The PlayStation 2 has one of the largest libraries of games in the history of gaming, so starting to collect for it can be quite daunting (I know I was taken aback when I first looked into how many titles I’d need to pick up to complete the set). So if you’re looking to grab some gaming gems for the system, where do you start?
If money is no object, you’ll obviously want to go for the cream of the crop first, along with those rare and expensive titles that are so hard to get. For the rest of us, let’s start with the great games from the cheaper end of the spectrum. So here are 10 great, cheap games for the PS2.
The conditions for making this list were twofold: the game had to be good (obviously), and it had to cost less than £5. Thanks to the PS2 not being a sought-after system just yet (it will be in the future, I can pretty much guarantee that), this left a lot of games to choose from.
Let’s see what made the cut.
10. FIFA Street 2
Value: Approximately £1.50
The PS2 was inundated with sports games but most tried at least in part to be realistic. The FIFA Street series does not – it goes for style over everything, and it’s incredibly good fun to play as a result. If you’re old enough to remember the 16-bit days of NBA Jam, you’ll be right at home with this gem of a game. It’s five-a-side football with an emphasis on trick shots and fooling around with the ball; but it’s challenging, too. Great fun!
Value: Approximately £0.50
This cell-shaded FPS based on a French comic is a brilliant shooter with a cool storyline. The cell shading and comic overlays are very cool. The final boss is a bugger to deal with but aside from him, the rising difficulty level throughout the game is just right. A thoroughly impressive shooter all ’round.
8. James Bond 007: From Russia With Love
Value: Approximately £0.75
While Everything or Nothing is widely regarded as the best Bond game on the PS2, there’s something about this classic style Bond story that gives it the edge for me. Maybe it’s the rescuing a woman by flying through a helicopter using a jetpack, or maybe it’s just the Sean Connery era Bond stylings but whatever it is, this is a brilliant game with plenty of twists and turns to keep you playing.
Value: From £0.10 to £8.00 depending on which version you want
Hardcore gamers will no doubt balk at this choice but no, if you’re going to have a machine you can bring out at parties, you need a copy of SingStar. It’s a lot of fun and literally anyone can play it; regardless of how much they’ve had to drink.
Find the version that has the best songs for you on it (I recommend 80’s, 90’s or ABBA) and grab it – the majority are really low price, especially considering the hours of enjoyment you can get out of massacring your favourite songs during a karaoke party session.
6. Dead or Alive 2
Value: Approximately £1.50
I have to admit, it was a toss-up between this and Tekken 4 but Dead or Alive 2 wins out simply because the final boss in story mode isn’t quite as arbitrarily difficult in Dead or Alive as the cheating bastard in Tekken 4 (or Tekken 5 for that matter – who brings a chest-mounted cannon to a fist fight?!).
Dead or Alive 2 was one of the games I bought the day I got myself a PS2 (the other two were GTA 3 and Grand Turismo 3, which was a pack-in game) and I still play it to this day. There are lots of unlockable costumes, a survival mode that’s a lot of fun and a decent range of characters. All in all, there’s a lot of value for money here.
5. NHL 2002
Value: Approximately £0.05
The NHL series dates back to the 16-bit era and I remember playing it on the Mega Drive with friends. When it made the move over to the PlayStation 2, it was a chance to implement more realistic graphics, give the series a feel more like what you’d get if you were watching the game on TV and generally make it as impressive as possible.
As the series progressed, some of the more fast-paced, action-focussed gameplay fell by the wayside but with NHL 2002, all that focus is still on good fun; so this is the entry that you should aim for.
4. Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
Value: Approximately £0.75
Of the five Star Trek games released for the PS2, Elite Force has to be the most re-playable. It’s a first-person shooter set during the Voyager era of the show and it’s just great fun. If you were a fan of the Borg-heavy episodes of Voyager, you’ll get a kick out of this game. If you liked Star Trek: First Contact, you’ll like this game.
If you’re an FPS fan and want to see what the PS2 can do but you’re sick of modern warfare and WW2 era shooters, this is the game for you. It’s fun, it’s relatively cheap and there’s a lot of game for your money.
3. Rock Band
Value: Approximately £0.10 for the game, about £3.50 for a guitar
Guitar games became all the rage late into the PS2’s life and while many would put up a very good argument for adding Guitar Hero 1 or 2 to this list, the addition of extra instruments in Rock Band means it takes third place ahead of any of the others.
Rock Band is compatible with SingStar’s microphones and Guitar Hero‘s instruments, so if you’re a fan of singing/music games you’ll be able to pick this one up without having to hunt down new equipment. That’s a very good thing if you’re a game collector as you’ll quickly find your storage space full of peripherals if you had to buy extra stuff for every game!
2. OutRun 2006: Coast To Coast
Value: Approximately £2.00
There are racing games aplenty on PS2 but few can come close to the refined excellence of Sega’s arcade classic. OutRun 2006 takes the highly-polished sequel to the 1986 arcade monster hit and adds in challenge modes, online & local multiplayer and so many unlockables that you’ll still have something to aim for when most other games have long finished.
OutRun 2006 wins out over the 2003 release of OutRun 2 for two reasons: firstly, it has extra content in the form of the challenge modes and online multiplayer, and secondly because it contains a copy of OutRun 2 in its entirety. Essentially, you’re getting two games for the price of one – and they are both brilliant.
1. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Value: Approximately £4.
No PS2 gaming list is complete without addressing the highest-selling game on the system. Grand Theft Auto III was the game that brought me back to console gaming after I’d sat out everything after the original Mega Drive, instead focussing on PC gaming.
For a long time, GTA3 was my go-to game for when I wanted to kill some time in a fun, stylish manner. San Andreas blows GTA3 out of the water. It’s bigger, it’s story is far more compelling and it’s simply brilliant. It out-sold everything else on the system and when you play it, you quickly see why.
Oh, and it has a jetpack. You’ve got to love a game with a jetpack in it.