What are the best PS2 games ever created?
Released in 2000, the PlayStation 2 is the best-selling console of all time, selling over 155 million units across the globe.
Although 3,800 incredible games were created for this console, we’ve singled out only the best and most memorable for this list.
The Best PS2 Games Ever Created
Our ranked lists are created by researching and rounding up information from the most reputable web sources.
If you enjoy this list, don’t forget to check out our other PlayStation game lists:
- The 50 Best PS1 Games Ever Created
- The 50 Best PS3 Games Ever Created
- The 50 Best PSP Games of All Time
- The 50 Best PS Vita Games of All Time
Here’s our list of the 50 best PS2 games ever created:
50. Hitman: Contracts
A remake of Hitman: Codename 47 and the third Hitman title to be released, this was one of the leading stealth games on the PS2.
With several new missions, remastered graphics, and an iconic main character, this game was an immediate hit that sold nearly two million copies when it dropped.
49. James Bond 007: Nightfire
James Bond games were some staples of the ’90s and early 2000s, and this first-person shooter was one of the most popular on the PS2.
Featuring both a single-player mode and a multiplayer mode, in which players could test their skills against AI NPCs, this game had plenty of content to ensure that playing it wouldn’t get boring any time soon.
Another FPS for the PS2 that was later ported to the Xbox 360, this game was all about cinematic action and destruction with a huge emphasis during gameplay.
Although disagreements between developer Criterion and EA ended up putting an end to plans for a sequel, this game was one of the most engaging shooters on the console.
47. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
This stealth series is one of the most well-known, and even those who haven’t played it have at least heard of it.
Chaos Theory was the third entry in the series and noticeably darker than previous games, and it followed agent Sam Fisher as he took on missions for the Third Echelon.
Selling 2.5 million units within a month of its release, this game was highly praised by critics and fans alike as one of the best.
46. Spartan: Total Warrior
Spartan: Total Warrior was a great video game that unfortunately got overshadowed the year of its release.
Coming out only a few months after the massive hit God of War, this title was well-liked by critics but also easy to overlook. Even today, people compare these games to see which was better!
That said, Total Warrior held its own as a hack and slash game, and it features a great story that rivaled even the story of Kratos.
45. Dragon Quest VIII
This cell-shaded RPG was the eighth title in the Dragon Quest series and the first in English to forgo the Dragon Warrior title.
Published by Square Enix, this game was also the first in the series to have both 3D characters and environments, which critics highly praised.
When it was released, it was an immediate commercial success, and it even went on to be re-released under the Sony Greatest Hits brand, forever cementing this game’s place among the greats.
44. Devil May Cry
One of the best action-adventure games created by Capcom, Devil May Cry is based loosely on the Divine Comedy.
It was originally designed to be Resident Evil 4 before the developers decided to turn it into its own title.
Often considered one of the greatest games in video game history, Devil May Cry was applauded for its high difficulty, gameplay elements, gothic ambiance, and one of the toughest boss fights in gaming history.
43. Tekken 5
Among fighting games, Tekken is one of the largest and most beloved series, and Tekken 5 marked the 10th anniversary of the franchise.
Improving upon Tekken 4, this installment featured character customization, fast-paced gameplay, and seven new fighter characters.
Selling over 8.2 million copies, Tekken 5 was an immediate hit with critics and fans around the world.
42. Need For Speed: Underground 2
Responsible for breaking sales records in the UK, this game picked up where the first game left off and gave players several new features, such as more customization, new racing methods, and a new city called Bayview.
Underground 2 is often considered one of the best in the series, and while it wasn’t without its minor faults, it was still a great game to spend hours playing.
41. Hitman: Blood Money
As the fourth game in this iconic series, this installment gave players control of Agent 47 once again as he worked to take down the Franchise, a rival organization.
After its release, it gained a strong cult following and even received a 4K remastered port to the PS4 and Xbox One in 2019.
So, even if you were never able to play this game on the PS2, you can still pick it up in all its updated glory today.
40. The Simpsons: Hit & Run
Based on the longest-running scripted American TV show, Hit and Run was as wacky as it was fun — it was inspired greatly by Grand Theft Auto, after all.
Needless to say, this game was as successful as you would expect, given the beloved characters it contains, and many considered it to be the best Simpsons game to date.
39. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
As a sequel to Sands of Time, fans of the series expected great things from this installment, and they were not disappointed.
With new powers, improved combat, and an incredible story, this game was a favorite of fans, selling 1.9 million units in its first month on the market.
38. Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man 2 was an incredible game and arguably one of the best superhero games ever created.
The open-world gameplay that gave players unlimited access to Manhattan was phenomenal, and players could spend hours swinging around and jumping off the Empire State Building.
The most popular mechanic in this game was the web-swinging by far, and even without touching any of the missions, players could spend hours living out their fantasies of being Spidy.
37. Rayman 2: Revolution
Rayman is a character who all gamers know, and in this installment, the limbless wonder was tasked with saving the Fairy Glade from an army of robot pirates!
When this game was released, critics immediately applauded it for its graphics, gameplay, and accessibility, which made it easy for almost anyone to play.
36. Soulcalibur II
When compared to the previous game, this sequel came with better graphics and game mechanics, along with several new permanent and guest characters.
Although the story revolved around the quest to collect all the shards of the Soul Edge, the multiplayer mode was a hit with fans, and many players had favorite characters that they loved to pit against their friends.
35. Ratchet & Clank
This 3D platformer was the first in the Ratchet & Clank series, and it was an instant classic.
There was an incredible range of weapons in this game, with numerous enemies and puzzle-solving tasks. Along with this, players could try their hand at several different mini-games whenever they wanted.
34. Gran Turismo 4
The sixth game in the series and one that has since been included in Sony’s Greatest Hits brand, this racing game features a staggering 700 cars and 51 trucks that players can unlock and drive for themselves.
Although it wasn’t a critical success when it was released, and some people criticized the in-game cars for not performing as their real-life counterparts would, the fans were far from fussed. Gran Turismo 4 went on to become the third highest-selling game in its franchise.
33. TimeSplitters 2
The second game in the TimeSplitters series, this title came with 10 levels in story mode, along with several multiplayer modes.
As an FPS, players enjoyed the variety of weapons that the game included, as well as the ability to dual wield many of them.
Because of the gameplay, it is sometimes compared to GoldenEye 007, something that definitely does this title a lot of favors.
32. NFL Street 2
For fans of American Football, NFL Street 2 was the game to have.
What made this game really special was its compatibility with other games, such as Madden NFL 06, which allowed gamers to import their own players into the game.
This also extended to titles like Need for Speed: Underground 2, NBA Live 2005, Madden NFL 2005, and more, which would give players 25,000 points if they were on the same memory card.
Before Red Dead Redemption was created by Rockstar Games, Wild West loving gamers had Gun.
Giving players control of Colton White, a skilled marksman, the story that plays out was great enough to rival even the strongest story-driven titles, and it was hard not to get enthralled.
30. Def Jam: Fight for NY
From the Old West to the modern city, this Hip-Hop-inspired action game served as a sequel to Def Jam Vendetta and featured several popular rappers, including Snoop Dogg, Lil’ Kim, Ice-T, and Busta Rhymes.
Although the original was mainly a wrestling game, this installment allowed players to choose from five different fighting styles, and there is a greater emphasis on the environment.
Ico is a fun game, and it was designed to be very minimalist, revolving around a boy meets girl storyline.
While it wasn’t a breakout success, this game was praised for its ability to tell a compelling story through lighting, animation, and minimal dialogue.
The art style has also received a lot of attention, and it is regularly used as an example in debates about video games as a form of art.
28. SSX 3
One of the few snowboarding games to stand out as a hit, this game was incredibly popular, and it has since been made playable on the Xbox One via backward compatibility.
That said, when it first landed on the PS2 as the third game in its series, critics fell in love with it, and it even reached universal acclaim.
Although gamers might have been hesitant at first to settle into a snowboarding game, once they picked it up, they couldn’t put it down.
27. GTA III
The Grand Theft Auto series is a giant on every console, so it should come as no surprise that this series pops up more than once on our list.
Grand Theft Auto III followed Claude on his path of revenge after he was left dead by his girlfriend after a robbery.
Including all the gangs, drugs, crime, corruption, and GTA cheats that gamers have come to love from the franchise, this game was a must-have when it was released.
26. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
Based on the hit manga series, Budokai Tenkaichi 3 was a game that every DBZ fan needed to get their hands on.
Featuring the largest roaster of fighting characters of any game at the time, players could choose from 98 characters in 161 forms.
It also contained several new features, such as night and day stages, battle replay, and multiplayer, that made it even more entertaining.
Although critical reviews called it average and complained that the story was a bit underwhelming, fans of the game begged to differ.
25. Jax & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
Developed by Naughty Dog, this open-world platformer had a fantastic world design, solid action, and just enough light-heartedness to keep it upbeat.
After its release, which saw a million copies sold, this title went on to join the ranks of Sony’s Greatest Hits.
24. Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition
While most people don’t immediately think of Midnight Club when they think of racing games, it definitely earned its place among the best of the best.
This arcade-style racer was known for its high-speed, wild driving, as opposed to the more realistic, physics-abiding driving.
The game world was based on recreations of Detroit, San Diego, and Atlanta, and speeding through these cities was definitely an incredible feeling.
23. Burnout Revenge
Yet another racing game, Burnout Revenge, takes the genre and places it right in the middle of rush-hour traffic. Driving and vehicular combat can get tricky with so many obstacles, but the challenge just makes it even more fun.
This game was incredibly well-received, and it was even made backward compatible on the Xbox Series X/S when the console launched.
22. Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
The third installment in the Sly Cooper franchise, this game was positively received by fans and critics, and it was one of the few games that came with optional 3D levels.
Providing players with a set of 3D glasses in each copy, being able to game in 3D was a game-changer, even if it was just a few levels. Although not everyone was crazy about it, there was just something that felt so futuristic.
21. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando
The follow-up to Ratchet & Clank, Going Commando, followed the gang as they attempted to find the truth behind a mysterious project being undertaken by MegaCorp.
Although similar to the original, this sequel was often considered superior due to its improved graphics, story, gameplay, and characterization.
20. GTA: Vice City
Another hit GTA installment from Rockstar Games, this title followed the story of a mobster’s rise to power after having been imprisoned after a drug deal.
Vice City was widely regarded to be one of the best games on the PS2, and since then, it has been ported to numerous modern consoles, along with its impressive selection of cheats.
19. WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain
In 2003, this wrestling game was in the top tier, and fans couldn’t stop shouting its praises from the rooftops, even if critics weren’t as enthusiastic.
Here Comes the Pain provided fast gameplay, a new grappling system, and over 50 Superstars that players could choose from — including one whose name is John Cena!
18. God of War
God of War took the world by storm and launched a series that is still going strong today.
Created by Santa Monica Studio, this game features so many icons from gaming history, including Kratos and his Blades of Chaos.
The universal acclaim that followed this game’s release should be no surprise, and critics praised the combo system, puzzle, and platform elements, as well as the engaging story.
17. Metal Gear Solid 2
The fourth Metal Gear game to be written and directed by Kojima Hideo and the seventh overall in the series, Metal Gear Solid 2 acted as a direct sequel to the first game which debuted on the original PlayStation.
In this installment, players are given control of series hero Solid Snake once again and tasked with infiltrating a nuclear facility to stop a terrorist threat from FOXHOUND.
Selling over 7 million copies across the globe, this game helped popularize the modern stealth genre, and some have even called it one of the greatest and most influential games of all time.
16. Final Fantasy X
This Final Fantasy game marked the change from pre-rendered backgrounds to full 3D areas, and it was also the first to feature voice-acted characters.
As with most games in the Final Fantasy series, this installment was both a critical and commercial success, and it even earned a direct sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, making it the only game in the franchise to do so.
15. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Most Wanted focused on street racing, and the main career mode involved taking on 15 of the best racers to become the best.
One of the most beloved game mechanics included police pursuits, where the goal was to evade the police and meet goals of pursuit times or most wanted levels.
There was just something satisfying about speeding down streets and ramming gas stations that made it one of the best PS2 games to kill time with.
Bully was the hit game that literally no one saw coming.
It followed the story of a delinquent high school student looking to become more popular with the cliques in his school by completing missions and attending classes.
Although no one expected it to be a hit, and there was a lot of controversy around it, it easily sold over a million copies and was praised by critics for its scripting and well-written characters.
13. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
The third game in the TimeSplitters series, this installment featured a single-player mode and a multiplayer mode that included the ability for other players to help out in story mode.
Received well upon release, this title was even awarded the “Best First-Person Shooter” by IGN in 2005.
While a sequel was planned, it has long been on hold. However, in 2021, it was announced that the next game would be developed by Free Radical Design.
12. Sly 2: Band of Thieves
Another game that is considered to be one of the best PS2 games of all time, Band of Thieves, received critical acclaim when it debuted, and it made many improvements following the original.
With several new gameplay features, health tracking, mission managing, and pickpocketing, players had a hard time putting this Sly 2 down once they picked it up.
11. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
As the third title in the franchise, Up Your Arsenal was met with a lot of expectations, all of which it exceeded.
Although the gameplay is similar, it has a new control system, more weapon upgrade levels, and new characters.
It was also the first to have online multiplayer so that fans could play with friends.
10. God of War 2
You’d be hard-pressed to find a game as brutal as God of War 2, and fans of the series often consider it to be as close to a perfect game as you can get.
As the 16th best-selling PS2 game of all time, this game took everything that the original game provided and kicked it up to a whole new level.
Between the story, the characters, and the hack-and-slash brutality, this game was simply a masterpiece of its time.
9. Kingdom Hearts II
Picking up after the events of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, this game brings Sora back along with a large cast of Square Enix and Disney characters.
When it was released, it received exceptional marks from critics and four notable awards, including Best Sequel and Game of the Year.
8. Burnout 3: Takedown
As one of the highest-rated racing games, Takedown embraces a more aggressive style of racing than other titles, and players are encouraged to use mechanics like Takedowns to ensure their victory.
Featuring numerous fun game modes, a fantastic design, and perfected gameplay mechanics, this game was praised by almost everyone as one of the best PS2 games to be released.
7. Star Wars: Battlefront II
Battlefront II was the game for Star Wars fans in 2005, and it was a massive game that included new characters, mechanics, missions, maps, and vehicles.
Arguably the best game in the Star Wars franchise, it had sold over six million copies by 2007, and it still has a dedicated base of players today.
6. Resident Evil 4
The Resident Evil series is one of the most recognizable in the survival horror genre.
This installment took players to a rural European village where they had to fight their way through hordes of infected villagers to reunite with Ada Wong.
Gaining critical acclaim for its dynamic shooting, memorable characters, voice acting, and graphics, Resident Evil 4 was by far one of the best PS2 games that still stands out nearly 20 years later.
5. Shadow of the Colossus
No other game is known for the sheer scale of its monsters like Shadow of the Colossus.
Often considered one of the most influential titles in gaming, this title was absolutely gorgeous, and the immersion, minimalist design, and emotional journey were unlike any other seen at the time.
While the game did get criticism for being fairly short, it did so much with that time that it had.
4. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
The fifth installment, this game served as a prequel to the whole series, and it takes place 31 years before the original Metal Gear.
Although the environment is different, the emphasis on stealth and infiltration remains strong, and it’s easy to get caught up unraveling the story.
As another game often touted as one of the best PS2 games, it sets itself apart from other titles beautifully, even within its own franchise.
3. Devil May Cry 3
Taking the number 3 spot on our list is another prequel, one that is set a decade before the events of the original Devil May Cry and focuses on Dante’s relationship with his brother Vergil.
Although some people criticized it for being too difficult, others praised it for the way it told the story via full-motion cutscene videos.
In 2006, a Special Edition version of the game was released, giving players the ability to play as Vergil, as well as adding more checkpoints and revamping the difficulty.
Both versions together sold 2.3 million copies and earned their place among the best PS2 games ever.
2. Silent Hill 2
This psychological horror survival game wasn’t one to play in a dark room, but it was highly praised for being one of the best PS2 games for gamers looking for a scare.
With a compelling story that includes a lot of symbolism, metaphors, taboo topics, and terror, it focused more on the psychology of the characters than the previous title.
Although some critics thought that it felt rushed when compared to the original Silent Hill, many more applauded its horror and gameplay elements, and how it created an unsettling atmosphere and sense of tension without being overbearing.
1. GTA: San Andreas
While some people may disagree, we couldn’t help but give the top spot to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Not only does this game have fantastic gameplay, but its references to real-life events and elements made it an immediate classic.
With a plot based on real Los Angels events such as the rivalry between gangs, the LAPD Rampart scandal, and the Los Angels riots of 1992, this game hits close to home and tackles a lot of issues that many other titles shied away from.
Additionally, unlike Vice City, this installment included more elements for RPG fans, customization options, and additional mini-games and gambling,
Without a doubt, San Andreas stands out as the most memorable and impactful game to ever come out for the PS2 and, in our opinion, is the best GTA game of all time.
The PlayStation 2 had a lot of amazing games, and it would be impossible to give them all the attention they are due.
However, these 50 are without a doubt some of the best that have left a lasting mark on both the gaming industry and the gamers who have played them.
Here’s a quick recap of the 50 best PS2 games ever created:
- GTA: San Andreas
- Silent Hill 2
- Devil May Cry 3
- Metal Gear Solid 3
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Resident Evil 4
- Star Wars: Battlefront II
- Burnout 3: Takedown
- Kingdom Hearts II
- God of War 2
- Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
- Sly 2: Band of Thieves
- TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
- Bully: Scholarship Edition
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted
- Final Fantasy X
- Metal Gear Solid 2
- God of War
- WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain
- GTA: Vice City
- Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando
- Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
- Burnout Revenge
- Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition
- Jax & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
- GTA III
- SSX 3
- Def Jam: Fight For NY
- NFL Street 2
- TimeSplitters 2
- Gran Turismo 4
- Ratchet & Clank
- Soulcalibur II
- Rayman 2: Revolution
- Spider-Man 2
- Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
- The Simpsons: Hit & Run
- Hitman: Blood Money
- Need For Speed: Underground 2
- Tekken 5
- Devil May Cry
- Dragon Quest VIII
- Spartan: Total Warrior
- Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
- James Bond 007: Nightfire
- Hitman: Contracts
What’s the best PS2 game ever created, in your opinion? Leave a comment below.
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