Top 10 Adventure Games on PlayStation 2 [Best Recommendations]

A good adventure game is what every single gamer wishes for each season. Good adventure games tease your imagination with vast environments. They provide endearing characters that you will grow with as you journey across the land with them. They also generally last for at least 20 hours and can easily run up to and beyond 40 hours of game time, which is both a blessing and a curse; it just depends on how much free time you actually have.

The PlayStation 2 years were some of the best for adventure games. Graphics had evolved enough for players to feel immersed more immediately into the landscape of the world. This was the age where players felt a more direct connection to a game’s environment. You felt like you were a part of the world rather than a person simply controlling the characters of another world.

10. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

  • System: PS2
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • Release Dates: Nov. 10, 2003

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time brings us to a Persia set in the 9th century. Players play as a prince who has been part of a successful attack and will now be presenting gifts to the Sultan of Azad. However, he is tricked into releasing a power beyond his wildest imagination. Due to his naivety, everyone is basically turned into a “sand” monster. He is lucky enough to remain human and now finds himself tasked with restoring order alongside Farah, another survivor.

The Prince of Persia is an interesting and unique adventure game. It’s not like the games today that give you expansive environments for you to journey across, such as LOZ: Breath of the Wild or Dragon Age: Inquisition. Nope, Prince of Persia gives you a pretty small world, but an endless amount of ways to navigate it. That’s where the joy comes from in Prince of Persia. You will be put in the middle of a puzzle and have to figure it out by understanding every single inch of the area you are in. You will have to take in every single corner of the room and piece it together in order to reach the next area.

9. Jak 3

  • System: PS2
  • Publisher: SCEA
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Release Dates: Nov. 9, 2004

Jak 3 has players take control of Jak and Daxter once more as Jak is banished to an area known as the Wasteland.

The Jak and Daxter series helped define the legacy of the PS2. Though the first game was particularly epic, it was the third game that pushed the envelope for world building. It was a game that captured players’ imaginations as it sent them into a pretty large wasteland of a world that was full of little nooks and crannies. Compared to the earlier games, you had a lot of different types of environments, with each hiding their own secrets. Despite the overall hectic nature of the gameplay, you would constantly feel like stopping and taking in the lay of the land, which you could easily enough do as the world was open for you to explore at your leisure.

8. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

  • System: PS2
  • Publisher: SCEA
  • Developer: Sucker Punch
  • Release Dates: Sep. 23, 2002

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus focuses on the adventures of Sly, Bentley, and Murray as they track down the Fiendish Five in order to recover the Thievius Raccoonus, which holds the secrets to all of Sly’s thieving ways.

Sly Cooper games have a lot of great qualities. You will have interesting characters and a zany story in practically every single entry. However, the two parts of interest, which combine together in a unique, franchise-defining way, are the amazing levels and stealth factor. Unlike many stealth games during this time, Sly Cooper gave players a large environment to creep across. This wasn’t the type of game that was going to give you a move from point A to point B mission where all you really needed to do was cross a hallway. This game gave you large levels where you would want to explore every single nook and cranny in order to uncover secrets.

7. God of War

  • System: PS2
  • Publisher: SCEA
  • Developer: SCE Santa Monica
  • Release Dates: Mar. 22, 2005

The original God of War brings us to an ancient Greece where the gods are real and more than ready to meddle with the affairs of humanity. The story focuses on the chaotic adventure of the Spartan general Kratos, who essentially sells his soul to Ares, the god of war, in order to become invincible. Blinded by his ambition, Kratos ends up killing his wife and daughter. This experience brings him back to his senses and he renounces his servitude to Ares.

Though the action is one of the main draws of the God of War series, no one can deny the fact that the game has a pretty large and beautiful world for players to cross. You go through so many different towns and landscapes throughout the series that it’s almost hard to keep track of all the places that Kratos has been. In the first game alone, you hit up Athens, the Desert of Lost Souls, a temple on the back of the titan Cronos, the Underworld, and Mount Olympus. Though each area displays incredible attention to detail, the one issue with the game’s world is that you’re generally set on a pretty straight-forward path, with few areas requiring in-depth exploration.

6. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

  • System: PS2
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: KCEJ
  • Release Dates: Nov. 17, 2004

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater brings us to a conflict that happens 30 years before the events of the first Metal Gear Solid game. In this game, we take control of the operative Naked Snake as he attempts to save a Russian scientist by the name of Nikolai Sokolov, sabotage a superweapon, and kill his former boss.

Metal Gear Solid 3 changed up the Metal Gear Solid world. Rather than being in advanced facilities full of advance equipment, we are placed in the middle of a jungle. This environment change was exhilarating when the game first came out. Though stealth was still needed at all times, you had to change up your gameplay and you were probably curious about every single corner of the map. It was simply something brand new and fans of the series were compelled to crawl over every inch of grass and dirt.

5. Kingdom Hearts

  • System: PS2
  • Publisher: Squaresoft
  • Developer: Squaresoft
  • Release Dates: Sep. 16, 2002

Kingdom Hearts starts off with us on an island. This island is the only world we’ve ever known, but we know there must be more out there. We’re so sure of it that we have been planning to set sail with our best friend. However, mysterious forces overrun the island and we are separated from our best friend as well as our love interest and thrown into another world. From this point, we team up with classic Disney characters to defeat the forces of evil and hopefully find our best friend and love interest.

Kingdom Hearts is a game that everyone was so sure would fail. The idea of Square Enix meshing with Disney was blasphemy. It just didn’t make sense. Then the game came out and proved everyone wrong. The color and playfulness of Disney environments created incredible and mesmerizing levels for our character to explore. It was impossible to ignore any corner of the environment, and the developers were kind enough to make practically every aspect of the environment navigable. You could jump on roofs, run through gutters, glide over enemies, and so much more. The vibrancy and interactivity of the areas created such an immediate experience. It made you feel like you were part of the world. On top of all that, the Square Enix elements called to fans of series like Final Fantasy. Whose jaw didn’t drop when they found themselves face-to-face with Cloud in Hercules’ Colosseum?

4. Shadow of the Colossus

  • System: PS2
  • Publisher: SCEA
  • Developer: SCE Japan Studio
  • Release Dates: Oct. 18, 2005

Shadow of the Colossus puts us in the shoes of someone who has just lost their significant other and will do whatever it takes to bring them back to life. In this video game, it just so happens that you need to travel to a forsaken land and kill of the colossi that roam the area.

Most of this game is about you navigating and exploring a land that has been forgotten by time. The first part of every single boss battle is essentially trekking the land and trying to find the exact cavern, temple, coliseum, plain, etc. where your colossal boss is located. This might sound tedious and boring, but the land is wondrous and the attention to detail is extraordinary. The art is so beautiful that you will probably be at your happiest when you have to travel the farthest to reach the next boss.

3. Grand Theft Auto: III

  • System: PS2
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Developer: DMA Design
  • Release Dates: Oct. 22, 2001

Grand Theft Auto: III puts you in the shoes of an unnamed criminal (later revealed to be Claude thanks to an Easter Egg in GTA: San Andreas) as he arrives in Liberty City. Betrayed by his girlfriend and left for dead, Claude sets out for revenge.

Though the world is a bit smaller than the one presented in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, GTA: IIII is the game that revolutionized the series. It was the first to give players a third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective and this view, along with several game mechanics, has become a mainstay of the series. Introducing this new perspective is really what puts this game on the list as it made the city, which you get to explore and destroy, significantly more intimate. You really get a feel for the city and the endless number of dark alleys and sketchy stores that exist in it.

2. Psychonauts

  • System: PS2
  • Publisher: Majesco
  • Developer: ButdCat
  • Release Dates: Jun. 22, 2005

Psychonauts brings us to a summer camp for fledgling psychics. Players take control of Raz, a young psychic who has run away from home due to his father’s distaste for psychics and has forced his way into the camp. Raz gets more than he bargained for though when the brains of other camp kids start disappearing and he is the only person who can do anything about it. Thus, his developing abilities are put to the test as he tries to restore order to the summer camp.

Psychonauts provides players with a massive world to explore and very little direction. Though there are some linear aspects to the game, a good chunk can be done in any order and each area in the game has a ton of layers to it. Each mental landscape (and regular area too) is unique, exciting to explore, and has secret areas to discover. Admittedly, the first few levels are pretty easy to complete at 100%. However, by the time you reach the milkman, things start to get zany. The levels begin to twist, literally, and you’ll have to really explore each world in order to properly progress through it.

1. Okami

  • System: PS2
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Clover Studio
  • Release Dates: Sep. 19, 2006

Okami follows the adventures of the sun goddess Amaterasu as she takes on the form of a wolf in order to save Japan from numerous forces of evil. On your journey, you will have to find/release celestial gods who give you incredible powers that will help you defeat your opponents and restore Japan’s natural beauty.

It takes about 40 hours to beat Okami, and that’s without doing a completionist run. The game takes you through countless environments as you move from lush fields to dark caverns from sandy beaches to frozen mountains. You really take in so many natural environments and every single one is absolutely beautiful and glorious to simply run through as the artwork literally has life blooming behind every single movement. Besides the wondrous art style, which incorporates water colors to a magnificent degree, the story is epic. Shintoism is at the core of the game’s story and all the mythological elements make you feel like you are part of some incredible legend.

Final Thoughts

There you have it. Those are the top 10 adventure games on the PS2. They are the games that led the way to games like Uncharted, Tomb Raider, and Dragon Age. They defined an era and are the reasons why so many gamers despise games that end under 10 hours of gameplay. With all that said, are there any games that you believe should be on this list?

Metal-Gear-20th-Anniversary-Metal-Gear-Solid-3-Snake-Eater-348x500 Top 10 Adventure Games on PlayStation 2 [Best Recommendations]


Author: Yoko Dev

Hello, my anime peers. I’m from the states, but have taken an indefinite leave to travel while freelancing. Outside of a deep admiration for anime that started long ago, I love to read, write, and play video games. The main issue of traveling so far has been not having a console.

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