The PS2 boasted smoother graphics, a sleeker design, and better overall hardware compared to its predecessor and closest competitors like Microsoft’s Xbox and Sega’s Dreamcast.
More importantly, it ensured that a new generation of gamers would continue to enjoy Sony’s massive platform of games. It went on to sell over 155 million units to become the best-selling video game console of all time.
But as we all know, all good things must come to an end. In 2006, Sony announced the PlayStation 3 as the PS2’s successor. Despite this move, it was not until January 4, 2013 when the PS2 officially got discontinued by Sony.
This weekend, we mark the 17th anniversary of the iconic PS2 and although the popular console has long been discontinued, we will always remember the fond memories playing its greatest games.
To commemorate the PS2’s milestone anniversary, we’ve compiled 17 of its era’s best games.
In no particular order:
1) Final Fantasy X (2001)
Hailed as one of the most iconic RPG games of all time, FFX was no doubt among the best games on the PS2 which offered a great story, lots of action, and tons of side quests. We’re still rooting for the Tidus x Yuna couple up to this day!
2) Devil May Cry (2001)
Like the title suggests, this game was all about slaying hordes of demons in a variety of ways with an entertainingly fast-paced hack-and-slash system that rewarded players for their flashy kills.
3) Grand Theft Auto San Andreas (2004)
If you love hot rides, want to be a gangster, and have a blatant disregard of the law (reckless driving in particular) then this game is for you. GTA San Andreas was so popular on the PS2 that it’s actually the system’s top selling game with over 17 million copies sold worldwide.
4) Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001)
Snake? Snake?! SNAAAKE?!! The Metal Gear Solid franchise has definitely gone a long way since its first installment on the PS1 but it’s this game that actually ensured the continuity of the highly popular stealth action franchise.
5) Tekken Tag (2000)
The unending bad blood between Heihachi, Kazuya Mishima, and Jin Kazama just got better after Tekken introduced their first-ever tag team system for the famous fighting franchise. It also didn’t hurt that Tekken’s cinematics got better and better as the years went by.
6) Persona 4 (2008)
Persona mixes the usual RPG gameplay with dating simulation elements and packed it all into a familiar anime school setting that made it an extremely addictive game, especially for the Japanese market.
7) God of War 1 (2005)
Kratos bloodily displayed the Spartan way, embodying a no-fear attitude as he challenged the Gods themselves in the first installment of the extremely gory hack-and-slash God of War franchise.
8) Gran Turismo 3 (2001)
This game was practically the best racing simulation game during its time with realistic controls and car handling. The luxury brands and various supercars that you could choose from made it more appealing to dump in hours and hours of gameplay into this addictive feel-good game that made you go full-throttle.
9) Okami (2006)
This game’s art alone was worth the purchase as it featured a beautiful watercolor style, cel-shaded environment that made the vibrant colors pop. In Okami, you get to be Amaterasu, the Sun God incarnated as a wolf that embarks on a journey to save the world from an ominous curse.
10) Resident Evil 4 (2005)
The horror-survival franchise sixth installment retained the puzzle solving and jumpscare elements that cemented the series as one of the best among its genre.
11) Kingdom Hearts 1 (2002)
Both Disney and SquareEnix hit the jackpot when they created the crossover universe of Kingdom Hearts. This action RPG’s story revolved around keymaster Sora and his mission to save the world from the Heartless while being aided by beloved Disney mainstays like Donald Duck and Goofy.
12) Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (2003)
Before Assassin’s Creed there was Prince of Persia. Both games share the third-person action-RPG elements and an extremely enjoyable stealth theme that their respective franchises are known for. Let’s just say that PoP paved the way for an even better AC series.
13) Shadow of the Colossus (2005)
Back when it was first launched, SOC was simply labeled as an action-adventure game. Despite its straightforward giant-slaying theme, it was actually a vital archetype for the modern-day monster hunting genre that has become a popular title category among gamers.
14) Dead or Alive 2 (2000)
DOA2 was a lot like Tekken in the sense that it had great graphics paired with a balanced combat system. The biggest difference though is it focused on sexualizing the game for the male audience since most of its characters are composed of busty, half-naked female hotties.
15) Crash Bandicoot, Wrath of Cortex (2001)
Our favorite Marsupial got his last good game in the PS2 era following a highly successful trilogy run with the PS1. All the Crash games that followed were either huge flops or a disservice to fans of the popular platforming franchise until Sony decided to give the go signal to remaster the original trilogy in today’s PS4 system.
16) Jax and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001)
Fans of the platforming genre ideally see this game as the spiritual successor to the Crash Bandicoot franchise whose popularity waned following the end of the PS1 era. They’re actually right on the money with that mindset since Naughty Dog, the same developer that created the Crash games, handled Jax and Daxter.
17) Guitar Hero (2005)
The Dance Dance Revolution craze which started in the late ‘90s proved that rhythm-themed games could actually go mainstream. This prompted Harmonix to develop the GH franchise, which became a total hit and sold millions of copies worldwide.
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Editor's Note: Results are based on DOE's latest test