rankly, Sony hasn’t let us down in a long time. With the brand, we’ve encountered great game consoles that are designed to sweep us off our feet. And while they all do, we still cannot forget the PlayStation 2.
The Playstation 2 had immense success, selling over 158 million units worldwide. As a matter of fact, the PlayStation franchise, as we know it today, was built on the back of the PlayStation 2. No doubt, the PS3 was the one who birthed the PSN in its current form. Still, it will be impossible to ignore how that was only possible because of the popularity of the console before it.
“AFTER THE WHEEL, THE BEST INVENTION IS THE PLAYSTATION”Andrea Pirlo, Italian Soccer Player
Sales for the PlayStation 2 extended past the launch of PS3 and was only discontinued in 2012, 12 years after its launch. One of the best parts of the PS2 — it arrived in an affordable DVD player perfect for that time. Therefore, it’s not far-fetched to say the innovation of the PlayStation took the gaming world by storm.
Yet, there’s no feature of the console that was as endearing as the vast array of games that led to an enviable library. Chances are if you had the PS2, all your friends wanted to come over and hang out. And you could play games in almost any genre from action to sports!
We loved playing these games and participating in the less-than-perfect graphical worlds. And we did it wholeheartedly. So, we can barely provide only ten games from the unending list of classics. But if we must, here are the ones we would love to be obsessed with all over again.
10. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
If you had played prince of Persia in 2003, you probably groaned at the tackiness of the entire operation, especially with how the Prince of Persia 3D played out. You might have given up on the series until Jordan Mechner returned to Ubisoft Montreal. Mechner was the franchise creator and brought life back into the game.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time turned puzzle platforming around with great storytelling and real imagination. This PoP came with controls that made playing this game easy, especially in real-time. The precise control allowed you to go from wall-run to roll to jump to climb and back to a wall-run without any lag. But the in-built ability to rewind about 20 seconds made this a trial-and-error magnet. You became hooked by the mere possibility of getting it right. You’d always want to stick around long enough to clear one more room and then one more. The formidable jumps within each level were brilliant, encapsulating a violent, beautiful, and heart-wrenching puzzle.
9. Final Fantasy X
When we thought of a game with graphics that can still hold up today, FFX was the first to pop into our minds. Final Fantasy X stands out with its endearing blend of old and new parts of the series. We think of Blitzball, Wakka and Tidus, and we want to laugh with nostalgia at the little missteps. But we have to admit they did not harm the game in any significant way.
In Final Fantasy X, we lost our beloved ActiveTime Battle System. But we watched it transform into the Conditional Turn-Based Battle System. The ditch was surprising at first, but the new strategic turn-based combat was no less intense than the real-time aspect the predecessors had. FFX was a worthy ushering into a new generation as the first Final Fantasy on PS2. With the heartbreaking romance between Tidus and Yuna and the shocking plot twist at the end, this game gave us everything we needed.
8. God of War 2
Following God of War’s smash debut in 2005, the sequel came out and took us by storm! Honestly, most games had already counted the PS2 out, but the creators of this masterpiece were not yet done. With blood-chilling action, the God of War 2 took our console screens and gave us a show. The entire work was bigger, fiercer, bloodier and even better-looking. We are still trying to figure out how the better graphics did not take a toll on the already-ancient PlayStation 2 hardware.
Moreover, you didn’t just get a better-looking game. You got cooler powers, allowing us a thrilling, fast-paced rip through ancient Greece’s monsters. New abilities like the Jones-style, Kratos being able to swing, and that epic glide using the pair of stolen wings from Icarus made God of War 2 phenomenal. Also, there was no console game at the time that was as satisfactorily gory as the God of War 2 on PlayStation 2.
Remember Yorda, the frail girl you were trying to escape the temple with? If you played Ico, you probably remember how protective you were of her. Primarily because of how haunting the whole setup was, you wanted to save her really badly. You were battling smoky phantoms that crawl out of shadows to menace you. If Ico did one thing right, it was the high wave of emotions it triggered.
Beyond this, you were puzzled continuously with how to get Yorda out of this temple filled with alien architecture. With every crumbling part of the temple structure, you faced a dilemma. Your frail companion’s life was close to the balance. You had to find a way to move past the current obstacle before the smoky phantoms came to snatch Yorda away. However, you got to beat them up with Ico’s club. Maybe it was the occasional fiery-ness of the club or just beating up smoky, ghost-like illusions that were oddly satisfying. This was a true classic we loved playing with the PlayStation 2.
The Okami game is set in feudal Japan. We are treated to the tale of a wolf-god who comes to Earth to save mankind from the rebirth of the ancient and wicked gods. Okami, too-beautiful-to-live, tells us this captivating story as we journey through the game.
The story is modelled on the legend of Zelda and will take as long as thirty hours to exhaust the play, but none of it is boring. You control the god of the sun, Amaterasu, in the form of a white wolf. Ammy, as her companion calls her, wields divine power throughout the game.
The game is a pretty engaging Japanese folklore with a pristine wolf that can fight, jump, dig holes, and access places otherwise closed to any person or wolf. There were several challenges like saving a village from freezing in a blizzard, fighting a water dragon and saving the people from a plague. We cannot forget Okami, Issun or its graphics anytime soon, and we are glad we went on this journey to save Japan from impending doom.
5. Shadow of the Colossus
The Shadow of the Colossus doesn’t have the sceneries that should make it acclaimed — it is bare at first glance. The entire earth is void of almost all living things, and your task is pretty monotonous. You are tasked with destroying 16 giants, and the players are dropped into the game when you start playing. Yet, the game has gone down as one of the most popular games of the PlayStation 2.
Without much dialogue, the story in the game is clear. Your task is crucial, and you have to fight to save the earth. The few elements merge to create an extraordinary experience and fighting each Colossus has its own mystery attached to it. The clever use of simple techniques and mechanics builds the tragic setup that engulfs Shadows of the Colossus, and you, PlayStation 2 player, are the only hope of our earth.
4. Silent Hill 2
If you loved the Silent Hill series, it is probably based on the attachment you must have formed with the Silent Hill 2. It had everything a gamer would want from a psychological horror game — intense suspense, grotesque imagery and unrelenting enemies. The story itself was so solid; it has been stated to beat an extensive collection of Hollywood’s horror movies.
Furthermore, Silent Hill 2 gave you loads of suspense and violence but didn’t miss out on subtle themes of love, misogyny and guilt. Silent Hill touched on many taboo topics — like mental illness and child abuse — and still was an adored game that seemed to be played by everyone who had access to PS2.
In Silent Hill 2, James Sunderland goes back to the eponymous town in the successor where his wife had died three years ago. He has gotten a letter that might be proof that she wasn’t dead after all. However, once in town, things refused to go as planned, the turn of events making James — and by extension, you — a little bit crazy from all the action. But it was the kind of crazy that made it impossible to put down your game controls.
3. Resident Evil 4
There are many reviews of Resident Evil 4 on how much the upgrades changed the feel of the game, and how innovative an over-the-shoulder camera was. We agree with all these techie reviews, but RE4 isn’t number 3 on our list for any of these reasons. Simply put, Resident Evil 4 was fun!
Shooting angry villagers in the face had never been more satisfying. Yes, the lack of actual zombies and manual aiming mechanics were out-of-the-water concepts, but the rewarding feeling of overcoming those villagers was second to none. To be fair, the new shooting system, with a laser-pointer reticle, was probably instrumental to the in-control feel you got when playing this game. And nothing beats the way you could shoot a villager in the kneecap and roundhouse him into a crowd to deliver the melee combo attack.
RE4 was one of the greatest games of all time and influenced every third-person shooter game that came after it. As Leon Kennedy, your player was tasked with the daunting task of rescuing the president’s daughter from a cult. You had limited ammo, and it had to count. Nothing beats the memories we have of fighting off regenerators or that time the villagers were storming the farmhouse.
The graphics were clean-cut, and the linear setup made the game itself the focus. We can remember revisiting the whole set from start to finish even after hitting the credits several times. The Resident Evil franchise is still running with new and improved systems, but RE4 will always be a classic.
2. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Snake Eater forced you to learn to live in a vast jungle where you killed animals for food and healed your own wounds with field surgery. It was a raw, action-packed game filled with emotional, gruelling challenges and boss fights. Big Boss or Naked Snake, as you saw fit to call him, was Solid Snake’s identical father and the star of MGS 3. He was forced to survive in the jungle with all the skill sets the game provided. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was a PlayStation defining game, and was particularly revolutionary for PS2.
1. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto was a hot topic of discussion during the PlayStation2 era. Its free reign to walk up to a random player and murder them or the prostitutes always lurking in every corner had the critics of video games blazing with opinions. The entire GTA franchise was great, but Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was incredible!
You were a real character who had a family, a background, a personality, and you could choose to bulk up or slim down any way you wanted. Also had a whole state at your disposal — little towns with long stretches in between them. You could drive through attractive geographical layouts. The entire setup made you feel like nothing was left out.
This GTA offered you a whole virtual life complete with crime scenarios, friends, gang members and assignments to carry out. The plot progresses, starting from a petty turf street fight to stealing a jetpack for a CIA drug pusher. The ambitious run-on game will have you building a fantasy crime life, creating conversation and dialogue in your mind and exploring skillsets just to stay alive on the streets.
The PlayStation 2 was one of the best consoles ever made. We appreciate its tenacity and heartwarming games that have since laid a foundation for most of the games we have come to adore in the PS4.