Top 5 Best PS2 Games (Showdown)
VOICE OVER: Ty Richardson
WRITTEN BY: Ty Richardson
We all love the PS2, and that means everyone's favorite games are going to be wildly different! In this episode of Showdown, Ty and Aaron argue for their personal Top 5 PlayStation 2 games. Their picks include “The Simpsons: Hit & Run” (2003), “Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal” (2004), “Burnout 3: Takedown” (2004), “Tekken 5” (2004), and more!
Script written by Aaron Brown & Ty Richardson
Welcome to MojoPlays! I’m Ty. And I’m Aaron! And today, we’re pitting our own Top 5 PS2 Games against each other! You know the drill by now, these are our personal favorite PS2 games and if you don’t see one you think should be on the list, it’s because these titles are our favorites. Who’s list do you think is best? Let us know down in the comments and tell us what your Top 5 PS2 Games are and what showdown you’d like to see us duke it out in next!
Aaron’s #5: “Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy” (2004)
For me, Psi-Ops was one of those watercooler games. The kind of title that I went into work and talked to my friends about and compared how we dealt with each encounter. Developer Midway gave players a handful of psychic powers and set them loose in a world designed to be their playground. From picking up and riding debris across a gap to catching a guard unaware and draining his mental energy to replenish their own - which also subsequently made their head explode and filled me with unbridled glee everytime- to basic but powerful telekinesis. Later games such as Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and especially Control used similar powers to great effect but for me Psi-Ops was the first game to give me the joy of unrelenting chaos at my fingertips.
Ty’s #5: “Sly 2: Band of Thieves” (2004)
The oversaturation of open world games has caused me to become pretty jaded towards the AAA industry. Yet “Sly 2” is one of the predated open world games that I can go back to over and over again. By giving you a variety of abilities to sneak around and takedown foes, every location felt like a playground as you pickpocketed treasures and listened for any nearby clue bottles. In a world where open world games have become more like a 50-hour list of chores with way too many collectibles and meaningless side missions, “Sly 2” kept things simple, focused, and fun. Plus, the voice acting and writing was miles better than the first “Sly Cooper” game.
Aaron’s #4: “The Simpsons: Hit & Run” (2003)
The Simpsons Hit & Run remains one of if not THE best Simpsons games ever made. Clearly taking advantage of GTA’s popularity, The Simpsons Hit & Run went above and beyond a simple cash grab, crafting an open world Springfield for fans to explore and a hilarious story crafted by the writers that made the original family such an icon of television. It was so easy to just lose hours driving around exploring the city and finding winks and nods for longtime fans and I loved every minute of it. There’s a reason this is one of the most requested remakes in the PS2’s extensive catalog and even those with a passing interest in The Simpsons owe it to themselves to take a trip to Springfield. The Simpsons will always be a special series for me, both in tv and in video games. It was the first series me and my Dad truly bonded over and Hit & Run was one of the few video games he would sit and watch me play and those times will forever be a core memory for me.
Ty’s #4: “Star Wars Battlefront II” (2005)
I did not own “Battlefront II” myself until just a couple years ago when I found it on the Microsoft Store and bought it for my Series S. That isn’t to say I never played it. “Battlefront II” popped up in unexpected places for me as I was growing up. After-school care, friends’ houses, etc - and every single time, this game was a riot to play. From the level design to the different game modes to the Galactic Conquest mode, “Battlefront II” found every opportunity to bang down my door and show me a good time. To this day, I have yet to find a game that matches what Pandemic Studios delivered here.
Aaron’s #3: “Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty” (2001)
I’ll admit my hype for Metal Gear Solid 2 arguably wasn’t as high as everyone else’s at the time. I’d loved the original but at the time I was more interested in Zone of the Enders than the demo disc it came with. However, after I popped the demo disc in - I was immediately hooked. After the initial disappointment wore off that I didn’t get to play as Snake for the whole game, I was enthralled with all the little details, complicated plot, and over-the-top boss fights. Every new revelation or new gameplay mechanic blew my adolescent mind and unsurprisingly, the title still holds up today. I already loved the Metal Gear series but MGS2 made me a diehard fan of not only the franchise but also all things Kojima.
Ty’s #3: “Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal” (2004)
If you were to choose any “Ratchet & Clank” game to start with, I will recommend starting with “Up Your Arsenal”. Every. Single. Time. Despite being the third game in the franchise, “Up Your Arsenal” is the game where Insomniac Games perfected the formula and more. The weapons are crazier, the bosses are bigger, and this marks the first appearance of longtime series antagonist Doctor Nefarious. Don’t get me wrong - “Going Commando” is a fine place to start, too, but “Up Your Arsenal” is one of those few games where I would describe it as “perfection”. And that multiplayer mode was insanely fun to play!
Aaron’s #2: “Burnout 3: Takedown” (2004)
What happened to arcade racers? When did they become so focused on tuning culture and feel the need to include unnecessary story modes? Why isn’t the pure unadulterated adrenaline and rush of speed enough anymore? Burnout 3 will always be the benchmark I measure any and all “arcade” racers against. Everything about Burnout 3 just clicked, from the track design to the cars and especially the modes outside of the races themselves. Crash mode will always be a personal favorite. Even future releases in the franchise, while still great in their own right, couldn’t measure up to the perfection of the series 3rd entry. Once the series went open world it lost that magic for me of all the time I spent memorizing tracks, narrowly shaving seconds off my time to get that precious gold medal and unlock the next nitrous fueled speed machine.
Ty’s #2: “Twisted Metal: Head-On - Extra Twisted Edition” (2008)
Most of the “Twisted Metal” community would say “Black” is the best of the “Twisted Metal” PS2 games, but I beg to differ. The PS2 port of “Head-On” is far better due to its more arcade-y nature. I love “Black” as much as the next guy, but holy hell, that difficulty! “Head-On” takes a chill pill on the challenge and knows when to step on the gas. It also has a tone and personality more fitting of the older “Twisted Metal” games, specifically TM2. However, there is more to this port than just a higher-rez’d PSP game. You could also play a few levels from the scrapped sequel to “Black”, an on-foot level as Sweet Tooth that takes a deeper dive into the series and “Black 2’s” concepts, and even a documentary about the franchise’s history, which would ultimately serve as the announcement for “Twisted Metal” 2012.
Aaron’s #1: “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” (2003)
I still remember my first time booting up Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and being completely blown away by what the game accomplished. Mind you, this was back in 2003 and up to that point, there hadn’t been anything even remotely like this game on the market. I was immediately hooked into the Prince’s tale of arrogance and subsequent redemption and that twist ending, chef’s kiss. The parkour inspired traversal coupled with the game’s time manipulation mechanics were the shot of ingenuity the genre needed, even the series’ own sequels couldn’t fully recapture the design perfection of the first title. The combat mechanics might have been a bit mundane but served their purpose and offered a break from the near constant platforming and exploration.
Ty’s #1: “Tekken 5” (2004)
“Tekken 5” defined my time with the PlayStation 2 and was my first major step into fighting games. While a demo for “Tekken 2” was my first exposure to fighting games as a whole, “Tekken 5” was the dive I needed to take, and I can’t think of a better way to get into the genre than here. With its massive roster of diverse fighters, kickass soundtrack, and frenetic attitude, most of my weekends off school were spent playing “Tekken 5” if not a kart racer or platformer. In addition to teaching me some of the fundamentals found in most 3D fighters, I was able to play catch-up and play through the original three “Tekken” arcade games. Having defeated Heihachi, Kazuya, Ogre, and Jinpachi, my ten-year-old brain understood why folks love fighting games.