PlayStation 2 Hidden Gems (Part 2)

PlayStation 2 Hidden Gems (Part 2)

From androids to apes

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Retrospectives on

Going back to the past is sometimes more enjoyable than checking out the dozens of new releases every week. After digging through my massive PS2 game collection yet again, here are 5 more hidden gems that I highly recommend.

Photo of all 5 featured PlayStation 2 games
Now that's a swanky collection of hidden gems!

Grandia Xtreme

Sure, RPG fanatics love the Grandia series but this spin-off is often forgotten. I sunk dozens of hours into this action-packed dungeon crawler and I'm still not finished yet. It just never seems to end. Every time you think you reach the end, a new area opens up and you'll discover many more tough enemies and bosses to topple. It's very addictive, too. The expansive Mana Egg combination system will keep you experimenting so you can master vast assortments of powerful spells and the immediately gratifying combat is simply hard to put down. When you factor in the large cast of colourful characters, you're looking at one immersive dungeon crawling spin-off. Just thinking about it makes me want to keep playing but I really should finish writing this article first.

Grandia Xtreme screenshot
RPG battle systems don't get much more fun than this

Kya: Dark Lineage

3D platformers are making a bit of a resurgence lately with plenty of new titles and remasters of older games. One game that I'd love to see a remake of is Kya: Dark Lineage. This is one of the few games that I completely mastered. What kept me coming back for more was the mixture of spot-on gameplay styles. Whether I was stealthily sneaking around, carefully controlling a projectile, beating up hordes of foes, or surfing around; everything just came together to make a diverse yet cohesive gaming experience. The story involves Kya finding herself in a mysterious new land where a race known as the Nativs are transformed into Wolfen and it's her job to convert them back. It's very rewarding to watch the number of rescued Nativs gradually increase. If you like 3D platformers, you have to play this.

Kya: Dark Lineage screenshot
Run, Kya, run!

Mojo!

You know a game is fun when it has an exclamation point in its title, right? Mojo! is played by guiding a coloured ball through tricky stages. You can destroy blocks by touching them if your colour matches and the goal is to keep swapping colours at designated nodes in order to clear each stage of all the blocks. It sounds simple but it can be brutally challenging. There's a multiplayer arena battle mode and unlockable golf game, too, so you're bound to enjoy it for at least a handful of hours.

Mojo! screenshot
Sphere v cubes: colour-coded edition

Crimson Tears

DreamFactory made some of my favourite games of all time. I fell in love with Tobal No. 1 and Ehrgeiz was a blast. However, the long-awaited and heavily advertised The Bouncer was pretty disappointing. Years later, I discovered the little-known gem that is Crimson Tears. It's basically a roguelike dungeon crawler where you play as a customizable android. What I found so fascinating about it is how you can slowly enhance your character's abilities so you can finally beat the exceptionally tough dungeons. It may not have the most elaborate combat mechanics but heading down to the depths just one more time is always a satisfying endeavor.

Crimson Tears screenshot
Androids may not shed tears but they sure know how to kick ass

Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed

Almost everyone knows and loves Ape Escape but not many gamers are aware of this multiplayer mini-game filled party spin-off. It's full of games that involve using both sticks to control a character or vehicle and it's a ton of fun to play with friends. Whether you're blasting each other while driving tanks, rowing boats, shooting in underwater arenas, or simply beating the crap out of each other while using an array of classic Ape Escape weaponry, you're bound to have a great time. There's a single player mode, too, but who cares about that? Invite a few chums over, set up your multitap, and have a blast monkeying around!

Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed screenshot
You better feel lucky that I don't have my net!

Thanks for reading about my second batch of PS2 hidden gems. What are some of your favourites? Let me know by leaving a comment below; I'd love to add more buried treasures to my collection. Also, while you're here, be sure to check out my first collection of PS2 hidden gems as well as our brand new PlayStation 2 games trivia quiz to test your knowledge about Sony's sophomore console.

Gameplay video playlist for PlayStation 2 Hidden Gems (Part 2) 12:58
PS2 games Trivia

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