They said it couldn’t be done, but we’ve put together a list of the best PS2 games ever made!
It’s quite a big thing to put together an ultimate games list for the best selling console of all time.
What’s that; you didn’t know?
Yep; the PS2 has sold 157.68-million units since its birth 20 years ago, outselling the Nintendo DS by just over 3-million units and the original PlayStation by over 55-million units!
This console is, for want of a better word, a colossus (hint to a possible game in this list there). And no matter where your gaming allegiances lie, you can’t deny its phenomenal success.
But how do you pick the 15 best PS2 games from the 3,800 released for the console? How do you delve into the 1.5-billion sales to pick the greatest, the fan favourites, and the legendary titles that have helped to shape gaming for years to come?
Call us crazy, but that’s just what we’ve done!
Picking The Best PS2 Games Of All Time!
We’ve delved into yesteryear to bring you the best PS2 games ever made. Some might have been firm favourites in your collection, and others might have remained a complete mystery to you until now.
How Does This List Work?
We’ve listed our favourite games from 15 down to 1. Obviously, it’s been a tough call as there are so many amazing games out there, but we’re sticking by our decision.
While you’re looking through each of the entries, you can also grab a copy to check out the games in real life!
By clicking on the game title, the pictures, the ‘Buy Here’ button, or by finding the hyperlinked name of the game in the text, you will be teleported to an official buying page where you can snap up the title you are reading about to play on later!
No need to thank us; it’s what we do!
Are All Of The Best PS2 Games Second Hand?
This console is 20 years old, so the chances are that most of the games that you’ll come across through our official buying links will be second hand. Some rare PS2 games have been kept in their original wrapping and graded, but they will set you back hundreds, and possibly thousands of pounds.
The retro gaming community looks after their games, so you can pick up a bargain and enjoy a great adventure at the same time. Make sure to check out seller feedback before you buy, and happy scrolling!
When Did The PS2 Come Out?
The PS2 was first released in Japan on 4th March 2000. North America saw a release on 26th October, and the PS2 was finally released on 24th November across Europe.
How many PS2 Games Are There?
You might have zoomed past it above, but there are over 3,800 PS2 games to have been released for the PS2 console. Over 1.5 Billion copies have been sold. Impressive right?
How Much Is A PS2?
Back when the PS2 was released in the year 2000, the PS2 sold for $299 or £299 in the UK. Now, in 2020, the PS2 can be picked up for as little as $20/£25 depending on the condition of the console.
We recommend picking up a console that been looked after and keeping it in good condition. You can grab a well-presented console for around $50.
How To Play PS2 Games On PC?
To play PS2 Games on a PC, you will need to look into downloading an emulator called PCSX2. It’s a PS2 emulator for your PC that lets you use your PS2 discs and a mouse and keyboard to play your classic games.
It will require a lot of configuration and setting up. Because as you can imagine, a lot of controller settings, screen resolutions and CPU power must be organised before getting the best gameplay out of the system.
Want our advice? Stick to the original and grab some bargains below!
15. Guitar Hero
It had to be, didn’t it?
Yes, kicking off our list of the best PS2 games of all time is the legendary Guitar Hero. It was the very first title in an epic series that saw gamers around the globe rocking out to their favourite tracks.
And the best part is that there was no musical skill needed what-so-ever!
If you’ve read our list of the best PS2 accessories or have been alive for at least the last 15 years, then the chances are that you’ve come across the legendary Guitar Hero controller before now. It’s shaped like an axe (guitar, not the wood-chopping kind) and has 5 coloured buttons that correspond with the colours on the screen.
Using the plucking button and pressing the coloured buttons in the right time and order will make you feel like a rock god right from the word go. You can even work a whammy bar for some extra live gig feels.
This game was amazing and great fun to play with your friends, especially when the different guitar styles started coming out.
Hands up who else had a Flying V?
Fans of The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess might well have enjoyed playing Ōkami back in the day. Shiranui certainly has a less stressful time than Link without Midna around, and the Sume-e ink artwork in this game is still as breathtaking today as it was back in 2006.
So what is Ōkami? Well, the game sees you playing as a Japanese sun goddess named Amaterasu. She can transform into a legendary white wolf by the name of Shiranui and use magical abilities to complete her quest.
The gameplay is in fact modelled on the Legend of Zelda, but not a direct copy like Windbound. The director, Hideki Kamiya, cited the series as one of his favourites.
He obviously had good taste!
Amaterasu can use her magic to attack enemies that you encounter, and also to bring colour back into the world of Nippon by using the Celestial Brush.
Just look at that artwork! It’s certainly strange to see graphics like this in a computer game; it’s like an artistic render of the cell-shaded graphics we saw in Wind Waker, but it makes for a stunning and immersive adventure like no other.
Despite poor sales on release due to the PS3 looming in the horizon, Ōkami has been cited as both one of the best PS2 games of all time and one of the best video games of all time too!
Sounds like you should give it a go!
The PS2 had some great hack and slash titles in its repertoire, but perhaps none as exciting as Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening.
If you have followed the series or played the original Devil May Cry game, then this third instalment is set before the events of the first game.
(With me so far?)
You follow Dante, but a younger version of the character that many of you will know and love. The story follows the turbulent relationship he has with his brother, Virgil, and is jam-packed full of demon slashing goodness to keep you occupied for hours on end.
I’m a big fan of the cutscenes in this game; it felt like I was watching a movie when I first played it, which was pretty exciting for back in the late 00’s. It also used some pre-rendered Full Motion Video clips, but not the corny kind that you might find in the best Sega CD games!
Dante’s Awakening has tonnes of puzzle-solving and platforming-style tasks to complete as you make your way through this Dark Souls-esque gothic castle.
Speaking of which; if you’re a Dark Souls fan, then you’ll be well prepared for this game. It’s as hard as nails to complete, one of the most difficult I’ve played, in fact. Thank goodness for those mid-level checkpoints in the Special Edition!
12. Silent Hill 2
Featuring one of the weirdest yet most iconic villain characters from any series and a storyline straight out of the therapy books, the next title in our list of the best PS2 games is one that you won’t forget in a hurry!
Konami sure knows how to make great survival horror games, and Silent Hill 2 is one of the weirdest and best around.
You play as James Sunderland, a guy who, let’s face it, is going through some weird stuff. He’s received a letter from his dead wife telling him she’s waiting for him, and everywhere he turns, Pyramidhead is waiting to cleave him into minuscule pieces.
(N.B Retro Dodo will not be held responsible for any pant wetting experienced while playing this game).
Silent Hill is psychological horror at its best. Critics praised the way that the subject matter was handled, including the metaphors, symbolism, and taboo topics that Konami threw into the mix.
From storyline elements such as Jame’s wife’s letter slowly disappearing to an alternative ending where a dog is the main antagonist, this game is a bonafide mind-melter.
If you’re a fan of films like Memento or games such as Hellblade, then you’re going to love Silent Hill 2.
11. Resident Evil 4
I’m going to stick with the horror theme for a little while longer as we take a look at the next title in our list of the best PS2 games, Resident Evil 4.
If you’ve ever picked up a game controller in your life, then I can probably assume that you know all about the Resident Evil series, even if you’ve never played them.
Evil virus comdems all of the citizens of Racoon City to wander around as ugly undead cronies. Big monsters, abandoned buildings, and with a freak-out factor of 11.
Got it? Good!
Resident Evil 4 differs from the other titles slightly with the arrival of the new ‘over the shoulder’ shooting view when battling enemies. The gameplay revolves less around survival horror elements as it did in the previous games and more about action-filled gunfights and mass-zombie-culling.
The villagers in this game can work together to try to eat you alive. They are capable of wielding weapons and throwing projectiles too, so you better keep your wits about you. In a new development for the series, you can shoot different body parts with different results too.
If you want my advice, however, then just go for the head.
Resident Evil 4 was originally meant to be a GameCube release only, but has since gone on to sell 10-million copies over multiple platforms!
10. Gran Turismo 4
Few racing games can like up to the legendary Gran Turismo series. With insane backdrops, realistic gameplay, and amazing cars, Gran Turismo 4 remains one of the best racing games ever made to this day and certainly influenced many titles that came after it.
It was even released with a ‘Physics of Racing’ book in Japan with over 212 pages of technical goodness! That would totally have made me a better driver in real life too!
I love racing games that have a large number of cars to choose from. There’s nothing worse than playing the same old tracks with the same old vehicles over and over again.
Luckily, Gran Turismo 4 doesn’t have that problem.
You can chose from (get ready) over 700 cars in this game! Some of them go as far back as 1860s; imagine racing around the Grand Canyon in a Daimler Motor Carriage!!
With over 50 levels to race through and more car makes than I’ll ever see in a lifetime, this is certainly a game to have in your collection.
Next up on our list of the best PS2 games is one of the most iconic shooting titles of all time.
Before Destiny and Overwatch, Timesplitters 2 was the go-to-game for multiplayer madness and a storyline that was, quite literally, ahead of its time.
It was also behind its time too, but I suppose you’ll get that if you’re a time traveller.
Timesplitters 2 has a very Goldeneye-esque feel to it. Considering that Bond features in our best N64 games ever made, then that can only be a good thing.
You play as one of two space marines trying to stop the Timesplitters from messing around with time. The ten levels spread from as far back as the Wild Wild West (not with Will Smith) to the far-off future, and the game is jam-packed full of explosive action and more guns than you’d find in Iron Man’s bathroom.
But the best part of this game is undoubtedly the multiplayer. My mates and I had hours and hours of fun playing this game, and you will too!
The Virtua Fighter series needs no introduction, and Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution more than does the previous titles in this epic franchise justice.
You might have played these titles ever since the early Sega days or first come across the series on our list of the best Dreamcast games. Either way, Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution features all of the same button-mashing battle action and kick-ass fighters that you’ve come to know and love, along with a few extra surprises along the way.
As well as two new characters and better graphics, Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution adds new item collecting features, stores, and ring types. The game mechanics aren’t dissimilar from titles such as Street Fighter and Tekken, but man, is this a fun title to play!
Firstly, it looks incredible and is yet another mind-boggling example of the PS2’s ability to perform like a console way ahead of its time.
Secondly, you don’t tend to find that many fighting games with character customisation options, which instantly puts Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution as a strong contender in any list of the best PS2 games.
I first encountered Ico bundled together with the Number 2 spot on this list of the best PS2 games and couldn’t get enough of it.
It does have that annoying ‘Link carrying Ruto’ around Jabu Jabu’s belly feeling from Ocarina of Time, but the immersive gameplay, the storyline, and the graphics are sublime.
Definitely the first time we’ve used the word ‘sublime’ in a Retro Dodo article!
Ico is a boy who has horns. The villagers think it’s a bad omen and lock him up. Likewise, a Princess called Yorda is about to have her essence drained Dark Crystal style, and the two escape to start life on their own.
Ico does the majority of the searching and battling and must help Yorda across obstacles like a proper gentleman. While I’m glad Ico knows how to treat a lady well, it would have been nice if Yorda could kick ass a bit too!
This is another game that didn’t do that well on release but has since gone on to become a cult classic. The artwork might not be as breathtaking as Ōkami, but the scenery in the levels sure is captivating and keeps you coming back for more.
That’s sublime and captivating in one article now; we’ll be an educational magazine before we know it!
Let’s move away from fancy words and get down to some hell-raising monster-slaying action.
God of War II is the next title in our list of the best PS2 games. It’s the second in the series but the sixth in the God of War timeline. If you’re not one to get bogged down with the ‘where and the when’ and just like to play a good game, however, then you can’t go wrong with this epic entry into the series.
Fans of Greek Mythology will be all over this game. You play as Kratos, the new God of War. He’s killed Ares, been sent to hell by Zeus, and then rescued by Gaia.
It’s a good job I listened to Stephen Fry’s ‘Mythos’ recently, otherwise I’d be clueless!
Using ‘Athena’s Blades’, Kratos must fight his way back to Zeus, conquering beasts, demons, and time itself along the way.
Compared to the first God of War title, this game is bigger, tougher, and has way more action. There are four-times as a many boss battles for a start, and the puzzles are tougher than your nan’s Sudoku puzzles.
Honestly, this is one of my favourite games of all time, and it was tough choosing where to place it in this list. It has been ranked as the second best PS2 game of all time by many critics, but this critic has some other favourites that pipped it to the post.
At Number 5 in our list of the best PS2 games is a vibrant adventure that fans of Spyro and Banjo-Kazooie will love.
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy follows Jak and his friend Daxter, the latter of which happens to get transformed into a cross between an Otter and a Weasel when he comes into contact with some dark magic.
That’s an Ottsel, for anyone who is wondering…
Jak doesn’t talk, but Daxter more than makes up for it with his comedic ramblings throughout the game.
They have to seek a dark sage to try and turn Daxter back into a human again. But as you might have guessed, that is easier said than done.
The worlds in this game are one of the main reasons why I love it so much. I still think about the Lurker guards from time to time and exploring these exciting levels.
It has that comedic value of Conker’s Bad Fur Day without any of the NSFW content, and critics the world over loved it for it’s perfectly-crafted storyline and the strong bond shared by our dynamic duo.
I wish my best friend was an Ottsel!
If we’re going to start throwing the phrase ‘dynamic duo’ around, then we can’t go any further without including Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal.
The developers must have undoubtedly had a great time naming this game, and I certainly had a blast replaying it over and over again until I could play the levels with my eyes closed.
All of the iconic characters from the first Ratchet and Clank series return for a piece of the action, and we’re also introduced to Dr Nefarious, a new robotic villain and the games antagonist.
Ratchet and Clank marked a move towards a growing trend of shooting games as opposed to the typical platform games of old. It still has some brain-tickling elements, but it’s mainly about big weapons and blasting enemies.
And don’t forget the online multiplayer!
This is one of the first games that I went online with back in the day. The servers have long since closed down, but there’s plenty of life left in this game without them. Just being able to climb into a vehicle and drive it around is worth the second-hand sales price alone!
Give it a try; you won’t be dissapointed.
I’m going to tell you two statements about Final Fantasy X that are both 100% true.
- I liked this game so much that I tried to die my hair like the main character and it came out ginger.
- I lied to all of my friends that I was sick one Easter break so I could play it in peace without anyone else asking to have a go.
Yes, Final Fantasy X will forever be a game that changed my life, and thankfully my hair for only a short time which we will never speak of again. The detail in the levels, the fighting, the sub-quests; it was the stuff of legend, and it well and truly blew my mind.
As with many of the other Final Fantasy games in the series, the plotline is more complicated than solving a giant Rubik’s Cube made of red-hot iron.
You play as Tidus, a citizen of Spira who is on a mission to defeat Sin, a bad ‘ol mother that destroyed his home, Zanarkand.
And yes, I do remember all of those names from back in the day; I told you this game had a big effect on me.
From RPG battling to showing off your skills in Blitzball, this game had it all and so much more. Be careful; it may cause you to alienate your friends and die your hair… if you have any anymore, that is.
Shadow of the Colossus features some of the biggest bosses I have ever come across in any video game. I remember coming up against my first one and thinking ‘how the… ?” before dying miserably over and over again.
Still, that’s what makes it such an epic adventure. And with beasts like the dude below to encounter, it certainly makes for one hell of a ride!
I’m a big fan of boss battles, but not the types that just require you to shoot endlessly. It’s why I like Zelda games so much, and the Colossi in this game all require you to think and find their weakspots if you ever stand a chance of bringing them down.
There are 16 of the enormous giants to defeat in this game, but rather unusually, there are no ‘levels’ to complete.
You must travel through a mysterious land finding and defeating Colossi in an attempt to save the life of a mysterious girl. There are no other characters to converse with or towns to explore; it’s just you, your horse, a sword, and a bunch of brutal goliaths who want to squash you flat.
This girl better be grateful when she wakes up, that’s all I can say!
What a game to end our list of the best PS2 games of all time! Yes, the Number 1 spot deservedly goes to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, one of the best stealth adventure games I have ever played.
If you’re an eagle-eyed reader, then you’ll know that I used to be pretty terrible at stealth games. Everything changed in Snake Eater, however. Something clicked, and I instantly became a tactical machine.
I reckon I could have applied for the S.A.S after completing this game, but writing seemed like a much safer profession.
In true PlayStation fashion, this title takes place before all of the other games in the Metal Gear series and is set in 1964.
You play as Naked Snake, a character that may not have as cool a name as Solid Snake but certainly has all of the fighting spirt and ‘stealthy kill moves’… if that’s even a thing.
Ditching the urban city streets for a soviet jungle theme with hints of that Goldeneye level where you have to dodge Xenia with her AC-90, MGS3 sees you taking on a mission to destroy a super weapon while saving a rocket scientist.
Talk about a hard day at work!
This game is a masterpiece and one of the pioneering games of the stealth/action genre. Everything about it from the graphics to the trademark humour make it a must-have for any PS2 fan.