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The Absolute Best PlayStation 2 Sandbox Games of All Time

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The Absolute Best PlayStation 2 Sandbox Games of All Time

Key Facts

  • The Godfather provides countless choices and outcomes as well as iconic scenes and characters from the movies. 
  • Destroy All Humans 2 provides the opportunity to explore areas in key cities all over the world, and features an arsenal consisting of both old and new weapons.
  • Just Cause provides expansive environments, an impressive array of aerial, aquatic, and terrestrial vehicles, as well as the opportunity to explore missions in any order.

The Sony PlayStation 2 was a great console with some amazing games. The console saw a major shift in graphics from its predecessor. There were so many PlayStation 2 sandbox games, thanks in part to this added power. Many gamers fondly remember these expansive worlds.

If you grew up playing on the PlayStation 2, chances are that you had a lot of fun with it. Some of the best Playstation 2 sandbox games were especially great because they let you explore an open world at your own pace. There are so many games we could cover on our list, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top 7.

1. Bully

Fight the Bullies!
Bully (PlayStation 2)
$16.72
  • Untested
  • Complete with manual and case
  • The CD is fairly scratched up
  • Would recommend having a CD repair system/cleaner before purchasing this
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01/17/2024 07:10 pm GMT

Bully is a sandbox game that follows Jimmy Hopkins, a teenager who has been expelled from school for fighting. He must attend Bullworth Academy and survive the social scene there.

The graphics in Bully aren’t very polished, but they’re still good quality, considering how old this game is. The biggest annoyance, compared to a modern game, is the load screens which slow everything down.

The gameplay mechanics in Bully are similar to other sandbox games. You control Jimmy Hopkins and roam around campus completing missions and going to class. Unlike other sandbox games, Bully has a clock that requires you to be in the dormitory and classes by set times.

Another difference is the types of weapons available to Jimmy, the primary one being a slingshot. The game has an open-world environment that allows the player to explore different areas of Bullworth as they progress through the story.

Most of the game takes place on the school grounds, but as the game progresses, you get to explore more of the surrounding town. A common misconception is that you are the bully in the game, but you quickly find out that everyone is not who they portray themselves as.

2. Just Cause

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Just Cause is set in a fictional part of South America known as San Esperito. You play as Rico Rodriguez, an operative working for the CIA, who travels to San Esperito to overthrow dictator Victor Valencia and liberate his homeland from the dictatorship.

Rico explores different areas of the island nation while attempting to overthrow its dictator. During this journey, you must free towns from enemy control while battling various factions that oppose them. The map is quite large and somewhat barren compared to newer open-world games, but it still holds up very well.

The game consists of a series of missions separated by cutscenes. It also traverses through a variety of environments, such as jungles, beaches, and deserts. The player can use their grappling hook to pull themselves towards distant objects or structures.

This, in turn, allows them to traverse the landscape quickly. Rico is also equipped with various weapons, such as firearms and explosives, to help fight against enemy soldiers and vehicles.

3. Scarface: The World is Yours

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01/17/2024 01:36 pm GMT

Scarface: The World is Yours is another sandbox video game on the PlayStation 2. The game is not a sequel to the 1983 movie Scarface but, instead, a reimagining of the film’s story; although with a dramatically different ending. The player controls Tony Montana, who must rebuild his criminal empire after having his fortune and organization taken from him.

The game is set in 1980s Miami, and you must rise through the ranks of the city’s underworld by accomplishing various missions and tasks for other criminals. However, much of the game’s missions make light of the original movie. Meaning it does not have the same feel as the movie, and instead takes a more dramatized route.

Scarface: The World is Yours also tries to copy the feel of the Grand Theft Auto series. This is a problem, as many games from the era attempt to piggyback off the popularity of that series.

Although Scarface: The World is Yours is a departure from the movie, it seems acceptable since it came out so many years after the movie. Plus, many playing the game never actually saw the movie. Regardless, the game is still a ton of fun, and its open world was good for its time.

4. Destroy All Humans!

Destroy All Humans 2
$37.44
  • Unleash Massive Destruction - Players have total freedom to destroy anything and manipulate everything in the world
  • Probe the World - Explore open game environments like Bay City (San Francisco), Albion (London), Takoshima Island (Tokyo) and Tunguska (Russia)
  • Team up with another player and Destroy All Humans together via split-screen Co-Op Game mode
  • Old weapons like the Zap-o-Matic receive a destructive makeover, while using new weapons like The Meteor Strike, Disclocator and Gastro Gun
  • Enhanced Mental Abilities - Upgrade old abilities like PK, Cortex Scan and Hypno Blast; use new alien abilities like the Transmogrify, Mind Flash and Body Snatching
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01/17/2024 01:29 am GMT

Destroy All Humans is set in the 1950s and follows an alien named Crypto, who has been sent to Earth to collect human brain stems. With that said, the game is unlike any other on this list, for better or worse.

It takes its premise from campy alien movies from the 1950s. These movies were made at a time when Roswell and alien conspiracy theories were all the rage.

The gameplay involves destroying humans with your ray gun and taking their brains. You can also use your flying saucer to travel around the world as you collect more brain stems. You even have a jetpack and a ton of options to upgrade as the game progresses. The game is incredibly fun, and the 1950s town looks great.

However, it probably isn’t for everyone, as the backstory and premise of Destroy All Humans are a bit odd, to say the least. The game wasn’t the most popular when it launched either, but it did garner a sequel.

It’s pretty good and also worth playing if you enjoy the original. Even better is that the games did get remasters, so you can play on modern consoles with much better graphics.

5. The Godfather

Godfather - PlayStation 2
$21.94
  • Presents classic moments from the movies and original missions alongside memorable characters from the film
  • Non-linear action-adventure gameplay -- countless choices for solving the family's problems with brutal violence, skillful diplomacy, or a cunning mixture of both
  • From mob hits and bank heists to drive-bys and extortion, you'll need a talent for intimidation and negotiation - these are your tickets to the top
  • Use loyalty and fear to earn respect through interactions with characters in the world
  • Decisions you make will have lasting consequences, just as it was in the mob underworld from the Godfather films
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01/17/2024 03:49 am GMT

The Godfather is a third-person shooter that puts you in control of a character named Aldo Trapani, who is an enforcer for the Corleone family. As you can guess from the name, this game is based on the movie of the same name, which was released in 1972.

But most impressive is that most of the stars from the movie reprised their roles for the game’s voices. The game takes place in New York City and features many characters from both the movie and book series.

The game itself was great for its time, with both the graphics and the story performing well on the dated PlayStation 2. Since the game came out at the end of the sixth console generation, it was later ported to the Playstation 3.

Even so, the graphics do look pretty dated, and the gameplay is cumbersome compared to modern games. The biggest problem is that the world is rather empty. However, you can level up your abilities as you progress.

There are also side missions that you can complete in addition to the story missions. However, some of the missions do feel repetitive at times, with plenty of driving. For the main story, you are tasked with carrying out various missions for the family, including assassinations, kidnappings, and extortion.

6. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - PlayStation 2
$21.95
  • Drive through the largest GTA environment ever -- The game has three cities players can explore, for a gaming area 5 times larger than Vice City
  • Recruit new characters into a street gang and take over by leading drive-by shootings against rivals
  • Steal all-new vehicles, including bicycles
  • Improved fighting elements -- smoother hand-to-hand combat, plus the ability to hold a weapon in each hand
  • New graphics elements as cars get dirty and even rust, the longer you drive them
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01/17/2024 04:35 am GMT

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is one of the best games in the series. It also attracted many new players to the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Although there were other Grand Theft Auto games before it, San Andreas was literal perfection for its time.

The classic open-world game lets you play as Carl Johnson, who returns to Los Santos, San Andreas, after being away for five years. Although a classic, the game looks very dated in comparison to the modern Grand Theft Auto V.

Besides its dated graphics, the gameplay was tedious, to say the least. A major issue for many gamers of the era was the lack of checkpoints throughout missions. However, those who played the game in its heyday will still look fondly back on it.

The world is filled with things to do and it’s teeming with life. In comparison, many of the other open-world games on the PlayStation 2 had lackluster and empty maps.

The missions are also fun, even if they are hard at times. Most importantly, the missions and narratives do not feel repetitive, and the game stays exciting all the way to the end.

7. The Simpsons: Hit & Run

Animated Action-Adventure
The Simpsons Hit & Run (Renewed)
$85.84
  • Skate through beautiful downtown Springfield and surrounding areas
  • Do tricks on Springfield landmarks
  • Head-to-head shredding and grinding
  • Your actions will set off gags just like you'd see in a real Simpsons episode
  • Multiplayer driving modes for up to 4 players
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01/17/2024 09:55 am GMT

The Simpsons: Hit & Run is one of the few good video games based on a TV show or movie. The town of Springfield is faithfully recreated with tons of Easter eggs from the show’s early seasons. Fans of The Simpsons will notice many of these as nods to certain episodes. One example is the head of Jebediah Springfield’s statue falling off.

The game features similar gameplay to the popular Grand Theft Auto games, even down to the minimap and police chases. However, it is a lot more PG. In comparison, there is a level of crime you can commit, such as property damage and running into people before the police come after you, which results in a fine.

In the game, you also have the chance to buy cars and outfits. You can also take part in mini-games and races. In The Simpsons: Hit & Run, you play as Homer, Lisa, Bart, Marge, and Apu, changing with each level.

What’s more, Springfield is divided into three distinct areas, which are tied to specific levels. Although some of the missions are repetitive, they are still fun and stay true to the source material.

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