Shadow Of Destiny
I really thought Shadow of Destiny would be an incredible game, and I was really looking forward to it. The idea behind this title--traveling through time to stop your multiple deaths is amazing, but man, there are a few major chinks in the armor that turn Shadow into...well, a shadow of what it could be. First of all, Konami went way too far with the timetraveling idea. I'm standing next to a tree when suddenly the killer jumps from behind it and stabs me. So when I'm brought back to life, I naturally decide to go back 400 years to stop the tree from being planted instead of oh, I don't know, not standing next to the freaking tree! There are dozens of examples like this, the way Shadow defies logic in order to give a grander feeling story, which, of course, backfires thanks to the idiocy of your character's decisions. Also it has to be said Shadows of Destiny has some poor voice acting. I could visualize the main character's voice actor reading from a script; the pacing and emotion is terrible. But, even with these hiccups, Shadow is still worth trying out; there are a couple very cool moments and some nice red herrings. The story line gets quite compelling a few hours in, and the graphics are pretty sharp. It's keen how each time period has its own "color," and the character models are great (if a bit plasticy). Adventure fans should enjoy Shadow, as long as they don't let the main character's stupidity bother them.
Not to be outdone by Sega's Shenmue, Konami's Silent Hill folks churned out this, er, "life sim" of their own. The object is to prevent your own demise by traveling through time and figuring out how and why it happened. The gameplay is defined mostly by walking around and talking to people in different time periods, but the eerie European environs are gorgeous, making the many cinemas all the more enjoyable. Sure, the idea's a little odd, but the unique story is really engaging if you've got the patience for a low-impact title like this. Expect to use your head much more than your hands, and be challenged just a bit along the way.
I'm surprised no one has tried this Back to the Future time-traveling plot device in a game before--it's quite a cool concept, and it gives the otherwise average dialogue and straightforward adventure gameplay of Shadow of Destiny an interesting twist. The graphics are rather tame (the pale, uniform colors for each time period were no doubt intentional but the horrible textures sure weren't) and the gameplay is pretty passive--there's no real combat or fast action required, and you often go for long periods just watching the game. It may not be the sort of thing you bought a PS2 for, but if you already got one SoD makes a good weekend rental.