When you add a console to your collection, the first thing you want to do is get a handful of games to keep you busy with your new toy. However, most of us can’t spend afford to spend fat pile of cash for a few games. This budget-friendly list should help you quickly find which games will start you off well without emptying your wallet. (Prices listed are an average eBay price for US games, including shipping.)
Check out the other Cheapest Games Worth Your Time articles
Jak & Daxter: $6
As the leader of the last console generation, the PS2 library was blessed with an incredible selection of many high-quality platforming series, each of which has a number of sequels. First up is the Jak & Daxter series from by Naughty Dog (of Crash Bandicoot fame). The original J&D game barrowed heavily from it’s Bandicoot roots with a great deal of running and jumping, but later installments had additional shooting action as well. If you remotely enjoy 3D platformers, each installment of the PS2 trilogy can be found for next to nothing.
Shop for Jak & Daxter Series on eBay
Shop for Jak & Daxter Series on Amazon.com
Ratchet & Clank, R&C Going Commando, R&C Up Your Arsenal : about $7 each
If you want more shooting action in your platformers, Ratchet & Clank have plenty to keep you busy. The series is noted for the inclusion of many exotic and unique weapons and gadgets to blow up all sorts of stuff within a cool futuristic universe. Much like Jak & Daxter, the series became one of the PS2’s mainstays and is one of the more common titles on eBay. Finding lots of cheap copies should not be a problem for any new PS2 owner.
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Virtua Fighter 4: $5
As one of Sega’s last incredibly solid franchises, the Virtua Fighter series is one of the best in its genre. Each iteration of Virtua Fighter 4 is top-notch, but as new installments are released, including the PS3 released of Virtua Fighter 5, it becomes easier to find copies of part 4 for next to nothing. The Virtua Fighter series has never been for the casual gamer, but if you want to have a beautiful and technical fighting experience without spending much, Virtua Fighter 4 can’t be beat. Obivously, the original release of VF4 is the cheapest, but if you want the extra characters in Evolution, you’ll have to pay an extra $5 or so.
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Shop for Virtua Fighter 4 on Amazon.com
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: $6
While some MGS fans didn’t enjoy Sons of Liberty as much as the original PS1 Metal Gear Solid, part 2 was still a landmark experience, as you could expect from Hideo Kojima. Metal Gear Solid games are also, of course, a cornerstone of a PS2 collection for most gamers, so don’t hesitate to pick one up at this low price. Of course, there is also the MGS2 Substance release, that is essentially the same game, but with some added modes and options. Substance will nearly double the price, however at around $11 shipped. Metal Gear Solid 3 is also availible for around $13 if you want to expand your collection.
Shop for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty on eBay
Shop for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty on Amazon.com
Gran Turismo 3: $7
Gran Turismo 4: $10
Cutting-edge racing fans may be moving to the XBox 360, but if you are like me an are usually a generation behind, the PS2 installments of the Gran Turismo series will suit you just fine. Both Gran Turismo 3 and 4 are technical marvels and a still quite pleasing to the eye. If you want to be a cheapskate, you can probably get by with getting GT3, but if you want to “splurge”, spend a few extra dollars and pick up part four.
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Shop for Gran Turismo Series on Amazon.com
Wipeout Fusion : $8
If you want a more arcade-like racing experience with a futuristic flair, you should look into the Wipeout series. Wipeout Fusion is the best value for the PS2 and will give you a healthy dose of speed and thumpin’ music to double the flow of adrenaline. Like its predecessors, the emphasis is on guiding your futuristic racing craft through twisting courses filled with loops, tight turns, and massive jumps, all while making use of the many power-ups littering each track. I personally prefer F-Zero GX on the Gamecube, but if you’re tied to Sony, Wipeout is still a solid futuristic racer.
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Shop for Wipeout Fusion on Amazon.com
Viewtiful Joe : $6
Viewtiful Joe 2 : $6
As an old-school fan of the beatemup genre (think Double Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, & Final Fight) and cel-shaded games (Jet Grind Radio, anyone), I couldn’t help but be excited about Viewtiful Joe. While it has the looks of a stylish, cartoon-like 3D game, it plays like a two-dimensional brawler with some Matrix-like gimmicks and mind-teasing puzzles thrown in. The Viewtiful Joe games were the talk of the game industry for a spell, but now that the hype has died down, you can pick up these gems dirt cheap.
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Shop for Viewtiful Joe on Amazon.com
Devil May Cry: $7
Much like Viewtiful Joe, this rather new Capcom franchise had its time in the spotlight (and still has many fans). With Capcom pumping out sequels, you can easily pick up the first couple of installments for well under $10 (although, you probably only want the first). By the time you finish them, I’m sure they next few installments will be plenty affordable as well.
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Twisted Metal: Black : $8
Before he created God of War, David Jaffe started the PS2 off with this vehicular combat masterpiece. Considering it was released within the PS2’s first year, Twisted Metal: Black has maintained a surprising amount of value over the last six years. Nevertheless, this critically-acclaimed title is still a good value at the $8 range.
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Shop for Twisted Metal: Black on Amazon.com
Soul Calibur 2 : $7
Anybody remotely interested in 3D fighters should not overlook the Soul Calibur series. After the rave reviews as a Dreamcast exclusive, the original Soul Calibur was followed up as a multiplatform sequel with a great deal of hype. However, even though Soul Calibur III wasn’t much better, most gamers are selling off their copies and picking up newer installments. Now is your time to take advantage of this bargain.
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Shop for Soul Calibur 2 on Amazon.com
TimeSplitters 2 : $5
If you want a high-quality FPS that is designed for consoles, you need to pick up TimeSplitters 2. Developed by the same team that worked for Rareware on the N64’s Goldeneye 007, Timesplitters 2 has killer level design, great weapons, and a variety of multiplayer and minigame options. It may not have the realism that some modern gamers crave or a fascinating storyline, but it tops Halo in my book in terms of gameplay and all-out fun.
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Shop for TimeSplitters 2 on Amazon.com
Beyond Good & Evil: $9
This amazing adventure game didn’t get nearly the attention that it should have when it was originally on retail shelves, but it has since gathered quite a following and has shown up on my Hidden Gems series. Its engaging storyline, quirky characters, and enticing graphics come together in a treasure of a game from Ubisoft. Since it seemed to have a larger print run on the PS2, it is actually a bit more afforable than its Gamecube and XBox counterparts, so take advantage, PS2 owners.
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Shop for Beyond Good & Evil on Amazon.com
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: $6
For the longest time, Sands of Time nearly got ignored as much as Beyond Good & Evil, but eventually enough people read all the positive reviews and gave it a try. Over the last few years, numerous sequels have spawned, giving this classic franchise new life. The Sands of Time may still be a frontrunner for the best in the series, and it is definately the best value.
Shop for Prince of Persia: Sands of Time on eBay
Shop for Prince of Persia: Sands of Time on Amazon.com
A Few Must-Haves Slightly Over $10
Resident Evil 4: $16
After a long stint on the Gamecube, the Resident Evil series eventually returned to the PS2 (so it could make more money) with the highly-acclaimed Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil 4’s game mechanics have been completely redesigned to incorporate fast-paced gunplay, quick controls and shootouts involving massive crowds of enemies in large open areas. This, combined with an abundance of healing items and ammunition, results in a different gameplay experience from other Resident Evil games.
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Shop for Resident Evil 4 on Amazon.com
Shadow of the Colossus : $15
This spiritual successor to the cult classic, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus was possibly the biggest underdog success of 2006. This adventure/puzzle hybrid is a stunning example of both visuals and gameplay. This game almost fell into the same limited print run/high resale value situation as Ico, but due to the buzz online, the game eventually sold quite well allowing a lot more copies to be out on the open market and the aftermarket prices to come down.
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Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: $13
It was difficult to top the orignal Metal Gear Solid on the PS1, but Konami may have pulled it off with MGS3: Snake Eater. Now that the early adopters have finished up the game and are moving onto new stuff, Snake Eater is quickly dropping in value and you should be able to scoop it up for a bit less than $15 without too much effort.
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Shop for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater on Amazon.com
Burnout 2: $10
Burnout 3 & Burnout Revenge: $12 each
I have to admit, I’m personally not much for Gran Turismo and those overly-realistic racers. The Burnout series, on the other hand, it a racing series for the rest of us that want more high-speed action and fun gimmicks such as Burnout’s glorification of high-speed crashes. While the original Burnout can be picked up for about $9, I would recommend either paying an extra dollar for Burnout 2 or just a few more for Burnout 3 or Burnout Revenge. I think most fans of the series would agree that the third installment was the peak of its excellence.
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Shop for Burnout Series on Amazon.com
Katamari Damacy : $15
Katamari almost lived a life as an obscure import title or at least a hidden gem on the PS2, but its quirkiness and unique gameplay caused fans to spread the word about Namco’s fantastic ball-rolling treasure. The eventual success got more copies printed and sequels as well bringing the aftermarket price to an affordable level.
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Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus : $11
Sly 2: Band of Thieves : $12
This wonderful platformer series has a lot of good things for it. In addition to a slick cell-shaded graphical style, it also incorporates a number of gameplay elements such as stealth and acrobatics in addition to standard platforming fare. Sly 2 ditched the original game’s lengthy platforming levels for a nonlinear approach. Players must complete missions not only as Sly but as the brawny hippo Murray and timid turtle Bentley, in order to give variety. Roaming around the city levels, staying hidden by creeping along the shadows and rooftops, is a thrill.
Shop for Sly Cooper Series on eBay
Shop for Sly Cooper Series on Amazon.com
Super Monkey Ball Deluxe : $13
The Monkey Ball series was some of Sega’s last true example of pure creativity and genius as a multiplatform developer. Both games have a fun and challenging single-player mode, but also serves as a killer party title due to its diverse mini-games. As opposed to Gamecube owners, who had to buy both installments to get all the puzzles and mini games, Super Monkey Ball Deluxe give PS2 owners everything (plus bonus levels) on one convenient (and affordable disc). Keep in mind, however, that these games require precise controls and the Gamecube controls are still regarded as superior in the original ports.
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Shop for Super Monkey Ball Deluxe on Amazon.com
Sega Genesis Collection : $14
There have been many a classic game compilation over the years, but the Sega Genesis Collection may just be one of the best value compilations of all time. Not only does it have a rather large collection of games included, but there is great diversity in the genres and it includes many of the best titles from Sega’s most successful era. When compared to the prices you would pay for these exact games on the Wii’s Virtual Console, this compilation seems like a steal for classic Sega fans.
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Shop for Sega Genesis Collection on Amazon.com
Psychonauts : $13
This fantastically-warped platform game with an enjoyable script and story is one of the biggest cult-classics of recent years. Psychonauts has the Simpsons-like ability to appeal to adults and children when it comes to gameplay, story, and design. A lower-than normal print run kept this from being a real bargain, but if you want a cheap gem that not everyone has, Psychonauts should be one of your first choices.
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Other Cheap Favorites
Grand Theft Auto III: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell : $4 – eBay / Amazon.com
Space Channel 5: Special Edition: $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
Maximo: Ghosts to Glory : $8 – eBay / Amzon.com
Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil : $9 – eBay / Amazon.com
Tekken 4 : $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
Headhunter: $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
Headhunter Redeption: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
Star Wars Starfighter : $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy Seals : $9 – eBay / Amazon.com
Ridge Racer V: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
Need for Speed Underground: $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
V-Rally 3 : $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
SOCOM II: U.S. Navy Seals : $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
Rayman 2: Revolution : $9 – eBay / Amazon.com
The Mark of Kri: $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
Smuggler’s Run 2: Hostile Territory : $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
MDK2 Armageddon : $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse : $9 – eBay / Amazon.com
Bombastic : $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
X-Men Legends : $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction: $9 – eBay / Amazon.com
Dark Cloud : $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
Silpheed: The Lost Planet : $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
ChoroQ: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
My Starter Picks For $50 Budget
If I only had $50 to spend on starting out a PS2 collection, here would be my top picks:
- Jak & Daxter: $6
- Ratchet & Clank : $7
- Virtua Fighter 4: $5
- Viewtiful Joe : $6
- TimeSplitters 2 : $5
- Katamari Damacy : $15
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: $6
- Total: $50
There are a lot of great, cheap titles on the PS2, so you could easily substitute some titles on this list to match your personal taste. Some may want to swap out Metal Gear Solid 2 with God of War or stick Gran Turismo in there somewhere.