The PlayStation 2 was the best selling home console of all time, so with that came the added pressure of developers releasing the finest line-up of games I’ve ever seen. Limiting it down to only five was a tricky feat, but rest assured, they’re the best of the best… in my opinion, of course. For those of you who might be surprised to see a lack of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater on the list, believe me, it’s a very honorable mention; probably sitting at the number six spot. So without further a due, here’s my top 5 PlayStation 2 games.
5. Katamari Damacy
There’s two types of games in this world: games everyone loves from devoted developers who work bone, sweat, and tears to deliver moving, immersive experiences that can be enjoyed around the globe… and then there’s the weird shit Japan occasionally makes. Sometimes, there’s a diamond in the rough, and thankfully, Katamari Damacy is one of those diamonds that will never leave my mind. With a gameplay mechanic as unique as rolling a ball that latches every single object it comes in contact with onto it, it’s hard not to see why Katamari is one of the most unique and oddly satisfying games ever made. It also set a pretty high bar for physics-based gameplay at the time which, to this day, surprises me to no end.
4. Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X may have mistakenly been in search engines for porn back then, but now it stands as one of PlayStation 2’s crowning achievements and also one of the best in the series. Thanks to a big leap in graphics and gameplay from the previous instalment, Final Fantasy X proved to be a genre-breaking game that pushed J-RPG’s to the forefront of the mainstream conscious, which at the time was mostly still convinced Final Fantasy VII was actually the seventh game in a series that had been around for a decade. X also delivered one of the most convincing romantic plots I’ve seen yet in the franchise, learning from the horribly misguided attempts in the past of creating “romance” as convincingly as The Sims.
3. Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening kicks ass. Capcom’s diabolic series about a leather-coat wearing, foul-mouthed demon slayer had met its magnum opus with Dante’s Awakening, one of the most fast-paced, stylish, and outright insane hack and slash titles to ever grace the gaming industry. It’s also boasted as one of the most notoriously difficult games ever made too, even putting Dark Souls to shame in some aspects. It’s a kick ass, iconic game with kick ass characters, kick ass dialogue, super kick ass music, and kick ass action. Did I mention that the game kicks ass too?
2. Kingdom Hearts
Back when Square Enix’s development schedule wasn’t as packed as a trip into town on a weekday morning, Kingdom Hearts was one of the odd splice creations that we never thought would’ve worked. Combining Final Fantasy-like anime design with… Disney? What were they thinking? Thankfully, the weed must’ve been potent enough to carry the entire team into bringing their A-game as Kingdom Hearts is one of the best games of the PlayStation 2 era and of all time. There’s no greater feeling than slaying shadow demons with the likes of Mickey, Goofy, and a kid with a key for a sword. I really need to find out what Square Enix was smoking back then…
1. Shadow of the Colossus
This is probably a cheat since it is (unhealthily) my favorite game of all time, but Shadow of the Colossus was a game changer for its time that’s still unrivalled in sheer scope and grandeur. The fairy tale-inspired story about resurrecting a lost love and overcoming ridiculously insurmountable odds was taken just a step further by Fumito Ueda and Team ICO; basically filling the game with 16 unique and breathtaking boss battles amidst a baron, empty forbidden land. On paper, the concept wouldn’t have flown today, but thanks to the bold ambitions of those developers, Shadow of the Colossus still stands very tall as the defining colossal masterpiece of the PlayStation 2.