Chances are a lot of you reading this enjoy not only video game collecting, but also the retro side of things. And those of you with a particular interest in Asian popular entertainment will doubtless be familiar with the rich vein of awesome titles available for Sony’s PlayStation 2.
You can pick up a lot of PlayStation 2 games for 50p these days — including some real firecrackers. But at the other end of the spectrum, there are a few monstrously expensive titles out there. Today we present to you the seven most expensive second-hand PlayStation 2 games, as listed on popular second-hand tat emporium CEX.
Are any of them worth the asking price? Let’s take a look.
Prices correct on uk.webuy.com as of 15/03/2021, but will likely vary over time.
Rule of Rose (£375.00)
What is it? A survival horror game from 2006, developed by Punchline, the Japanese company who brought us “kissing game” Chulip.
Why is it so expensive? In Europe, it was the subject of a moral panic which caused publisher 505 Games to cancel its release in the United Kingdom. This stemmed from the fact that the game, among other things, explores the sexuality of underaged girls. Interestingly, the game was never banned by the Video Standards Council, who believed the claims made about it were “nonsense”.
In a rather aggressive interview with Gamasutra, the game’s creators noted that they “wanted to show not only how scary adults can be from a child’s perspective, but also how scary children can be from an adult’s perspective” and that “the erotic aspect isn’t supposed to be the main theme… it’s about intimate relationships between all people, not just children, not just girls.”
Is it worth it? As a genuine rarity, copies of this probably aren’t going to get any cheaper — and Japanese copies go for just as high a price. Since the game is 8-10 hours long, those of you concerned with the “price to playtime” ratio probably won’t want to shell out nearly 400 quid for it — but if you pick up a copy of Rule of Rose you’re almost certainly doing so just to say you have it more than anything else, in which case money may be no object.
I want it! Knock yourself out.
Michigan: Report from Hell (£375.00)
What is it? A survival horror game, developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and first released for PlayStation 2 in 2004. You play a cameraman who “tags” objects and enemies in the environment in order to get other characters to interact with them so you can film interesting footage. Notable for its interesting “morality” system that affects not only the game’s ending, but the actual identity of your player character.
Why is it so expensive? It’s actually gone up in price quite a bit in the last couple of years, but some of its perceived value may stem from the pedigree of its creator Suda51, who has become much more well-known in recent years. The game was also played briefly by popular Let’s Play duo Game Grumps a while back — this sort of thing often pushes up the value of retro games. And bizarrely, according to a 2008 interview with Suda by the defunct games site Computer and Video Games, Suda had no prior knowledge of the game being released in Europe.
Is it worth it? It’s an interesting game, but you can get it much cheaper than nearly 400 big ones if you shop around — especially if you’re happy to settle for a copy with French or Italian inlays and a PEGI rating rather than the UK English version with the BBFC 18 rating.
I want it! Dig deep.
The Getaway: Limited Edition (£250.00)
What is it? Hailing from 2002, a PlayStation 2-based attempt to ape the Grand Theft Auto III formula in a realistic take on London, playing on the popularity of UK gangster movies such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels at the time.
Why is it so expensive? Only a thousand copies of the Limited Edition were made.
Is it worth it? Absolutely not. There’s nothing particularly special about the Limited Edition other than the fact it’s individually numbered and the artwork is in shiny silver rather than black, white and yellow. You can get a Special Edition version of the game for about a tenner elsewhere on the Web, and the basic release of The Getaway is £1.50 on CEX. Save your pennies.
I want it! Good luck with that. Keep an eye on this page and keep your fingers crossed.
What is it? A 2004 survival horror game for PlayStation 2, developed by FromSoftware. The game is a spiritual successor to Lost Kingdoms, and is heavily inspired by Japanese kaidan ghost stories, with a strong emphasis on female protagonists.
Why is it so expensive? No real reason other than its relative obscurity and rarity — and perhaps some publisher-related shenanigans around the time of its original release. The game was originally set to be released in the UK in 2004 by Digital Jesters, but the company folded; it eventually came out in 2006 through Nobilis and Indie Games Productions, making it a very late-era PS2 release and consequently largely unknown by most people. The Xbox 360 came out in late 2005, remember.
Is it worth it? As an early FromSoftware title, there’s definitely some interesting historical curiosity here, but many reviewers from the time claimed that the game isn’t terribly fun to play. That said, I’ve lost count of the number of reviews of late-era PS2 games I’ve disagreed with over the years, so your mileage, as ever, may vary. If it sounds like your thing and you’ve got £250 burning a hole in your pocket, it might be a worthwhile addition to your collection — though note that like with Rule of Rose, this is only an 8-10 hour game if that affects your perception of value.
I want it! You might be waiting a while for this one; keep your eye on this page and hope!
Hard Knock High (£220.00)
What is it? A 2007 fighting game for PlayStation 2, developed by Opus and published in the UK by Essential Games. In its native Japan, it’s volume 107 of the budget-price Simple 2000 series, also known as The Honoo no Kakutou Banchou (“The Blazing Fighting Leader”).
Why is it so expensive? Obscurity and rarity. As a 2007 release for PlayStation 2, there wouldn’t have been many copies of this out there in the first place.
Is it worth it? You can get other Simple 2000 games on PlayStation 2 for no more than 50p each, so spending over 200 quid on one feels rather extravagant, as rare as it might be these days. As a 3D fighting game, it’s competent if unremarkable and a bit sluggish — but if you’re going to spend a heap of money on a high school-themed fighting game, you may as well get the infinitely superior Project Justice for Dreamcast, which goes for a third of the price of this second-hand.
I want it! Are you sure about that? Seriously, Project Justice is awesome. No? Keep an eye on this page and hope it comes back in stock, then.
Raiden III (£160.00)
What is it? A 2005 shoot ’em up for PlayStation 2, developed by MOSS and published by Taito. It was the first game in the Raiden series to use 3D polygonal graphics and set a lot of conventions that the series continues to follow to this day.
Why is it so expensive? As with several of the above titles, 2005 is very late in the PlayStation 2’s lifespan, plus shoot ’em ups specifically tend to explode in value the older they get, presumably due to their universal, timeless appeal.
Is it worth it? You can get Raiden III for PC on GOG.com for £7.49, and that platform allows you to download a DRM-free installer, burn it to a disc and make your own physical version if you’re that way inclined. With that in mind, paying £160 for the privilege of having it on your shelf seems a little excessive, however good the game is — and believe me, it’s great.
I want it! This comes and goes now and then; at the time of writing it’s gone. Keep an eye on this page.
Persona 3 FES (£140.00)
What is it? A 2007 release for PlayStation 2, expanding the original 2006 release of Atlus’ classic social link-forming RPG Persona 3 with additional story material in the main game and an entire new separate story focusing on the character Aigis… which is kind of rubbish.
Why is it so expensive? You know the answer to this already; the European version of the base Persona 3 didn’t come out until February of 2008, and FES followed in October of the same year. By this point, the Xbox 360 had been on the market for several years and the PS3 was well into its run, too, so new PlayStation 2 games had limited runs at best. There weren’t many copies of this out there in the first place; you just try getting someone to give up a copy of it today for less than three figures.
Is it worth it? It’s arguably the best version of Persona 3 — though some people prefer the added female protagonist of Persona 3 Portable on PSP. That can also be a bit pricey, though, so it’s a matter of whether you prefer the idea of being able to play as a girl, or grinding your way through the tedious, unbalanced bonus dungeon of The Answer for relatively minimal story payoff. Either way, you’ll be paying more than a hundred quid — but with how good (and long) Persona 3 is, it may well be a worthwhile investment, particularly with Atlus’ apparent reluctance to port this to any modern platforms.
I want it! Go nuts!
What are the most expensive games in your collection? Let us know in the comments or via the usual social channels!
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