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There Are Only 4 Near-Perfect PS2 Games, According To Metacritic

Many gamers have fond memories of the PS2. It represented a massive generational leap forward and is still the best-selling console of all time, having sold more than 155 million units worldwide. Of course, there are a lot of hardware factors that likely weighed into its commercial success, such as its ability to function as an excellent DVD player, but another reason people loved the PS2 was due to its outstanding library of games.

There are a monumental 4,380 games that players can experience on the PS2 (per ISGamers), ranging from massive blockbuster titles to weird and obscure titles that many gamers have likely never heard of. The best-selling game on the console was "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," and although critics reviewed it very highly, it wasn't the highest-rated game on the PS2. The easiest way to determine a game's critical success (as opposed to its commercial success) is by looking at Metacritic. This site aggregates dozens of critic and user scores to determine a single Meta-score. There are a lot of popular games on the PS2, but there are only four games that managed to score higher than 95: "Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty," "Resident Evil 4," "Grand Theft Auto 3," and "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3."

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

The fourth-highest scoring PS2 game on Metacritic is "Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty," released in 2001. This was the seventh title in the series, the fourth "Metal Gear" game produced by legendary director Hideo Kojima, and serves as the direct sequel to the first game. The story kicks off when a group of terrorists called The Sons of Liberty seize an off-shore facility called Big Shell built to clean up an oil spill. The terrorists then take the President of the United States hostage, threatening to kill him and destroy the facility if their terms are not met. That is, unless Solid Snake has something to say about it.

Its critical reception was overwhelmingly positive. The game wasn't just entertaining; it was a new and exciting format that arguably changed the course of gaming. Mark Ryan Sallee of IGN stated that Kojima had created "perhaps the first postmodern videogame." It currently has a critic score of 96 on Metacritic, with 16 of its 42 reviews giving it a perfect 100. It also has a user score of 8.8 out of 10, with 1,553 positive reviews, 133 mixed reviews, and only 97 negative ones. Most of them praise "Sons of Liberty" for its addictive gameplay. Those who weren't fans usually singled out things they liked better in the first "Metal Gear Solid" or complained that they had to play as Raiden for portions of the game.

Resident Evil 4

Of all the horror video game franchises in the world, few are as iconic as "Resident Evil." The series' trademark combination of corporate corruption, undead horror, and gruesome biological monstrosities has kept fans coming back for decades. Still, many might argue that the franchise peaked with "Resident Evil 4." It's widely considered the best "Resident Evil" game, and some players even believe it to be one of the greatest horror games of all time. "RE4" was the game that got rid of the screen-locked, janky movement from the first few titles and streamlined the visuals, utilizing a fixed third-person point of view that would become a staple for the series until "Resident Evil 7: Biohazard." It also took the story in a new direction, bringing back Leon Kenedy as he's sent to rescue the U.S. President's daughter from a mysterious cult in rural Spain — only to discover that this cult has been infected with a mind-controlling parasite.

The PS2 version of the game has a score of 96 on Metacritic. 14 out of the 38 reviews give the game a perfect 100, and even the less-than-perfect scores are still generally positive. The game also has a staggering 9.3 user score, with 2,336 positive reviews, 107 mixed reviews, and 93 negative ones. Capcom will undoubtedly have its work cut out for it trying to get the new "Resident Evil 4" remake to live up to its source material.

Grand Theft Auto 3

Rockstar Games has a fantastic track record for putting out best-selling and critically acclaimed video games. Both of the highest-scoring games on the PS4 were made by this legendary development studio, so it's no surprise that it also made two of the most beloved games on the PS2. "Grand Theft Auto 3" is the higher-scoring of the PS2-era "Grand Theft Auto" titles, and it follows a criminal named Claude who is arrested shortly after a bank heist goes awry. Claude escapes from prison and embarks on a journey to work his way up through the criminal underworld of Liberty City.

"GTA 3" has a Metacritic score of 97, with 24 out of 56 giving it a perfect 100, with critics loving the game's open world. Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer stated, "GTA 3" is a luscious, sprawling epic of a game and one of the most complete experiences I have ever encountered." The game also has a respectable user score of 8.4, with most criticism against it targeting the game's graphics and controls. Still, 874 out of the 1,083 ratings the game received were positive, with only 130 mixed reviews and 79 negative ones.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Metacritic ranks "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3" as the highest scoring game on the PS2. This was the pinnacle of a trilogy of skating games on the console that allowed players to play as their favorite professional skaters. Players became enamored as they shredded around skate parks and attempted to chain together as many tricks as possible. "Pro Skater 3" also added a new technique called Reverts, which allowed players to link vertical tricks into new combos, exponentially expanding the size of combo chains beyond what was possible in previous games. It wasn't just the mechanics that made the "Tony Hawk" games great, though. Each title is often remembered for its impressive soundtrack and a counter-culture aesthetic that particularly appealed to younger gamers.

"Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3" has an aggregate score of 97 on Metacritic. It has received 34 reviews on the site, with 13 being perfect 100s, 33 being positive, and only one mixed. Gamespot stated, "'Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3' strikes a perfect balance between new and old and renders the two previous entries in the series almost completely obsolete in the process." Oddly enough, its user score is only 7.5, with 313 positive reviews, 58 mixed, and 78 negatives.