At the end 2007, the question was raised if that would be the last year of the PlayStation 2. This year has shown us that the answer to that question is "no". Though this might be its last big year, these games have helped it go out with a bang.
Persona 4 is an amazing RPG. The improvements to the interface and battle system from Persona 3 are more than enough to set it apart from its predecessor. The interaction between characters is often humorous and personable, highlighting a very likeable cast as they attempt to solve a murder mystery. The game's presentation works extremely well. The feel of a lonely, rural town is portrayed solidly, as is the mysterious Midnight Channel. The dungeons are unique, offering an impressive visual style along with music to compliment them. Persona 4's story and characters are original and enjoyable. When everything comes together, this game comes out of the shadows and into the light. Persona 4 is a fantastic game and our pick for Best PS2 RPG of 2008.
While other games received more publicity in 2008, RPGamer did not forget about Eternal Poison. Every time that we entered the shadowy, demon-filled ultra-labyrinth of Besek with a different band of potential heroes, the shadows of mystery would lengthen. Although the tactical battles and the combat system were hardly ground-breaking, they provided sufficient challenge to fit the game's dark atmosphere. While the script did suffer from occasional bland spots, excellent character design, top-notch voicework, and a killer soundtrack picked up the characterization's lack. The way that Eternal Poison's elements came together was unconventional, but memorable nevertheless.
At first glance, Mana Khemia ~Alchemists of Al-Revis~ was just another Gust-developed title, but in the end its unique style and use of humor really made the game interesting. It featured girls avoiding jail for blowing stuff up, talkative cat girls, aliens out for Earth's destruction, ghosts haunting the school, and much more. The unique characters were enough to have kept people coming back for more. The game wasn't perfect, but it was fun, interesting, and you could make lots of bombs to blow stuff up with.
by Billy Young, Zach Welhouse, Michael Cunningham