The 40 Best PS2 Games: 2009 Edition
- September 09, 2009 00:00 AM PST
#32: SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs
Why It's Great: The sequel to the groundbreaking SOCOM was a revolutionary step in team-based strategic shooting, not to mention online console gaming as a whole. Compatible with the PlayStation 2's USB headset, SOCOM II reinvented what it meant to play as a team when a member of your squad would call for back-up in real time, or sneaking through the jungle with 15 other players all looking for a headshot. While cheaters eventually ruined the online experience for many, players everywhere still carry fond memories from SOCOM II - and we haven't even mentioned the stellar single-player mode!
Also Try: SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy SEALs
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Why It's Great: Black was like playing a Michael Bay movie on steroids. With completely destructible environments, an amazing arsenal of weapons, and "Style Kills" rewarded for suave decapitations, there was no way you couldn't play this game without feeling like an absolute badass. The revolutionary physics also blew away the competition with real-time debris flying from destroyed buildings and vehicles, plus unmatched explosions that flattened foe and environment alike. The prettiest shooter on the PS2 is also one of the best.
Also Try: Red Faction II
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#30: We Love Katamari
Why It's Great: The surprise hit Katamari Damacy featured one other sequel helmed by series creator Keita Takahashi. While the concept of creating a sequel to one of the most original games of all-time seemed counter-intuitive, Takahashi made it work by creating an engrossing story mode that was a love letter to fans of the first game. Not much of what worked in the original was changed, but the addition of crazy new stages, songs, and characters made We Love Katamari the best game in the series. Don't bother with subsequent games like the PSP-exclusive Me and My Katamari or the ill-conceived HD Katamari in Beautiful Katamari.
Also Try: Katamari Damacy
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#29: Lego Star Wars: The Video Game / Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
Year: 2005 and 2006
Why It's Great: When Lego Star Wars was first announced, we wrote it off almost instantly. Big mistake. By marrying the greatest space story ever told with the cutesy style of Lego, we were able to enjoy all six of the chapters of George Lucas' epic without a single line of dialogue being uttered. Considering how Episodes I through III turned out, this is probably a good thing. Lego Star Wars is a real treat, combining item collection, platform jumping, and some surprisingly intense destruction. It's a must-have for any PS2 owner.
Also Try: Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
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#28: Onimusha: Warlords
Why It's Great: Onimusha was very much like playing an Akira Kurosawa film. In the role of lone swordsman Samanosuke, you must protect a young princess against the forces of evil. The Kurosawa similarities end there, as the forces of evil are represented by breathtaking, demonic beasts. Onimusha's fast-paced action set against its feudal Japanese backdrop make for an unforgettable experience from the first moment you unsheathe your katana. Think of it as Resident Evil for the sword-loving crowd.
Also Try: Onimusha 3: Demon Siege
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#27: TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
Why It's Great: What other game allows you to engage in co-op play with a future version of yourself? TimeSplitters: Future Perfect paved new ground for first-person shooters everywhere with its unique time-traveling story and innovative gameplay. One second you'd find yourself wielding a Kruger against a World War II backdrop, and the next you'd be stealthily sneaking around a city of the future, plasma pistol in hand. With downright addictive multiplayer, including a built-in Map Maker, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect was simply revolutionary for its... well, time.
Also Try: TimeSplitters 2
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#26: Silent Hill 2
Why It's Great: Pyramid Head. Those two words are reason enough for Silent Hill 2 to make this list. Luckily, the rest of the game was damned fine, too. As recent widower James Sunderland, you find yourself in the mysterious village Silent Hill after receiving a strange letter from your late wife. Attacked by vicious, faceless monsters, James' search for the past turns into a battle for his own future as he must survive against the heart-stopping sights and creatures that roam the streets of Silent Hill-but sometimes, the truth is better left untold...
Also Try: Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
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#25: Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening
Why It's Great: Devil May Cry 3 was not for casual gamers. After the disappointing sophomore entry in the series, DMC3 was leaner, meaner, and packing more whoop-ass than a bar full of rowdy prison inmates on crack. Dante's Awakening was probably Capcom's most over-the-top action game of the era, and just being brutally hard was only the tip of the iceberg. With handguns, sick sword combat, and Dante's always-exciting demon powers, half the fun was just deciding how to kill your enemies. Long live the night.
Also Try: God Hand
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