The PlayStation 2 is nostalgic for many who grew up with the system. I remember spending countless hours repeatedly playing the Ratchet & Clank titles and exploring the different planets in-game, and they’re memories that will stick with me forever. No surprises, then, that I was ecstatic when the awesome remakes hit the PS4 and PS5 years later.
Some of PlayStation’s most significant titles back on PS2 have now received modern-day remakes, such as Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy, and Spyro Reignited Trilogy. But there are so many more that are still trapped on the old-school hardware and deserve a second chance!
After considering the vast pool of worthy PS2 games, here’s our list of the 15 best PS2 games that deserve a modern-day remake.
TimeSplitters was, at the time of its launch, renowned for having solid gunplay and well-crafted levels. Two decades later, it hasn’t aged especially well, but it’s a franchise that lives fondly in the memories of many PS2 enthusiasts who I’m sure would absolutely love to see a remake.
Among the features that set Timesplitters apart back then (and certainly would today too) is split-screen multiplayer, which allowed you to actually play through the entire campaign with a buddy. Couch co-op is a feature that is so often overlooked with a lot of modern games in favor of online multiplayer. It would be great to see an FPS game like TimeSplitters put a focus on couch co-op in addition to all the regular multiplayer modes popular today.
I could totally see a Timesplitters live-service style experience going down a treat, too, featuring all the typical exclusive events, game modes, and new characters we see in other modern shooters. In either case, TimeSplitters’ endless amusement makes it more than worthy of a comeback to the world of modern gaming. Maintaining the essential simplicity of the game is crucial, but updating the graphics, making minor adjustments to the gameplay, and adding new settings and characters would result in a game that is a blast to jump into and travel through time.
Jak and Daxter
Jak and Daxter is an action-adventure video game series that tells the tale of two pals through platformer, action, racing, and puzzle-based gameplay. Following Daxter’s transformation into an Ottsel after falling into a Dark Eco silo, Jak sets out with him on a mission to get Daxter back into his human form. The Jak and Daxter games are considered some of the best 3D platformers ever made, and they are amazing adventures with such fun mechanics that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Whenever I needed an action-adventure platformer that I could love just as much, if not even more, than the likes of Ratchet & Clank, I would turn to the Jak and Daxter trilogy. I’d even suggest that several mechanics of the Jak and Daxter games outshone its competitors completely. A personal favorite game in the series is Jak II, which featured highly entertaining combat systems and thrilling time-trial races that were a total blast to conquer.
A Jak and Daxter trilogy remake would generate equivalent hype and achieve comparable success to the Crash and Spyro remakes. It would be an immense pleasure to witness major Jak & Daxter gameplay scenes and levels in a reimagined state. Just imagine how the fantastical, cyberpunk and steampunk aspects of the Jack & Daxter universe might appear with modern graphics to create a fresh experience. The convenience of a portable system like the Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck could do wonders for Jak & Daxter, reigniting the nostalgia of playing the game with the bonus option of doing so wherever and whenever the craving calls for it.
PlayStation once had a hit series for all ages with Ape Escape, which offered limitless entertainment across the initial PS1 release, as well as both sequels on the PS2. The Ape Escape franchise is a never-ending source of fun, set in a bizarre universe where a wicked monkey named Specter has gained super-enhanced intelligence. Specter gathers an army of monkeys and scatters them through time to wreak mayhem on the world. It’s up to you to save the day by jumping through time to intervene, using various tools, such as radars, clubs, and nets, to track down the apes before they cause major trouble.
After the success of earlier remakes like Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Ape Escape might be the ideal franchise to have a trilogy-styled game remake. Ape Escape’s 3D platformer gameplay is simple, enjoyable, and engaging, making it the ideal game to play while relaxing or on the go. In light of this, I can see an Ape Escape trilogy remake succeeding on modern consoles, particularly on more portable systems, such as the Nintendo Switch.
Overall, Ape Escape is a fun franchise that the whole family can participate in. The original titles are full of enjoyable puzzles, charming environments, and many levels to explore, providing a great deal of potential for success as remakes. These features would surely be enhanced and elevated for modern platforms, and I’d jump at the chance to play as Spike or Jimmy again, time-traveling to track down monkeys, and setting out to stop Spectre – all in HD.
Sly Cooper was at one point among the most iconic characters and game franchises to Sony as a brand. It’s fallen by the wayside a bit these days, but the legacy lives on. Sly games are entertaining 3D-platformer adventures that follow the hook-wielding thief raccoon known as Sly Cooper himself. Sly games involve sneaking, hopping, climbing, and swinging your way through fun and puzzling platformer levels. There’s also an amusing story for each game, usually involving relocating lost items and trying to save Sly’s family history from various enemies. These simple storylines combined with the humourous antics and sneaky actions of everyone’s favorite Raccoon thief are what made these games so enjoyable for people of all ages.
It almost comes as a surprise that Sly Cooper hasn’t made another appearance in recent gaming years, as he’s one of Sony’s most popular characters, having landed four game titles and a bonus bundle game collection. Some of us are even starting to believe Sony may be hunting for remakes in all the wrong areas, leaving deserving franchises, like Sly Cooper, to wither away over time, despite being a hit.
With several opportunities to improve and polish the games, a Sly Cooper remake would be a fantastic way for the franchise to reintroduce itself into modern-day gaming. The Sly universe would benefit significantly from improved textures and modern graphics, giving the game’s intriguing settings a new sense of atmosphere and mystery. The foundation for a modern trilogy remake collection is even already in place, thanks to the previously existing trilogy ‘The Sly Collection.’
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Metal Gear Solid 2 has been hailed as a masterpiece in the history of PS2 games, delivering the best of narrative storytelling and tension. Additionally, the gameplay keeps you engaged by bringing action and excitement to the screen nonstop. Set four years after the events of the first game, you’ll assume the role of Raiden, a FOXHOUND agent looking into the offshore cleanup facility known as the Big Shell.
The graphics of Metal Gear Solid 2 were groundbreaking at the time, and actually still look pretty decent even by today’s standards — a remarkable feat given it first launched way back in 2001. It’s intriguing to consider how much further a modern remake might take them, entirely upgrading and giving the cherished game a higher-definition appearance. Many people also believe that Metal Gear Solid 2 was ahead of its time because the game’s narrative included realistic depictions of fake news, politics, and censorship. This story being revisited and given a second shot in modern-day gaming might be precisely what Metal Gear Solid 2 needs to rekindle the passion of longtime fans and leave an impression on any newbies exploring the franchise for the first time.
Suikoden III is a JRPG title on PS2, recognized for its richly detailed world and vibrant cast of characters. There is also a distinctive storytelling approach in the game, allowing players to experience the narrative through the eyes of three individual characters rather than adhering to the same single-protagonist formula of other games in the franchise. You have complete freedom to switch between these protagonists at the end of each chapter in Suikoden III, letting you pick exactly how you play through the story. This is a fascinating mechanic, as it brings forward an experience that showcases multiple perspectives and considers how each individual can witness the exact string of events differently.
The excellent skill system in Suikoden III also contributes to further character growth and development throughout your journey. Visually, Suikoden III performed a solid job in the visual department, showcasing endearing character models and environments. Suikoden III, unfortunately, wasn’t a complete success, despite having that aspect of originality as its core focus. In truth, there are a lot of lackluster gameplay elements, which is why Suikoden III deserves a modern remake.
Revisiting and editing the underwhelming battle system, plus streamlining the transition between characters, would be factors that would make a massive improvement to the game. Suikoden III is also worthy of a visual upscale because it was the first Suikoden game ever to have 3D visuals. Imagine how incredible the character and environmental graphics would look if they were remastered in HD for modern consoles.
The Simpsons: Hit and Run
Chances are, if you’re familiar with PS2 games, you’re familiar with The Simpsons: Hit and Run. It’s just one of those titles that ended up in everyone’s collections and gained notoriety as a classic. The Simpsons Hit and Run is widely regarded as one of the best licensed games of all time and offers countless hours of chaotic, tire-screeching fun. You’ll be dropped into Springfield, where the Simpson family investigates bizarre incidents using a mix of racing and action-adventure gameplay. The game’s design resembles Grand Theft Auto in some ways, albeit in a milder, cartoonish manner, which is why it has proven to be such an addictive title over the years.
The driving controls in The Simpsons Hit and Run are undoubtedly the game’s strongest feature. They are so fluid that they could have competed with most racing games published on similar dates. The characters in the game also gather tokens and engage in criminal activity and moderately-violent acts similar to GTA. Of course, it’s more family-friendly.
While The Simpsons Hit and Run isn’t pushing any boundaries or doing anything overly-spectacular, it does everything it needs to do to provide an entertaining experience without being overly ambitious in what it was trying to achieve. A contemporary remake would be the ideal chance to advance the gameplay, modernize Springfield’s visuals, and perhaps even add fresh features suited for modern systems, such as multiplayer racing and co-op missions.
Beyond Good & Evil
Beyond Good & Evil is an action-adventure title that hurls you into the adventures of Jade, an investigative reporter working alongside a resistance movement to unravel the sinister conspiracies of the DomZ, an alien species who drain the life from humans and turn them into slaves by implanting spores. Jade’s mission revolves around looking into the DomZ’s deeds and preventing these things from happening to an orphanage of kidnapped children. The gameplay in Beyond Good & Evil is fairly interactive, but the activities are kept at a reasonable level of difficulty to maximize the impact of the narrative.
Along your journey as Jade, you’ll find puzzles to solve, situations to stealth, and adversaries to evade. However, it’s ultimately the game’s brilliantly cinematic storytelling that will keep you glued to the controller. A complete remake of Beyond Good & Evil would only elevate the game and restore a fresh sense of life to the more than deserving story. With such an interesting apocalyptic sci-fi word to navigate, a full graphics update and remaster could see Beyond Good & Evil competing with the numerous popular modern action-adventure titles.
Viewtiful Joe is a side-scrolling beat-em-up PS2 game that has made an impact around the world due to its unique, comic-influenced style of the in-game visuals. In Viewtiful Joe, you will take control of Joe, an average guy with a passion for superheroes. After Joe’s girlfriend, Sylvia, is pulled through a screen into a superhero world, Joe chases after her only to be thrown into this world himself. Only training from Joe’s favorite hero, Captain Blue, on controlling your VFX Powers will enable you to survive in this world and save Sylvia.
Viewtiful Joe only amplifies the use of comic-inspired graphics with an engaging, entertaining and humorous story, as well as challenging and exciting gameplay mechanics, making it feel like a true comic book experience in video game format. As Joe progresses through his mission, he develops his VFX Powers, allowing you to slow down and speed up time for some seriously satisfying beat-em-up action. Similar time-manipulating mechanics are more common in modern gaming, but the fact that Viewtiful Joe was running these with success all the way back on PS2 only makes it even more deserving of a revival.
Plus, the game has a steady difficulty that may catch some off guard and provide a true challenge and high replay value, making it the perfect title for a modern-day reboot. After all, who wouldn’t to beat up on these enemies after a graphics revamp and gameplay update? Especially with the popularity of handheld/travel-friendly consoles becoming a more common thing, Viewtiful Joe could make the perfect game to get lost in while you’re on the go.
SOCOM U.S Navy SEALs
SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs is a series of third-person tactical shooter games often considered one of the best PS2 games of their genre and time. SOCOM’s gameplay and storyline focus on teams of U.S. Navy SEALs completing missions, often pairing up with various special operations forces from around the world. While the concept is somewhat straightforward on the surface, the gameplay mechanics made it stand out from its competitors as such a likable series title. It would be exciting to see how a team would further develop these mechanics to fit the modern standard.
For example, players can approach a mission however they like, commanding their squad to approach things in various ways. Whether you want to scoot around cover and shoot it out or pull up guns blazing and let all hell break loose, every choice you make in SOCOM can make or break a mission. This brings a realistic feeling to the game and lets you truly enjoy the role of a commander with your team. Of course, SOCOM’s graphics are dated, which makes replaying it today tough on the eyes.
SOCOM is the perfect game to bring back in a modern-day remake. Imagine being able to team up with friends via online play and make game plans to complete these team-based missions – with all the potential for flawed plans, humor, and entertainment, the entire thing sounds like an absolute blast. Besides, with shooter games being such a popular genre, there’s no doubt SOCOM could capture the attention of a modern-day gaming audience and perhaps even compete with some big names in the industry.
Twisted Metal: Black
Twisted Metal: Black is an action-packed vehicular combat and racing game for the PS2, where it also received an Online Edition titled Twisted Metal: Black Online. Both games are known as the best of what the PS2 had to offer, with both variations being reissued as part of Sony’s Greatest Hits collection. Twisted Metal: Black resembles a demolition derby, where you’ll have the opportunity of picking out a vehicle and arena to dive into battle against enemy drivers. You’ll also have the chance to pick up various upgrades and weapons to give you the edge over your opponents and make it to the end as the last one standing.
However, Twisted Metal: Black is so much more than just a car combat game. Not only does it bring that fun car-crashing craziness, but the world of TWB is also equipped with an utterly creepy and dark visual aesthetic. When paired with the fantastic soundtrack, it feels like you’re on a survival mission, trying to escape the doom-and-gloom suspense that builds up as you do everything in your power to be the last in the arena. There’s no denying that a TMB modern remake would have fans of both the franchise and the genre of car racing games absolutely losing their mind.
With a remastered soundtrack and online gameplay experience, plus some fine-tuning to the game mechanics here and there, Twisted Metal: Black could become a seriously addictive and successful title. Plus, the visual elements could benefit big time from what modern-day gaming offers, not only in updates to the arenas and better resolutions but also in new features such as fully customizable vehicles.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell is a stealth-based action-adventure/shooter game for the PS2 that made a mark as one of the best titles on the system, finding enough success to generate multiple sequels. Splinter Cell has you take on the role of Sam Fisher and stealth your way through the shadows using tools such as night vision and thermal vision goggles. The game even uses a light meter mechanic, which indicates how visible you are to enemies at all times, allowing you to sink further into the darkness to remain hidden or destroy light sources to create more cover.
With the unique focus on stealth over combat and tactical elements of gameplay, Splinter Cell seems like the perfect game to be brought back a new life for modern consoles. Luckily for fans of the game, this project is already in progress, as Ubisoft currently has a remake in the works. Although the game is still in early production, Ubisoft has released a video detailing some of the game’s progress, concepts, and behind-the-scenes work, so be sure to check that out if you’re excited for Splinter Cell to make a grand return.
Devil May Cry
Devil May Cry is an action-adventure franchise familiar to most PlayStation enthusiasts, and it was the original game that first made a big debut on PS2. It told the story of Dante, a demon hunter with a burning vendetta against evil who, after meeting a mysterious woman named Trish, embarks on a quest to defeat Mundus, the demon lord responsible for the deaths of his family. The gameplay is mostly a hack-and-slash affair, though there are puzzle-solving and platforming elements too. It was billed as a fast-paced Resident Evil title at the time.
Devil May Cry is considered one of the best games, and it’s easy to understand why. Not only did the game use cutscenes brilliantly to engage players in the storyline, but it had a high difficulty, making it the perfect challenge and the most satisfying title to complete. Devil May Cry has continued to be successful beyond the years of its release, many of which have been highly successful. But there’s nothing quite like the original.
Going back to the roots of what made DMC such a ground-breaking title and elevating these aspects could create something extraordinary and very nostalgic. The graphics were impressive for a PS2 title, but with the visual potential modern video games have, Devil May Cry could look phenomenal with a modern reboot – imagine the satisfaction of navigating the missions and slashing through demons as Dante in HD. Since it was an absolute PS2 classic, DMC would be a great game choice to bring back a new sense of life to action-adventure on the PS5, or even the likes of PC, where a modern remake could live up to its true potential.
Ace Combat 4/5
Ace Combat is an arcade-styled flight combat simulator game series that released four titles for the PS2 system. Among them, Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies and Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War are the most popular and successful titles, described by dedicated fans as the perfect blend of action and storytelling and an enjoyable combination of arcade and simulation gameplay. Ace Combat has brilliant environments complete with an excellent soundtrack to enjoy as you navigate the skies, and the gameplay provides missions that make you, as a player, feel like you’re in a real war.
Unfortunately, current generation consoles have left Ace Combat 4 and 5 behind. Although PS4 has its own Ace Combat title, it doesn’t quite compare to the charm and excitement that Ace Combat 4 & 5 brought to the screen. For this reason, It’s time we get a modern remaster that captures the whole HD experience that other games have received. Modern-day systems could make the most of motion controls, VR, and online co-op and multiplayer game modes, adding an even bigger reason to play the game.
Both the idea of trying to team up with friends and work together as you fly through the sky or facing off against these friends with honing missiles and evasive maneuvers sounds like endless fun for fans of the genre. If Ace Combat 4 & 5 were kept the same at the core but remastered with multiplayer functionality, improved sound effects, and HD graphics and music, there’s almost no question that it would be an extremely successful title.
Dark Cloud 1 & 2
Dark Cloud 1 & 2 are a duo of very successful ARPG game titles released for the PS2 and are even referred to by some as Sony’s answer to The Legend of Zelda, which only indicates how much of a mark these titles made for the PlayStation console. While it may seem similar to or pay respects to TLoZ on the surface, there is plenty to love about Dark Cloud that makes it such a unique game on its own. Dark Cloud tells the story of a group of lovable characters who band together to fight against a Dark Genie that has terrorized and destroyed many local villages. Players take control of Toan, a boy with the power to rebuild destroyed lands.
During your adventure as Toan, you will navigate combat-based dungeons, use Atla to rebuild the world around you, and level up your weapons as you work towards defeating the Dark Genie once and for all. Dark Cloud makes the perfect game for a modern remake, as the building, crafting, and dungeon mechanics of the game were engaging and exciting and could be pushed further on current consoles.
Besides, this type of game is suited to any console, from PS5, PC, and Xbox to handhelds such as the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck. With graphics reworks and some fine-tuning to gameplay here and there, Dark Cloud could prove to be an incredibly successful title on any of these consoles and would be the perfect game for ARPG fans.
And that’s it for the 15 best PS2 games that deserve a modern remake! For more gaming content, news and guides, check out the rest of our content here at Twinfinite. We have a wide range of topics that can help you with your gaming adventures on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, and more.