PlayStation 2 or PS2 as we call it is one of the best gaming consoles of all time and it was considered even better than its predecessor and its successor in a lot of ways by a lot of users all over the world. With its incredible library of games, it was also very affordable and in many ways, all these factors are responsible for it reigning over the gaming world well after its time and was only properly discontinued back in 2012. PS2 did the work and laid the foundation in establishing the PlayStation network as we know it today.
With its jam-packed library of games, there are plenty of best PS2 games which stand out and has reigned over time, with their remastered, upgraded and reinvented versions still being built and released. So it is no wonder if you are a bit confused as to choose some games that really stand out. If you are looking for some absolute classics or for some console exclusive games or some franchise stuff, then you have come to the right place because we have done the job for you.
Top 20 PS2 Games You Need to Play:
1. Shadow Of The Colossus
Shadow Of The Colossus is a game with an empty dark and daunting look where the players are dropped into a wide open world that is devoid of almost any living being and the game has very little spoken dialogue and no enemies beyond the 16 giants whom you are supposed to destroy. Yet, even with the seeming lack of features this game is still acclaimed one of the best PS2 games to have been ever made and has gone down forever in the gaming history. The game was released in Japan as Wander and the Colossus and was developed by SCE Japan Studio and Team Ico and published by Sony Computer.
The storyline of the game focuses on a young man named Wander who enters a forbidden land and he is supposed to travel a vast expense of land on horseback and defeat 16 massive beasts know as Colossi in order to restore the life of a girl named Mono. The game has no towns or dungeons to explore and is described as a puzzle game because each colossus can only be defeated by attacking certain weak spots which require specific actions to access. The game won several awards for its audio, design and overall quality and is referenced numerous times in debates regarding the quality and emotional perspectives of video games due to its minimalist landscape designs and is still cited as an influential title in the video game history.
2. Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 is the best game in the Silent Hill series with nearly everything you could ask for in a psychological horror game like the unrelenting electric atmosphere that keeps you alert and anxious all the time, disturbingly gruesome enemies and imagery and a stunningly enriched horror story that surpasses a lot of Hollywood’s horror and suspense movies with its mature and scary content. This game has succeeded in touching a lot of taboo topics from child abuse to mental illness and despite all these grotesque details still manages to incorporate a subtle theme of love, compassion, survivor’s guilt and misogyny.
The game uses a third-person perspective which is very suiting of the story and places a greater emphasis on finding items and solving riddles than on combat which includes psychological aspects like gradual disappearance of Mary’s letter, references to history, films and literature. While Silent Hill 2 is also set in the usual eponymous fictional American town, this one is not a direct sequel to the first game and instead is focussed on James Sunderland who enters the town after receiving a letter apparently written by his dead wife saying she is waiting for him in Silent Hill and joined by Maria who strongly resembles his wife, he begins his search for her and unveils the truth about her death.
3. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Metal Gear Soldi 3: Snake Eater is a classic espionage tactical action game in which you will have to hide, shoot and find your way out of sewers, perilous ventilation systems, tropical jungles, swamps and mangroves, mountain ranges and laboratories. A plot set in the year 1960, this game is the Cold War sequel starring Solid Snake’s near-identical father the Naked Snake (Big Boss). You will be forced to camouflage well, kill animals for food and heal your injuries with field surgeries and with a gut-wrenching storyline and a top-notch stealthy gameplay, this one is one of the best PS2 games ever in existence.
The game is the prequel to the entire series and follows the story of an idealistic operative that later becomes the other games’ arch nemesis – the Big Boss. The game covers the vents of Operation Snake Eater, a US incursion into Soviet territory to rescue a brilliant scientist called Sokolov who was forced to work on a gigantic nuclear tank. The game is abundant in flora and fauna and provisioning is very easy and your health will also replenish over time but only if your stamina bar is solid which you can achieve by munching away on rats or a python that you can shoot for food.
4. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a game that we have all tried our hand at, at one point and with an entire state to explore where you are not just a mafia guy, but Carl CJ Jonhson, a full-fledged character with a history, personality and a need to eat and exercise, this is game just took the GTA to a whole new scale and level. The state was realistic as much as possible with long stretches of wilderness and towns with interesting geography to drive through and have your adventure. This game is one of the best PS2 game ever and is the best-selling PlayStation 2 video game with over 17 million copies sold worldwide.
This full-on criminal fantasy simulator begins with petty turf wars on the streets of Los Santos and scales so much to the heights of stealing a jetpack from Area 51 stand-in on the orders of a CIA drug pusher. The game is played in a third-person perspective in an open world environment allowing the player to interact with the game world at their leisure. Carl CJ Johnson returns home to Los Santos from Liberty City after the murder of his mother to find his family and friends in disarray and over the course of the game, he attempts to put his old gang back together and in the attempt discovers the truth behind his mother’s death.
5. Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 is one of the best PS2 games in the sense that it is just so much fun to play despite its lack of true zombies and super innovative over-the-shoulder camera and influenced nearly every third-person shooter game that came after it. Its manual aiming mechanic with an actual laser-pinter made shooting villagers so much more satisfying and its melee combo attacks let you shoot a guy in the kneecap and then roundhouse him into an angry crowd of infected people. This game is known as Biohazard 4 in Japan. This game is also the sixth major instalment in the Resident Evil.
The story follows the US government special agent Leon S Kennedy who is sent on a mission to rescue Ashly Graham, the US president’s daughter whom a sinister cult has abducted and travelled to a rural area of Spain, Leon fights hordes of violent villagers and reunites with the mysterious spy Ada Wong. The game was subsequently released for Microsoft Windows, Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4 and in downsized versions for iOS, Android (exclusive to Samsung devices in Japan) and Zeebo. It received multiple Game of the Year awards for 2005 and was seen as a successful cross-platform hit that influenced the evolution of survivor horror and pioneered and popularized the third-person view perspective video game.
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Ico is the best emotional ps2 game which will haunt you for days to come with its smoky phantoms that crawl out of the shadows to haunt you occasionally with menace but still evoke the protective person inside you. This action adventure game was developed by SCE Japan Studio and Team Ico for the PS2 gaming console and also in 2002 in various other regions. This game has a ‘boy meets girl’ theme and took approximately four years to develop and it shows in the gameplay which has a minimalist style which was designed using a subtracting design approach to reduce elements that interfered with the game’s setting in order to create a higher level of immersion.
The protagonist is a young boy named Ico who was born with horns and he is considered evil by the villagers and is locked away in an abandoned fortress by the warriors and he begins to explore the fortress and encounters Yourda, the daughter of the castle’s queen. The Queen intends to use Yorda’s body to extend her own lifespan and Ico comes to know of this and intends to escape the castle with Yorda while keeping her safe from the menacing shadow-like creatures that attempt to take her back. The game has many technical elements like bloom lighting and keyframe animation with minimal dialogue which have influenced the subsequent game and was critically acclaimed for its art and received many awards including ‘Game of the Year’ nominations and three Game Developer’s Choice Awards.
7. God Of War 2
God Of War 2 was an obvious hit even before it was released considering the fame and popularity of its predecessor God Of War which was released in 2005 and this sequel was bigger, fiercer, better looking and bloodier than the latter with a lot of cool new powers and abilities. This hack and slash adventure was developed by Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment with its initial release being on 13 March 2007. The game received the ‘PlayStation Game of the Year’ award in 2007 and is acclaimed as one of the best PS2 games of all time and in 2009, IGN listed it as the second-best PS2 game of all time and is considered the ‘swan song’ of the PS2 era.
God Of War 2 is the second instalment in the God of War series and is loosely based on Greek mythology and is set in ancient Greece with vengeance as its central theme. Kratos is the protagonist of the game as well as the player character who is the new God of War who killed the former one, Ares. Kratos is betrayed by Zeus who strips him of his godhood and kills him and drags him to the underworld from where he is saved by the Titan Gaia who asks him to find the Sisters of Fate as they can help him to travel back in time and avert his betrayal and take revenge on Zeus. The gameplay focuses on combo-based combat which is achieved through the player’s main weapon, Athena’s Blades and some other secondary weapons.
Okami has a Zelda inspired gameplay and is set in the background of feudal Japan with cel-shaded art created in broad strokes in which the beautiful Okami tells the tale of the wolf god Amaterasu coming to the Earth to save it from the rebirth of the sinister ancient gods. The action-adventure game was developed by Clover Studio and published by Capcom and was released for PS2 video game console in the year 2006 in Japan and North America and in 2007 in Europe and Asia. The game gets a twist as the woodblock art style is infused into the gameplay whenever you pause the action and draw on the screen painting symbols allow you to use Amaterasu’s special abilities. The game combines several Japanese myths, legends and folklore to tell the story of how the land was saved from the darkness by Amaterasu.
The game features distinct cel-shaded visual style and the celestial brush, a gesture system to perform miracles and the game was initially planned to use more traditional realistic rendering but this had put a strain on the PS2’s graphics processor because of which the developers switched to the cel-shaded style to reduce the processing required which created the concept of celestial brush gameplay mechanic. The game received the 2006 ‘Game of the Year’ award and the high-definition version of the game remastered by Capcom and Hexadrive was released on PS3 in October 2012 supporting the PlayStation Move motion controller. A sequel to the game called Okamiden was released for the Nintendo platform in Japan in September 2010 followed by North America and Europe in March 2011.
9. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal is a game that has continued getting bigger and better with each year and is one of the best PS2 game that has been ever released and pumps out yearly sequels with more features building on the previous year’s game. This 3D platform video game was developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for PS2 in the year 2004 and is the third instalment in the Ratchet & Clank series and was released in North America initially and in Japan, shortly afterwards. The demo of this game was included in Sly 2: Band of Thieves and the gameplay of this game is similar to the previous games in the series.
This instalment of the game introduces new features like new control system and more levels in the upgrade system for weapons and follows Ratchet & Clank’s adventure through a fictional universe to defeat a robotic villain, Dr Nefarious who intends to destroy all organic life.DR Nefarious and Sasha, a Cazar starship captain who helps Ratchet throughout the game, and many of the characters are introduced and a lot of characters return from the original Ratchet & Clank. This game is also the first in the series to offer online multiplayer as well as a single-player feature but this service was discontinued for PS2 and later PS3 in 2018. It has much difference compared to its predecessors like high-quality graphics, larger worlds and drivable vehicles.
10. Beyond Good & Evil
Beyond Good & Evil is a game similar to the Zelda series and deals with themes that were especially relevant in the post 9/11 world as the main character Jade is a photojournalist who works for an underground network countering the massive propaganda machine of her planet’s occupiers who were secretly in league with the supposed enemies. This action-adventure game was developed and published by Ubisoft for PS2, Microsoft Windows, Xbox and GameCube platforms. The player controls Jade and her allies. solving puzzles, fighting crime and enemies and obtaining photographic evidence.
The game was envisioned as a part of the trilogy and was developed under the codename ‘Project BG&E’ with the production lasting more than three years. The main goal of the game was to create a meaningful story while giving players a lot of freedom even though the game adopts a linear structure. After the poor performance of the game among the masses, the game received some changing in its elements and structures to make the game more commercially appealing. The game’s animation, setting, story and design was praised by the critics but the game’s combat and technical aspects received some criticism.
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11. Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square as the tenth entry in the Final Fantasy series and is one of the best PS2 games ever and also the fifth best selling PS2 video game with over 8 million copies sold all over the world. The game marks the Final Fantasy transition from entirely pre-rendered backdrops to fully three-dimensional areas and also the first in the series to feature voice acting. This version also replaces the Active Time Battle system in favour of the Conditional turn-based battle system and uses a new levelling system called the ‘Sphere Grid’.
The game is set in the fantasy world of Spira, which is a backdrop influenced by South Pacific, Thailand and Japan and the storyline revolves around a group of adventurers and their quest to defeat a raving beast called Sin. The player character is Tidus. a star athlete in the fictional sport of blitzball who finds himself in Spira after his homeland is destroyed by Sin and on arriving there he is joined by the summoner Yuna on her voyage to destroy Sin. The sequel to the game called Final Fantasy X-2 was released on March 2003 making it the first Fantasy game to have a direct sequel.
12. Prince Of Persia: The Sands of Time
Prince Of Persia is popular everywhere and is received with much appreciation because of its fine storytelling and real imagination. This game is said to be a third-person action adventure puzzle platform video game developed and published by Ubisoft and was initially released in the year 2003. The Sands of Time is a reboot of the Prince Of Persia series and upon release, received critical acclaim, won and was nominated for a lot of awards and has been recognized as one of the greatest games of all time and its success prompted the release of the sequel Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within in the year 2004.
The game follows an unnamed prince whose father attacks a city because of its treacherous monarch and during the attack the prince obtains an artefact called the Dagger of Time while his army captures an hourglass containing The Sands of Time. Visiting Azad to present the Sands as a gift to the city’s ruler, the monarch tricks the prince into releasing the sands transforming the city’s population into monsters. Together with the Maharaja’s daughter Farah, the prince works to correct his mistake and returns the Sands to the hourglass. The gameplay is broken up by fights with the creatures created by the Sands and a key mechanic in the game is using the Dagger to rewind time if the Prince makes a mistake platforming and using the knife to kill and freeze enemies.
13. Gran Turismo
Gran Turismo is a realistic driving game with stellar looks and an attention to detail including a number of licensed autos, finely tuned race physics and very difficult license tests and is a series of racing videos developed by Polyphony Digital. Since the debut of the game in 1997, over 80 million copies have been sold worldwide making it the highest selling video game franchise under the PlayStation brand. The game has an arcade mode, but most of the gameplay is derived from the simulation model and the player starts with a certain number of credits, usually 10,000, that can be used to purchase vehicles from several manufacturer-specific shops or used car dealers and can be tuned for best performance.
The game is appealing in the sense that it is very close to realistic driving with its graphics, number of licensed vehicles, attention to vehicle detail, accurate driving physics emulation and the ability to tune performance incorporated into the franchise’s iconography. Certain events are open only to particular types of vehicles and in order to enter and progress through the more difficult races, a license testing system is implemented which guides the player through skill development and these tests are pretty tough on the players. The prize money won can be used to buy better cars or to upgrade the existing cars and the Gran Turismo 5 allows you to race online with up to 16 players on a track at once.
14. Dragon Quest 8: Journey Of The Cursed King
Dragon Quest 8: Journey Of The Cursed King is one of the best PS2 games and it was to Japan what Final fantasy was to the United States and was introduced in the West by Enix and tells the story of an evil jester Dhoulmagus. This role-playing video game was developed by Level 5 and published by Square Enix for PS2 and it was initially released in November 2004. Obviously, this is the eighth instalment of the popular Dragon Quest series and is the first English version of the Dragon Quest game to drop the Dragon Warrior title.
Dragon Quest 8 uses the cel-shading technique for characters and scenery and is also the first game in the series to have fully 3D environments and character models and retains most of the role-playing elements like turn-based combat and experience level system. This game follows the silent Hero, the protagonist and his gang of allies as they travel towards the goal of defeating the Dhoulmagus, a wicked man. The kingdom of Trodain has been cursed by Dhoulmagus, with the king Trode and his daughter Medea transformed into a troll and a horse respectively and it is up to Hero to return them back to their original form. The players are able to pan the camera a full 360 degrees around the character as well as look in first-person perspective mode.
15. Jack & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
Jack & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is a very visually appealing game with a silky smooth frame rate and striking use of colour, a kid-friendly aesthetic but it is no less captivating for an adult and has the best ground pound animation of all time. This 2001 open world platform video game was n=developed by Naughty Dog and was published by Sony Computer Entertainment as the first game of the Jack & Daxter series. The Precursor Legacy received critical acclaim upon release, especially for the game’s variety with many of the critics agreeing that the game had some of the best-looking graphics at the time of the release.
The game follows the protagonist Jak as he tries to help his friend Daxter after he is transformed into an ‘ottsel’, a fictionary hybrid of a weasel and an otter and with the help of Samos the sage, the pair comes to know that they have to save the world from Gol and Maia Acheron who plans to flood it with dark eco. The player Jak accesses abilities like double jumping, a rapid spinning kick and glide punching and the injuries acquired are accounted for using a life meter which decreases whenever Jak is hit by enemies, falls long distances or make contact with perilous surfaces. The game offers a large range of missions and minigames as well as puzzles and platform elements that the player must complete to proceed and also has many collectables for the player to gather, the main object a power cell, which is used to energize machinery to reach new levels.
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16. Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdon Hearts II is an action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for the PS2 gaming console and was initially released on 22 December 2005 and is the sequel to the game Kingdom Hearts. It combines characters and settings from Disney films with those of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series and the popularity of the game resulted in a novel and manga series based on it and Japan exclusive re-released version of the game featuring extra content called Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix was released in the year 2007. This is the third game of the series and picks up one year after the events of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories.
The main character of the game named Sora of the first two games returns to search for his lost friends while battling the sinister Organization XIII, a group of enemies previously introduced in the Chain of Memories. The player directly controls Sora from a third-person perspective camera angle even though a first-person perspective is also available via the select button. The game is driven by progressing from one story event to the next, usually told using cutscenes though a lot of side quests are also available that provide bonuses to the characters.
17. Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon is another one of the best PS2 games and the seventh main instalment in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series and the PS2 and Xbox versions were initially released in the year 2006 with Wii version released in 2007. The game was developed by Midway Games and Kung Fu Factory and it is chronologically the final chapter in the original Mortal Kombat storyline and features virtually every character from the previous games. The game was well received because of its large number of playable characters and the Konquest mode but it was reproached for the use of the same game engine from the previous two games as well as the similar play styles between characters.
Before the first Mortal Kombat tournament, king of Edenia, Argus and his wife proposed the creation of a warrior who could bring balance to the realm and in time, they have two children, Taven and Daegon and construct the pyramid of Argus. The gameplay has a lot of the elements from the previous game titles ‘Deadly Alliance’ and ‘Deception’ including the character’s fighting styles and instead of multiple fatalities of the previous games, players can now create their own fatality from a series of gory attacks and also design a custom character using the ‘Kreate a Fighter’ mode. The game also has a Konquest mode from ‘Deception’ which cast the player as the warrior Taven who is supposed to defeat his evil brother Daegon. Armageddon is the final Mortal Kombat game for the sixth generation console and the first for the seventh generation console with its release for Wii.
18. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is another action adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games on 27th October 2002 and is the fourth best-selling PS2 video game ever with over 9 million copies sold worldwide and even a remastered version of it was released for mobile platforms in 202 for the game’s tenth anniversary. The game is set in the backdrop of a fictional Vice City which is based on Miami and follows Tommy Vercetti after his release from prison and then he gets caught up in an ambushed drug deal. The game was especially praised for its music, gameplay and open world design but also generated criticism for the depiction of violence and racial discrimination.
The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on foot or you can also use a vehicle and the open design allows the player to roam around freely and explore Vice City which consists of 2 islands. The game is based on real-life events like biker gangs, the 1980s crack epidemic, the Mafioso drug lords of Miami and the superiority of glam metal and was also influenced by the movie and television era including Scarface and Miami Vice. the game is considered one of the most significant titles of the sixth generation of video games and one of the greatest video game ever made.
19. Tekken V
Tekken V is another one of the best PS2 games and is a fighting game developed and published by Namco for the arcades in 2004 and the game was later released for PS2 in the year 2005 and is the ninth best selling PS@ game ever with over 6 million copies sold worldwide. The game is the fifth instalment and the sixth main instalment in the Tekken series and was later upgraded to Tekken 5.1 which had some changes in the gameplay and later to Tekken V: Dark Resurrection. The home version includes a mod known as devil within, a variant of the Tekken Force introduced in Tekken 3 and adds a host of new content to the original game.
Tekken 5 incorporates faster and a more fluid fighting system with improved graphics and returning characters and some of the Tekken series’ trademark infinite stages with the new Crush system which affects the vulnerability of the character while they attack. The game also includes a ‘beat ’em up’ minigame in direct lineage to the Tekken Force modes in Tekken 3 and 4 and follows the adventures of Jin Kazama as he searches the G corporation for information regarding his mother’s missing and many other answers and is somewhat story oriented. The game features 32 characters and while most of the characters from the Tekken 4 returns, the game also sees the return of several characters from the earlier games (mostly Tekken 2) who were previously cut from the series and has also introduced seven new characters, six of which are playable.
20. Twisted Metal: Black
Twisted Metal: Black is a vehicle combat video game which was developed by Incognito Entertainment and designed by Sony Computer Entertainment America for the PS2 gaming console and is the fifth instalment to the Twisted Metal series. The game is an online-enabled multiplayer only variant which was later released as a free version and both Twisted Metal: Black and Twisted Metal: Black Online were both later reissued as a part of Sony’s Greatest Hits program and the game was made available for PS4 through the PlayStation Network. The game was praised for its dark and outstanding storylines of each character and its variety of weapon unlockables but its unbalanced difficulty and unchanged hover style controls were not received well.
The game is a demolition derby which allows the use of ballistic projectiles and the player can choose an arena or a vehicle or a series of arenas in story mode to engage in the battle with the opposing drivers and a variety of upgrades and weapons are available scattered throughout the stage and the last one standing wins. The plot is same as the previous games where Calypso runs a car-based contest called Twisted Metal in which different characters compete risking their lives to claim the tournament’s prize – any single wish they desire. In this instalment of the game, each character has their own story which they narrate from their own point of view and each of them starts with being visited by Calypso who knows what they desire and offers that to them in his contest.