differs from most RPGs; described by IGN as "a time-lost 3D full-contact water-polo player," he starts the game unable to wield a sword effectively and must rely on his speed to get him through.
Spoken dialogue was used in the game and added to the experience. The combat system is turn-based with three characters on your side in each fight. Each character fights the enemy in initiative order (and the bad guy(s) will also go in order) using a variety of weapons. Magic is an important part of the game with spells and summoning aplenty for you and your characters--and the bad guys.
Dragon Quest VIII: The Journey of the Cursed King
In IGN's Top 25 PS2 Games of All Time, "Dragon Quest VIII: The Journey of the Cursed King" sits in 14th place. The sheer size of the game is big compared with other titles in this epic genre.
As IGN says, "It doesn't do anything we haven't seen before ... it just does everything so well, that its charm cannot be denied." With more than 100 hours of gameplay set over several continents and lots of hideaways and subgames, "The Journey of the Cursed King" will keep you going for a long time. The simplicity of the turn-based combat system makes it efficient and ensures that all your weapons, equipment and skills will be used and useful.
Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Unlike the previous examples, "Shadow Heart: Covenant" takes place in the real world--Europe during World War I, to be precise. It still contains lots of magic and monsters and is replete with magical items and spells for your characters to use.
Thematically, the game is quite dark--mysticism, dark ritual and world domination are the order of the day--but this is balanced by humour, giant pink kittens and a vampire who moonlights as a professional wrestler.
The combat system is a turn-based initiative order with a twist. The usual three good guys take on the bad guy(s) in each fight using plenty of weird weaponry, items and powers. The Judgment Ring sets this game's combat apart: Every time you attack or use an item or spell in combat, the ring appears. A hand sweeps around the ring and if you time your attacks in accordance with that hand, you will gain greater power.
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