Hack and slash games used to pop up frequently on the PS2. One game tried to defy another with its mechanics, story and the combo system. It was surely a generation teeming with so many titles. There was quite a variety of games to pick from Devil May Cry, God of War, Prince of Persia, Onimusha and so on. However, the PS2 didn’t just have a few hack and slash games in its disposal. In fact, it had dozens. Yet, not all of them are worth the time.
Lucky for you readers, I have made a second list covering three hidden gem hack and slash games on the PS2 which are worth checking out, especially if you are looking for some good games to add to your collection.
Samurai Western was developed by Acquire, notably known for their games such as Tenchu, Way of the Samurai, and Shinobido series. The game was published by multiple publishers for different regions back in 2005. Surprisingly, only a few people are aware that it is a spin-off to the old fashioned Way of the Samurai series.
Players assume the role of a fearless samurai named Gojiro Kiryu, who travels to the old dangerous wild west looking for his brother, Rando. His journey will not go that easy. A hail of bloodthirsty wild west gunners wants him to meet his doom. Enemies equipped with revolvers, bombs, machine guns, swords are coming in large numbers, surrounding Goijiro Kiryu from each corner. Nonetheless, Goijiro Kiryu takes the sword stance and goes on a rampage where he slices and dices them to shreds just like a blood bath show.
Unlike the old Way of the Samurai games which put an emphasis on the open world and exploring the surroundings. Samurai Western focuses entirely on action and hack and slash elements. The game is divided into stages and each stage has certain requirements which must be met. For example, defeating all enemies (which is the easiest thing to do), avoid getting too many hits, otherwise, the stage will be marked as ” failed ‘ which will prevent the player from accessing to the next stage.
The game sometimes suffers from difficulty spikes where enemies will go from manageable to frustrating, especially Goijiro’s brother who is insanely fast and dodges literally anything the player throws at him. Unfortunately, Samurai Western doesn’t feature the ability to conduct combos. Instead, it replaces that with fast movement, players will find themselves pressing circle/R1 button frequently to dodge anything foes throw at them. In addition to this, Samurai Western replaces the combo system with different stances each time the player acquires a new sword. For instance, a sword may be easy to carry, while another is heavy due to its massive damage, and yeah, there is a double katana in the game as well. Another thing to note is that the game features some RPG elements. For example, upon finishing stages, players will be rewarded with accessories such as hats, masks, and other extras. These items increase Goijiro’s defence, attack, agility points and much more. So, make sure not to forget them. Otherwise, it will be a mission impossible to finish this game. Lastly, the game features a rage meter, once fully charged, Goijiro will go on a rampage slicing anything that moves in his way.
Unfortunately, Samurai Western was released in a year filled juggernaut franchises and hot anticipated new IPs. Such as Devil May Cry 3, God of War, Star Wars: Battlefront 2, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2, Burnout, Soul Calibur 3, and so many more that Samurai Western barely stood a chance to shine among them.
Despite Samurai Western’s flaws and how it can sometimes get repetitive with the endless amount of enemies that the game throws at the player, it is worth the time for its hack and slash elements and the amount of fun it has. Let’s not forget, how humourous the game can get the more you play.
2-Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance:
Video games based on the Greek and Roman mythology were more common back then that assumed. Most of them were real-time strategy such as Age of Mythology or Zeus: Master of Olympus. Not only that but also action-oriented games based on the same mentioned mythology. Unfortunately, not all of them did proper justice to the mythos, but we had phenomenal games back in the day which really breathed life into the latter and used it to its full potential. For example, Rygar: The Legendary Adventure, God of War, Spartan: Total Warrior, and, Shadow of Rome. That being said, my main focus will be on Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance and how it also used this mythology to its full potential despite some flaws here and there.
Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance, was developed and published by the now-defunct Acclaim back in 2003 for various consoles, and PC. A Gamecube port was in development until it was officially cancelled.
Players control a slave warrior chosen by the Gods named Invictus Thrax. The antagonist, Emperor Arruntius, has brought the empire of Rome to its knees and ruled it with fear with the help of two wicked Gods, Phobos and Deimos. Arruntius’s tyranny and havoc will not last forever as Thrax is entrusted by the Gods to stop him and everyone on his side. Invictus Thrax’s journey will not go smoothly as demons, monsters, skeletons will all unite together to stop this brave warrior from restoring stabilization to the empire of Rome.
Some YouTubers and journalists compared this game to God of War or Devil May Cry, and to be honest this is kind of unfair. This game plays either like Gauntlet or a diminished version of Conan the Barbarian on the PS2. In fact, I think this game inspired God of War in a slight way. That being said, Gladiator’s gameplay focuses entirely on action and bloody executions. Players have a set of combos to learn from the more they progress through the game. In addition to this, upgrades and new items are scattered around stages as a form of challenges instead of using uncomplicated upgrades from the main menu. These challenges can vary from easy to challenging, hard to frustrating. For example, defeating every foe in a short period of time, breaking vases using a certain weapon. Upon finishing these challenges, the player will be rewarded with either a health upgrade, a new improved weapon, or a new magic attacks.
Players also have the freedom to choose from three different weapons. An ordinary sword, axe, or claws. However, Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance shares a similarity with Samurai Western which is agility In order to finish this game, players have to constantly dodge, and kill enemies as faster as they can. Otherwise, it might take them the whole day.
The graphics and the surroundings are nicely polished for a 2003 game, and let’s not forget how the music score plays a significant role in immersing the player, Nevertheless, what’s fascinating is how gore-ish the game can be, especially with its fatal executions.
Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance, like any game, suffers from minor issues, but they can be forgiven considering it came out in 2003 and brought innovative ideas to the hack and slash genre as a whole. For example, the game has a forced lock-down each time a battle occurs. However, this can be easily solved with a touch on the button. In addition to this, the difficulty spike is noticeable. Some enemies’ life revolves around guarding the whole time which will force the player to wait patiently for an opening to perform his execution.
Despite its minor issues, Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance is an epic game which uses the greek mythology to its full potential, and to deliver a game that will please those who are in love with playing anything related to hack and slash. One last thing to note is the final boss. Holy molly that fight is epic, it really sums the journey in a legendary fight.
3-Crimson Sea 2:
How do you sum up this game in a sentence? Dynasty Warriors, but with aliens, guns, and waifus.
Crimson Sea 2 was developed and published by Koei for the PS2 back in 2004. It is the sequel to Crimson Sea which was released on the original Xbox.
The entire galaxy is threatened by a powerful alien race called ”Menace”. This force launches an attack on the star system Theophilus, and it’s Sho’ job once again to save the day. This time he will meet with a girl called Feanay who’ll be of great help to Sho. Both of them will unite their strength to eradicate the menace that threatens the galaxy’s balance.
Similar to other previous Koei games, in Crimson Sea 2 you fight a wave after a wave of foes set in various stages throughout the game, some of these stages are optional for upgrade necessities, and others are crucial. However, unlike the previous Musou games, Crimson Sea 2 has role-playing elements which set it apart from its contemporaries. For instance, upon finishing stages, players will be rewarded with ” origins ” These items can allow the player to upgrade stats. In addition, players are equipped with a rifle, blaster, and a long-like spear (similar to Zhao Yun from Dynasty Warriors series).
Surprisingly, Crimson Sea 2 also shares the same thing with the mentioned games above, and that is, you guessed it ”agility ‘. A few optional stages will nudge the player to finish the task in a short period of time. Also, there are some features which cannot be activated until players conduct a certain number of combos. For example, after conducting several numbers of combos, Sho can slow down time for a very short period of time to cause another extra combo damage to the enemies. This doesn’t only apply to Sho, but Feanay as well since she will be a playable character in the game after finishing a few numbers of levels.
The game may seem repetitive to those who are not fond of Musou games. On the other hand, I have found this game to be enjoyable from the get-go. Honestly, I haven’t played too many Musou games, but I can say that this one isn’t repetitive. The only issue with the game is the voice acting which is completely dead, and void of emotions. It reminds me of Swords of Destiny’s voice acting which is totally horrible. Other than that, I haven’t found any other issue with Crimson Sea 2. It’s an impressive improvement compared to the original game.
With that being said, if you are looking for a hack and slash where you can slash hordes of foes, use your bullet-time, slow the world around, this game is for you. However, if you’re looking for something similar to prominent hack and slash games, you’ll be severely disappointed.
I hope you have discovered something new today. Thank you for reading!
These games are merely a compilation of what I had already mentioned on my page over here.