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PS2 20th Anniversary Retrospective: The past, present and future of Sony’s biggest console

The PS2 was first released 20 years ago today. Yes, you read that correctly. Feel old yet? The iconic console from Sony went on to become the single best selling console of all time after launching, in Japan, on March 4, 2000. 

It’s inspired countless gaming platforms since and laid the foundations for plenty of the world’s best-loved games. We’re taking a look at the past, present and future of Sony’s trail-blazing console.

Latest news and rumours: PS5

The past – A potted history of the PS2

After launching on March 4, 2000, the PS2 wasn’t immediately recognisable as best in class. It went up against Sega’s Dreamcast, which was a year older and had a more developed library as a result. Its long-term competitors, the original Xbox and the less powerful Nintendo Gamecube, would launch in 2001, but never out-sell it.

It took the PS2 a little while to get into its stride, but when developers figured out how best to utilise the console’s technology to make entertaining games, it shone. You’ll notice may of the top titles listed below came out years after the console’s first release.

Ultimately, the PS2 is remembered for the memories gamers made on some of its best known titles. Take a look at some of our highlights below…

  • Final Fantasy X (2001)

Receiving near perfect scores from critics on release, Final Fantasy X was one of the PS2’s earlier classics. It was a pivotal entry in the Final Fantasy series, which is soon to become the series of the moment once again, as the Final Fantasy 7 remake draws nearer.

  • Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 (2001 and 2004)

Gaming innovator, Hideo Kojima, was no stranger to entertaining PS2 players. Two of the most memorable Metal Gear solid series entries came on the console. In MGS2, guards were smarter than we’d ever seen them before in stealth gaming and, as a result, evading them was more fun than ever. Then MGS3: Snake Eater took a surprise turn, asking gamers to sneak, fight and survive in Cold War Russia in 1964. It was a pretty sophisticated stealth offering for the time and is still entertaining today.

  • The Jak and Daxter series (2001-2005)

An iconic, cartoony PS2 series, Jak and Daxter’s first outing ‘The Precursor Legacy’ was a pretty rosy, entertaining, platformer. The second and third games took the eponymous hero Jak and ever-quipping sidekick Daxter into darker territory, in large open worlds. Every game was entertaining, every one had its own flavour. (The less said about the follow-up racing game the better.)

  • God of War (2005)

The beginning of a PlayStation exclusive series that’s still going strong today. Kratos first landed on the PS2 and has been hacking, slashing and entertaining ever since.

  • Shadow of the Colossus (2005)

This is another game that returned to gamers’ consciousnesses not so long ago, following the PS4 remake. The developers at Bluepoint masterminded the game’s return and it received rave reviews, just like the original.

  • Resident Evil 4 (2005)

The series that has come to define horror gaming made a memorable outing on PS2 with Resident Evil 4. The PlayStation 2’s tech allowed Capcom to build on the scope of their previous-gen games and make the horror series more immersive than ever.

There are plenty more titles worth remembering, from the Tekken series, to Simpsons Hit and Run. What are your favourites? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.

The Present – Tributes pour in for the well-loved console

The PlayStation 2 sold like hot-cakes when it was the height of console gaming. As a result, it’s got plenty of fans and they’ve been vocal on social media.

Some of these Tweets are sure to take you back. Take a look below or check out the Twitter hashtag #PlayStation2 .

The Future – Will backwards compatibility bring PS2 gaming back to life?

Backwards compatibility is already bringing PS2 games back to life. Flick through the PlayStation Store on a PS4 and you’ll find options to buy and download some classic titles like Star Wars Bounty Hunter and the whole Jak and Daxter series.

When the next generation PS5 lands though, backwards compatibility and retro gaming could go into overdrive. With a full and extensive backwards compatibility programme already completely confirmed by Microsoft for the competing Xbox Series X, Sony will surely be forced to follow suit on the PS5. Seeing older titles already become available on the PlayStation Store, and via PlayStation Now, already seems like a sign that this is set to happen. An announcement could come any time now.

What PS2 games are you hoping to fire up on a next-gen console? Let us know. Get in touch on Twitter @TrustedReviews.

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