the PS2 was launched in 2000 and became the best-selling console of all time. It went well beyond its natural years, well into the PS3’s lifespan. It has an amazing library with tons of genres to choose from for all types of gamers.
While the console’s games are unsurprisingly showing their age today, many of them were so well designed in terms of gameplay, story, and/or artistic style that they’re still worth playing today. Some examples on this list were introduced earlier in Japan, but these details will be discussed later.
8/8 Final Fantasy 10-2
Final Fantasy 10-2 was a big step for the series as it was the first mainline game to receive a numbered sequel. Where the first game ends, Yuna, Riku and new friend Paine try to bring Spira back into balance.
The gameplay is similar to the original as it is a turn-based RPG, but these three girls are the only members of the party. There’s also a new class-based system that works like so many other systems in the final fantasy Series. It’s a happy girl-powered RPG that often doesn’t get enough credit or love for the good it’s done.
7/8 jake 2
jake 2 was a major departure for the series, which began as a family-friendly platformer. The sequel seemingly took ideas from grand theft auto 3, which inspired many developers in the early 2000s. Jak and Daxter are transported to a dystopian future where everything feels wrong. You get guns to fire at enemies like the competing platformer series, ratchet and clamp.
Jak also gets a Hulk-like power-up, players can drive cars, and the list goes on. It’s not as mature as that GTA Games, but it’s a tough teen rating to be sure.
6/8 Ratchet And Clank: Going Commando
Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando was the first installment in the series, and it doubled down on what made the first special. Ratchet could gain experience to increase health, and weapons also went through evolutions.
It gave players a reason to switch between the ever-growing arsenal of weird bullets like a weapon that could turn enemies into sheep. The series would increase the potency of these RPG elements and perfect the mechanics, but command go still feels fresh twenty years later.
5/8 Hit and Run of the Simpsons
The Simpsons Hit & Runsimilar to 2006 bullywas often referred to as “Grand Theft Auto for children” in the 2000s. It’s easy to see why players would steal cars and race them through crowded streets while exploring a handful of open areas throughout the adventure. Many of these areas feature iconic locations from the television show, making it a joy to just casually explore the game and look for the plethora of collectibles.
The Simpsons Hit & Run is still great fun to play today, but is still brutally difficult even in the last act.
4/8 .hack//Infection Part 1
.hack//Infection Part 1, as the name suggests, is the first part of what would later become a quadrilogy. It is the first game series within the .hack brand to be launched as a multimedia event with anime. To clarify, this started in 2002 in Japan, but 2003 is the start date in North America. The games take place in a fictional MMO that begins to corrupt players, and they are hack-and-slash RPGs.
the sequel, .hack//GUgot a remaster in 2017, so maybe now is the time for this original series to get the HD treatment.
3/8 dark cloud 2
dark cloud 2 is another example of a game that first launched in Japan in 2002 before coming to the west in 2003. It’s a sequel to the original, but how final fantasyit features a whole new cast of characters.
Max and Monica are on a journey through time to restore order. It’s part action RPG, part city builder, and all great. The cel shading art style helps it stand out from its predecessor, and it received a slight HD makeover when it was released on PS4 as a PS2 classic.
2/8 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
At a time when platform games were disappearing and action-adventure games were thriving, Ubisoft decided to seamlessly blend the two genres Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The result could easily have been a hot mess in the wrong hands, although the developers created a wonderful mix of playstyles that was a dream to play.
Despite his age The Sands of Time is still great fun to play today, as the platforming, combat, and time manipulation mechanics feel just as smooth as ever. A reissue of The Sands of Time is currently in development, although there have been numerous delays and setbacks.
1/8 Zone Of The Enders: The Second Runner
Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner was another great mech-based game from 2003. It was a rare game from that era that touched Hideo Kojima who was mainly concerned with the metal gears Series within Konami. It has all the trappings of a Kojima game, even if he wasn’t the full force behind it.
The graphics were great, there was a lot of action and the bosses were highlights. It’s a shame that The second runner never got a sequel, but it did get a VR edition in 2018, and it’s actually pretty good.
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