Action, suspense, thickening storylines, and newly advanced graphics.
The PS2 RPGs have them all rolled into a perfect gaming combination. What could possibly be better than experiencing your favorite vintage RPGs on the old school PS1?
Amazing new RPGs on an upgraded system with augmented graphics! Many of the RPG series and games we have come to love received sequels and additions to the new PS2 system. With their cult followings, unique stories, and newly upgraded visuals, these games are worthy of more than just one playthrough.
Here is our list of the 10 Best PlayStation 2 Role Playing games ever created!
The Best PS2 Role Playing Games (RPGs)
1. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (2004)
Are you looking for a creative, adventurous journey full of vibrant color and eye-catching 3D graphics? You cannot go wrong with Dragon Quest VIII! The game begins with the court jester of the kingdom of Trodain, Dhoulmagus, stealing an ancient scepter and casting a spell on Trodain castle.
The spell turns King Trode, into a troll; the princess, Medea, into a horse; and the rest of the castle's inhabitants into plants. The only one left unaffected is the unnamed protagonist, a Trodain guard. The guard, King Trode, and Princess Medea set out on a quest to track down Dhoulmagus and break the spell.
These battle scenes have visually changed dramatically from earlier games in the series yet retain a similar text-based menu system for battles. It continues to follow the turn-based RPG combat system, but with a shifting camera view based on who is battling the enemy.
Dragon Quest VIII is the biggest selling game ever for the PlayStation 2 in Japan. It was the first Dragon Quest game to receive a score of 39 out of 40 from Famitsu. It won both 1UP.com's and GameSpy's “Best RPG of E3 2005” award, ahead of runner-up Kingdom Hearts II.
Time to grab yourself a copy and pop this one into the PS2!
2. Final Fantasy XII (2006)
Encompassing both beautiful scenery and intriguing character, Final Fantasy XII lives up to the high expectations of the legendary series.
Final Fantasy XII takes place in the familiar world of Ivalice, hundreds of years after Dynast King Raithwall united its warring kingdoms in the Galtean Alliance. It follows the street urchin Vaan who becomes embroiled in a quest to save the occupied kingdom of his homeland, Dalmasca, from a war that seems imminent.
Excluding the massively multiplayer online role-playing game FF XI, FF XII is the first entry in the main Final Fantasy series not to include random encounters. Another new feature is the “gambit” system, which allows the player to program each character to perform certain commands in battle in response to specified conditions.
Final Fantasy XII does a superb job of blending a Star Wars-esque spirit with an Anime presentation. The game has it all, political intrigue and rebellion, aerial dogfighting, sleek spacecraft, and an eclectic cast of characters.
Add this one to your list! You will not be disappointed.
3. Kingdom Hearts I (2002)
What happens when you combine the magic of Disney with the unparalleled storytelling of Final Fantasy? You get something Epic, and they named it Kingdom Hearts.
The series begins with a 14-year-old boy named Sora is separated from his friends Riku and Kairi when their home Destiny Islands is consumed in darkness. Sora obtained a weapon called the Keyblade that allows him to fight the Heartless, creatures that originate from the Realm of Darkness. Sora is then transported to the infamous Traverse Town, where he teams up with Donald and Goofy.
They are two emissaries from Disney Castle sent to find the Keyblade wielder under orders from their missing king, Mickey Mouse. The three band together to travel through different worlds and battle some very familiar villains.
The games are influenced by their parent franchise, Final Fantasy, and carry its gameplay elements over into their action-based system.
Like many others, Kingdom Hearts features an experience point system that determines character development. Fans of Square’s other RPG entries will recognize some gameplay staples, such as the magic spells and summoning spells, and the whole thing truly plays like an action-adventure title.
The characters truly pull at your heartstrings as you fall in love with their good-hearted nature and perseverance. The world in which you play feels lighthearted and magical amidst the darkness.
It is impossible to put your controller down once you wield your first key blade. It is no surprise that Kingdom Hearts would become a ps2 RPG top seller that is worthy of multiple sequels.
4. Kingdom Hearts II (2005)
The first Kingdom Hearts was such a success that it is no surprise that there would be a Kingdom Hearts II. Full of a double dose of magic, the second story adds even more combinations of both Disney and Final Fantasy characters.
Where this game really shines is in the presentation. Even by today’s standards, it’s a great looking game, and the lush coloring and animations in the world all but beg you to adventure through it.
In Kingdom Hearts II, you reprise the role of Sora, wielder of the keyblade. The crux of the game has you, Sora, traveling from one land to another with companions Donald Duck and Goofy to dispel the heartless and to rescue friends of yours that are missing. Along the way, you'll join forces with the heroes and heroines of Square, Disney, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
While still an action RPG, Kingdom Hearts II gives you some freedoms, both in determining your characters' attributes and in resigning yourself to standard combat. You can do a little bit of both or a lot of one or the other, depending on your preferences. Seasoned role-playing gamers will be able to spend time perfecting the allocation of their abilities, synthesizing new items, and grinding to level up.
For those less interested in the role-playing aspects, you can breeze through the main gameplay without paying much attention to statistics.
Kingdom Hearts II is a wonderful experience in which every character interaction allows you to live through some of the magic moments of these movies and games.
5. Shadow Hearts: Covenant (2004)
If you are looking for some realistic intrigue with a strong hint of mystical, you have come to the right place! Covenant, the sequel to Shadow Hearts, brings the reality of war mixed with the intrigue of fantasy.
The game takes place in an alternate WWI-era setting that is rife with supernatural elements, and it has a rich cast of characters, including vampires, wolves, military officers, and even a puppeteer.
The story follows six months after the events of Shadow Hearts during the time of World War I. The heroes are drawn into an intriguing plot involving the demons of demonolatry, the chief advisor of the tsar of Russia, and a man from the main character Yuri Hyuga's past.
The battle system is unique in that it features a “judgment ring,” which acts as a timer to deliver crucial hits
Overall, this a roleplaying game that will leave a lasting legacy.
6. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (2008)
The intrigue of mystery, Suspense, and unsolved murder lands Persona 4 next on our list. The intriguing storyline is based on the work of mystery novelists owing to its murder mystery premise.
The plot centers on another high-school protagonist who must overcome spirits, murders, and killer fog. The rural setting was based on a town on the outskirts of Mount Fuji in the fictional town of Inaba.
We follow high school student, Yu Narukami in later media, who has recently moved from the city to attend school at Inaba. Unexplained murders have taken place in the small town, where bodies are found dangling from television antennas and their cause of death being unknown.
The main focus of the game revolves around Personas, avatars projected from one's inner self that resembles mythological figures and represents the façades worn by individuals to face life's hardships.
The “Shin Megami Tensei” series earned rave reviews for its willingness to break with the RPG convention. It blends traditional RPG gameplay with simulation elements. You will travel through dungeons, all based upon a victim that has been kidnapped. The player enters battle upon coming into contact with a Shadow. You engage in combat using the elements Physical, Fire, Ice, Wind, Electricity, Light, Dark, and Almighty.
“Persona 4” improves on the previous entries by delivering better animation and mechanics. It is critically acclaimed being one of the greatest games of all time.
7. Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (2003)
This installment of Star Ocean is a bit of a wildcard. While some absolutely love the game, others were not as thrilled. While having many similarities to its predecessor, Star Ocean: Till the End of Time includes many elements that make it unique among the majority of role-playing video games.
The game begins on the resort planet of Hyda IV. Fayt Leingod is on a family vacation with his parents Robert and Ryoko Leingod and his childhood friend Sophia Esteed.
Everything appears fairly normal until the galactic faction known as the Vendeeni invades the planet. Fayt and his family are forced to flee, but he is separated from them. His escape pod ends up crash-landing on the planet Vanguard III. His journey thereafter will not only reveal a few truths about himself but about the origin of their very universe.
The game inherits the recurring real-time interactive combat system from the series while presenting many new elements. Instead of random encounters, battles now occur when running into enemies on the main travel field or when certain pre-scripted events occur.
Enemy attacks can target either a player's hit points (HP) or mental points (MP). Players will also lose HP from using special attacks or lose MP from using symbology or runeology, which is functionally equivalent to magic in other games.
Whether you love the game will truly depend on your preferences. Will you find the story to be solid or unbalanced? Will the large midway plot twist enhance or hinder your journey?
You will have t pick up a copy and find out!
8. Rogue Galaxy (2005)
Ever had the urge to become a pirate, board an airship, and fly around to save the galaxy? Who hasn’t?
Rogue Galaxy is exactly how it sounds, a vibrant story where you become a space pirate board an airship on a quest to defend the universe.
You play as Jaster Rogue, a young man with avid dreams of exploring the galaxy. The story begins on the planet Rosa, where its citizens live under their oppressive control and are forbidden from leaving the planet. Due to a series of fortunate events, Jaster is recruited by a gang of space pirates who mistake him for the legendary hunter, Desert Claw, and can leave Rosa. Jaster finds himself taking part in a galaxy-wide search with the crew for a legendary planet said to hold the secrets of a highly advanced civilization along with the immense treasure.
Rogue Galaxy is an action role-playing game played from a third-person perspective in which the player moves through a continuous environment, with no load time between overworld exploration and combat. Battles occur as random encounters like traditional role-playing video games. Unlike the traditional turn-based combat, Rogue uses a real-time hack and slash combat system in which the player fights with a party of three characters.
With its advanced graphics, range of side quests, and game scope Rogue Galaxy is worthy of a playthrough!
9. Suikoden III (2002)
With its impressive cult following, it is no surprise that Suikoden III has landed on our list.
Like other games in the series, Suikoden III features an intricate, detailed setting. However, it differs from Suikoden II in that in Suikoden III, the story is told through three different protagonists. That means gamers will play as a mercenary, a knight, and the son of a chieftain. The plot is explored through three different viewpoints, allowing events to be seen from multiple sides.
This is an excellent game for those who look to switch things up if they lose interest easily in a storyline.
The gameplay is along the lines of the traditional turn-based system we see in most RPG’s. Characters can also character can also learn specific skills; for instance, the “Parry” skill allows a character to defend against attacks more often, while other skills may increase damage output or hasten the casting of spells. Each character has their affinity for what works best for them.
Make sure to grab a copy of this one to add to your quickly growing Suikoden collection!
10. Final Fantasy X (2001)
“Listen to my story. This…may be our last chance.” -Tidus's narrative
Last but definitely not least, we come to the beautiful, imaginative story that is Final Fantasy X.
The story of Final Fantasy X is told by Tidus, a sports star from the futuristic metropolis called Zanarkand. During a match, Tidus gets swept up to another world and joins summoner Yuna and her friends on her journey to save the world of Spira from a rampaging monster known as Sin. From here, it unfolds a wonderful story you will experience with beautiful graphics and unique characters.
Final Fantasy X introduces the Conditional Turn-Based Battle system in place of the series' traditional Active Time Battle system first used in Final Fantasy IV. Whereas the ATB concept features real-time elements, the CTB system is a turn-based format that pauses the battle during each of the player's turns.
The game added in the intricate sphere grid system, which is utilized for leveling up your characters. Additionally, the concept of “Limit Breaks,” highly damaging special attacks, reappear in Final Fantasy X as “Overdrives.”
Final Fantasy X is beloved for its solid story, richly layered characters, and ahead-of-its-time animation. If you haven’t played it, you need to.
The best ps2 RPG video games became staples as our daily adventures. We would spend hours of our day exploring different fantasy words envisioning what life would be like on these imaginary planets. Not only were these games fully immersive, but they also became home.
These games would make you forget the real world, even if only for a moment. These are the RPG games that deserve a chance. Deserve a second playthrough. Deserve recognition from us as the ones that side quested their way into our hearts.
Where can I get these video games?
Can’t find a ps2 RPG on the list? Here are some primary locations to obtain these classics:
- Playstation Store Classics – Store.Playstation.com
- LukieGames – LukieGames.com
- DKOldies – DKOldies.com
- GameStop – Gamestop.com or In-Store Locations
- Best Buy – Bestbuy.com
Want to check out the origins of some of these epic video games? Check out our list of Top PS1 RPG’s!