10) Burnout 3: Takedown
Developer: Criterion Software
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Year Released: 2004

Synopsis: Criterion Games' racing series really hit its mark with Burnout 3: Takedown, providing perhaps the most white-knuckled driving experience to ever hit a gaming console. The series' perfect control mechanics were dialed in with this release, giving gamers perfect control of a vehicle at 220mph+ and allowing them to barrel down highways and side streets so fast that you almost need otherworldly abilities to stay calm. When mistakes were made, Hollywood-derived crashes became the result.

Burnout 3: Takedown's fantastic visuals allowed for some of the most devastating crashes we've ever seen, and the result is that the game managed to reward the player with plenty of eye candy when they made a mistake. Add in some great online play, the ability to take out other cars, the fan-favorite Crash mode and you have the total package. Simply put, we're not sure how arcade racing will ever get any better than Burnout 3: Takedown.



9) Twisted Metal: Black
Developer: Incognito
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Year Released: 2001

Synopsis: Twisted Metal: Black is still just as impressive in gameplay and a technical sense now as it was when it first hit stores in 2001. It's gorgeous and deep in every sense of the word, has a great as a single and multiplayer element, and is packed with a ton of secrets that are cleverly placed in several different modes.

In other words, it's as sharp as a knife and delivers the ultimate car-combat experience that's leaps and bounds above any games of its ilk. We highly recommend it. No... We charge all PlayStation 2 owners to go out and buy it! You'll never find such a terrific blend of terror, steel, and homicidal clowns anywhere else.



8) Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Year Released: 2004

Synopsis: Rockstar's enormous follow-up to its smash-hit GTA series, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, was one of the most evolved sequels we've ever seen. The revamped and more responsive gameplay mechanics, the brand new vehicle physics, a ton of upgradeable skills, more than 100 different missions, and some of the best production values around proved that trough and through.

But that isn't the only reason it made our top 10. Once you factor in the excellent storyline, the open-ended gameplay structure, and even two-person multiplayer elements, this one became a no-brainer. In fact, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was so good that only seven other PS2 games could hope to match it.



7) Guitar Hero
Developer: Harmonix
Publisher: RedOctane
Year Released: 2005

Synopsis: No game in the history of mankind rocks more than Guitar Hero. The series has quickly become one of the biggest fan-favorites in all of gaming, and for good reason. RedOctane's fantastic guitar design met with Harmonix's mastery of the music genre to create one of the most downright fun games we've ever played. From absolute beginners to veteran axe-wielders, Guitar Hero manages to be both extremely accessible and incredibly challenging all at the same time.

While its presentation is fantastic, with band members that aptly rock out in extremely characteristic venues, it's the game's soundtrack and its pitch-perfect implementation that really won over fans. Part simulation and part arcadey-rhythm game, Guitar Hero lets anyone strap on a Gibson and rock out to some of the most classic tunes to ever hit the airwaves. And let's not forget its killer two-player mode that lets gamers trade licks back and forth into the wee hours of the night. Rock on.



6) ICO
Developer: SCE Studios Japan
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Year Released: 2001

Synopsis: You've probably heard the hackneyed story a million times - a horned boy is born every generation and sacrificed to keep evil spirits away, yadda, yadda, yadda - but somehow Ico, a 2001 release from Sony, managed to keep the age-old yarn fresh.

Players take up arms as a young boy with horns who decides he isn't down with the whole sacrifice thing. On a journey to keep yourself alive as shadow beasts bear down on you, players roam a rich countryside and join an imprisoned princess for some mind-bending puzzles and gorgeous gameplay.

Although many felt the game was a tad too short, visuals, sound and puzzle design put that concern on the backburner and made this little fable one of the PlayStation 2's best. There's something infectious about this tiny tall tale.



5) Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment
Year Released: 2006

Synopsis: Very few game characters can hold a candle to Snake from the Metal Gear franchise when it comes to outright action. However, when it came to telling the origin of the franchise, 2004's Snake Eater was missing a couple of solid elements.

Subsistence provided the definitive exploration of Snake's roots thanks to the sheer volume of changes made to the title. Six new difficulty levels were included. A brand new camera perspective was added to improve gameplay, along with loads of additional camouflage. A demo theater played cutscenes and let you change the movies at will. Games such as Snake vs. Monkey with new levels, as well as the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 on disc made it into the game. A joke theater with loads of video comedy, and a massive online mode rounded out the game, and for players who owned the special edition, a three hour movie comprised of every cutscene from Snake Eater. This wasn't a patch, a port or a simple expansion; Subsistence was a full re-imagining of the Snake Eater experience.



4) Shadow of the Colossus
Developer: SCE Studios Japan
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Year Released: 2005

Synopsis: Shadow of the Colossus has what is perhaps the most risky on-paper design we've ever seen. With only 16 enemies to fight in the game and an enormous world that is practically devoid of any actual tasks to perform, it doesn't sound like the making of one of the best adventure games ever released.

But Shadow's beauty lies in these empty spaces. It was designed much like a fairytale -- you're left to fill in the gaps with your own ideas of how things came to be, what the reason for the events are and so forth. The battles and events that are there are some of the best we've ever seen, with characters and creatures that look like they're straight out of a dream. Shadow of the Colossus is touching, mysterious, beautiful, desolate and even tragic, and these elements make it one of the most original and awe-inspiring games we've ever seen.



3) Final Fantasy X
Developer: SquareSoft
Publisher: Square Electronic Arts
Year Released: 2001

Synopsis: The PS2's first blockbuster RPG is still its best. Final Fantasy X, as we could only expect from Square, was an utterly gorgeous looking game, with stunning landscapes, a wild array of color and artistic license, and some incredibly attractive-looking character and monster designs. Still, these aspects have become the status quo for the FF series. But this time, we got voice-acting for the first time in the series, and it didn't suck!

We got a huge modification/upgrade/alteration to the battle system and the supporting cast delivered a slew of cool, goody accents. Best of all, the storyline and its ending is among the best of any game in any genre of the last generation. All in all, Final Fantasy X delivered nearly flawlessly on the PS2, and we loved every minute of it.



2) Grand Theft Auto III
Developer: DMA Design
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Year Released: 2001

Synopsis: GTA3 probably introduced most console gamers to the idea of "sandbox gameplay" and single-handedly gave Jack Thompson enough ammunition to make a name for himself.

In October 2001, Rockstar turned gamers into a nameless badass in a black coat and green pants, armed them to the teeth and set them loose on Liberty City, a place filled with corruption, greed and the filth of the earth.

What followed was console gold.

Beyond the gaggles of missions, never-ending gameplay, cops, tanks, hookers and guns, GTA3 marked the franchise's jump from a top-down, 2D shoot'em up to a fully 3D movie-quality experience. Voice acting, radio stations, movies, explosions, flamethrowers and taxis -- this game had it all but never lost its sense of an enthralling revenge story.

GTA 3 lit up the sales charts, made Rockstar a household name, influenced countless others, and set the bar high for the multiple sequels that would follow.



1) God of War
Developer: SCE Studios Santa Monica
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Year Released: 2005

Synopsis: Though the PlayStation 2 has seen a rather incredible number of extremely high quality and classic titles in its six-plus year lifespan, no game has better shown off what the system is capable of than God of War. We're not just talking visuals here, either -- the control mechanics are virtually perfect, the storytelling techniques are fantastic and the scope of the game is downright enormous.

But while God of War's epic feel makes it stand out, it's the subtle things therein that allow it to sit at the top of our list. Nearly every facet of the game's design is perfect, from the pacing to the difficulty to the way its tale is wrapped with Greek mythology. No other PlayStation 2 title is as epic, well-designed or perhaps even universally beloved as God of War, so it takes our place as the best PS2 game of all time.

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