I think we all know that the PlayStation 2 has one of the most impressive video game catalogs in the history of gaming.
The sales of this console are not far behind either, as its more than 155 million units sold make it the most successful home console of all time.
But we all already know the virtues of the PS2 and have enjoyed some of the best video games it had to offer., it is time to review some of the less popular titles that you may have missed out on. Let’s review the
Best Hidden Gems For The PS2
Metal Arms: Glitch In The System (2003)
We all know the famous characters of PlayStation franchises like Ratchet, Clank, Jak, Daxter, and Sly Cooper, but what about Glitch?
This charismatic robot starred in an adventure video game in the style of the aforementioned heroes that unfortunately was buried in the huge catalog of the console.
In this title, Glitch must lead a rebellion among the mining robots to prevail over the evil General Corrosive, who intends to dominate the planet and enslave our hero’s friends forever.
Combining third-person shooter with platforming sections, Glitch In The System boasts very satisfying gameplay despite its low budget.
But for that very reason, you might find this Playstation 2 gem online or in the wild at a great price!
Maximo: Ghosts To Glory (2002)
There was a time when Capcom tried to expand the Ghosts ‘n Goblins universe with experiments like Maximo: Ghosts To Glory, a game whose aesthetics and mechanics are very reminiscent of the MediEvil saga.
In this adventure, you will find a lot of platforming, dozens of enemies on screen, and certain mechanics taken from Ghosts ‘n Goblins like the fact that the hero Maximo loses his clothes as he takes damage. I know, it’s weird but it works.
Sadly, this experiment didn’t work out too well and Maximo got lost in the huge repertoire of endearing characters, but there are a few of us who still remember him fondly.
If you like the medieval experience, then you’ll be happy to know that it has a sequel called Maximo: Army of Zin that expands the story even more.
Ghost Hunter (2004)
Have you ever imagined what a Ghostbusters movie would be like with a darker tone and a lot less comedy? Fortunately, we have a video game on the PS2 that went exactly that way.
Created by Sony Cambridge (known as Guerrilla today), Ghost Hunter is a video game in which you take control of Lazarus Jones, a rookie detective who is dedicated to investigating paranormal cases and shows up at a gloomy abandoned school to find out why a teacher mercilessly murdered 10 students.
But like any horror story, the protagonist touches something he shouldn’t and unleashes hundreds of ghosts that will make it impossible for him to survive the night.
The game is pure action and is reminiscent of Luigi’s Mansion in the detection and capture of the ghosts, only this time with the use of a trap in the style of the Ghostbusters movie. To do this the character can use a Rambo-esque arsenal, consisting of all sorts of firearms.
Ghost Hunter is a beat’em up disguised as a Survival Horror game that is worth playing at Halloween time.
The Mark of Kri (2002)
The PS2 was the birthplace of many legendary Sony titles, although some remained as lost experiments.
Such is the case of The Mark of Kri, an action game with some stealth overtones in which you control a powerful warrior named Rau Utu, who along with his faithful bird of prey tries to stop a group of local bandits that threaten the peace of his home.
Its excellent graphics were not the only striking thing, but it also had some very interesting features for a videogame of that time. An example of this can be found in its adaptive music, which varied in tone depending on what the player was doing.
On the other hand, when the protagonist is surrounded, each enemy is fixed by a button so that the player can attack whoever he wants without having to change his target many times.
As for stealth, it’s so satisfying and has some brutal executions. Its Disney-style aesthetics are deceiving, as it’s a dark and violent game… and it’s one of the best PS2 hidden gems.
Dark Cloud (2001)
Now we move to a Japanese RPG called Dark Cloud, a PS2 title that has some popularity today but at the time was a failure in sales.
Developed by Level Five, Sony kept this one exclusive to have another JRPG saga to boost its catalog, if Final Fantasy was not enough.
In Dark Cloud, you’ll encounter real-time combat RPG elements, whose main selling point is that the dungeons are generated on the fly. That is to say, each path is different from the previous one.
The story revolves around defeating an evil genie who sought to reshape the world in his own image, but that wasn’t enough to attract audiences.
Still, Dark Cloud slipped through the cracks and had a sequel (Dark Chronicle) which was just as good as the first game in the series.
Before Bungie achieved worldwide fame for releasing Halo, they were in charge of producing Oni, a Cyberpunk sci-fi title inspired by the famous manga “Ghost in the Shell”.
In this great story, you control an agent named Konoko of the Technological Crime Police Force, a division that has long hidden its past from you.
That is why Konoko will embark on an incredible and dangerous journey of self-discovery to find out everything about her past while discovering the truth about why her bosses have deceived her.
Gameplay-wise, this is a Beat ’em up title, as most of the combat is melee. In addition, there are hardly any firearms and ammunition, so you have to use the few resources you find with intelligence.
If you want to explore some of the ideas that Bungie had before its star franchise, Oni is the best representative of that stage.
How does combining the Wild West with vampires, the undead, and other creatures from beyond the grave sound? Long before Evil West surprised gamers with that theme, there was a first-person shooter called Darkwatch that had already done it.
In this title, you play as Jericho, an outlaw who, during a train robbery, screws up a bit and ends up freeing an entity called Lazarus that lived there. To make matters worse, Lazarus is a powerful vampire lord who bites Jericho, triggering a whole thrilling adventure in the Old West.
From then on, Jericho must eliminate Lazarus’ followers in a series of missions that combine nighttime zones where you can unleash your vampiric powers to daytime levels where you must act with human tactics. You know, cause the sun.
In a nutshell, Darkwatch is a super fun PlayStation 2 hidden gem with art direction worthy of Guillermo del Toro cinema.
The survival horrors also have their representative in this list, Kuon, a title developed by From Software before they dedicated themselves to creating the playable frustration known as Dark Souls.
This oriental horror story is divided into 3 chapters, each starring a different character, although all remain equally disturbing.
The main enemies come from Japanese folklore and will give you more than one scare. But you can also defend yourself thanks to a somewhat interesting battle system, combining physical attacks, magic, and summoning.
A survival horror game with a good combat system is not something easy to find. I doubt Miyazaki and company are going to get away from their more recent games that have brought them so much success but, with survival horror regaining some of its popularity, nothing is impossible.
As a fun fact, Kuon is one of the most expensive PS2 titles today, averaging $550 a copy and over $1300 for sealed copies. These prices are really scary.
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy (2004)
Time for a pure third-person action shooter, and what better one from Midway Games, a company well known for their Mortal Kombat series.
They not only know how to make fighting games, but for some reason they decided to embark into the shooter genre, resulting in Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, a title full of gore in which they changed fists for telekinetic powers.
You could say that this game is a mixture of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed with a war story… Well, Star Wars is already a war story, but you know what I mean. It only takes a few minutes with the protagonist’s powers to make you feel like a Sith Lord.
The story is not exactly its strong point, as it is quite generic. It all revolves around an agent of the PSI group, made up of people with mental powers who must defeat a terrorist group.
Pretty cliché, but on a playable level it’s addictive and almost as satisfying as Mortal Kombat.
Radiata Stories (2005)
We return to the JRPG genre to talk about a title developed by Tri-Ace that came under the label of Square Enix as Publisher. We are talking about Radiata Stories, a title that was considered at the time as one of the in-depth RPGs.
That title was earned for its more than 100 NPCs that you can recruit as members of your team, each with their own story background.
In addition, this title features two different paths in its story mode, which means it has two different endings and in turn makes it easily one of the most replayable JRPGs released at the time.
The combat is in real-time, combining adrenaline with tactics but unfortunately, Radiata Stories was left behind in the PS2 catalog.
It’s a real shame that a great game full of charismatic characters that make you fall in love with the genre failed so badly in sales. But here we are to give it the first place of the hidden gems of the PS2.
Unknown PS2 Games Still Worth Playing
The PS2 catalog is so extensive that there could be 100 games on this list, but for now, these are the best representatives of varied genres. I hope you give one or two of them a chance as they are hidden gems that deserved much more in their time. But you know, as they say, time puts everything in its place….