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A Small Fortune in Pixels


(This article originally appeared on September 27, 2009. Today, we revisit things in honor of the PS2's 15th anniversary.)

With over 100 million units sold worldwide and a lifespan stretching far beyond any other console to date, the PlayStation 2 is the most successful video game platform of all time. As they say, a system is only as good as its games, and the PlayStation 2 provides a library fit for its 100 million players. As we compiled this list, we found hundreds of games that we would love to play again. Paring down to just 25 proved to be difficult, as the PlayStation 2 wasn’t graced by just great individual games, but entire series worthy of playing. Here is Game Informer’s selection for the Top 25 must-play PlayStation 2 games or series.

25 Disgaea series
How deep can a turn-based strategy game get? Disgaea shows us that they can get absurdly deep. You can customize your troops, enhance your weapons, and be treated to some big laughs with its kooky cast of characters.

24 Fatal Frame series

If you’ve played the Fatal Frame games, there is no shame in sleeping with a flashlight or second-guessing what goes bump in the night. This series’ unnerving atmosphere and expertise in scare tactics warrant a high pitched scream and perhaps even a stain in your pants.

23 Shadow of the Colossus

Dangle from the chin hairs of a beast 100 times your size as it tries to swat you like a fly. Nothing compares.

22 Dark Cloud series

This imaginative role-playing series put developer Level-5 on the map, and its world building, wealth of customization, and rich environments delivers an experience unlike any other.

21 Need for Speed: Underground

With four outstanding racing types, insanely deep vehicle customization, and a look that could kill, Need for Speed: Underground lights the fires and kicks the tires like few racing games can. It made tuning a mainstay in gaming, and has led to many gamers “pimping” out their Camrys.

20 SSX 3

With one gigantic mountain beneath your boots, you don’t need to hop around the world in SSX 3. Players can nibble on it bite by bite, or bomb the entire thing, trying to keep one combo going from summit to lodge.

19 Hot Shots Golf series
Hot Shots doesn’t change much, but it doesn’t have to when it’s the master of the three-click swing and offers so many fun customization items and wacky characters. Hot Shots excels at being easy to learn, but the game also throws up plenty of challenges and requires nerves of steel.

18 Okami
Painting with a wolf may sound like a potential throat being ripped out, but Capcom proved that this unlikely combination could deliver one of the most memorable and unique adventures of this generation. Okami looks like a painting that came to life, and offers amazing gameplay with its inventive brush-stroke techniques.


17 Onimusha series

If we told you there is a series about famous Japanese legends retold and embellished with supernatural elements using popular modern day actors, you’d probably expect it to be marketing crap. However, Onimusha’s blend of constant action, Resident Evil-style puzzles, and stunning CG sequences made it a game you’d be wrong to judge harshly.

16 Prince of Persia series

Running along walls and leaping over spinning blades can be a blast, especially when you can rewind time if you happen to lose a leg in the process. The Prince of Persia trilogy is an adventurer’s dream come true, blending flashy swordplay with a good dose of puzzle solving.

15 Burnout Revenge

It managed to outdrive the excellent Burnout 3 and was the last appearance of Crash Mode, God rest its soul.

14 Jak & Daxter series

Though there is a huge seam in the middle of the series separating the playful, kid-friendly atmospheres of the first game from the darker, more story-centric narratives of the second two, all three Jak and Daxter titles have a perfect blend of action and platforming. You never do the same thing twice in a Jak game, and that means you’re never bored.

13 Ico
Who would have thought a game with so much hand-holding and stick swinging would become a masterpiece?

12 Madden NFL series
The long-running Madden series made several significant evolutionary steps on the PlayStation 2. While it should be remembered for its introduction to online play and remarkably deep gameplay, most people will remember it for Michael Vick – the most skilled video game athlete since Bo Jackson.

11 Kingdom Hearts series
Seeing Goofy prance around with your favorite Final Fantasy characters might be hard to digest, but once you get a taste of Kingdom Hearts’ spellbinding storytelling and razor-sharp combat, you won’t hold back from placing your Sephiroth statue next to your Winnie the Pooh teddy bear.

10 Devil May Cry 1 & 3
Swords and guns are nothing new to gaming, but Devil May Cry combines them in a fast and fluid combat system that essentially created the “stylish action” genre. Using crazy combos and lightning quick reflexes, this series pushes your skills to the limit while dishing out hardcore thrills – providing you overlook the second game..

9 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
The PS2 was gifted with a new Tony Hawk title every year, but only one is deserving of skating immortality. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 introduced the revert maneuver, which allows a combo to be continued after a vert trick. This move opens the way to lengthy million-point runs that we dedicated hundreds of hours to perfecting.

8 Ratchet & Clank series
Who says the platforming genre has grown stale? Who says cartoon graphics can’t look fantastic? Who says you shouldn’t turn your enemies into farm animals? Not Insomniac. The company consistently combined action, platforming, and RPG elements to create one of the funniest, most polished video game series on the market.

7 Gran Turismo series
Hundreds of photo-realistic cars all tuned to mimic their real-life counterparts set the bar for the racing simulation genre. Thanks to Gran Turismo, we expect our racing games to not only offer a wealth of real-life cars, but also test our racing abilities and push our engine to the limit.

6 Guitar Hero series
It may not have been the first music game, but Guitar Hero is certainly the one that popularized the genre. By mixing the best of rock music with a control scheme that scales remarkably well for beginners and long-time music aficionados, the game couldn’t help but blossom into a worldwide phenomenon.

5 Final Fantasy X & XII
Forget about the side-stories and massively multiplayer forays; these two Final Fantasy titles are the best role-playing experiences you’ll find on the PS2. Whether it’s through the touching stories, fantastic visuals, or innovative gameplay mechanics, these games exemplify why Final Fantasy is the industry’s most trusted name in console RPGs.

4 God of War series
In an afternoon, you could say that you toppled a giant, dethroned a god, and wowed the ladies. Both God of War games turn you into an unstoppable wrecking machine, and you can feel Kratos’ fury with every brutal slash of his blades. In addition to a well-oiled combat system, this series uses mind-bending puzzles and cinematic flair to create a classic Greek tale of vengeance.

3 Resident Evil 4
This next statement will likely make you tear up a little, but if you’ve played Resident Evil 4, you know it’s true. This series is better without zombies. The one game not featuring brain-eaters is the series’ most impressive act. In all fairness, however, this is a complete departure for the series. RE 4’s revolutionary over-the-shoulder targeting system, heart-pounding pacing, and inventive enemy designs make it nearly impossible to put down.

2 Metal Gear Solid series
Hideo Kojima is the gaming industry’s consummate auteur. As a writer, director, and designer, he has crafted a series frequently cited as a work of video game art. Both PS2 Metal Gear titles, Sons of Liberty and Snake Eater, feature epic storytelling, cinematography, and gameplay. They paved the way for action games in multiple genres, and showed us that games can be just as much fun to watch as they are to play.

1 Grand Theft Auto series
Grand Theft Auto has proven it can sell millions of copies on any system it touches, but its true rise to power began on PlayStation 2. The first installment to grace this console was Grand Theft Auto III. Its revolutionary open world gameplay changed the landscape of gaming, and its exclusivity to PlayStation 2 (at least for a time) helped cement this console as the generation leader. In the United States, Grand Theft Auto III has sold 5.7 million copies on PlayStation 2. Its sequel, Vice City, which allowed players to tower over society like a kingpin, significantly expanded the series’ fan base with 6.8 million copies sold. The third entry, San Andreas, blew the doors off of what we could expect from the sandbox experience with not one, but three cities, and was handsomely rewarded for its innovative gameplay with a staggering 7.6 million copies sold in the States. There was no bigger event in the PS2 era than the release of a new GTA. It was truly the Grand Theft Auto generation. – The Feed

‘Very Small’ Number Of Active EA Accounts Present In Recent Data Dump

A report has surfaced indicating that personally identifiable information tied to some EA accounts has been made public. The data has been removed from Pastebin, on which it appeared, but not before the exposure allegedly caused problems for some.

The initial report of the breach came from CSO, which says it was contacted by an individual whose email address, password, and game list were present in the dump. According to the story, some of the information present has been tied to other breaches, including the recent Patreon intrusion.

When reached for comment, an EA representative told us that there was no evidence of a breach resulting in the data dump. “Privacy and security is our top priority at EA,” the representative tells us via email. “At this point, we have no indication that this list was obtained through an intrusion of our account databases. In an abundance of caution, we're taking steps to secure any account that has an EA user ID that matches the usernames on this list.  As always, we encourage all players to safeguard their account credentials and use unique usernames and passwords on all online accounts.”

Given that there are parallels between the data that appeared in this dump and other breaches, other possibilities exist. It’s not uncommon for some to use the same password on multiple services. Doing so would have allowed access to Origin accounts without directly mining data from EA. 

What isn’t entirely clear is how the game lists were culled. It’s possible to gather that information from any user's Origin client if others haven’t made their libraries private. Additionally, if the accounts were breached using already exposed information, the lists could have been generated manually.

"The number of actual valid/active accounts in the list was very small," EA told us. This further indicates that the data was second-hand and not directly accessed from EA services.

EA is no stranger to accusations of data breach. In December 2014, users reported unexpected charges on their Origin accounts. When approached for comment, EA told us that there was no evidence of intrusion at that time either.

[Source: CSO via Polygon]


Our Take
It’s a good idea to use different passwords for every service. This way, if one happens to suffer an intrusion, the others are protected. Yes, it’s a pain. But dealing with fraudulent charges and changing all your passwords because of one problem is no joy either. – The Feed

The Witcher 3 Experience Bug Fix, Small Text Patch Coming Next Week For All Platforms

Yesterday, we reported that the latest patch for The Witcher 3 was causing a glitch with experience gain from quests. CD Projekt Red is aware and working on it, with a projected timetable to address the issue.

The problem, which appears seems to be affecting some individuals on all platforms according to a recent post from community and website coordinator Marcin Momot. "We would like to let everyone know that we are aware of the XP glitch players are reporting and we are working to have it fixed as soon as possible across all platforms (Monday for PC & patch 1.04 on consoles in the following days)," Momot writes. 

Unfortunately, if you progressed after the bug hit, you won't suddenly get a surge of missing experience when the patch arrives. "The XP won't be added back for the finished quests. Sorry about this," Momot confirms.

However, he says players should still be able to finish the game in the level range intended by the developers. "At the same time we want to shed some light on the issue," Momot says. "First of all, it doesn't impact the game balance in any significant way. Also, you will be able to finish the game with your character achieving a level within the threshold we had in mind when we designed the game."

Also, if your eyes are suffering from the small text, you'll be happy to know relief is on the way. Momot confirmed on Twitter that patch 1.04 will fix this problem. For more on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, check out our review.

[Source: CD Projekt Red]


Our Take
It seems like the best course of action is to save your game and see if you're hit by the bug. If not, you might be in the clear. If you are, it looks like you'll need to make other gaming plans this weekend. – The Feed

Revisiting The Legend Of Zelda’s Fairies Big, Small, And Trapped In A Bottle (You Monster)

While Link’s attire hasn’t changed much across three decades of The Legend of Zelda games, other elements have undergone more drastic transformations. In a video from YouTube creator Master0fHyrule (whom we’ve featured before), you can see how these mystical creatures have changed over the years.

The footage below features 25 games, the Super Mario Bros. Super Show cartoon, and the manga. As you’ll see the winged healers have matured through the years, across home and handheld consoles.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

And, in case you were concerned, Tingle has not been forgotten. He may not really be a fairy (or is he?), but the lovable and slightly creepy fairy fan has earned his place among the twinkling creatures. – The Feed

EA Lays Off Small Number At Visceral Games

EA has confirmed to Game Informer that a small number of staff have been laid off at Visceral. The studio is working on a confirmed, but as yet unspecified Star Wars project.

“We made a small staffing change in our Visceral studio today to support the needs of the studio’s two current development priorities: content for Battlefield Hardline Premium and an unannounced Star Wars project,” an EA representative told us via email.  “We are working to ensure the smoothest transition possible for the impacted employees.”

EA did confirm that Amy Hennig and Todd Stashwick, who are working on the Star Wars project, are unaffected by these changes. EA declined to share specific numbers impacted by the change.

In April, Visceral’s Steve Papoutsis left EA after 14 years. Scott Probst currently leads Visceral’s efforts, including work on follow-up content for Battlefield Hardline and the upcoming Star Wars game.


Our Take
While we’re glad to hear that a small number of people are impacted, any job loss is sad news. Our thoughts are with those who are affected. – The Feed

Unity focuses on small teams doing big things at its GDC event

Unity’s GDC press conference was geared toward not just showcasing Unity 5, but marrying the company’s longtime message of democratized development with a focus on how damn good Unity games can look. …

Gamasutra News

EA Lays Off ‘Small Number’ At Montréal Studio

EA has confirmed that it has laid off employees at its Montreal location. The publisher says that the studio remains a going concern and that projects are still in development there.

“We made a staffing change in our Montreal studio to align with our current development and service plans,” a company representative told us via email. “A small number of employees were impacted, and we are working closely with each of them to ensure the best transition possible. The teams at EA Montreal, including BioWare, are working on exciting new projects, and EA is committed to developing great games in our Montreal studio.”

EA’s Montréal studio has produced the Army of Two series, entries in the SSX franchise, and the Wii version of Need for Speed: Nitro. That location is also responsible for some of EA’s work in the mobile space, including versions of Scrabble and Tetris for smartphones.

[Source: Gamasutra]


Our Take
EA was careful to confirm the status of the studio in its note to us about the layoffs. While these job cuts appear to impact a relatively small number of staff, transitions like this are never easy for those affected. Our thoughts are with those impacted by the layoffs. – The Feed

Dragon Ball Xenoverse Gets Small Delay

Dragon Ball Z's current-gen debut is going to take a little longer to release, but only a few days.

Originally set for release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on February 17, the game will now now be available on February 24 – an extra day of waiting commemorating every Dragon Ball, presumably. Dragon Ball Xenoverse will also release on February 27 for PC via Steam.

According to Bandai Namco, the game has been delayed, "In order to ensure the highest possible gameplay experience."

For more on Dragon Ball Xenoverse, head here. You can see the full press release for the delay on page two.


Our Take
Seven days is certainly a manageable delay. Though, I do wonder what additional development or changes could be accomplished in seven days. – The Feed

Evolve’s Goliath statue is small child and down payment-sized

Sure, it’s not the ridiculously huge monstrosity that loomed over us at E3, but this statue of Evolve’s Goliath from replica specialists TriForce might be the next-best thing: standing tall at two and a half feet and weighing 35 pounds, this beast is…
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Creating a scene in a small city: Buffalo Game Space

“Buffalo, New York is a city known for several things — chicken wings, harsh winters, Super Bowl losses — but game development is not one of them.” It may be soon, thanks to Buffalo Game Space. …

Gamasutra News