10) Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening Special Edition
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Year Released: 2006

Synopsis: Picking a reason why Devil May Cry 3 is a frickin' awesome game is kind of like picking a single reason why you like pizza. Maybe it's good cheese, a tasty sauce or crispy crust that draws you to a good pie, but it's the sum of the parts that keeps you coming back.

Devil May Cry 3 is like a great pizza - a pizza comprised of 32 missions, five difficulties, tons of monsters and multiple weapons.

Following Dante, a half-man half-demon who just can't seem to stay out of trouble, Devil May Cry 3 puts gamers through one of the most challenging games PS2 owners ever popped a memory card in for as the hero blasts bad guys, solves puzzles and tries to meet up with his brother.

Armed with his guns and sword - and four styles of play - Dante breaks out dozens of attack combinations on his missions and leaves you in that funky-place between challenged and frustrated.



9) Kingdom Hearts
Developer: SquareSoft
Publisher: SquareSoft
Year Released: 2002

Synopsis: The premise behind the game was completely absurd: Disney cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse thrown in with Square Enix characters to make a new kind of action RPG. However, as strange as it sounds, these two dissimilar franchises came together incredibly well.

Sora's massive adventure to find his friends Kairi and Riku took him through numerous Disney inspired worlds, such as Wonderland and Olympus. Along the way, he befriended famous characters like Aladdin and Ariel, fought alongside Donald Duck and Goofy, and captured the hearts of various RPG fans. There seemed to be something for everyone, including secret endings and bosses, fighting tournaments and hidden collectables. Even if you hated Disney or Square Enix titles, you couldn't help but be impressed by the massive impact this title had on the PS2, which spawned a popular sequel and mid-franchise card battling game.



8) Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
Developer: Naughty Dog Software
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Year Released: 2001

Synopsis: While there's a massive fault line that gamers gather 'round to holler and scream at each other about when it comes to naming the great platformers of our era (or any era for that matter), Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy is among the elite. It represents a stellar culmination of 3D platforming elements, many of which are have been used before, and yet it still feels fresh and new even after all these years. The words "endearing" and "likeable" don't even begin to do it justice.

Besides, even if Jak hadn't spawned two successful sequels and a couple of cool offshoots, Naughty Dog's excellent PS2 rookie would still have made our list because it warmed our hearts, and created a game that was raucous, subtle, beautifully animated, and never made us feel as if we were collecting things... just how a platformer should be.



7) 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 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 so high on 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. Very few PS2 games can compare to the epic, well-designed beauty of God of War, which is why it deserves to sit comfortable on our list of the best PS2 games around.



6) 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.



Turn the Page for Picks #5-1...

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