All Together Then: PS2's defining moments
Four moments that made PlayStation 2 special
The PS2 kicked a frankly rude amount of arse. Its library is so expansive and so laced with sheer excellence that it’s almost rude to the Xbox and the Gamecube, which just can’t compete with its sheer breadth of content. I knew I had to do a themed All Together Then and only the console’s “defining moments” seemed appropriate. Of course, this is only four of about ten billion, but I can’t just write about good bits in PS2 games forever, can I? …Can I? (No. – Ed)
Well, it was worth a shot.
All Together Then!
The scope of GTA: San Andreas
The line between life and art became irrevocably blurred as GTA: San Andreas finally allowed me to binge-eat fast food and become horrendously overweight. Yes, the sheer size of this game was downright intimidating. And I don’t just mean in square miles of explorable terrain, though it certainly had those. The introduction of RPG-style stats may have been a bridge too far for some, but it provided additional depth for those who wanted to make GTA their life. Cycle up and down a mountain! Speculate on the GameFAQs forum about the existence of Bigfoot! Follow the damn train, CJ!
TimeSplitters 2’s peerless multiplayer
If the PlayStation 2 had been this game and literally nothing else, it would still be one of the best consoles ever. Played this until its arse fell off, I did. Double shotguns only, first to 50, playing as the monkey is cheating and will rightly see you ostracised. Smooth, speedy and ultra-customisable, TimeSplitters 2 was the true successor to N64 classic Goldeneye and it’s still one of the best multiplayer shooters ever produced. There are so many characters, weapons, stages, modes and rulesets that you’ll have something new to see every time you play. Even its own sequel, the heavily EAified Future Perfect, is a significant step down.
God of War 2’s opening
This remains perhaps one of two instances in my lifetime of gaming where I literally couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Early on in this stonking sequel, the Colossus of Rhodes deigns to come to life and lay seven wonders of the world of hurt on ashen-faced grumpy-trews, Kratos. At one point Mr. of Rhodes smashes his big hand into a room you’re killing everyone in, and it’s so impressive visually that I had to physically check that my PS2 hadn’t transformed into a PS3, or one of those big mad computers they made the Jurassic Park monsters on. Anyway, obviously Kratos puts the Colossus’ head in and sends him home in an ambulance, but not before stopping for a quick three-way with some bare ladies, and you can even see their boobies and everything! Look, it was a different time.
Jak 3’s reveal (SPOILERS!)
The wrongly-maligned Jak & Daxter series came to a fitting end in Jak 3, which directly concluded the plot of – yes – Jak 2 in brilliantly subversive style. After tens of hours of epic platforming adventure, Jak finally comes face to face with the mythical Precursors – and they’re Ottsels, just like Daxter. There’s a little pause as Jak, Daxter and villain Baron Veger stare open-mouthed, coming to terms with this astonishingly anticlimactic revelation. Then Jak breaks the silence with a pitch-perfect “oh my god”. It’s a brilliant moment, the best possible outcome. Not only is it hilarious, it’s also perfect, fitting and goddamn satisfying, calling back to the original game in such an ingenious way that you can only go “Yes! Yes! Yes, of course they’re Ottsels!”