Ever since it launched the initiative last year with such games as Odin Sphere and Maximo: Ghosts To Glory, Sony's done a moderately good job with re-releasing PlayStation 2 games in digital format on PlayStation Network. We've seen a bunch of great titles make the rounds, including Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and San Andreas, Siren and Twisted Metal Black. (And it never hurts to see so many come out in HD format, either as part of a retail collection or in digital form.)
But there are a few that are missing from release, and whether it's lack of popularity from their initial time on shelves or an expired license that's hard to get renewed, we're a bit concerned that they haven't been given a fair shake yet. That doesn't mean there isn't time to get them out, obviously, but we'd prefer to see them sooner rather than later.
Here now are some PlayStation 2 gems that we'd love to see come out in digital form. Some are wishful thinking, but, hey, that never hurts, right?
Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil
Considering that Namco Bandai had no problem releasing the original Klonoa: Door To Phantomile as part of the PS1 classics on PSN, we're wondering why it doesn't do the same thing for the gorgeous PS2 follow-up. Lunatea's Veil features bigger levels than ever before, as well as dazzling 3D backdrops to run through, a surprising amount of depth (in one stage, Klonoa actually flies high above an incoming train) and great platforming gameplay. It's sure to show up someday…maybe.
Maximo vs. Army of Zin
The original Maximo probably generated a decent amount of revenue for Capcom when the company re-released it as a PS2 classic, so why shouldn't get the sequel get a similar kind of fair shake? Army of Zin features much better design than the first game, as well as tougher enemies and a vibe that's even closer to the spirit of the Ghosts n' Goblins series than the original game. I can think of a few fans who would download this in a heartbeat…and you can count me among them.
Mega Man Collection/Street Fighter Collection
The current Mega Man and Street Fighter games for PSN have gotten some strong business online, so Capcom should consider digging into its historic library and giving them a second run. Capcom vs. SNK 2 and Capcom Fighting Jam are already on the way, so it should follow with the Mega Man compilations, both the original and the X series, as well as the Street Fighter games, particularly the Alpha trilogy. Sure, you can get them in PS1 form, but simplicity in finding them in one place wouldn't hurt either.
Outside of music licensing issues (the game does feature tracks from Talk Talk and Squeeze, among other 80's artists), we can't figure out why Activision wouldn't want to pay tribute to its Atari 2600 legacy with a re-release of the PS2 compilation Anthology. This is a wonderful package, filled with dozens of games from the old-school era, as well as unlockable badges, bonus modes and more. It made its way out in iOS form already, so a PlayStation Network follow-up might be in order. Besides, who wouldn't like playing Pitfall! again?
Burnout 3: Takedown
Criterion Games continues to be a hot ticket developer for EA, especially with its latest release, the action-packed Need For Speed: Most Wanted. So why not pay tribute to where the developer really took off than with Burnout 3: Takedown? Sure, the online features have been shuttered, but there is plenty of great racing to experience here, whether you're wrecking dozens of cars in Road Rage mode, or creating million-plus dollar destruction in Crash Mode? This is one classic we don't mind experiencing again and again.
Contra: Shattered Soldier
Konami definitely loves its Contra franchise, as it proved with the Arc System Works-produced game Hard Corps Uprising. And most recently, it released both Contra: Shattered Soldier and Neo Contra in the Japanese PlayStation Store. But when it comes to U.S. re-releases for those games, the company has been rather mum. To which we wonder…why? We can handle hardcore games just as well as players overseas, and Shattered Soldier is one of the most challenging shooters ever conceived. We still have yet to see the true ending. A re-release would certainly give us the chance…even if we break a controller or two in the process.
It was a welcome sight to see Twisted Metal Black, one of the PlayStation 2's best action games, get another shot at glory on the PSN digital front, as well as the sleeper hit War of the Monsters. But we're left wondering when Team Incog's bike racing game will get a chance. Downhill Domination is insane fun, with the kind of innovative course design you don't see too often in racing games these days, along with beautiful graphics and a soundtrack that really pops with each downhill run you take. Plus, the crashes? Totally worth watching. Sony should consider pulling this one out of its archives for a second ride.
EA Sports' snowboarding franchise got a strong re-launch last year with SSX, an open-world game where you take on a variety of challenges while measuring your best racing games with friends around the world. But some challenges are a bit too tough to overcome, which left us wondering…how about reintroducing a classic from the series to help the slightly uninitiated? That's where SSX 3, one of the better games in the franchise, comes in. Featuring a number of worldwide locales, a groovy soundtrack, colorful visuals and personality-laden riders, there isn't a dull ride down this particular mountain. Music rights withstanding, we're not sure why EA skipped out on this one.
Finally, with Capcom getting into the full swing of downloadable releases (like this week's Capcom Arcade Cabinet, available for both Xbox Live Arcade and PSN), we've got a small request for it – bring back the Onimusha series. Across three games, this Resident Evil-meets-medieval-Japan saga was nothing short of stunning, even with the somewhat quirky introduction of a character that resembles actor Jean Reno. The combat is satisfactory, the challenge high, and the presentation nothing short of superb, at least on PlayStation 2 level. This series deserves another shot – and if not in digital form, how about an HD collection in tow.