For the longest time, PS Now was not taken all that seriously as a gaming service. With a $19.99 monthly subscription and a reliance on a stable server for smooth streaming, Sony's service was a bit too inconsistent to justify the price. In a post-Xbox Game Pass world, PS Now was left with no choice but to adapt or be left behind.
Nowadays, PS Now costs $9.99 and PS4 and PS2 games can be downloaded on Sony's current-generation console. While PC gamers must still stream the games, PS Now provides a substantial selection of titles across three generations. Well, in all fairness, the PS2's line-up is somewhat lacking.
As there are only around 20 PS2 games on PS Now, pickings are relatively slim. Many of the console's greatest games are nowhere to be seen; however, there are still quite a few decent titles available through the service. Here are the best and worst PS2 games on PS Now.
10 Best: Dark Cloud 2
Dark Cloud is also on PS Now and well worth trying, but the sequel is arguably better in every single way. The hack and slash combat is simplistic but enjoyable, while the weapon system provides a constant satisfying feeling of progression. Level-5's JRPG also benefits from an art style that has aged gracefully after nearly two decades.
An interesting addition is a city-building mechanic that permits the world to grow as the campaign progresses. While there is a lot to do and the story is only decent, Dark Cloud 2 genuinely makes the player feel like they have accomplished a lot during their adventure.
9 Worst: Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
PS Now has three Star Wars PS2 games, with the best arguably being Jedi Starfighter. Although not particularly terrible, Bounty Hunter is the hardest of the three games to revisit in this day and age. As a third-person action title, Bounty Hunter feels like a product of its era, which means an intrusive camera, inconsistent hit detection, and too much repetition.
Huge Star Wars fans should enjoy Bounty Hunter, but it is best to keep expectations low.
8 Best: Wild Arms 3
During Sony's first decade, the company's consoles were not exactly lacking for JRPGs. Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Suikoden were producing gold on a bi-yearly rate, while smaller titles like Wild Arms filled in the gaps wherever necessary.
Wild Arms 3 is the only entry on PS Now, although it is a solid place to start for those new to the franchise. As a turn-based JRPG with a western aesthetic, Wild Arms 3 boasts a fantastic story that offers a genuine sense of discovery, mainly due to the world map not revealing locations until they are found by the player. The combat does get a bit repetitive, but it is still a decent system.
7 Worst: Forbidden Siren
Forbidden Siren was the first in a trilogy that concluded with 2008's Siren: Blood Curse. 2003's survival horror title deserves some leeway for being the first of the series; however, Forbidden Siren is comfortably the worst of the three.
In terms of atmosphere and story, the horror game is actually quite effective at making use of its creepy Japanese village setting and religious themes. Unfortunately, the gameplay is clunky and nowhere near as good as some other horror series. The sequels are an improvement, although not by much.
6 Best: Rogue Galaxy
Once again, a JRPG makes the list on the "Best" side, which serves as a testament to the PS2's impressive library. Level-5's Rogue Galaxy is a real-time action-RPG that takes players on an expansive adventure across the universe, with multiple planets to explore. The battle system is fluid and holds up strangely well, while there is a decent list of side-quests that generally avoid being too meaningless.
Rogue Galaxy's progression system is also quite unique, as abilities and stat boosts are unlocked by equipping specific items to a flow chart.
5 Worst: Okage: Shadow King
Another JRPG, Okage: Shadow King has a lot going for it and a lack of options is the main reason it ranks as one of the worst PS2 games on PS Now. With a Halloween-inspired setting and a comical tone, Okage follows a boy named Ari who ends up giving offer his shadow to an evil king named Stan, who plans to take over the world.
The story is fun, if slightly too long, while the graphics are decent. More than anything, Okage: Shadow King is the ultimate middle-of-the-road RPG. While it should satisfy die-hards of the genre, it is unlikely to leave too longlasting of an impression.
4 Best: Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition
Harvest Moon has cemented itself as one of the greatest franchises of all time, and 2003's A Wonderful Life is among the series' best offerings. Re-released in 2005, The Special Edition offers some minor tweaks and was the only PS2 version made available in Western countries.
As tends to be the standard, the protagonist inherits a town and sets out to ensure a productive and lucrative future. In all honesty, The Special Edition is not the best way to experience A Wonderful Life, which is at its best on the GameCube; nevertheless, decent Harvest Moon is better than nothing.
3 Worst: Primal
Primal is far from terrible, but a few things hold it back from being an easy recommendation. As one of the PS2's lesser-known titles, Primal is likely to be an unknown property for most people. So, what is it? Primal follows an awesome female protagonist and a gargoyle on a mission to bring balance to four realms, which involves fighting a whole lot of demons.
The game blends puzzle, action, and horror elements to create an often visually stunning but inconsistent package. With two playable characters, some terrible puzzles, and a robust but finicky combat system that desperately needs a better camera, Primal is almost a very good game.
2 Best: Red Faction
With four games included, PS Now is an absolute gold-mine for Red Faction fans. Putting aside the quality of the latter entries, Red Faction and its direct sequel are considered classic for a reason, although the former is the better of the two. Even in 2019, Red Faction's GeoMod technology - which allows so much of the terrain to be destroyed - remains as fun as it was back in the early 2000s.
The FPS genre has come a long way since 2001, so Red Faction does feel somewhat archaic compared to modern titles. While that cannot be helped, the PS2 shooter is still nothing short of brilliant.
1 Worst: FantaVision
A first-party exclusive, FantaVision was a launch title for the PlayStation 2. Consequently, the game feels more like a tech demo than anything else, even if a real-time puzzle game seems like a weird fit for that role.
The point of the game is to create a chain using fireworks of the same color, with the single-player campaign only lasting a handful of hours. Even if there are far worse games on the PS2, FantaVision is the console's worst title to appear on PS Now.