What Are The Most Underrated Playstation 2 Games Of All Time?

underrated PS2 games Retro dodo feature image

Sony’s PlayStation successor, the PS2, launched in the year 2000 and was an instant hit. And trust us, with more than 3800 games released for the console, there are a lot of underrated PS2 games kicking about!

The PS2 had one of the longest lifespans of any console in history, finally ceasing production in 2013. The software library was unsurprisingly huge too, boasting over 155 million consoles sold in that time.

When you think of the best PS2 games, there’s likely a number of big hitters that come to mind – or the great examples of titles in specific genres.

Yet with such a huge selection of games available, it’s not surprising that some may not have got the time in the limelight that they deserved. Or perhaps, they were unfairly overlooked or criticised at the time of release, yet time has been kind to them.

let’s take a look at 15 underrated PS2 Games. It’s time to see what we all missed out on!

1. Mashed (2004) and Mashed: Fully Loaded (2005)

Underrated PS2 Games - Mashed and Mashed: Fully Loaded game case cover art
image credit: supersonic

Best known for their Micro Machines 16-bit racing games, Supersonic Software released Mashed (published by Empire Interactive) in 2004 to little critical or commercial success.

Yet those who played it will tell you just how uproariously fun it was, especially in local multiplayer.

Similar in terms of mechanics to Micro Machines – with players trying to outrace opponents so until they dropped out of camera range – the game featured full-size cars with exaggerated physics.

Expect numerous weapons, power-ups and a multiplayer mode that allowed two players to share a controller each. That meant up to four people could play with two controllers.

mashed ps2 gameplay
image credit: supersonic

Or, if you were fancy, a multitap could be used to connect two extra controllers to the PS2.

It was a no-frills, lightning-fast game in which several rounds could be blasted through in minutes. It’s a crime that it was so overlooked and under-appreciated!

Mashed (and its successor, which is definitely the one to go for if you have the option) is still one of the most intuitive and newcomer friendly multiplayer games on the PS2; without doubt one of the most underrated PS2 games.

2. Auto Modellista (2002)

Underrated PS2 Games - Auto Modellista game case cover art
image credit: capcom

A unique cel-shaded, comic-book style meant that Auto Modellista was a real looker in its day. And luckily, time has been kind to the stylish visuals of Capcom’s racer.

Sony’s audience and critics, however, were in love with the realism of games such as Gran Turismo. You know what that means; Auto Modellista just wasn’t taken seriously.

If Auto Modellista had been given a chance, audiences would have discovered that it went to great lengths to be a very technical, detailed racing game, despite the cartoonish appearance.

Auto Modellista ps2 gameplay
image credit: capcom

An incredible number of car parts and customisation options were available in the game. As was an online mode supporting races with up to 8 players.

Yeah; 8 players, a feature that was somewhat ahead of its time in 2002.

Criminally overlooked and underrated, Auto Modellista deserved so much more. It’s more than earned its place near the very top of the underrated PS2 games list.

3. Transformers (2004)

Underrated PS2 Games - Transformers game case cover art
image credit: atari

Despite the premise of the cartoons, toy line and films, there have rarely been decent games featuring the Cybertonian warrior factions; the Decepticons and Autobots.

Activision/High Moon’s War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron are the absolute pinnacle of Transformers games. But, this 2004 title was also excellent in its day.

Activision/High Moon’s War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron are the absolute pinnacle of Transformers games. But, this 2004 title was also excellent in its day.

transformers ps2 gameplay
image credit: atari

Also, I think we can all agree that the punishingly hard difficulty did mar the experience somewhat…

With a great sense of scale, huge levels, and customisation of the three available Autobot characters through the use of ‘Mini-Cons’, Transformers was a great game that didn’t receive the critical or commercial attention that it deserved.

Activision additionally released a Director’s Cut version in the EU. The only difference with this edition was the inclusion of a ‘Making of’ documentary on a bonus DVD.

4. The Thing (2002)

The Thing game case cover art
image credit: konami

A sequel to John Carpenter’s excellent 1982 remake of The Thing from Another World, this 2002 action/survival horror featured a number of clever features.

The Thing boasts advanced AI (for its time) based on a system of Fear/Trust. This determines whether or not NPCs will assist the player in tackling the horrors they encounter. Plus, game events and even environments have an effect on the state of mind of non-player characters.

Similarly, any NPC can be infected by The Thing. That means that the player can also be in the dark about who is an alien impostor at any time.

the thing ps2 gameplay
image credit: konami

Though seen as a sales success at the time of release, critical reaction was fairly muted. Still, the game has been subject to a much warmer reappraisal in the years since it emerged.

Despite all this, it still feels as if it needs highlighting as an underrated PS2 game. It’s a shame that The Thing has been forgotten by many gamers.

Perhaps a sequel would have meant it had more time to shine. Sadly, the collapse of its developer caused the second game to be killed before it was completed.

5. Forbidden Siren (aka Siren) (2003)

Forbidden Siren game case cover art
image credit: sony

This is one of the best PS2 horror games that is truly scary, placing you in the position of the zombie-like bad guys.

Yes, Forbidden Siren takes the 5th spot in this list of the most underrated PS2 games of all time. It was pretty overlooked upon release in 2003, receiving lukewarm reviews in the West.

Sadly, it didn’t make much of an impact on players either.

Players were cast in the role of humans with the power of ‘sightjacking’, allowing them to telepathically connect to the zombie-esque ‘Shibito’. Sounds cool right? The catch; they left themselves exposed and vulnerable as they do so.

Forbidden Siren ps2 gameplay
image credit: sony

It was terrifying to view the world through the rabid eyes of the gibbering Shibito. They shriek and call their fellow creatures to attack when they found humans, for crying out loud!

The game was well supported by Sony – receiving two sequels and even a loose film adaptation. Still, it does somehow seem to have been forgotten in favour of the bigger budget, more famous horror franchises such as Silent Hill and Resident Evil.

It’s a shame, as it’s incredibly scary and inventive with its horror. It’s undoubtedly a worthy inclusion for our list of the best and, often obscure, underrated PS2 games.

6. Dog’s Life (2003)

Dog's Life game case cover art
image credit: frontier

As the average age of gamers skewed upwards in the PS1 and PS2 era, magazines selling themselves on edgy, ‘mature’ content often didn’t know what to do with games that appeared to appeal more to younger gamers.

Despite its cutesy exterior, Dog’s Life had such a unique premise that it deserved to be experienced by more gamers. It certainly deserved a warmer critical reception than it received.

Even now as one of my favourite underrated PS2 games, it still feels unique. The title casts players in the role of a rotating group of dogs. Each pooch is able to utilise canine ‘Smellovision’ to sniff out challenges and items.

image credit: frontier

Your dogs can do tricks, coax humans into giving them snacks and even urinate (as well as defecate!) to mark territory.

It’s a game with few peers and is sadly overlooked by many despite its pedigree…

… that was a ruff pun, wasn’t it?. 

7. Second Sight (2004)

Underrated PS2 Games - Second Sight game case cover art
image credit: codemasters

Had Second Sight released at pretty much any other time, it would have gone down as a classic. However, it emerged alongside Midway’s very similarly psychic-power based third person shooter Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy.

Whereas Midway’s title favoured player controlled, physics-engine driven psychic carnage to critical and commercial acclaim, Second Sight’s more stealth and story-led approach was quieter and more thoughtful.

This meant that it was easily overshadowed by Psi-Ops, which grabbed the attention of players with its chaotic psycho-pyrotechnics.

Second Sight
image credit: codemasters

It’s a real shame, because Second Sight is a truly compelling game. It has a unique feel that should have been able to stand on its own merits, despite the surface-level thematic similarity to Midway’s game.

THQ Nordic acquired the rights to Second Sight in 2018, so it may yet get a second (ahem) life.

One which is most definitely deserved – as is its entry on the underrated PS2 games list!

8. Rez (2001)

Rez game case cover art
image credit: sega

Despite being critically lauded on both Dreamcast and PS2 upon initial release, Rez was a commercial failure on both formats.

That’s why it made it into this list of underrated PS2 games, after all!

Combined sales for the PS2 and Dreamcast in Japan and North America didn’t even reach 150,000 units.

Still, Rez is an absolutely astonishing game that goes above and beyond being the slightly abstract on-rails shooter it appears to be.

Creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi created Rez using concepts based on Kandinsky’s theory of Synethesia. Put simply, the sensations created by the combination of different senses being stimulated at once.

rez ps2 gameplay
image credit: sega

In the case of Rez, it’s audio, visual and touch feedback – the latter through vibration – that work as one to create a synesthetic experience.

The retro-futuristic stages build up from simple wireframes with minimal sounds to a crescendo of light, colour, densely layered dance music and spectacular graphical effects by the time you reach each boss.

And, incredibly, the game hasn’t aged a day!

The unique style still feels as fresh as it did twenty years ago . and, surprisingly, the game’s music still feels as up to date and compelling as it did in 2001 too.

Though not underrated in a critical sense, Rez was definitely under-appreciated by audiences. Still, HD re-releases and even VR updates have managed to keep the synesthetic fever dream alive in subsequent years.

9. Gregory Horror Show (2003)

Underrated PS2 Games - Gregory Horror Show game case cover art
image credit: capcom

Based on an obscure, CG-based Japanese animé, Gregory Horror Show marks the 9th spot in this list of the most underrated PS2 games ever.

Unfortunately, it never made it to North American shores. Still, it did release in Japan and made it to PAL territories too.

It’s a real oddity; a jump scare-laden stealth game.

Set in a hotel run by a mouse named Gregory – which sees the player tasked (by Death himself) with collecting lost souls that are being held by the hotel’s guests.

Gregory Horror Show capcom ps2 gameplay
image credit: capcom

To collect the souls, players must voyeuristically spy on each guest and observe their nightly routines. The aim is to look for the opportunity to steal the bottled souls and eventually escape the purgatorial B&B.

To this day, it still feels like an incredibly innovative and utterly unique game. It feels almost like an experimental indie title, though it was developed and released by Capcom – hardly a small publisher!

10. Aliens vs Predator: Extinction (2003)

Alien Vs Predator: Extinction game case cover art
image credit: ea

First up in out list of the most underrated PS2 games of all time is Aliens vs Predator: Extinction!

The first glimpse of a Xenomorph skull on the trophy wall of a Predator was intended to be an in-joke by the special effects team.

Still, it ended up sparking the imagination of fans worldwide.

A Dark Horse Aliens vs Predator comic came a few months before that shot. But, with the film in production when the comic was published, it’s hard to say which truly came first. And, whether or not one influenced the other.

In any case, the Aliens vs Predator concept has led to countless comic book series. Don’t forget the novels, a few (pretty disastrous) films and, of course, video games.

Aliens vs Predator: Extinction gameplay
image credit: ea

The most famous examples of the video games are the first person shooters, most of which are by Rebellion. but, there have also been beat ‘em ups (by Capcom in the arcade and Activision on SNES) and even a basic Metroidvania style title (on the original Game Boy).

Yet, EA-published PS2 title Aliens vs Predator: Extinction took an entirely different approach – it was an RTS.

With a choice of Aliens, Predators or Colonial Marines as playable factions and with three distinct campaigns, it was surprisingly fast-paced for a strategy game. We’re talking excellent gameplay mechanics that perfectly fit each faction’s lore.

Oh, and movie-accurate sound effects and plenty of film (and comic book) references for fans to lap up.

While time hasn’t been kind to the somewhat boxy character models, Aliens vs Predator: Extinction is still a very playable, enjoyable game today. Trust us; it’s definitely one of the most Underrated PS2 Games out there!

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