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Chris Leigh
02 Dec, 2006

Christmas Buyers Guide - PlayStation 2

PS2 Feature | The titles every PS2 owner needs this Xmas.
PlayStation 3? Puh-lease - that's so 2007. Truth be told, while the maniacs queued for days at a time to pick up Sony's latest platform, the rest of us were at home, cosy in the knowledge that the PS2, even in its sixth year, still has a ton to offer us gamers. There's every chance that 2007 will see the must-have titles migrate over to the PS3 (though with Final Fantasy XII and God of War II on the way, even that could be disputed). But for this Christmas, Sony's current-gen machine is still playing host to some of the very finest games about. And here are just some of them.

Black

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Developer: Criterion Games
Publisher: EA Games


Our review said: "[Black]’s about destruction. It’s about explosions. It’s about causing as much chaos and confusion as you possibly can. The game is predictably full to the brim with conveniently placed explosive barrels and large gas tanks perfectly nestled under what appears to be a normal looking balcony or walkway.

The core gameplay is an adrenaline rush from start to finish, thanks to the fast-paced combat and set-pieces, but its old-school, arcade style design means that there’s little else when you look deeper than flashy explosions and gritty headshots. Black is definitely a game all FPS fans should try; however, given its length and lack of options, it’s a game that would be best left until a price drop appears."
[FULL REVIEW: 7.5]


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Guitar Hero II

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-2
Developer: Harmonix
Publisher: RedOctane


Our review said: "Guitar Hero II is pretty much everything you could hope it to be. It keeps everything that made the first game good, and then improves on just about everything else. The soundtrack this time around is somewhat aimed more towards the hardcore player - not only in terms of the choice of tracks, but also in the more complicated style of play they produce compared to the more laid-back vibe of the original’s tracks.

But the game doesn’t suffer as a result, and what you have here is a selection of more interesting songs to play through. With more content in every area, a vastly improved multiplayer and an expert difficulty setting that’ll challenge you for months, Guitar Hero II is every bit the essential purchase the first game was."
[FULL REVIEW: 9.0]


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Dragon Quest: Journey of the Cursed King

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Developer: Level 5
Publisher: Square Enix


Our review said: "Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King provides exactly what it ought to - a premium J-RPG experience for anyone who has been yearning for a true challenge, a riveting story and a long, satisfying quest. It may lack glitz, sparkle and a certain mainstream appeal, but it makes up for this with some hugely distinctive and unique traits, more personality and emotion than you can comprehend, and one of the most refined experiences in a long time.

Above all, the game builds on some unforgettable moments that truly define the experience. If this is what you’ve been waiting for and you’ve got the time to spare, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be already playing it. While it may not bring much new to the table, it definitely does its job damn well, and is proof that a game need not be revolutionary to be enjoyable. At the end of the day, Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King stands out as one of the best J-RPG titles in a long time."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.5]


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Canis Canem Edit

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Developer: Rockstar
Publisher: Take-Two


Our review said: "Canis Canem Edit is a great send-off for this generation of consoles from Rockstar. While not as endearing as its inspirations, the premise is something that should’ve been done ages ago, and which is executed superbly here. Jimmy's adventure is very engaging and enjoyable.

The game has a fair few unique traits, such as the intimacy with the NPCs. Some aspects come off better than past open-ended games, some don’t, and some we’d really like to see Rockstar improve upon (backtracking, mechanics, mission repeats…). Overall however, it’s a damn fine game. For anyone worried about the troublesome content, well, there's nothing here that hasn’t been seen or done in the movies or on TV - CCE is a game that's well capable of keeping your attention over the summer, or maybe until the PS3 is released."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.0]


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Hitman: Blood Money

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Eidos Interactive


Our review said: "Hitman: Blood Money is the embodiment of continual improvement that ought to be seen in every franchise. Not only does it successfully improve on most facets of the previous games, but it successfully delivers on what it sets out to do. While it may be difficult to appreciate this when you’ve restarted a level for the umpteenth time, or when the difficulty seems to be out-of-reach, it's definitely felt when the perfect, refined “hit” is achieved.

In terms of the Xbox 360 version over the other console versions, you’re not likely to find a next generation experience. However, what you will find here is the best assassin simulator available in gaming - Hitman: Blood Money is the most robust and refined Hitman experience to date."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.0]


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Kingdom Hearts II

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix


Our review said: "Those who disliked the first game outright in every aspect are unlikely to discover a new love for the series here, despite all the improvements. If one was turned off simply by the camera, or controls, it may be worth checking out KHII to see if it makes enough of a difference to warrant a purchase. A final word of warning – there is a lot of dialogue, and many hours of cut scenes; not all of them involving classic Disney and Final Fantasy characters. Anyone after a quick beat-em-up will probably be turned off by the lengthy breaks in the combat.

If this is manageable, though, and you want everything from the first game improved beyond reasonable doubt, this is one of the easiest recommendations we have made this year. Kingdom Hearts II is an essential purchase for fans of the series, and indeed anyone with an interest in Disney and Final Fantasy. This is a heart everyone can love."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.5]


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Onimusha 3: Demon Siege

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom


Our review said: "Onimusha 3: Demon Siege is a well-produced and entertaining conclusion to one side of a much bigger story. There are enough additions and changes to make the experience greater than its predecessors, and enough variety in between to keep it fresh throughout.

The combat is solid - if begging for an update - and the game's lifespan is comfortable for this kind of game. The time aspect is pretty cool, as is slaughtering demons with a samurai and Jean Reno. In the end, Onimusha 3: Demon Siege is the best title in the series to date, a great conclusion to this part of the story and a great experience in general."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.0]


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OutRun 2006: Coast to Coast

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-6
Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: Sega


Our review said: "It's not a flawless overall package. The earlier Flagman and Heart Attack challenges are a little on the easy side, to the point where completing them can occasionally feel slightly like a chore. And early on, you'll find yourself flying past the AI-controlled Ferraris with some ease. This is particularly noticeable on straights, where your opponent's Ferraris seem to morph in to Robin Reliants. But these are minor blotches on an otherwise excellent report card.

In truth, OutRun 2006 is not only the best racing game of this year so far by some distance, but a shot in the arm for a racing genre that's rapidly beginning to take itself far too seriously. It's the finest home console racer since Burnout 3: Takedown, and offers the best time trial experience since Mario Kart DS, and if those aren't a pair of strong recommendations, we don't know what is. Indeed, we're playing it now, zipping through Ghost Forest to the tune of "Life Was A Bore". But it needn't be. The cure? Buy OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast."
[FULL REVIEW: 9.0]


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Shadow of the Colossus

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Developer: Sony
Publisher: Sony


Our review said: "On paper, this is a game that's simple: one hero, sixteen unimaginably huge bosses, mere fragments of a storyline, and a large world to meander about in. Yet despite this apparent bare-bones approach, Shadow is almost certainly one of the most unforgettable, colourful and varied experiences we've had with a Dual Shock in our hands. Indeed, we're now on our fourth playthrough, a testament if ever there was one to the diversity and imaginative design the game consistently exhibits. Admittedly it's a flawed beast at times, and the nagging camera issues and occasional graphical glitch do prevent the game from reaching perfection.

Consequently, Shadow is a frustrating game to mark. As a game that stretches the aging PlayStation 2 hardware slightly too far for its own good, it's an eight. As a signpost to the potentially thrilling future of videogaming and an experience like no other title before it, it's almost unquestionably a ten. Heck - eight, ten, whatever; this is a game everyone should play. Just make sure you don't miss out this time, eh?"
[FULL REVIEW: 9.0]


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SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-32
Developer: Zipper Interactive
Publisher: Sony


Our review said: "SOCOM 3 shows exactly what a sequel should be. It should improve on earlier versions of the game. It should retain everything that works and make it better. It should tackle the game's problems and fix them. It should offer new gameplay, new features.

Zipper Interactive has done exactly that.

If you're a fan of SOCOM, you'll have little to complain about and a great deal to love in this game. If you've never played SOCOM, then there has never been a more convincing reason to start. Even those reluctant to play online now have a worthwhile single player campaign that alone is worth the price of admission. On-line and off, SOCOM 3 is a rewarding experience."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.5]


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V8 Supercars 3

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-8
Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: Atari


Our review said: "V8 Supercars 3 is clearly the best game in the series and, if you're after a simulation game with damage or just want to come close to experience what it's like to drive a V8, then this is a must. There's a lot of content in the game, and a wide range of vehicles and tracks that keeps the experience fresh.

As we said at the beginning of the review, this game is going to sell despite what the gaming press think of it; thankfully though, the game is a lot of fun, and, if you're after a simulation title that has an unprecedented amount of variety, then you can't go wrong with V8 Supercars 3. Alternatively, if you're just after a game where you can pretend to be Craig Lowndes for the evening, then this is still a wise choice."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.0]


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We Love Katamari

Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Developer: Namco
Publisher: EA Games


Our review said: "We Love Katamari proves in every way to be a worthy successor, and in many cases superior to the original - especially good news for PAL gamers who never got to taste Namco’s first gem. It’s not the lengthiest game in the world, or the most complex, but it is immensely fun and overflowing with originality from start to finish. It's simple to control and strangely addictive as a result, while the new co-op mode is a welcome addition.

And let’s not forget its infectious soundtrack, which probably adds more to the game’s unique, loveable charm than anything. European gamers will feel a little hard done by the fact that it’s a full price release while those south of the hemisphere are getting it at a lower price, but all PS2 owners out there, especially at this time of year when there’s very little else to occupy your time, are highly recommended to give We Love Katamari a try."
[FULL REVIEW: 8.5]


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12 Comments
7 years ago
hmmm ive had the chance to get shadow of the colosus (SP?) for ages but havent actually been bothored to get it, maybe i should icon_smile.gif because it looks interesting.
i havent found black that fun at all and i am really into the FPS type games. and i am currently waiting on GH2 which i will get at x-mas and my kingdom hearts 2 has stuffed up.
7 years ago
Where's the Disgaea 2? (or even Disgaea 1, for that matter.) icon_eek.gif No FF? icon_sad.gif No Ratchet and Clank? icon_sad.gif Maybe I'll write my own list. icon_razz.gif
7 years ago
Well FFXII isn't out here until Jan 31st next year. And Rachet and Clank - A pox on you icon_razz.gif

3 of those are on my christmas list - damn my lack of money icon_rolleyes.gif
7 years ago
I have 3 of the games on the list, Black, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts. I was talking about previous FF games. icon_smile.gif No love for Ratchet and Clank it seems.
7 years ago
admeister wrote
I have 3 of the games on the list, Black, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts. I was talking about previous FF games. icon_smile.gif No love for Ratchet and Clank it seems.
The Ratchet games were recommended last year.
7 years ago
We Love Katamari is such a fun, wild ride. Very easy to get in to but a real challenge to master it! Also one of those games that is truly difficult to explain to others... haha...
7 years ago
I certainly do love Katamari, but getting
Quote
1 million roses
certainly is taking a long time.
7 years ago
Why do lots of people like BLACK?I thought the game was shit, all you did in it shoot people and blow stuff up.The objectives were crap, the story was crap and I hated those people in the game that you had to shoot a million times just to kill them, unless you use the sniper rifle then they take one shot.
7 years ago
Luke wrote
admeister wrote
I have 3 of the games on the list, Black, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts. I was talking about previous FF games. icon_smile.gif No love for Ratchet and Clank it seems.
The Ratchet games were recommended last year.
Yay. Looks like I was wrong.

As for Black, I liked the realism of it, the graphics were excellent (for PS2), and the guns were cool. The enemies could be pretty interesting/funny especially the guys that yell "Grenada" when you throw a grenade and prompty blow up. I had a lot of fun playing with them. icon_smile.gif
7 years ago
Kingdom Heart II definitely.
Unless Snake Eater was in last year's list where is Subsistence? -- although it should be recommended in the Subsistence form due to the sheer awesomeness and additional content
7 years ago
^
I couldent agree more with subsistence.

also wheres street fighter alpha anthology.
7 years ago
Gamesta wrote
Why do lots of people like BLACK?I thought the game was s***, all you did in it shoot people and blow stuff up.The objectives were crap, the story was crap and I hated those people in the game that you had to shoot a million times just to kill them, unless you use the sniper rifle then they take one shot.
There was story?!? Just kiddin' But it sucked one of most depressing games I played (especially cut scene couldnt be skipped) and I've even played Barbie Horse Adventure.

I'm sure they're missing some games, but cant think outta my head.
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