Despite being over two decades old, the PS2 is still regarded by many as one of the best consoles ever made. This is not just because of its impressive hardware but also because of the many iconic games released on the platform. In this article, we will be exploring some of the greatest PS2 games in history.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Released in 2004, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is an open-world action-adventure game in a fictionalized version of California. Players take on the role of Carl “CJ” Johnson, a former gang member who returns to Los Santos to seek revenge on those who murdered his mother. The game features a vast world, various vehicles and weapons, and a compelling storyline.
While there are newer versions of this game, such as 4 and 5, San Andreas, and the previous version, Vice City, which represents the legendary titles that provided many people with hours of fun, you can also find improved versions that are more suitable for PCs these days.
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X was a highly anticipated title in the long-running Final Fantasy series, and it did not disappoint. The game’s story is one of its most notable features, with a complex and emotional narrative that explores themes such as love, loss, sacrifice, and redemption. In addition, Tidus, the game’s protagonist, is a relatable and likable character who grows and changes throughout the game.
The game’s combat system is also a highlight, featuring a turn-based battle system that allows players to choose their actions in battle strategically. Each character has unique strengths and weaknesses, and players must learn to use them effectively to overcome challenging enemies and bosses. The game also features an extensive character customization system that allows players to improve their characters’ abilities and stats through a unique sphere grid system.
God of War
God of War is an iconic video game widely regarded as one of the best action-adventure games of all time. Set in the ancient Greek world, the game features breathtaking visuals and a richly detailed mythological landscape, immersing players in a world of gods, monsters, and epic battles.
As Kratos, players navigate treacherous environments, solve intricate puzzles, and engage in heart-pounding combat against legendary creatures, including the Hydra, Medusa, and the Colossus of Rhodes. Kratos wields an array of weapons, including the iconic Blades of Chaos, a pair of chained blades that can be used to devastating effect.
The game’s story is deeply compelling, exploring themes of revenge, betrayal, and redemption as Kratos seeks to overthrow the gods who have wronged him. Along the way, players encounter a diverse cast of characters, including the gods of Olympus, Kratos’ family, and various mythical creatures, all brought to life through impressive voice acting and stunning graphics.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a legendary video game widely recognized as one of the greatest stealth-action games ever. Set in the height of the Cold War, the game takes players on a thrilling journey through the Soviet Union, where they take on the role of Naked Snake, a highly trained CIA operative.
As Snake, players must infiltrate a secret research facility to rescue a defecting scientist, facing off against enemy soldiers, dangerous traps, and lethal creatures. The game offers a unique blend of stealth and combat gameplay, allowing players to approach each mission in their way, whether through sneaking past enemies or engaging in intense gunfights.
One of the game’s standout features is its innovative survival system, which requires players to manage Snake’s health, stamina, and hunger by hunting animals, foraging for food, and treating injuries. This system adds a new layer of depth to the gameplay, forcing players to balance their actions and make strategic decisions to survive carefully.
Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus is a critically acclaimed action-adventure game that has become a timeless classic in the gaming world. Released in 2005, the game takes players on an unforgettable journey through a desolate, otherworldly landscape, where they assume the role of Wander, a young man who has journeyed to a forbidden land to resurrect a girl named Mono.
To accomplish this goal, Wander must defeat 16 colossal beings, each an intricate puzzle and an epic battle. Each colossus presents unique challenges, requiring players to carefully observe and study their movements and weaknesses to overcome them. In addition, the game’s breathtaking art style and hauntingly beautiful soundtrack make each encounter with a colossus feel like an epic and emotionally charged experience.
The game’s minimalist story leaves much of the interpretation to the player’s imagination. The narrative is conveyed through subtle visual and environmental cues, and the interactions between Wander and his horse, Agro, add emotional depth to the game. The sparse storytelling approach allows players to form their interpretations of the events unfolding before them, leaving a lasting impression long after the game’s credits roll.
Kingdom Hearts is an action RPG released in 2002. The game features characters from the Disney and Final Fantasy franchises and follows the story of Sora, a young boy who must travel to different worlds to stop an evil force known as the Heartless. The game features real-time combat, a deep, engaging storyline, and memorable characters.
Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 is a classic survival-horror game that revolutionized the genre when it was released in 2005. The game immerses players in a dark and chilling atmosphere in a remote European village. They must survive hordes of infected villagers and grotesque creatures while investigating the mysterious disappearance of the President’s daughter.
Players take on the role of Leon S. Kennedy, a former police officer dispatched to the village on a top-secret mission. As Leon, players must use their over-the-shoulder third-person shooter mechanics skills to navigate through the village and unravel the sinister conspiracy behind the President’s daughter’s disappearance.
The game’s compelling storyline is full of twists and turns, keeping players on the edge of their seats as they uncover the village’s dark secrets and face off against a wide variety of terrifying enemies. The game also features memorable boss fights, each more challenging and epic than the last, with each boss requiring a unique strategy to defeat.
Okami is an action-adventure game released in 2006. Players take on the role of Amaterasu, a wolf goddess who must restore life to a world consumed by darkness. The game features a unique art style inspired by Japanese watercolor paintings, a deep and engaging storyline, and a host of memorable characters.
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal is a platformer-shooter released in 2004. Players take on the role of Ratchet, a Lombax mechanic, and his robotic sidekick Clank as they travel through different planets to stop the villainous Dr. Nefarious. The game features various weapons and gadgets, platforming elements, and a hilarious storyline with memorable characters.
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
The Precursor Legacy is a classic platformer that has stood the test of time since its release in 2001. Developed by Naughty Dog, the game introduces players to the dynamic duo of Jak and Daxter, who embark on a thrilling adventure to save their world from the evil forces that threaten to destroy it.
One of the game’s standout features is its unique art style, which blends colorful landscapes and vibrant characters with stunning visual effects that create a truly immersive experience. Players traverse various environments, including dense forests, ancient ruins, and bustling cities, each with its own challenges and secrets to discover.
Gran Turismo 4
Gran Turismo 4 is a racing game that raised the bar for the genre when it was released in 2004. With over 700 cars from various manufacturers and an extensive list of tracks worldwide, the game offers an unparalleled racing experience. The game’s realistic physics and driving mechanics make each car feel unique, and mastering the art of driving them is challenging yet rewarding.
Players can compete in various events, including circuit races, time trials, and endurance races, each offering its own challenges. The game’s AI opponents are intelligent and provide a fair challenge, pushing players to improve their driving skills to stay ahead of the pack. Players can also customize their cars with different parts and modifications, allowing them to fine-tune their vehicles for maximum performance.
Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening
Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening is a fast-paced action game widely regarded as one of the best in the series. Players take on the role of Dante, a demon hunter, as he battles through a tower filled with demons to confront his brother, Vergil. The game features stylish combat mechanics that allow players to perform an array of devastating combos and techniques using a variety of weapons, including swords, guns, and even demonic arms.
The game’s combat system is deep, rewarding, and challenging. Each encounter presents a unique set of enemies and obstacles that require players to think strategically and make split-second decisions. Additionally, the game’s storyline delves into Dante’s past, exploring his relationships with Vergil and his father, Sparda, and providing players with a deeper understanding of the game’s characters and motivations.
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 is a survival horror game that stands out from the rest due to its deeply unsettling psychological themes and masterful storytelling. The game follows James Sunderland, a troubled man who receives a letter from his deceased wife beckoning him to meet her in the eerie town of Silent Hill. James encounters bizarre and terrifying creatures as he navigates the town and slowly unravels the truth behind his wife’s death. The game’s story is expertly crafted, exploring themes of guilt, loss, and grief and delving into the darkest corners of the human psyche.
The game’s haunting environments and unsettling sound design are key components in creating an immersive and terrifying experience for players. The town of Silent Hill itself is a character, constantly shifting and warping as James explores it. The sound design is equally impressive, featuring a hauntingly beautiful score and eerie sound effects that build tension and create a sense of unease. The combination of the game’s stunning visuals and sound design with its thought-provoking narrative makes for an unforgettable and chilling experience.
Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdom Hearts II is an action-packed RPG that follows the adventures of Sora and his companions, Donald Duck and Goofy, as they set out to defeat the Heartless and Organization XIII. The game takes players through worlds inspired by beloved Disney films, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast, as well as worlds featuring iconic Final Fantasy characters.
The combat mechanics in Kingdom Hearts II have been vastly improved from the previous game, with a greater emphasis on fast-paced action and fluid movements. Sora can now unleash a range of devastating combos and special moves, such as drive forms and limit breaks, unique to each world he visits. Additionally, the game introduces a host of new abilities and magic spells that allow players to customize Sora’s combat style to their liking.
Pro Evolution Soccer 6
Pro Evolution Soccer 6, commonly known as PES 6, is a soccer simulation game that marked a significant milestone in the Pro Evolution Soccer series. Released in 2006, the game offers a unique soccer experience unparalleled in realism and attention to detail. PES 6 offers a variety of gameplay options, including Master League, where players can manage their team and compete in leagues and tournaments, and International Challenge, which allows players to recreate classic soccer moments from history.
With analog sticks and precise button presses, players can dribble, pass, and shoot with accuracy unmatched in other soccer games. Moreover, PES 6 boasts an impressive lineup of international teams and players, including official licenses from major soccer leagues such as the UEFA Champions League and the English Premier League. These licenses ensure that the teams and players are accurately represented in the game, including their official kits, stadiums, and fan chants.
We have presented only some of the most popular titles from the era when video games were focused on a story more than on graphics and advanced gameplay. Even though technical features cannot be compared to modern titles, most of them will be interesting to players today. In case you still have your old console, this might be the best time to remember times when games were fun and simple.