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 35 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!
35. Madden NFL 2004
Madden NFL 2004 kickstarts this list of the best PS2 games of all time!
If you’re into your American Football as much as gamers in the UK are into Fifa, then you’ve probably bought this title and every other one before and after it. Still, this version was always my favourite on the PS2.
Maybe it was the new Playmaker control that made the gameplay much more exciting and fast paced that did it, or maybe it was just because I seemed to win a lot…
… do the finer details really matter?
The main game itself was super realistic for the time. the players, the moves, the pitch; they felt as close as you could get to the real thing without breaking every bone in your body.
And who could forget Michael Vick! He was like a player with every possible cheat code enabled, and his 2004 character and now features on super teams in later Madden games.
Oh, and Tony Hawks wasn’t the only game with an epic soundtrack you know. The tunes in Madden NFL 2004 were just as legendary as the players and never failed to get your blood pumping.
Now, shout ‘Hut hut hut’ and throw a football through your living room window!
34. Beyond Good & Evil
Beyond Good & Evil is up next on our list of the best PS2 games!
So far, this game has cropped up on our list of the best Xbox games Some of you may well have come across this title over on our list of the best original Xbox games and the best GameCube games. It’s a bonafide hit on every platform and a real credit to the PS2.
Fans of the Zelda series and titles like Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy will love the puzzle solving element to this game as well as the family-friendly graphics.
And, if I tell you that the same person that created Rayman made Beyond Good & Evil, then that should answer any more questions about this games credentials.
Players control Jade, a martial arts expert who kicks the ass of anything that puts her or her pig-friend Pey-J in trouble. She’s also a photographer and can use her camera to find money to spend along the way.
I wish making money was that easy!
I know I’ve skirted over the fact that she has a friend who’ a talking pig, but it is set in 2435 after all. Those kinds of thing are probably normal in the future.
Jade must save orphans while bashing enemies with her combat stick. Pull of Batman-esque moves as you run, sneak, and fight your way through hordes of bad guys. Honestly, the gameplay is tastier than bacon (sorry Pey’J!).
Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3 is a game that never left my PS2. We all know how good these games are, and the formula was pretty much solidified by the third title.
Play against your friends in Trick Attack or the classic Graffiti modes, either in the same room or online! This was a big moment for multiplayer gaming and saw fans all over the globe challenging their mates to see who could pull off the best grabs and longest grinds.
With new courses, new moves, and new skaters, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 felt fresh and exciting, not like every Fifa game that pretty much feels like the same as the one that came before.
Play as Rodney Mullen, Elissa Steamer, Bam Margera, and many more awesome skaters from Tony Hawk’s world. You can even make your own character and give them some of your attributes such as hair, beard, tattoos, and your awesome dress sense (providing it’s in the options list…).
The course feel more open, there’s more to find, and the music is just as epic as always. Unlock Darth Maul, grind a surfboard with Kelly Slater, and most importantly, pull off moves you could never do in real life.
Kingdom Hearts II takes the 32nd spot in this list of the best PS2 games of all time, bringing classic Disney characters into the world of role-play-gaming!
Huh, Dondald Duck in an RPG? What gives?
Surprisingly, this weird mixture of characters from the Final Fantasy universe and Disney’s back catalogue works incredibly well. Play as a chap wielding a big key as a sword as you search for King Mickey.
Ok, I admit it’s weird…
Still, having Disney characters from Bambi to Tron helping you on your adventure is a pretty cool gimmick, and both the plot and graphics are superb.
Players travel between worlds fighting ‘Nobodies’ and the ‘Heartless’. It’s all pretty deep stuff, though the hack-and-slash RPG gameplay is second to none, with players diving into some pretty gnarly battles that really wouldn’t feature in a Goofy cartoon.
Enjoy spotting Disney favourites and pulling out epic moves such as calling spirits into battle and giving enemies a bit of keyhole surgery (remember the Key Sword comment from above… it’s funny if you did…)
Katamari Damacy might look like a strange video game based on the sound of music, but it’s actually an enjoyable game that went on to spawn a pretty lucrative franchise.
And the best part is that it tool less than one-million dollars to make. Not bad, right?
But it’s no good just talking about cost margins; what’s going on in the game? Well, players control a prince on a mission to rebuild the night sky. Sounds like a lot for one person, but he’s the only one that can restore the stars and the moon after his father shattered them.
Now, I know what you’re thinking ‘How does a person go about such a task?’.
Well, players move a sticky ball around various locations, basically picking up everything and everything as they go along. You can stick staples, a chair, a person, a cow, and even a mountain once it get’s big enough, eventually making a star.
Oh yeah, it’s absolute madness from start to finish, but man is it addictive. It’s also so bizarre that it’s a great title to just escape with after a hard day at work. How many other games can you turn Mount Fuji into a star, for crying out loud!
NBA Street Vol. 2 sees 25 bonafide NBA heroes hitting the streets to prove who is the best at dunking, dribbling, and bragging about their skills.
All the greats turn up for the show; we’re taking Wilt Moses level of superstar fame right here!
And the best bit about this game is the Tony Hawk’s style urban theme to all of the courts. Play takes place on some pretty iconic street courts such as Mosswood and the legendary Soul in the Hole.
Man, I’d love to play there in real life!
3-on-3 basketball never looked better, Choose from your favourite players from your favourite teams and take part in four epic game modes. I’m not gonna lie; I spent a lot of time in Street School before heading into the other three modes; this game was tough to crack.
Once you’ve learnt all the moves and unlocked epic players like Julius Erving, then you’re probably ready for the ultimate test – playing against a friend.
Seriously, this game was so much fun, but my mates beat me all the time. Still, we’ve got some great couch co-op memories from this game and it’s a firm favourite on the Retro Dodo team lunch break.
Jak 2 is up next in this list of the best PS2 games of all time. It’s my third favourite Jak title and is a cracking game in it’s own right, even if you haven’t played The Precursor Legacy.
Why is it my third favourite? Well, it’s hard as nails for starters, but I do love the sort of eerie ‘Jet Force Gemini’ feel to the levels and the Dark Eco theme running through the game.
Jak becomes Dark Jak for the first time too after collecting enough Dark Eco. He gets enhanced skills and goes full on goth for a short amount of time…
… where do I get some of this Dark eco from?
Guns play much more of a pivotal role in Jak 2. I’m not sure whether this was to keep the duo up to date with other shooting games on the console or not. Still, it took a step away from the platformy feel of the first title while focusing on individual missions and hoverboard riding.
Oh yeah, I said hoverboard alright. Take the duo for a ride around some stunning levels, blasting enemies into next week while doing everything you can to stay alive.
It’s a beauty of a game alright with some of the best NPCs in any PlayStation adventure game. And, 101% completion nerds will love searching for all of the Precursor Orbs to get that fully finished save file.
There are so many Final Fantasy titles in the world that it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start. Still, Final Fantasy XII has always been one of my favourites and stands the test of time against many modern RPGs for next gen consoles today.
This game was important for a whole host of reasons, For starters, it was the title that brought open world gameplay to the canon. I daresay that it also shaped the way that other open world games were made long after it too.
Players have way more control over the actions of team members in battle too and the option of just rambling around looking for massive monsters to kill. Seriously, the possibilities are endless in this game, and the storyline is a fantasy fan’s best friend.
Set in the region of Ivalice at a time where war is rife, players follow a rogue princess turned resistance pirate and a young swordsman determined to join the ranks of the sky pirates.
Told you it was good!
For the first time, enemies can be seen in advance instead of popping up as random encounters. It gives gamers the chance to avoid them if necessary, though slaying monsters makes loot drop for spending in shops. Slay monsters in combos, and you get even more cash to spend.
In other words, points mean prizes, so defeat everything that you can see!
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is one of those games that is impossible to put down. Not because it’s tough (well, it is…) or that you want to complete it in one go (which you will), but because you feel like an absolute rock legend while playing it!
The premise is simple; press one of 5 coloured buttons in time to the rhythm of the music. Sound’s simple enough, especially if you can already play guitar, right?
I’ve played guitar since I was 10 years old and I still found this game tricky. Achieving that full ROCK factor was always a challenge, and although I can play most of these songs in real life, my fingers always fell over each other trying to get a high score!
Let’s get to the music. Rocking out to some of the greatest rock anthems of our time while wielding a guitar-shaped controller is one of the best feelings of all time.
Play as Slash or Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine fame once unlocked, or take your chosen character all the way to the top by completing challenges and proving your mettle through over 70 different songs.
We’re talking classics from Kiss, The Smashing Pumpkins, Poison, Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones and many more epic tunes.
Come for the music, stay for the multiplayer co-op mode and epic guitar battles. Trust us; you’ll love it!
Tales of Symphonia takes the 26th spot in this list of the best PS2 games of all time! Whether on the GameCube or the PS2, this RPG is a fantastic, cell-shaded classic that fans of Fire Emblem and Phantasy Star Online will love.
RPG fans will already know about the ‘Tales’ series, and Symphonia makes up the fifth title in the canon. It’s a game with serious Quest 64 crossed with Skies of Arcadia vibes and features some fantastic characters that you’ll find hard to forget.
For all the RPG newbies out there, here’s the lowdown for Tales of Symphonia. Players take a dude named Lloyd on a mission to save Sylvarant from some serious bad juju.
Yes, his name really is Lloyd, but he’s much more badass than his name might suggest!
Lloyd and his team must do everything in their power to save their world, but there’s a catch. Every move hangs in the balance, with one good deed in this world having a terrible effect on a parallel world.
The game itself is open world brilliance. It’s fast paced, the graphics are beautifully textured, and both the overworld and dungeon areas are spectacularly put together. You NEED this RPG in your life, so grab. copy today!
Kicking off the list with WWE Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain is a pretty good way to start. Considered by myself and many others to be the best wrestling game of all time, this title is a must have for every PS2 fan.
I used to run back from walking the dog every Saturday so that I could watch Stone Cold Steve Austin kicking the sh… I mean… wrestling against the likes of Kane and the Undertaker. The Hardy Boys vs Too Cool, D-Von fetching the tables; those were the days!
Here Comes The Pain kept all of the fast-paced WWE action that we loved along with the best characters from the TV Show. It also brought new features too such as a better grappling system and new modes like the Elimination Chamber.
Let’s talk about some of the epic wrestlers available in Here Comes The Pain. The Undertaker’s 90s costume, The Rock, Batista, Rey Mysterio, Kane unmasked; this title has them all and many more, with over 50 characters to choose from.
The game sold well over 300,000 copies during its lifetime in the UK alone, receiving platinum status. There’s something about battling your mates on the sofa and working out grudges using wrestling moves that you just can’t beat.
Grab a copy and give it a go!
Bully takes the 24th spot in this list of the best PS2 games of time.
This open world GTA-style free-for-all is a cracking title and another that needs to be in your collection. The jury was definitely out at to whether punters would like Bully. Violence and risqué content looked set to hamper sales, though 1.5 million people flocked to buy it.
Can’t have been that bad then, eh?
Players control James Hopkins, known through the game as Jimmy. He’s unwillingly been sent to Bullworth Academy for a year, and he’s on a one-boy-mission to stop bullying.
He goes about this by beating people up, completing missions, and rising to the top of the school popularity system. Sounds a bit like bullying with missions to me, but who am I to judge?
This is a great game for all those people who wished Harry Potter would lay the Smackdown a little more instead of getting Hermione to fight all his battles for him (she’s the real kick-ass character in those books!).
Players move around this massive game on bikes, go-karts, and skateboards while working their way to the top of the Bullworth social ladder. It’s a great title and one that will go down in history as one of the best PS2 games of all time!
It’s time for our first RPG title! Persona 4 is the fifth title in the Persona series, despite the confusing 4 on the front cover. Like Bully, it follows a year in the life of a high-school student, though murder and mystery are the main features this time.
Set in a sleepy-old-town with nothing going on, our city-boy main character must discover why dead bodies are appearing through the town while delving into the mysterious TV world.
Ok, that isn’t my definition of a town with nothing going on!
Corpses on rooftops, rumours of soulmates emerging from television sets, and shadow monsters that can only be fought by entering your screen. I don’t know about you, but I find this all pretty scary stuff!
One of the key elements of Persona 4 is the weather forecast system. Foggy days mark times that game events happen, giving players time to prepare for the unexpected… if that’s even possible.
The main character and the members of your RPG party all wield Personas. These are like a cross between Pokemon and Patronuses, mythical creatures that protect their owners and battle for them in the field as they struggle through life .
The whole game is classic RPG action at its best with more upgrading and collectable action than you can shake a stick at. We highly recommend trying this game out even if just for creating new Personas in the velvet room.
SSX Tricky takes the 22nd spot in this list of the best PS2 games of all time!
1080 Avalanche fans who missed out on the SSX series need this game in their lives. With four modes of play including Freeplay and World Circuit, Tricky provides maximum thrills with the added player hostility that makes these games so interesting.
Some computer characters like you, and others don’t. The ones that don’t like you will try to attack you, simple as.
SSX games allow players to hit each other in order to knock characters off course. Hit too many times and you’ll cause a grudge, making it harder for you to win future races.
As far as gameplay is concerned, the courses and characters all look amazing. Just check out those mountains in the picture above! Garibaldi and Alaska serve as two new courses, with the other tracks providing altered versions from the original SSX game.
Like most racing games, SSX Tricky has a boost bar that players must fill. Characters pull off insane tricks called Uber Moves once the boost bar is full. Land Uber Moves successfully and reap the rewards of infinite boost, allowing gamers to zip past opponents like a noss-fuelled toboggan.
Punch and nose grab (the move, not a real nose) your way to glory in this epic EA sports title. We can’t get enough of SSX tricky and recommend that everyone adds it into their PS2 games collection.
Could the cover for Dark Cloud make it look any more like a Zelda game? Probably not, but then again, if it helps to sell copies, then I guess it doesn’t matter.
It worked for Fenyx Immortals Rising and Windbound, both games I bought to fill that BOTW gap!
Dark Cloud is another RPG title in our list of the best PS2 games, providing gamers with dungeons, monsters, and collectible hunting a-plenty. I love the tense battles in this game and the treasure hunting features, all of which make me want to give up my job and become an adventurer.
Like Windbound (although Dark Cloud did it first), players need to watch a thirst meter as well as a health meter. Everyone knows water is more important than food, and when that thirst meter depletes, the main character’s health starts to deteriorate. Get some fluids in you, quickly!
Speaking of ‘the main character’, his name is Toan. Toan hacks and slashes his way through the game world collecting orbs to rebuild nature. Ransacking dungeons and battling enemies twice his size are daily occurrences, but he seems to enjoy getting stuck in.
The game has some RPG battle elements and boasts a weapon upgrading system. That’s right; weapons get better in Dark Cloud and not the people using them. It’s a unique twist on the levelling up mechanic, with weapons soaking up points after successfully defeating enemies.
I guess the weapons do most of the hard work in these situations; all we do is button mash!
As a sci-fi/fantasy nerd, Dark Cloud is high up on my best PS2 games list. There’s also a sequel that you might see later on in this article, though I’m not promising anything.
(Spoiler alert – it’s definitely further down, don’t worry).
If I’m being honest, I first got into SoulCalibur II back on the GameCube when Nintendo announced Link was joining the fight. I’m a humongous Zelda nerd and couldn’t wait to battle up close and personal using the Master Sword.
Since then, I’ve bought all of the games to get the other bonus fighters, and I truthfully don’t know which one I prefer the most!
For those not in the know, the PS2 version of SoulCalibur II came with Tekken legend Heihachi Mishima. GameCube gamers finally had the chance to use Link in epic battles, and Xbox users held the power of Spawn in their hands.
Players battle a series of characters in the story mode, unlocking new weapons and costumes as they go. Each character has a Soul Edge weapon that causes devastating damage but also drains health at the same time.
Nightmare and Astaroth are the two best characters for bludgeoning everything in sight. There’s Ivy with her whip and Voldo with his strange claws, along with a host of other unlockable characters to find while playing through the game.
If you still have friends to play couch co-op with, then SoulCalibur II is an amazing title to kick back with on a Saturday afternoon while tucking into a pizza. The levels are great, the weapons are gnarly, and there aren’t a tonne of complicated moves to remember.
For those about to rock, we salute you!
Yes, up next 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!
Another open world game, Jak 3 brings all of the features that gamers love about the dynamic duo to a brand new adventure brimming with crazy weapons and exciting items.
Missions make up the majority of this game, with specific challenges requiring completion in order to progress. Racing, gunning down enemies, and solving brain-teasers are the keys to success, accompanied all by the while by Daxter’s trademark humour.
New characters appear for gamers to interact with as they move around the unique Jak and Daxter universe. Creating an Ottsel wasn’t the only thing Naughty Dog got right in this series; the world looks phenomenal and is a joy to play through.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; the levels in these games are so richly textured and vibrant that it feels like you could climb through your TV and enter them!
I’ll have to make do with Persona 4 for that feeling for the time being, however…
If you’re a fan of the series, then it won’t surprise you to know that the duo get into more trouble than I’ve seen in a lifetime and have to fight their way out of tonnes of sticky situations. If you’re a fan of platformers, big hair, and Ottsels, then grab a copy immediately.
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!
Featuring one of the weirdest yet most iconic villain characters from any series and a storyline straight out of the therapy books, Silent Hill 2 is one that you won’t forget in a hurry!
Konami sure knows how to make great survival horror games, and this 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.
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!
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.
Sly 2: Band of Thieves takes the 12th spot in this list of the best PS2 games of all time!
I’ve always enjoyed Sly games; the stealth features are much easier to deal with than some of the other spy/stealth games in this list, making for a less stressful gaming experience.
Twinned with epic platformer elements and graphics akin to Spyro and Banjo-Kazooie, Sly 2 is a cracking game that players of all ages can enjoy…
… and I say that purely because I’m in my 30s and still love it. If it’s written down, it’s law.
Band of Thieves boasts a different style of level from the first Sly game, adding enough new features to draw fans back for another bite of the cherry.
Sly, Bentley, and Murray are after pieces of Clockwerk, the antagonist from the first game. Players can choose to use one of the three characters in a number of exciting missions, knocking back guards while watching that all important health bar.
Each character has different skills to help players in their missions. Bentley is stealthy and has computer-hacking skills, Sly can pickpocket guards, and Murray smashes everything in sight.
No prizes for guessing which character I use on a regular basis…
Murray… it’s Murray.
Fans of the first Sly game need to give this a try. It’s been fine tuned to 11 and provides an immersive action-packed adventure that gamers can lose themselves in after a long day at the office.
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!
Few games keep me awake at night as much as Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. It’s one of those titles that I just can’t stop thinking about once I start playing, making me walk around the house wearing a tie around my head just to feel like Raiden.
For fans of the series as a whole, Sons of Liberty is Hideo Kojima’s fourth foray into the Metal Gear world and the seventh title in the series. In addition, it’s also the sequel to the very first MGS title.
Still with me? Good, let’s continue.
This game sold a whopping 7-million copies. Can you believe that, 7 million! No wonder it features in every list of the best PS2 games of all time.
It’s also one of the deepest games of the console too, covering topics such as existentialism and freedom of thought. While critics thought these areas might be too much for the standard gamer to cope with, I guess 7-million people proved them wrong.
The graphics, storyline execution, gameplay, and characters in this game are second-to-none. It’s a thrilling ride from start to finish with plot elements that fans of 1984 may find interesting. I’ll say no more!
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.
Dark Cloud 2 takes the 8th spot in this list of the best PS2 games of all time!
Using a spanner and a sword, two characters much change the past order to alter the future. Sounds intriguing, right?
In Europe, this game is called Dark Chronicle. In any case, it’s kind-of a sequel to the first Dark Cloud game in the sense that the gameplay and style is the same, though the characters and plot are completely different.
A sequel but not a sequel…got it?
Features from the first game including the need to retrieve items to rebuild the overworld outside of dungeons and upgrading weapons return in this new game.
Interestingly, Dark Cloud 2 also has a Sim City-style world building mode that players can access after collecting a required amount of Geostones. It’s like Black & White crossed with Dungeons and Dragons, which sounds like a cocktail for success!
The worlds are big and the two characters fighting to save the world from Emperor Griffin don’t know the meaning of the phrase ‘take a day off’.
Expect time travel, epic RPG battles, and a whole host of interesting NPCs to meet and recruit along the way.
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.
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!