27 Best PS2 Games of All Time

Our list of the best PS2 games is a great trip down memory lane that takes us back to when the PS2 first came out at the turn of the century.

The PS2 is thought to be the best-selling video game system of all time, and there’s a good reason for that: it has a huge library of games.

There are a lot of different kinds of games in this group. Some of the best action, open world, role-playing, and stealth games ever made are in this group.

So, let’s get started: here are the 27 best PS2 games ever made, in our opinion.

27. Kingdom Hearts

PS2

When you put together some of the most beloved Disney characters and one of the most popular Japanese RPG series, you were going to get a fandom explosion, and that’s exactly what happened. Kingdom Hearts still has a lot of passionate fans today.

There’s no easy answer to how such a crossover should be played, so Square did what it did best and made this action RPG that looks great and is pretty good overall.

It’s fun to see Mickey and Donald go to places like Agrabah and Halloween Town and talk to Final Fantasy characters like Tidus and Cloud.

26. Tony Hawk’s Underground

You have to give Neversoft credit. With how popular its skateboarding games were, it would have been easy for them to just make another one that followed the same model.

Instead, the team took a risk and moved the series in a bold new direction, making one of the best sports games on PS2 by adding a more free-roaming style of play and a big story element that hadn’t been in the previous games.

Even though the game was best when you were on your board, being able to walk around and pick up tasks on the fly gave a new twist to a series that was in danger of getting stale.

25. Gran Turismo 4

Gran Turismo 4 was way ahead of the other racing games on consoles at the time if you wanted more accurate racing games. Polyphony Digital didn’t try to do anything new or clever with the game.

Instead, they worked on making the things that made the series so popular in the first place even better. Gran Turismo 4 is a truly huge game, with more than 700 cars and more than 50 roads to race on.

It also looked absolutely amazing. The new B-Spec race management mode added a lot to the action on the track.

24. Dragon Quest 8: Journey Of The Cursed King

The only big Dragon Quest game for the PS2 is very comforting.

As a game from the most famous Japanese RPG series, it still captures the essence of the genre, and it was a great way for European players to start the series with their first official game.

It’s a simple game with a simple story, even by the standards of the series.

But it’s important to be good at the basics, and this game gets it right in every way, from the attractive cel-shaded character designs by Akira Toriyama to the top-notch translation.

23. Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution

After Virtua Fighter 4 did well when it came out for the first time, Sega improved the graphics, added a few more fighters, and filled out the game with a lot of single-player material.

The result was one of the best fighting games of its time, whether you were beating up your friends or fighting real-life pro players in the Quest mode’s virtual arcades.

This game has a reputation for being hard to understand, but that’s not really true. There are only three main buttons, and it has one of the best tutorial modes of its time.

22. Gradius V

If you still don’t think the PS2 is old, this game might change your mind. Just think about what would have to happen for Konami to sell a boxed, retail shoot-em-up game made by Treasure in the current market.

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It’s too bad, because this is a great continuation of a famous game series, with great graphics and some new ways to use the Option drones, which have always been a part of the series.

It’s definitely an old-school experience, and any fan of the game needs to buy it.

21. OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast

The driving game on the Sega AM2 is a simple thing. All you have to do is drive beautiful Ferraris through gorgeous scenery while using one of the most enjoyable drift mechanics in video games.

In the arcade, that was all there was to it, but Sumo Digital’s conversion adds a lot more with the Coast 2 Coast mode, which gives you all kinds of driving tasks to keep you busy.

If you like arcade racing games, you won’t find many as fun as this one. It’s worth getting for the PS2 because later digital releases were taken off the list because of licensing problems.

20. SOCOM 2: US Navy Seals

The first SOCOM: US Navy Seals did a good job of bringing third-person tactical shooting to the PS2, but this sequel improves on just about everything about it.

During the 12 tasks of the single-player mode, the AI was smarter, the goals were more varied, and there were more weapons.

But people who played it back in the day know that the real fun was online, because it was one of the best networked games on Sony’s system.

The servers are down right now, but those who are really committed can use LAN.

19. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal

The Tyhrranoids are attacking Veldin, and Ratchet won’t let his home planet be attacked! But he finds out quickly that there is more to this attack than meets the eye, mostly because Dr. Nefarious is behind it.

The first two games in this series were both great, but the third game makes this list because it has more polish and a wider range of guns.

At this point, the mix between platforming and shooting has shifted in favor of shooting, but who’s complaining when it looks and plays like a dream?

18. Katamari Damacy

The King Of All Cosmos got drunk and broke the sky, and now it’s your job to go to Earth and fix it. How? By rolling things into bigger and bigger balls, which are then sent into space, new stars can be made.

Of course. Getting bigger and bigger things, from batteries to boats, is the game’s main goal, and it’s very satisfying to do so.

However, the game’s strange personality is just as much fun. The King is a lot of fun, and the low-polygon look of the game’s bright graphics gives the whole thing a very strange feel from beginning to end.

17. SSX Tricky

The first game in EA’s snowboarding series was a much-needed bright spot in the PS2’s lackluster launch lineup, but the sequel made the first game completely useless.

All of the tracks from the first game were changed, and a couple more were added for good measure. Also, new Uber tricks made the showboating even more ridiculous.

Aside from that, everything that people liked about the first game was kept in the second one, whether it was the colorful figures or the loud racing action.

It’s still talked about as one of the best riding games ever, which pretty much says it all.

16. Amplitude

Amplitude is a great example of the fact that Harmonix made great music games long before it hit it big with the Guitar Hero games.

In this follow-up to the very underrated Frequency, you had to play certain parts of notes on up to six different instruments to make a song play automatically.

The diverse music in the background, which included songs by David Bowie, Run DMC, Blink-182, Slipknot, and Garbage, added a lot to this fast-paced juggling act.

Even though there is a remake for PS3 and PS4, we think that the music here is hard to beat.

15. Okami

kami is one of the best games that came out of Capcom’s short-lived Clover Studio.

In this game, players take control of Amaterasu, a sun goddess who looks like a dog and whose mission is to save the world from darkness.

This is probably the closest thing Sony’s system has to The Legend of Zelda series, and it can compete with Nintendo’s classics.

The game’s unique art style, which was based on traditional Japanese art, gave it cult status, which led to it being ported to many other systems even though the PS2 version didn’t sell very well.

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14. Jak And Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

Crash Bandicoot was a big hit on the PS1, so Naughty Dog wanted to try something different for the next generation.

This is what they came up with. Jak & Daxter is a collect-’em-up platformer, which was a very famous type of game in the last generation.

However, it has open 3D environments that the older machines couldn’t do.

Of course, it still had the slick game design we’ve come to expect from Naughty Dog, and the game’s many in-engine cutscenes did a great job of bringing the characters to life.

The sequels are very different from each other.

13. Beyond Good & Evil

This action-adventure game was missed when it came out in 2003, which is a shame because it is now known to be a great game that just didn’t get the sales push it needed.

You play as Jade, whose world is being attacked by the DomZ, which are alien beings that kill or enslave other creatures they meet.

After being looked for by resistance troops, she finds out what the DomZ is really like.

Even though the game design was fine, what made it stand out at the time was the quality of the story and how interesting Jade was.

12. Burnout 3: Takedown

The first two Burnout games from Criterion were great arcade races, but their crashes were always something to avoid.

This third game fixed that problem by making fighting an important part of the race.

In order to win a race, you could hit your opponents into walls, drive them into oncoming traffic, or even drop down on them from above.

It was very fast and had great graphics, but the best part for us was letting out our anger. If that got boring, you could always wreck things in the Crash Junctions.

Because of this, Takedown is one of the best driving games ever.

11. Devil May Cry

Developers had a hard time getting hack-and-slash games to work well in 3D for a long time, but Capcom may have been the first to get it right with this early hit for the PS2.

At first, Dante’s first adventure was supposed to be a new direction for Resident Evil.

However, the game ended up being its own thing, with a mix of gunplay and close-range swordplay, with a focus on stringing together stylish attacks.

The action is as smooth as the moves, and Dante became one of Capcom’s most popular characters right away. Check out the third game as well.

10. Ico

Fumito Ueda’s first game as a director is often called one of the best single-player games of all time. Ico’s basic design takes a lot from games like Prince of Persia.

At the heart of the action is a mix of platforming, puzzles, and fighting. Ico is different from other games because its main character has to guard a girl named Yorda who is being held captive.

Yorda’s difficulty getting around is a key part of the game’s puzzles. A full-game escort mission might sound like the worst thing ever, but believe us: this one is worth it.

9. Final Fantasy 10

Sin has struck the city of Zanarkand, and all of a sudden, our hero Tidus is in the world of Spira.

The skilled Blitzball player doesn’t know what’s going on, so he sets out to find out what happened and stop it from happening again. Along the way, he makes a lot of friends.

Final Fantasy 10 didn’t change a lot about how the game was played, but it did change a lot about how the series was shown.

For the first time, you could explore fully 3D environments. Key cutscenes had detailed real-time character models and full voice acting, which pulled you into the tale.

FF10 is thought to be one of the best Final Fantasy games of all time, and there’s a good reason for that.

8. God Of War

Our first experience with Kratos has held up very well over time, and it feels even better now that the series has moved on from its original Greek mythology theme. “Small” is not a word in this classic brawler.

Everything is turned up to eleven, from the detail of the scenery and the dramatic music score to the size of the bosses and, of course, the level of violence on display.

Kratos will rip the wings off of smaller enemies and drive the Blades of Chaos deep into bigger ones, usually as part of a beautifully choreographed Quick Time Event (QTE) scene.

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7. Silent Hill 2

Even though the first Silent Hill game for PlayStation was great, Silent Hill 2 made the series a big name in survival horror.

James, the new main character, goes to the town after getting a letter from his wife, who died three years before the game starts. He doesn’t go back to see the people from the first game.

Pyramid Head is one of the most well-known monsters in video games, but what really sets Konami’s remake apart from other games in the same genre is that it focuses on psychological horror rather than gore, and it deals with some pretty taboo topics in ways that video games rarely do.

Silent Hill 2 is without a question one of the best survival horror games ever made.

6. Resident Evil 4

After years of tank controls and fixed camera angles, the Resident Evil series badly needed some new ideas, and Capcom gave them to them at just the right time.

The first step was to get rid of the zombies. Los Ganados were smart, worked well together, and even knew how to use guns. Even worse, the over-the-shoulder view put you right in the middle of the action.

The game was awful to look at, and the QTE scenes were so fast-paced that you could never fully unwind.

The move to make the series more action-oriented was a big success and influenced a lot of other games, but we still think it’s one of the best horror games on PS2.

5. Shadow Of The Colossus

One of the best adventure games ever made?

Rarely can a game really be called “solemn,” but if you’ve ever played this famous game, you’ll know why we use this word here.

Shadow of the Colossus’s majestic giants are hard to take down, and even when you figure out how to do it, it never feels quite right.

This mood is often supported by long periods of silence and a color palette that is always dull.

The PS2 has trouble keeping itself together while running this, so you might want to look at the PS3 remaster and PS4 remake instead, but the effect here is undeniable.

4. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

After Metal Gear Solid 2 upset some players by making Raiden the main character, this game made things right by moving to the 1960s and making Naked Snake the main character.

Like the other games in the series, Metal Gear Solid 3 puts stealth over combat and has a lot of clever touches.

For example, you can let a boss literally die of old age. However, it is different in that it puts more of a focus on survival, as Snake’s hunger and injuries need to be taken care of.

The later Subsistence version is better because you have full control over the camera and a lot of extras. This helped make MGS3 one of the best stealth games of its time.

3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Since Grand Theft Auto 3 brought the series into 3D, Rockstar North has been the best at making open-world games. San Andreas felt like a victory lap for the company.

The setting in the early 1990s and the state of San Andreas, which was made up of parts of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, were perfect for a story about crooked cops and gang wars.

The game was also a technical success, with a huge map, new gang fighting features, and a lot of ways to change things.

Even though it was taken off the shelves because the Hot Coffee minigame wasn’t used, San Andreas sold 17.33 million copies and is the best-selling game for the system.

2. Black

Another FPS for the PS2 that was later ported to the Xbox 360, this game was all about cinematic action and destruction with a huge emphasis during gameplay.

Although disagreements between developer Criterion and EA ended up putting an end to plans for a sequel, this game was one of the most engaging shooters on the console.

1. Hitman: Blood Money

As the fourth game in this iconic series, this installment gave players control of Agent 47 once again as he worked to take down the Franchise, a rival organization.

After its release, it gained a strong cult following and even received a 4K remastered port to the PS4 and Xbox One in 2019.

So, even if you were never able to play this game on the PS2, you can still pick it up in all its updated glory today.