Sony’s commitment to its PS2 Classics program has been awful, but with talk of the platform holder exploring its history for the PlayStation 5, we've been pondering which last-last-gen titles deserve the upscale-and-Trophies treatment on the company's current console. While we had planned to put together a short list, the Japanese giant's legendary system had so many hits that it's practically impossible to condense things, so we've gone all out instead. We've tried to focus on games that haven't already received the remaster treatment (like Final Fantasy XII, for example). Without further ado, then, let's get this underway.
Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies
Part of Sony's infamous fall 2001 flyby which included various legendary exclusives like Grand Theft Auto III and ICO, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies was a fine arcade dogfighting title that would surely whet appetites ahead of upcoming PS4 entry, Ace Combat 7.
Perhaps best remembered for its art style rather than its racing, Auto Modellista's cel-shaded look deserves to be seen by a new generation.
Beyond Good & Evil
It did get a high-definition remaster on the PlayStation 3, but seeing as that version's unlikely to make the leap, Jade's cult classic platformer Beyond Good & Evil deserves to find a home on the PS4 – especially if rumours regarding a sequel are accurate.
It's showing its age now, but Criterion's first-person shooter Black was a technical tour-de-force at the time of the release.
Burnout 3: Takedown
Arguably the best entry in the series, Burnout 3: Takedown is for many the ultimate arcade racer. It may lack Burnout Paradise's open world, but it makes up for it with some of the tightest driving you can find on any console.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3
Widely regarded as the best Dragon Ball Z game to ever grace a home console, Budokai 3 had it all: an amazing character roster, tons of content to blast through, and a fantastic combat system with some truly spectacular special moves.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
It's just re-released on the Nintendo 3DS, where it's earning rave reviews. And it's no surprise: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is peak JRPG, and remains one of the best examples of the genre on the PS2 among intense competition.
In the midst of an onslaught of Hitman games, Danish developer IO Interactive quietly deployed the underrated Freedom Fighters, a third-person shooter with a squad-heavy focus.
Talked about more for its infamous IGN review, God Hand is a third-person beat-'em-up that splits opinion like no other – and we'd love for the conversation to be revisited.
God of War (and God of War II)
The PS3 remasters were excellent, but with no means of playing them on the PS4, we'd like to see God of War and its technically impressive successor wield the Blades of Chaos via PS2 emulation if nothing else.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (and Vice City Stories)
Rockstar brought these PlayStation Portable titles to the PS2 pretty promptly, and while they don't really compare to the main trilogy, it'd still be nice to get these on the PS4 – for the sake of completion above all.
Before Red Dead Redemption, there was another open world sheriff in town. GUN can't really compare to Rockstar's legendary Spaghetti Western, but it's still a fun third-person shooter that's aged better than you may imagine.
One of the most influential games of all-time, the PS2 port of Half-Life is showing its age these days, but would still offer an important history lesson for younger players on the PS4.
Hot Shots Golf Fore!
Irritating puns aside, the PS4 is crying out for some Hot Shots Golf goodness, and with Clap Hanz taking an eternity to bring the newest entry to Sony's new-gen system, why not bring back this classic?
We weren't sure whether to include this one. Bluepoint's brilliant PS3 remaster fixed many of the problems with ICO, but even if we have to deal with the technical issues that plagued the PS2 original, we reckon that any PlayStation console is better when blessed with as many Fumito Ueda titles as possible.
James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing
Licensing issues mean that this one is unlikely, but there was a period where EA Games was pumping out pretty cool original spy stories, and James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing was our favourite.
Absolutely off-its-rocker but still a must-play, you'd be surprised by how well Katamari Damacy holds up in this day and age.
A bizarre mix of first-person shooting and on-rails exploration, Killer7 was peak Suda51 – and with games like The Silver Case making a comeback, we'd love an excuse to revisit this cel-shaded oddity.
The so-called Halo killer was anything but, but Guerrilla Games' first foray into the story of the Helghast holds an important place in PlayStation history.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (and Snake Eater)
Two of the greatest games ever made for the PS2, there have been many ports and remasters of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and its successor, but you're not exactly going to turn down one more, are you?
MotorStorm: Arctic Edge
A very late PS2 game that launched simultaneously with a PSP version, many missed out on MotorStorm: Arctic Edge's extremely enjoyable snow-capped arcade racing.
Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
Another title likely to be affected by licensing issues, Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast re-imagined Yu Suzuki's legendary arcade racing game for a new generation, and is still enjoyable today.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Mechanics introduced in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time can still be found in many games today, and while it's undoubtedly aged as a platformer, this is still an incredible game.
Ratchet & Clank Trilogy
The original recently got remade for the PS4, making the Ratchet & Clank Trilogy an awkward candidate for PS2 emulation. We still reckon that these legendary action platformers have enough to offer to make a port worthwhile.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
It may be lesser known than its successor, but Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is an essential slice of JRPG action – and a must-play for fans of the more recent games.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
It's at its best in PlayStation Vita port Persona 4 Golden, but with so many skipping on Sony's handheld, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 deserves to be played by as many people as possible – especially with Persona 5 proving so popular on the PS4.
Silent Hill 2 (and Shattered Memories)
It's perhaps the greatest survival horror game ever made: Silent Hill 2 may feel clunky by modern standards, but its twisted tale is still harrowing today. We'd like to see the classic joined by Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, an extremely late PS2 port that has some interesting psychological ideas that deserve to be seen.
Sly Cooper Trilogy
For our money, Sly Cooper is the best of Sony's platforming protagonists, and Sucker Punch's trilogy of PS2 titles is arguably more consistent than what Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games delivered during the era.
It may not have featured a particular pointy-haired elf, but the PS2 version of SoulCalibur II is still a classic thanks to its rock-solid combat and sprawling campaign.
At a time when extreme sports games were all the rage, SSX Tricky brought brash colours and unforgettable gameplay. Given the absence of similar titles, this would prove a breath of fresh air on the PS4.
Star Wars: Battlefront II
Licensing issues mean that it will never happen, but for many Star Wars: Battlefront II is the best adaptation of George Lucas' cinematic sci-fi universe.
The baby box art may have been a bit baffling, but Super Bust-a-Move remains one of the most entertaining puzzlers that money can buy. Launch it onto the PS4 so we can pop those bubbles all over again.
Super Monkey Ball Deluxe
A compilation of two of the GameCube's most enjoyable games, Super Monkey Ball Deluxe is a meaty arcade puzzler brimming with mini-games and monkeying around.
Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror (and Logan's Shadow)
Two PSP titles that eventually found their way to the PS2, Sony Bend's stealth shooters plot super-spy Gabe Logan against nefarious organisations, and definitely deserve to sneak their way onto the PS4.
Tales of Symphonia
For many PS2 players Tales of Symphonia was their first taste of Namco's action RPG series, and it still stands today as one of its best instalments. A memorable cast of characters and a huge world made it a cel-shaded gem.
Tekken Tag Tournament
Tekken Tag Tournament Famous for its tight tag-team action and mind-blowing visuals at the time, Tekken Tag Tournament is still a fighting game worth playing in an era when Bandai Namco’s brawler was the undisputed king of the genre.
The Getaway (and Black Monday)
We'd argue that without The Getaway and its sequel Black Monday, there'd simply be no Uncharted. With a heavy cinematic focus, these cover-based shooters were tough to play but a set a new bar for visual presentation on the PS2, and their gangland vibe is still quite unlike anything else on consoles today.
The Simpsons: Hit & Run
There was a time when every popular genre – from wrestling to skateboarding – was parodied by The Simpsons license, and it prompted some pretty good games. The Simpsons: Hit & Run was Grand Theft Auto in Springfield, and it remains a favourite among fans.
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge
Did you know that Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge was made by many of the same people behind Devil May Cry? It may be a licensed title, but this one plays surprisingly well.
An obligatory inclusion, we suppose. TimeSplitters 2 is, for many, the GoldenEye of their era – a split-screen first-person shooter with great maps and gunplay. Bring it back.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
Tony Hawk was very much the Call of Duty of its day – a complete Activision cash cow that grinded out ridiculous review scores and sales numbers alike. Everyone has their own personal favourite, but Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 was the pinnacle as far as we’re concerned.
Tomb Raider Anniversary
Lara Croft didn't exactly have the greatest time on the PS2, but Tomb Raider Anniversary was a pretty decent remake of the original game by Crystal Dynamics, and while the series' gameplay has evolved more recently, it'd be great to go back to the series' puzzle platforming roots.
Hideki Kamiya's handsome side-scrolling beat-'em-up was originally part of the Capcom Five, which means that it inevitably ended up on the PS2 not long after its GameCube launch. Its art style still holds up, even if its gameplay is hard-as-nails.
WipEout Fusion is widely considered the black sheep of the series, so we'd rather see PSP port WipEout Pulse get the emulation treatment. This one only released in Europe originally, but it's a great racer, and paved the way for WipEout HD.
Yakuza (and Yakuza 2)
The original two entries in the Yakuza series may have gotten the remake treatment with the Kiwami sub-series, but we'd like to see the original two PS2 titles ported to the PS4 – especially given the success that the series has seen lately.
An impressive list that could easily be twice as long! Which games are we missing? Are there any titles here that you're desperate to play again on the PS4? Reveal your retro side in the comments section below.