Top 30 Best Multiplayer & Co-Op PS2 Games (Ranked)

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Sony’s PlayStation 2 has a massive library of great games. Including some of those unique and experimental ones that were so common in the sixth generation of consoles.

Among them you can find some memorable couch-locked multiplayer experiences of the decade.

Sure, we have some pretty amazing online multiplayer experiences nowadays.

Huge 100-player battle arenas bringing in people from all corners of the world, all fighting to achieve the epic Victory Royale… and yet at times, it can feel as if you’re just shooting at a bunch of bots.

Nothing beats having your friends in the same room, DualShocks in hand, duking it out on a fighter or trying to out-play each-other while practicing the subtle form of subterfuge that it peeking at your opponent’s screen.

So why don’t we go back?

Go plug your dusty PS2 into your miraculously functional CRT TV and join me as we go through the most amazing multiplayer games on the console.

Fighters, shooters, puzzles… there’s something here for everyone, and their friends.

30. Culdcept

Culdcept on PS2
December 4, 2003 Omiya soft

I like bringing obscure high-quality games to the forefront when given the chance, so let’s start the list with Monopoly and Hearthstone’s secret love child – Culdcept.

On the surface, this 4-player board game seems pretty simple.

Your goal is to make your way across the board capturing territory and defending it with magical beasts you acquire in the form of cards. And others will follow suit on their turns, trying to undo your hard work until only one is victorious.

It’s perfect for those who find stuff like Mario Party a tad childish or “too easy”.

Not only does the game have surprising complexity, but it’ll take the same commitment and time to finish that you’d expect from a round of Risk.

Game night!

 

29. Adventures of Cookie & Cream

Adventures of Cookie & Cream on PS2
December 7, 2000 From Software

On the surface this may look like a weird entry, but one mustn’t be scared of new experiences.

This quirky Co-Op platformer stars two colorful bunnies, Cookie and Cream, as they make their way through several treacherous levels that’ll require some quick thinking on your part to clear.

The graphics are meh, and that bizarre art direction seems focused solely on marketing to children.

But its gameplay remains engaging to the very end.

This comes as no surprise considering it was developed by From Software, the studio behind Dark Souls.

Even if you’re not entirely convinced, it warrants a playthrough. And it shouldn’t take you more than an afternoon to clear.

 

28. Galactic Wrestling: Featuring Ultimate Muscle

Galactic Wrestling: Featuring Ultimate Muscle PS2
April 22, 2004 Syn Sophia, Bandai

There are many wrestling games available on the PS2.

But none of them have the personality and bizarre humor of Galactic Wrestling: Featuring Ultimate Muscle.

And it’s easy to see why!

The source material isn’t only hilarious, but engaging and full of unique characters that(in their weirdness) still manage to resonate with the audience.

This translates pretty well to the game – plus it’s very nice to pull off each character’s incredibly badass super-moves.

You could also play this on the GameCube, but Bandai put considerably more characters into the PS2 version so this one is a win for Sony.

 

27. Alien Hominid

Alien Hominid screenshot
November 21, 2004 Tuna Technologies, Tuna Interactive

I’ve always thought that Co-Op games benefit from simplicity.

Which is why Alien Hominid is so fun to play with a friend.

The game plays a lot like the classic Metal Slug, which almost guarantees it to be good.

Except the graphics look like they belong on a flash game… because this was a Newgrounds game before it got picked up for console releases.

Because of this, it’s understandable that it doesn’t have the most sophisticated gameplay.

Still, that doesn’t take away from the fun at all. Plus it’s so short you won’t even get a chance to grow tired of it.

 

26. Buzz! The Mega Quiz

Buzz! The Mega Quiz screenshot
October 30, 2007 Relentless Software

If you’re having more than a couple of friends over for drinks and all you have at your disposal for entertainment is a PS2, you probably can’t do better than Buzz! The Mega Quiz.

This trivia game starts out friendly-enough, and you can succeed with simple miscellaneous knowledge – but as the game progresses, you’ll notice that wanting to win is a skill in and of itself… and the less-studied among the group will find a way to balance things out.

My advice?

Come up with some rules to turn this into a drinking game. So you’ll all catch a buzz by playing Buzz!

 

25. Half-Life

Half-Life PS2
November 14, 2001 Gearbox Software, Valve Software

Valve’s iconic FPS won’t ever get a third installment, but it did get a port to the PS2 thanks to developer Gearbox.

The game is generally known for its fantastic single-player and memorable story following Gordon Freeman, but it’s far from the only thing it has to offer.

Not only are the head-to-head competitive multiplayer modes great, but it features the fantastic Decay mode which puts you and a friend on a Co-Op campaign starring two female researchers from Black Mesa, parallel to the main story.

Worth a try if you’ve never touched the game before.

 

24. Dokapon Kingdom

Dokapon Kingdom screenshot
November 22, 2007 Sting Entertainment

Dokapon Kingdom can be understood as “RPG Mario Party”, but that would be understating the danger this game poses to your interpersonal relationships.

You see, the game’s objective is to be the richest player by the end of the game.

To achieve this you’ll choose one of three classes, find equipment, clear dungeons, and most importantly you’ll completely undermine everyone else by casting debuffs and other impediments on them.

It’s not called “The Friendship Destroyer” for nothing.

Mario Party is small fry in comparison.

To balance things out, this board-RPG features beautiful graphics and cutesy characters to somewhat veil the backstabbing nature of the game.

 

23. Marvel vs. Capcom 2

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 PS2 gameplay
February 24, 2000 Capcom, Backbone Entertainment

Watching Marvel heroes duking it out against characters from many Capcom franchises never gets old, and it’s just as good on the PS2 as it is on current consoles.

It brings together the heroes of Western culture and those of Eastern origin through a common love of over-the-top combos and special attacks.

It’s a match made in heaven!

While criminally unrealistic considering these characters are in completely different power-level tiers, this game is acceptably balanced for a competitive experience.

And its pace and combo-system are easier to get into than something like Guilty Gear.

 

22. Blood Will Tell: Tezuka Osamu’s Dororo

Blood Will Tell PS2 gameplay
September 9, 2004 Red Entertainment

This wonderful action-adventure game developed by SEGA follows a Japanese samurai with a re-constructed artificial body on a quest to track down 48 demons and take his body parts back from the ghouls.

While the game is based on Osamu Tezuka’s famous Dororo manga, you’ll only get to play as the sly rogue by plugging in a second controller for Co-Op mode.

The thief can’t possibly compare to the protagonist in terms of destructive power, but he’ll contribute to the fighting in his own way.

Play this with anyone who can appreciate the beautiful art direction, deep story, and collectible-hunting.

 

21. Def Jam: Fight for NY

Def Jam: Fight for NY screenshot
September 1, 2004 Syn Sophia, EA Vancouver

EA’s Def Jam is one of the most unique and frankly absurd franchises out there.

And its ridiculous concept is exactly what makes it so good to spend an afternoon going at it with your peeps.

For those of you not in the know, Def Jam: Fight for NY is a beat-’em-up starring none other than hip-hop superstars like Flavor Flav, Fat Joe and even Busta Rhymes.

As expected, the game has a stellar soundtrack with many licensed songs in the hip-hop genre. And the combat system is surprisingly engaging.

It’s a pleasure seeing the developers taking the time to make a game with such an obvious selling point actually good.

 

20. Red Faction II

Red Faction II screenshot
October 16, 2002 Volition

Playing as a rebel militia in a Mars colony is an aesthetic that’s hard to beat.

And it’s also the perfect setting for a friendly shootout with your chums.

While Red Faction II is a very good shooter to play through alone, it truly shines when it comes to the multiplayer arena.

Both because of its fluidity and its awesome weapons such as the fan-favorite Magnetic Rail Driver, which makes a return from the first installment.

There’s nothing quite like living the anti-government extremist fantasy to let all the political unrest out of your spirit so you can do your taxes in peace.

 

19. Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus

Guilty Gear XX Accent PS2 game
May 23, 2002 Arc System Works, Capcom

It’s intense, it’s ridiculously fast-paced, and nigh-impossible to understand for newcomers – yes I’m talking about Guilty Gear.

The Guilty Gear franchise has garnered a cult following over the years.

It’s difficult to determine whether the incomprehensibly complex plot has helped or hampered its progress, but it’s definitely one of its main features.

Regardless, this solid 2D fighter from Arc System Works doesn’t need you to get the plot to enjoy it’s heavy-metal-meets-anime aesthetic and interesting characters.

It’s a must-play if you have a group of friends who’re serious about button mashing. And if you like this one it’s worth keeping up with any future games from the franchise.

 

18. Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium

Capcom vs. SNK 2 PS2
August 3, 2001 Capcom

If you’re a fan of flashy combat then you can’t pass up a chance to play Capcom vs. SNK 2.

Even though it’s a bit less varied in character styles than something like Marvel vs. Capcom, the sheer amount of fighters makes up for it in spades.

That said, the quality of the sprites does vary considerably among the 40 characters. To the point where you’ll feel like you’re playing MUGEN on your PC.

Still, that’s far from an issue once you’re in the heat of battle.

And you’re liable to share some laughs with friends over the dissimilarities.

 

17. Ratchet: Deadlocked

Ratchet: Deadlocked PS2 screenshot
October 25, 2005 Insomniac Games

The fourth entry in the Ratchet & Clank franchise (even though it’s missing Clank) is simply an amazing, lighthearted, and quirky third-person shooter.

It’s a game that anyone with a taste for blowing stuff up can enjoy.

Not only does it feature a 4-man split-screen shootout mode, but the possibility to go through the entirety of its campaign in Co-Op.

While the main player controls Ratchet, the second player takes control of a combat bot as they both risk life and limb in massive firefights against hordes of enemies. Like true bros.

The fact that both characters share a bullet pool and weapons roster helps keeps things interesting, forcing each player into different roles depending on the available guns.

 

16. Bloody Roar 3

Bloody Roar 3 screenshot
June 25, 2001 Hudson Soft, Eighting

Bloody Roar has always been my favorite old-school fighter franchise ever since I played the first installment on the original PlayStation.

And I was very pleased with its first release on the sixth console generation.

While Bloody Roar has always set itself apart from other franchises with its animal transformation mechanics, this entry sets itself apart from the rest of the series in that the developers put a lot more care into making a balanced fighter.

Whether you live for the furry aesthetic or would rather beat one up, this game allows you to do both.

Great, considering common ground is so scarce these days.

 

15. SSX 3

SSX 3 PS2 screenshot
October 20, 2003 EA Vancouver

After the critical success that was SSX Tricky, beloved for its wacky style and intense gameplay, expectations were high for the sequel.

EA Canada delivered.

The game took what made the amazing, twisting racing tracks of Tricky so good and perfected it.

Its graphics were simply stunning back then and the open-world aspect that had you racing down different sides of a single mountain was just magnificent.

If you’re looking for a snowboarding experience on the PS2, you can’t go better than SSX 3.

And this goes double if you’re playing with friends.

 

14. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 screenshot
November 16, 2004 Dimps

Few things are as exciting for a fan of Dragon Ball Z than the Budokai games.

With over 40 characters to choose from, including new additions such as Omega Shenron and the Legendary Saiyan Broly, the third installment in Bandai’s series of DBZ-simulators is ideal for any group of enthusiasts in need of some fun.

Before Budokai Tenkaichi came out on the Wii, you simply couldn’t get a Dragon Ball Z game that was truer to the show than Budokai 3.

 

13. Twisted Metal: Black

Twisted Metal: Black on PS2
June 18, 2001 Incognito Entertainment

Deep in our hearts, we all want to take part in a destruction derby.

Since doing so in real life is complicated and potentially dangerous to our health, Sony’s Twisted Metal franchise is the next best thing.

With its warped clinically insane characters, high-octane battle vehicles, and destructive weaponry galore, a 4-man free-for-all in Twisted Metal: Black is the perfect cathartic experience for you and your friends after a bad day.

And on the good days?

You can just have fun blowing stuff up with your bestie in the game’s Co-Op campaign!

 

12. Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance PS2
December 4, 2001 Snowblind Studios

That said, some of us prefer the more calculated and orderly mayhem of isometric hack’n’slash games such as Diablo or, in this case, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance.

I mention Diablo because like so many other games in the genre, Baldur’s Gate: DA plays almost identically to the former.

Which is in no way a bad thing.

And while its amazing dark-fantasy storyline is a pleasure to experience by yourself, it can be even better if you get the right friends for some Co-Op action.

 

11. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory PS2 screen
March 21, 2005 Ubisoft Montreal

Personally I’m a Metal Gear Solid man through and through.

Still, there’s one thing Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory does better than any Metal Gear game – it has a split-screen Co-Op mode, and it’s fantastic.

That may sound completely chaotic for a stealth game.

But that’s precisely where Ubisoft’s genius lies. It works!

In fact, the tension that working in tandem brings to the table is vastly superior to simply cheesing enemies by taking advantage of their basic AI.

What makes it work is, of course, that they took the time to make a parallel campaign for Co-Op rather than just forcing a second player into the main story. Kudos to you, Ubisoft.

 

10. 007: Everything or Nothing

007: Everything or Nothing PS2 gameplay
November 17, 2003 EA Redwood Shores

While it will never reach the relevancy and user-acclaim that GoldenEye did on the previous generation of consoles, EA’s 007: Everything or Nothing remains a very solid FPS with a great multiplayer arena – and the James Bond charm never gets old.

You could also play 007: Nightfire or 007: Agent Under Fire, but this one has considerably better graphics, and Nightfire has terrible bots.

I’d say really all of them are fantastic though(for different reasons).

 

9. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks PS2 gameplay
September 16, 2005 Midway Games

Midway’s classic fighter had a pretty mediocre run for the entirety of the PS2’s lifespan.

But the one time they dared step outside of their comfort zone, they hit it out of the park.

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks offers a stellar 3D beat-’em-up experience that’s unlike anything else in the series.

And the best part is you can play through the entirety of Liu Kang and Kung Lao’s adventure along with a friend!

 

8. Soulcalibur II

Soulcalibur II gameplay screenshot
July 5, 2002 Project Soul, Namco

Despite there being a Soulcalibur III for the PS2, this gem of a game remains the best in the console.

And according to some, the best of the entire series.

The reason for this lies primarily in how well-balanced the game is, which in turn keeps it fun.

It also has a pretty large character roster which includes veterans like Sophitia and Nightmare, as well as the bizarre addition of Heihachi Mishima from Tekken.

It may not offer Link like in the GameCube version. But it’ll do.

 

7. Dynasty Warriors 4

Dynasty Warriors 4 for PS2
February 27, 2003 Omega Force

The fourth installment in the long-storied Dynasty Warriors franchise featured amazing graphics and expanded gameplay features that made it into one of the most well-received by fans worldwide.

The possibility of going through the campaign’s battles along with a friend was included in the previous release, but developer Omega Force had to learn from their mistakes to make it truly great for DW4.

You may not know this, but the series is loosely based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong. Easily one of the finest literary pieces originating in China, which makes it the perfect game to play with your friends from Book Club.

I also covered some of the better games in this series if you’re looking for even more titles to check out(multiplayer or not).

 

6. Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War

Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War PS2
March 23, 2006 Namco Bandai

Namco’s Ace Combat franchise is probably the single best aerial dogfight simulator franchise ever, and ACZ: The Belkan War is the best on the PS2.

It serves as a prequel to all other Ace Combat games. It offers an engaging story told through radio chatter and on-screen action to keep you hooked.

The gameplay, while not too different from previous games, is incredibly polished and fluid as well.

Overall the game is a pleasure to play. And it’s even better when you go through the campaign in Co-Op.

 

5. Contra: Shattered Soldier

Contra: Shattered Soldier PS2
October 22, 2002 Konami

Who doesn’t know Contra?

Not only is Konami’s quintessential shoot-’em-up an iconic piece of gaming history, but a very fun and intense game in most of its releases, Shattered Soldier included.

I mean yes, it’s a really hard game – but isn’t it challenge what we seek in videogames?

Plus it’s said that friendships only grow stronger when facing hardship together.

So stop wasting time, grab a friend, and get this badass diesel-fueled adventure rolling!

 

4. Champions of Norrath: Realms of EverQuest

Champions of Norrath PS2 gameplay
February 10, 2004 Snowblind Studios

Despite Baldur’s Gate being the most well-known hack’n’slash RPG by Snowblind Studios thanks to its frankly better story, Champions of Norrath remains the better game.

And I feel this way in terms of gameplay, class variety, and graphics.

Back in the PS2 era this game was more often than not the only thing my geeky friends and I ever wanted to play.

Partly because of its narrative connection to EverQuest, which is one of the most famous and influential MMORPGs of the decade.

It’s fast-paced and very punishing at times, but once you and your squad get the hang of things they’re going to need heavy machinery to pry the DualShock from your addicted hands.

 

3. Rock Band 2

Rock Band 2 on PS2
September 14, 2008 Harmonix Music Systems, Pi Studios

We can’t all make it past the “garage band” stage in our musical career.

Hell, most of us can’t even get to that point to begin with!

That’s where Rock Band 2 comes in with its still-incredible instrument variety that’ll let you and your friends live the rocker lifestyle from the comfort of your living room.

Guitars, drums, vocals – this has it all!

You really haven’t had a truly tight squad until you’ve jammed together in RB2 at least once, so what are you waiting for?

 

2. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect

TimeSplitters: Future Perfect screenshot
March 21, 2005 Free Radical Design

No matter what sixth-gen console we’re talking about, it’s impossible not to mention Free Radical’s TimeSplitters franchise, whether it’s TS2 or Future Perfect.

With an expansive wealth of game modes, wacky characters, many weapons to choose from in competitive multiplayer, not to mention an amazing Co-Op experience, this game will keep you and your chums hooked to the console for hours.

Also make sure not to skip playing Virus mode – it’s the PS2 equivalent of Call of Duty: Zombies or GoW’s Horde mode, and it descends into chaos just as quickly.

 

1. Star Wars Battlefront II

Star Wars Battlefront II screenshot
November 1, 2005 Pandemic Studios

Wasn’t it obvious?

Before the veritable disaster that were the last couple of entries in the franchise after it was acquired by EA, Star Wars Battlefront II was the measuring stick for large-scale shooters.

It puts players right in the middle of many huge battles that shaped Star Wars history. Such as the battle of Hoth, as one of the many varied and fun-to-play classes.

Space battles are also one of the game’s most exciting features that allow you to board and pilot iconic ships in large-scale skirmishes.

Talk about fan service.

It’s not only the best multiplayer shooter on the PS2, but probably one of the best in the history of gaming. And it might even be the best Star Wars game to date.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.