In my opinion, not only is the PlayStation 2 the best-selling console of all time, but also one of the best consoles ever created. A few months ago, Sony confirmed that they had ceased the production of the console and as a way of celebrating the fact that the PS2 was around for 13 years, I decided that it would be a good idea to share a list with my favorite PS2 games. Without further ado, these are my 10 favorite PlayStation 2 games in no particular order:
It’s no secret that Resident Evil 4 deviated from the formula so characteristic of previous games in the series (it focused less on survival-horror and more on action,) but that’s what made it such a fantastic title. This game has an eerie setting, a tense atmosphere, intuitive controls, great enemy design and a strong pacing. On top of that, the PS2 version features some compelling extras that weren’t present in the GameCube version.
This is one of those games where I completed every single task available: I obtained all the secret weapons, I finished the game on both difficulties and I beat the Mercenaries minigame with all the available characters. And I’m thinking of playing it again soon.
I like when video games have a message. More importantly, I like when that message resonates with me on a personal level. Shadow of the Colossus represents one of those rare cases in which the message the game tries to convey makes sense to me. The design is absolutely amazing, the UI tries some new things in an unobtrusive manner, each colossus is absolutely different to the previous one and more importantly, Shadow of the Colossus has something to say. It may be subtle and delicate, but it’s a captivating message nonetheless.
Final Fantasy X was probably one of the first JRPGs I’ve ever played in my life. The evocative soundtrack, detailed visuals and larger-than-life story was unlike anything else I’d played before. My appreciation for the medium was completely different from then on and I owe that and much more to Final Fantasy X.
The idea of playing a single-player MMO has always fascinated me, but prior to the release of Final Fantasy XII no company was able to pull that off. Square Enix did that with assurance in Final Fantasy XII, but the Japanese company also managed to craft a peerless combat system that was extremely engaging. There were some issues with the story, but it was easy to overlook the generic plot when I was having so much fun fighting enemies and setting gambits.
Playing Dragon Quest VIII redefined my idea of exploration in video games. DQ VIII makes use of a fully immersive 3D world that was unique for its time. Do you see a cave in the distance? You can enter that cave. Do you see a small stream? You can go there. One of the most memorable features is also the ability to ride a saber-tooth, get a legendary ship and obtain a mythical bird, but it’s the striking visuals that makes those unconventional means of transport so compelling.
“Not only is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas the best game in the series, but also one of the best titles of its generation.” That’s what I said about San Andreas in my review. I also said that one of the aspects that makes this title so compelling is the little things, like jumping from a plane with no parachute and still land safe and sound on top of a hotel in Las Venturas.
In a sense, San Andreas was the definitive GTA of its generation, since it incorporated all the elements that made previous titles so compelling, at the same time it added some new ones. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas isn’t without some issues, but it’s really easy to overlook those issues when you’re having so much fun.
Burnout Revenge was the first disc I put on the PS2 and there was the beginning of a long time obsession. Playing Burnout Revenge was love at first sight: the raucous action was hypnotic and the visuals were stunning, not to mention that some of my favorite pop-punk bands at the time were part of the game’s soundtrack. Oh! One more thing: play Burnout Revenge and you’ll never look at the back part of a car in the same way!
Beyond Good & Evil was a pleasant surprise. The game has simple puzzles, stealth and an engaging photo-taking system. Nevertheless, the mesmerizing story is what kept me engaged until the credits rolled. I may not remember every single detail about the story, but I vividly remember playing Beyond Good & Evil. I also remember loving every minute of it.
I didn’t know what to expect from Metal Gear Solid 2. After all, it was the sequel to one of the best games ever made (and one of my personal favorites for that matter.) But before playing it, I remember having the feeling that regardless what happened, at least I was going to remember that game for years to come.
I was right. Metal Gear Solid 2 is a title that doesn’t shy away from anything. The game makes fun of its lore, of the player and it constantly defies your expectations. Not many developers can make fun of its audience and get away with it. I guess Hideo Kojima isn’t just another developer.
How do you make a sequel to Metal Gear Solid 2? Making a prequel instead. Metal Gear Solid 3 has a new setting, “new” characters and a new gameplay, making this a nostalgic, yet remarkably fresh prequel. Did you enjoy previous entries in the series? Do yourself a favor and play Metal Gear Solid 3 as soon as you can. You won’t regret it.
Since this is a list with my personal favorite PS2 games, I encourage you to share some of your favorite titles in the comments down below.