It’s the best-selling games console of all time and, thanks to a massive library which includes many high quality titles, the PS2 is also widely regarded by gamers to be the best gaming system ever to be released. We’re not going to argue with those people either, as picking just 5 titles from the immense quality on offer was a rather difficult task. However, after much deliberation, the list has been finalised.
Did your favourite PS2 game make our list? Read on to find out which titles made the cut.
5. DEVIL MAY CRY
Released roughly a year after the launch of the PS2, Devil May Cry almost single-handedly defined a genre. The words “like Devil May Cry but…” were used in many a review and conversation to describe titles of a similar ilk after the release of Capcom’s masterpiece.
As well as being fun, the hack and slash gameplay housed an incredible amount of depth. From start to finish, the game oozed quality. As cheesy as it may sound, you just felt so cool playing Devil May Cry and much of this was down to the now iconic lead character, Dante. We can only hope Team Ninja replicate some of this in the upcoming series reboot.
One of the PS2’s hidden gems, a game that not many people played and that is a fact that hurts us deeply. The tale of an imprisoned young boy, a princess and their escape was a simple one, however, it was so expertly told that you couldn’t help but get immensely engrossed.
Simple is also a word that describes the gameplay well, but that is no bad thing when it comes to ICO. Every single aspect of the gameplay is expertly woven together to create an experience that is just so wonderfully unique. Add the distinctive visual style to all that and in ICO you have a game that could be classified as a work of art.
3. GOD OF WAR II
Much like Devil May Cry, the original God of War was a game that defined an entire genre. It provided gamers around the world with an epic, brutal and visceral gameplay experience without any equal whatsoever. Sure, the hack and slash gameplay wasn’t as deep as Capcom’s title, but it was still highly enjoyable nonetheless. Some might even say it was more enjoyable. We would agree.
“Why is God of War II at number 3 instead of the original then?” we hear you ask. Well, that is because the sequel improved on every element from the original and then some. The Greek mythology inspired story was more focused, gameplay was a whole lot more brutal and boss battles were amazingly epic. In fact, the game was more epic as a whole and the visuals played a huge part in creating that feel. Released in 2007, towards the end of the PS2’s life cycle, God of War II pushed the system to its technical limits. This was clear to see during the opening of the game as Kratos took on the Colossus of Rhodes. It was amazing to see such visual splendour being showcased on the aging PS2.
Even taking into account the release of God of War III on the PS3, God of War II is regarded by many as the best game in the series and, it must be said, we totally agree.
2. METAL GEAR SOLID 3: SNAKE EATER
Widely regarding by Metal Gear Solid fans as the best entry in the hugely popular series, Snake Eater brought with it a big surprise. Rather than continuing with the Solid Snake story arc, creator Hideo Kojima decided to go back in time. Players took the role of Naked Snake, the man who eventually would become to be known as Big Boss.
To say this was a genius move on the part of Hideo Kojima would be a massive understatement. Every single element of Snake Eater came together to create a truly special game. The superbly deep stealth gameplay was present as always (with a few upgrades), but this time it was wrapped up in a deeply engrossing and, at times, emotional story.
The opening and the last few hours of the game, in particular, contain gameplay and story sections which are just unforgettable. In addition to that, Snake Eater also includes some of the best boss battles in the series. In fact, the battle (it literally is one) against “The End” is probably the best. It will leave you exhausted and mentally shattered, it is that damn good.
1. SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS
A surprise at number one for some, but anyone who has played Shadow of the Colossus will know why we rate it as the best game on the PS2. Like ICO (both games were developed by the same studio), the concept of the game is quite simple, but the execution is just mind blowing.
Playing as a character known as Wander you are tasked with defeating 16 Colossi, as this is the only way you can bring your loved one (Mono) back to life. There are no side quests of any note and there are no real levels – it’s just you against the colossi. All you have with you is your trusty horse (Agro) and two weapons (sword plus bow and arrow), but one by one you have to take down these creatures. From beginning to end, the tale told within Shadow of the Colossus never fails to captivate. The game has this hauntingly beautiful quality and you can’t help but be drawn in by it.
As mentioned earlier, there are no real levels or side quests and do you know what? Not once during the length of the game do you feel like there is a need for them. It’s a testament to the way the game is designed that taking on each of the 16 Colossi feels like a level on its own. Every single battle against a Colossus is just, in every sense of the word, breathtaking. The moment you lay your eyes on the first Colossus you will be left speechless, it’s almost like watching a moving painting. It’s just incredible, stunning even.
Much like ICO, Shadow of the Colossus is another title that not many people played. Why? Well, we don’t have the definitive answer to that. All we know is that it is the best game on PS2 and quite possibly one of the best games ever made.
Don’t agree with this top 5? What would be in your top 5? Head on over to our forums and let us know.