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2. Final Fantasy X
The most popular RPG series comes to the PS2 in fine form, adding voice, gameplay depth and embracing its humanity
What made it so great?
If you can remember back to the PS2's early days, they aren't so different from the PS3's situation right now (though maybe the volume on the hate was turned down.) When Final Fantasy X hit, though, everything became all right. This intense and engaging quest packed the complexity, length and style that rocketed its PSone predecessors to the top of the charts while forging its own path.
Lead character Tidus was interesting in his own troubled right, but the focus of the quest was shared with the sensitive Yuna, whose iron determination to rid the world of a terrible plague of evil was hidden behind a deferential shell. The interplay between these two - and the rest of the lovable cast - gave this game story punch beyond its predecessors (the full voice, a series first, didn't hurt either).
This was bolstered by the Conditional Turn-Based Battle system, which offered a new layer of strategy, and the addictive Sphere Grid, which made running in circles to level up your characters' abilities more fun than it had any right to be. Add in a tragic twist ending and you have a recipe for an RPG that was never bettered on the PS2.
Been there, done that?
Criminally overlooked by the mainstream, Shadow Hearts: Covenant delivered a quest that felt more like Final Fantasy than either of the two games that followed Final Fantasy X. Set against a real-world backdrop, this story took in everything from a half-demon lead character to a (probably) gay wrestler to Russian royalty without breaking a sweat. Addictive and innovative battles, hilarious dialogue that gives way to serious drama without pushing believability and dozens of side-quests - this game had it all.