The PlayStation 2 boasted a plethora of fantastic games, some of which were so impressive that they were remade or remastered for newer consoles. A lot of fans are eagerly anticipating the re-release of their favorite PS2 games. Nevertheless, the original titles still hold their value and are worth playing.

Role-playing games (RPGs) are immensely popular in the gaming world, and the PS2 offered a slew of memorable titles in this genre. Particularly, Japanese RPGs gained widespread acclaim, and a few standout PS2 RPGs captured players' hearts.

1. Final Fantasy 12

Initially divisive due to its departure from the franchise's established norms, Final Fantasy 12 managed to gradually rebuild its reputation in the following years, especially after the introduction of The Zodiac Age version. This rendition offers the optimal way to experience the RPG, incorporating several quality-of-life improvements. However, the game's fundamental strengths lie in its original PS2 version, particularly the Japan-exclusive International Zodiac Job System edition.

Final Fantasy 12

In FF12, random encounters are replaced with on-field enemies, enhancing immersion—a positive change. Although opinions on the protagonist vary, the story itself stands out as one of the best in Square Enix's franchise. The same can be said for the supporting characters. While the combat system may require some adjustment, once mastered, it truly shines.

2. Persona 4

Releasing long after the introduction of the PS3, Persona 4 served as the final masterpiece for the PS2, marking a brilliant conclusion for the console. Even though the eventual release of the superior P4 Golden made the original version seem outdated, it doesn't diminish the excellence of the PS2 original. Like all modern Persona games, the campaign combines dungeon-crawling and social simulation segments, with the latter dominating most of the gameplay. Fortunately, these non-combat sections are often the highlight of each game, as Atlus consistently weaves compelling narratives, unafraid to venture into dark territories if necessary.

Persona 4 Was The Game That Showed Me A Childhood
Persona 4

Persona 4 not only stands as the finest turn-based JRPG on the PS2 but also the console's premier monster-collecting game. While exploring the TV World, players encounter Personas, with whom they can negotiate to recruit them to their team. Additionally, players can fuse Personas together, creating even more potent monsters.

3. Dragon Quest 8

Considered the pioneer of the JRPG genre, Dragon Quest has maintained its prominence for decades, especially in Japan, where it has evolved into a cultural phenomenon. Dragon Quest 8 stands out as the epitome of the series, encapsulating all the qualities that make Dragon Quest great while providing a traditional turn-based JRPG experience. On the surface, this might suggest that the game could feel outdated in the contemporary gaming landscape. However, Journey of the Cursed King possesses an enduring charm and refinement that makes it utterly timeless.

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Dragon Quest 8

Featuring captivating cel-shaded visuals and narrating an enjoyable journey with a compelling cast of characters, Dragon Quest 8 reigns supreme as the ultimate PS2 JRPG for those seeking a classic adventure with a quintessential battle between good and evil.

4. Suikoden 3

Set 15 years after Suikoden 2, one of the standout JRPGs on the PS1, Suikoden 3 often finds itself in the shadow of its predecessor. However, it stands as another masterpiece, showcasing Konami's peak capabilities.

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Suikoden 3

The narrative is exceptional, unfolding through three distinct character viewpoints, and is notable for its well-crafted character development. Similarly, Suikoden 3 impresses with its battle system and visuals, especially when considering the standards of its time.

5. Kingdom Hearts 2

The collaboration between Square Enix and Disney has mostly resulted in outstanding games, with Kingdom Hearts 2 arguably being the franchise's pinnacle. This 2006 sequel builds beautifully on its predecessor's concepts, refining some of its rough edges. The game boasts stunning visuals and a generally good storyline, although it occasionally becomes needlessly complex. Featuring 15 diverse worlds, KH2 offers the most robust selection of stages in the series, spanning a wide range of intellectual properties and settings.

Kingdom Hearts 2
Kingdom Hearts 2

The combat system is dynamic and swift, evolving smoothly as the story progresses, setting KH2 apart from its numbered sequel. However, the gameplay can be relatively easy at times, intensifying primarily during optional boss battles.

6. Dark Cloud 2

Dark Cloud 2, also recognized as Dark Chronicle, earned a cult following upon its 2003 release, surpassing the original Dark Cloud in ratings. The game guides players through procedurally generated dungeons, focusing on the progression of their weapons rather than character levels. Level-5 created an ambitious title featuring a vibrant art style that has gracefully stood the test of time.

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Dark Cloud 2

In addition to dungeon exploration, players gather components of towns and cities to aid in their reconstruction. However, the game presents a challenge, as certain villagers impose specific conditions regarding the placement of buildings.

7. Shadow Hearts 2

Released in 2004 as the sequel to Shadow Hearts, known as Shadow Hearts 2 in Japan, this Japanese RPG unfolds six months after the events of the original game. It continues the series' trademark blend of alternate history and Lovecraftian horror, captivating fans with its dark themes, humorous moments, mystical elements, and compelling narrative.

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Shadow Hearts 2

Despite its cult classic status, Shadow Hearts: Covenant remains a distinctive and memorable experience even after almost two decades. The game features the satisfying Judgment Ring combat system, capable of producing incredibly gratifying combos. Moreover, the story stands out for its mature themes and is enriched with a cast of unforgettable characters.

8. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance

Launched in 2001, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance is set in the Forgotten Realms campaign of Dungeons and Dragons, marking several significant milestones. It stood as the first Baldur's Gate installment to be available on a console and was also the pioneer in implementing real-time gameplay according to the game's rules.

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Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance

Upon its release, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance received the prestigious Academy of Interactive Arts and Science Award for "Role-Playing Game of the Year." As a robust hack-and-slash RPG, it was exceptionally impressive for its time and continues to offer enjoyment even years later. Although it may not reach the same heights as Diablo 2, this PS2 release is still commendable for its unique qualities.

>>> Read more: The Best JRPGs You Can Play On The Switch (According To Metacritic)