Publisher: Square Electronic Arts
Year Released: 2001
Synopsis: The PS2's first blockbuster RPG is still one of 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 are among the best of any game in any genre of the last generation. All in all, Final Fantasy X pretty much delivered flawlessly on the PS2, and we loved every minute of it.
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 all of time.
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.
Developer: SCE Studios Santa Monica
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Year Released: 2007
Synopsis: The PlayStation 2 certainly has no shortage of action games, and when it comes to pure, unadulterated action, no one does it better than Kratos. While the franchise may be known best for its outright and over-the-top violence, Sony Santa Monica crafted a tale with the sequel that was bigger, better, more refined and, if you can believe it, even more epic than the original, and that was no short order by any stretch of the imagination.
The Greek mythology-inspired tale was told with deft hands, the sites were something out of a book of paintings and the combat was essentially perfect. Oh, and let's not forget the boss battles, which still remain as some of the best we've ever seen. Yes, both the original and its sequel rank high amongst our list, but if you've played them, there's no doubt as to why. It simply does not get much better than this.
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 through and through.
But that isn't the only reason it made our top slot. Once you factor in the excellent storyline, the open-ended gameplay structure, and even two-person multiplayer elements, this one became a no-brainer. If you're looking for the most fun and flat-out best PlayStation 2 game ever created, GTA: San Andreas delivers the goods as no other game offers so much variety and ways to make it your own than Rockstar North's creation.