The PlayStation 2 is still remembered fondly by many gamers. The console is thought by some to be the best of all time, while others disagree and greatly attribute the PS2’s popularity to nostalgia among certain gamers. While the consoles legacy is up for debate, it’s true that it did have a huge impact during its run – selling over 157 million units throughout its production cycle. The PS2’s library is home to many classic games and plenty of terrible ones as well. Most of us who grew up in the early to mid 2000s are familiar with some of the great games found in the consoles library. However, you have to wonder all these years later, were all of them as great as we initially thought they were?
Nostalgia usually hits hard and a game might not be as good as you though it was a week after you first played it – let alone several years. These things are constantly up for debate and, because of this, gamers feelings on the subject are prone to change. So what makes an overrated game? Well first off let’s just say that calling a game overrated doesn’t mean it’s a bad title, just that it got a little too much hype. So let’s examine some of these popular games and see just what it is about them that made them so popular. These are the most overrated games on the PlayStation 2.
15 Guitar Hero 2
This one was definitely one of the more talked about games when it came out. The Guitar Hero series was pretty lucrative for a while. Though rhythm games have always had a place in the arcade, they didn’t always fare well on console. Guitar Hero offered players something that other games didn’t, which was the illusion of being able to play an instrument. The guitar controller allowed players to look the part and felt somewhat like an actual guitar. While Guitar Hero 2 is the game that really launched the series’ success, let’s not let that cloud our judgement with this one. This game was entirely reliant on a gimmick and, as we’ve seen, it’s a fad that’s gotten old.
14 ESPN NFL 2K5
To many football fans, this is the holy grail of football video games and, honestly speaking, it still holds up as a pretty well football sim. In fact, there are still people that dedicate time to updating the rosters every year for it. While that kind of dedication is pretty amazing, let’s start looking at this objectively. True, NFL 2K5 is an addictively fun game and, compared to some of the mid 2000s entries in the Madden series, 2K5 outperforms some of them. But as is often the case with a lot of these kinds of titles which develop cult followings, 2K5 has plenty of faults that are often overlooked. The commentary is repetitive and gets boring fast, while the game doesn’t offer too much variety in terms of play selection – especially with passing routes. As fun as it is to bash on modern Madden games, the last few entries have been decent attempts that outperform 2K5 in several ways.
13 Rule of Rose
Okay, so we’re going to have some games on this list that – while not great from a technical or gameplay standpoint, still got a ton of attention solely based on the controversies that surrounded them at the time of their release. Rule of Rose is one of those games. Coming out on the hinges of successful horror games like Silent Hill and Haunting Ground, Rule of Rose emulated those titles almost completely. What really turned heads with this game though was the harsh criticism that it received for its violet portrayal of minors. The game actually never was released in the United Kingdom and even now is a bit of a rarity – making it more of a collector’s item than a good survival horror game.
This is another rhythm game – coincidentally made by the same people behind Guitar Hero – that frankly did not deserve all of the hype it received. Amplitude, much like its successor, is dependent on luring in gamers through catchy music and rhythmic gameplay. Instead of only controlling one instrument, Amplitude allows players to control a whole range of instruments from bass, drums, guitar, vocals, synths and even FX. The player controls a ship that moves around different tracks. The objective here is to hit the right notes and move onto the next track, “building” the song up in a way. It’s a very interesting – not to mention creative – way of going about playing songs, but Amplitude gets a little too much credit solely for being attributed to making way for the once popular Guitar Hero series.
11 Shadow of the Colossus
Okay, so this is bound to anger some of you out there, but please hear this out. It’d be impossible to write this entry without acknowledging how critical a success Shadow of the Colossus was upon its release and how prevalent the game is to certain people even today. However, it could be said that as with any polarizing game, its faults and shortcomings are often overlooked due to the overwhelming universal acclaim it received. One reason we’ve got the game so low on our list is that fundamentally it is a good game, but suffers from some control issues and a story that at times can lose itself. It’s the utter disregard for these issues and criticisms that land Shadow of the Colossus on our list.
10 Gran Turismo 4
The Gran Turismo series is the crème de la crème of racing games. The series has amassed a devoted following of players and in general has received tons of praise from critics and consumers alike. But like most games on this list, we’re not going to blindly believe the hype. Anytime something gets the reputation for being the best within a certain category, it leaves itself open for scrutiny. Gran Turismo 4 is such a title as it sold itself on being a completely realistic driving simulator. Now we know it seems a little harsh to look at a game that came out over a decade ago and criticize its realism, but lets just focus in on what was said about the game at the time. While the car selection was great, the customization was lacking and the realism it prided itself on was decent but outdone by games like Live for Speed and Enthusia – yet both games rated lower than Gran Turismo 4 universally.
9 Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal
One of PlayStation’s marquee franchises on the PS2 was the Ratchet and Clank series. While the series has had a decent presence on seventh and eighth generation consoles, it really made its home on the PS2 and most who were introduced to it played their first Ratchet and Clank title on the sixth generation console. While there’s some debate – as there always is with these things – as to which title is the best in the series, a healthy amount of fans would say that 2004s Up Your Arsenal takes that spot hands down. The third entry to the series in just as many years, Up Your Arsenal brought a cleaner look, large variety of weapons and addicting multiplayer to the series. But those positives are greatly outweighed by the overly repetitive and, at times, boring gameplay and level design.
Rockstar is known for their Grand Theft Auto series and it’s one of the most recognizable video game series out there right now. They pretty much revolutionized sandbox gaming and set the precedent for open world games with their vast and immersive worlds. One of the more interesting games they’ve created is Bully. Unlike the GTA games, Bully focuses on the juvenile aspects of crime and creates a more comedic, adolescent world. It was certainly a departure from the norm for Rockstar and one that was met with positive reactions. But despite the hype – and though it is a great game – Bully is often referred to as one of Rockstar’s more underrated titles. While the story and certain aspects of the gameplay were really fun, the game was often repetitive and could get boring fast. The open world didn’t offer much in terms of variety and was often very limiting in what a player could do.
7 Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
Naughty Dog has quite the reputation when it comes to PS2 games as they’ve produced numerous titles that were successful. Aside from the Crash Bandicoot series, their big name franchises are the Uncharted and Last of Us series’. Of course, you’d be amiss if you were to leave out the Jak and Daxter series in that discussion. The Jak and Daxter games are some of the best on the PS2, especially the second and third entries in the series. The one that started it all though, The Precursor Legacy, was not on the same level as its successors, yet for some reason is still remembered as one of the best games you can play on the PS2. The game is often clunky with poor level design and, being the first in the series, struggles from some awkwardness in gameplay every now and then. It’s a fun game but not quite all its hyped up to be.
6 Katamari Damacy
The Katamari series of games are strange. They're certainly imaginative and they are fun to a degree, but the first thing that jumps out at you with these games is the pure absurdity of it all. For those of you unaware with the series, the main goal of these games is to go around rolling a “katamari” (a small ball) that gets anything smaller than it to stick to it, progressively growing in size. While that sounds fun at first, there’s a problem with that premise. That’s about all the game can offer you. It’s very linear and only asks the player to go through each level collecting random junk, rolling through time after time. For such a highly praised game, the gameplay itself is pretty shallow.
5 Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII
This game either gets a lot of love or a lot of hate. Among FF fans, there are those that will either defend this game with a passion or condemn it entirely. Well as you can see, we side closer to the latter than the former. Dirge of Cerberus gets by on name recognition for the most part, as it’s related to one of the most critically acclaimed RPGs of all time. Since Dirge of Cerberus itself is more of a shooter than anything else, this departure has polarized fans. But this isn’t a criticism of the game’s genre shift, rather its failure to execute those changes in a competent manor. The game is best described as a poorly made shooter with terrible AI and awkward mechanics that gets by relying on its namesake rather than any actual competent elements of its own.
4 Grand Theft Auto III
For many of us out there, this is the game that started it all. In terms of the series’ success, Grand Theft Auto III served as the launching pad for Rockstar’s cornerstone games. But this is often confused for success among the gaming community. While it may not be a popular standpoint to take, the game looks better through nostalgia goggles than for what it actually is. To start off, the characters are boring, most are just interchangeable accents, the open world is limited by a Sonic-esque inability to swim, the gameplay is clunky and makes more finesse tasks like snipping really awkward and hard to pull off. It’s successors, namely Vice City and San Andreas, were much better and greatly improved on Grand Theft Auto III’s faults and – especially in the case of San Andreas – are regarded as great games in their own right.
Well it looks like our list is winding down. As we get to our final three you’ll most probably see some stuff that you don’t entirely agree with, this next entry undoubtedly will have some people scratching their heads. TimeSplitters first came out back in 2000 and shared gameplay akin to that of the N64’s ever popular GoldenEye. That’s because Free Radical Design – the guys that developed TimeSplitters – were actually on the teams that worked on GoldenEye and Perfect Dark. If you’ve ever played the game, then you’d know that it seemed less like its own original title and more like a GoldenEye 2.0. The game received a ton of praise and managed to amass its own dedicated following. To be honest, TimeSplitters is just a rehashed version of GoldenEye that doesn’t do anything better or offer anything new to the table.
Here’s another one of those games that got a ton of press and is recognized not for being an outstanding game, but rather for the controversy and negativity it incited and attracted. Upon its release, Manhunt was making headlines for all the wrong reasons. The incredible graphic violence and copious amounts of blood that followed seemed to be too much for some of the weaker stomached individuals in the press. That, and the fact that it had the misfortune of being tied into an actual murder case, pretty much cemented its reputation. Which, of course, made the game a must play. But the end result is a little underwhelming. It’s a pretty straightforward game, but tends to rely more on shock value rather than its stealth aspects and gets pretty boring after a certain period of time.
1 God of War
The God of War series is one of the most popular PlayStation franchises out there. Not surprisingly, it's also one of the most well received. As we look at the series today, it has grown into a gaming behemoth – set to make its PS4 debut sooner or later. The games are beloved by many gamers and the game that started it all off is, of course, the original God of War. While the subsequent entries in the God of War series have vastly improved on the first game, they also showcase just how shallow a game it was in the first place. God of War is in essence a glorified button masher with not much depth to it and a pretty convoluted mythos to back it up. Like we said, the following games in the mainline series were great, but this one certainly didn’t deserve the hype.