Published on January 25, 2022    Updated on May 22, 2022

22 Best PlayStation 2 Hack & Slash Games

The PS2 library is wealthy when it comes to hack and slash titles. We take a look at the best hack and slash titles on the system.

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The PlayStation 2 was home to an array of great hack and slash titles. Ranging from the best titles to underrated and lesser-known ones. It’s easy to get lost in such a rich library that influenced hundreds of titles today. Without going further into details, here’s a list of the best hack and slash games on the PS2. The list will include the best, underrated, hidden gems and obscure titles.

Maximo Ghosts to Glory

(2001)
About
Release Date
December 27, 2001
Developer
Capcom
Publisher
Capcom
Genre
Country of Origin
Official Links

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory is a spin-off of the Ghosts ‘n Goblins franchise that was an ambitious project by David Siller, creator of Crash Bandicoot, and his crew at Capcom Digital Studios. David Siller wanted to merge the Ghosts ‘n Goblins universe along with Susumu Matsushita’s art style while also aiming to bring back old school gameplay to the PS2 platform. The game also aimed to provide players with the same experience seen in the GNG franchise, including the severe difficulty.

You play as Maximo, a brave king who returns to his castle after a long journey only to find that his loyal advisor Achille has taken over, and has married his queen, Sophia. Maximo unhappy with the situation tries to stop Achille, but the latter proves to be too powerful, killing him only with one blast of dark magic. Maximo is given another chance for revenge when Grim appears. Fearing that he’ll run out of a job if there are no more dead since Achille is controlling the undead, Grim resurrects Maximo in exchange for stopping Achille and bringing the dead to their rightful place.

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory is a difficult game, and if you thought Dark Souls was difficult, this game will slap you in the face. Saving your progress in Maximo is scarce, and enemies aren’t playing around. If the player isn’t serious, they will die. However, bosses on the one hand aren’t hard. It is those enemies that cast magic that’ll frustrate you the most.

Maximo vs Army of Zin

(2003)
About
Release Date
September 18, 2003
Developer
Capcom
Publisher
Capcom
Genre
Country of Origin

Maximo vs Army of Zin drops the severe difficulty in favour of a linear hack and slash experience. In Maximo Ghosts to Glory, you had the freedom to choose stages in a semi-open level where you can save, jump around or find secrets. Maximo vs Army drops all that, focusing on linear levels that are introduced as stages, refined controls and improved graphics.

Maximo vs Army of Zin takes off from where Ghosts to Glory left off. Achille is defeated, but Queen Sophia is still missing. Maximo embarks on a journey to find her only to be distracted by the menace that is the army of Zin. Our brave king is tasked to protect an entire nation from Zin who is threatening to wreak havoc on earth if not stopped.

Army of Zin is facile compared to Ghosts to Glory. In the first game, you only had a sword and your shield. In Army of Zin, you now possess the ability to wield a hammer, a golden armour similar to that of King’s Arthur, and perform combos of any kind. If you’re a fan of Hack and Slash games, and especially the Ghosts ‘n Goblins franchise, you will surely love this game. It’s a shame that Maximo may never find Sophia as the third game got cancelled.

God of War

(2005)
About
Release Date
January 22, 2005
Developer
Santa Monica Studio
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre
Country of Origin
Franchise
God of War

The Original God of War has hit the PS2 like the storm when it was first released. There’s no denying that nobody was expecting such a game to hit the PS2. However, I feel that games that inspired God of War should be credited as well. Since if it weren’t for them, God of War wouldn’t have existed.

The original God of War takes you on an epic adventure featuring Kratos who laments the day he massacred his family. To flee from his torment, he seeks the Gods of Olympus, hoping that they’ll erase whatever sins he made. Kratos will embark on a courageous journey where he must retrieve the Pandora Box and destroy the God of War, Ares who was responsible for the killing of Kratos’ family.

God of War as a whole has aged fairly well in comparison to the games that inspired it. I replayed the game recently only to check if my nostalgia goggles were still intact or not, and the experience was worth it.

God of War II

(2007)
About
Release Date
March 13, 2007
Developer
Santa Monica Studio
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre
Country of Origin
Franchise
God of War

God of War II is a direct sequel to the original and sees you venturing with Kratos as he seeks revenge on the God of Olympus, Zeus. Graphics-wise, the sequel is an improvement over the original featuring much better textures and facial expressions as well as effects not present in the original.

God of War II introduces several improvements such as Kratos can now wield different weapons including a hammer, a spear and most importantly the blade of Olympus once you finish the game. Overall, the sequel is a much better experience than the original in my opinion and one that is memorable indeed.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

(2004)
About
Release Date
November 30, 2004
Developer
Ubisoft
Publisher
Ubisoft
Genre
Country of Origin
Franchise
Prince of Persia
Purchase
Steam
Ubisoft Connect
Windows

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is the sequel to the Sands of Time and a prequel to The Two Thrones. It sees you venturing as Prince to the island of time, hoping to find the empress who may hopefully help him change his fate, but can he?

The gameplay in POP: WW revolves around solving puzzles, fighting enemies, jumping from one platform to another and running on walls. What makes the entire trilogy of Prince of Persia memorable on the PS2 is the fact that it came at a time when the hack and slash genre was pretty popular back then. You will like it if you are a die-hard fan of the genre.

Before Ubisoft shifted into its focus on Assassins Creed, Watch Dogs, and Far Cry, the company made a cavalcade of unforgettable experiences. Including the Prince of Persia franchise, Rayman, and Beyond Good and Evil.

Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams

(2006)
About
Release Date
January 26, 2006
Developer
Capcom
Publisher
Capcom
Genre
Country of Origin
Franchise
Onimusha

Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams is one of the best follow-ups in the Onimusha saga, and it is quite shocking when many aren’t aware of the existence of this entry. In my opinion, this was the peak of Onimusha, and we can only hope that Capcom may one day revive the entire franchise.

The success of the Resident Evil franchise in the 90s and the early 2000s was one of the reasons that pushed Capcom to develop titles based on the former. Before Devil May Cry was a thing, Capcom developed a franchise known as Onimusha. The franchise was originally planned to follow Resident Evil’s footsteps however, eventually, it became its own thing.

Now while the first trilogy in the franchise sold well at the time, Dawn of Dreams was met with mixed reception, and hence sales were lower than its predecessors. Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams revamped the entire combat system seen in the previous entries, and instead focused on providing the player with a true hack and slash experience featuring combos, multiple weapons, and a role-playing system.

Bujingai: Swordmaster

(2003)
About
Release Date
December 23, 2003
Developer
Red Entertainment
Publisher
Taito
Genre
Country of Origin

Bujingai is an obscure hack and slash that deserves more recognition. While featuring hack and slash elements from other games, it features one gameplay mechanic that makes Bujingai a must-play experience: The parrying system. You can parry and deflect your enemies’ attacks in a unique style similar to that in Chinese movies, and you can also counter-attack magic attacks like beams which you can send back at your enemies anytime.

Featuring the critically acclaimed Japanese musician Gackt, Bujingai’s story isn’t to be taken seriously as it’s pretty mediocre, to say the least. However, if you can ignore it and focus on the gameplay, I’m sure you’ll have one unique experience.

Chaos Legion

(2003)
About
Release Date
March 06, 2003
Developer
Capcom
Publisher
Capcom
Genre
Country of Origin

Chaos Legion’s gameplay can be compared to the likes of Dynasty Warriors as you’ll be fighting waves after waves of enemies with your legions. You get new Legions the more you progress into the game, and each Legion has an advantage over the other. These Legions can be enhanced using items you obtain after defeating enemies, but the best Legion in the game is Thanatos. Once fully upgraded, the game turns into a walk in the park.

You control Sieg who is on a mission to stop Delacroix who’s gone completely over the death of Siela. Delacroix, not being able to accept her death, unleashes his wrath upon the humans, specifically Sieg whom he blames for the death of Siela. His plan is to summon waves after waves of heinous creatures that will supposedly cleanse the world from all sins.

The early 2000s was a busy hack and slash period for Capcom as the company was pumping them left and right. The year 2003 saw the release of Chaos Legion, a fine hack and slash game, that while not featuring the ability to perform combos, includes the ability to summon creatures known as Legion.

Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening

(2005)
About
Release Date
February 17, 2005
Developer
Capcom
Publisher
Capcom
Genre
Country of Origin
Franchise
Devil May Cry
Official Links
Purchase
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4
Steam
Xbox One
Xbox Series X | S

Devil May Cry 3 is one of the leading pioneers that changed the hack and slash genre as a whole. This new entry added the ability to execute stylish combos, multiple weapons, different combat styles and more.

The year 2005 was a hot year for hack and slash fans as players saw the release of a myriad of titles including, God of War, Devil Kings, Nano Breaker, Colosseum: Road to Freedom and more. However, amidst this crowded genre, only a number of titles managed to shine and go on to guarantee the release of multiple sequels.

Despite all these years, Devil May Cry 3 is still recommended entry in the franchise, and one to stay with you for the rest of your life.

Castlevania: Curse of Darkness

(2005)
About
Release Date
November 01, 2005
Developer
Konami Digital Entertainment
Publisher
Konami Digital Entertainment
Genre
Country of Origin

Castlevania: Curse of Darkness was an ambitious attempt by Konami at the time to revolutionize the Metroidvania genre. The early 3D Castlevanias on the N64 were a pretty rough experience, considering they came out at a time when 3D graphics were still a fresh thing. It was until the release of the PS2 that Castlevania would release a proper 3D entry in the franchise. The PS2 saw the release of Castlevania: Lament of Innocent and Curse of Darkness, but in my opinion, I tend to lean heavily towards the latter.

Curse of Darkness, while not featuring a Belmont member as the protagonist, puts you in the shoes of a badass man known as Hector. A former general of Dracula decided it was time to riot against the killing of innocent humans. But such betrayal won’t go without punishment as Hector’s wife ends up being executed as a witch. Hector, sad and angry, vows to exact his revenge on Isaac, Dracula and anyone who worked under Dracula.

Similar to Chaos Legion, Hector is capable of summoning creatures that accompany him through the rest of the game. These creatures can be enhanced, and transformed into different forms. Hector also has several weapons under his belt ranging from a sword, and spear, to an axe or even gauntlets. It’s a shame that Curse of Darkness doesn’t get much love these days as the community is stuck praising Symphony of the Night day and night. If hack and slash is your cup of tea, this one is recommended.

Genji: Dawn of the Samurai

(2005)
About
Release Date
June 28, 2005
Developer
Game Republic
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre
Country of Origin

Genji: Dawn of the Samurai is made by former employees who left Capcom back in 2005, specifically Takashi Shono and Yoshiki Okamoto. Both of them went to found Game Republic and develop unique IPs.

The game is often compared to the likes of Onimusha, but honestly, both of these games are different to one another. Genji: Dawn of the Samurai is a hack and slash set in Feudal Japan and loosely based on the Tale of the Heike.

The game features two protagonists: Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Musashibo Benkei. Each character has an advantage over the other, but both possess one unique gameplay mechanic and that is the Amahagane. Basically, what the Amahagane does is slightly slow the movement of your enemies for a period of time, enabling you to execute a fatal strike by pressing certain buttons. This is a valuable mechanic against bosses, but it requires severe attention to the timing.

The Sword of Etheria

(2005)
About
Release Date
June 30, 2005
Developer
Konami Digital Entertainment
Publisher
Konami Digital Entertainment
Genre
Country of Origin

Sword of Etheria is a low-budget title developed by Konami that sadly didn’t make it into the US stores. This leaves players to either hunt the PAL/NTSC-J release or just emulate the game using PCSX2.

The Sword of Etheria is an obscure hack and slash title by Konami that features 3 playable characters. Despite lacking any sort of combo channellings like Devil May Cry or Bujingai the game introduces a unique gameplay style. The game features a tension gauge that fills up with each aerial combo the player performs. Sword of Etheria is mostly about juggling enemies in the air and executing a powerful attack that inflicts higher damage.

For a budget title, Sword of Etheria is an okay hack & slash title. It’s not the best, but definitely not a mediocre experience either.

Samurai Western

(2005)
About
Release Date
June 07, 2005
Developer
Acquire
Publisher
Atlus
Genre
Country of Origin

Samurai Western is a spin-off of the Way of the Samurai franchise. It’s an obscure game and info that you probably didn’t know about too. The game sees you venturing the wild American west as Goijiro Kiryu, seeking to kill his brother, Rando. Upon his arrival to the United States, Goijiro learns that the place is in a chaotic state, ruled by the tyrant Goldberg who is assaulting innocent civilians thanks to his hired thugs. Touched by such events, Goijiro goes on an adventure to stop Goldberg and eliminate his brother Rando.

The gameplay in Samurai Western is crazy and fun as you take on waves after waves of thugs who are trying to shoot you. The game is divided into stages, and each stage has a boss to eliminate. Goijiro possesses several katanas under his sleeve and each sword provides a different combat style. Goijiro can wield a short katana, double katana or a giant katana. He can also dodge or deflect enemies’ bullets by using the edge of his katana, but some enemies may prove to be a challenge.

Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance

(2003)
About
Release Date
November 04, 2003
Developer
Acclaim Entertainment
Publisher
Acclaim Entertainment
Genre
Country of Origin

Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance is one of those games that indirectly inspired the original God of War in a way that doesn’t get any credit. The gameplay is practically similar, although God of War refined many aspects from Gladiator. You control a brave warrior named Invictus Thrax on his quest to take revenge on the Roman Emperor, Trajan who killed him. Thrax is given a second chance to execute his vengeance but has first to go into the underworld.

The gameplay is similar to the original God of War. Thrax is equipped with different weapons under his sleeves that enable him to perform bloody finishers. The game also features a rage meter, once filled, Thrax emanates a fire-like aura which makes him vulnerable for a short period of time.

Once you play Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance you will notice the similarities between Santa Monica’s God of War and the former. It’s a shame that Acclaim Entertainment is no longer in business, but thankfully, this game is still obtainable these days.

Shinobi

(2002)
About
Release Date
November 10, 2002
Developer
SEGA
Publisher
SEGA
Genre
Country of Origin

Shinobi puts you in the shoes of the legendary ninja Hotsuma on a duty to defeat the Oboro’s Clan leader, Hiruko using the accursed Akujiki blade. Much of the gameplay focuses on speed, meaning that you have to quickly get rid of enemies or else the Akujiki will suck your life. While there are zero combos channelling in Shinobi, the game makes up for it by implementing a unique gameplay mechanic. Shinobi is all about speed, and that speed, if the player manages to perfect it, it will make the game much easier and most importantly, fun to play.

Before Ninja Gaiden: Black saw a release, legends have been playing Shinobi on the PS2. And While Ninja Gaiden is definitely the hardest, Shinobi isn’t a walk in the park.

Nightshade

(2003)
About
Release Date
December 04, 2003
Developer
SEGA
Publisher
SEGA
Genre
Country of Origin

Nightshade (or Kunoichi in Japan) is the sequel to Shinobi on the PS2 that sadly many don’t know of its existence to this day. This continuation doesn’t feature Hotsuma as the protagonist, instead players assume the role of Hibana. A well-trained Kunoichi (female ninja) who’s tasked with a mission to destroy members of the Nakatomi Corporation who accidentally unleashed hell on earth. And while she’s at it, she is ordered to recover shards of the Akujiki blade.

Shinobi and Nightshade don’t differ much gameplay-wise. However, Hibana has different powerful moves under her belt that Hotsuma doesn’t quite possess. The soundtracks on the other hand are absolutely great and memorable. Difficulty-wise, Nightshade is made easier for those who missed the prequel, and it’s much forgiven than the latter. It is definitely a game you should try out.

Blood Will Tell: Tezuka Osamu's Dororo

(2004)
About
Release Date
November 09, 2004
Developer
SEGA
Publisher
SEGA
Genre
Country of Origin

Blood Will Tell ( or known as Dororo in Japan) is a hack and slash anime game based on the original manga and anime that aired back in 1967. I bet this is an info you didn’t know existed, right? Well, you know of its existence now.

You play as Hyakkimaru who is on a mission to retrieve the body parts that were stolen from him by the fiends upon his birth Hyakki is not alone, Dororo got his back too. What’s great about Blood Will Tell is that you get to play as Dororo in some parts of the game as well.

Spartan: Total Warrior

(2005)
About
Release Date
October 07, 2005
Developer
Creative Assembly
Publisher
SEGA
Genre
Country of Origin

Spartan Total Warrior is a different take on the Total War franchise as it veers from the traditional strategy seen in previous games. The game is a hack and slash title similar to the likes of Dynasty Warriors and other Musou titles. You’ll be battling waves and waves of enemies along with your comrades to accomplish a series of missions. Despite being compared to other Musou games, Total Warrior features different weapons to choose from, different magic abilities and more.

Even if you’re not a fan of the Total War series, or haven’t tried any of the previous games before, Spartan: Total Warrior is a recommended choice.

Evil Dead: Regeneration

(2005)
About
Release Date
September 13, 2005
Developer
Beenox
Publisher
THQ Nordic
Genre
Country of Origin

Evil Dead: Regeneration remains by far the best video game based on the Evil Dead series. While some may regard Boomstick of Evil as the better one, Regeneration still holds a special presence in the series.

Without spoiling anything for those who haven’t watched the show or read the comic, The game doesn’t follow the show, instead, it follows an original story by the developers featuring Ash fighting the army of Darkness with his sidekick, Sam.

Shadow of Rome

(2005)
About
Release Date
February 04, 2005
Developer
Capcom
Publisher
Capcom
Genre
Country of Origin

Shadow of Rome is what gamers have been playing for years before Ryse: Son of Rome came into existence. Developed by former veterans who worked on the Onimusha and Mega Man Battle Network franchise, this game has flown under the radar of many. Shadow of Rome is a hack and slash title that sees you experiencing a fictionalized version of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44BC. You take on control of a brave warrior named Agrippa whose father is blamed for the murder of Caesar. The latter is forced to fight deadly gladiators in the arena and survive. The game also features a second character named Octavianus who sets out to prove the innocence of Agrippa’s father.

Shadow of Rome incorporates stealth elements and brutal finishers similar to the ones seen in Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance. The gameplay is similar to Dead Rising as it’s pretty open and you can pick whichever weapon to finish off your enemies. Shadow of Rome is now considered a hidden gem that sadly many don’t know about.

Rygar: The Legendary Adventure

(2002)
About
Release Date
November 25, 2002
Developer
Koei Tecmo
Publisher
Koei Tecmo
Genre
Country of Origin

Rygar: The Legendary Adventure is a reboot of the series that originally debuted on the Arcades back in 1986. While the series was already not that popular back then, Tecmo attempted to give the game a second chance by giving it the reboot treatment. And while the game influenced several titles that came after it (e.g God of War), it sadly did not reach any results that would warrant a sequel.

Rygar: The Legendary Adventure is an extremely fun game where you could destroy almost anything using your Diskarmor. You’ll be fighting enemies, jumping from one platform to another, tackling bosses while gazing at the superb level design of the time. For a 2002 title, Rygar: The Legendary Adventure is an impressive game. If you are fond of hunting down influential games, and ready to ignore their shortcomings, Rygar on the PS2 is a very recommended choice.

Crimson Sea 2

(2004)
About
Release Date
March 30, 2004
Developer
Koei Tecmo
Publisher
Koei Tecmo
Genre
Country of Origin

Crimson Sea 2 is a hack and slash game you probably didn’t even know existed. While Koei Tecmo is renowned for releasing several Musou titles such as the critically acclaimed One Piece Pirate Warriors and Dynasty Warriors, the company has made other niche titles that are considered obscure now. Crimson Sea, originally released on the original Xbox, went on to receive a sequel exclusively on the PS2.

The story puts you in the shoes of Sho and Feanay who must team up together to defeat an alien threat known as the ” Menace “. Taking influence from their previous games, Crimson Sea 2 can be considered a hybrid of many things. At times, it’s a third-person shooter with the bullet time features, and at times it’s a pure hack and slash that rewards you for combos. The game also incorporates a role-playing system where your character levels up to obtain new attacks, power-ups and improved stats.

It is unclear whether Koei Tecmo will re-consider making a sequel to Crimson Sea or not, but thankfully, you can always experience the duology using different emulators. Such as Xemu for the original and PCSX2 for the sequel.

Thank you for reading.

FreeckyCake

Just your average gamer who enjoys hunting hidden gems and underrated games - but still open to any game in the industry if you ask me! My favorite game is Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams and nothing comes close to it to this very day IMO. I highly recommend you to play it!

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