The next update to the Cheapest Games series is a look at the Playstation 2′s wonderful library. There are quite a lot of PS2 games now that are absolute steals considering the quality of the games. As we see more titles show up as re-releases and downloadable classics on the PS3 and more people moving away from the PS2 completely, now is the perfect time to stock up on titles.
It was challenge to narrow this list down as there are SO much quality games for under $10. In the featured section, I tried to include some hidden gems that might not be given a chance if they were just in the Honorable Mentions list below (which is still very long).
(Prices listed are an average eBay and Amazon prices for used US games in non-mint condition, including shipping.)
Updated in April 2014
|Jak & Daxter Series: $4 each
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 borrowed 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.
|Ratchet & Clank, R&C Going Commando, R&C Up Your Arsenal : about $5 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.
|Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: $4
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 available for around $13 if you want to expand your collection.
|Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: $5
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.
|Gran Turismo 4: $4
Cutting-edge racing fans may be moving to the Xbox 360 and PS3, 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.
|Wipeout Fusion : $4
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.
|Viewtiful Joe & Viewtiful Joe 2 : $6 each
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.
|God of War & God of War 2: $5 each
This action/adventure masterpiece not only pushed the limits of what the PS2 could do, but it also brought new life into a rather over-played genre. The only reason why this doesn’t rank higher is that PS3 owners now have the God of War Collection available to them. Of course, the PS2 originals are more affordable, but you might want to hold out for the enhanced versions.
|Devil May Cry Series: $4 each
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 just a few dollars (although, you probably only want the first).
|Twisted Metal: Black : $4
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.
|TimeSplitters 2 : $7
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.
|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 affordable than its Gamecube and XBox counterparts, so take advantage, PS2 owners. However, if you have a 360 or PS2, you might want to consider the downloadable HD version.
|Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: $4
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 front-runner for the best in the series, and it is definitely the best value.
|Resident Evil 4: $7
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.
|Burnout 2 & Burnout 3 Takedown : $6 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.
|R-Type Final: $9If you’re a fan of the shmup series, “Final” picks up right where Delta on the PS1 left off: bludgeoning enemies with your Force fills up a “dose” meter, which when topped out gives the device extra ramming power, bonus score rewards, and a single-use screen-clearing “smart bomb”. Oh, and by the way, a couple more ships have been added to the playable roster…y’know, just a HUNDRED of ‘em or so, from throughout the series’ lengthy run and beyond. Sure, a fair portion are simply “upgrades” of other models, and not every variation is equally useful to say the least, but there’s still an impressive amount of variety in this hangar, almost unprecedented amidst its genre brethren. It isn’t the best game in the PS2’s large shmup library, but it’s one of the best values in the bunch!|
|Mark of Kri & Rise of Kasai: $4 each
The Mark of Kri was a refreshing gameplay experience and displayed a unique graphical style. Making use of the dual analog sticks, it managed to make fighting with multiple opponents an accessible and fun, yet challenging, experience, while still giving players the opportunity to try other approaches, like shooting enemies at a distance with a bow or crawling sneakily from behind. The visual style, the closer you get to an animated look without using cell-shading and the mix between cartoonish characters and scenes of extreme graphic violence gives this game a unique and compelling look. Even though it went relatively unnoticed by the general public it did warrant a sequel on the PS2 by the name of Rise of the Kasai.
|Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus : $5
Sly 2 & Sly 3 : $9 each
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. The trilogy is now available on the PS3 as downloadable HD versions, so keep that in mind when making your purchasing decision.
|Soul Calibur 2 : $4
Soul Calibur 3: $6
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.
|Mega Man Anniversary Collection: $9This is a fine example of how to put together a game compilation. Mega Man Anniversary Collection includes all the games from the original series on the NES and SNES plus a couple of games previously unreleased on a US console. Mega Man Anniversary Collection is simply one of the richest, most well-put-together classic compilations ever made, and it manages to not only refrain from sacrificing key elements of gameplay for the sake of making the hardware transition process easier but also makes improvements that are not only great but practically seem like common sense.|
|The Red Star: $9
So this pick might appeal a lot more to the old-school enthusiasts that frequent this site as opposed to the general gaming public. However, this hybrid beatemup/shootemup is one of the best hidden gems of the PS2′s library for fans of the genres.
|Kim Possible: What’s The Switch: $6
Don’t write this one off just because it’s based on a Disney kids TV series. Every so often a Disney-licensed game manages to surprise us with solid gameplay. If you are a fan of 16-bit platformers and are looking for a solid budget platformer, this Kim Possible installment should impress you with its two-dimensional gamplay coated and cartoony 3D graphics. The difficulty level isn’t too high, but there is a challenge in trying to unlock everything.
|Metal Arms: Glitch in the System: $6This multi-platform third-person shooter is a great hidden gem has been referred to as “Halo-meets-Ratchet-and-Clank”. It was widely praised by the media when it came out, but didn’t quite get the commercial attention it deserved. Metal Arms benefits from a great story, impressive gameplay mechanics, creative weapons, and quirky characters with enjoyable dialogue.|
|Crimson Sea 2: $9
The original game in this epic sci-fi shooter series was an XBox exclusive, but PS2 owners got treated to the much-improved sequel. The developers at Koei did an excellent job refining the controls, pacing, and the upgrade system throughout the game. And of course, Crimson Sea 2 still has the intense shooting and slashing of aliens, interesting characters and storyline that built its cult fanbase.
|Contra Shattered Soldier & Neo Contra: $8 each
For some strange reason, Shattered Soldier got a bad reputation when it came out, but if you’re a fan of the Contra series, you’ll feel right at home. As you might expect, Shattered Soldier is absurdly difficult and it has all the staples of classic Contra games but with updated visuals. Some of the mechanics of this game are cool too, like being able to lock your firing position. Neo Contra was also released on the PS2 a couple of year later, but it typically doesn’t receive as many glowing recommendations.
|Bombastic: $6Bombastic is the PS2 sequel to PS1 gem, Devil Dice. Decent to great solitaire puzzle play, but it really shines for frantic multi-player goodness. The game introduces a new concept to the whole Devil Dice idea: when you match dice, they explode — which creates some chain reactions, and generally causes more regular pain and frustration to your little devil dude. What is particularly nice about this incarnation, is that you can quite easily unlock “classic” play — turn off the exploding dice, and play by the old skool rules.|
|Aqua Aqua: $4If you are a puzzle game fan with a Dreamcast or N64, you may be familiar with the game Wetrix. Well, Aqua Aqua is a bit of a sequel. Aqua Aqua puts you in control of an earth-like terrain on a mission to help the Aquas find balance between dry land and water. By creating mountains from land-based pieces called “uppers,” you can trap rain and water-based pieces to create lakes. If the mountains grow too high, a devastating earthquake may occur. If the water flows too freely across the land, you will ultimately flood your terrain and fail. You must balance these forces while dealing with other (sometimes helpful) obstacles such as bombs, fireballs, and ice cubes. Interesting, eh?|
|Rayman 2: Revolution : $9
Rayman 3: Hoolum Havoc: $7With Rayman Origins becoming a hit on modern consoles, Rayman is seeing a resurgence in popularity. Fortunately, these PS2 installments are becoming more affordable. These games have more of a 3D feel to them than the original Rayman and the newer downloadable titles, but still have much of the magical platforming goodness.
|Phantom Brave: $9It is often difficult to find a solid tactical RPG on the cheap, but this little gem from Nippon Ichi Software can still be found for just under $10 if you shop around. This could easily become a more expensive classic as time passes and collectors start swarming the PS2 library.|
|Grand Theft Auto III: $6
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City: $6
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: $8While it didn’t originate on the PS2, the GTA series blossomed on the console to become one of the biggest franchises in the industry. Since then, it has shown up on a number of consoles and devices and these installments have seen some enhanced versions. If you’re fine with playing the PS2 originals, you can get them dirt cheap now and they will probably drop in value a bit more over the next few years.
|OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast: $9Sega has so many awesome franchises under their belt, but in recent years they have struggled to do them justice. However, their recent resurrection of the Outrun franchise was right one the mark when it came to maintaining the exhilarating arcade feel in a modern gaming world. If you liked the original Outrun back in the day, you’ll love this new installment. And if you just want a more arcade-like racer to add to your library, this is a great place to start.|
|Final Fantasy X: $9
Final Fantasy X was an early showpiece for the Playstation 2 and its beautiful cinematic experience attacted a new audience. (Much like Final Fantasy VII did on the PS1). It’s also worth noting that Japanese Famitsu readers voted Final Fantasy X the best game of all time.
|La Pucelle Tactics: $9Developed by Nippon Ichi, creators of Disgaea, this is the next logical step if you’re a fan of that series and want more. La Pucelle Tactics is surprisingly deep and has plenty of hours worth of adventure and battles. The tactics in the game are fun and advanced, however most players can easily enjoy the system. While it isn’t flowing with eye-candy, the classic graphics don’t hold the game back. The only time you may complain is when you do not get the good ending. However, as opposed to only having end-of-game endings in Disgaea, La Pucelle has different endings for each chapter.|
|Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution: $3
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.
|Super Monkey Ball Deluxe : $7
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.
|Drakan: The Ancient’s Gates: $9Sequel to the PC game Order of the Flame, Drakan on the PS2 is an action/adventure game where you fight on the ground and in the air, on the back of your dragon. The ground parts play in a style similar to Tomb Raider, a blend of action, exploration and puzzle-solving in a medieval-fantasy setting more reminiscent of RPG’s. This game actually has some RPG elements, like a quest system or the ability to level up Rynn, the main character, but overall it’s more Legend of Zelda than Final Fantasy, with a bigger emphasis on exploration and combat instead of a complex story or party management. The flying parts, where you fly mounted on Arokh’s back, on the other hand are obviously more action oriented, with the dragon basically scorching every creature who dares to block his path, making for a nice change of pace that prevents the game from getting too repetitive.|
- Lumines Plus: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Rumble Racing: $8 – eBay / Amazon
- Street Fighter Alpha Anthology: $9 – eBay / Amazon
- Hot Shots Golf 3: $3 – eBay / Amazon
- Virtual On Marz: $6 – eBay / Amazon
- Frequency: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- Taito Legends 2: $6 – eBay / Amazon
- Raiden 3: $8 – eBay / Amazon
- Castle Shikigami 2: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Silpheed: The Lost Planet : $5 – eBay / Amazon
- Mobile Light Force 2: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Guilty Gear X2: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- Midway Arcade Treasures: $5 – eBay / Amazon
- Midway Arcade Treasures 3: $6 – eBay / Amazon
- Gungrave: $8 – eBay / Amazon
- Gungrave Overdose: $5 – eBay / Amazon
- Resident Evil: Code Veronica: $3 – eBay / Amazon
- ATV Offroad Fury 2: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Micro Machines V4: $6 – eBay / Amazon
- Snoopy vs the Red Baron: $5 – eBay / Amazon
- Destroy All Humans 2: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- Crimson Tears: $5 – eBay / Amazon
- Mad Maestro: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Ape Escape 3: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- Primal: $6 – eBay / Amazon
- Soul Reaver 2: The Legacy of Kain Series: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- Second Sight: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- Downhill Domination: $6 – eBay / Amazon
- Savage Skies: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Bully: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Pinball Hall of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Flipnic: Ultimate Pinball: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- Dragon Quest VIII: $9 – eBay / Amazon
- SSX 3 – eBay / Amazon
- Alien Hominid: $3 – eBay / Amazon
- Final Fantasy X-2: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 – eBay / Amazon
- Dr. Muto: $6 – eBay / Amazon
- Balder’s Gate: Dark Alliance: $8 – eBay / Amazon
- Killzone: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- War of the Monsters: $9 – eBay / Amazon
- Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- King of Fighters XI: $5 – eBay / Amazon
- Fur Fighters: $3 – eBay / Amazon
- Half-Life: $9 – eBay / Amazon
- Winback: Covert Operations: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Tekken 4 : $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Tekken 5: $8 – eBay / Amazon
- MLB Power Pros: $3 – eBay / Amazon
- Stretch Panic: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- Ghost Hunter: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- Zone of the Enders: $6 – eBay / Amazon
- Maximo vs Army of Zin: $6 – eBay / Amazon
- Dynasty Tactics: $6 – eBay / Amazon
- Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- Red Faction: $3 – eBay / Amazon
- Red Faction 2: $3 – eBay / Amazon
- Battle Engine Aquila: $5 – eBay / Amazon
- Bujingai: The Forsaken City: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker: $3 – eBay / Amazon
- Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell : $3 – eBay / Amazon
- Space Channel 5: Special Edition: $7 – eBay / Amazon
- Maximo: Ghosts to Glory : $5 – eBay / Amazon
- Star Wars Starfighter : $4 – eBay / Amazon
- SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy Seals : $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Ridge Racer V: $4 – eBay / Amazon
- Need for Speed Underground: $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- V-Rally 3 : $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- SOCOM II: U.S. Navy Seals : $2 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Smuggler’s Run 2: Hostile Territory : $4 – eBay / Amazon.com
- MDK2 Armageddon : $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- X-Men Legends : $5– eBay / Amazon.com
- X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse : $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction: $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Dark Cloud : $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
- ChoroQ: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com