Sometimes, it’s strange to realize the PlayStation was released in 1995 and the PlayStation 2 in 2000. To put that into perspective, babies born in those years would be out of high school by now.
Despite the passage of time, some games released for PS1 and PS2 have held up well over the decades. You can still pick up these games today and enjoy them without feeling like you’re stuck in a time loop. Here are 10 PS1 and PS2 games that withstand the test of time.
1. Final Fantasy VII
You can’t talk about classic RPGs and not mention Final Fantasy VII. Easily the most well known of the Final Fantasy series, it was the pinnacle of 3D graphic design when it came out in 1997. While the graphics don’t necessarily impress the modern audience, the story and gameplay still do. Cloud’s mission to figure out who he is and who he wants to be is a relatable story. Plus, the game has plenty of side quests to indulge in along the way.
2. Suikoden II
Released in 1999, Suikoden II never picked up steam in America. Ironically, one of the reasons is also why it’s a time-honored classic: its decision to go with well-rendered 2D graphics. The Suikoden series is based loosely on a Chinese novel that relates individuals to 108 stars. In this game, you look to recruit as many as you can to your side as you battle your way through political upheaval. There are several reasons Suikoden II wasn’t as big a commercial success as it should have been in America. A major one was that it was competing against Final Fantasy VIII. Now, with Suikoden II available on the PSN and mobile devices, it’s a lot easier to pick up and play.
Released in 2006, the graphics still manage to impress in Bully, where you play as a teenage student named Jimmy. Poor Jimmy has been enrolled in a New England high school full of bullies. As Jimmy, you must fight to bring peace to the school or risk getting bullied yourself. Just like real life, you also have to balance classwork and any other additional tasks you take on. Controversial in its time for its depiction of high school bullying, Bully remains highly relevant today.
4. Katamari Damacy
Welcome to Katamari Damacy, the game that teaches you the fine art of how to roll everything on Earth into a giant ball of junk. Your father, the King of the Cosmos, accidentally destroyed some stars and needs you to remake them. You achieve this by rolling up your magical ball of junk until it becomes large enough to launch into space. It’s the absurdity and adorableness of the concept and execution that makes this game stand up well over a decade after its release.
5. Persona 4
Nothing quite says “withstanding the test of time” like having a re-release on a recent device. Persona 4 was originally ported to the PS2 in 2008. When the PS Vita was released in 2012, a special edition of the game came out called Persona 4 Golden. It’s easily the best in the Persona series to date, combining a dating sim with an RPG with a turn-based battle system, all set in a funky world filled with bright colors and pop music.
6. Resident Evil 2
Speaking of classic games with remakes, 1998’s Resident Evil 2 recently received a similar treatment on the PlayStation 4. While Resident Evil is responsible for creating the concept of survival-based horror games, it’s Resident Evil 2 that really perfected it. It put two protagonists, Leon and Claire, at the forefront of exploring what the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse would look like on a broader landscape.
7. Kingdom Hearts
Kingdom Hearts for the PS2 is a fantastic example of a game that takes full advantage of what its system has to offer. Released in 2002, Kingdom Hearts pushed the limits of the PlayStation 2’s graphics output. Kingdom Hearts is so captivating, it’s generated a fanbase that’s been loyal for over 15 years, all the way to the release of Kingdom Hearts III on the PlayStation 4 in 2018.
Castlevania may be more well known these days for its Netflix-produced anime, but its origin is as a classic video game series. There have been nearly 30 games so far. Of all of them, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the PlayStation is repeatedly ranked as the best. You play as Alucard, the son of Dracula, and your goal is to kill your father. The trouble is getting to him. Between the music, the world exploration, and the detailed pixel art, there’s a reason why this game is considered one of the best RPGs ever made for the PlayStation.
9. Metal Gear Solid
This is the game that launched a series of equally popular games, a comic book series, and a seemingly endless train of jokes involving Solid Snake hiding in boxes. Primarily a story-driven action game, Metal Gear Solid set the tone for the rest of the series. The level of battle detail was unheard of in 1998, from papers flying during a battle to computer damage sparking behind you as you fight your way through an office. It’s a replayable classic.
10. Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy XII is another game that recently saw a remaster for the PlayStation 4, proving that the characters and story both stand up against what’s out on the market today. As one of the last games released on PS2, it pushed the boundaries of what the console could do. The fighting system is hit or miss and the voice acting is occasionally questionable. But, the story and the beauty of this classic Final Fantasy setting is enough to make pulling out your PS2 worth it.
What PS1 and PS2 games do you think withstand the test of time? Sound off in the comments below!