Generally, strategy games are found on the PC because of their gameplay and mechanics it is more comfortable to play them with a mouse and keyboard.
However, developers have found a way to adapt them since almost the beginning of the first generation consoles, demonstrating that the strategy genre does work with a controller in your hands, as long as they are adapted correctly.
And they knew how to exploit these games on the best-selling console in history, Sony’s PlayStation 2.
At that time, games like GTA San Andreas, God of War, and BLACK were much more popular.
Clearly, PlayStation 2 had some of the best action and adventure games of all time, but PS2 strategy games were not left behind, gaining a place in the hearts of many who grew up building parks, commanding armies, and conquering empires with a DualShock controller. That’s why we are here to remember the
Best Strategy Games On The PlayStation 2
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis (2003)
We start the list with a cinema classic. This adaptation of Steven Spielberg’s popular movie franchise is created by Blue Tongue Entertainment and published by Vivendi Universal Games.
You are placed in a dinosaur theme park that you can create from scratch and watch grow little by little, with the goal of turning it into a 5-star park to fulfill the dream of businessman John Hammond.
This simulation and management game was quite advanced for its time, with a real-time system of the park’s status. The player can develop up to 25 Dinosaurs between herbivores and carnivores, based on those in the movies, with the help of DNA from different archaeological sites.
In addition, so that the experience of managing the park does not become monotonous, there are many missions to do, in which you can be either a Ranger guard in charge of dinosaur escapes or you can be a photographer who admires the grandeur of these extinct animals.
When you complete these game modes, you unlock Location B, a mode that allows you to create your own island where dinosaurs live in freedom.
Sure, the game has some things it can improve on, but it laid the groundwork for 2018’s successful Jurassic World Evolution. All in all, a classic and unmissable experience for fans of this Jurassic saga and strategy games.
Wrath Unleashed (2004)
Gods and RTS? I’m in!
This medieval fantasy game introduces you to a war-torn world where you can play as one of four protagonists, each with their own campaign mode:
- Beautiful Aenna, Goddess of the Waters
- Fiery Epothos, Warrior of the Rising Sun
- Devious Durlock, Master of Metals, and Lord of Stone
- Wicked Helamis, Queen of Storms and Chaos.
These powerful gods will fight the ultimate battle unleashing their wrath.
If this premise isn’t good enough to perk your interest, its gameplay will, Combining the chess-like genre with direct combat.
When you choose one of the gods, you face another one on a kind of board whose squares are hexagonal. The objective is to advance your troops to the opponent’s temple located in his territory.
The game changes to an action game when you meet the opponent on a square, jumping to an arena mode where you fight hand-to-hand with a fantastic creature of the enemy.
With this simple formula, LucasFilms Games published this title, bringing players a little closer to an uncomplicated but fun real-time strategy style.
Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers (2006)
A title that arrived in the last years of the PS2, but that did not go unnoticed. This game is created by the now non-existent Pandemic Studios, responsible for the first Star Wars: Battlefront games.
Knowing very well how to recreate a war scenario, they released this sequel to the first Full Spectrum Warrior from 2004, placing the player in a new conflict against Al-Fad, the terrorist dictator of the fictional country of Zekistan.
Loaded with realism and rawness, this real-time tactics game makes you the commander of a military squad, with the task of directing your soldiers in battles, either by ordering them to advance, seek cover, or fire. With this mechanic based on the military logistics of Fire and Movement, you gradually advance to your final objective in the mission.
In addition, it includes a multiplayer mode, in which two players join together to accomplish a mission, each leading a squad, having to collaborate to accomplish the objective.
A perfect game for fans of the military genre.
Ring of Red (2000)
Developed and published by Konami as one of their first games with CD-Rom technology, Ring of Red is a representation of an alternate reality in which Japan was invaded by the Soviet Union and the USA after losing World War II.
This divided the country, generating tension between the two sides that ended up exploding, but instead of fighting with firearms, they fight with giant mechas, what a twist isn’t it?
This title uses a fairly common technique in the strategy genre, being a turn-based game to move units, and when it comes to battles, it changes to real-time combat.
Throughout each mission, the player leads a squad on a gridded map, with certain specific objectives. Movement is not as simple as it sounds, as each unit has a movement limit, making the player have to come up with a plan. It also has RPG elements, as each character levels up and gains skills.
Despite its virtues, it is not a game for all tastes, seeming too complex and boring for some, but for those who appreciate its game system, it is a real pleasure.
Age of Empires 2 (2001)
Of course, this strategy saga could not be missing from this list. Age of Empires is synonymous with the genre, and even more so its second game, which for many is considered the best of the franchise.
Released for PC in 1999, Ensemble Studios was given the complicated task of adapting this historic title for Sony consoles, achieving it in 2001 with this version.
As you well know, something that characterizes these real-time strategy games is the number of shortcuts offered by a keyboard and mouse. Therefore, it was not easy to make the experience comfortable for players with a controller in their hands.
They succeeded in this goal, but the player would have a lot to get used to it when playing it for the first time.
The PS2 version has its limitations compared to the PC version, especially in graphics and interface, but it makes up for it with its incredible story that everyone writes in their own way, choosing a civilization to make it grow as the most powerful of all while conquering others.
Commandos 2 (2001)
Another game set with a military backdrop is added to this list, and rightly so, for on battlefields strategy is key to victory. Developed by Pyro Studios and published by Eidos, this sequel to Commandos: Behind the Lines arrived reloaded and re-powered.
Its story is set in World War II, where the player assumes the role of leading the Commandos, a series of military men with unique abilities who embark on incredible missions to put an end to the Third Reich.
Following the gameplay seen in the previous game, the missions are characterized by their vast environments and high difficulty, where the player controls one of the Commandos giving orders to advance across the map and meet their objectives. This is separated by a short time window, dividing the game phases into preparation and execution, demanding patience and good tactics from the player.
With this combination of entertaining gameplay, difficult missions, and badass characters, Commandos 2 is a classic in-depth strategy gem.
Kessen III (2005)
It was about time for something based on feudal Japan.
This third episode of the saga created by the developer Koei places the player in the role of Oda Nobunaga, a Japanese daimyo who existed in real life, being represented in this game as a nobleman who tries to become the lord of all Japan, fighting great battles against other powerful warlords of the country.
Unlike the previous Kessen, this title is characterized by reducing the enormous number of troops in battle, focusing more on direct action without losing its pure strategy section.
Throughout the missions, the variety of units that the player handles improves both in terms of level and weaponry. When entering a battlefield, you can choose what attitude the battalion will take and where to lead them on the map, both together and individually.
Where this game shines the most is in its combat, with a variety of combos and special abilities for each troop. The AI of both the allied and rival battalions may be a bit clumsy at times, but Kessen III is a wonderful experience that will make you feel like a Feudal Lord.
Worms 4: Mayhem (2005)
This classic needs no introduction, but we’ll give it a proper one anyway. For some, it is one of the most fun games to play with friends and for others, it is a friend destroyer only surpassed by Mario Kart.
This is Worms, full of fun and explosions.
Developed by the company Team17, this video game places the team of charismatic worms in an incredible adventure through time guided by Professor Worminkle, encountering all kinds of crazy and irreverent beings.
Worms 4 is quite consistent with the formula that made the series popular, following the logic that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
As usual, the player controls a team of worms on a map where they fight remotely against the rival team under a turn-based system.
With 3D graphics, a giant arsenal of super crazy weapons, and a cast of customizable and exploitable worms, Worms 4 is a safe bet if you want to have a good time either alone or with friends. But we leave you with the warning, it can end badly…
Dynasty Tactics 2 (2003)
Again, Koei demonstrates how to make one of the best strategy games set in ancient Asia.
Based on the historical novel “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms” from over 500 years ago, Dynasty Tactics 2 tells the stories of Liu Bei, Cao Cao, and Sun Ce, legendary heroes who wish to conquer China after it was devastated and separated into 3 kingdoms.
You can live the story in the skin of a hero of your choice, with whom you will fight huge battles that can only be won with a great strategy.
Contrary to other Playstation 2 strategy games that combined this genre with action, this title remains pure in its genre, inspired by the mechanics of classic wargames. The gameplay is divided into two sections: the strategic phase, in which you see your barracks and the narrative develops as such, introducing some RPG elements, and the battle phase, in which your tactics and maneuvers against the enemy are challenged.
It could be said that Dynasty Tactics 2 is a Kessen adapted to more accessible strategy standards for the average player, as it is easier to play due to its system of squares and variety in the battles.
Disgaea: The Hour of Darkness (2003)
When it comes to excellence in strategy, despite the greatness of the titles in this top 10 list, this game created by Nippon Ichi Software takes the highest award. However, there is some cheating in placing Disgaea, as it is considered more of an RPG, but its tactical role-playing section is so wonderful that it deserves first place.
Disgaea tells us a fantasy story full of humor and charisma, with endearing characters in a fun and surreal Underworld.
It’s not great, but it’s interesting enough to keep you hooked and make sense of the battles, which is where the game shines with a classic isometric view and movement system on a gridded map, where troops, whether humanoid characters or monsters, duel each other as they approach.
This is where the RPG section comes in, which allows your characters to level up and improve their skill set, in addition to the infinite number of items and spells that the player will find in the story.
There is much more to say about this title, but it is better to try it for yourself and enjoy the dynamic and entertaining combats, the possibility of creating combos, and the versatility with which it lets you face each battle.
All these qualities make it an enjoyable game for both hardcore fans of this subgenre and casual players who just want to have a good time.
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is the perfect balance between strategy and fun that will make you spend hours marveling at its universe… and unlocking its multiple secret endings.
With the list complete, you can see that the best PS2 strategy games are actually some of the best strategy games of all time.