PS2 Emulation is certainly entering territory where you need a more powerful computer, so to set the record straight in terms of expectations and to help you find the best PS2 emulator, check our our recommendations in the below guide.
The PlayStation 2 can now safely be considered retro (controversial to some!), it was released in the year 2000, which in my view is effectively a generation of people which is a good yardstick on the matter!
The PS2 has a huge library of games, with over 3,800 in total and stacks of genre defining titles such as Grand Theft Auto III, Resident Evil 4, Metal Gear Solid 2, Ico & Gran Turismo 4 – All absolute classics!
So, what’s the best way to play some of these classics? Take a look at our guide below for the best PS2 emulators:-
Best PS2 Emulator for PC, Mac & Linux – PCSX2
Without doubt, PCSX2 has been, and remains the only choice for the best PS2 emulator experience with it’s very high level of compatibility and functionality. PCSX2 at the time of writing offers compatibility for over 2690 games – Likely more than any of us even played!
PCSX2 offers a wide range of tools to enable you to improve the appearance of your games as well custom resolutions over 8K possible (although you’ll need some seriously good hardware!). However, running games upscaled to 4K is not difficult to achieve with reasonably modest hardware.
PCSX2 utilises a range of plug-ins that allow in depth modification and improvements to sound and graphics quality. You can configure everything from the video output scale, post processing shaders, sound reproduction quality, controller set up as well as PS2 hard disk and ethernet emulation, plus much more!
If you are looking to play PS2 games on your PC, Mac or Linux based system, you will not currently find a better emulator than PCSX2.
PCSX2 Features Include:
- Multi core compatibility ensuring maximum performance
- Full game controller support making emulation of the Dual Shock 2 easy
- Cheat patch system
- Memory Card emulation support
- Graphics plugins enabling upscaling to over 8K resolution and post processing effects
- LilyPad Plugin – Windows plugin which enables support of a wide range of controllers
Best PS2 Emulator For Android – AetherSX2
AetherSX2 is finally ready to use on Android devices and is available on the Google Play Store.
It is recommended you use AetherSX2 with a higher end device to get the best from it, such as a Snapdragon 845 or equivalent CPU. But that doesn’t mean you cannot play with more modest hardware, although you’ll need to ensure your device has a 64-bit CPU and version of Android (Lollipop onwards). Most good quality Android devices from around 2015 onwards will at least be able to run AetherSX2, but you will likely want to test tweaking settings to improve performance.
The developers of AetherSX2 also recommend that your device has an Adreno based GPU, Mali / PowerVR GPUs will work, but will not provide as good an experience.
AetherSX2 is getting some really great reviews and is expected to become the standard in PS2 emulation for Android devices.
Note that you will of course need to obtain yourself a PS2 BIOS and your own ROM/ISO files to use with AetherSX2.
AetherSX2 Features Include:
- Multiple rendering modes – OpenGL, Vulkan & Software modes
- 1080p upscaling
- Save states
- Widescreen mode patching
- Individual game settings
- On screen controls & Bluetooth controllers supported
Alternative PS2 Emulator For Android – DamonPS2
Currently Android PS2 emulators are a mixed bag in terms of what is good and what is not so good. The current recommendation for the best PS2 emulator for Android is DamonPS2. It is worth noting that your experience in terms of emulator performance will heavily depend on your device and the settings in DamonPS2.
There is currently a free and paid for version of DamonPS2, essentially the paid for version removes ads, has increased graphic resolution options, external game controller options, memory card and save state options.
DamonPS2 Features Include:
- Up to 5x PS2 native resolution upscaling (1080p)
- Widescreen 16:9 option
- On screen controls
- Bluetooth game controllers supported
- Multiple disc image formats supported