Did you know that the PlayStation 2 had sold over 158 million copies worldwide? Thanks to the extensive 4300 PS2 games they released, which had attracted gamers, from newbies to pro players. And that made them a historical icon in the gaming world!
Do you want to revisit those old games in 2023, ten years after they were discontinued? If so, you need to find the best PS2 games of all time that you can play.
Not sure what to pick? Fret not; we’ll walk you through the best PlayStation 2 games that will give you the greatest experience playing memorable games. Without further ado, let’s jump into the list!
38 Best Play Station 2 Games You Should Play
Here are the top PS2 games of all time that will give a nice gaming experience regardless of their status as being discontinued in 2013:
1. Rayman 2: Revolution – 2001
- Genre: Platformer
- Developer: Ubisoft
- Released: January 30, 2001
The first PS2 game that you should play in 2023 is Rayman 2: The Great Escape. Ubisoft developed the game as a platform game in 2001. At that time, platformers were gamers’ favorites.
The game is nice to play with a unique limbless character named Rayman. In the role of Rayman, you will be on missions to save the world from the evil robot, Admiral Razorbeard. You need to defeat him and his army of Robo-Pirates.
As Rayman, you will travel through imaginative environments in 3D visuals. You’ll be involved in solving puzzles and combat. How to do it? You can use your helicopter hair and energy orbs to defeat enemies. This will also help you to navigate the levels.
- Reasons to play this game for PS2: unique and funny characters, nice platforming gameplay, and creative level design.
2. Silent Hill 2 – 2001
- Genre: Survival Horror
- Developer: Konami
- Released: September 24, 2001
Silent Hill 2 is a survival horror game with the setting of the fog-cloaked town of Silent Hill. In this game, the main character, James Sunderland, receives a letter from his dead wife, asking him to search for her in the mysterious town.
You will be bought into the dark narrative, diving deep into themes of loss and guilt. To spice up the atmosphere, this one of the best PS2 games of all time added eerie sound, building up the sense of dread.
This sequel still uses combat mechanics from the previous release. That way, the control, and gameplay remains the same to focus much more on the tension. Remember that you have limited resources while navigating through the haunted town and confronting weird creatures.
- Reasons to play this PS 2 game: deep psychological storyline with awesome visuals and sound
3. ICO – 2001
- Genre: Action Adventure
- Developer: Team ICO
- Released: September 24, 2001
It’s a coincidence that ICO was released on the same date as Silent Hill 2. At that time, PS2 games enthusiasts will have an alternative to play action games with different settings.
ICO can be considered as an atmospheric action-adventure game. The visuals are stunning as a 3D game, and its innovative gameplay and story are just captivating.
As a player, you will be in the role of a young boy named ICO. Born with horns, he is considered cursed and then imprisoned in a mysterious castle. Meeting with a young girl named Yorda, who is also trapped in the castle, the two work together to escape.
ICO is one of the PS2 games which boasts its puzzle-solving and exploration gameplay. If you are those who don’t like too much dialogue in action games, ICO should be your easy pick.
- Reasons to play this game for PlayStation 2: visually stunning, emotion-bound mission, and minimum dialogues.
4. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 – 2001
- Genre: Sports
- Developer: Neversoft
- Released: October 28, 2001
Do you want to be in a role of a top-notch professional skater ever? Then you should play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 on PlayStation 2. This was one of the top PS2 games in 2001, with almost 4.41 million copies sold.
It’s fair enough to say that this is a fantastic skateboarding game that made a huge impact on the PS2. In this game, you can act as many top skaters like Chad Muska and Bucky Lasek, too. Also, you can perform tricks like Caspers, the Primo, and Handstand.
The game offers an abundance of new tricks to master. On top of that, being an online multiplayer game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 allows players to compete and show off their skills against others worldwide. This puts the game among the best PS2 games of all time.
- Reasons to play this Play Station 2 game: immersive skateboarding gameplay and the list of legendary skaters.
5. Jak and Daxter – 2001
- Genre: Platform
- Developer: Naughty Dog
- Released: December 4, 2001
You can’t go wrong when choosing Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy as one of the PS2 games to play in 2023. In fact, this game was made by Naughty Dog and became one of the most successful Playstation games they ever created.
Those who love to play the Super Mario series on Nintendo will be pleased by the experience the Jak and Daxter has to offer. From the innovative gameplay mechanics to the nice art style, as well as the engaging storyline, they are all well-designed. It made this game one of the best PlayStation 2 games of all time.
This is a single-player game that puts you as Jak, the main hero, and lets you explore the game’s environments and solve any puzzles you find along the way. Just like any typical platform game, you would perform jumping, rolling, and beating the enemies in a brawl or ranged attacks.
- Reasons to play this game for PS2: iconic characters and seamless open-world design, ala platformers.
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6. Virtua Fighter 4 – 2002
- Genre: Fighting
- Developer: Sega
- Released: March 17, 2002
Virtua Fighter is a game with a long history, dating back to 1993. This is a phenomenal game putting its name at the same level as Street Fighter from Capcom. For Playstation 2, Virtua Fighter 4 is the first 3D fighting game released two years ahead of its competitor.
The game features 13 fighters with their own unique fighting move set. Just like any fighting game, it will be easy for you to choose the fighter that suits your playstyle.
For the PS2 era, the graphics and animations are impressive, and the game controls are responsive. The game includes Quest Mode, where you can unlock new content, adding an extra layer of depth to the game.
This makes Virtua Fighter 4 becomes one of the PS2 games with huge popularity, reaching 1.7 million copies sold.
- Reasons to play this PS 2 game: impressive graphics, responsive controls, and a great single-player mode.
7. Medal of Honor Frontline – 2002
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Developer: EA Games
- Released: May 28, 2002
Medal of Honor: Frontline is a first-person shooter game with the setting of World War II. It all starts with Normandy landing as you are in the role of Lieutenant Jimmy Patterson, a soldier in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).
The game is full of real actions with lots of communication to finish the missions. You’ll find that the game is cinematic and intense. This is why Medal of Honor: Frontline is among the top PS2 games in history.
Offering only a single-player campaign will never disappoint you, as countless missions exist. From all-out assaults to becoming a pilot of a bomber. Medal of Honor: Frontline is a real deal for those who want to experience war gaming on PlayStation 2.
- Reasons to play this game for PS2: engaging World War II experience, awesome single-player campaign, and memorable set pieces.
8. NBA Street Vol. 2 – 2003
- Genre: Sports
- Developer: EA Sports
- Released: April 28, 2003
If you want to play one of the best PS2 games with your family, then NBA street volume 2 is an easy pick. Rated E for the US audience, this game allows you to play your favorite sports with family members during the weekend at home.
With almost 1.2 million copies sold, this shows that NBA Street Vol. 2 is everyone’s favorite. What makes it a must-try?
As its name suggests, this basketball game brings a unique approach. You can engage in three-on-three streetball matches featuring NBA legends and original characters. To name a few, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and even the late Kobe Bryant are on the list.
The gameplay is, of course, full of fun with lots of over-the-top dunks and alley-oop tricks. What’s more, it offers a variety of game modes, from single-player to competitive multiplayer.
- Reasons to play this Play Station 2 game: arcade-style gameplay, flashy moves, engaging game modes, and a unique twist on basketball.
9. SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs – 2003
- Genre: Tactical Third-Person Shooter
- Developer: Zipper Interactive
- Released: November 4, 2003
You might have guessed that SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs will give you military combat experience, right?
Absolutely, this one of the best tactical third-person shooters offers thrilling single-player missions to beat all your enemies down. Or, if you prefer the multiplayer mode, you’ll find an even more immersive team game experience which was considered awesome when it was first released.
In this game, you are a Navy SEAL commander. You’ll lead a team through missions in different locations. This is not just an FPS game you might think of, as you need great strategic planning and effective team management.
In short, if you’re looking for one of the best PS2 games in the FPS genre, then don’t skip SOCOM II: U.S. Navy Seals.
- Reasons to play this game for PS2: great military experience, strategic gameplay, and a multiplayer mode.
10. Winning Eleven 7
- Genre: Sports
- Developer: Konami
- Released: February 17, 2004
Gamers in Europe will recognize this game as Pro Evolution Soccer 3. And it was released earlier on October 7, 2003. The worldwide version was Winning Eleven 7, released in February 2004 and became one of the top PS2 games with almost 2.8 million copies.
Winning Eleven 7 is a soccer game that made its mark on the PS2 as one of the most attractive Playstation games ever. The game was a completely reworked and enhanced version compared to its previous releases.
As a soccer game, you need no explanation on how to win the game. But, the fact that it features 100 teams, 21 stadiums, and great customization, this game offers an immersive experience even up to these days. The graphics might not be unique compared to today’s soccer games, but it is one of the best for the PS2 games’ era.
- Reasons to play this PS2 game: a tweaked version with a plethora of teams and players, fast-paced and fluid gameplay with great controls.
11. Burnout 3: Takedown
- Genre: Racing
- Developer: Criterion Games
- Released: September 7, 2004
Racing gamers, this one is for you! Burnout 3: Takedown is a captivating racing game that allows you to perform aggressive racing to beat down your opponents. Becoming one of the top ps2 games, Burnout 3: Takedown is addicting, offering a breathtaking sense of speed.
What does it mean to become aggressive? As its name might suggest, you are encouraged to wreck your opponents’ cars to eliminate them from the race. You can force all the cars to crash while enjoying its beautiful graphics.
Before NFS Most Wanted was released a year after, Burnout 3: Takedown became the game of PS2 with unmatched racing experience.
- Reasons to play this game for PS2: addictive gameplay, impressive takedown mechanic, and stunning graphics.
12. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – 2004
- Genre: Action-Adventure
- Developer: Rockstar North
- Released: October 26, 2004
With its fantastic gameplay, it’s hard to ignore GTA San Andreas. This is one of the best PlayStation 2 games, which lets you explore fictional cities based on Los Angeles.
You’ll play as Carl Johnson (CJ), a former gang member who returns to his hometown after his mother’s death. It turns out that this return pushes him back into the world of gangs and crime. The journey begins as you reconnect with the old crew, the Grove Street Families.
As a CJ, you must pass through a complicated relationship with alliances or rivalries among many gangs in the area. Not to mention that you will deal with corrupt police officers, too.
With lots of unboring missions, you’ll most certainly lose track of your time playing this top PS2 game of all time that has sold up to 27.5 million copies.
- Reasons to play this PS2 game: various engaging missions, iconic casts, and freedom to play (one of the first games to let the player swim)
13. Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal – 2004
- Genre: Action Platformer
- Developer: Insomniac Games
- Released: November 3, 2004
After Going Commando reached success, Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal showed more positive results. This remarkable action-platformer shines on the PS2 and becomes one of the Playstation 2 games you should play.
There are not many changes in terms of the gameplay. Ratchet & Clank try to fight against the bad character, Dr. Nefarious, who wants to turn all hostile species, Tyhrranoids, into Robonoids, robots.
This is an action platformer game, meaning it deals with a mix of platforming, combat, and puzzle-solving. The storyline is a bit funny, and that what makes this PS2 game is so captivating.
- Reasons to play this game: action game with a humorous storyline and lots of weapons as well as gadgets to use.
14. Tekken 5 – 2005
- Genre: Fighting
- Developer: Namco
- Released: February 24, 2005
We believe that Tekken 5 needs no introduction. This fighting game reached up to 6 million copies as of July 2009, making it one of the top PS2 games of all time.
Tekken 5 is an addictive fighting game featuring iconic characters with their own unique fighting styles and moves. One of the memorable characters is Christie Monteiro performing the art of Capoeira with her great Gancho Chibata.
If you like the legendary Street Fighter or Virtua Fighter, Tekken 5 will captivate you with almost the same engaging combat experience with 3D visuals. In addition, Tekken 5 is one of the PS games offering various game modes, from Arcade to Story mode.
- Reasons to play this game: stunning graphics, deep combat mechanics, and abundant customization options.
15. Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening – 2005
- Genre: Action, Hack and Slash
- Developer: Capcom
- Released: March 1, 2005
As its name suggests, Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening is the third release of the game. However, it is actually a prequel, meaning the story precedes the earlier release.
The game is about Dante, and his twin brother, Vergil, who want to explore deeper to the demonic world. As a hack-and-slash game, this one of the popular PS2 games still focuses on slaying demons. And hence, you’ll experience more intense combat with various enemy types and abundant weapons.
What’s great about Devil May Cry 3 is its customizable combat system. With this, you can choose different combat styles that suit your preferences.
- Reasons to play this Play Station 2 game: intense combat offering an exciting gaming experience, customizable combat style, and stunning graphics for a game from 2005.
16. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect – 2005
- Genre: First-person Shooter (FPS)
- Developer: Free Radical Design
- Released: March 21, 2005
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect might not reach million of sales like any other games in this list. But it doesn’t stop this game from being one of the top PS2 games.
This game is unique. It combines a fast-paced action game with horror settings with lots of zombies. Don’t be surprised if you experience jump scares, especially when reaching level 5.
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect provides a single-player campaign and also multiplayer mode.
The first is filled with plot twists and memorable characters, building a great narrative experience. The latter offers gameplay with various modes and options.
- Reasons to play this PS2 game: engaging time-travelling storyline, fast-paced multiplayer mode, and many gameplay options.
17. Star Wars Battlefront II – 2005
- Genre: Action
- Developer: Pandemic Studios
- Released: November 1, 2005
Most games adopted from the movie will give you thrilling experiences. And Star Wars Battlefront II is one of those games. This action-packed game worth trying is featuring characters, locations, and vehicles from the movie.
Putting itself as one of the top PS2 games of all time, Star Wars Battlefront II offers open-ended mission-based objectives. This one is recommended for those who are fond of action shooting games, regardless of being almost 19 years old.
The gameplay is even excellent. You can engage in large-scale battles across locations from all six Star Wars films. You can take on the roles of your favorite movie characters, from Kylo Ren and Rey to Darth Maul and Yoda.
What’s more, it allows you to choose between a single-player campaign or a multiplayer mode. Both offer the same exciting gaming experience.
- Reasons to play this Play Station 2 game: iconic Star Wars locations and characters, options for a single-player campaign or intense multiplayer mode.
18. Need for Speed: Most Wanted – 2005
- Genre: Racing
- Developer: EA Games
- Released: November 15, 2005
If Tekken 5 is a must-play fighting game, Need for Speed: Most Wanted should be on your list for the racing genre. This is one of the best ps2 games of all time.
Among all Need for Speed (NFS) series, Most Wanted is the 10th release. But PlayStation 2 is the 4th release. And as you might’ve guessed, this racing game allows you to enjoy intense racing actions in the fictional Fairhaven City.
This popular PS2 game is so well-designed that you can see the dynamic weather effects bring a great racing experience to life. On top of that, their broad selection of cars allows you to pick what you like, from Mazda RX-8 to Toyota Supra and Lamborghini Murciélago.
Do you want to fine-tune your cars to suit your driving style? This game got you covered.
- Reasons to play this game for PS2: immersive high-speed action game with a wide selection of awesome cars and customization options.
19. Kingdom Hearts II – 2006
- Genre: Action RPG
- Developer: Square Enix
- Released: March 28, 2006
If you like Final Fantasy, then Kingdom Hearts II can be one of your favorite PS2 games, too. It offers great 3D visuals featuring the adventures of Sora, Donald, and Goofy, searching for their missing friends. You heard that right! The two characters from Disney will appear in all of the game series.
Kingdom Hearts II is a captivating RPG with a nice combat system and faster-paced action. However, you’ll notice that Goofy, as the royal knight, will only use his shield. As for Sora, the gameplay offers new abilities like Drive Forms, which allow Sora to gain immense power.
Again, if you like a game with an engaging narrative and love Disney’s characters, Kingdom Hearts II is one of the best PS2 games to play in 2023.
- Reasons to play this Play Station 2 game: great narrative, iconic Disney characters, and a good combat system.
20. Okami – 2006
- Genre: Action Adventure
- Developer: Clover Studio
- Released: September 19, 2006
Okami will welcome you with a sound effect of Japanese nuance. As you enter the game, you’ll see that the visual is fantastic, considering this is a game from 2006.
If its unique visuals of Japanese ink painting art style don’t surprise you, the engaging gameplay will immerse you in the game. Clover Studio successfully designed this game to be one of the most breathtaking action-adventure PS2 games ever released.
So, what’s your role here? You’ll become Amaterasu, a white wolf who is actually the Shinto sun goddess. The missions mostly fight against demons to help the world stay peaceful and beautiful.
What makes this one of the memorable PS2 games is the angelical brush you can use throughout the game. You can paint something on the screen to solve puzzles with this brush. This is unique and memorable to play.
- Reasons to play this game for PS2: beautiful Japanese ink painting art style, innovative magic brush mechanic, and a unique story inspired by Japanese mythology.
21. Bully – 2006
- Genre: Action-Adventure
- Developer: Rockstar Vancouver
- Released: October 17, 2006
It’s hard to exclude Bully, developed by Rockstar Vancouver, from our top PS2 games of all time. This open-world action-adventure game has a stunning design with a unique setting of Bullworth Academy.
When you play this game, you’ll be in the role of Jimmy Hopkins, a teenager sent by his parents to be more behaved. But it turns out that the game is about participating in missions that often involve fights and other mischievous behavior.
The game will never make you bored as you can explore the school and its surrounding areas, participating in various activities. You can attend classes and, of course, be involved in schoolyard pranks. Maybe you’ll consider this game somewhat similar to GTA series with a different setting.
- Reasons to play this game for PS2: unique setting and story, as well as excellent open-world gameplay.
22. Final Fantasy XII – 2006
- Genre: RPG
- Developer: Square Enix
- Released: October 31, 2006
Final Fantasy is known for being a great game in each release and set a record as one of the best-selling video game franchises selling up to 70 million units.
While some say that Final Fantasy X is preferable due to its story, Final Fantasy XII is still one of the best Playstation 2 games, offering more fabulous visuals and more missions to do. The game generally stands out as a unique entry in the iconic RPG series with its immersive world and engaging storyline.
Thanks to its gambit system, you can create custom AI behaviours for your members and add strategic depth. This is one of the PS2 games that offers an expansive world, a complex plot, and iconic characters.
- Reasons to play this PS2 game: superb graphics, a great Gambit system, and real-time combat.
23. Guitar Hero II – 2006
- Genre: Music Rythm
- Developer: Harmonix
- Released: November 7, 2006
Guitar Hero II is a great option if you’re looking for a PS2 game with a rhythm genre. In fact, this is one of the best PlayStation 2 games of all time.
Released one year after its first sequel, it’s undeniable that the game is so addictive, with over 6 modes of play on more than 55 rock songs. Guitar Hero II came with an expanded setlist and an enhanced multiplayer mode.
Imagine yourself playing Sweet Child of Mine riffs while trying to hit the right notes and get high scores. It would feel awesome. What’s more, as one of the popular ps2 games, Guitar Hero II is easy to play, making it a blast for either musicians or gamers alike.
- Reasons to play this PS2 game: addictive gameplay with fun multiplayer mode and a shallow learning curve even for beginners
24. God of War II – 2007
- Genre: Adventure, Hack-and-Slash
- Developer: Santa Monica Studio
- Released: March 13, 2007
Another example of the top PS2 games of all time offering mythological adventure is God of War II. The game is about the journey of Kratos, the god of war, who is lured into the trap of Zeus and gets ready for revenge.
The game’s storyline is great, and the gameplay is even more epic. As an action-adventure game, God of War II is typically about fast-paced combat. Also, it is full of magical abilities pertaining to the story of Greece’s gods and goddesses.
You’ll find new gameplay mechanics, such as grappling and climbing, compared to the previous release. Adding to that, you can use Red Orbs to level up your weapons and Phoenix feathers to increase your health meters.
- Reasons to play this top PS2 game: intense combat, captivating storyline, and great visuals.
25. Honorable Mentions: Top PS2 Games of All Time
Talking about the best PS2 games will end up with an exhaustive list of up to a hundred games. Here are other great PS2 games you should play today:
|No.||Game Title||Genre||Developer||Excerpt||Release Date|
|25||Twisted Metal: Black||Vehicular Combat||Incognito Entertainment||A dark vehicular combat game with strategic gameplay.||June 18, 2001|
|26||Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil||Platformer||Namco||A colorful 2.5D platformer with unique gameplay mechanics.||July 25, 2001|
|27||NHL 2002||Sports||EA Canada||An ice hockey simulation game with improved gameplay.||September 17, 2001|
|28||Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies||Flight Simulation||Namco||An aerial combat game featuring an immersive story and realistic graphics.||September 13, 2001|
|29||Grand Theft Auto: Vice City||Action, Adventure||Rockstar North||An open-world game set in the 1980s with memorable characters and story.||October 29, 2002|
|30||Madden NFL 2004||Sports||EA Tiburon||A realistic football simulation game with new gameplay features.||August 12, 2003|
|31||Soul Calibur II||Fighting||Namco||A visually stunning fighting game with deep combat mechanics.||August 27, 2003|
|32||SSX 3||Sports||EA Canada||An extreme snowboarding game with massive environments and smooth gameplay.||October 20, 2003|
|33||Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time||Action, Adventure||Ubisoft Montreal||A groundbreaking action-adventure game with innovative time manipulation mechanics.||November 6, 2003|
|34||MVP Baseball 2004||Sports||EA Canada||A baseball simulation game with deep gameplay and realistic graphics.||March 9, 2004|
|35||Gran Turismo 4||Racing||Polyphony Digital||A realistic racing simulation game with an extensive car roster.||December 28, 2004|
|36||Downhill Domination||Racing||Incognito Entertainment||A fast-paced mountain biking game with extreme courses and stunts.||July 22, 2003|
|37||Shadow of the Colossus||Action, Adventure||Team Ico||An atmospheric adventure game focused on defeating giant colossi.||October 18, 2005|
|38||Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King||RPG||Level-5||A classic turn-based RPG with a vast world and engaging story.||November 27, 2004|
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Which PS2 Games Would You Like to Play First?
Today is the era for Playstation 5 with VR capability and DualSense controller. But PS2 games will still be favorites amongst gamers. And guess what, a huge collection of today’s games come from PS2 games.
We already give you an exhaustive list of the best PS2 games of all time, from sports and racing games to action-adventure games to platformers. It is not a question of whether you want to play them but which one to play first.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is one of the most recommended ones, but Need for Speed: Most Wanted offers an immersive gaming experience, too. We leave it to you to decide, and happy gaming!