In June 2022, Sony launched a revamped PlayStation Plus, one that incorporates a subscription model akin to the defunct PS Now. As the service is split into three tiers, people can decide whether they only want access to online multiplayer and a few free games per month or hundreds of titles from across PlayStation history. PS Plus Premium is the most expensive membership as it includes the Classics Catalog, a library consisting of PS3, PS2, PS1, and PSP games. The tier also has some PS4 remasters of PS3 releases.

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The PlayStation 2 era produced some of the greatest games of all time, and a handful of these masterpieces are on PS Plus. Now, the service’s selection is not particularly extensive, but there is a decent array of PS2 games that are otherwise difficult to come by. What are the best PS Plus PS2 games?


Dark Cloud 2

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 50 Hours
Genre Action JRPG
Developer Level-5
File Size 2.90 GB

Dark Cloud is on PS Plus Premium and well worth trying, but the sequel is better in every single way. The hack and slash combat is simplistic but enjoyable, while the weapon system provides a constantly satisfying feeling of progression. Level-5’s JRPG also benefits from an art style that has aged gracefully after nearly two decades.

RELATED: The Best PS4 Games On PlayStation Plus Premium

An interesting addition is a city-building mechanic that permits the world to grow as the campaign progresses. While there is a lot to do and the story is only decent, Dark Cloud 2 genuinely makes the player feel like they have accomplished a lot during their adventure.

Kinetica

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 5 Hours
Genre Racing
Developer Santa Monica Studio
File Size 786 MB

Santa Monica Studio’s portfolio consists of basically nothing but God of War, albeit with one notable exception. The studio’s debut game was Kinetica, a sci-fi arcade racer split into three seasons.

Building on the foundations of (nowadays) dormant franchises like F-Zero, Kinetica delivered great visuals, audio, and decent controls; crafting a fun, if somewhat unspectacular experience overall. The futuristic setting can be a touch drab at times, but the gameplay is solid for the most part. While not a gamechanger, Kinetica is a pretty good racer.

Hot Shots Tennis

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 4 Hours
Genre Sports
Developer Clap Hanz
File Size 463 MB

Taking a break from putts, in 2006, the Everybody’s Golf series opted to try out a new sport. Like the other entries in the franchise, Hot Shots Tennis, or Everybody’s Tennis, is designed to be accessible to everyone while still retaining a semblance of challenge. The game nails this balance well, so much so that it can be recommended to both children and older players looking for a fun sports game.

RELATED: Ranking The Best Tennis Games Of All Time

Hot Shots Tennis is a bit lacking in content, as the single-player campaign is just a series of challenges. Consequently, this is the type of game that is fun in short bursts.

Wild Arms 3

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 30 Hours
Genre Turn-Based JRPG
Developer Media.Vision
File Size 2.28 GB

During Sony’s first decade, the company’s consoles were not exactly lacking for JRPGs. Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Suikoden were producing gold on a bi-yearly rate, while smaller titles like Wild Arms filled in the gaps wherever necessary.

As a turn-based JRPG with a western aesthetic, Wild Arms 3 boasts a fantastic story that offers a genuine sense of discovery, mainly due to the world map not revealing locations until they are found by the player. The combat does get a bit repetitive, but it is still a decent system.

Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 8 Hours
Genre Aerial Combat
Developer LucasArts
File Size 1.70 GB

PS Plus Premium might not offer much in the way of PS2 classics, but Sony’s service does at least try to satisfy Star Wars fans. Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, and Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter are all available, with the latter being the best of the bunch.

Tying into the prequel trilogy, this 2002 game gives fans the opportunity to step into the cockpits of various starfighters as they take on missions. Although it does show its age, Jedi Starfighter is still a delight to experience all these years later, even if someone is not especially nostalgic for the game.

Rogue Galaxy

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 40 Hours
Genre Action JRPG
Developer Level-5
File Size 6.75 GB

Once again, a JRPG makes the cut, serving as a testament to the PS2’s impressive library. Level-5’s Rogue Galaxy is a real-time action RPG that takes players on an expansive adventure across the universe, with multiple planets to explore.

RELATED: JRPGs That Never Got A Sequel (But Deserved One)

The battle system is fluid and holds up strangely well, while there is a decent list of side-quests that generally avoid being too meaningless. Rogue Galaxy‘s progression system is also quite unique, as abilities and stat boosts are unlocked by equipping specific items to a flow chart.

Okage: Shadow King

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 25 Hours
Genre Turn-Based JRPG
Developer Zener Works
File Size 503 MB

Another JRPG, Okage: Shadow King has a lot going for it. With a Halloween-inspired setting and a comical tone, Okage follows a boy named Ari who ends up giving offer his shadow to an evil king named Stan, who plans to take over the world. The story is fun, if slightly too long, while the graphics are decent.

Ultimately, Okage: Shadow King is a middle-of-the-road JRPG, but it stands out due to a lack of options on PS Plus Premium. While it should satisfy die-hards of the genre, it is unlikely to leave too long-lasting of an impression.

Red Faction

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 8 Hours
Genre First-Person Shooter
Developer Deep Silver Volition
File Size 1.40 GB

With four games included, PS Plus Premium is an absolute gold mine for Red Faction fans. Putting aside the quality of the latter entries, Red Faction and its direct sequel are considered classics for a reason, although the former is the better of the two.

Even in 2019, Red Faction‘s GeoMod technology – which allows so much of the terrain to be destroyed – remains as fun as it was back in the early 2000s. The FPS genre has come a long way since 2001, so Red Faction does feel archaic compared to modern titles. While that cannot be helped, the PS2 shooter is still nothing short of brilliant.

Arc The Lad: Twilight Of The Spirits

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 35 Hours
Genre Tactical RPG
Developer Cattle Call
File Size 2.83 GB

Originating in the 1990s but not debuting until 2002 in North America, the Arc the Lad series is one of Sony’s more underappreciated franchises. Twilight of the Spirits took the series into 3D territory and adapted the previous games’ tactical combat so that it utilized a more free-flowing movement system rather than a grid.

Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits has an ambitious narrative that features two protagonists, both of which have their own storylines that intersect. The game drags in places and, at times, can be clunky; nevertheless, it is a solid PS2 RPG.

Siren

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 20 Hours
Genre Survival Horror
Developer SCE Japan Studio
File Size 3.39 GB

A survival horror series that has been somewhat forgotten over the decades, Siren produced three titles, two of which are available on PS Plus Premium. 2008’s Siren: Blood Curse is the better of the two games, but 2003’s Siren is still a respectable entry in the genre. Set in a creepy Japanese village that practices a ritual, Siren places players in the shoes of multiple characters who are just trying to make it out of the area alive. These people (and the player) gradually uncover the mystery behind this village.

RELATED: Best Horror Games of 2021

Although the gameplay is not all that strong except for a cool mechanic that allows players to see from the point of view of a shibito, the game’s monsters, Siren excels in its atmosphere and ambiance. This is a frequently creepy game.

Ape Escape 2

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 8 Hours
Genre Action
Developer SIE Japan Studio
File Size 1.80 GB

The last main Ape Escape game came out in 2006, so the world is long overdue for a new entry in the franchise. Only Ape Escape 2 is available on PS Plus Premium, which is a shame as Ape Escape 3 is also a PS2 classic, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Ape Escape 2 is a bonkers collect-a-thon that really makes the simple act of catching monkeys a joy. Endlessly charming and quite pretty for its era, Ape Escape 2 is not just one of the best PS2 games on PS Plus Premium, but also one of the best games period.

Primal

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 15 Hours
Genre Action-Adventure
Developer SCE Studio Cambridge
File Size 3.16 GB

Primal is the type of game that Sony’s PS2 on PS4 service was made for. A 2003 action title, Primal would likely be forgotten to time if it was not for the fact it could be played on modern consoles. As a time capsule of early 2000s action games, Primal is charmingly dated, but is it good enough to be worth playing almost two decades following its release?

Although it is clunky in places, Primal gets quite a lot of things right, notably its awesome protagonist and her likable sidekick. While the combat leaves something to be desired, its mechanics are solid, especially Jennifer’s abilities to transform into four demonic forms. Primal might have its flaws, but it is a fun time permitting someone can look past its inescapable rough edges.

War Of The Monsters

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 3 Hours
Genre Fighting
Developer Incognito Entertainment
File Size 3.80 GB

Kaiju-themed games are in short supply, and few of these releases are worth playing beyond a match or two. Even though it lacks recognizable characters like Godzilla or King Kong, War of the Monsters is generally regarded as one of the better examples of this style of project. The PS2 classic serves as a homage to old-school monster movies, specifically those that had an endearing cheesy edge to them.

RELATED: Best Games Featuring Godzilla, Ranked

As one of 10 monsters, players are dropped into decently sized cities and pitted against other massive behemoths. Using the buildings around them as weapons, the kaiju engage in epic brawls while occasionally replenishing their health with a quick pick-up. War of the Monsters does get repetitive after a while since the fighters are not that unique from each other, however, it is a fun ride for a couple of hours.

Jak Trilogy

Approximate Game Length (Main Story)
  • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy – 10 Hours
  • Jak 2 – 18 Hours
  • Jak 3 – 12 Hours
Genre Action-Platformer
Developer Naughty Dog
File Size
  • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy – 977 MB
  • Jak 2 – 3.30 GB
  • Jak 3 – 3.29 GB

Naughty Dog’s PS2 era tends to be overshadowed by their Crash Bandicoot and Uncharted games, but the Jak trilogy is nevertheless fantastic and would be most studios’ crowning achievement. This series blends quite a few genres, incorporating elements from platformers, third-person shooters, and even pseudo-open-worlds. It is a mix that works shockingly well, and while some entries are better than others, the trilogy never dips below “pretty good.”

  • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy – Released in 2001, this game finds Naughty Dog cautiously building on its Crash Bandicoot roots. The Precursor Legacy plays like a more open-ended collect-a-thon, and the game prioritizes platforming over combat. Even if an argument can be made that this is the least ambitious entry in the trilogy, a convincing case can also be presented that The Precursor Legacy is the best.
  • Jak 2 – This sequel allowed Naughty Dog to expand out of its comfort zone. Jak 2 pushes combat and narrative to the forefront, the latter of which would come to define the studio’s releases moving forward. Nearly every part of this package is fantastic; the gameplay is addictive, the characters are unforgettable, and the world is beautifully realized.
  • Jak 3 – The trilogy ends on its weakest entry, although that serves as a testament to the high quality of the previous games rather than Jak 3‘s lack of it. Expanding the combat system significantly, Jak 3‘s core gameplay is an absolute blast, although the protagonist’s expansive arsenal of weapons mutes most of the campaign’s difficulty. While the story feels a bit rushed or undercooked in places, it still hits a few high points.

The Mark Of Kri

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 7 Hours
Genre Action-Adventure
Developer San Diego Studio
File Size 2.20 GB

The Mark of Kri might not seem like too impressive of an action-adventure game in 2022, but it has some neat ideas when it debuted in the early 2000s. The game uses a unique lock-on mechanic that allows its combat system to be more fluid than most of its contemporaries. Whenever the battle system is the focus, this title comes alive in spectacular fashion, more than justifying its inclusion on PS Plus Premium.

The Mark of Kri does fall a bit flat in some other areas, especially its story and stealth mechanics. Still, the game’s strengths outweigh its weaknesses.

HD Remasters & Remakes Of PS2 Games

The above PS2 games were converted to the PS4 (or PS5). PS Plus Premium barely makes a dent into the PS2’s glorious library, but its tiny collection is improved by a number of HD remasters or remakes. The PS3 releases can only be streamed on PS Plus Premium, which is not fantastic, but they at least present a way to access some PS2 classics.

Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS3)

Approximate Game Length (Main Story)
  • Devil May Cry – 6 Hours
  • Devil May Cry 2 – 5 Hours
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening – 12 Hours
Genre Hack And Slash Action
Developer Capcom

In 2001, Capcom’s Devil May Cry hack and slashed its way onto the PS2 and player’s hearts, instantly establishing Dante as an elite gaming protagonist. Following a brief stumble, Devil May Cry 3 hit the scene and revolutionized the action genre, delivering a combat system that has very few peers to this day. Although an inconsistent ride, the PS3’s HD collection is still a fantastic way to experience this iconic trilogy, particularly if someone has yet to try out this franchise.

RELATED: Over The Top Games To Play If You Love The Devil May Cry Series

Tempting as it might be to jump into the third game, especially since it is a prequel, it is best to start with the original Devil May Cry. This Gothic masterpiece has atmosphere to spare, tight level design, and a killer soundtrack; however, the gameplay is not a patch on its sequels, so its restrictive and bare-bones nature can be hard to stomach after playing through the third game. However, feel free to skip Devil May Cry 2 the second boredom sets in as the game doesn’t eventually improve.

The Sly Collection

Approximate Game Length (Main Story)
  • Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus – 7 Hours
  • Sly 2: Band of Thieves – 15 Hours
  • Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves – 12 Hours
Genre Platformer, Stealth
Developers Sucker Punch Productions, Sanzaru Games

While perhaps overshadowed by the SNES, Nintendo 64, and PS1, the PS2 has one of the best selections of platformers in gaming history. As classics like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro faltered, IPs such as Ratchet & Clank and Jak rose from the ashes and carried the genre on their sturdy shoulders. Second-tier properties like Kao the Kangaroo, Tak, Maximo, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, and the Pac-Man World sequels guaranteed fans of the genre always had something to fall back on. Then, there were all the non-franchise releases that were rough but charming, including games like Vexx, Whiplash, Scaler, and I-Ninja.

PS Plus Premium does not even begin to scratch the surface of the PS2’s platformer library, but at least there are a few heavy hitters. The Sly Collection contains remasters of Sucker Punch’s PS2 trilogy, a trio of games that stand alongside Jak and Ratchet & Clank as the console’s peak for 3D platformers. The series works well as a whole since its characters and stories develop naturally from entry to entry. However, each title also stands out as a unique package, with the gameplay evolving nicely as the trilogy progresses.

  • Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus – The first game in the trilogy is, unsurprisingly, the most straightforward. In many ways, Sly 1 plays like a straightforward, linear platformer, albeit one that incorporates light stealth elements. Although it does not bring many new ideas to the genre, this 2002 release holds up pretty well in most aspects.
  • Sly 2: Band of Thieves – A significant departure from its predecessor, Sly 2 opens things up through the introduction of a hub world and a shift towards open-ended level design that emphasizes stealth and action as much as standard platforming. The eponymous raccoon is also joined on this mission by two friends who have unique play styles.
  • Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves – Bringing the trilogy to a close on a positive note, Sly 3 believes that “more is more.” There are more playable characters, mission types, and minigames. Unlike the previous entries, this sequel is less concerned with collectibles, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on the player.

Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster (PS4)

Approximate Game Length (Main Story)
  • Final Fantasy 10 – 50 Hours
  • Final Fantasy 10-2 – 30 Hours
Genre Turn-Based JRPG
Developer Square Enix
File Size 29.62 GB

Final Fantasy helped cement Sony’s PS1 as a must-own console, and Final Fantasy 10 proved that would remain the case for the hardware’s sequel. Tidus finds himself teleported to Spira, a world that is facing a calamity brought on by “Sin.” Consequently, Tidus joins a group dedicated to protecting Yuna as she sets out on a journey to defeat Sin.

RELATED: Where Final Fantasy 10’s Story Could Have Gone After 10-2

Final Fantasy 10 is an accessible, ambitious, and epic JRPG, and the HD remaster introduces plenty of quality-of-life improvements that make the game easier to revisit all these years later. Final Fantasy 10-2 has a great combat system, although its narrative and tone tend to be a bit more polarizing. Together, these JRPGs should keep somebody busy for a few months.

Ico & Shadow Of The Colossus Collection (PS3)

Approximate Game Length (Main Story)
  • Ico – 7 Hours
  • Shadow of the Colossus – 10 Hours
Genre Adventure
Developer Team Ico, Bluepoint Games

Team Ico does not publish a game often, but they tend to be worth the wait. On the PS2, the studio produced 2001’s Ico and 2005’s Shadow of the Colossus, both of which serve as prime examples of gaming’s potential to deliver works of art. Set in largely desolate worlds, these games are mood pieces that deliver a perfect marriage of gameplay and story, with the latter dictating the former’s place and purpose. Neither one wastes a single moment.

Ico tends to be overshadowed by Shadow of the Colossus, but it should not be skipped over for its bigger sibling. Its puzzles, characters, environments, and sound work are second to none.

Shadow of the Colossus is an ambitious project that pushed the PS2 to its limits, and the HD version retains and even enhances its brilliance. In order to save a girl, Wander is told to kill massive and largely peaceful colossi.

2018’s Shadow of the Colossus remake is also on PS Plus Premium.

Cel Damage HD (PS3)

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 4 Hours
Genre Vehicular Combat
Developers Pseudo Interactive, Finish Line Games

Vehicular combat games are painfully rare nowadays, especially compared to roughly two decades ago. Although not one of the genre’s absolutely biggest releases, Cel Damage is a fun variant that seems to take inspiration from Saturday Morning Cartoons. Through a solid selection of characters and a large arsenal of weapons, players must blast each other to smithereens across three modes that play differently enough from each other to enhance the game’s longevity.

The HD version includes a few small adjustments but mainly just amounts to prettier visuals, which only helps to highlight how well Cel Damage‘s stylized graphics have aged. Although not a masterpiece, this is arguably the type of game that should feature on a service like PS Plus Premium since it might otherwise be forgotten.

Resident Evil – Code: Veronica X (PS3)

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 11 Hours
Genre Survival Horror
Developers Capcom

Capcom’s early Resident Evil games are survival horror classics, but newcomers looking to experience these seminal releases should track down the remakes if they exist. Code: Veronica has yet to receive that treatment, and the game does need it. Originally released on the Sega Dreamcast before making its way to the PS2, this spin-off was brilliant at the time of its debut, featuring state-of-the-art visuals and plenty of scares.

RELATED: Common Misconceptions About Resident Evil

Time has diminished Code: Veronica‘s appeal, particularly when it comes to its dated gameplay and once lauded graphics that are now too cheesy to offer much in the way of genuine frights. That said, Code: Veronica is still one of the best PS2 games of all time, regardless of whether it has aged well or not. As long as someone goes in with adjusted expectations, the game’s brilliance can shine through.

Mafia: Definitive Edition (PS4)

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 11 Hours
Genre Action_Adventure
Developers Hangar 13
File Size 37.77 GB

Originally released in 2002, Mafia delivers exactly what its title advertises. Set during America’s prohibition era in a fictional city clearly inspired by Chicago, the story revolves around Tommy Angelo’s rise as part of the Salieri family. Inspired as it might be by other entries in the genre, Mafia succeeds in carving its own identity, and the game’s narrative holds up incredibly well after all these years.

That said, everything else about the 2002 game shows its age, and that goes double for the console versions. The Definitive Edition is, undoubtedly, the best way to experience this tale, and the remake is a faithful recreation of the original version. Boasting stellar graphics and character models, Mafia: Definitive Edition immerses players in a world filled with crime, murder, and pain. Although set within an open-world, the game is nevertheless linear, offering almost nothing in the way of side content.

God Of War 2 HD (PS3)

Approximate Game Length (Main Story) 12 Hours
Genre Action
Developers SCE Studios Santa Monica, Bluepoint Games

God of War might very well be the most famous Sony series to debut during the PS2 era, and PS Plus Premium contains Kratos’ home console saga. The HD remasters of the first and second games got the ball rolling on the PS3’s Classics HD run, and this package only had to take the timeless awesomeness of the originals and make them playable on modern systems to be a resounding success. It is a resounding success.

Bloody, epic, visceral, and cathartic, God of War has accessible but engaging combat, dynamic boss fights, and puzzle sections that provide a welcome break from the hack and slash mayhem. God of War 2 is a considerable step up from its predecessor and a contender for the best PS2 game of all time​​.

MORE: The Best Games On PS Plus Premium

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