Though the Xbox One and the PS4 are currently ruling the roost, the Playstation 2 remains by far the best-selling video game console of all time. The arrival of the PS2 really heralded the true next generation of video gaming, and Sony mercilessly crushed rivals Nintendo and Microsoft, scooping up obscene profits from the sales of its console and accompanying games. With an enormous library of thousands of games, happy Sony PS2 gamers can find something to suit every taste.
With such a massive number and variety of titles available it is difficult to narrow them down to a list of just 10 that is representative of the best the PS2 has to offer. I will endeavor to do so with this list, and will cross my fingers that I haven’t many any glaring omissions in the process. Here are my choices for the top 10 PS2 games of all time:
10 – Shadow of the Colossus
A fantastic action-adventure game, breathtaking in scope, and with fantastic graphical presentation, this often overlooked game is one of the true gems on the PS2 system. If you haven’t played it yet, what are you waiting for?
9 – Okami
Though it came late in the PS2’s life span Okami quickly established itself as one of the must have games for the system. An adventure game with a unique “paint brush” system this title has been called the PS2’s Zelda. High praise indeed. For those tired of the same old cookie cutter games, this innovative title is one you might want to check out.
8 – Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
The enormously popular pair returned for a third installment, and did not fail to disappoint in any department. Beautiful graphics, immersive sound, non-stop action, a robust multiplayer mode, and an overhauled control scheme make this a great game for fans of all ages and gaming dispositions.
7 – Burnout 3: Takedown
The best arcade racer ever. Period. That may be high praise, but it is merited. This game is non-stop, white-knuckled, pedal to the metal action, and truly brings fun back to the racing genre. If you are a gamer that is not interested in tuning every tiny aspect of your car before getting behind the wheel, then this is your title. Instantly accessible, and crazy fun.
6 – Resident Evil 4
This game came out first for the Nintendo Gamecube and is widely considered to be the best looking game for that console. PS2 owners had to wait a little longer for their turn, but they got some extras from Capcom for being so patient. This survival horror adventure game is the pinnacle of the Resident Evil series.
5 – Rez
This is a hard game to define, but its uniqueness is what makes it a necessary inclusion on the list of top 10 PS2 games. A shooter in the loosest sense of the word, this game is an aesthetic feast, where the graphics and music is controlled by your actions. Simple in concept, yet amazingly deep and addicting.
4 – Metal Gear 3 – Solid Snake
The Metal Gear series is another of Sony’s proverbial cash cows. Created by video game legend, Hideo Kojima this third person shooter just keeps getting better and better with each installment. I can’t wait to see what Kojima can do with next-gen hardware. Metal Gear 4 will be a very hot ticket when it launches for the PS3
3 – Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
When Sony boasted about the power of the Playstation 2 and its emotion engine many scoffed up their sleeves at Sony’s claims. This game quieted the critics in a hurry. With jaw-dropping graphics GT3: A-Spec blurred the line between video games and a television broadcast. Graphics weren’t the only thing going for this finely tuned racing sim. As always, Polyphony delivered under the hood as well, providing car enthusiasts hundreds of tweaks and options, and bringing them the closest experience to driving a real race car they’ll likely ever experience.
2 – Final Fantasy X
Though Square Enix, the creators of the Final Fantasy series, were originally allied with Nintendo, the power of the PS2 and the design opportunities it provided lured them firmly into Sony’s camp. Since inheriting the franchise Sony has milked it big time, driving sales of their console to unheard of levels, particularly in Japan. All of these RPGs are classics, but is is commonly agreed that Final Fantasy X is the pinnacle of the series to date.
1 – Grand Theft Auto 3: San Andreas
To be fair, all the Grand Theft Auto 3 games could enjoy a spot on this list. But, for the sake of variety I chose to include what I consider to be the best of them. You’d have had to be living on a deserted island somewhere not to have heard of this series. Controversial and violent, the game none-the-less is pure video gaming glory. The open-ended gameplay as you traverse the sprawling metropolis of San Andreas is truly mind-blowing. There are many who think that Sony’s ability to get a limited time exclusive on this series is the single biggest reason they won the console war last time around. I’m inclined to agree.