The best PS2 Sports Games EVER as console turns 21

Today marks the 21st anniversary of the PlayStation 2.

We've delved into the archives to look at some of the best sports games on the console, and wow, they still hold up.

We run through our top 10.

10. NCAA Football 2004

NCAA Football titles and a massive following in the US, and there's really no surprise given the quality of the 2003 and 2004 editions of the game.

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CREATE A DYNASTY - In the mode, one of your players could feature on the cover of Sports Illustrated

The addition of online play took the franchise up a level, and the feature to create your own school and lead them to the national championship means you'll struggle to put the controller down.

Ah nostalgia, eh? Well, a new EA NCAA College Football title is in the works, and whenever that may be, we can't wait to get one of our young stars on the cover of Sports Illustrated once again.

9. Rugby 08

Rugby 08 still remains the GOAT rugby game (sorry Jonah Lomu Rugby). No game since has had the licences of the World Cup, Six Nations, Tri Nations, Super Rugby, Premiership, the Barbarians and the British & Irish Lions.

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UNRIVALED - No rugby title has been able compete with Rugby 08's licences

The super addictive World League mode was a real hit with fans, allowing you to do a full "road to glory" with a bunch of the lowest-rated players in the game, and attempt to take them to the very top - acquiring the game's star players on the way.

As for gameplay, it was a lot more frenetic and fast paced than real-life rugby, and even though the rulebook sometimes went out the window, it brought excitement, making a somewhat complicated sport accessible to the masses.

8. PES 2006

Times were simpler when Adriano was bossing PES and licensing didn’t seem like the issue it is today.

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UNSTOPPABLE - Adriano was the GOAT on PES 2006

The former Brazilian and Inter forward’s shot power is legendary in the gaming world, and he will not be forgotten.

There was no nonsense with PES 2006 and it was just a straightforward, fun football game, and it also opened up the International Challenge Mode too.

7. FIFA 2005

EA has almost thrown it back to FIFA 2005 with the new free kick mechanics on FIFA 21, although it is not quite as simple as placing it in the top corner as it was back then.

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ROAD TO GLORY - Career Mode back on 2005 is perhaps better than it is today

Not only was the game brilliant, but the intro with Alessandro Del Piero was awesome.

The 2005 career mode was epic too, as you had to work your way through the ranks instead of just taking over the big clubs. EA take note.

6. WWE Smackdown vs Raw

Released during the golden era of wrestling games, Smackdown vs Raw continued to push the boundaries of what a wrestling game could be.

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BRING IT BACK - The wrestling community would love to see the series return

With an expansive roster, a working face/heel mechanic, and an in-depth season mode, the series continues to be looked back on fondly.

The GM Mode will forever remain unmatched and something we want to see return in future entries.

5. FIFA Street

This is one game we wish would be remastered. None of the other editions of FIFA Street lived up to the greatness that was the original.

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GLOBETROTTING - You could acquire the world's best for your squad

The classic ‘Rule the Street’ mode has not been rivalled, even with the various attempts from EA including the latest FIFA mode VOLTA.

The endless tricks were only bested by the ‘Gamebreaker’ shooting power, and you didn’t want to get in the way of one of those.

4. Madden 2003

The first Madden game to go online, Madden 2003 had an incredibly deep franchise mode and even a create-a-play option.

IN IT TOGETHER - Madden 2003 was the first EA Sports title to go online
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IN IT TOGETHER - Madden 2003 was the first EA Sports title to go online

Fronted by St Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk, Madden 2003 really shot the Madden franchise into the spotlight.

The game was packed with features that fans still miss to this day, 18 years later.

3. SSX

The glory days of SSX were superb. As fun as it was competitive, the snowboarding racing game had something for everyone with brilliant courses, tricks and multiplayer options.

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STILL ON TOP - The SSX franchise still remains unrivalled when it comes to winter sports

Launched in 2000, the whole of EA Big’s SSX series was awesome, but our favourite is definitely the original game.

With no game in the series since 2012, it's high-time EA brought it back.

2. Harry Potter Quidditch World Cup

Another EA classic, the 2003 Harry Potter Quidditch World Cup game was a great nod to the franchise and even included commentary from Gryffindor’s own Lee Jordan.

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MAGICAL - Quidditch World Cup was super addictive

With real broomsticks and characters from the books including Bulgaria’s star seeker Viktor Krum, this game was a real thirst quencher for the ‘Potterheads’ out there.

With a new Harry Potter title - Hogwarts Legacy - in development, we can only hope for a Quidditch mode, or an entire spin-off game in the future.

1. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

Pretend you're a superman as we head back to the early 2000s when life consisted of pop-punk and kickflips.

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ON TOP - THPS 3 has a Metacritic rating of 97, the joint-highest PS2 title

Despite skateboarding dipping in popularity in recent years, players still remember the series fondly. 2020 saw the remasters of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, with a Next Gen upgrade arriving this year.

If you enjoyed it then you owe it to yourself to go back and play the PS2 games, specifically 3, 4, and THUG. Vicarious Visions, if you're reading this, please remaster 3 and 4 next!

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