Last week, Entertainment Buddha released the first post in a two part series that examines the best games currently available through the PlayStation Network Store’s Classics sections. Across hundreds of beloved PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games, the twenty best titles have been chosen and ranked.
Below, are the top ten PlayStation Network Classics – games that are undeniably timeless and thoroughly enjoyable. Before continuing on to the list below, do yourself a favor and check out numbers 20 through 11 found here.
Without further ado, continue on for the best PlayStation Network Classics, numbers 10 – 1.
10 – Vagrant Story
Square’s 2000 action RPG, Vagrant Story, is in many ways a divergence from the massively popular Final Fantasy formula that the venerable Japanese developers were known for. Featuring a remarkably deep and nuanced battle system, beautiful art and a memorable story, Vagrant Story captured the hearts and mind of RPG fans when it was released.
Vagrant Story’s tale of Ashley Riot and his hunt for a dangerous cult leader felt at times like a Shakespearian epic, filled with masterful writing and mature themes that made the game stand out amidst the other RPGs of the time. While the visuals may look a little dated today, Vagrant Story’s decidedly unique combat mechanics and crafting system have ensured that the game has enjoyed continued success through the years.
9 – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Considered by many to be the height in the storied Castlevania franchise, Symphony of the Night changed the way that video game fans looked at the Metroidvania genre. As Alucard, players explored the massive, shifting castle of Dracula on a quest to right past wrongs.
Symphony of the Night’s brilliant gameplay, which combined classic Castlevania exploration and RPG-like levels, created for a lengthy and challenging game that rewarded continual searching for secrets.
Symphony of the Night is a game that has managed to age very well in the years since its initial release. The game’s enduring popularity has ensured that SOTN is one of the PlayStation’s must play titles.
8 – Grandia
Of all of the great RPGs released during the PlayStation era golden age, Grandia is one that stands out for its whimsical sense of adventure and enjoyable characters. Grandia’s young protagonist, Justin, is a child that believes there is more of the world than what is currently known and begins his first great journey in search of adventure and exploration.
The charming dialogue between Grandia’s youthful protagonists adds a wonderful level of depth to a RPG that feels in many ways like a great story of adventure. Fun and adventure abound in Grandia, making it a timeless role-playing classic.
7 – Resident Evil 2
Capcom’s survival horror classic, Resident Evil 2 is widely considered the definitive entry in the long-running series. Filled with dangerous zombies and countless tight corridors to navigate, Resident Evil 2 is in every way what survival horror should be.
Thanks to RE2’s two playable characters, there is plenty of game in which to enjoy. Despite the game’s age, jumping into the Raccoon City as Claire and Leon is a tank-controlled masterpiece.
6 – Bully
Rockstar’s take on school life, Bully, was an instant hit upon its release. Blending the signature gameplay of Grand Theft Auto with school-boy tropes – pranks, clicks, and wooing classmates – Bully was a perfect love letter to youthful misadventure.
Chock full of characters that feel instantly like memorable characters from high school days. Bully is a more lighthearted romp than other Rockstar offerings that is near impossible to play without a smile on one’s face.
5 – Persona 3
Atlus’ Persona series is one of the few spin-offs that have managed to eclipse its mainline relatives. By taking the demon-centric combat of the Shin Megami Tensei titles and adding an emphasis on character interaction and development, Persona 3 won over a Western audience upon its release.
The challenging combat of Persona 3, memorable characters and atmospheric writing have established the game as a mainstay of the RPG genre. Few other titles – save for other Persona entries – manage to provide for a video game experience that stays in the hearts and mind of players long after completing the game.
4 – Grand Theft Auto Series
Rockstar’s open world crime series, Grand Theft Auto hit its full stride with the PlayStation 2’s Grand Theft Auto 3. By taking the traditionally top-down view of previous entries and using the (at the time) powerful hardware of Sony’s PlayStation 2 to follow the player from a third person angle, Rockstar not only changed their franchise for the better, but also ushered in a new era of game making.
Following Grand Theft Auto 3, Rockstar went on to release Vice City and San Andreas – both of which were seen as vast improvements upon the previous title. Each Grand Theft Auto game features a deep stable of remarkable characters, memorable missions and more crime than any other series in video game history.
3 – Xenogears
There is no denying that Squaresoft dominated the role-playing market throughout the PlayStation era. Xenogears, released in 1998, combined science-fiction and religious overtones to create a RPG that almost defies explanation.
The lengthy – and sometimes obtuse – plot of Xenogears has continually earned the RPG a place on lists of best written video games. A game certainly not for the time-presses, Xenogears is a mind-expanding journey that RPG fans will continue playing for generations to come.
2 – Final Fantasy Series
Any article that looks at the PlayStation Network’s Classics offerings would be remiss without mentioning the wealth of Final Fantasy titles available for download. The venerable series has long been the definitive RPG franchise that has enjoyed staying power throughout the decades.
North American PSN users have access to the majority of the Final Fantasy catalog. Final Fantasy Origins, Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy Tactics are all currently available for download – ensuring that RPG fans have hundreds of hundreds of classic role-playing hours to delve into.
1 – Chrono Trigger
Seen by many as the greatest RPG of all time, Chrono Tigger is the very definition of a timeless classic. An unforgettable story that spans thousands of years, a robust combat system and brilliant sprite work have made Chrono Tigger a game beloved by all.
Few video games have received the near unanimous praise that Chrono Trigger has. Those who have played Chrono Trigger surely do not need justification as to why the game would top this list and those who haven’t has the pleasure of enjoying CT should download it this second.
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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