Remembering The PS2 Era — Free Of Nasty Practices, Full Of Creativity

No ownership crisis, no live services, no battle passes, no paid restrictions, just having a great time.

Story Highlights

  • Today, concepts like live services, fleeting ownership, and abandoning games have become the norm.
  • Gaming during the PS2 era was all about quality titles full of creative concepts no one could take away.
  • Nostalgia isn’t the only thing making me say this, I genuinely hope gaming becomes full of life again.

The technological development and evolution of video games are undeniable. Today, games can accomplish the stuff we didn’t even think was possible back then. With photorealistic visuals and highly immersive mechanics edging the game world ever closer to a believable recreation of real life, the possibilities are endless. However, if you think gaming as a whole is superior to what it was back then, then I’ll have to disagree.

It’s true games are much more advanced these days, but so is the greed of all parties involved. Stuff like microtransactions, incomplete and broken games released at full price in the guise of “release now, fix later,” collapsing servers and game shutdowns, eradication of games’ history, and many more heinous practices are rampant.

It’s for reasons like these that although many games are genuine masterpieces these days, much better than any past game, I still wish to return to what I consider the glory days of gaming, the PS2 era.

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No Live Services Or Online Shenanigans In Sight

There’s nothing more revolutionary and game-changing than the invention of the internet, there’s no doubt about that. It has made video gaming a lot more advanced, accessible, and easily accessible, that’s also true. However, you’ll have to admit that it also invited the blatantly anti-consumer and greedy practices of microtransactions, paid battle passes, and live services as a whole.

Microtransactions have ruined modern gaming
Microtransactions have ruined modern gaming

Things were not like this in the past, at least in the time of the PS2. Internet was not a mainstream feature, and games were all about the exceptional single-player experience, or if multiplayer then just LAN or local, just the way I like it. There were no hidden charges, no purchases, just good old-fashioned games full of creative design and experimentation.

Stuff like cosmetic features existed back then as well, but they were not tied to any purchases. We earned our collectibles and secrets by playing the games extensively, not by paying a ridiculous amount of money to get them. Similarly, the co-op was all about picking up a second controller and having a blast playing a game with a friend by your side.

Complete Games You Could Revisit Any Time

If you have a Shadow of the Colossus PS2 disk lying around, can you still play it? Of course, you can. Despite it already having a remake which is now the definitive version, your PS2 copy will never stop working, you purchased it. Game ownership meant something back then. It doesn’t today.

With the advent of online games, companies have got a perfect excuse to restrict you from owning even the games you paid for. Even if single-player modes existed in them, a new tactic called “always-online” is emerging, which takes even that offline mode away from you.

Say goodbye to The Crew, forever
Say goodbye to The Crew, forever

Can you go back and play Overwatch 1 now? You can’t. If you feel like playing the offline modes in The Crew, you can do that, right? Wrong again. Similarly, any other online game that has a single-player mode, won’t be yours once shut down.

Overwatch 1 was turned into Overwatch 2 on marketplace, and is using the reviews from Overwatch 1. They’re both very different playing games, with OW2 being far lesser. This isn’t right.
byu/Strife_3e inxbox

Similarly, the PS2 era was free of this ridiculous trend of gatekeeping necessary content behind stuff like “season passes” or “ultimate editions,” and releasing broken games that require 100 fixes to work properly. When you buy a game, you can be sure you’re getting a complete adventure you can put hours in without worrying about paying extra to unlock, let’s say, additional missions present in the game since day one.

Anybody else sick of the Season Pass BS??
byu/Unic0rnBac0n ingaming

A Library To Die For

That’s not all the reason for me to wish to go back to the PS2 era. They don’t make games today quite like they did back then. Formulaic and monotonous games filled with predatory features and devoid of any creativity have kind of become a norm these days. There are many exceptions, sure, I’m not badmouthing those, but I think you’ll agree, that gaming isn’t the same these days. 

On the contrary, just take a look at the PS2’s library. There’s a reason why the PS2 is still the best-selling console of all time; it remains unrivaled. Games were experimenting with novel ideas back then, and were free of corporate greed and restrictions. It was about entertaining the consumer, rather than being a massively profitable business. Many games on the platform were revolutionary titles that pushed the boundaries of what was considered possible. 

Take Ubisoft for example. The company was responsible for some of the most influential games back then like The Sands of Time. Now, you have the ridiculous and hollow open worlds devoid of originality and a blatantly rage-inducing policy that has invited the wrath of many gamers.

The peak of Ubisoft
The peak of Ubisoft

Square Enix was creating gems like Radiata Stories and Kingdom Hearts, Konami’s Silent Hill and Metal Gear were at their peak, Rockstar came up with San Andreas and the exceptional Bully, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, and Sly Cooper brightened the platformer genre, Capcom’s Devil May Cry 3 and Santa Monica’s God of War quenched the hack-and-slash thirst, and Budokai Tenkaichi 3 made you fall in love with it.

PS2 era was the GOAT
by inplaystation


Today, there’s no doubt exceptional games exist, but the industry is more about making money than honoring creative gameplay and ingenuity.

It’s Not Just Nostalgia Speaking

You might say that I’m saying all this simply because the console and its games coincided with my childhood and I’m just letting nostalgia take over. Although I won’t deny that this isn’t one of the reasons, it’s not the only one. It’s a fact that gaming wouldn’t be this evolved today if not for those times.

Were old games just better, or is nostalgia really that strong?
byu/Hybr1dth inpatientgamers

And it’s again a fact that many of the practices today have made it a business first, entertainment second. Games have stopped taking risks because it costs an arm and a leg to make one; failure is not an option. Lengthy development cycles and gigantic budgets have made it impossible to allow straying from a definite path.

Add in the predatory tactics, and there’s no wonder creativity is running short and gaming is becoming a pre-determined machine. All these reasons back up my statement that the PS2 era was better for gaming, it’s not just nostalgia.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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