With the shutdown of the PS3’s PlayStation Store on July 2, 2021, there’s not a lot of time left to grab some of the best PS2 Classics before they disappear. Some of these are quite difficult to get for the PS2, and none of them can be found on a modern platform! So now’s your chance. Here are our picks for the best PlayStation 2 games to buy before the PlayStation 3 shutdown!
A note about the PS3’s PlayStation Store these days: it’s very barebones, so to find anything, you really need to search for it specifically. You can’t even browse the PS2 Classics as a category! So hopefully readers of this guide will find it to be of some use.
Here are our criteria:
- It must still be available for purchase on the PlayStation Store in North America.
- It can’t be available in PlayStation 4’s PS2 catalog, or ported or remastered on a modern platform.
- It offers something great or special to today’s players.
Onto the games!
The highlight of Suikoden’s post-PS1 era, this third entry wraps up the ongoing story and generally offers a satisfying end to its narrative threads. It does this from many viewpoints, and rewards players for spending time and attention assembling all of the Stars of Destiny. And since the franchise hasn’t done much since, it makes it one of the best PS2 Classics to revisit! Suikoden IV is on the PlayStation Store, too, but it’s a notably weaker entry.
Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
Fatal Frame III: The Tormented
While the Fatal Frame series has, in its weird way, become something of a Nintendo franchise in the past 15 years, it began on the PS2. The survival horror series, centered around photography mechanics, saw three entries on the platform, and all are worth checking out. But hey, they’re all standalone stories! If you’re only playing one, make it Crimson Butterfly, generally regarded as the best (and scariest) of the three.
It’s likely that we’ll never see another game like Chulip. Part of a long lineage of quirky Japanese games, Chulip is a heartfelt game about relationships and community. It’s also a game about kissing everybody. Everybody. It can be a bit tedious at times, but players with the patience for its pace may find a new favorite.
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 2
The Shin Megami Tensei franchise has built up an increasingly large audience. Still, not many have ventured to these two Digital Devil Saga spinoffs. And they’re worth your time! They’re meant to be somewhat more accessible to new players, so you’ll miss the demon fusion system and find traditional JRPG sorts of things in their place. But what’s here is compelling, and playing the two games together offers a complete, satisfying story. It’s not easy, though! So be prepared.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon
On the other hand, if you want something less traditional in the SMT catalog, you might be interested in these two action games. There’s the demon-acquiring element you know and love (though each game handles that differently), but they’re built into real-time combat and a period tale set in a fictionalized 1930s Japan.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES
There’s some debate about whether FES or Portable is the best way to experience Persona 3. One has gameplay updates! One has more content! But both offer a great Persona game, and both are going to be a lot harder to play when the PlayStation Store shutdown kicks in.
The Adventures of Cookie & Cream
While it may not be From Software’s most well-known game, Cookie & Cream offers a distinct brand of two-player co-op. Was it an inspiration for modern split-screen co-op games like A Way Out and It Takes Two? That’s hard to say. Regardless, it has an undeniable charm and is great fun with a partner.
The last game developed by Clover Studio, God Hand has become a cult classic. It’s a beat-’em-up with a lot of quirk, and an over-the top story. If you’re a fan of the sort of goofy violence that drives professional wrestling, you’ll have a good time! And it’s by far the cheapest way to buy it.
The first two Grandia games recently got new life through an HD remaster, but the final game remains PS2-only. Praised for its innovative RPG combat, it released late in the system’s life, and many players missed it as a result. It’s a standalone story, but there are similarities to its predecessors in its Noriyuki Idaware soundtrack and signature fast-paced battle systems.
What do you think are the best PS2 Classics on the PS3 store? Let us know in the comments! And check out more of the handy PlayStation Store guides we’re sharing as the PS3 and Vita shutdown dates approach.