35 best ps2 games of all time

The PlayStation 2 is somewhat of a forgotten console, especially since there have sầu been two (and almost three) upgraded consoles since then. However, if you’ve been gaming for a long time, you still remember what this retro console was like. 

Two decades later, there are still plenty of PS2 games that you can purchase if you’re interested in enjoying a little bit of nostalgia or taking a break from the hype of the PS4 và PS5.

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It’s no surprise that the PS2 is the most successful video game console of all time, moving a whopping 158 million units worldwide. The PS2’s unprecedented success also meant that new games came out in droves. There were hundreds of legitimately good games for PS2, which makes narrowing that các mục down khổng lồ the absolute essentials a daunting task. We’ve sầu tried to bởi just that here. Separated by genre, here are our picks for the best PS2 games of all time.

We’ve also found the best PS1 games, PS3 games, and top PS4 games lớn play right now.

Action

Resident Evil 4

One of the greatest Resident Evil games of all time, Resident Evil 4 created a new blueprint for the popular horror game genre. You played as Leon Kennedy, a police officer tasked with rescuing the president’s daughter from a terrifying cult. While some longtime fans weren’t all too pleased with the turn to action-oriented gameplay và far fewer jump scares, you’d be hard-pressed to name a better third-person shooter from the PS2 era.

Running down hordes of zombies, monsters, and impressive bosses always provided a thrill. With limited ammo available, you always had to lớn make your shots count. RE4‘s environments & the non-linear thiết lập offered tantalizing reasons to revisit RE4 after you reached the credits. The Resident Evil series has since gone baông chồng khổng lồ its horror roots with Resident Evil 7, but RE4 will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Read our full Resident Evil 7 review

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time really came out of left field. While the previous two entries in the series were well-received, no one could’ve sầu expected The Sands of Time lớn literally change the game. With a mighty assist from the Prince’s dagger, The Sands of Time quickly became one of the best PS2 action-platformers upon launch in 2003.

The Prince’s dagger wielded a nifty ability that allowed you khổng lồ rewind time. This came in handy for tough jumps & when falling in battle. You could even freeze enemies in place. The Sands of Time also told a great story, featured innovative sầu puzzle sequences, and had excellent cấp độ thiết kế.

Viewtiful Joe

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Viewtiful Joe brought a comic book khổng lồ life. Created by Hideki Kamiya, Viewtiful Joe follows Joe, an unassuming guy who suddenly finds himself in Movieland & in a fight to lớn preserve the universe.

Fashioned as a side-scrolling beat ’em up, Viewtiful Joe stood out for its comic book art style, where panels of a comic book became scenes that you could play. Viewtiful Joe‘s arresting art style still looks great 15 years later. If only the franchise would get a revival. Imagine Viewtiful Joe on Nintenvì chưng Switch. Sounds perfect to lớn us.

Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening

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Third time’s the charm, as they say. Devil May Cry was great. Devil May Cry 2 was not so great. Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening was exquisite. A prequel lớn the original, Dante’s Awakening showed off the frayed relationship between Dante và his brother Vergil in all its messy glory. Devil May Cry 3 stood out for its superb gameplay.

Though you can gọi it a hack and slash, DMC3 had more nuance than your ordinary button masher — especially because it proved khổng lồ be very challenging, requiring players to lớn string together pretty combos khổng lồ stay alive. Packed full of brooding attitude & great music khổng lồ help you get in your combat groove sầu, DMC3 remains an action game classic today. It has influenced plenty of games in its genre in the years after its release.

God of War

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Sure, 2018’s God of War is easily the best entry in the Sony series, but let’s not forget about 2005’s God of War, one of the most impressive sầu action games of the era. God of War introduced us khổng lồ Kratos và a world steeped in Greek mythology.

Featuring colossal boss fights và the ridiculously cool Blades of Chaos, God of War was action game bliss. The puzzles & platforming sequences weren’t too shabby either. God of War jump-started one of Sony’s most well-known series. Though it hasn’t aged as well as some other PS2 games, in 2005, it was awesome.

Read our full God of War review

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

It’s hard to lớn find a more ambitious game on PS2 than Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Developed by Konami và led by renowned creator Hideo Kojima, Sons of Liberty tried lớn touch on a wide array of lofty and complicated themes, including some post-truth politics that happen to lớn be present today.

Once again, you play as Solid Snake, sneaking your way through a multitude of areas, inching closer và closer to lớn uncovering a grand conspiracy that spreads worldwide. Though sometimes confusing and overwritten, Sons of Liberty is commonly referred khổng lồ as one of the greachạy thử games of all time. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was also superb, but we give sầu the nod to Sons of Liberty here.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

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During the PS2 era, no game franchise stirred more controversy than Rockstar’s Gr& Theft Auto. From the không tính phí reign it gave players lớn murder anyone they saw to its sexual themes và more, Gr& Theft Aulớn was the main target for those who thought đoạn Clip games negatively affected teens. That didn’t stop Grvà Theft Auto: Vice City from becoming one of the best-selling games on PS2. And for good reason.

Set in an open world based off of Miami, Vice City featured engaging missions, tons of side content, and an “everything but the kitchen sink” approach lớn its open world. Though Grvà Theft Auto lớn III had already successfully turned the franchise inlớn a 3D open-world game, Vice City refined the formula, making it one of the greakiểm tra experiences lớn be had on the PS2.

Socom II U.S. Navy Seals

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A tactical third-person shooter, Socom II U.S. Navy Seals is the game we rethành viên most when we think about online multiplayer on PS2. The platform wasn’t especially known for online features, but Socom II became a well-known online staple thanks to its riveting team-based gameplay.

Socom II also had a great single-player campaign featuring 12 large missions that took players all across the world. Socom II is a relic of early online shooters today, but it’s an important game to consider when thinking about the history of team-oriented shooters.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow

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Sam Fisher’s second espionage adventure featured numerous critical improvements over the already great original. For starters, enemy AI was smarter & detection wasn’t nearly as wonky, making for a more realistic experience of sneaking past và taking down enemies.

The story, phối in 2006, sent Fisher khổng lồ East Timor to a growing militia. Once again, the story was a tightly wound political thriller with high stakes. In terms of stealth-action games on PS2, Pandora Tomorrow và the other Splinter Cell games were unmatched.

Adventure

Shadow of the Colossus

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Shadow of the Colossus is arguably the greatest game khổng lồ grace the PS2. Developed by SIE Japan and Team ICO, và directed by Fumito lớn Uedomain authority, Shadow of the Colossus followed Wander, a young man who comes khổng lồ a strange land khổng lồ resurrect a young girl named Mono. To bởi vì so, he must travel by horsebaông xã to lớn the locations of sixteen Colosmê man. And slay them one by one.

Each Colossus is simply marvelous in scope and demeanor. You had khổng lồ climb their massive bodies, find their weak points, & destroy them with your trusty sword. While these boss fights were the main means of gameplay, Shadow of the Colossus excelled on an atmospheric cấp độ, too. The gorgeous world provided a breathtaking adventure to embark on. PlayStation 4 owners were reminded of how stunning of an achievement this game was when an HD remake landed on the console back in 2018.

Okami

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Clover Studio’s Okami launched in the final months of the PlayStation 2 era khổng lồ critical acclayên ổn. However, sales for the game never took off and Clover shut its doors shortly after launch. What a shame, too, because the gorgeous cel-shaded tour through Japanese folklore was one of the very best adventure games for PS2.

Playing as a trắng wolf, you progressed through the game in a similar fashion to 3 chiều The Legend of Zelda games. While no game quite captures the magic of The Legkết thúc of Zelda, Okami came incredibly cthua kém. Thankfully, the game has since been remastered for Xbox One, PS4, và Switch, breathing new life inkhổng lồ this essential adventure.

Ico

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Before Shadow of Colossus came Ico, another masterpiece from the mind of Fumilớn Ueda. In Ico, the eponymous boy is thrown inside an abandoned fortress because the people of the village believe his horns, which he was born with, would curse the village. Once inside the supposedly abandoned place, Iteo finds Yorda, a princess whose mother wants khổng lồ sacrifice to lớn live sầu forever.

What ensues is an escape attempt in which Ico guides the princess through the fortress to safety. Filled with smart puzzles and shadow creatures that jump from the floor và walls khổng lồ try and contain Yorda, Ico is engaging lớn play. Like Shadow of the Colossus, though, Iteo stood out for its atmosphere, which created feelings of melancholy, hope, và wonder all in the span of a few moments.

Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill 2 took players bachồng to the eponymous town in the successor, but not a direct sequel, lớn the Konangươi game that helped define the horror genre. In Silent Hill 2, James Sunderland goes lớn the town three years after his wife’s death after getting a letter alluding to the fact that she may not be dead after all. Naturally, things don’t go as planned, and the town soon makes James and the player controlling hlặng a bit mad in the head. Silent Hill 2 masterfully injected its special brand of psychological horror into the town, making you wonder what was real và what was just a figment of your tortured mind.

Fighting

SoulCalibur II

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SoulCalibur II, the first entry in the series to grace a Sony console, featured better graphics, gameplay, và more game modes than the original and rapidly became a bestseller following its 2002 launch. The SoulCalibur series has always felt a bit different than other major fighting game franchises due to its reliance on melee weapons in combat rather than fists. SoulCalibur II added much-needed improvements to lớn defense và counters, creating a balanced fighting experience that favored skill over button mashing.

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First-person shooters

TimeSplitters 2

TimeSplitters 2 let you and your friends mow down the Gingerbread Man, Undead Priests, Monkeys, và a clown named Stumpy. Do we need to lớn baông xã up its inclusion on this list? Seriously, though, if you wanted lớn play a fast-paced, zany FPS, TimeSplitters 2 was your best option.

Featuring a dazzling set of fun guns, great mechanics, và cool maps, the multiplayer was good for long couch sessions with friends and family. The single-player chiến dịch was also over-the-top and delightful.

Music

Guitar Hero

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Guitar Hero turned all of us into lớn make-believe sầu roông chồng stars. Released in 2005, the game came bundled with a plastic replica of a Gibson guitar with five face buttons. Little did we know that it would become one of the most popular franchises and tiệc ngọt games of an era.

As far as rhythm games go, Guitar Hero is arguably the best ever. Honing your skills lớn be able khổng lồ play hard & expert tracks, which utilized all five buttons was endlessly entertaining. Regardless of how silly it made you look while playing, mastering a tuy nhiên on expert felt like a true triumph.

Platformers

Psychonauts

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From the mind of Tyên Schafer, Psychonauts starred Raz, a young boy with psychic abilities. While at a summer camp learning lớn become a psychic spy alongside other gifted children, Raz discovers everything is not as it seems.

Featuring a chất lượng, cartoonish art style that only Double Fine Productions could come up with, Psychonauts oozed peculiar appeal. The writing was charming, the world kiến thiết was varied và surprising, và the platforming sequences and powers were a joy. The long-awaited sequel, Psychonauts 2, is expected to lớn arrive sometime this year.

Ratchet và Clank: Up Your Arsenal

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Insomniac Games’ Ratchet và Clank series was one of the best franchises on PS2. Following the interstellar adventures of the Lombax Ratchet và his pal robot Clank, the series was never short on great action, platforming, and humor. Ahem, Up Your Arsenal.

The third entry in the series gets the nod here because everything that made Ratchet & Clank great — awesome guns, killer gadgets, sweet phối pieces — even better. Unlượt thích some other popular PS2 franchises, Ratchet và Clank offered fun for the whole family.

Jak II

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While Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy had a relatively small scope, Jak II wildly expanded on Naughty Dog’s platforming series. Jak II was set in a fairly large open world, gave sầu our nhân vật guns, và let hyên commandeer any hover oto he pleased. Yes, Naughty Dog turned Jak and Daxter inlớn a family-friendly version of Grvà Theft Aulớn in some ways.

Haven City, the main setting of the game, was a dystopia filled with interesting characters & activities. The solid platforming sections and humor from the original returned as well. The Jak series is universally great, but Jak II was by the best one. The HD remaster of Jak II is available on both PS3 and PS4.

Katamari Damacy

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The quirkiest game on this danh sách, Katamari Damacy followed a young celestial prince in his pursuit of rolling up all the contents of Earth to rebuild the moon and the stars. His father, King of All Cosmos, accidentally destroyed these important things while drunk. Whoops. The gameplay simply revolved around picking up progressively larger items, from shoes to pets to homes lớn clouds.

With a catchy soundtrachồng và a premise so relaxing that it puts you in a calming trance, Katamari Damacy was more than just a strange Japanese game; it was one of the best platformer-puzzlers lớn roll onlớn PS2. A remastered edition, Katamari Damacy Reroll, is available now on Nintenvị Switch and PC.

Sly 2: Bvà of Thieves

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Sly 2: Band of Thieves rounds out the excellent trio of cartoonish platformers — Ratchet và Clank, Jak và Daxter, & Sly Cooper — that won over our hearts on PS2. While Ratchet và Jak were more similar to one another, Sly Cooper relied on stealth rather than going in guns blazing.

The main new addition lớn B& of thieves, the best PS2 entry, was the ability lớn play as Bentley and Murray in addition to lớn Sly. Each character had their own quality skill mix that changed the way you had to approach a màn chơi, all of which were more open than in the original. More lighthearted than your average stealth game, Sly 2: Band of Thieves held laughs, charm, & excellent stealth mechanics that rivaled the more “serious” stealth games of the time.

Racing

Gran Turismo 4

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The premier racing game for Sony consoles since the original PlayStation, Gran Turismo 4 was easily one of the most impressive sầu games on PS2. Not only did it feature a dizzying number of tracks và cars, but it went as far as khổng lồ care about the tiniest technical details such as the rubber on tires wearing out. Gran Turismo 4 firmly fell in the “serious” racing syên category, so it wasn’t for everyone but if you wanted khổng lồ feel lượt thích a true race oto driver, there was no better option on PS2.

Burnout 3: Takedown

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The polar opposite of Gran Turismo, the Burnout series was all about high octane stunts, crashes, & over-the-top racing mechanics. Burnout 3: Takedown, we’d argue, has a higher fun factor than just about any racing game — ever. This is in large part due khổng lồ its eponymous mode which let you play a sort of battle royale with cars.

In Takedown matches, your goal was to ram other cars until they were heaps of metal, all the while flying at speeds of over 100mph. It was almost too fun, especially when you played with friends. Burnout 3 had a ton of different single-player challenges, from traditional races lớn stunt challenges và more, all of which kept us playing Takedown long after its launch.

Role-playing

Final Fantasy X

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The first Final Fantasy game for PS2, Final Fantasy X revised the rules of the classic role-playing franchise to lớn great success. The active sầu time battle system was replaced with a more traditional turn-based system và the nâng cấp system was significantly overhauled with a skill tree.

You played as Tidus, a Blitzball star who watches his hometown get destroyed by the evil entity known as Sin. Tidus then finds himself on a journey in Spira lớn take down Sin alongside Yuna, a summoner, and several other buổi tiệc nhỏ members. A massive game, Final Fantasy X featured great trùm fights, a well-written story, and wonderful cutscenes. Final Fantasy X has since been remastered for every PlayStation platform, and it’s every bit as great today as it was in 2001.

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King

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The Dragon Quest series has never fully caught on outside of Japan. That’s a shame because the franchise is trang chính lớn some of the best JRPG experiences you can play. And Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is arguably the best the series has khổng lồ offer. As the first DQ game to lớn be fully made in 3D, Journey of the Cursed King was rendered in gorgeous, cel-shaded graphics that still look good today.

You played as a nameless hero who joins up with others khổng lồ defeat a terrible evil. None of the DQ games have especially awesome stories lớn tell, but Journey of the Cursed King had great environments lớn explore, a wide variety of enemies, và an addictive sầu progression system. It was incredibly easy lớn sink 100 hours into lớn DQVIII. If you missed out, you can pick up the excellent 3DS port.

Shin Megamày Tensei: Persomãng cầu 4

Persona 4 is the newest game on this các mục, as it actually launched on PS2 nearly two years after the PlayStation 3 launched. Persona 4 was part regular RPG, part teenage dating simulator. You played as a high school student in the Japanese countryside. A portion of the game takes place in the real world, while the other part happens in the TV World, a strange place where you và your friends could harness the power of Persona.

Like each Shin Megami Tensei game before it, Persona 4 took a few hours lớn really get going, but when it clicks, good luông chồng pulling yourself away from your TV. This gargantuan RPG can take more than 100 hours to lớn complete, but each minute spent in Persona 4 is time well spent. The story was deep & engaging, the characters came lớn life, & the highly varied gameplay always delighted. Persomãng cầu 4 grew in popularity when it launched on Vita as Persona 4 Golden. If you don’t have sầu the means to lớn play either version, though, we heartily recommover checking out Persona 5.

Kingdom Hearts

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Kingdom Hearts was built off a truly bizarre premise: Disney mashed up with Final Fantasy. Strangely, though, Kingdom Hearts worked. You played as Sora, accompanied by Donald Duchồng & Goofy, on a mission to lớn rid a bevy of worlds from the Heartless. You visited classic Disney worlds inhabited by characters such as Tarzan, Jaông xã Skellington, Hercules, Alice, Aladdin, and many more.

While the action RPG combat wasn’t always the best, the world-building, music, & story elevated Kingdom Hearts into lớn one of the most memorable PS2 games. If you haven’t played Kingdom Hearts before, you can pichồng up the entire collection on PS4 — or you can go ahead và jump right into Kingdom Hearts 3.

Sports

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4

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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 changed the super successful franchise for the better. In previous entries, you had a set amount of time to complete objectives in a contained màn chơi. In THPS4, you were unleashed inkhổng lồ a much larger set of levels, free khổng lồ roam as you please, picking up challenges from fellow skaters on the map at your convenience. The change fundamentally altered how the experience played.

The skateboarding game itself, which let you chain together ridiculous combos, was also improved in THPS4. Though THPS is now a franchise of the past, we would love sầu to somehow replay THPS4 on current generation consoles. It likely will never happen due khổng lồ music licensing, but at least we’ll always have fond memories.

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SSX 3

Extreme sports games may not have sầu been as popular as they once were, but these games were (and are) still plenty of fun to lớn dust off và play. Just like THPS, EA’s SSX series fell by the wayside after enjoying a good run in the PS2 era. The third entry in the franchise, SSX 3, was by far the best. SSX 3 moved the snowboarding slặng khổng lồ an open world, giving players the freedom to lớn roam similar to lớn THPS4.

The single-player chiến dịch allowed gamers to lớn go across the mountain & unlochồng items at their own speed. SSX 3 also featured a terrific couch multiplayer. It’s not the most lifelike snowboarding game, but it’s definitely fun. 

NBA Street Vol. 2

If you love NBA Jam, one of the most popular retro arcade games of all time, you will love sầu the NBA Street Game series. NBA Street Games have a lot more moves available than NBA Jam. You can perform not just the NBA Jam dunks and long shots but also dribbling sequences và slichồng passes. 

Of the NBA Street trò chơi series, we’ve included Vol. 2 because of its “Be A Legkết thúc Feature.” In “Be A Legover,” your character can travel around the world to play against other teams.