- The PlayStation 2 had an incredible lineup of games, making it the top-selling console in history.
- The games on the PS2 still hold up today due to their gameplay, art style, and graphics.
- Titles like Black, Persona 4, and Metal Gear Solid 3 are standout games that are worth playing even now.
For many, the PlayStation 2 marked the greatest era of gaming. Franchises like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Metal Gear, and many more saw their climax here and are a big reason why the PlayStation 2 reigns as the console with the highest sale numbers in history.
The Best Playstation 2 Games Ever Made (According To Metacritic)
The Playstation 2 was the pinnacle of gaming when it was released, and some of its games are still remembered as the best of all time.
While it goes without saying that buying a PlayStation 2 is still worth it for those wanting to play some of gaming’s best hits, the console still has titles that, due to their remarkable gameplay, art style, or incredible graphics, still hold up well today. These games can also serve as an excellent gateway into the world of classic gaming.
Updated January 17, 2024, by Mara Cowley: Even with the release of the PS5 and the plethora of great titles available on the console, the PS2 is still remembered fondly by many gamers due to the volume of fantastic games that were available on its platform. Games such as Persona, God of War, and Grand Theft Auto were all played and enjoyed by gamers and critics alike on the PS2. This article already contained a great number of PS2 games, but there were a few omitted that have withstood the tests of time. As such, this article has been updated to include more of the best PS2 games of all time.
The Destructible Environment Added an Element of Realism
- February 28, 2006
Considered by many to be among the most influential FPS games of all time, Black impressed almost everyone with its unmatched gameplay, audio work, and destruction system. This was the first game where players could destroy almost everything, and it was all really realistic for the time.
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Beyond its gameplay were the graphics. Black had realistic textures for the time, and the good use of motion blur really set it apart from its competitors. As a whole, Black looked like a game that pushed the boundaries of the hardware of the PlayStation 2. To this day, this game stands out as an epic FPS adventure that almost every gamer is bound to have a good time playing.
11 Persona 4
An In-Depth RPG With An Incredible Amount Of Exploration And Customization
- July 10, 2008
Those looking for a good RPG that they can sink over 100 hours into should look no further than Persona 4. The game has all the features of a good RPG, such as characters with tons of depth, top-tier world-building, an intriguing story, and almost endless exploration and customization.
Players set off as Yu Narukami as he and his team try to uncover a series of murders by exploring the ‘TV World,’ a perilous alternate dimension that Yu and his friends have access to. The turn-based combat is snappy and fun, the level design is flawless, and the plot is a very satisfying slow burn, keeping fans on the edge of their seats. As a whole, Persona 4 is a wonderful game that looks and plays beautifully even today.
10 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
A Solid Plot Featuring Some Major Celebrities
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- October 26, 2004
When asking GTA fans what their favorite installment is, many will say San Andreas, which comes as no surprise, as this game has stood the test of time. Its plot follows the story of CJ who returns to his hometown after his mother is murdered in a drive-by shooting. He is then threatened by corrupt police officers to comply with what they tell him to unless he wants to be framed for the murder.
This sparks the events of San Andreas, with a story that feels like it could come from the plot of a thrilling action movie, and with performances from Young Maylay and Samuel L. Jackson, this only makes it feel even more like a blockbuster.
Players Could Tackle Missions in Multiple Ways
The only minor gripe fans had with Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was that it did not have an unlocked camera. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence took care of that and gave players a complete title that stands as one of gaming’s best even to this day.
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Almost everything about this game was near perfect. The plot was incredible, giving fans a twisted yet incredible story in typical Kojima fashion, the gameplay was versatile and promoted multiple ways of going about every scenario, and the level design and world-building were epic, with danger lurking behind each corner. Every fan of gaming should do themselves a favor and play it once to experience what is arguably one of gaming’s greatest adventures.
8 Shadow of the Colossus
Innovative Gameplay Allowed Players To Scale Bosses
Shadow of the Colossus
- October 18, 2005
While Bluepoint Games did an incredible job with their remake of Shadow of the Colossus, the original still stands as a gorgeous classic that displays what excellent production looks like. The game often makes the list of the top ten greatest games of all time and for good reason.
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Shadow of the Colossus has everything: a unique, evergreen plot, marvelous and engaging gameplay, unparalleled world-building, and a sense of wonder and mystery that nothing else provided at the time. As a whole, Shadow of the Colossus is a title that has aged well and stands as a testament to what made the PlayStation 2 such an amazing console.
7 Tekken 5
The Fluid Gameplay Still Remains Satisfying To Play
- February 24, 2005
Tekken 5 is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the franchise. The game kick-started the modern era of Tekken games. It features fluid, snappy combat that still feels good today, the textures and graphics are incredible and still do not feel dated, and the game has a big roster of new and returning characters. The good story was just the cherry on top.
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Perhaps the best compliment here will be that Tekken 5 is a game that modern audiences can put on and lose tons of hours on. Despite it being a PlayStation 2 title, it has all the makings of a great fighting game.
6 Fatal Frame 2
Remains A Chilling Adventure For All Who Dare Play It
Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterly
- December 10, 2003
- Survival Horror
Fatal Frame has five entries in its series that have spanned multiple generations of consoles, with the second entry, Crimson Butterfly, being the most popular of the series. It took everything that made the first entry great and elevated it to new heights, raising the bar of the entire franchise.
Fatal Frame 2, as such, has withstood the test of time. The trials Mio and Mayu endure are still as haunting as ever, and the ghosts are still just as capable of delivering scares now as they were back during the time of their debut.
5 Devil May Cry 3
Gameplay Is Still Fun And Responsive By Today’s Standards
Devil May Cry 3
- February 17, 2005
- Hack and Slash , Action-Adventure , Beat ‘Em Up
Devil May Cry 3 (DMC 3) is an essential PlayStation 2 title. The game had impeccable gameplay, the combat system was fluid and engaging, the level design complemented the enemy placement, the story was engaging despite it not being a strong suit, and the arsenal of weapons that Dante had access to was phenomenal.
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While the graphics might feel a little dated, the art style and combat work together harmoniously to give players a game that still feels snappy and fun today. At higher difficulties, DMC 3 is a game where losing hours upon hours to get that SSS combo is an easy task.
4 God of War 2
Exciting Gameplay Mechanics
The God of War series premiered first on the PS2, resulting in one of the most popular and enduring game series of all time. Following on from the success of the excellent debut game came God of War 2, released in 2007, and it still holds up remarkably well today.
Continuing Kratos’ story and his blood war against the Greek Gods, players will hack and slash their way through the campaign with controls that still hold up. They have a primary weapon capable of producing combos with a secondary weapon that was somewhat innovative at the time, making the gameplay fast-paced and exciting. Players will also need to succeed in QTE’s throughout the game for a further challenge.
Its Unique Graphics Still Look Beautiful to this Day.
- September 19, 2006
- Capcom , Clover Studio
Okami is a perfect example of how incredible art direction can make up for graphical fidelity. The game is a fun adventure that has a light-hearted story with unique takes on Japanese mythology.
What sets the game apart is its artwork, which resembles Japanese ink paintings. This art style makes for a gorgeous game that has a near-endless amount of picturesque set pieces. All in all, the unique story, characters, gameplay mechanics, and gorgeous art style come together in a symphonic way to give players a phenomenal experience.
2 Silent Hill 2
A Well-Crafted Story Delving Into Dark Topics.
Silent Hill 2
- September 24, 2001
- Survival Horror
Before playing Bloober Team’s remake of this Konami classic, gamers should definitely play through the original PS2 game to experience the title that birthed a whole slew of psychological horror games that have never quite captured the magic of Silent Hill 2.
Though its controls may be a little clunky compared to what most modern gamers are used to, its graphics, story, and scares still hold up to this day. Pyramid Head is still as horrifying as ever, the story of James and Mary remains tragic, and every boss is the stuff nightmares are made from. Though most now know the plot twist ending due to the age of this game, those who still remain unaware should prepare to expect the unexpected.
1 Resident Evil 4
An Impressive Array Of Weapons That All Play Differently
Resident Evil 4
- PS4 , PS3 , PS2 , Xbox One , Xbox 360 , Switch , Wii , Nintendo GameCube , PC , Android , iOS
- January 11, 2005
- Survival Horror
Arguably the greatest title in the series, Resident Evil 4 blended action-adventure and horror beautifully. While the franchise struggled to find its footing after this title for quite some time, this game remained a masterpiece through and through.
Fans got an incredible setting, a phenomenal plot, exceptional characters, and a vast array of weapons that could be mixed and matched for some amazing combos. Resident Evil 4 is perhaps Leon’s greatest adventure, and while the remake reignited interest in the title, the original still stands tall as a wonderful adventure full of mystery, horror, and intrigue.
PlayStation 1 Games With Graphics That Have Aged The Best
From amazing platformers to scintillating stealth games, there’s no denying the library of the PS1 was truly immense. Many still hold up well today.