PS2 turns 20: our memories of the classic console’s best games

The PlayStation 2 bought over 150 million items, making it essentially the most profitable residence console ever. It has been 20 years for the reason that PS2 first launched in Japan on March four, 2000. The console simply dominated its opponents with the dimensions of its software program library, and it received an enormous enhance from the truth that it was additionally an inexpensive DVD participant again when such a factor was arduous to seek out. 

Right now, the TechRadar workforce salutes the PS2 with recollections from a few of our favourite video games of the console’s lengthy lifespan. Take pleasure in. 

GTA three and the creation of open world video games

GTA 1 and a couple of have been controversial top-down open world video games that had a very large following within the UK. GTA three, the sequence’ first PS2 entry, was absurdly formidable: it translated the identical mechanics of automotive theft, gunfights and exploring a whole metropolis into 3D with out sacrificing something. Its New York-inspired Liberty Metropolis setting was unprecedented intimately, from the genuine sound design as you stroll the streets to the number of NPCs discovered on the earth. It had a whole number of radio stations that you might tune in to. It was breathtaking for the time, and enormously influential. 

Each open world recreation used GTA three as a template – and nonetheless does. With out it, the final 20 years of video games would’ve been very completely different. Subsequent entries Vice Metropolis and San Andreas upped the size and element of the world, including licensed music to the radio stations and all-star voice casts. What a coup, trying again, that the PS2 had this primary 3D recreation solely for a yr earlier than Xbox house owners received their flip. – Samuel Roberts

SSX Difficult and getting the best rating

(Picture credit score: EA)

Once I was at college, a contest was born in my home. This competitors consumed us, turned us in opposition to one another, and enraged anybody who wasn’t concerned. We would have liked to interrupt a million factors within the trick problem of SSX Difficult’s Garibaldi degree. 

Any recreation that takes its title and an excellent chunk of its mechanics from a Run-DMC monitor goes to take a seat effectively in a corridor of fame. Difficult was the height of the SSX sequence, with oh so-simple-controls and extremely satisfying snowboarding. There’s nothing fairly like maxing out your Difficult meter with some candy showboating Uber strikes, or the crushing realization that you’ve got made a grave timing mistake along with your chosen animation. 

It is this elation, frenzy and thriller that has stored SSX Difficult in my life over time – from its first introduction in 2001, all the best way to these weeks of obsessively perfecting the optimum Garibaldi run in 2017 (aspect notice: we did it, and it was historic). – Tabitha Baker

Spider-Man 2’s web-swinging

(Picture credit score: Activision)

Summer season 2004 was a formative time for me – the discharge of Spider-Man 2 in theaters kicked off a lifelong love of superhero comics and film, as I am certain it did for lots of people, and in some way there was an amazing tie-in recreation to go along with it. Treyarch’s Spider-Man 2 took Peter Parker into the open world style, and whereas each degree that took you indoors was fairly unhealthy, patrolling town as Spidey by no means misplaced its attraction.

Gamers’ endurance would possibly’ve been examined by the rote open world sidequests, like fetching balloons for youths, however Treyarch nailed the web-swinging by means of a convincingly rendered New York Metropolis. The PS4’s Spider-Man recreation is actually a non secular successor to this 2004 basic. – Samuel Roberts

Kingdom Hearts’ fusion of Disney and Remaining Fantasy

(Picture credit score: Sq. Enix/Disney)

Later Kingdom Hearts video games spoiled the components by furthering nonsensical lore that made the sequence impenetrable, even if the sequence options well-liked Disney characters and settings. The primary entry on this motion RPG sequence, although, was far easier. Journeying between Disney worlds with Donald Duck and Goofy in your Lego-style spaceship, you performed as Sora, a boy swept removed from his residence on a distant island. 

You then play a key position in tales from basic Disney films, teaming up with visitor characters like Tarzan and Aladdin to tackle villains from the movies. The primary one felt prefer it was actually on to one thing, and the second entry on PS2 vastly improved the fight – however it additionally dumped a load of characters into the story that made the sport barely tougher to take pleasure in. The sequence’ points escalated from there, however the truth that persons are nonetheless invested in these video games virtually twenty years later demonstrates their enduring attraction. – Samuel Roberts

Ico and Shadow of the Colossus introducing gamers to a brand new sort of recreation

(Picture credit score: Sony)

These video games, from the identical developer on the now-defunct Group Ico, marked a whole lot of gamers’ first encounter with video games that infused their tales with genuinely emotional moments, and so they did not resemble anything available on the market on the time. 

In Ico, you play as an exiled little one who tries to guard a mysterious woman, Yorda, from shadowy figures. In Shadow of the Colossus, you play a person who desires to convey a mysterious girl again from a comatose state at any price – and slaying unknowably unknown creatures that wander a forbidden land is the value he decides to pay. 

Each would affect numerous indie video games in years to return. Their world-building is unimaginable, inviting you to invest about what led to the eventualities in every recreation, and the way they finally join. They’ve each aged extremely effectively, and Shadow of the Colossus is out there on PS4, too. – Samuel Roberts

Silent Hill 2 and making horror private

(Picture credit score: Konami)

“In my stressed desires, I see that city…” The primary Silent Hill laid the survival horror sequence’ uncanny foundations, however it was Silent Hill 2 that gave mesleepless nights due to its highly effective, private storytelling. Pyramid Head, dragging his Nice Knife, was one of the vital chilling antagonists to grace the PS2, however nothing in Silent Hill 2 was merely scary for the sake of it – there was a purpose behind each deformed, twisted creature if you happen to might stand to look carefully sufficient, and ask the unsettling query ‘Why?’

The sport’s actual horror was the best way it bred uncertainty, providing fragments of plot and context, and leaving you to assemble an image of rage, guilt and concern. A gut-wrenching masterpiece that few titles since have matched. – Cat Ellis

Star Wars Battlefront 2, which even non-Star Wars followers might take pleasure in 

(Picture credit score: Lucasfilm)

I’ve by no means cared for the Star Wars franchise, however one exception is the unique Battlefront video games, significantly quantity two. The battles have been pure mayhem, with spaceships, tanks and laser beams flying in every single place, and it was the identical form of enjoyable that attracts me to the Battlefield video games now. 

The marketing campaign modes could not have been massively inspiring, however the Galactic Conquest mode provided an honest quantity of enjoyable, bringing some degree of technique to the taking pictures (which is nice for somebody who prefers tactical-style shooters). Having two folks spend hours on a push-and-pull marketing campaign like that was a viable different to a correct story mode. – Tom Bedford

God of Struggle 2 proving that limitations imply nothing 

(Picture credit score: Sony)

The primary God of Struggle was an extremely spectacular recreation for its time, however it was its ultra-violent follow-up, God of Struggle 2, which actually blew my thoughts. Arriving in 2007, an unimaginable seven years after the PS2 launched, the sheer scale of the sport made me stare at my growing old console in disbelief. 

The opening degree, which entails scaling and battling the massive Colossus of Rhodes was an unimaginable assertion of intent from SCE Santa Monica Studio. The participant was dropped proper into the thick of the motion, and the cinematic battle with the large statue left many people questioning what sort of witchcraft had been carried out to get this recreation working on seven-year previous know-how.

By that time the PS2 had already secured its fame as the very best video games console ever made, so the truth that it was in a position to put out a recreation of this high quality in its remaining years is an actual testomony to only how good the PS2 was. What a option to exit. – Matt Hanson

(Picture credit score: Konami)

Following a divisive, quick and disappointing sequel in MGS2, the 2004 prequel MGS3 took us to the jungle within the ’60s the place the dense lore of the sequence could not actually harm it. As an alternative, the change of setting offers the story a refreshingly easy really feel – we’re as a substitute controlling the person who would grow to be Huge Boss, Strong Snake’s genetic progenitor, as he confronts his previous mentor out within the Soviet-controlled wilderness. 

The selection of location permits the builders to provide Steel Gear’s stealth programs an overhaul, letting you put on camouflage to keep away from being noticed by enemies. It even launched survival mechanics, letting you catch and eat animals discovered within the surroundings to revive Snake’s well being. 

With an absolute intestine punch of an ending, this was one of many PS2’s greatest video games, even when it by no means generated the hype that its predecessor did. – Samuel Roberts

Persona four changing into a late-generation phenomenon

(Picture credit score: Atlus)

Over 9 years after launch, the PS2 was nonetheless getting nice new video games. 2009’s Persona four, a continuation of the Atlus-developed RPG sequence that mixes combat-filled dungeons with life sim-style narrative sections, took the bigger Shin Megami Tensei sequence to the following degree by way of its US and European recognition. 

You may nonetheless get Persona four on PSN by way of the PS3, if you happen to’ve received a type of kicking round. However the PS Vita model might be the best way to go today. – Samuel Roberts

Remaining Fantasy persevering with its golden age

(Picture credit score: Sq. Enix)

Remaining Fantasy’s peak arguably got here on the PSone with entries 7, eight and 9, however the PS2 period was most likely extra vital on reflection. Every of the three mainline entries have been wildly completely different from each other: Remaining Fantasy 10 launched voice performing and stored the turn-based fight from previous entries, FF11 was a full-blown MMO and FF12 was a fancy RPG that requested you to program your social gathering members to do the preventing for you.

On PS2, we additionally noticed the sequence’ first direct sequel in Remaining Fantasy 10-2, which marked a turning level for the variety of spin-offs we would see primarily based on previous entries sooner or later. – Samuel Roberts