The PSP didn’t have much going for it for a while. Quality software took a long time to show up.
But hey, every single handheld that has stood their ground or simply tried to— every one – that has fought Nintendo, the king of handheld gaming, has died. Despite all of the PSP’s early frustrations, the dang thing did survived.
Now that the PlayStation Vita is out it seems certain the PlayStation Portable can lay to rest. It put up a good fight, a much longer than one than any of its predecessors, and by the end it amassed a decent game library. Here are some of the games that i enjoyed in the time that I played my PSP.
#1 Dissidia: Final Fantasy
Not quite a fighting game, not quite an RPG, Dissidia plays something like a mash up of something in between, in a very much playable-portable form. There are Smash Ball-like EX Cores you need to get to execute special attacks, and there are Brave Points you have to bash out of your opponent in a tug-of-war-like fashion before you can deal real Hit Point damage. Knowing when to dodge and dash helps, too, so timing and skill is important. Whenever you are playing with a friend, that's when the true fun starts, shouting.. screaming just to attack my friend is absolute hillarious.
#2 Persona 3 Portable
Another port for the PSP. Sure, the PSP has a lot of them. That’s kind of what it was known for for a while. This one, however, is pretty damn great. Atlus managed to shrink a huge famous PS2 RPG down into bite-sized format and add a fair amount to it —
new characters, scenarios and battle mechanics. The biggest change: In the original, you could only control one party member, the protagonist. In Portable, everyone’s under control, so Mitsuru never has to cast Marin Karin ever again. But damn. This game. The style, the music, the story, everything. It’s all so damn well done. When this music started playing? I felt complete..like I knew that this game and I were meant to be friends forever. This was my first complete experience with Persona 3 and I loved every moment. It’s the definitive way to play a 100+ hour RPG — on the go. A game that simply needs to be played.
#3 Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is the culmination of everything the series has done so far — camouflage, amassing an arsenal, first-person and over-the-shoulder aiming, bizarre historical fiction — and it refines them into something great. Behind the reigning champ Metal Gear Solid 3, Peace Walker is probably the best games in the series. It’s definitely series creator Hideo Kojima’s most focused work since Snake Eater. The story is no longer out of control. Heck, it steps aside completely most of the time to give the game all the room it needs to spread its feet. As Snake, or any of the schmoes he hilariously parachutes back to Mother Base, you can do everything you can in previous games, except faster and better.
#4 Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
There can be only one game on this list better than Peace Walker, and that’s the one that directly inspired its multiplayer and portable aspects to begin with. There’s a reason Monster Hunter kept the PSP alive in Japan. It’s life or death. It’s you or the roving beasts you have to kill or capture to carve new weapons and armor out of their hides. It’s a risk-reward at its best. The war between us humans (or friends ) agaisnt foes such as dragons and spiders. Would you run away at the enormous dragon or giant enemy crab until it croaks, or risk your life and lose the mission, your money zenny and your time to trap and tranquilize it and gain more spoils? It’s old-school sensibility — memorizing enemy patterns, timing attacks carefully — married to new-school technology that allows you to play with up to three other hunters. It’s social. It’s Shadow of the Colossus without the climbing or the angst. Downtime comes in the way of preparation: buy items and weapon-making materials at the village shop, farm crops, eat meals that temporarily enhance stats.
The PS2 has always produced the best games during its time. It was, and always will be one of the best game consoles because even though it was released in The PS2 has always produced the best games during its time. It was, and always will be one of the best game consoles because even though it was released in 2000, it still holds the title of the top selling video game console of all time, meaning that it has held that title for almost 11 years – and it looks like, it will be keeping it for another year or so.
When the PS2 was released it swiftly defeated its competitors – Sega’s Dreamcast, Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube – and earned itself the biggest game library of all time, boasting over 10,000 titles and even more if you consider the console’s backwards compatibility with the PlayStation.
The history of PS2 games
The PS2′s original life span was set at 10 years, but according to Sony, its lifecycle will continue as long as developers continue making new games for the system; and as long as the console and its games continue to sell. So even though major developers have pulled support for the console, it is still receiving some game titles to this date.
As expected of a console of such magnitude and infamy, the PS2 has spawned multitudes of all kinds of top PlayStation 2 games, both great and wonderful.
- First, we are only going to take one title per franchise or consider two games as a single game in some instances. Secondly, the PS2 games are going to be judged solely on the basis of gameplay and story – the two most important aspects of any game. So the PS2 games that you may see on other lists out there solely on the basis of sales or graphics will not be included here. Lastly, the games have to be mind-numbingly good in order to make the list, so the order in which they appear in the list does not refer to their quality or rank in any way – each of these games are the best PS2 games, the cream of the crop, and must-haves for any gaming enthusiast.
So, with all that in mind, lets get to the good stuff.
#1. God Of War II
There is no doubt that the God of War series is a masterpiece of the gaming world and one of the best PS2 games of all time. The first PS2 game set the stage for one of the most epic franchises in the history of gaming, with incredible graphics, addictive and enticing gameplay and engaging set piece moments. This left fans wondering whether the sequel would be able to surpass the first game, because even though the Playstation 3 had seen its release, the developer decided to keep the franchise on the PS2 for the time being. This allowed Sony’s Santa Monica Studio to refine their technology and work on making the game better on the platform it was intended for instead of creating an entirely new engine to develop it for the PS3.
Starting off from where the God of War left off, the second coming in the God of War saga gives players a thrilling cliffhanger ending to Kratos’ mission of vengeance against Mount Olympus and Zeus, leaving them begging for the third and final instalment of the series, which ultimately came out on the PS3. God Of War II is definitely a high point for the PS2, as it came out almost at the end of the PS2′s life cycle, and truly showcased what the hardware was actually capable of doing. Truly, God of War II may be called the best action PS2 game of all time. If you own a PlayStation 2, or PS3 as the game has now been re-released in HD for the console, you absolutely have to play this game.
#2. Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 was originally meant to come out only on the Nintendo GameCube, but the outcry of the fans of the series and the PS2′s ever increasing sales made Capcom decide otherwise. Good thing they did, because their decision led to one of the best PS2 games for the platform. The game outdid the GameCube version in almost every manner, from the controls to the graphics. It also helped that the PS2 version got some extra perks like extra game modes and in-game costumes as well.
The game undoubtedly deserves praise as the best PS2 game in the Resident Evil series. Leon Kennedy from Resident Evil 2 is back in the driver’s seat this time around, another plus for the fans who loved the second game. The PS2 game was revolutionary, as it completely got rid of the zombies, switching them out for the Las Plagas, a deadly parasitic life form that was laying waste to a small Spanish village, and effectively turning the entire franchise on its head. The game’s over-the-shoulder targeting system, quick time events and set piece moments making it an instant classic.
#3. Metal Gear Solid 3
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was a ray of hope for the PlayStation franchise and one of the best PS2 games at the same time. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty’s with its weird and conspiracy theory-based storyline made it a bust with the fans of the series, but thankfully, with the third PS2 game, everything was right in the world once again.
Metal Gear Solid 3 took the action all the way back to pre-Metal Gear 1964 and put players in the shoes of Big Boss or Naked Snake as he was then called. Snake Eater’s engaging story and survival-based gameplay put it above and beyond any other stealth action PS2 games on the console, making it one of the pinnacles of the PS2 experience.
The game was, however, missing a few key elements and Subsistence provided some much needed changes to the title, adding six new difficulty levels, a new camera perspective that improved gameplay and additional camouflage. It also introduced a demo theater for playing the cut scenes and changing the movies at will and also included the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2. A massive online mode completed the top PlayStation 2 game which was already brimming with content, and special edition owners got a three hour movie comprised of every cut scene from Snake Eater, making Snake Eater bigger and better than ever before
#4. Kingdom Hearts / Kingdom Hearts 2
The concept and premise of the Kingdom Hearts series sounds completely absurd on paper, yet these are the most popular and famous games on the PS2. It sounds completely ridiculous that Disney cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse are thrown in with Square Enix characters to make a new kind of action RPG, but the two franchises mix together incredibly well, almost like a marriage made in heaven, but for video games, thus right fully earning their spot on this list of the best games on PS2.
Sora, the protagonist’s adventure to find his friends takes him through various Disney worlds like Wonderland and you even befriend characters like Aladdin, and characters like Donald Duck and Goofy fight alongside you in your journey. There is definitely something for everyone in this series – secret endings and bosses, tournaments and collectables – truly the mark of great games.
This unlikely combination has created an instant classic and the second PS2 game integrated even more popular Disney and Square characters into the game and further improved the battle system. This is definitely another top PlayStation 2 game that should be on every gamer’s list.
#5. Devil May Cry 3 : Dante's Awakening
The Devil May Cry series is one of the most fast paced and insane titles available in gaming, and Devil May Cry 3 : Dante's Awakening is not any different, earning a name as Capcom’s most over-the-top action PS2 game of the era it was released in. Armed with his guns and sword, along with four styles to play, Dante the son of Sparda makes his comeback with loads of attack combinations and moves.
Capcom finally struck a balance, pleasing both hardcore and casual fans of the series, with the Special Edition, giving players the option to take the difficulty level down a notch and still get to enjoy the game; all the while maintaining the deep and complex gameplay loved by the fans of the series. Also added was the ability to play through the game as Dante’s twin brother Virgil, adding more weapons and moves into the game, making it the best PS2 game of the series to date.
The PlayStation 2 might be an older generation console now, but each of these games deserve a top spot in the list and on the shelves of every self-respecting gamer. If some of you, by any chance, don’t own a PS2, you should buy one just to play any one of these games as they truly reflect the true power of the console.