Launched in 2000, the PlayStation 2 was notable for a number of reasons upon its release.

For one, the PlayStation 2 was many people's first DVD player, something the Sega Dreamcast or the Nintendo Gamecube failed to capitalise upon. In a way, it could be one of the reasons why both of those consoles failed to linger on as long as the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox did.

Selling over 155 million units in its lifespan, the PlayStation 2 is the best-selling console of all time and its influence cannot be over-stated. As well as introducing Internet gameplay for consoles, the Eye-Toy became one of the first of its kind to use non-traditional controllers for people to interact with.

Its huge library of titles - a total of 3,874 released for the system - meant that there were endless choices for players.

Here's our own ranking of the ten best games released for the PlayStation 2.



It helped that, at the time anyway, 'The Simpsons' was still somewhat funny and hadn't fully slumped down into what it is now. As well as having the entire cast, a reasonably funny script, the gameplay for 'Hit & Run' was actually pretty spot-on. Wild and fun enough to keep it interesting, in-depth enough to keep you playing.



The 'Medal of Honor' series might have fallen by the wayside, but for many, it was their first experience with first-person shooters and helped to solidify the genre as a console favourite. The instinctive controls meant that you could pick it up, play it easily and be certain of your surroundings pretty sharpish. Not only that, you had a sumptuous soundtrack from Michael Giacchino - that guy who did the music for 'Lost', 'The Incredibles', 'Inside Out' - and the fact that, at the time, World War II movies were popular.




There were plenty of realistic, well-crafted, nuanced racing simulators for the PlayStation 2. 'Burnout 3: Takedown' wasn't one of them. It was fun. It was utterly insane and made you believe that there was nothing more satisfying than slamming another car into a fork in the road and seeing it smashed to smithereens. The arcade-style driving made it so that there wasn't much of a steep learning curve and, essentially, all the cars were more or less the same. The skill came in precisely nailing a car so that you got the exact stunt photo. Also, FANTASTIC in-game soundtrack.



Hack 'n slash games might be a little bit naff and boring nowadays, but back in the days of 2002, they were really something. Anyone who played 'The Two Towers' will know about Helm's Deep and the potential for giving your thumb a cramp trying to fight off the genuinely relentless horde of Uruk-hai that came at you. What's more, when you had a friend to pick up the second or third controller, you were set. Then, you could apply a strategy and work together rather than relying on the sometimes-iffy AI to help you. How many of us cursed at Orlando Bloom's 3D rendering for not reviving us?




Movie tie-in games reached the height of their popularity in the early '00s, thanks in part to strong developer studios who were able to work to fast deadlines and could crank out quality games. Although 'Battlefront II' wasn't necessarily a tie-in game, it did have commonality with 'Episode III: Revenge of the Sith'. That lent the game an ever bigger aura of credibility, but not that it needed it. 'Battlefront II' was to the PlayStation 2 what 'Halo' was to the Xbox - our first foray into vehicle-based shooters and what a ride it was. The X-Wing / TIE Fighter battles, the AT-ST walkers, hijacking a Speeder Bike through Endor or Geonosis - 'Battlefront II' widened out what traditional shooters could do.




Tied in fifth place is Tony Hawk's greatest gift to mankind - a playable skating game that had one of the best in-game soundtracks we've ever heard and yet to hear since. Simple and effective, 'TH:UG' and 'Pro Skater 3' were dangerously addictive and hours upon hours could spent trying to perfect that one trick or unlocking some new character. When played with a friend, it became a little chaotic - but what a game. It's a shame skating games never really topped these two as a HD update of these could really be something.



For all the chaos and hilarity of 'Burnout 3: Takedown', 'Gran Turismo 3' was the considered choice of any racing-sim enthusiast. With the kind of depth that'd make an RPG player balk, 'Gran Turismo 3' was cleanly made, efficiently delivered and breathtakingly beautiful to look at AND to play. You could feel every speed-bump through the DualShock and the cars looked and felt real. You knew this because there really was a marked difference between, say, the BMW M3 and the Lotus Esprit. It wasn't just a cosmetic change or making one car faster. You could feel it in the controls and how tight each car felt on the road and, accordingly, your own skills developed with each choice.



It's important to remember that, back in the days of the PlayStation 2, online gaming - for consoles, at least - wasn't much of a prospect. It seemed something reserved for, say, PC enthusiasts. 'SOCOM II: Navy Seals' changed all that and proved to both publishers and players that the online experience was worth it. It also helped that you had a brilliantly made game to help sell the whole thing to people. 'SOCOM II: Navy Seals' was one of those games that really excelled when you and a friend were quiet and focused. The tension in the room as you snuck through the levels was on par with...



Although some might argue that 'Sons of Liberty' had more going for it, the ending part of Raiden's mission still gives us nightmares. 'Snake Eater', however, was the closest we got to starring in a movie. The sheer level of immersive gameplay that 'Snake Eater' gave was astounding. You could feel yourself breathing less when you were hunched down in the grass, waiting for a patrol to walk by. It really did suck you into the world. Sure, some of the dialogue was ropey as hell and the game definitely didn't have much in the way of forgiveness if you messed up, but that was the point - it was meant to be a challenging and rewarding play and the ending felt hard-won, like it was supposed to.



While 'Vice City' had all the style and charm of the '80s, 'San Andreas' had a higher respect for the players and much, much better graphics. It wasn't just about setting the game in '90s LA and relying on that, 'San Andreas' had a full and open world for you to explore. The level of customisation with your character - lifting weights to make him stronger?! - was unprecedented in console gaming at the time and the voice cast was like a mid-range blockbuster. Samuel L. Jackson, Burt Reynolds, James Woods, Peter Fonda, Chris Penn, Axl Rose, Ice-T, The Game, Chuck D - what game could boast such a lineup of voice characters? And not just some minor interaction, but full-blown stages of the game where you were interacting with them. Never mind the voice cast, what about the soundtrack / radios? Everyone had their radio station. Ours was, without a doubt, Master Sounds 98.3.