10 of the best cheap PS2 games

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It seems at any given point, there’s at least one particular retro console whose library is largely considered to be “disposable”, for want of a better word. For a while now, that console has been the PlayStation 2 — and that’s a great thing, because among the many cheap PS2 games that are out there in the wild, there are some absolutely great titles well worth exploring.

So today we’re going to take a look at 10 of the best cheap PS2 games that you can pick up for literal pocket change. For pricing, we’re going to be using CEX’s selling prices as a guide, since for many of you that will likely be the easiest means of getting hold of these. Do check around on services like eBay and craigslist, though — you might be able to bag yourself a bargain.

All prices correct as of the time of writing (9 November 2021) — prices may vary over time!

Sky Odyssey

Cheap PS2 games: Sky Odyssey

Sky Odyssey is an absolutely fantastic PlayStation 2 game that was very positively received on its original release, but which most people seem to have forgotten about today. Taking on the role of an adventurous pilot, it’s your job to determine the truth behind the legend of a tower named Maximus and a great treasure that supposedly lies at its summit.

Over the course of a non-linear series of missions, you’ll have to demonstrate your ability to pilot an aircraft under a variety of increasingly unreasonable circumstances — many of which will really test your ability to improvise. In one mission, for example, your engine fails, making it necessary that you ditch your plane in a fast-flowing river and guide it like a “boat” to safety.

It also features music by Kow Otani, who went on to do the amazing music for Shadow of the Colossus, and the ability to draw knobs on the wings of your aircraft thanks to the emblem editor. This, of course, makes it one of the best cheap PS2 games you can get today.

Today’s price: 50p

Detonator

Cheap PS2 games: Detonator

This unusual puzzle game from Kadokawa Shoten is one of the most interesting — and unknown — PS2 games out there. It’s a game about demolishing buildings, but this ain’t no Rampage. Here, things are executed in a completely abstract manner, and it’s all about making use of the game’s mechanics to fill a grid with colour, which thematically represents you placing dynamite in such a way that you efficiently take down layers of the building.

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Detonator may not look like much from a static screenshot, but its clean, abstract presentation coupled with a surprisingly atmospheric soundtrack makes this a really memorable game with mechanics quite unlike any other puzzle game you’ve ever played. Definitely one of the most unusual cheap PS2 games you can grab today, and well worth adding to your collection.

Today’s price: 50p

Fantavision

Cheap PS2 games: Fantavision

We may be a little late for Bonfire Night, but Fantavision is fun the whole year round. A puzzle game of sorts, Fantavision challenges you to match coloured fireworks and then set them off in chains to score points. It’s enormously simple, but very addictive.

Considering Fantavision was a real showcase piece for the PlayStation 2 in its earliest days — its particle-based fireworks effects were miles ahead anything the PS1 was capable of — it’s surprising that this falls into the category of “cheap PS2 games” today, but there were probably a whole lot of copies out there floating around. No matter, though — take advantage of the situation and nab yourself one!

Today’s price: 50p

City Crisis

Cheap PS2 games: City Crisis

For those who mourn modern PCs inability to run Maxis’ excellent SimCopter, City Crisis for PlayStation 2 works as a more than adequate substitute. It’s a little less freeform than Maxis’ janky masterpiece, but it has some appealing arcade-style gameplay — and is still quite enjoyable to play today.

In City Crisis, you take on the role of a helicopter pilot for the emergency services, and it’s your job to put out fires and rescue people. Mechanically, it’s quite simple, but what makes City Crisis interesting is the variety of awkward situations around the open city map that these disasters tend to happen. A lot of fun — and another fine example of a distinct breed of cheap PS2 games that will surprise and excite you.

Today’s price: 50p

State of Emergency

Cheap PS2 games: State of Emergency

A lot of people seem to really hate this game, and to be sure it paled in comparison to developer Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series, which was really starting to spread its wings around this time. But spend a bit of time with this one — particularly in its arcadey “Kaos” mode — and there’s a lot to enjoy.

State of Emergency is essentially a 3D beat ’em up in which you run around open environments beating up people and smashing things. There’s a story mode, which you’ll need to play in order to unlock additional levels, but the real joy comes from the primal thrill of destruction and violence. Not a game that will make you think — but so far as cheap PS2 games go, it’s one of the more satisfying ones.

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Today’s price: 50p

SpyHunter

Cheap PS2 games: SpyHunter

A “modern” (for 2001) reimagining of the Midway arcade classic from 1983, SpyHunter is an action-packed 3D racing game with a strong emphasis on blowing things up and performing ridiculous stunts. It’s also a potent reminder of how fun games with discrete, completely linear levels can still be fun, even as gaming in general moves increasingly in the direction of open-world experiences.

SpyHunter’s arcade-style credentials come into play with each mission’s optional objectives; if you want to achieve everything in the game, you’ll need to memorise each level and know exactly what you need to do when to reach some of your targets. There are lots of secrets to discover and, yes, the game does indeed feature the Peter Gunn theme — here reimagined by the band Saliva. They make a big deal of this in the manual, so you better enjoy it.

SpyHunter has had a mixed reception over the years, but so far as cheap PS2 games go, it’s a thrill ride worth taking — so nab a copy if you see one.

Today’s price: 50p

X-Treme Express: World Grand Prix

Cheap PS2 games: X-Treme Express World Grand Prix

The great thing about cheap PS2 games these days is that there’s a strong emphasis on the weirder, more creative end of the market. And that means some truly memorable games to play — games like X-Treme Express: World Grand Prix, a game about racing trains.

Racing trains is more complex than you might imagine, because although you don’t need to steer around corners, you do need to make sure you’re not pushing your train so hard that you go flying off the tracks. And you also need to make sure you stop at the station at the end of the course — you’ll quickly learn that when driving a high-speed train, you need to brake very early indeed!

Today’s price: 50p

Zoo Puzzle

Cheap PS2 games: Zoo Puzzle

Better known these days as Zoo Keeper, Zoo Puzzle is one of the best cheap PS2 games out there — because it’s one of the best puzzle games out there. Following the “Bejeweled” mould of matching groups of three or more animals, each stage challenges you to collect a particular quota of each type of animal. Once you’ve done that, you move on the the next level and things get a little bit trickier.

The appeal of the PS2 version over and above various other ports of Zoo Keeper comes from the Quest mode, which challenges you to accomplish various tasks while playing the game normally. That and the fact that its simple aesthetic has aged beautifully, with its stylised visuals still looking great on modern displays.

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Today’s price: £1

Energy Airforce aimStrike!

Cheap PS2 games: Energy Airforce aimStrike!

A little known flight sim series from Taito, Energy Airforce and its sequel Energy Airforce aimStrike! take a somewhat more realistic approach to jet fighter simulation than their obvious rivals in Namco’s Ace Combat series. This makes them a little harder to get into — but very satisfying once you do nail the necessary skills required to keep these birds up in the air and performing at their best.

Don’t come into this expecting an arcade-style flight game — this is very much a simulation, but that fact alone makes it stand out among other cheap PS2 games out there. We don’t see many flight sims these days on any platform, let alone on consoles, so this is worth having a tinker with for sure.

Today’s price: £1

Intellivision Lives!

Cheap PS2 games: Intellivision Lives!

While you wait for the impending release of the Evercade Intellivision Collection 1 cartridge and/or the Intellivision Amico (I’m sure someone out there is excited for it), there are far worse uses of your time and a single English pound than picking up a copy of Intellivision Lives! for the PlayStation 2 — one of the best value cheap PS2 games, for sure, in that it actually includes more than 60 Intellivision games.

Not all of these hold up brilliantly today, of course, but there are plenty which do — the excellent Night Stalker is a prime example, and there’s great fun to be had with two-player titles like Armor Battle and Sea Battle. Plus it’s fascinating to see an early example of a console RPG in the form of Tower of Doom, and one of the first real-time strategy games with Utopia. Couple that with plenty of excellent historical information and one of the strangest theme songs you’ll ever hear, and you have a great retro compilation.

Today’s price: £1


So those are our picks! Some of them aren’t the most obvious choices — but that’s the beauty of the library of cheap PS2 games you can pick up today. As well as the big names of the era, there are some wonderfully creative games to enjoy — and as you can see, you don’t need to break the bank to pick ’em up, either.

What are your top picks for cheap PS2 games you can grab today? Let us know down in the comments or via the usual social channels!

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