The PS2 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 players.
While the console’s games are, unsurprisingly, showing their age today, many of them were so well designed from a gameplay, story and/or art perspective that they are still well worth playing today. Some examples on this list were launched earlier in Japan, but those details will be discussed later.
8/8 Final Fantasy 10-2
Final Fantasy 10-2 was a big step for the series because it was the first main game to receive a numbered sequel. Taking place where the first game ends, Yuna, Riku and their new friend Paine try to restore balance to Spira.
The game is similar to the original as it is a turn-based RPG, but these three girls are the only party members. There is also a new class-based system that works like so many other systems in Final Fantasy series. It’s a light-hearted, girl-driven RPG that often doesn’t get enough credit or love for the good it did.
7/8 Jack 2
Jack 2 was a big departure for the series that started out as a family-friendly platformer. The sequel apparently took ideas from Grand Theft Auto 3, which inspired many developers in the early 2000s. Jak and Daxter are zapped into a dystopian future where everything feels unstable. They get guns to shoot at enemies like the rival platform game series, Ratchet and Clank.
Jak also gets a Hulk-like power-up, players can drive cars, and the list goes on. It is not as mature as GTA game, but it’s a difficult youth rating, to be sure.
6/8 Ratchet And Clank: Going Commando
Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando was the first sequel to the series, and it doubled down on what made the first special. Ratchet could gain experience to increase his health, and weapons also went through evolutions.
It gave players a reason to switch between the ever-growing arsenal of oddities like a gun that could turn enemies into sheep. The series would increase the strength of these RPG elements and perfect the mechanics, but Goes command still feels fresh twenty years later.
5/8 The Simpsons Hit And Run
The Simpsons Hit & Runroughly like the 2006s Bunwas often referred to as “Grand Theft Auto for kids” of the 2000s. It’s easy to see why, as the game has players stealing cars and driving them through crowded streets, as well as allowing them to explore a handful of open areas throughout the adventure. Many of these areas have iconic locations from the TV show, making the game a joy to just casually explore and search for the multitude of collectibles.
The Simpsons Hit & Run is still a lot of fun to play today, although it’s also still brutally difficult in the final act.
4/8 .hack//Infection part 1
.hack//Infection part 1, as the name suggests, is the first part of what was to become a quadrilogy. It is the first game series within the .hack brand to be launched as a multimedia event including anime. To clarify, this began in 2002 in Japan, but 2003 is the North American launch date. The games take place in a fictional MMO that begins to destroy players, and they are hack and slash RPGs.
The sequel series, .hack//GUgot a remaster in 2017, so maybe now is the time for this original series to get the HD treatment.
3/8 Dark Clouds 2
Dark Clouds 2 is another example of a game that first launched in Japan in 2002 before coming to the West in 2003. It is a sequel to the original, but which Final Fantasyit has a whole new cast.
Max and Monica are on a quest through time to restore order to things. It’s part action RPG, part city builder, and it’s all great. The cel-shaded art style helps it stand above its predecessor, and it got a slight HD makeover when it was released as a PS2 classic on PS4.
2/8 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
At a time when platformers were disappearing and action-adventure games were flourishing, Ubisoft decided to seamlessly combine the two genres with 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 fantastic mix of game styles that were a dream to play.
Despite his age, The sands of time is still a lot of fun to play today, with the platforming, combat and time manipulation mechanics feeling as smooth as ever. A remake of The sands of time is currently under development, although it has had many 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 this era touched by Hideo Kojima, who mainly involved himself with Metal Gear series within Konami. It has all the makings of a Kojima game, even if he wasn’t the entire force behind it.
The visuals were great, there was tons of action, and the bosses were climactic events. It’s a shame The other runner never got a sequel, but it did get a VR release in 2018, and it’s actually pretty good.
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