Not only is the PlayStation 2 not dead, but it received a good number of quality RPGs this year. With development times for the PlayStation 3 causing games to take a little longer to ramp up, the PlayStation 2 showed us that it still has some kick left in it even if it has been around since 2000.
As a reviewer, people often ask me "What's the best part of Game X?" When asked about Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, the correct question to pose is "Was there anything about the game that isn't fantastic?" The simple answer is no, but such a short answer simply doesn't do the game justice. Anyone who sits down and played even 30 minutes of the game will find themselves wrapped tightly into the story, anxiously pushing forward to see what's next in no small part to some of the best voice acting to come out of a PS2 game ever. Those that stick around long enough for their first night in Tartarus will find themselves intrigued by a battle system that is easy to learn but difficult to master. While much of the battles later in the game rely somewhat on luck, unlike previous SMT titles the game eases the players into some of the harsher battle system mechanics instead of tossing them headfirst into the first dungeon with a swift kick to the behind.
For those that enjoy the non-violent side of the coin, there's plenty of hours of gameplay dedicated to social networking. All 26 of the major arcana come into play in the game as relationships between the main character and his peers. Working through the various stories within stories is no easy task but the more each story plays out the more the player will become immersed in the Persona world. The music does a wonderful job supporting the game, heightening dramatic moments and providing perfect backdroups for mournful times. Together with wonderful graphics that are able to portray each character in a variety of emotions as well as depicting fearsome monsters in triumph and failure, those who haven't played Persona 3 are missing out on one of the centrepieces of the PS2 library.
2007 proved to be a year of unique RPGs. One of the most creative RPGs of the year was GrimGrimoire, a blend of RPG concepts with real-time strategy gameplay. This fast-paced title offered excellent visuals, impressive voice acting, and tons of customization options. While this little title might not have gotten the recognition of some of the other big name RPGs of 2007, it is still an impressive standout and a unique experience.
Odin Sphere was announced for localization just a few months before its release. Then just a few days after its release in the land of the rising sun, Odin Sphere came to North America. With beautiful artwork, brilliant music, and spot on voice acting, Odin Sphere is a very impressive PS2 game. Throw in an immense forty to sixty hours of gameplay, a charming cast of characters, a wonderful story, and an addicting battle system, and Odin Sphere doesn't disappoint. The game has class and character, making it an easy pick for one of the best PS2 RPGs of 2007.
by Anna Marie Neufeld, Matthew Russo, Michael Cunningham