Throwback Gaming: Rediscover the 11 Best PS2 Games Ever Made 🎮

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Sony PlayStation 2 or PS2 is probably one of the gaming consoles that we were hooked on for hours, let alone those late-night, never-ending gaming sessions with siblings and friends. It was indeed a fun time, and to relive those memories again, we will be exploring the world of the best PS2 games. We will explore in detail their features, find out their audience reception and see where to buy them.

The gaming world took a magnificent turn when Sony released the PlayStation 1 or PS1 in 1994 in Japan. The console disrupted the gaming industry with its ability to run games from multiple franchises. And it was also sold for a low retail price. 

As the craze for the console increased, the sales skyrocketed. By September 30, 2001, Sony had sold 2.82 million PS1 consoles. Following the massive success of PS1, Sony launched the PlayStation 2 on March 4, 2000.

The PS2 was a great hit. Bigger than the PS1! Since the console’s release, Sony has sold 158 million units of it around the world. Having said that, the Sony PlayStation 2 is the all-time best-selling video game console. Or should we say, the GOAT!

With great power comes great responsibility. Since it was a much-hyped console, gamers expected it to run games from even more franchises than the PS1. And the PS2 certainly did live up to the expectations. Over 4000 games were released over the years that the PS2 could run!

But out of them, there are a few that became the all-time best PS2 games. And in this article, we have carefully curated a PS2 games list to help you revisit them and experience the thrill once again!

The PS2 against the rivals

In 2001, just one year after the PS2 was released, Microsoft hopped on the console bandwagon and released the Xbox. Even though it gained a lot of popularity, the PS2 was one step ahead with its backward compatibility and Dualshock controllers.

The same happened with Nintendo’s GameCube, launched in the same year as the Xbox. It became popular among children because of its appearance. But, the PS2 was loved by the youth and the adults alike.

Now that you’ve got a fair idea of the PlayStation 2’s impact on the market and the gaming industry as a whole, we can dive into the list of the best PS2 games ever made!

Sly Cooper And The Thievius Raccoonus

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Let’s talk about the epic adventure of Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, one of the best PS2 exclusives! If you’re someone who enjoys sneaky tactics and heart-pounding gaming experiences, then this game, created by Sucker Punch Productions, is an absolute masterpiece. It was obvious that it made it to this PS2 games list.

Released in 2002, it follows the story of Sly Cooper, a skilled raccoon thief, and his gang of anthropomorphic friends as they attempt to retrieve the stolen pages of the Thievius Raccoonus, a book of thieving techniques.

Preview Product Rating Price
Sly Cooper And The Thievius Raccoonus - PlayStation 2 Sly Cooper And The Thievius Raccoonus - PlayStation 2 No ratings yet $49.99Amazon Prime

With its engaging gameplay and charming storyline, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus captivated players worldwide. It garnered attention for its unique art style, smooth controls, and immersive level design.

One of the standout features gamers loved was the stealthy gameplay mechanics. Sly’s ability to sneak past guards, pickpocket treasures, and execute stealthy takedowns added an exciting and strategic element. The satisfaction of successfully navigating through intricate environments without getting caught was truly exhilarating.

Developers: Sucker Punch Productions

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Release Date: September 23, 2002

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal

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Prepare yourself for an epic journey across the galaxies in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal! This incredible sci-fi adventure, created by Insomniac Games, has plenty of action and excitement, making it a wonderful treat for gamers.

Up Your Arsenal presents an incredible selection of weapons that will leave you with a permanent smile on your face. From the classic Shock Blaster and RY3NO series to explosive gadgets like the Zodiac and the Qwack-O-Ray, the game delivers pure mayhem and satisfying destruction. It’s an absolute joy experimenting with each weapon’s unique abilities.

Preview Product Rating Price
Ratchet & Clank Up Your Arsenal - PlayStation 2 Ratchet & Clank Up Your Arsenal - PlayStation 2 596 Reviews $11.47

Additionally, Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal introduced a stellar multiplayer mode. You can battle with friends in electrifying online battles, complete with different game modes, maps, and a vast array of customizable characters. It provided hours of chaotic fun, ensuring the game’s longevity and replay value, making it one of the best PS2 games ever made!

Developers: Insomniac Games

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Release Date: November 2, 2004

Burnout Revenge

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Criterion Games took the world by storm when it released Burnout Revenge in the year 2005!  This high-octane game, one of the best PS2 exclusives, proved instant adoption among players.

Burnout Revenge was all about intense, aggressive racing and jaw-dropping crashes. Players loved the exhilarating feeling of pushing their vehicles to the limit while causing chaos on the road. Whether weaving through traffic, executing precise takedowns on rival racers, or triggering explosive pile-ups, the game rewarded players for their aggressive driving.

Preview Product Rating Price
Burnout Revenge - PlayStation 2 Burnout Revenge - PlayStation 2 250 Reviews $12.99

The game’s robust multiplayer experience was another standout feature. Whether competing against friends locally or challenging rivals online, Burnout Revenge provided intense multiplayer races and Crash battles that kept players hooked. No wonder this game is a worthy part of the best-selling PS2 games.

Developers: Criterion Games

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Release Date: September 13, 2005

God of War

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Get ready to step into the shoes of a vengeful Spartan warrior with God of War, another worthy addition to the best PS2 exclusives! This game, created by Santa Monica Studio, sent players on an incredible ride through Greek mythology, which included lethal battles and jaw-dropping scenarios.

This mythological masterpiece combined intense combat, mind-bending puzzles, and a gripping narrative that kept players on the edge of their seats. As Kratos, a Spartan warrior seeking revenge, players unleashed devastating combos, wielded powerful weapons, and faced off against mythological beasts in epic boss battles.

Preview Product Rating Price
God of War - PlayStation 2 God of War - PlayStation 2 973 Reviews $6.98

One of the standout features was the innovative “Blades of Chaos” weapon, which became an iconic symbol of the series. These chained blades allowed players to execute ferocious and stylish attacks, decimating enemies in a whirlwind of destruction.

The storyline in God of War was complex and immersive, diving into Kratos’ tumultuous background and tackling themes of vengeance and redemption. The game’s stellar voice acting and cinematic cutscenes further enhanced the emotional depth of the narrative.

Developers: Santa Monica Studio

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Release Date: March 22, 2005

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

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Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, created in 2001 by Hideo Kojima and his creative team at Konami, became a legend in its own right, attracting gamers with its narrative and gameplay.

This stealth-action game introduced players to the iconic Solid Snake and a hero, Raiden, as they faced the Sons of Liberty, a secretive organization. The advanced plot of the game, full of surprises, kept players on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next revelation.

Preview Product Rating Price
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty - PlayStation 2 Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty - PlayStation 2 No ratings yet $59.99Amazon Prime

Players reveled in the game’s deep mechanics and strategic depth. From utilizing gadgets and weapons to solving intricate puzzles, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty rewarded players for their creativity and adaptability.

Developers: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

Publisher: Konami

Release Date: November 13, 2001

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

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Step into the shoes of Tommy Vercetti, a notorious gangster with a penchant for chaos, as you navigate the sprawling cityscape of Vice City. Set in the vibrant and decadent 1980s, this GTA game captured the essence of the era with its iconic soundtrack, stylish fashion, and flashy sports cars.

The gameplay was a wild ride of criminal activity and mayhem. From engaging in thrilling car chases to executing daring heists, players had the freedom to explore the open-world environment and wreak havoc in their own unique way.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was packed with memorable characters, gripping missions, and a captivating storyline. Players could dive into a vast array of activities, including running their own criminal empire, engaging in street races, or causing chaos in the city streets.

Preview Product Rating Price
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2) Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2) No ratings yet $35.86Amazon Prime

With carefully designed city districts, renowned landmarks, and music that perfectly captured the mood of the ’80s, the game’s attention to detail was amazing. From cruising down Ocean Drive to engaging in gunfights on the rooftops, the game offered an immersive experience that transported players back in time.

Developers: Rockstar North

Publisher: Rockstar Games

Release Date: October 29, 2002

Resident Evil 4

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The PS2 games list would be incomplete without the iconic horror survival game Resident Evil 4. Developed and released by Capcom in 2005, this game redefined the genre and became an instant classic, leaving players trembling with fear and exhilaration.

The gameplay introduced a revolutionary over-the-shoulder perspective, allowing for precise aiming and intense combat encounters. The tense moments of managing scarce resources, solving puzzles, and facing hordes of relentless enemies became the stuff of gaming legend.

Resident Evil 4 offered a perfect balance of action and horror. The chilling atmosphere, haunting ambient sounds, and grotesque enemy designs created an immersive experience that sent shivers down players’ spines.

Preview Product Rating Price
Resident Evil 4 - PlayStation 2 Resident Evil 4 - PlayStation 2 No ratings yet $24.94Amazon Prime

Join Leon S. Kennedy on a pulse-pounding mission to rescue the President’s daughter from a sinister cult in a remote European village. The game’s gripping storyline, filled with suspense, twists, and outlandish creatures, kept players on the edge of their seats, eagerly navigating the treacherous environments.

The game’s adaptive difficulty system, which altered the challenge based on the player’s skill level assures a gripping experience. It was impossible to stop it from becoming one of the top PS2 games!

Developers: Capcom Production Studio 4

Publisher: Capcom

Release Date: January 11, 2005

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

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Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a classic. It transports players amidst crime, chaos, and endless possibilities. This game has a well-earned spot on the list of best selling PS2 games.

The game follows the story of Carl “CJ” Johnson, a street-savvy gang member returning to his hometown, Los Santos. Set in the early ’90s, the game captured the essence of the era with its gritty urban environment, gang warfare, and sprawling map that included cities, countryside, and even desert landscapes.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas introduced unprecedented depth and customization. From building CJ’s physique and skills through training to managing his relationships with various characters, the game offered an immersive experience that allowed players to shape their own criminal empire.

Preview Product Rating Price
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - PlayStation 2 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - PlayStation 2 No ratings yet $23.40Amazon Prime

The gameplay was a mind-blowing blend of action, exploration, and freedom. From embarking on intense missions to engaging in thrilling car chases, players had the power to shape CJ’s destiny and explore every nook and cranny of the massive game world. While it doesn’t hold a candle to today’s games in the graphics department, it was still instrumental in the development of the open-world games of today!

Developers: Rockstar North

Publisher: Rockstar Games

Release Date: October 26, 2004

Final Fantasy X

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This game in the iconic RPG series, developed by Square Enix, is a classic, with a rich story and exciting gameplay. Final Fantasy X, which was released in 2001, rapidly became a fan favourite, acquiring a place on the list of best PS2 games.

The game’s immersive world, memorable characters, and breathtaking visuals garnered widespread acclaim. One of the standout features of Final Fantasy X was its engrossing storyline. Players were transported to the enchanting world of Spira, where they joined the skilled athlete Tidus and his companions on a quest to save the land from an ancient evil. The emotional depth and character development kept players invested in the fates of their beloved heroes.

Preview Product Rating Price
Final Fantasy X Final Fantasy X No ratings yet $25.01Amazon Prime

Final Fantasy X introduced a dynamic and strategic turn-based combat system, allowing players to carefully plan their moves and exploit their enemies’ weaknesses. The iconic Sphere Grid system offered unparalleled customization, allowing players to shape their characters’ abilities and progress through a web of interconnected skills.

Developers: Square Product Development Division 1

Publisher: Square Enix

Release Date: July 19, 2001

Shadow of the Colossus

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Shadow of the Colossus is an iconic game released in 2005. It took the gamers on a wonderful journey through the forbidden land. Developed by Team Ico, this masterpiece earned a special place in the hearts of players with its unique gameplay and breathtaking atmosphere.

The game’s stunning visuals transported players to a desolate and mysterious land, where the remnants of a forgotten civilization loomed large. The haunting soundtrack perfectly complemented the sense of solitude and melancholy that pervaded the atmosphere.

Preview Product Rating Price
Shadow of the Colossus - PlayStation 2 Shadow of the Colossus - PlayStation 2 No ratings yet $14.38

What truly set Shadow of the Colossus apart was its emotional impact. The relationship between Wander and his companion, Agro the horse, added a layer of companionship and loyalty to the journey. The game also explored themes of sacrifice and the consequences of one’s actions, inviting players to reflect on the moral implications of their quest.

Developers: Team Ico, Japan Studio

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Release Date: October 18, 2005

Guitar Hero II

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In 2006, Guitar Hero II hit the scene, becoming an instant hit. This game, developed by Harmonix, brought the idea of playing air guitar to a completely different level, claiming a spot on this list of the top PS2 games ever made!

The game featured a killer lineup of iconic rock tracks that spanned various genres and eras. From classic hits to hard-hitting metal anthems, there was something for everyone. As you strummed along with the on-screen notes using the guitar-shaped controller, you truly felt like a rockstar shredding on stage.

Preview Product Rating Price
Guitar Hero 2 (Renewed) Guitar Hero 2 (Renewed) No ratings yet $15.90Amazon Prime

Guitar Hero II was a game that truly captured the spirit of rock music and the thrill of performing on stage. It allowed players to channel their inner rockstar, jamming out to legendary tracks and captivating audiences with their virtual shredding skills.

Developers: Harmonix

Publishers: RedOctane, Activision

Release Date: November 7, 2006

Summing Up

The PS2 definitely was a champion console that Sony created. But what made it a gamer’s favorite were the games. Whether you want to fend off the horrific creatures in Resident Evil 4 or cause mayhem as Tommy in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, these games are bound to give you a magnificent time.

If you enjoy classic games, here is a list of some of the best retro games that are still popular among players.

Tanya Mishra
Tanya Mishra
Tanya is a passionate content writer with over 5 years of experience in covering the ins and outs of Console, PC, Mobile and VR/AR gaming and Web3 spaces. Her expertise is in writing high-value, engaging content as well as branded content that resonates with readers and industry stakeholders. In my free time, you can find me binging Friends’ on Netflix for the umpteenth time or going for KOs while playing COD. Want to keep the conversation going? Let’s connect over LinkedIn for more insights, ideas, and opportunities.

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