A recent PS3 update has brought PS2 classics to the PlayStation Store, making our heads spin with excitement. With such a large back-catalogue of quality PS2 games, the potential for this is huge once it kicks off and the major publishers get involved. Here are the games that myself and Jerrod would most like to see make a PS3 appearance.
PS2 games I want on the Store:
- The Red Star
This game is already available on the Store for PSP, but having it on a big screen with better controls and co-op capabilities is obviously the ideal situation to play it in. The Red Star is a beat-'em-up / shmup hybrid, with an unusual combination of melee combat and gunplay. It contains a wide variety of enemy types, all of whom need to be handled differently, meaning the player needs to constantly adjust their tactics on the fly, and never feels safe. The main appeal of the game however, is definitely the old-school boss fights against giant gunships which spew intricate bullet patterns - a rare beast on PS2, and indeed PS3. Fiercely original and uncompromisingly retro, it failed to set the world alight in terms of sales, not helped by the fact it was released just as PS2 was dying. Digital distribution is a much better model for niche games like this to thrive, and so I feel that an inexpensive PS3 re-release of The Red Star would allow it to reach the wider audience it always deserved.
- Dark Cloud
This delightful action-oriented JRPG was the benchmark for PS2 visuals back in 2001, and thanks to its stylised graphics it still looks decent today. Dark Cloud not only had an engaging narrative and an enjoyably tactile real-time combat system, it was also fairly accessible. A problem I often have with RPGs is the steep learning curve and the massive amount of text-based instruction you have to plough through before you can get started, but Dark Cloud kept this to a minimum, and taught you new things at certain intervals so the game didn't feel too stop-start. The plot is a little sketchy in my mind at the moment, but it had something to do with a huge monster who had gone around smashing up all of these quaint little villages and towns, and you played as a lad called Toan, who went from town to town in order to fight baddies in dungeons to earn items with which he could rebuild these peoples' homes (?). The local townsfolk are so charming you never resent helping them for a second, and their dialogue actually makes you feel like part of the community. They're the neighbours you always wished for. Besides all this, it was published by Sony back in the day, so it wouldn't be a huge stretch for them to stick it on the Store, and the PS2 version is fairly rare these days, so a PSN release would be the only legal way of playing the game without spending a hefty sum of cash.
- This is Football 2002
Sports games are always the ones which are forgotten the quickest. Due to the yearly release schedule and the ever-changing nature of sports in terms of player transfers, relegations and promotions, they are obsolete the minute the next update is released, and depreciate in value incredibly fast. I personally think that the past can always be learnt from, even in sports games. Just because it doesn't have the latest squads, kits or graphics, many would overlook This is Football 2002, however I feel that it had a lot of ideas that the current crop of football titles could learn from. The game had an unparalleled wealth of content that Fifa and Pro Evolution Soccer simply couldn't compete with. It featured full player and team name licensing, something PES hasn't nailed down to this day, as well as lower league teams which Fifa didn't get until 2004, and PES still hasn't got. It had entertaining extras such as the Timewarp league in which you can play as classic era clubs and national sides such as England '66, and a 'Jumpers 4 Goalposts' league in which you could play as school teams on a concrete playground whilst using jumpers as goalposts. Great fun. Despite its age, TIF 2002 is an interesting curio that should be looked back upon as ahead of its time, and still provides chaotic multiplayer action.
- Largo Winch
Largo Winch is a point-'n'-click. An action point-'n'-click, but a point-'n'-click nonetheless. No matter how much Ubisoft tried to dress this one up as an action game, the obvious puzzle elements shone through and the game failed to sell well or be remembered. This is absolutely criminal, as Largo Winch featured a great narrative and excellent action-puzzle gameplay. The 'puzzles' in Largo Winch are nowhere near the infuriatingly obscure level of Monkey Island, but they are tricky enough to be satisfying, while simultaneously being easy enough to keep the game flowing along at a steady pace without too many long pauses to scratch your head in confusion. Much like The Red Star, digital distribution seems like a far better model for this game, and could give it the opportunity to capture an audience it failed to attract originally.
This one really deserves another chance to succeed, and I think it could thrive on the PSN. After the critical acclaim that Quantic Dream's last game Heavy Rain achieved, there is now definitely more buzz around David Cage and his team, especially amongst PlayStation gamers. Therefore I reckon that many of those who enjoyed Heavy Rain will be willing to pay a few quid to download another interactive drama made by the same team. Farenheit, (Indigo Prophecy in the U.S) was much like Heavy Rain in terms of structure and gameplay, a QTE-heavy experience in which you control multiple characters to see the narrative from different perspectives. Admittedly I never finished the game myself, and while it started out as a gripping murder mystery thriller, I hear it got incredibly silly at the end of the game. Even so, it's incredibly original, and I think people respect that - Heavy Rain sold quite well. Quantic Dream have the monopoly on interactive drama, as nobody else is making games like this for PS3, meaning those who enjoyed Heavy Rain and fancy another experience in the same vein will have no other choice but to download Farenheit, and I think that this would translate into healthy sales.
PS2 games Jerrod wants on the Store:
- Timesplitters 2/Future Perfect:
The timesplitters games are some of my favourite games of all time. Classic FPS gameplay reminiscent of Goldeneye (understandably, since they were made by the same people), a vast cast of loveable characters, a wide range of game modes for multiplayer fun, and a varied 2-player co-op main story. What's not to love? In fact, why the hell don't we have a Timesplitters HD Collection yet? I couldn't decide between 2 or 3. 2 had more multiplayer content, and two of my favourite levels of the series (Siberia and Neo Tokyo). But 3 had a more modern aiming mechanic, a more cinematic/engaging main story, a better mapmaker, and online capabilities (assuming they update them for PS3). Overall, if they bring back the online capabilities of 3, I have a feeling it could have a major popularity boom. Not only can you play online, but you can trade and play in custom-made levels. Also, the main character is voiced by Tony the Tiger! Seriously!
- Klonoa 2:
This is one of Klonoa's best games. A cool platformer-puzzler hybrid which combined fun fast-paced platforming with tricky puzzles based around using your enemies as tools. It also has a bright, cartoony art style and some pretty nice music. This game was quite overlooked when it first came out, and there's talk of a possible Wii port. Putting this on the PS3 might help to get it the attention it deserves.
- Second Sight:
Another Free Radical game, this time a story-driven Third Person Shooter. While it lacks any multiplayer, the single-player campaign is fun and engaging. You fight in a variety of environments, both as a team and alone, using a mixture of guns and psychic powers to get through. The story is genuinely intriguing, and there's a reasonably cool twist ending. This game didn't receive as much acclaim as the Timesplitters games, and there's not much replayability after completion, but this game is definitely worth a try. It's definitely deserving of a PS3 release. Also, there's an asylum level. As I mentioned in the last podcast, asylum levels are cool.
Thinking about it, the core gameplay of Ghosthunter is somewhat similar to Second Sight. It's a story-driven third-person shooter in which you use a mixture of guns and ghostly powers to capture ghosts (most of which the clueless main character unwittingly set free). The story is fun and engaging (granted, with a pretty weak ending), and there's a varying cast of characters. The levels traverse a range of environments, including an abandoned prison, a twisted mansion, and a sinking ship in the grip of a kraken. The game contains a mixture of comedy, action, and horror. It also features a charming performance from Rob Paulsen, being his first foray into video game voice acting. This game is definitely worth a play, and worthy of a PS3 release.
ObsCure is indeed a fitting title for this game. It's a little-known survival horror, with classic survival horror-style gameplay. The gameplay was clearly inspired by (and sometimes criticised for being similar to) Resident Evil, and the story is clearly greatly inspired by The Faculty. You play as a member of a group of five students, each with their own abilities, who are trapped in a school filled with monsters. You explore the school with a partner (either AI or a second player) trying to uncover the dark secrets that lie beneath it. Alright, I didn't describe it too well, but trust me - it's good. It has a very dark atmosphere, and a haunting soundtrack. Any characters in your team can die without ending the game, robbing you of their often-helpful skills but not stopping you from completing the game. This, as well as having a limited amount of saves, makes this an immersive and scary game reminiscent of the classics.
What PS2 games would you like to see reappear on the PlayStation Store? Let us know in the comments.