Due to the gigantic popularity of Sony’s PS2 console, the creation of its emulators was inevitable. Thus, not only for PC, today emulators are available for smartphones running on Android and iOS. Understandably most people would not have a functioning PS2 available with them but they would still like to play those games. Thus, we present a list of worst to best PS2 emulators but the worst in no way mean they are bad, just that there are better ones available.
List of five worst to best PS2 emulators
5. Play! :- While other emulators were abandoned Play! has been around for some time and is constantly being improved. It works on Windows, Android, macOS, Linux, Unix, iOS, and other web browser platforms. It does not require jumping through too many hoops while installing. Play! also offers customization options. Apart from being easy to install and configure, it does not require a BIOS file to load games.
However, it is not available on the Google Play Store. Thus, it has to be downloaded from hosting sites like Purei. Once installed, users can run classic games from the 128-bit era such as Final Fantasy X, GTA San Andreas, Mortal Kombat, God of War, Pro Evolution Soccer 3, Shadow of the Colossus, etc. These games can be run at frame rates between 10 and 15 fps while ensuring minimal frame rate drops.
The downside of Play! is that it has a limited list of compatibility. While some games run slowly, others run halfway, and quite a few do not run at all.
4. AetherSX2 :- Its specialty lies in its unique features that address the issues of other emulators. AetherSX2 has a Bluetooth controller, two touch control modes, widescreen patches for games devoid of native support, and internal resolution scaling.
It runs best on high-end devices. To get a good performance, developers suggest devices with at least a quad-core processor. It can be run on dual-core processors as well but users are advised not to enable multi-threaded VU. Doing so can result in frequent lag issues, and even crash. It is to be noted that AetherSX2 does not do well on low and mid-range smartphones.
The best thing about this emulator is that it is free without any ads. It does not even require an Internet connection at all times when games are being played. The games can be loaded from CHD/CSO/ISO disc images and enjoyed anywhere and anytime.
3. Retroarch :- It is probably the best PS2 emulator for computers and is quite unique. It is a compilation of various emulators enabling users to enjoy games developed for different types of consoles. It is basically an open-source frontend for video games, game engines, media players, other software applications and of course emulators. Thus, the users can play GameCube games, and Wii games along with PS2 games.
This app is highly customization. Moreover, the game performance can be improved and tweaked to offer the best possible gameplay. Retroarch is intuitive and has a sleek interface making it quite simple to use for beginners.
Having said that, it can be a bit difficult to set up initially and configuration to the users’ liking may take time. Once downloaded the users cannot start playing immediately. However, once the setup is done, it would reveal itself to be one of the best emulators.
Retroarch supports next-frame responsive time. Thus, the users do not face any lag in terms of input latency. With its unique feature called Shaders, it improves the rendering of old games thus making them feel and look like being played on CRT monitors.
2. DamonPS2 :- Most of the PS2 games are expected to run smoothly on high-end Snapdragon processors while using DamonPS2 as the emulator. It is compatible with Android. Over 90% of PS2 game titles including God of War, Silent Hill 2, Final Fantasy X, Disgaea, Onimusha, and Metal Gear Solid 2 can be played using this app with a bit of graphics errors.
The app has both free and paid versions. It is better to start with the free version but it has some functional limitations and displays numerous ads. Unfortunately, it does not allow frame-skipping or fast-forwarding either.
The paid version costs $9.99 and it supports widescreen games (16:9), Full-HD resolution, NEON acceleration, and multi-threading. It also allows the players to save the game’s progress on the local memory card.
As per the developers, the upcoming version will allow the games to run up to 10 times faster than the present frame rates.
Also read: Top 5 Best Emulators for Low End PC 2022
1. PCSX2 :- In our opinion, this is the best emulator. It runs of Windows and Linux. PCSX2 is an open-source software program. It uses a combination of Virtual Machine, Recompilers, and MIPS CPU Interpreters to emulate PS2 hardware.
It has around a 98% compatibility rate with commercial games like Final Fantasy X, Devil May Cry 3, etc. which people like to play these days. In fact, all the 2,691 games can be played on PCSX2 except It’s Real Gold World due to control restraints.
It has features like texture filtering, shaders, HD resolution, rendering systems, and anti-aliasing which makes all games look gorgeous. It would not be wrong to say that PCSX2 offers a far more compelling gaming experience that the PS2 hardware itself as it has a variety of audio and graphic options. The resolution can be customized up to 8192×8192. The players can even increase and decrease the game speeds. All these make PCSX2 a rage among users.
It allows people to save games and load them next time without the loss of progress. This emulator is compatible with any controller the computer can support. Moreover, gameplay can be recorded in full HD using a hotkey. It would generally utilize two CPU cores for emulation but some games may use the third core to get higher frame rates.
Since it has so much to offer, users should cut it some slack as some games could exhibit slight issues.
Since its discontinuation in 2013 many people yearned to play PS2 games.
No interested party should miss the fun and enjoyment that PS2 brought and thus the emulators. Let us know which one from our list of worst to best PS2 emulators, you chose to download.