The PS2 era was a blast for role-playing game fans. We were inundated with RPGs, making it nigh impossible to keep up with every release. Unfortunately, the console RPG market hasn't been the same due to the high development costs on newer, more powerful consoles. Not all is lost, though. In the past year or so, some HD RPG remakes have hit the market, giving fans a chance to experience some of their old favorites, like the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster and Tales of Symphonia Chronicles. That got us thinking about other franchises that would benefit from the treatment of enhanced graphics, extra content, and other bonuses in a collection. Sometimes going back to your favorites is just what you need to remind you why you fell in love with the games in the first place.

These are our picks for PS2 games ripe for HD treatment.


Monolith Soft's Xenosaga took us on a turbulent, sci-fi journey that dealt with much larger issues than just an outbreak of a deadly force called Gnosis. The story held plenty of surprises, but the real draw was its unique cast, especially the bond between engineer Shion Uzuki and her creation KOS-MOS, an armored gynoid. All three games explored plenty of religious and philosophical concepts, such as the fear of death and what our existence means. All these thought-provoking premises come together wonderfully in one stellar arc with a satisfying conclusion. Reliving it all in an HD upgrade would be, HD is the only way to watch those hours and hours of cutscenes.

Shadow Hearts

Shadow Hearts introduced us to the brash, yet charismatic Yuri Hyuga and his quest to protect exorcist Alice Elliot. The series has kooky characters, plenty of Lovecraftian-inspired horror, and a unique take on historical figures and events. Each game gets progressively more outlandish and comical, but still pulls at the heartstrings with some intense character relationships and sacrifices. The Shadow Hearts games aren't easy to find, and being able to play all three entries in an HD collection would be a treat. If the licensing weren't so strange (Shadow Hearts is owned by a company that now produces Pachinko machines), this one would probably already be a reality. This is a shame considering we just want to see drunk cats, pro-wrestling vampires, and an old man convinced he's the ultimate ninja all over again.

Dark Cloud

The Dark Cloud games stand as some of Level-5's best work. An early PS2 title, Dark Cloud captured gamers with its unique city-building elements tied to its RPG gameplay. Dark Cloud 2 made a similar mark by changing up some of the rules: Players don't level up; weapons do. Building up weapons, recruiting non-playable characters that lend special abilities, and rebuilding the world made the sequel stand out just as much as its predecessor. We'd love the chance to experiment with all these gameplay systems that blended so well together again. Plus, people have been begging for another Dark Cloud 3. Maybe a collection would test the waters to see if interest is still there.

Persona 3 and 4

Yes, we've had a lot of Persona 3 and 4 editions, but we haven't had them all tied in a neat package. The mature RPGs have gained a dedicated following, putting the series at the top of the JRPG pack. Just think how much could be packaged into an HD collection. Persona 4 Golden featured a ton of extra scenes, Persona 3 Portable (P3P) let you play as a girl, and both portable releases introduced new social links and gameplay tweaks. Not to mention the collection could also include Persona FES, a dungeon-crawling epilogue to Persona 3. Getting all the additional content along with some enhancements in a nice HD collection would offer a definitive complete version. Also, I'm sure there's some social links you haven't maxed out yet...although, do you really need an excuse to play through these stellar games again?

Final Fantasy XII

As soon as the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster was announced, fans were vocal about wanting to see the same treatment for another PS2 entry, Final Fantasy XII. Just like Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster was the first time North Americans fans experienced the international versions of the games, the same could be done for Final Fantasy XII. In the international version, the "zodiac job system" dictated abilities and equipment by job class, a departure from the original character development system. Also, while Final Fantasy XII doesn't have a PS2 sequel, it could be paired with the DS's Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, an RTS/RPG hybrid set a year after the events of Final Fantasy XII.

Up next: Building up a headquarters, a simulated MMO trilogy, and learning the ropes of alchemy...