2002 was a busy year for the video game industry. The Nintendo Gamecube, Nintendo Game Boy Advance and Microsoft Xbox had been on the market for over a year, while Sony’s PlayStation 2 had been out for two years. It was a long time for the developers to know the hardware inside and out.
Many landmark games were released in 2002, some of them sequels to long-running franchises, while others were brand new and heralded the birth of new series. Even 20 years later, some of these games are beloved and nostalgic for many gamers.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC, Xbox)
This sequel to the 1996 one The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall sent players back to the beloved fantasy world of Tamriel, and this time specifically to the island of Vvardenfell. It was developed by Bethesda Game Studios and released on PC and Xbox. The main story involved players in a significant conflict with various Great Houses.
Morrowwind was a massive departure from its predecessors due to the relatively smaller world to explore and the altered combat system, but it was still critically acclaimed. It was also the first in the series to be released on a home console, which paved the way for the final two. Ancient Scrolls Games, Oversight and Skyrimto do the same and reach an even wider audience.
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (PC)
Blizzard Entertainment had great success with 1995 Warcraft II: Tides of Darknessbut a sequel did not follow immediately because of 1998 Starcraft. It wasn’t until July 3, 2002 that Blizzard returned to the world of Azeroth with Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Players once again control armies of humans and orcs, as well as new factions, night elves, and undead.
To say The Reign of Chaos was influential is an understatement. The game and its expansion, The Frozen Throne, served as the basis for the famous Defense of the Ancients (DotA) multiplayer game and the highly successful World of Warcraft RPG online. While the previous Warcraft the games were well received, The Reign of Chaos opened the floodgates of the franchise.
Mega Man Zero (Game Boy Advance)
While Capcom was having success with Mega Man: Battle Network, they haven’t forgotten the franchise’s roots as a platform game. Located a century after the Mega Man X series, Mega Man Zero saw the return of the titular character awakened from stasis to a world where androids were wiped out. Moreover, the person responsible for this directive was X himself.
Zero launched what was to be a new subset of mega man games, with three sequels that built on the last. the Zero The series is a trifecta of extreme difficulty, dark storytelling, and well-written characters. Thanks to compilations such as Zero/ZX Legacy Collection, Zero and his games will never be forgotten and it’s a good start for mega man beginners.
Kingdom Hearts (PlayStation 2)
Square-Enix, still just SquareSoft at the time, was enjoying the success of the 2001s Final Fantasy X. The following year saw the release of a brand new game made in collaboration with Disney Interactive Studios: Kingdom Hearts. Players controlled Sora, the Keyblade’s chosen wielder, and traveled with Donald Duck and Goofy to various disney Heartless worlds defeat evil.
On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, Kingdom Hearts has become a juggernaut and one of Square-Enix’s iconic franchises. Multiple entries on numerous gaming platforms followed, and the inclusion of Sora as a fighter in Super Smash Bros Ultimate solidified Kingdom Hearts like video game icon. With a new game on the horizon, the sky’s the limit for Sora and his friends.
Super Mario Sunshine (Gamecube)
One of Gamecube’s launch titles was Luigi’s mansion, focused on Mario’s younger brother. It wasn’t until a year later that Mario returned to the stage with Super Mario Sunspiritual successor of Super Mario 64. When Mario visited the tropical island Delfino, he was arrested for vandalism and ordered to clean everything up using the FLUDD robot.
Sunshine had a lasting impact on mario franchise. Several aspects, such as native Piantas and Shine Sprites, have been introduced in the future mario Games. Other spin-offs, such as super smash bros, implemented FLUDD as one of Mario’s signature items. More important again, Sunshine introduced Bowser Jr., one of Mario’s most famous villains who quickly became one of the best mario characters for many.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PlayStation 2)
2001 Grand Theft Auto III was a triumph for Rockstar Games, then the following year its successor surpassed it. Grand Theft Auto Vice City was a 1980s prequel inspired by works like miami vice and scarface. After a botched mob deal, Tommy Vercetti was ordered by his boss to recoup everything he had lost but was allowed to take power for himself.
While III is an influential title, Vice City improvements to the series have made one thing clear: III market like this city of vice could run. city of vice was also the first game to emphasize story and flesh out the characters and world. Moreover, what city of vice started, future Grand Theft Auto the games continued until it became a franchise.
Ratchet & Clank (PlayStation 2)
After the spyro the dragon trilogy on PlayStation, Insomniac Games has worked closely with Sony on what has become one of many new properties for the PlayStation 2. Ratchet & Clank was a 3D platformer where players explored, fought enemies, and solved puzzles. It featured an anthropomorphic feline named Ratchet and his robot buddy Clank trying to stop an evil corporation from destroying planets.
A few years after its debut, Ratchet & Clank became a successful franchise and appeared on every PlayStation system to date. 2021’s Rift Apart for the PlayStation 5, in particular, has received praise for its gameplay and story. Ratchet & Clank even had the honor of being adapted into a film, and the duo made other appearances on properties like PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale and fall guys.
Metroid Prime (Gamecube)
Eight years after the release of Super Metroid, the franchise has come back in two important ways. While Metroid Fusion on the Game Boy Advance, 2D side-scrolling gameplay continued, Metroid Prime broke new ground by being a first-person 3D adventure. Players once again controlled bounty hunter Samus Aran as she battled space pirates on the planet Tallon IV.
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Thanks to Metroid Primethe series remained relevant throughout the 2000s. Prime also launched a sub-series within the metroid saga that remains beloved today. Given how Metroid Prime 4 continues to face development issues as of 2022, it’s clear that Nintendo also sees the value in the series and the legacy started by the original. Metroid Prime.
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire (Game Boy Advance)
In 2002, the initial popularity of Pokemon was declining after the many triumphs over the original Game Boy. Nonetheless, the franchise found its next big breakthrough with Ruby and Sapphire on the Game Boy Advance. They were very similar to previous games, with the main differences being a new setting, the Hoenn region, and a new set of unique and powerful Pokémon.
Ruby and Sapphire kicked off the four-year run of Generation III, which was followed by the remakes FireRed and LeafGreen and improved reissue, emerald. Ruby and Sapphire also introduced abilities, contests, and dual battles, staples of all future Pokemon Games. Thanks to 3DS remakes Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphiregames legacy has been secured.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Gamecube)
After The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask on the Nintendo 64, the series returned to its roots with Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages on the Game Boy Color. The next year, The awakening of the wind back to 3D format. Set in a world of islands, players controlled Link as they crossed the vast ocean to rescue Link’s sister with the help of the pirate Tetra.
The awakening of the wind is a textbook case of not judging a book by its cover. The game’s reputation and legacy is well-deserved, not despite the designs, but because of it. Not only The awakening of the wind begin “Toon” designs seen in later games such as ghost hourglass and Spiritual tracksbut it also had a big influence on later games such as breath of the wild.
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