The stealth game was out of control during the PS2 era because of two series: Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell. Metal Gear Solid had the second and third entries which pushed the features of the console to new limits. It was also a wackier set of stories along with experimental mechanics like painting Naked Snake’s body for camouflage.
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Splinter Cell was the more technical of the two franchises. It began as an original Xbox exclusive before Ubisoft started bringing them to other consoles. These two franchises are great but there were plenty of more obscure stealth games on PS2. Do you remember any of these fondly?
7 Cy Girls
Metacritic Score: 53
: March 23, 2004
: PlayStation 2
Cy Girls was based on a toy line in Japan that never truly made a splash in the West. This game did come over though as Konami knew PS2 fans were into stealth games thanks to Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. The UI, overall look, and some gameplay elements were very similar to that game.
Players began the game as Ice who was a female spy that specialized in guns. Eventually, they could unlock and play her partner, Aska, who was a blade-wielding Ninja. While it had the look of Metal Gear Solid 2, it didn’t have the charm of it. It came across as an average action stealth game as surmised in the reviews.
6 Haunting Ground
Metacritic Score: 67
- May 10, 2005
- Survival Horror
Capcom made more than Resident Evil games in the horror genre on PS2. They had some experimental titles too that relied more on stealth than action. Haunting Ground is a fine example of that with virtually no combat to speak of.
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After an accident, the young female protagonist Fiona wakes up in a castle and is being heckled and perused by a mysterious woman and a giant mutant man. Eventually, Fiona finds a dog, Hewie, to help her out. Hewie can kind of attack enemies but he’s more there as a distraction for Fiona to flee. It’s a horror game that emphasizes strategy, stealth, and a whole lot of patience which is not what all fans are looking for in a horror game.
Metacritic Score: N/A
: August 31, 2006 (Japan)
: PlayStation 2, later for PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch
Kamiwaza was released on PS2 in 2006, but for whatever reason, it was not localized for a Western audience. The game eventually did get a port in 2022 and it was renamed Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief. It kind of came and went without many having nostalgia for its remaster which makes sense given the release history.
The visual style is a lot like the Tenchu games of this time, but sneaking around and stealing stuff was more important than murdering people even though it is kind of a ninja game too. It was also a bit like Katamari Damacy as players could sweep up huge amounts of items into their bags nonsensically. The bag itself was a weapon as players could kick it at enemies to stun them. It’s a weird game with many flaws but there is definitely some charm in its many oddities.
4 The Shield
Metacritic Score: 36
: January 9, 2007
: Point of View Inc.
: PlayStation 2, later PC
The PS2 era was filled with video games tied to TV shows or movies as official sequels. The Shield is a great example as it featured crew from the writing side along with the actors voicing their digital counterparts. For those who don’t remember, The Shield was about a group of dirty cops who did whatever they needed to bust criminals.
They also took from them as well to gain incentives to “do the right thing.” It was a well-received drama and it made sense to make a game about it. In the game, players could investigate crime scenes, plant evidence, take cutbacks, and so on. There were shooting segments, but it was definitely more of a slower-paced game if played right. All the DNA from the show was there but it didn’t quite come together as reviews raked it through the coals.
3 Spy Fiction
Metacritic Score: 61
: December 25, 2003 (Japan)
: Access Games
: PlayStation 2
Players in the know have an idea who Swery is as he directed the infamous Deadly Premonition game. It’s The Room of video games as it’s technically a nightmare to play, but there are a lot of redeeming qualities to it that keep fans coming back for more. Before Deadly Premonition, Swery worked on a lot of games he wasn’t as well recognized for.
Spy Fiction is one of those games that features two spies, Billy and Sheila, in a tale of terrorists and conspiracies. The story isn’t as zany as Swery’s other games but there are definitely quirky characters along with some awkward dialogue. The stealth gameplay and action segments aren’t mind-blowing, but they service an average attempt at taking down Metal Gear Solid 2’s dominance on PS2.
Metacritic Score: 72
- April 20, 2004
- Japan Studio
- Survival Horror
Siren is one of the creepiest horror series to have been birthed in Japan. Like Haunting Ground, players aren’t given many ways to fight back against the ghosts, ghouls, and monsters that chase the young hero around. Dialing things back, the first game focuses on a teenage boy who witnessed some cult stuff and the sacrifice of a girl.
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While trying to get away, he finds himself in a ghost town overrun by the aforementioned creepy stalkers. Sound plays a big role in this game as the titular siren can drive our hero mad. It’s a challenging game that truly needs a patient player behind the controller.
1 Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness
Metacritic Score: 52
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness
- June 20, 2003
- Core Design
The Tomb Raider franchise was huge during the first wave of 3D consoles. Lara Croft was a gaming icon that proved female protagonists could kick butt and look great too. Fans were eagerly awaiting the first entry to hit the new system, aka the PS2, via Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness.
The wait was met with disappointment though as it is one of the worst-reviewed games in the series. There were a lot of things at fault here from the darker story that didn’t make a lot of sense to the mid-tier stealth mechanics. It was not the tomb-raiding action game that fans had grown to know and love. It was a dark time for the series but things could only go up from here.
- Original Release Date
- October 26, 2000
- Original MSRP (USD)