The Best PlayStation 2 Action Games

Over 2.5K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best PlayStation 2 Action Games
Voting Rules
Games don't have to be console exclusive, as long as they were released for PlayStation 2 at some point.

If you owned a PS2 at any time during your life, then it's safe to say there were probably a few action games in your collection. Since some games were much better than others, we've decided to rank the best PS2 action games of all time.

With so many great options to choose from, there was never a shortage of games to play for fans of the genre. This list features the most popular and best-selling action games that were released for PS2. While many of these games were console exclusive, we're allowing non-exclusives to be a part of the list as well.

Popular action games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Shadow of the Colossus, which was remeastered for the PS4, are included on this poll, along with many more. Vote for your favorite video games below, and feel free to add any that you think deserve to be on the list.

Most divisive: Enter the Matrix
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  • Set in the early 1990s, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas follows the story of Carl "CJ" Johnson as he navigates the dangerous and gang-ridden streets of the fictional state of San Andreas. With its expansive open-world design, players can explore three distinct cities while participating in a wide array of side missions and activities, adding to the game's vast replayability. Not only does San Andreas stand out for its engaging storyline and immersive setting, but it also pioneered innovative gameplay elements such as character customization and skill development, setting the bar for future open-world action games. Furthermore, the iconic radio stations provide a nostalgic soundtrack that perfectly complements the chaos and grittiness of CJ's world.

  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

    Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater transports players to the height of the Cold War as they take on the role of Naked Snake, a legendary soldier tasked with infiltrating a Soviet jungle base to locate a kidnapped scientist. The game introduced a groundbreaking camouflage system, allowing players to blend in with their environment by selecting different uniforms and face paint, emphasizing the importance of stealth and strategy. Additionally, the inclusion of survival elements, such as hunting for food and treating injuries, elevates Snake Eater above its predecessors and competitors with an unmatched level of immersion. Iconic characters such as The Boss, Major Zero, and Revolver Ocelot also contribute to an intricate and heart-wrenching narrative that remains a fan favorite within the revered Metal Gear Solid franchise.

  • Resident Evil 4
    679 votes

    Resident Evil 4 revolutionized the survival horror genre, thrusting players into the shoes of seasoned government agent Leon S. Kennedy as he searches for the President's kidnapped daughter in a remote European village. The game's innovative "over the shoulder" perspective and context-sensitive controls set a new standard for third-person action games, while still retaining its horror-inducing atmosphere through terrifying enemy designs and an ever-present sense of dread. Resident Evil 4 also introduced memorable characters like Ada Wong and Jack Krauser, who would later become staples in the franchise. The game's perfect blend of action, exploration, and storytelling ensures a pulse-pounding experience that fans of the genre will never forget.

  • God of War II
    760 votes

    Building upon the foundations of its predecessor, God of War II invites players to reprise their role as Kratos and embark on a new quest fueled by betrayal and vengeance. With a more expansive story set against the backdrop of ancient Greece, the game delves deeper into Greek mythology, introducing iconic figures such as Zeus, Athena, and the Sisters of Fate. New gameplay elements, like the addition of magical abilities and the ability to manipulate time, challenge players to master new strategies in both combat and puzzle-solving. God of War II remains a pinnacle of the series, delivering intense action and jaw-dropping visuals that have earned it a rightful place among the greatest PlayStation 2 action games.

  • God of War
    616 votes

    God of War set the action-adventure stage ablaze with its introduction of Kratos, a Spartan warrior seeking vengeance against Ares, the Greek God of War. Gorgeously rendered Greek mythology serves as the backdrop for this brutal hack-and-slash journey, where players wield the iconic Blades of Chaos to combat hordes of enemies and colossal bosses. The game's fast-paced combat system is complemented by platforming elements and environmental puzzles that challenge the player's wit and skill. God of War's seamless blend of intense action and stunning visuals makes it a gripping and visceral experience that has remained a masterpiece in the gaming world.

  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
    415 votes

    Grand Theft Auto: Vice City transports players to the neon-lit streets of a Miami-inspired metropolis, igniting their criminal aspirations as Tommy Vercetti, an ambitious ex-con seeking fortune and power in the 1980s. Vice City's infectious atmosphere, complete with era-appropriate fashion and a legendary soundtrack, immerses players in a vibrant open world where they can engage in a gripping narrative filled with colorful characters and explosive missions. The game expanded upon the series' trademark gameplay with the introduction of motorcycles, helicopters, and a wide range of real estate opportunities that allow players to build their criminal empire. Vice City's perfect blend of style, story, and mayhem solidified its status as a classic within the action genre.