There's something to be said for popping in your latest game into the PlayStation 2 and starting out on your new quest. Be it fighting a cackle of ghouls in the latest undead shooter, saving the princess from the ape of doom, or saving the world from a megalomaniacal madman bent on destroying the world, nothing beats the feeling of playing a great PS2 game. This year is no different among the staff ranks, with many great games to choose from. With three different outcomes from the readers, it seems that there was a lot of room for personal tastes this year.
Placing number one on the staff side of PlayStation 2 awards is probably the
oddest game of the year, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. This is no heroic quest to save
the day from the evils of the world - you ARE the evils of the world! Yes, Disgaea
follows the tales of Laharl, whose father passed away while Laharl was sleeping; during his quick
catnap, hell went to, well, hell. It's up to Laharl along with Etna, another devil, a
host of penguin-like Prinnies and even an angel named Flonne to win back the
underworld so Laharl may rule supreme. With a fast-paced tactical battle system, including
combos and special moves of all sorts, and a level cap of 9999, it's easy to see why Disgaea
can be picked up and played for many hours on end. With a phenomenally written, incredibly
funny script and surprisingly good voice acting, it's no wonder that it earned top marks from
our staff members.
Though the readers gave it top marks, staff members placed Final Fantasy
X-2 in second place in their rankings. Controversial from the get-go with its
beautiful (and sometimes scanty) costumes, an all-female cast, and being the first sequel in
the Final Fantasy series, there was an unsurprising amount of hoopla surrounding
its release. Scathing pre-conceptions when the game was first announced included names such as
"Yuna May Cry" and "Yuna Raider". Thankfully, in the end the game turned out to be nothing like
those other games. Though some consider it not as deep as Final Fantasy X, it still makes for an excellent game that incorporates new ideas into the
tried-and-true world of Spira. A great mix of returning and new characters made the story
enjoyable to follow, uniquely fast-paced battles made the game a breeze to handle, and even seeking the best ending with 100% completion managed some fun, even if it was sometimes painful.
Rounding out the staff favorites, the understated Dark Cloud 2 managed
to fight its way into third place. As Dark Cloud was one of the first RPGs to land in
the coveted "Greatest Hits" category on the PlayStation 2, RPGamers waited with baited
breath to see how the second entry would fare. It did exceptionally well. Dark Cloud 2 took
everything unpolished or undesirable in the first titled and made them shine, retained
the great puzzle-like building, and tossed in a fun mini-game in the form of Spheda.
When Maximillian inherits an odd red-coloured stone that hangs around the neck from his
father, he had no idea it would lead him on a quest to save the past, present, and future.
With the help of Monica and his mother, both women from the future, Max must restore the
present so that a future of hope and peace may be ensured. Along the way, he'll make many
friends and inventions. Don't forget to bring your camera, too - you never know
when you'll be able to snap a great scoop!