GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY
Released October 28, 2002
Of the three major Grand Theft Auto games to hit the PS2, Vice City hit closest to the mark. Grand Theft Auto III was more revolutionary, certainly, and San Andreas bothered to keep in mind that people need to eat and sleep. But Vice City did the best job of pushing the limits of the virtual city while staying focused on its identity as a video game.
PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME
Released November 6, 2003
The Sands of Time gave us something we’d been desperate for since Super Mario Bros: the ability to reverse time and try again after misjudging a jump. The Prince had a few other tricks up his sleeve, too, and it took all of them to navigate his treacherous surroundings. Mixing acrobatics with combat has become standard in 3D platformers, but this was the first game to get it right.
BURNOUT 3: TAKEDOWN
Released September 7, 2004
Burnout makes it look so easy, you wonder why there are still bad racing games made at all. Simply combine vertigo-inducing speed with epic smash-ups, add flawless control, and you’ve got one of the most fun racing games around. Shame about that mall-punk soundtrack, though.
Released June 21, 2005
Tim Schafer’s off-kilter platformer may have been a little too wacky for mainstream audiences. But if you happen upon a copy in a discount bin somewhere, you’ll find Psychonauts’ combination of solid action-adventure gameplay with a whip-smart sense of humor to be irresistible.
RESIDENT EVIL 4
Released October 25, 2005
PS2 owners were probably lucky not to realize what an agonizing wait it would be from Resident Evil 4's initial release on the GameCube in January of 2005 until the PS2 port in October. It only took nine months for PS2 owners to discover what Cube owners already knew: Resident Evil 4 is one of the very best games ever made.
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