The PlayStation 2 was a revolutionary console, both in terms of its hardware and library of games. Reigning for about 12 years, this handheld console has dozens of titles that have remained replayable classics to date. Like many consoles such as Gamecube, Nintendo, Original Xbox, and Sega Dreamcast that came around almost the same time, PS2 has innovated the way we play by making gaming much more accessible and bringing it online.
Whether you are looking for imaginative adventure games or thought-provoking journeys, the Playstation 2 has it all. In today’s article, we will discuss the 10 absolute best PlayStation 2 platformers ever released.
Released in 2005, emPsychonauts/em is an offbeat platformer game set in a special summer camp in which a group of psychic kids ends up in an adventure filled with brain-stealing hijinks and a bit of romance.
While this game is rooted in 3D platforming sensibilities, it has a psychic theme that is different from the usual jumping and swinging associated with other games. emPsychonauts/em is a challenging and hilarious platformer that narrates a great story through some truly incredible levels which evoke the psyche of the mind. Full of incredible designs and memorable moments, this game is a wildly surreal adventure where you unlock your paranormal powers to get into the minds of bizarre characters.
In this game, you control the main character Raz while helping him to uncover a mystery at the emPsychonauts/em training camp. The game begins with Raz running and jumping, but as it progresses, he gains additional psychic powers such as telekinesis, levitation, and pyrokinesis. With these new abilities, you can fight off enemies and explore more of the camp.
To get these powers, you must complete certain story missions, gain ranks in the game, or just purchase them. You can also improve powers such as pyrokinesis by gaining additional psi ranks. While you can assign three of these powers to your controller for immediate use, all the powers are available at any time through the screen. Since the game revolves around a group of psychics, you’ll spend much of your time traversing the perils of people’s minds. Although emPsychonauts/em is not super challenging, it’s a fantastic adventure with a beautiful story and a brilliant presentation.
Check it out on Amazon right here.
#9. emSly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus/em
- Sly Cooper was born into a family of thieves. On his 8th birthday, he was supposed to recieve the Thievius Raccoonus -- the family guide to theivery. But it was stolen, broken into pieces and spirited...
- With the help of his friends, Bentley the inventor and Murray the muscleman, he'll go on a quest to restore his family name
- Use your stealth and smarts to sneak around, duck security, and jump through windows & doors without being seen
- Great minigames, hideouts, and vehicles are here for an adventure kids will love!
emSly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus/em is a platformer created by Sucker Punch Productions and released in 2002.
Revolving around the character Sly, a thief who is from a family of other thieves, Bentley, and Murray the clumsy but brave hippo. When Sly was young, a group of evil criminals attacked their house, killed his father, and stole the family book thus forcing him to join an orphanage. On his eighth birthday, Sly is given the Thievius Raccoonus, an ancient thieving instruction guide. Later on, a gang of thieves breaks into his home to steal the book. As he watches in panic, the intruders wrestle his father and tore the books into pieces which they share between themselves.
Years later, Sly is planning to steal the book back and reclaim what was rightfully theirs. He then enlists Bentley, and Murray to help him prove he is the world’s greatest thief to restore his family name. Sly Cooper and Thievius Raccoonus‘ strongest point is easily the graphics. Besides its fantastic sense of style, its camera automatically spans around to indicate where you are headed next. Plus, each section is introduced using very cool video cutscenes that link the storyline and the world.
Overall, this game is probably one of the best-looking video games that are beautifully animated. So, if the overall presentation and graphic appeal are anything to go by, there is much to like about this game.
You can find it on Amazon here.
#8. emJak II/em
- Take control of Jak and enter a new game world for all-new missions in fantastic new platformer levels
- Meet a cast of characters with personal agendas, entangled motives and mysterious relationships
- Fight your way through hordes of enemies using the classic attacks and tail-bashing, or use a new arsenal of weapons
- Ride Jak's new hoverboard up mountains and ramps, or across large gaps, for a new level of freedom in gameplay
- Explore visually stunning and intricately detailed environments, including a massive metropolis three times larger than the original world of Jak and Daxter!
Initially released in 2003, emJak II/em is an action-packed adventure video game developed by Naughty Dog.
As the second game in the Jak and Daxter series, this game is both a prequel and sequel to Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. While the gameplay is somehow similar to the previous one, it significantly differs in some areas. The game begins with a long cutscene where Jak and Daxter, Samos, and Keira are shot into the future and land on a new planet. Next, Jak is taken away and thrown into custody by Baron Praxis for two years before Daxter finally frees him.
The effect is that Jak is not only mad and filled with anger because of unfair imprisonment but also changed a lot. He is no longer friendly, likes to break things, and wants to fight. Unlike the approaches of the yesteryears, emJak II/em follows an open design that lets you choose your missions from a variety of people.
Since the game’s difficulty has been upped, you won’t be able to play it within one day as before. The best part is that you won’t get bored either. From the storyline to side quests and explorations, there is a lot to derive you into action.
You can find it on Amazon right here.
#7. emSly 2: Band of Thieves/em
- Combines stealth, platforming, combat and strategy -- all in a single, huge game world
- Pull your crew together to plan and execute the most daring heists possible
- All-new moves to help players pull it off - pick pockets, crawl through vents, hop rooftops and attack from the shadows
- Realistic and interactive recreations of Paris, Prague, India, the Canadian Wilderness and more
- Fantastic animation and graphics combines with a story full of twists and betrayals that leaves players wanting more
emSly 2: Band of Thieves/em is a platformer that was first released in 2004 for PlayStation 2. A sequel to Sly Cooper, this game is generally considered one of the best PlayStation 2 platformers.
emSly 2: Band of Thieves/em has a variety of changes including the level of design and a health meter for characters that have replaced the charm system of the predecessor. Other changes include missions where you have to control Bentley or Murray, who have skills that let them do much more than in the previous game. But despite the various changes in character roles, Sly remains the main character. You also need to unlock skills such as opening safes in each world, collecting clue bottles, or collecting coins.
Bigger and more ambitious, emSly 2: Band of Thieves/em gameplay has been enhanced by satisfying actions, non-linear exploration, and an improved game set including vent crawl, pick-pocketing, stealth attacks, and rooftop chases. If there’s anything that ties the quests together it’s that they barely have anything in common. Like its predecessor, Sly 2 is a great-looking video game with an animated style, unique characters, and level layouts. With the characters having multiple abilities, this game provides several elements to play around with.
What makes this game stand out is the unified experience where different parts fit together in harmony. If you are looking for 20 hours of interesting adventure and action, this game is worth trying.
Check it out on Amazon here.
#6. emRatchet & Clank/em
- Get ready for nonstop action as Ratchet and Clank rip the galaxy a new one with their itchy trigger fingers
- Choose from a wild range of 36 weapons and gadgets designed to burn, bomb, explode, or obliterate your enemies
- In this game, it’s not the size of your weapons that count, it’s how many you have and better yet, how you put them to work
Set in a futuristic world full of robots, spaceships, and high-tech gadgets, emRatchet & Clank/em is a game that involves traveling from planet to planet across a vast solar system.
A third-person shooter, this game was created by Insomniac Games for consoles, such as PlayStation 2, 3, 4, and 5. emRatchet & Clank/em follows the adventures of Ratchet, a feline humanoid as he travels through the universe. Although it follows the same story as the 2002 original series, the game developers have completely removed some elements while bringing in some great new ideas.
For instance, the lighting and the character models of the game have been turned into some of the most impressive you’ll ever see. The main reason why emRatchet & Clank/em feels so welcoming is its characters who are presented as defects without making them pitiful. The game also manages to mix things up to include cool moments like dog fights in space, foot chases, hoverboard races, and the like. Plus, it features a New Game+ in the form of a Challenge Mode that you can unlock after completing the story. Overall, emRatchet & Clank/em take your favorite characters and sets them off on their most challenging quests. From beautiful and varied worlds to rewarding weapon systems, this is an adventure that anyone with a PlayStation 2 should enjoy.
You can find it on Amazon right here.
#5. emRayman 2 Revolution/em
emRayman 2 Revolution/em is a 1999 platformer that focuses on the character Rayman.
While the game is essentially the same thing we’ve already played on the PC, Nintendo 64, and Dreamcast, some gameplay features and new levels have been added. In this game, you are supposed to control Rayman, an odd little creature with no legs, arms, or even a neck. At the start of the game, Rayman performs a variety of things including running, jumping, and climbing between walls. But unlike other versions of the game, in the PlayStation 2 version, Rayman is a bit limited in its abilities.
Although you lose control during cutscenes, you can unlock more information about the game by collecting lums. As opposed to its predecessor, emRayman 2 Revolution/em is a 3D platformer that takes you through a linear sequence of levels involving fighting enemies, solving puzzles, and collecting lums. Besides providing different level types, this game’s mechanics are also quite innovative at times. Put simply, emRayman 2 Revolution/em stands as the pinnacle of 3D platform game design.
Even though this version is not as solid as the Dreamcast version, it is characterized by plenty of improvements and enhancements that make it stand out. That said, if you are yet to experience the kind of adventure that this game brings, you need to pick it up and start gaming. It has proven to be one of the most entertaining, engaging, and enjoyable games for the PlayStation 2.
Grab your own copy off Amazon here.
#4. emJak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy/em
- ESRB Rating: Everyone
- Genre: Action/Adventure
First released in 2001, emJak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy/em is a 2001 platformer video game that follows Jak, a young teenager who tries to assist Daxter, his friend.
Assuming the characters of Jak, your goal is to collect 100 power cells and free the four sages. To get these power cells, you must explore the world, help villagers, and exchange 90 orbs with villagers. You can then use these power items and progress through the game. Though the concept and performance of this game were well executed it lacks the boss battles. With the game’s wide range of collectibles, missions, and objectives, you get to enjoy a variety of gameplay experiences, puzzles, and platforming stages.
From the beginning of the game, you can freely roam through the locations while unlocking some parts to access. As the game progresses, you unlock new places such as Volcanic Crater, Rock Village, and other habitats like the open water. You start the game by collecting Precursor orbs which you can find hidden or scattered around the world. Alongside the simple things like walking, running, and jumping that makes the game feel much better, the puzzles and the areas are designed extremely well.
From moving platforms to vehicles and mine carts, the developers have mixed up all these elements to make the game more interesting. Although emJak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy/em has a very limited number of bosses to fight, it’s still one of the finest platformer adventure games around.
You can get it for yourself on Amazon here.
#3. emRatchet & Clank: Going Commando/em
- Choose from over 40 new weapons and upgrades, and a brand new arsenal of high-tech gadgets
- Fight your way through 20 dangerous levels, using new weapons you can upgrade or buy from vendors
- Fun destructible environments - destroy a bunch of stuff and see what happens. You may uncover power-ups and hidden weapons!
If you are looking for an excellent action-packed platformer, emRatchet & Clank: Going Commando/em is the way to go.
Initially released in 2003, this game takes you on an adventure where you visit a variety of planets full of robots and aliens. emRatchet & Clank: Going Commando/em features a weapons upgrade system, an enhanced health damage system, diverse environments, and a compelling storyline you could never imagine. Like the previous version, you’ll get to play as both Ratchet and Clank. Your work is to control Ratchet while using a range of weapons to defeat enemies.
You can also use gadgets, such as the Dynamo and the Gravity Boots to explore certain difficult areas. Unlike its predecessor, emRatchet & Clank: Going Commando/em includes up to 18 weapons including the Bouncer, Blitz Gun, and Lava Gun that you can use to defeat enemies.
As the game progresses you visit new planets and attack enemies who have become tougher You, therefore, need to upgrade your weapons as you and buy better armor. Like the first game, emGoing Commando/em is a good-looking game with good animations, excellent character designs, solid visual effects, and diverse environments. So, whether you are looking for an action-packed adventure or plenty of fun ways to overcome challenges, this is the right pick.
Check it out on Amazon here.
#2. emRatchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal/em
- Use incredible new gadgets to combat enemies in the most intense battlefields -- and build up to 20 new weapons
- Fun split-screen multiplayer capabilities for up to four people
- Six new levels for online play with destructible environment obstacles in battlefield environments
- Online friends list lets players match up according to their game statistics and a variety of player skins
This is a 3D platformer that was developed and released in North America in 2004. Unlike the other installments, the Ratchet & Clank franchise incorporates new elements and unique gameplay like online and offline multiplayer capabilities. The gameplay also has new features including more levels, a new control system, and an upgrade system for weapons. emRatchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal/em involves Ratchet and Clank traveling to planet Veldin after they get the news that it has been attacked.
Essentially, the game introduces a handful of combat scenarios to you throughout. Since the objectives vary from one mission to the next, you’ll be guarding bridges, flying in hover ships and shooting down dropships, and so on. While these missions may be optional, they are pretty fun and will give you lots of entertainment.
So, if you are a fan of this series or you’re just getting started with the Ratchet & Clank games, this offers the best way to get started. Overall, emRatchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal/em will keep you entertained for up to 10 hours, especially if you are completing optional challenges.
You can find it on Amazon here.
#1. emKlonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil/em
- All age game
When it comes to the best PlayStation 2 platformers, emKlonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil/em definitely comes out on top.
Released in 2001, this game’s gameplay is inspired by the original Klonoa. The story revolves around Klonoa, the floppy-eared protagonist through his adventures in the dream world of Lunatea. While emKlonoa 2/em would make a mediocre anime movie, it has incredible gameplay you can enjoy. As in Klonoa, you are supposed to grab your enemies using your power ring and use them to propel yourself higher in the air or as a projectile to knock out bad guys.
Compared to the first series, emKlonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil/em has hoverboard levels, which you can use to maneuver snow-covered mountains or rivers while avoiding obstacles and enemies. As the game progresses, you move from the regular platforming levels to forced-scrolling surfing puzzle emphasis, where you must figure out how to overcome the obstacles and defeat the enemies.
While emKlonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil/em is not one of the most intense platformers, it’s full of action. Alongside its high-quality production and gameplay extends to the soundtrack as well, it has a unique soundtrack that complements the respective levels and enhances your gaming experience. Overall, this game maintains a nice equilibrium between platform jumps, simple switch-based puzzles, overboard levels, and boss fights. If you are a fan of platform games and own a PlayStation 2, you ought to try out this game.
You can try it for yourself off of Amazon right here.
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