100 Best PS2 Games (Action, Adventure, RPG, Fighting, FPS and Sport)

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Marie-Ange Demory
@marie-angedemory
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ea.com ubisoft.com playstation.com

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Check out our list of the best PS2 games with different genres like RPG, action, adventure, FPS, fighting, sport and more. Sony's PlayStation 2 is one of the greatest video game consoles of all time. Not only has it built up a massive library of software over the years, it has also sold over 145 million units worldwide – more than any other console to date.

2010 marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the PS2, so what better way to celebrate the beloved console than to look back at all the great games we've enjoyed on the system? The PlayStation 2 had it all: shooters, fighters, pilots and role-playing games – no genre was unloved during the PS2's brilliant life. We took the time to rank the top 100 games on PlayStation 2, no easy feat considering the amount of fantastic titles out there. Only a few editors were injured in the process, but the sacrifice was worth it.



Read on to discover the best gems in the PS2 library and subscribe to the comments with your own choices and the inevitable outrage that comes from such a delicate ordeal.

100. God Hand

It's easy to mistake God Hand for a terrible game. But look beyond the rough exterior, the abrasive presentation, the characters' comically bad and ironic environments, and - we promise - there's a diamond of gameplay to be found.

It's hard to guess by looking at it, but God Hand comes from the minds behind polished favorites like Resident Evil and Okami. With God Hand, elite producers at developer Clover Studio wanted to recapture the essence of classic 2D brawlers like Final Fight and Streets of Rage. The influence manifests itself in the absurd flood of enemies, pick-up weapons, and breakable crates that reduce health.



But unlike the normally shallow gameplay of old-school beat-'em-ups, God Hand gives players access to a deep, freedom-loving combat system that allows for all sorts of creative combos. The game is genuinely difficult – ball-busting, say the game's creators – and requires a healthy understanding of the combat system. Some enemies need to be knocked down before being launched into the air with an ax for a devastating juggling combo, while others require more specialized techniques to break through defenses. God Hand is a really good game... once you get over the seriously awful exterior.

99. Karaoke Revolution

The current resurgence of music games can be attributed to a single developer, Harmonix Studios. Although now best known for the Rock Band franchise, Harmonix was also the studio behind the original Karaoke Revolution. It may be hard to remember, but the first Karaoke Revolution was truly a revolution, the progenitor of the entire music game + peripheral movement.

Perfectly timed to capitalize on the phenomenon that was American Idol, Karaoke Revolution allowed players to turn their PS2 into a karaoke machine, and even though it was easy to ""cheat"" in games by humming if you didn't want to be bothered with the words. , Karaoke Revolution was one of the first games that you could play in a room full of non-players and have everyone play it, singing songs from ""Bizarre Love Triangle"" from "New Order to Black Crowes" "She talks to angels." “” Finally, players can be the stars of their own living rooms.


98. Madden NFL 2005


In 2005, Madden wasn't the only name in video game football, but he was on his way to becoming the same. Madden NFL 2005 surprised critics, with fantastic AI, great graphics, and a ton of other small tweaks that made it arguably the best football game I'd seen in a long, long time.

While the 2005 Madden game is rated better than its competitor, ESPN NFL 2K5, both games were announced that year as being better than the previous games. In the end, Madden won because EA bought the exclusive rights to make licensed games for the NFL, but Madden's dedicated fans probably agreed to that after getting their hands on all the amazing additions 2005 introduced.

97. SOCOM II: US Navy SEALs

SOCOM II was just more SOCOM – which isn't a bad thing. In fact, it was an amazing thing. Featuring 22 multiplayer maps, including 12 all-new levels and 10 from the original game, SOCOM II is the dirty little secret of next-gen online gaming; it could be argued that it provided a bigger and worse online shooter for PS2 fans than anything on Xbox Live, which is absolutely impressive. While single-player was a little too brutal, the community that Zipper built around SOCOM II set an example that developers still struggle to meet, even seven years later. SOCOM II was so good that some vocal fans demanded that it be re-released in HD on PSN. Also, did we mention that Navy SEALS are fantastic? Because Navy SEALS are totally awesome, even if there's no Michael Biehn or Charlie Sheen to be found.



96. Max payne

While many people think of ""bullet time"" as a kind of Matrix, for gamers it conjures up memories of playing Max Payne from Remedy Entertainment. This noir-style shooter put players in the shoes of titular Max Payne, a detective who has lost everything and is blazing a path of revenge with a series of bodies.

The action was not unlike other third-person shooters of the time, but it was unique in that it gave players the ability to temporarily slow down time. Putting Max on bullet time “allowed him to tackle situations impossible otherwise, empowering the player in ways few games since have managed to match.

Max Payne was an amazing marksman for sure, but players stayed to see the story. The narrative was told through a series of comic books, complete with incredible voice work that really helped sell it as the cheesy noir story he was trying to emulate.

95. SSX Tricky

SSX Tricky expanded on what made the first one so fun, adding flashier Uber moves that gave players more versatility while looking for style. Running on slopes was still an option, but in this game putting together wild combos combined with multipliers and jumping to shortcuts was addictive entertainment, especially in conjunction with chasing unlocks for each of the game's characters to boost stats and make it more dynamic. . There weren't many new tracks included in the game, but the comeback races received a major overhaul so that they at least felt new, even though the names were the same. SSX 1.5 may have been, but it was also undeniably fun and wonderfully playable.

94. Killer 7

Players were definitely split on Capcom's unpredictable, stylized and sometimes downright psychotic adventure game Killer 7. It's a bizarre journey into a surreal world where nothing is quite what it seems and profanity, sex and bloodshed are commonplace. It had a bold vision with a story of terrorism, the illegal trafficking of children, the sale of harvested human organs and schizophrenia that kept us guessing until the end. During scenes, characters shoot unsuspecting victims point-blank in their shocked faces, splattering blood in all directions. Heads are blown up and decapitated. Body parts fly in all directions. Almost every character has something eye-popping profane to say – sometimes with racial overtones. And there are cinematics that feature full sex sequences. The cel-shaded look – a novelty at the time – successfully combined cartoon imagery with very adult themes. Killer 7 was so brutally out of the ordinary that it practically demanded his attention.

93. Fight Night 2004

Fight Night is a franchise synonymous with video game boxing these days, but it was the 2004 version that started it all. Previous games mapped punches to the front buttons of controllers, but Fight Night revolutionized the genre by mapping all controls to analog sticks. Players could use the buttons to modify how they used the stick, but through simple, intuitive movements, players threw precise punches and moved like butterflies.

Fight Night also surprised us with its presentation. The character models looked pretty good for the time, and the realistic way in which the fighters displayed punch damage really helped immersion the player. It may not be the best sports game ever made, but Fight Night stands out for being one of the most ambitious from developer EA.

92. Kingdom Hearts RE: Chain of Memories

In 2007, Japan got a super cool special edition of Kingdom Hearts that featured a reworked version of the GBA entry, Chain of Memories. It would be another year before America had this game as a standalone title. While it's basically a reworked version, RE: Chain of Memories takes all the charm and history of Kingdom Hearts and uses a unique and cool card battle system to create a very different kind of game. In a time when card battle RPGs were all around, Chain of Memories stands out as one that was really fast paced and a lot of fun. The addition of voice acting, cutscenes, and some new gameplay mechanics make the game better than its GBA version, and it's worth playing even if you own the original. Kingdom Hearts fans should play the bridge game, not only for the somewhat convoluted story parts, but also because it's arguably more fun than Kingdom Hearts 2.

91. Colin McRae Rally 3

The PS2 launch library was a little difficult, but for racing fans, Christmas 2000 brought a fantastic gift in the form of Colin McRae Rally 2, which is good – rally fans would have to wait almost two years and means of tracking. Lucky for them it was so good. While Colin McRae Rally 3's heavy attachment to the Ford Focus was a somewhat intriguing move on Codemaster's part, it nonetheless improved the game considerably with regards to car handling and physics and maintained the finesse of control the series was known for. They also did everything at 60 frames per second, which wasn't easy, and they had car warping years before it was considered mandatory to include it. Codemaster has also managed to bring the PS2 version of the game remarkably close to the original Xbox title, which says something as both versions look fantastic.

90. Dead to Rights

You're a cop with a dog that rips out throats on command - and when the last console generation had just taken off, that was something more important than it may seem now. Dead to Rights pushed the boundaries of the types of content people expected to see in console games, from the aforementioned dogfighting to strip club sequels that involved fast-paced events that forced you to shake up your money-maker to keep the attention away from the main character. It also brought in some heavy John Woo influences that hadn't been done in many other games before, and offered a quirky Japanese take on the kind of gameplay that developers were just getting started after the original Max Payne. Additionally, the PS2 version added hotkeys for weapons and drastically adjusted the difficulty to result in a much more accessible game than the original Xbox title.

89. Viewtiful Joe 2

Viewtiful Joe 2 continued the incredible but satisfying challenge of the first game. It was fun. Was fast. It was beautiful. And yes, it was very difficult. Fans of the original found exactly what they were looking for in the sequel. It's very similar to the classic fighters of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, but what made Viewtiful Joe 2 so remarkable was the convergence of retro elements with a bold new art style. It felt cool and controlled like a dream, allowing players to execute skillful combo attacks with ease. Once you master the controls, it's all over. Nothing could stand in your way. Getting live snot out of everything in sight was just as visceral as the first time. In Viewtiful Joe 2, Joe had some company: his girlfriend from the first game, Sylvia, is a playable badass. All sequels should be fun.

88. Monster Rancher 4

Monster Rancher 4 made some huge changes from its predecessors. A new art style, the addition of a story, and much-improved battle and training modes have taken the franchise to the level of fun we were hoping for. The monotony of training has been lessened with the addition of specialized equipment and the ability to set your training schedule weeks in advance. But the biggest improvement was the addition of an overarching story and a series of dungeons where you can take your monsters to explore, battle, and find special items and abilities. But even with all the changes, the game managed to keep its roots long enough to keep fans happy. The addiction to trying out all the CDs and DVDs in his collection to spawn different types of monsters was still there and it was just as fun as ever.

87. Project Eden

It's often referred to as a shooter, but Project Eden is actually more of a puzzle game. Sure, players had to fire their fair share of weapons during the course of the game's story, but the crux of the game was to use the unique abilities of each of the four playable characters to solve a series of environmental puzzles. In effect, players had to switch between characters (taking direct control at any time or allowing another player to do so), using combinations of each to proceed.

It wasn't the prettiest game for the PS2 by any means, but it stands out for the simple fact that its designers took huge risks. Think about it: when was the last time you played something that surprised you by taking so many familiar video game ideas and mixing them into something refreshing? Sadly, few things come to mind, but the Eden Project is definitely one of them.

86. Battle Engine Aquila

Any game that describes as ""Waterworld with mechs and without Kevin Costner"" is definitely on this list. The game revolves around you, the pilot of the world's only mech, and your part in a war for the remaining pieces of land in a flooded world.

The story wasn't the real reason why Battle Engine Aquila was memorable, however, and the game's fanatical fans will likely tell you, first of all, how amazing the game's battlegrounds were. You may be piloting the game's only engine, but each level takes you to a virtual battleground where you can see enemies and allies fighting. It gave the player a sense of scale that few other games on the PS2 offered, making the player feel like they were just a small part of a larger battle, rather than the hero of the day.

85. Manhunt

While Rockstar is one of the most respected game developers today, it was gaining traction in the early days of the PlayStation 2. It had the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but people wanted more. By late 2003, the success of Manhunt, and it was clear that Rockstar was hitting its stride. After all, just like Grand Theft Auto III, Manhunt tried to revolutionize the industry with a game like no one had ever seen before.

84. Gungrave

There are some games out there that prove that less is more. Normally, a game that only lasts a few hours is considered a failure, but if those hours are filled with stunning visuals, over-the-top action, and pure, mindless fun, then that might more than make up for the quick playtime. Gungrave is one of those games. The third-person shooter almost felt like a beat-em-up at times. It was fun, although it was also very easy and very short. In the end, it was his anime style and amazing visuals that got him. The characters were designed by Trigun creator Yasuhiro Nightow, one of the best in the business. It was style over substance, but style was more than enough to make up for everything else. Also, the guy had these huge twin pistols he called Cerberus. Totally badass.

83. Transformers

Licensed video games have a bad reputation. Unfortunately, it is usually deserved. But Transformers thankfully bucked the trend in 2004, putting solid gameplay first with just a hint of Transformers flavor. In fact, Transformers licensing is so non-critical to the game that it could be absent entirely without ruining the experience.

The core gameplay is a pretty basic third-person shooter with first-person-style dual analog sticks. The gunfight starts off simple, perhaps repetitive, but increases in entertainment value as players collect and equip all sorts of mini-con power-ups. There are a myriad of mini-cons hidden throughout the game, and as they are collected, the player can mix and match mini-con combos to equip one of the three main playable characters. Juggling multi-shot, shield, and sliding skills becomes a crucial skill as the game's difficulty increases, and what was once a brainless blaster has emerged as a (almost) smart marksman.

The game's boss battles shine and are some of the few moments where Transformers feels true to its license. Fighting the skyscraper-tall Tidal Wave is a special mid-game treat and challenged only by the final battle against the planet-sized Unicron. Transformers was a true sleeping success.

82. Burnout 2: Point of Impact

Burnout 2 represents an interesting turning point in the Burnout series. Where the first game was all about racing with some cool crashes thrown in and Burnout 3 was all about legal crashes with some driving thrown in, Burnout 2 sits firmly in the middle, and might be more satisfying as a racing game than its brethren. Burnout 2 took everything people were likely to like but didn't really know about in the first game and fleshed it out, leading to one of the most immersive and playable racing titles the PS2 would see in the first half of its life. Also, the glitches were AWESOME. We have to value the little things, and it's even easier to do that when the big ones work really well. Burnout 2 didn't leave many PS2 libraries until, of course, Burnout 3 was released. It was also another example of Criterion's technical mastery of PS2 hardware.

81. SSX3

While previous SSX games had a single run, the third game opened up the entire mountain. While some have debated whether Tricky was actually a sequel to the first SSX, there was no denying that the third game was a huge leap forward. Being able to walk down an entire mountain, picking its branches along the way, opened up a welcome degree of freedom. The races, tricks, and hidden areas you buy an SSX game for were still intact, but SSX 3 has expanded to a level where it would theoretically be possible to pull a trick down the slope. At the time of its release, it was one of the best, most complete, and most fun snowboarding games ever made, and that's something that remains to this day. Although the SSX franchise continued after the release of 3, it, along with the rest of the genre, was never able to reach the same heights again.

80. Spider-Man 2

Why is Spider-Man 2 on the list? Easy: It was the first Spider-Man game to offer New York the way you wanted it. You could follow the plot of the movie, then go solve random crimes, and then spend an afternoon just swinging for hours on end. Sure, Spider-Man 2's story wasn't amazing (it was a tie-in to the movie), but the freedom to be Spider-Man in New York was something that left an impression on many of the editors. You'd be happy hanging around the Empire State Building and looking for secret tokens when a blip pops up on your radar - a random New York event. Was it a ragged driver? A child who lost his balloon? The only way to know was to go over it, webhead. Or, if you want, you can ignore it and try to deliver pizzas. You were Spider-Man. With great power comes whatever you want.

79. Final Fantasy XII

Square-Enix took a big risk with Final Fantasy XII. It completely reinvented the combat system, shifting from traditional turn-based combat to a more action-oriented style of play that allowed players to script the movements of their team members. Intelligent enemy AI has only added to the experience, making battles even more challenging. The Final Fantasy series has always had great stories and XII was no exception. The game had a sweeping narrative, full of twists that kept us seated until the end. And all this on top of some of the most beautiful graphics that have ever appeared on the system. In the end, the risk paid off, as Square-Enix managed to reinvigorate their beloved franchise without ruining what made it so special.

78. MVP Baseball 2005

MVP may have been the greatest renaissance ever for a video game franchise. EA's Triple Play baseball was rubbish, easily among the worst sports games available at the time of its demise in 2002. But with MVP Baseball 2003, EA reinvented the series, which quickly became known as one of the best sports franchises around. around.

The last MVP game, MVP 2005, was the pinnacle of console baseball games. It had it all – an in-depth franchise mode, an ownership mode, smart AI, an intuitive batting interface, and a truly amazing pitching system. So many hours were spent in the office playing MVP 2005. And while Sony did an admirable job with MLB The Show on PS3, nothing has yet been able to match the level of excellence found in MVP Baseball 2005.

77. Mark of Cree

Remember this game? It's a shame that The Mark of Kri is one of the forgotten gems in the PS2 catalogue. But that makes sense, because it kind of took us by surprise too. At first, Kri looks like it's going to be somewhere along the lines of Jak and Daxter and Tak, but then it cracks open a few skulls thanks to the most graphic violence the PS2 has ever seen. Sony's San Diego studio created a fun and amazing adventure game that channeled our love of beat-'em-ups. The controls were deeper than a game like this normally is, and overall it was just plain fun. And we can't ignore the unique style and Polynesian main character, which made the game unique. It had a sequel a few years later, but by then even more violent games like God of War had gained the spotlight. The Mark of Kri never got the recognition it deserved.

76. Ar Tonelico 2: Melody of MetaFalica

The PS2 saw countless Japanese RPGs, but Ar Tonelico 2 was easily among the best. At first glance, this game might seem like nothing more than a teenage wet dream, but the depth of the story and gameplay puts it above all innuendo and bouncy breasts. It took a traditional roleplaying game and tweaked it here and there, giving us one of the most satisfying and immersive games on the system. Turn-based battles gained a level of sophistication with separate attack and defense phases, and random encounters gave you some early warning, making them easy to avoid or blow up. The addition of a tough moral choice midway took this game to the next level, making it a must-play for RPG fans.

75. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando

Like the duo Jak and Daxter, Ratchet & Clank helped define the PS2 – four titles in the series were released for the platform. Going Commando was the second in the series, and it found our furry Lombax and his robot friend looking for work after becoming bona fide heroes at the end of the first adventure. The story, while cute and fun, has never been the show's true strength, and Going Commando was no exception. It's all about the crazy weapons (of which there are many) and purely fun platforming gameplay. With beautiful environments filled with rich colors and creative creatures, Going Commando builds on the first game, offering plenty of side quests and arena challenges as a way to collect more bolts. Few game series have been able to keep us engaged and entertained as well as Ratchet & Clank.

74. Maximo: Ghosts to Glory

The spiritual successor to Capcom's classic Ghosts 'n Goblins, Maximo was a modern classic that essentially brought the familiar formula of slaying demons and running around in your underwear into the third dimension. It evoked nostalgia but included exciting new features that allowed it to stand alongside other action games of its time. A lot of work went into character design and environmental effects, and it shows – the game dazzled us. Maximo was a masterpiece that left us ecstatic from start to finish. It definitely presented a challenge: CaptainVideoGames ranked it sixth in our Top 10 Hardest PlayStation 2 Games. Like the retro games that inspired it, great challenges bring great rewards. Maximo ended up being part of the PS2's Greatest Hits lineup, so the difficulty didn't bother many people, apparently. In fact, all this Maximo talk got us thinking: isn't it time to revisit the series on PlayStation 3?

73. Kingdom Hearts II

The second proper Kingdom Hearts title, which continued the story of the Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories spin-off, was a somewhat controversial title. While many disliked the game's unusually slow prologue with new character Roxas, others appreciated the strange melancholy involved in the events in Twilight Town. Regardless, Kingdom Hearts II was an important ""next step"" for the developers at Square Enix, as the game continued Sora's story but also introduced a new group of villains.

While the battle system had several new features, the most exciting addition to Kingdom Hearts II was the intrigue surrounding Organization XIII. Kingdom Hearts II also boasted plenty of action and even a new Drive system that allowed Sora to merge with other members of the group. Critics aside, Kingdom Hearts II was an exciting addition to the PS2 RPG collection.

72. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory

While the first Splinter Cell had some great concepts for an unnamed single-player stealth title ""Metal Gear Solid"" and Pandora Tomorrow introduced the popular Spies vs. Mercenaries, Splinter Cell Chaos Theory took it much further. Between a full co-op campaign, fantastically reworked graphics, and the addition of new gameplay options (including a major addition of knife combat), Chaos Theory has thrown a challenge to other stealth-action titles that many would argue has never been bettered. While the PS2 version made some compromises so that Ubisoft Montreal could bring it to the platform, it still retained most of what made the game great.

71. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse

Sometimes a sequel is actually much better than the original. That's what happened with X-Men Legends. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse took everything that made the original game great and added to it. Four player, online co-op? Check. Team-based leveling? Check. A bunch of superheroes and villains to play with? Check. In fact, this was the action-RPG comedy that idiots like us had been waiting for. You picked a team of four, set out on your quest and smashed everything you could to get your hands on those sweet, sweet orbs. X-Men Legends II paved the way for the most popular Marvel: Ultimate Alliance games on today's HD platforms. The premise was simple (kill everything like the characters you love), the story was interesting, and the gameplay was fun. That's all you need for a great game.

70. Tourist Trophy: The Real Riding Simulator

Every now and then, the gentlemen at Sony allow developer Polyphony to do something other than Gran Turismo. And it's always good. In creating the Tourist Trophy, producer Kazunori Yamauchi delivered his love of motorcycles with the same loving attention to detail as his team in the Gran Turismo games. Casual motorcycle fans have a lot to worry about in the modern sport, but in true Polyphony fashion, it's the attention to classic bikes that shows the purity of the team's motivation.

Without the budget of a Gran Turismo game, the Tourist Trophy doesn't come close to the collection of vehicles that Polyphony is known for, but the team still found room for cult classics like the Honda VFR400, Kawasaki GPZ900 and other Japanese favorites. Typically, the vehicle lineup is centered around Japan.

The vast majority of race courses are replays of Gran Turismo 4, and as the Tourist Trophy runs on the same engine, everything looks almost identical. The driving physics is stellar, of course, and provides a new way to enjoy familiar tracks, as motorcycle racing lines are very different from those of four-wheelers. The Tourist Trophy isn't as accomplished as the other Polyphony racers, and it's a shame we'd love to see it fixed.

69. Star Wars: Battlefront

Deep down, every Star Wars fan dreams of being able to fight their way through some of the franchise's epic battles, and Star Wars Battlefront was the game that finally brought those fantasies to virtual life. Yes, there was a single player campaign, what everyone cared about here was multiplayer where you and up to 15 friends could fight on the snowy plains of Hoth, defeat each other in the Mos Eisley cantina, and dive around Cloud City. And yes, you could fight for the Alliance, but if your alliance has always been secretly with Vader, you could also fight as part of the Imperial Guard. Just as cool as the iconic settings was being able to get behind the controls of some of the signature vehicles in the Star Wars universe. X-wing? Check. Starfighter? Check. And if there's anything more incredible than commanding a sky-high AT-AT while it lumbers towards your enemies, we don't want to hear about it.

68. Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love

If you want to talk about the PlayStation 2's last great breath, you have to talk about Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. Released in March 2010, the game captured the hearts of gamers as the PS2 approached a decade on this planet. What is it? Well, Sakura Wars: Goodbye, My Love is a dating sim... a dating sim full of robots. Giant robots fighting in a strategy RPG world. Here, you'll take the controller and be the only male in a women's team. You will need to befriend and date these women to improve your relationships and your attributes on the battlefield. Once everything is in order, you start to work as a team and dominate the bad guys on the streets of the United States. Giant robots, beautiful women and a game so deep you could play it endlessly. Not bad for the PS2 if you ask us.

67. Psychonauts

Before Brutal Legend (but after Grim Fandango) Tim Schafer gave us the greatness that Psychonauts are. Basically a platform game, it was a free roaming adventure that removed almost all the restrictions we were used to at the time. Collectors (like us) had more items to find than even classic Nintendo 64 platformers like Donkey Kong 64. The true genius of psychonauts was shown when the hero Raz entered someone's mind. By far the best level is when Raz enters the mutated lungfish's mind. Turns out the lungfish is more afraid of Raz than anything else. Because of this, Raz is actually a giant in the lungfish's mind and the level continues with Raz tearing through Lungfishopolis like the Godzilla-like Goggalor. But like any Tim Schafer joint, it's the psychonaut humor that's really worth it. It's incredibly funny.

Psychonauts was one of the most refreshing and original games for the PlayStation 2.

66. Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance

Dark Alliance is still one of the best action RPGs ever made. Unlike the Baldur's Gate PC games – where players used to pause and give orders to their squad – Dark Alliance was all action. Players have taken control of a single character, hacking and hacking their way through hours and hours of dungeons in an effort to get the next big loot.

The story wasn't as important for the PS2 version as it was for the PC games, but it just didn't matter. The relatively mindless combat was captivating when combined with the game's pretty deep character customization options. Add to that the constant stream of loot and the ability to play local co-op, and you have one of the most memorable PS2 games of all time. Even now, when we're deep into an entirely new generation of consoles, no game has managed to capture the same fascination as Dark Alliance's perfect combination of combat, loot, and RPG attributes.

65. WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain

When the SmackDown wrestling franchise started on the original PlayStation, it was right behind Nintendo 64 THQ titles – WWF WrestleMania 2000 and WWF No Mercy – and a limited set of features prevented it from being a main event. But year after year, the SmackDown brand has gotten better and better. Then, in 2003, WWE SmackDown! Here comes the pain arrived and shamed almost every other grappler that ever existed before him. This title changed the grapple system, blew up the career mode, put in a bunch of WWE legends, and basically gave wrestling fans exactly what they wanted. There were first blood matches, bra and panty matches, and interactive backstage environments. It was enough to make the most jaded ECW fan see the light and claim this title. Since then, wrestling games have been compared to Here Comes the Pain, and few have done so.

64. Aggressive Inline

Tony Hawk was the name synonymous with skating and video games, but that was shaken when Aggressive Inline was released in 2002. It's true that it wasn't about skateboarding, but this inline skating game resonated with players thanks to its great environments, great music. contemporary and fantastic repertoire of movements. The game was one of the best games for its time, running at 60 frames per second long before that was something gamers were chasing.

One of the biggest features that everyone loved about Aggressive Inline was its unique approach to the leveling system. Much like a person who is actually learning to skate, performing various types of tricks makes you get better at doing them. So while you might struggle to go through a lot of tricks at first, practice would eventually allow you to skate with all the finesse you'd expect from a pro.

Aggressive inline may not have been original in what it offered, but it proved that Tony Hawk's formula could extend far beyond skateboarding. And while it's a shame this never became a franchise, this is still a game any PS2 owner should pick.

63. Primal

Female Leads on PS2 were very hard to find, and even when they did, they were either ridiculously proportioned or the epitome of the stereotype of a weak woman. That's just one of the reasons Primal was so refreshing. Jen, although she had the special power to take the form of demons, was an ordinary girl. She was attractive, but with normal-sized breasts, and she was smart and funny. She was also the one who was on a mission to save her boyfriend, not the other way around. Accompanied by a small wise gargoyle (who was also playable), Jen traveled through various demonic realms on her adventure. Primal was a stunning cinematic game with a deep story that really focused on character development. While the gameplay had some issues, it was still a wonderfully satisfying experience with one of the best stories we'd seen in a game up to that point.

62. Mercenaries

Mercenaries had a very intriguing plot about a fictional North Korea trying to take over the world, but its real attraction was the sandbox construction combined with the potential for sheer destruction. Basically, if you saw it, you could destroy it; so for anyone harboring a little pent-up anger, this was a way to burn off some of the frustration without doing anything illegal.

The plot of Mercenaries is structured around you (playing as one of three mercenaries, each with their own specialized abilities), a soldier for hire, working on a contract list of the 52 most wanted in North Korea. You can accept contracts from various factions, including the Chinese, Russian Mafia, South Korea, and fictional Allied Nations, but you'll need to carefully balance whoever is trying to curry favor. Diplomatic intrigue has rarely been this fun.

61. The Warriors

While a 1970s cult gang movie might not seem like the most obvious source of material for a video game, Rockstar turned The Warriors into digital gold with this action game that had everyone wanting to go out and play. The main story begins before the events of the film, tracing the rise of the Warriors as they struggle to dominate rival gangs such as the Destroyers and the Baseball Furies; throughout the quest to be king of the hill, players had to play as each of the nine gang members, including Cochise and Ajax.

In addition to a surprisingly deep combat system, The Warriors carries many of Rockstar's trademark elements, such as an open world and a carefully crafted sense of place, with a period soundtrack and great art direction. And as always, a stellar voice cast (which included many of the actors from the original film) helped to immerse players in a strange and beautiful world.

60. Sly 3: Honor Between Thieves

The Cooper gang's third adventure proved just as irresistible as the first two - it's as if Ocean's 11 has met a cute old school animated movie and they have a totally awesome baby. The final chapter of the Sly Cooper trilogy opens with a disintegrated Cooper gang, and Sly and the injured Bentley must recruit their former comrades and then band together to stop the evil Dr. M, who is holding the Cooper family safe and its contents hostage.

As with the first two games, players were able to choose missions to progress through the story, although Sly 3 allows you to play as a wider variety of characters, including Inspector Carmelita Fox. It also marked the first time the series has offered on-screen local multiplayer. split, and even preempted the 3D trend by pairing a pair of old-school blue and red glasses with the game and offering some XNUMXD missions.

59. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly

The survival horror genre had some excellent games on the PS2, and one of the best was Fatal Frame II. From the moment the game's twin sisters followed a strange butterfly into the forest, it provided so many scares that we sat on the edge of our seats. By improving the photo-taking gameplay of the first game, Fatal Frame II was able to further immerse the player in its nightmarish world and story. Well-designed and challenging puzzles really felt like they belonged in the setting and story. Innovative lighting techniques also made the game stand out graphically. The developers made masterful use of shadow to heighten suspense, and an appropriately spooky soundtrack completed the film. Fatal Frame II turned out to be a near-perfect sequel, fixing issues that plagued the previous game and increasing the scares to a level few games were able to achieve.

58. Star Ocean: Till the End of Time

The PlayStation 2 was full of great roleplaying games. But few were better than Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. The third in the series, Till the End of Time was a progressive RPG that did some things that were rare in 2004 but now take for granted.

Among the highlights was the combat system, which was not just real-time, but featured levels of complexity that surpassed even some non-RPG action titles. And long before Mass Effect's much-vaunted codex, Star Ocean cataloged and defined every creature and place you encountered along the way. The Star Ocean galaxy was something to behold.

Blending science fiction with magic, Star Ocean is an unusual, captivating and utterly incredible experience. Being voted one of the best RPGs on PS2 is no small feat. Competition is fierce, but Star Ocean deserves its spot on our list.

57. Tomb Raider Anniversary

Lara Croft has had a hit-and-miss history on the PS2. After her lousy platform debut in Angel of Darkness, she's happily switched developers and made an admirable comeback in Legend. Crystal Dynamics followed Legend with Anniversary, a complete remake of the original Tomb Raider, complete with bears and dinosaurs. In addition to being obviously better looking than the original, Anniversary has made a number of other improvements, bringing many gameplay mechanics from Legend. Gone are the frustrating tank controls that made death a normal occurrence, having been replaced by normal third-person controls and little extras like the grappling hook and shimmy abilities. But the underlying exploration and puzzle-solving gameplay that defines Tomb Raider was still intact, with multi-room puzzles filled with obstacles and traps that made you feel really smart once you discovered them. In short, it was like playing the original Tomb Raider, only better because it actually worked.

56. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2

The Need For Speed ​​series is older than the original PlayStation (with the first title in the series being released in 3D0 in 1994). But it was the series' first appearance on the PlayStation 2 that really cemented it as one of the best racing series to see the light of day on any console. When Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 launched for PlayStation 2 in late summer 2002, it blew players away with its attention to detail and absolutely stellar arcade gameplay.

Hot Pursuit 2's idea was generally identical to the original Hot Pursuit, in which players competed against the computer or against each other while trying to dodge charged cops who would stop at nothing to stop their advance. Players could take control of police cars to reverse the script on other drivers as well. But what is perhaps one of the most memorable features of Hot Pursuit 2 is its incredible soundtrack, which was one of the first EA games to receive the so-called EA Trax treatment.

55. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

In addition to having one of the most self-confident titles in gaming history, Jak and Daxter introduced us to a bright and colorful world full of funny characters. Everyone expected Jak and Daxter to be great; After all, the game was developed by Crash Bandicoot's Naughty Dog (and more recently Uncharted), and while few details were released before launch, players were salivating with anticipation. Fortunately, the game provided a great experience: rather than trying to completely reinvent the gameplay of an action platformer, Jak and Daxter simply built a solid foundation, making mechanics like item collection make sense with the story. The game was also one of the first in the genre to have a truly interconnected world, rather than a hub with levels that reset. On top of all that, the beautiful graphics and fun characters made this one of the most fun games at the time.

54. Silent Hill 2

Survival horror was all the rage in the early 2000s, and Silent Hill 2 was among one of the titles that propelled the movement. Rather than being a sequel to the original PlayStation game, Silent Hill 2 chose you as James Sunderland and left you in the foggy village known as Silent Hill with one purpose - to find your wife... you . Players would navigate James through the city never knowing what was about to burst upon them. While there was combat in the game, Silent Hill 2 was more about unraveling that mystery and just surviving the hell you got yourself into by overcoming the puzzles. Crazy Nurses, Pyramid Head and more scary moments than you could ever imagine defined this title.

53. Rogue Galaxy

The developer of beloved roleplaying games like Dark Cloud and Dragon Quest VIII gave the PS2 a big send-off with this pirate-themed extravaganza. While the plot doesn't break new ground - the intrepid orphan hero and his band of pirates plotted to stop an evil corporation from taking over the world - the mix of fun and gravity strikes a good balance.

Players need to exercise some strategic thinking when fighting enemies, but the real-time action combat system is a great balance and the resulting fights are so fun that it makes it hard to let go of the controller and walk away. Add in a healthy weapon and item crafting system, lots of minigames and collectible creatures that you can upgrade, craft, and fight, and there are plenty of extras on top of the main story to keep RPG fans busy for dozens of dozens of hours. The fact that it came late in the PS2's life cycle also means it's one of the best looking games on the system. Rogue Galaxy helped PS2 roleplaying games stand out.

52. NBA Street Vol. 2

Many players have fond memories of NBA Jam and Double Dribble. Few developers have tried to recapture this, let alone succeeded. But then EA launched in 2001 with NBA Streets, a fun, over-the-top street hoops game. NBA Street Vol. 2 came two years later, improving every single area and delivering the pinnacle of arcade basketball perfection (sorry, Jam!).

NBA Street Vol. 2 had style. It was well produced, fun a little edgy and had the fantasy elements to please any basketball fan. The main focus was the Be a Legend mode, where you take your created character through the street circuit, fighting trios of real NBA teams, while performing moves like ""Off the Heezay"" or Darryl Dawkins ""Chocolate Thunder"" bury.

The best thing about NBA Street Vol. 2, though, and something rarely replicated, is its ability to create custom nicknames. Based on playstyle, Street 2 gives the created character a nickname midway through his journey up the NBA ladder. Hilary Goldstein's flashy ball handler from IGN EIC was nicknamed Shakes and former IGN Sports Editor Jon Robinson's flying dunker was known as Runway. How cool is that?

51. Twisted Metal: Black

Twisted Metal has always been dark, slightly sinister, but overwhelmingly silly. But Black increased the darkness, abandoned the lightness, and focused squarely on the disturbed. Once twisted characters took on more psychotic personalities and fanciful backstories morphed into grotesquely realistic settings.

After a two-game hiatus in its own franchise, the folks behind the original Twisted Metal took control of the series' direction with Twisted Metal: Black and brought it back to its roots, ditching some unloved elements from Twisted Metals 3 and 4 (like cars that can turn upside down). The car combat game featured some extremely expansive environments with destructible elements that make multiplayer matches a blast. The multiplayer aspect of the game later received a shot in the arm when developer Incognito added the online game to the game, first as a free disc and then fully integrated the online into the game's Greatest Hits release.

50. Gitaroo Man

This game has a demon in a diaper on top of a toy train – how could you not want to play it? The best way to describe Gitaroo-Man is probably insanely weird, but it was also wonderfully creative and quite innovative. Following the story of a teenage superhero who fights villains with his ax (a guitar, not an actual axe), the game gave us a different kind of rhythm game, making use of the analog stick in addition to the buttons. Instead of just tapping the buttons to the beat, you had to point the analog stick in the right direction to follow an ever-changing line. The wacky premise and wacky characters were pretty unique for the time, as was the challenging gameplay mechanics. While the other rhythm games came in and got boring after a while, Gitaroo-Man kept us rocking.

49. Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec

By the end of the PlayStation's life, developer Polyphony had been so successful with Gran Turismo that the game became part of what defines Sony's console brand. When announcing the PlayStation 2, Sony couldn't bear not having Gran Turismo as part of it. One of the first video demonstrations of a working-titled Gran Turismo 2000 was among the first highlights of the system.

Typical of Polyphony, the developer kept players waiting. It wasn't until mid-2001 that the fully realized game, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, was released on the PlayStation 2. Also typical: the game was delivered.

Gran Turismo 3 doesn't have the same vast automotive library as the previous game, largely due to the time it took to bring Gran Turismo to the new hardware - but the final product was nothing short of impressive. The game was a remarkable demonstration of the PlayStation 2's hardware prowess in the time it took Polyphony to outdo itself with another game.

48. Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

For people who like turn-based strategy games and wacky anime, Disgaea is the Holy Grail. It's the deepest, most heavy-handed strategy game you can play on consoles, offering literally hundreds of hours of gameplay if you want to. You have your story campaign filled with interesting tactical challenges and quirky characters that are truly captivating. But there's the Item World, which is totally separate from the story and doesn't even require you to set foot inside. This is where the truly insane can get lost, leveling up the group they've carefully cultivated to ridiculous heights and hunting down powerful legendary items that will make story quests a cinch. We're not kidding: we have Disgaea to save files with game times in the hundreds of hours. This sort of thing isn't for everyone, but Disgaea is the best turn-based strategy game we've ever played on a console.

47. Suikoden III

The PS2 is not lacking in the RPG department. But when asked to name the best RPGs, most people will search the Square Enix catalog. The oft-overlooked Suikoden III is not only a fantastic RPG, but it's one of the best games Konami has ever published. The plot is told through three different points of view depending on who the player chooses – a feature that has seriously increased the game's replay value. It was engaging and surprising for an RPG at the time. The battle system has improved on Suikoden games of the past, making the game more accessible and differentiating it from its counterparts. Hell, even the minigames and side quests were fun and addictive. If you missed this gem the first time it was released, it's worth a try to track it down to add it to your collection.

46. ​​ESPN NFL 2K5

Despite being widely considered the best in the Madden NFL series, SEGA's 2K franchise has always lagged far behind in sales. In a last ditch effort to take a piece of EA's football crowd, SEGA released its ultimate football game for $20 (versus Madden's $50 price tag). It worked. NFL 2K5 made a significant difference. The success was well deserved.

NFL 2K5 is perhaps the best football game to date. Along with great visuals and realistic AI, NFL 2K5 offered players an in-depth franchise mode. You can choose how players prepare and train for each game (an idea Madden borrowed later). The game also featured a ridiculous amount of integration with ESPN to the point where you might think ESPN made the game. ESPN personalities Chris Berman, Suzy Kolber, Trey Wingo and Mel Kiper earn significant screen time.

So really, how good was NFL 2K5? Good enough to force EA to spend several hundred million dollars for the exclusive rights to the NFL license, halting further efforts to supplant Madden as king of the video game field.

45. Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny

When the original Onimusha launched in early 2001 on the PlayStation 2, there were few games that were as good on Sony's young, new system. It was so good, in fact, that it only took a year and a half for its long-awaited sequel to hit PlayStation 2. Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny continued the tradition of the first title by combining powerful action gameplay with a survival horror aesthetic. When you combine the title's crisp graphical talent with its incredible ability to create a dark mood and ambience, you end up with one of the great PlayStation 2 titles.

While there's no doubt that Onimusha was later dragged through the mud in the series' weakest link, Onimusha 3, it's here in the second game that the series reaches its peak. Not only is there a long, difficult and compelling main quest to solve, but there are also side quests to keep players entertained. If there's a single game that proves Capcom can pivot from the Resident Evil survival horror series to something else, you need look no further than Onimusha 2.

44. Odin Sphere

This 2D action RPG from developer Vanillaware appeared very, very late in the life of the PlayStation 2. The game featured some of the most fascinating art we've seen in a game before and the eloquent, interconnected story was just as captivating. Odin Sphere was truly one of the last PS2 big hits, and the incredible efforts of its developers were noteworthy.

Odin Sphere told the story of five different heroes who were somehow connected to the five warring nations in the land of Erion. The game not only had an immersive narrative, but also combined multiple styles of gameplay into one experience. This included traditional side-scrolling action, RPG level building, and complex alchemy and item crafting. Odin Sphere certainly wasn't for everyone, but those who could learn to love its eclectic mix of styles found it a richly rewarding experience that deserves recognition on our Top 100 list.

43. Bully

Cars aren't stolen, nobody gets shot, the mob isn't involved, and at the end of the day, you're just wanting to be with the cutest girl in the class – how about switching up a proven Rockstar formula?

Bully has many elements that fans of the Grand Theft Auto series are looking for, including an open world to explore, the freedom to be mean, and lots of humor. But Bully puts him in the shoes of a militant boy sent to a prep school to be reformed. It's not about catching fools or rising to the top of a criminal empire. Instead, you want to survive another day of school and maybe throw a wrench in the system like a rebellious teenager.

This refreshing change is a big reason why we love Bully so much. Despite being rated for teenagers (and not considered mature), Bully still manages to address a number of sensitive social issues. If you want, antihero Jimmy Hopkins can get you a boyfriend. Scandalous.

42. Devil May Cry

The action masterpiece from the mind of Hideki Kamiya, Devil May Cry was a boon for action-seeking PS2 owners. Devil May Cry gave the gaming world the famous cocky hero Dante, and challenged players with an impressive level of difficulty and lots of elaborate choreography not typically seen in action games at the time.

Devil May Cry centers on the exploits of Dante and the enigmatic Trish, who persuaded the hero to face the demon emperor Mundus (the entity responsible for the death of Dante's mother). This wild story was the backdrop for the action, however, which became Devil May Cry's distinguishing feature and also – arguably – influenced a number of Japanese action games that followed. Although we prefer the third entry in the Devil May Cry series, the original title was still a special action game that deserves to be remembered.

41. Ratchet & Clank

The original Ratchet & Clank was the beginning of something very special. Developer Insomniac combined a number of fun gameplay elements, including platforming and shooting, to create an addictive mix of entertainment that was complemented by great humor. While the first Ratchet & Clank wasn't as polished as its predecessors, it was still an excellent introduction to the franchise and an important stepping stone for the developer, who continued to work on the series for years afterward.

Not only did Ratchet & Clank introduce players to the game's titular heroes, it also debuted the iconic Captain Qwark, along with antagonist Drek who threatened the galaxy in his raging quest to save his race from destruction.

In Ratchet & Clank, players had access to a number of different weapons and gadgets, which have become a staple of the series. Even though Insomniac's future efforts would be better games overall, the original Ratchet & Clank still holds a special place in our hearts.

40. Like 3

Let's just move on and forget that Jak X and The Lost Frontier ever happened. Jak 3 is the pinnacle of Naughty Dog's PS2 action platformer series. During the platform resurgence in the early 2000s, Naughty Dog released three Jak games. Unlike their peers at Insomniac and Sucker Punch, the developers significantly developed the game with each new entry, making each title feel distinct. The story got a lot crazier with time travel, tragic losses, and some bizarre revelations (spoiler alert: those Harbinger guys are actually ottsels!), but it managed to retain its charm and humor that Naughty Dog is known for. With massive sprawling environments, wacky weapons, solid platforming, and incredible characters brought to life by top-notch voice actors, Jak 3 is one of those games fans are begging Naughty Dog to come back to.

39. Dragon Quest VIII

While Dragon Quest VIII wasn't really a revolutionary game, it was an amalgamation of everything that made Japanese RPGs great. It's an insanely long adventure with over a hundred hours of content to wade through and plenty of side quests and activities to participate in when you're not involved in the main quest. While franchises like Final Fantasy have moved into different territory and even Dragon Quest has been changed with IX on the DS, VIII represents the best parts of everything fans of this genre's classic style have loved and stands as one of the greatest JRPGs to date.

The series' traditional style, humor and sound returned for VIII, but a fully 3D environment gave players the freedom to explore at will, engaging with monsters to level up and unlock new abilities at their own pace. Dragon Quest VIII is one of the last single player RPGs and one of the best PlayStation 2 games.

38. TimeSplitters 2

Developer Free Radical Design was built by former members of the GoldenEye 64 team – guys who know a thing or two about multiplayer first-person shooters on consoles. Their first Free Radical game, TimeSplitters, was a standout launch game on the PlayStation 2, but the sequel is one that had us playing split-screen deathmatches for months and months with our friends. It was possibly the best split-screen FPS ever made at the time. TimeSplitters 2 looked like an updated version of GoldenEye for the PS2, which was definitely a good thing. Its multiplayer modes had a key component that we often feel lacking in today's shooters: bots. While we could only play with four people on split screen, we could help fill maps with armed monkeys and killer robots. TimeSplitters 2 didn't take itself too seriously, and that irreverence created a unique shooter we couldn't get enough of. It's also impossible to bring a friend to play the campaign co-op - an unusual feature at the time.

37. Viewtiful Joe

We really didn't know what to expect when Capcom announced they were working on a game called Viewtiful Joe. The title must have been a mistranslation, we thought, and the initial screenshots released made it look like some sort of acrobatic superhero dance simulation. Little did we know it would be one of the best beat 'em ups ever created. Viewtiful Joe took the classic gameplay from favorites like Bad Dudes and Double Dragon, changed the action to ""Ridiculously Over the Top"" and packaged it all with deft cel-shaded graphics. At a time when video games were becoming less challenging to have wider, mass appeal, Viewtiful Joe slapped the industry in the face and dared to make games difficult again, while also returning the color pink. to its throne of '80s cool. Everything from the diverse and richly detailed backgrounds to the totally unique character designs definitely live up to the Viewtiful name.

36. Amplitude

Amplitude, a sequel to the original Harmonix Frequency, was essentially an updated version of its predecessor. The game once again featured a fantastic track list and addictive gameplay, with multiple modes to keep players hooked for countless hours. A big difference between the two titles, however, is in the way the music tracks have been arranged. While Frequency structured the playable paths into a cylinder (which allowed players to move around the level smoothly), the paths in Amplitude were like a flat road, which added to the challenge of moving from one instrument to the next.

For those who love music, Amplitude had it all. A campaign complete with great music, a robust multiplayer mode, remix options for the creative types, and even unlockable outfits for the game's avatars (called ""FreQs"). Amplitude was further proof that Harmonix knows and loves music, and is one of the best developers in the business when it comes to rhythm games. We still play Amplitude to this day, so if you haven't tried it, find a copy - it's worth it.

35. GrimGrimoire

By June 2007, the PS2 was already slipping into obscurity. The PlayStation 3 was released and gaining momentum weekly, and quality releases for the PS2 were few and far between. That's why GrimGrimoire took us by surprise. GrimGrimoire has cast you as a new student at a magic academy and tasked you with stopping the darkness that tried to bring students down around every corner. It might sound like a violation of the Harry Potter trick, but it was actually an amazing real-time strategy game. As Lillet Blan, you kept reliving the same five days and trying to solve the mystery of the Magic Academy while using Necromancy, Glamor and Sorcery spells. The enemy would send ghosts or black cats, and you would whip some elves and dragons. A gorgeous, beautifully colored 2D work of art, GrimGrimoire has you collecting mana and building crystals for hours on end – and that means hours.

Some battles in this cute RTS reached 70 minutes and beyond. We could have used a mid-mission save function, but that didn't stop us from loving this NIS gem.

34. Beyond Good & Evil

There are many games that people look back on and ask “” Why didn't that masterpiece sell? “” For many people, Beyond Good & Evil is one of those games. A third-person title, Beyond Good & Evil cast you as a photojournalist named Jade. When Jade uncovers an alien plot, she and her friends are handling the case and you're taking part in a sneaky, stylish-looking ride. It was set in the future, had a smart lady as a protagonist and there were even pig people, but Beyond Good & Evil never took off – killing off what the developers hoped would become a trilogy. Still, the game's unique setting and action won enough hearts to become a cult classic and it even has a downloadable HD version coming to PlayStation Network and Xbox Live in 2022. Camera ready, sharpshooters.

33 Ridge Racer V

While the games that came later in the PS2's lifecycle were far superior visually, Ridge Racer V set the bar at the system's launch in Japan. Gamers had never seen such realistic environments before, and the sparks that went off from underneath of car wheels left many hesitant to avoid burns.

And while there weren't many racing options at the launch of the PS2 – OK, fine, Ridge Racer V was the only option – this game was a notable entry into the history of the arcade racing series. And thanks to new hardware, details like vehicle sounds have reached a whole new level of realism. And it's hard to compete with the feeling you get when you slide around a turn in an attempt to overtake the last opponent. You can even see the influence of the Ridge Racer series on the developers who followed it, including Criterion, the mentors who created Burnout.

32. Black

Sometimes it's the most satisfying thing in the world to play a game that knows exactly what it is and aims to be as much of it as possible. Nintendo achieves that with most of their games, and if they ever set out to make a completely ridiculous, stupid, super violent shooter, Black very well might have been it. Its singular focus on filling the screen with bullets and bodies seems especially appropriate from the studio that previously brought the world Burnout 3 - how conceptually different are car crashes and explosions caused by bullets, really? With a pace that keeps the volume at 11 for the entire game, Black knows it's a theme park ride with explosions, and he never forgets it. Oh, and it's also one of the best looking PS2 games of all time in the God of War 2 rankings.

31. Dark Cloud 2

It's no secret that there were plenty of roleplaying games built for the PlayStation 2, and the original Dark Cloud wasn't any less for its inventiveness, albeit held back by a few flaws. The gameplay was interesting, combining exploration and combat in random dungeons alongside a city planning and management system, but it lost its appeal due to repetition and a relentless item system. With the sequel, developer Level-5 built on and improved nearly every feature and system of the original. City building features were more sophisticated and combat made more forgiving and ultimately fun. The visuals have also been improved, making Dark Cloud 2 one of the most beautiful and stylish games on the system when it was released. Blending creative concepts with fun gameplay, Dark Cloud 2 is a dungeon explorer's dream game.

30. Guitar Hero

Now that the popularity of music games has waxed and waned, it's hard to remember a time when holding a small plastic guitar to play along with music was a novelty. When the original Guitar Hero hit the PlayStation 2 in 2005, the masses weren't immediately on board. Because they are sane, for the most part. It took crazy people like your friends to evangelize the series and convince everyone that, yes, you look like an idiot playing a tiny plastic guitar – but it's a lot of fun! Guitar Hero is what makes music games cool. Before that, the only option we really had was to jump into the cheesy J-pop and Britney Spears videos in Dance Dance Revolution. Guitar Hero's soundtrack was made up of recognizable songs that we really loved. This game was pure rock and roll bliss: no mythological missions, no weapons, no story... just you and the music (and a silly plastic guitar).

29. Soulcalibur II

Fighting game purists might look past it, but Soulcalibur II was the fighting game for much of the gamer population that didn't want to spend hours practicing combos. And it was amazing – nothing like playing with a group of friends together and passing the controller, trying to take down the guy who kept dominating the fights, everyone cheering when he was finally defeated.

From Raphael wielding a rapier to Kilik brandishing staff to whiptastic Ivy to creepy-pelvised Voldo to pathetic Necrid (someone always defended the Todd McFarlane character, even if he was horrible), there was a fighting style for everyone. Even button mashers could dominate their competition with Nightmare and its huge sword. And if you wanted to make things really fun, all you had to do was set the infinite time, make everyone invincible, and choose the Moonlight Labyrinth stage, which means the only way to win was with a ringout. Garbage Talking Friends has never been so much fun.

28. Guilty Gear X2

The Guilty Gear series has always been one of the more technical fighters, but we've always liked it for the super-tops, cool sprites, the slick anime style, and the totally goddamn soundtrack. The third game in the series, Guilty Gear X2 had it all in greater quantities than ever before. Guilty Gear X2 holds the record for the most reviews of any fighting game. There are four additional versions, each improving the combo system and making the game more balanced. Among other things, these revisions kept the Guilty Gear X2 tournament ready and it became a favorite among many tournament-level players. And while it's not the most accessible of fighters, it's still one of those fun games to jump in and do some crazy moves.

27. Frequency

Frequency was a dream come true for fans of funky music. As Harmonix's first project, Frequency marked an important point in music gaming history and was a springboard for later Harmonix hits such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Frequency allowed players to control individual tracks in a song with a visually stunning interface, and it all happened with enough style to make Daft Punk jealous.

Frequency was not only a fun game, but it also featured a fantastic soundtrack. That would have been appetizing on its own, but the game was also one of the first PS2 games to make use of the system's network adapter that allowed for online multiplayer.

It was the perfect game for people who wanted to create music as much as play a video game, as players built the music as they played it. For those with a lot of creative energy, Frequency also featured a remix option so players could create their own versions of the included tracks and play them in-game.

Frenquency was undoubtedly a staple in console music gaming.

26. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES

Missed Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES? Well, it's very simple to explain: you are a student who manages to stay awake during the dark hours that turn normal people into coffins and allow evil beings to walk in our world. During this time, you can put a gun to your head, pull the trigger, and cast a ""persona"" to fight these monsters. When you're not doing that, you're going to school, building relationships, joining clubs and basically playing a high school sim. Oh wait, did we say it was simple? We meant twisted and totally awesome. Persona 3 FES is actually the director's cut for the original PS2 title Shin Megami Tensei. Here, you get the same story as Persona 3 – complete with its monster-hunting and dungeon-hunting antics – along with a new difficulty, a new mode, new quizzes, and more (including the ability to keep your original save). sometimes have a hard time getting a foothold in North America, but Persona 3's high school vibe has changed that for many players.

25. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

This starter tour featuring sneaky raccoon Sly Cooper and his friends, tech genius tortoise Bentley and muscular hippo Murray, introduced players to a charming light noir platform adventure through the streets of Paris. Sly and his friends are on a mission to retrieve the Cooper family's treasure, a book called the Thievius Raccoonus, and also to take down the Fiendish Five, led by the menacing Clockwerk. But they must also escape the grasp of law enforcement in the form of Carmelita Fox, who is determined to bring down the Cooper gang.

The cel-shaded art style is in a class of its own, the music is a perfect complement to the lighthearted gameplay, and the humorous dialogue and backgrounds appeal to adults and children alike, making it a great title for gamers of all ages. Thievius Raccoonus not only set the framework for the next two Sly games, but also showcased some of Sucker Punch's signature techniques, which are still evident in the developer's first PlayStation 3 title, the much darker and more adult Infamous.

24.Final Fantasy X

The Final Fantasy series has gained a lot of fans over the years and Final Fantasy X was a special game for those fans. Not only was it the first game in the franchise on PS2 (following the series' long run on PSone), but it also made summoning - a common gameplay element in Final Fantasy - a prominent part of the combat and storyline.

Final Fantasy X was a beautiful game when it was originally released, and it was also the first in the series to feature a full voice cast. The game detailed the quest of Tidus and Yuna, two potential lovers in search of a way to stop the mysterious and deadly force known as Sin.

One of Final Fantasy X's biggest strengths was its turn-based battle system, which allowed players to freely switch characters in their party at will, leading to an improved layer of strategy. Considering this, along with the heartbreaking story, Final Fantasy X is fondly remembered by fans of the series... despite the infamous balcony scene.

23. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

The first Tony Hawk game to hit the PS2, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 was also one of the first online games for the system. In fact, it had online functionality even before Sony released its network adapter. And while Tony Hawk's multiplayer aspects were impressive for the time, that's not why this one appeared at the top of our list. Pro Skater 3 is the pinnacle of the series, truly the last great Tony Hawk game. The introduction of reverts (which allow you to continue a combo sequence by landing an aramp maneuver) has completely changed the way players approach challenges.

Pro Skater 3 also has the coolest unlockable item set of any skating game. Sure, Spider-Man was a cool character to have in Pro Skater 2 (on PSone), but look who you can get in THPS3: Darth Maul, Wolverine, Demoness (she's hooooot) and pro surfer Kelly Slater. But on top of that, you can play several remade versions of the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater levels.

22. Katamari Damacy

We often go to the Tokyo Game Show and see a title so strange, so bizarre that we can't help but shake our heads and wonder why we don't have more crazy video games in the States. When it came to Katamari Damacy, we didn't have to wonder. In 2004, this quirky, colorful ball of joy landed in our laps thanks to Namco, and we've never looked back. The story is simple and insane at the same time. You are the prince and your father – the King of All Cosmos – has destroyed some planets and you need to remake them using rubbish and erasers and other pieces of rubbish scattered around our world. You start out as a little boy rolling a ball, and everything the ball touches gets stuck. Keep rolling, the ball gets bigger and bigger and soon you'll go from a pea to a planet. Lift him into the air and continue with your mission, prince! The game definitely had some control issues, but its beautiful music and graphics keep us in the moment, and the delightful quirk ensured that we would always remember Katamari Damacy.

21. God of War

This is the game that kicked off what has become one of Sony's best-selling and beloved franchises. Though he morphed into a less sympathetic character in later episodes, in the first God of War, Kratos was simply an angry soldier serving as a puppet of the gods so he could reach a level of forgiveness for the mistakes of his past. At the time of its release, we had never seen anything like it before. Giant enemies, cinematic attacks, and some of the goriest and most satisfying games to hit the platform were the hallmarks of God of War. The first boss battle with Hydra remains one of the most treasured memories for many gamers. With an entire level set on the back of a titan, the game had a broad sense of scope and beautiful graphics that far surpassed anything else on the platform. All the elements of God of War simply turned into an experience that was and still is amazing to play.

20. Resident Evil 4

It takes courage to tackle a series that has worked its way into irrelevance with the aim of completely revitalizing it. Developers also often fail when they try, which is why it was so surprising that Capcom was able to completely change almost every significant thing about the Resident Evil series and still make what is widely considered to be one of the best games of all time with Resident Evil. Evil 4. Changing the face of third-person shooters forever (and probably dooming us all to at least another five years of overly convoluted cinematic quicktime sequences in the process), Resident Evil 4 was scary but action-packed. And, the PS2 version added new modes and a true progressive scan option for HDTVs, a step up from the tangled widescreen display of the original Gamecube. And really, who cares if the scenes were full motion video instead of in-engine?

19. Ground

A rail shooter from the mind of Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Rez is one of the most traveled games for the PS2. You play as a hacker, infiltrating a huge computer network that is being shut down by a despondent AI. As you climb through the wireframe levels, you shoot aggressive programs sent to destroy you. The better you do, the faster your avatar evolves. Get hit and you'll trip over the evolutionary block.

When you boil down Rez's gameplay, it's so simplistic that you can describe it in almost the same way you describe Space Invaders. But there's a rhythm to Rez and a style to help him stand out. You're not just mindlessly blasting enemies, but experiencing a choreographed fight. Rez is one of the rare PS2 games that lets you relax while playing and enjoy the journey more than the victory.

For those who really wanted to experience Rez, a special edition version was released in Japan. It came with the ""Trance Vibrator", which hummed to the game's beat. Put it in your pocket or sit on it or, uh, whatever, and feel the vibe of Rez.

18. Devil May Cry 3

Devil May Cry 3 was one of our favorite PS2 action games and is widely considered to be the best entry in the series. The game took place before the events of the original and followed the story of protagonist Dante as he realized his potential as a demon slayer. Devil May Cry 3 revolved around the absolutely stunning conflict between Dante and his twin brother Vergil and featured some of the most over-the-top and visually captivating scenes PS2 gamers have ever seen.

But of course, gameplay is the most important aspect of any game and this is where Devil May Cry 3 excelled. The combat in Devil May Cry 3 was exceptional in every way; offered players an immense challenge, but was equally satisfying and enjoyable. Unlocking all of Dante's combat techniques was a real treat, and the final showdown between Dante and Vergil will be remembered for years to come.

17. Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner

It's a shame that more people played the original Zone of the Enders and not its sequel, The 2nd Runner. While the first game introduced a solidly fun combat system, it wasn't until The 2nd Runner that Hideo Kojima's team pulled it all together into one of the best action titles on the PlayStation 2, and perhaps one of the best of the 3D era.

At the core of the game is a fast, simple yet deep combat system that combines ranged laser blasts and melee sword fights in a fully realized 3D space. The seamless switch between long-range and short-range combat keeps things interesting, as each range presents different strategic advantages that the player must exploit. Combining combat skills becomes especially vital in the game's stellar boss battles. The frenetic gameplay pace and amazing visuals create anime-quality fight scenes, and somehow the camera and controls kept the pace, making The 2nd Runner an absolute joy to play.

16. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

History in games wasn't considered very important for a long time – especially for games that weren't RPGs. But Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time made history his stay. Yes, there were a lot of good things about POP – ingenious stunts, an amazing time control system, beautiful visuals, cool combat – but the story is what turned this from a great game into a classic.

You play as the arrogant young Prince who makes a fatal mistake by stealing a mystical dagger and unleashing the Sands of Time. He causes the death of his family and thousands of innocent people. This event starts him on an incredible journey, but it's the development of the relationship between the Prince and his reluctant ally, Farah, that makes the story stand out. The Prince's choice at the end of the game to sacrifice Farah's love for him to save his kingdom is powerful and makes The Sands of Times one of the best stories told on PS2.

15. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal

Insomniac, the developers behind Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, are famous for including three distinct elements in the series: shooting, platforming, and family humor. Up Your Arsenal had all that and more, and is considered one of the best entries in the entire franchise.

In Up Your Arsenal, players have once again taken control of the trigger-happy Ratchet, Lombax, as he works to stop the machinations of the evil Dr. Nefarious with a little help from his robot friend, Clank. Players had access to a number of different weapons and gadgets, making Up Your Arsenal a blast to play. The game also introduced online multiplayer to the formula, which was curiously discontinued in later PlayStation 3 titles. Regardless, Up Your Arsenal was one of the most entertaining action platformers on the PlayStation 2 and is still very popular today.

14. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

There are plenty of Grand Theft Auto games on this list, but Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas served as the series finale on the PlayStation 2, and it couldn't have come out on a high. San Andreas has cast you as Carl Johnson, a former gang member who returns to San Andreas when his mother dies. CJ takes up arms upon arrival, reunites with his gang, and sets out to rule the city through various criminal activities. It might sound like a typical Grand Theft Auto storyline, but the depth in this title was insane. You could date multiple women and try to go all the way with them, overeat or exercise to modify CJ's appearance and stats, fly planes, skydive, ride a bike, and more. On top of all that, you could take gang members on missions with you so that, for the first time in a GTA game, you don't have to be the solo antihero all the time.

13. Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution

When it comes to fighting games, big names like Tekken, Street Fighter, and Soul Calibur might come to mind. But as great as these franchises may be, it's hard to match the kind of combat sophistication found in Virtua Fighter 4. This isn't a fighting game for everyone - it's a hardcore experience where pushing buttons goes nowhere. It takes persistent practice and dedication to excel, learning the moves sets and combos from the huge cast of fighters, each with very different styles. Few games can offer the kind of variety and satisfying, expertly designed combat mechanics that are built into this game. It also featured a surprisingly detailed solo fighting mode where you can unlock accessories to customize your fighter's appearance, making some competitors goofy looking.

12. Guitar Hero II

Okay, so the first Guitar Hero was obviously a big deal, but Guitar Hero II is the game that really propelled the music genre to prominence. This is due to two major additions.

Practice mode allowed players to perfect some of the more difficult songs by breaking down different parts of the track. It might not seem like much, but if your goal was to master every song on Expert difficulty, then Practice Mode was essential.

Multiplayer was the biggest piece added to the puzzle. Now, one person can play lead guitar and the other bass (or rhythm guitar). Music games are meant to be enjoyed by a group, and Guitar Hero II has proven that. Playing alone is not the same as playing with friends. Guitar Hero II paved the way for Rock Band and future full-band versions of Guitar Hero.

11. Burnout 3: Takedown

While the Burnout series has always been about arcade racing fun, Burnout 3 has taken things to a whole new level with the introduction of crash mode and road rage. There might be better ways to burn off the day's frustration than racing down the road at breakneck speeds while trying to force your opponents off the road and into spectacular collisions, but we doubt they'll be legal.

Crash mode, where you'd throw your car into traffic to inflict as much monetary damage as possible, has proven to be addictive as hell, and we're the first to admit that we'd stay up late at night zooming through the same intersection over and over again, trying to get the x4 multiplier bonus and that extra crashbreaker. The sound was even more genius, with shattered glass and the sound of a cash register registering millions of dollars in chaos.

But the best was road rage, where the goal was to be as dumb as possible on the road, racking up your power-ups for the right moment when you'd accelerate at breakneck speeds only to hit the guy next to you (and if you had luck, you could even hit two in one hit). You didn't have to be a racing fan to love Burnout, and our favorite thing about the game was the way it managed to convert even novice players.

10. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is the best game in the franchise or the absolute worst. There's little middle ground among fans of the series, though few would dispute the importance of the game's launch early in the PlayStation 2's life. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty defined the PlayStation 2 when the system was starting to take hold.

Like its predecessor, Sons of Liberty exemplifies tight, cohesive Japanese game design. The Metal Gear Solid franchise is often praised for its elaborate scenes and Hollywood-quality direction, but take all that away and Metal Gear is still very gameplay-oriented. Arguably, Sons of Liberty makes this gameplay better. Level designs and enemy AI combine perfectly in a modern version of Pac-Man.

Naturally, the game is driven by a memorable cast of characters and a plot filled with intrigue. Although it is in these elements that fans have problems with the game. Metal Gear Solid 2 puts players in control of a Raiden, a decidedly weaker-than-expected Solid Snake character. The incessant, whining conversation of romantic codecs between Raiden and Rose has put off many gamers eager to watch Solid Snake thwart international terrorist plots. And the story of Sons of Liberty takes an abrupt turn towards the bonkers near the end of the game. It's certainly not to everyone's taste, but the gameplay beneath the polarizing presentation is undeniably sweet.

9. Gran Turismo 4

Nearly four years after the release of Gran Turismo 3, Polyphony has finally released the developer's PS2 masterpiece. In 2005, similar racing simulations on more powerful hardware like Forza on Xbox and GTR on PC threatened the genre's visual standard. But Gran Turismo 4 surprised them on the PlayStation 2's modest hardware. Polyphony not only revamped the visuals and improved the artwork, but also added true 1080i HD capability to the game, while maintaining an impressive (and necessary) display rate of 60 frames per second.

Of course, Gran Turismo is about more than graphics. Gran Turismo 4's driving physics saw further improvements. The career simulation mode has expanded and the number of cars in the game has increased to over 700. Sure, maybe 699 of these cars are variations of the Nissan Skyline*, but there's virtually something for every car fan, including rally cars and similar unlicensed to F1.

Gran Turismo 4 introduced B-spec to the franchise. In addition to making sense of the previous game's subtitle (A-spec), the B-spec mode gives players a more managerial view of racing, making it possible to play in the game's simulation mode without ever having to actually race. It might sound a little counterproductive to the point of the game, but the B spec pairs well with the rest of Gran Turismo's features to make one of the most compelling racing games ever.

8. Grand Theft Auto III

It would be crazy if this list didn't mention Grand Theft Auto III. An open world, three-dimensional sandbox game is so common nowadays that most cannot understand a video game industry without it. Well, before Grand Theft Auto III, it didn't exist. You were a silent protagonist in a leather jacket, and Liberty City was at your disposal. You can rise through the ranks of crime and earn money off of wazoo, or you can just grab a rocket launcher, run into one of the secret buildings you can break your way through, and then eliminate people on the street to watch over your wanted. level increase. The physics of the cars, the taxi missions and the hours of radio produced for the game (Chatterbox for life!) – it was such an incredible package that it shamed all of GTA 2D from top to bottom and literally changed the video game industry. Not bad for a game that would be demonized for allowing players to have sex with a prostitute, pay her and then kill her to get their money back.

7.Kingdom Hearts

This dream story of friendship and loyalty was a shockingly successful RPG. When Square Enix combined its iconic Final Fantasy characters with Disney worlds and faces, gamers didn't know what to expect. Fortunately for all parties involved, Kingdom Hearts turned out to be one of the best additions to the PS2's legendary library. Kingdom Hearts had it all: adorable characters, a moving (albeit melancholy) story, beautiful visuals, and a great battle system.

Players have taken control of Sora, a charming original character from the story, who has teamed up with Disney's own Donald Duck and Goofy. The three friends traveled between different worlds in search of Sora's lost companions. In the process, the heroes helped several Disney characters who lived in their own recognizable worlds. While these sub-stories were moderately enjoyable, the real crown jewel of the experience was the relationship between Sora, Riku, and Kairi. The tense but powerful bond the three friends shared is one of the main reasons players around the world remember Kingdom Hearts so fondly, and why the game has such a special vibe.

6. Okami

Released in 2006, just before the arrival of the PlayStation 3, Okami was one of the last hype of the PlayStation 2. We've never seen anything like this beautiful Japanese watercolor come to life; it really looked like an interactive work of art. While the visuals are what attracted us at first, it soon became clear that every aspect of Okami was created with the utmost care by developer Clover. With a quest that offered dozens of hours of adventure and plenty of ancillary businesses to take care of, this was also one of the biggest games we'd ever been blessed with. The lovable characters and exciting plot twists kept us hooked the entire time. While perhaps more like a Zelda game with its epic adventure, giant bosses, and puzzle pieces, Okami was by no means a copycat and definitely had its own identity. In fact, IGN awarded Okami Game of the Year in 2006 over The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – a decision we support today.

5. ICO

ICO was one of those games really hard to describe to people in 2001.” “You are this boy, with horns, and you have this princess, but she speaks another language, and you have to hold her hand and keep those shadows away from her . “” It was a title that had to be seen, and it was immediately clear that it was a unique and beautiful title. Most of the time, ICO doesn't even feel like a video game – it's more of an interactive story. It's great evidence for the argument that video games can be an art form. Beautiful, minimalist and evocative, ICO harked back to old-school adventure games that managed to capture emotions in place of flashy scenes and gameplay. It's no wonder the developers are now known simply as Team ICO, a name that adds instant credibility to their titles despite the fact that they've only made two. They are so good.

4. God of War II

When God of War II came out, everyone wondered if it could be as good as the original, especially considering the fact that it remained a PS2 game when the PS3 had already been released. Turns out, sticking with the PS2 gave developers a chance to perfect their technology and deliver one of the best games for the platform. The first game's minor glitches have all been fixed here, making the gameplay one of the smoothest and most functional we've ever seen. God of War II has it all – beautiful graphics, great level design, an immersive story and an unforgettable main character in a fight of truly epic proportions. Most humans would be completely content to be made a god, but not Kratos. Instead, he manages to anger the rest of the gods, who immediately strip him of his powers. Even angrier than before, he unleashes the titans so he can use them to bring down Olympus.

This storyline allowed for more of the massive, breathtaking environments that wowed us in the first game and set us up beautifully for Kratos' PS3 debut.

3. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Someone at Rockstar Games must be a huge fan of Miami Vice. How else do you explain the concept for the GTA III sequel; is a game set in the Miami-inspired city of Vice City in the 80s, where people dress up as if they've just walked off the set of the once-popular TV crime melodrama. Vice City is about fast cars, fast life, fast women, and people desperate to make a quick buck. In other words: this is a true Grand Theft Auto game.

Grand Theft Auto III may have made open world games popular, but Vice City did a lot more to perfect the formula. Each cutscene was voiced, you could enter buildings, and it had an elegant '80s theme. It's still very rare for a game to be as well known for its soundtrack as it is for its gameplay, but Vice City offered a massive CD case. (CDs were what older people played long ago.) Music mattered almost as much as the gang war you got involved in. From top to bottom, GTA: Vice City is one of the best games on the PS2.

2. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Although a fourth Metal Gear Solid game was released, producer Hideo Kojima wanted Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater to be the end of his masterpiece trilogy. But instead of explaining the insanity at the end of the previous game, Snake Eater explores the distant past. The game features a series of fantastic characters that Snake must kill one by one. And because the characters are so memorable, the boss fights in Snake Eater are arguably the best in the series and truly define the game experience.

An epic battle with the normally wheelchair-bound The End is especially memorable and highlights the design elements that make Metal Gear games so compelling. With a variety of tools at the player's disposal, the battle with The End can be a quick and brutal hunt or a slow, thoughtful battle of man across grassy hills.

Metal Gear Solid 3 has arguably the best story in the franchise; is deeper than the original Metal Gear Solid plot, but avoids the complexity/absurdity of the second game. Cold War intrigue combines with a final roller coaster sequence that ends the game, perfectly satisfying the player while leaving the craving for more.

1. Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus is the pride of advocates of games as art, and rightfully so. If commercial video games can be considered art, Shadow of the Colossus is undoubtedly the best example the industry has offered. Every element of the game, from the game's creative design to the phenomenally grand visual execution, exudes artistic expression and the effect is utterly moving. Playing Shadow evokes strong feelings of adventure, love and even guilt.

The game's unique design influences the emotional impact. The main character, Wander, is virtually alone in a sprawling Forbidden Land and must seek out and kill 16 colossus, gigantic creatures of various shapes that appear to be the world's only inhabitants. As Wander, the player roams the world in desolate isolation, with no enemies to fight or coins to collect. Each colossus discovery is simultaneously thrilling and fiercely intimidating, as the player gapes at the arrival of a new and beautiful beast as they struggle to imagine a way to meet the colossal challenge.

But what people often forget is that Shadow of the Colossus is not only an artistic triumph, but an impressive game as well. Strip away the stunning scope, remove the soaring soundtrack, and ignore the heart-wrenching tug that comes with each culpable success, and what's left is a series of brilliant puzzles that are a joy to play. Each colossal battle requires study, planning and execution. The fact that the action unfolds on the furry backs of impossibly massive mystical creatures only adds compelling context to the undulating platforms and grab-and-go movements cements Shadow of the Colossus as the best PlayStation 2 video game of all time.

Audio Video 100 Best PS2 Games (Action, Adventure, RPG, Fighting, FPS and Sport)
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