8 Forgotten PS2 RPGs

8 Forgotten PS2 RPGs

PlayStation 2: Unforgettable RPGs of the Early Years

The launch of the PS2 on October 26, 2000, in North America was a game-changer in more ways than one. Not only did it bring cutting-edge graphics to the gaming world, but it also came bundled with a DVD player. Talk about a sweet deal! Back then, DVD players were a luxury, and getting one along with a gaming console was like hitting the jackpot.

Of course, like any console launch, it took some time for the best games to hit the market, especially in the RPG genre. In the midst of heavy hitters like Final Fantasy 10, there were some hidden gems that often get overlooked. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and remember these underrated PS2 RPGs from the early years.

8. The Bouncer

The Bouncer

First up, we have The Bouncer, an early RPG from Square Enix (back when it was still Squaresoft). This game was released in 2000 in Japan, but it didn’t make its way to the West until 2001. It’s a brawler where players can take control of multiple characters, including the badass trio of Sion, Kou, and Volt.

Sion, the main character, looks like Squall from Final Fantasy 8 and Sora from Kingdom Hearts had a baby. The campaign is, unfortunately, short, which caused a bit of controversy. Nobody wants to pay full price for a game that can be completed in just a few hours. But hey, while it lasts, it’s a wild ride!

7. Culdcept


Next on our list is Culdcept, a bizarre combination of card games, board games, and RPGs. This game was initially released in Japan in 2001 as Culdcept Second for the Dreamcast. A year later, it made its way to the PS2 in Japan, and finally, in 2003, it reached North America. Okay, so it technically misses the mark for early games, but it’s so unique that we had to include it!

Imagine playing Monopoly, but instead of buying properties, you’re buying lands and defending them with monsters. It’s like a twisted version of Monopoly, fueled by a love for all things strange and fantastical.

6. Dynasty Tactics

Dynasty Tactics

Now, let’s talk about Dynasty Tactics, a spin-off from the niche hack-and-slash series Dynasty Warriors. Instead of diving into Dynasty Warriors 2, which was one of the PS2’s launch games, let’s focus on this tactical RPG gem released in 2002.

Featuring the familiar characters and setting of the main game, Dynasty Tactics adds a new layer of strategy to the mix. This game proves that the art of war can be just as thrilling when approached from a different perspective. Plus, who doesn’t want a break from all that button-mashing once in a while?

5. Jade Cocoon 2

Jade Cocoon 2

If you’re looking for a hidden gem in the RPG world, Jade Cocoon 2 is definitely worth checking out. Released in Japan in 2000 and North America in 2001, this game holds a special place in our hearts for more than one reason.

First, let’s talk about the stunning artwork. Katsuya Kondo, an artist who worked at Studio Ghibli, lent his talents to this series. So not only do you get a captivating RPG experience, but you also get to marvel at the breathtaking artistry. And let’s not forget the monster-catching aspect of the game, offering a unique twist on the genre.

4. Okage: Shadow King

Okage: Shadow King

Welcome to the quirky world of Okage: Shadow King, a co-developed RPG within Sony itself. Join Ari, a young boy whose shadow gets possessed by a bigger demon, in a gothic cartoon-inspired adventure. The concept might sound strange, but that’s precisely what makes this game intriguing.

With aesthetics reminiscent of A Nightmare Before Christmas, Okage: Shadow King will captivate you with its unique art style. However, be warned that the slow pacing of the story, movement speed, and combat might make it a little challenging to revisit now. But if you’re up for a quirky and dark experience, it’s worth a go!

3. Orphen: Scion Of Sorcery

Orphen: Scion Of Sorcery

Prepare yourself for a battle against sorcery in Orphen: Scion Of Sorcery, a launch title for the PS2 in North America. Based on a series of Japanese light novels that later spawned an anime, this game dives into an alternate fantasy world filled with magic and adventure.

What sets Orphen apart is its unique battle system. It combines turn-based and action-oriented gameplay, adding a refreshing twist to the RPG formula. So get ready to test your skills and target enemies with spell-casting precision, all while immersing yourself in an enthralling anime-inspired universe.

2. Ring Of Red

Ring Of Red

Calling all mech enthusiasts! Ring of Red is here to satisfy your cravings for tactical RPG action. Developed by Konami in 2001, this game delivers a unique combat experience that sets it apart from other tactical RPGs.

While the grid-based battle maps might remind you of Final Fantasy Tactics, Ring of Red takes combat to a whole new level. Experience real-time mech battles, where you control your giant war machines and aim weapons at enemies. It’s like piloting your very own mobile suit, without the flashy explosions. Oh, and did we mention it’s set in an alternate-history world? Now that’s a recipe for an epic adventure!

1. Shadow Hearts

Shadow Hearts

Last but definitely not least, we have Shadow Hearts, a turn-based RPG that we just couldn’t leave off this list. Released in 2001, Shadow Hearts invites you into a world of alternative history and dark forces.

What makes Shadow Hearts truly unique is its “Judgement Ring” mechanic in battles. Timing your button presses correctly allows you to unleash devastating attacks and deal extra damage to enemies. It’s like a mini-game within a game, adding an extra layer of excitement to every encounter.

As you venture through the game as the protagonist, Yuri, you’ll be drawn into a captivating story filled with mystical creatures and unforgettable characters. This underrated series may not have gained as much recognition as it deserved, but trust us when we say that all three PS2 games are worth seeking out.

So there you have it, a trip down memory lane to the unforgettable RPGs of the early years on the PS2. Whether you’re into brawling, card games, tactical battles, monster catching, alternative history, or turn-based combat, there’s something for everyone in this collection. Don’t let these hidden gems be forgotten – dust off your old PS2 or seek them out in the world of emulators. Happy gaming!

More gaming gems await: PlayStation 2: The Must-Own And Skippable Exclusives