The PS2 has topped the list of best selling consoles for years now. It’s one of the most nostalgic machines of all time, which is why so many people are still searching for the best PS2 emulators to recreate that Sony magic!
This console had a whopping 3,800 games. Just let that sink in for a second…
In many ways, the PS2 defined our childhoods, no matter how much I protest about the GameCube being better. Final Fantasy had a profound effect on all of us, and without some of the best PS2 characters making waves in the gaming world, we wouldn’t have some of the best PS5 games out today!
Yes, you can get some PS2 games on the official PlayStation Store, but if you want to play your favourite PS2 games on the bus or train, then PS2 emulators are the solution.
So, let’s discover with are the best PS2 emulator programs out there! We’ll tell you our top pick and list some other choice programmes for all your gaming needs.
But first, please read this incredibly important message below, and I’m telepathic, so I’ll know if you haven’t read it!
**PLEASE READ – This article is purely for educational and knowledge-enhancing**
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Table of Contents
- Open Source
- Windows, Linux, MacOS
PCSX2 is the best PS2 emulator for PC and laptop gaming. It’s the the go to programme for thousands of users with gameplay and graphics that trump all other emulators.
Anyone looking to recreate their favourite PS2 games from yesteryear should give this program a try. It even has all of the rare PS2 games that many of us never got around to playing!
As well as playing and looking great, PCSX2 brings additional improvements to the PS2 including anti-aliasing, texture filtering, and user-specified resolutions of up to 8192×8192.
In simple terms, this emulator makes all your old games look slicker and much cleaner. Plus, with the built-in HD recorder, you can share PS2 gameplay like never before!
Look no further than PCSX2 for your gaming needs, but check out the rest of the article for smartphone programs and some nice alternatives if you don’t want to follow the crowd.
PCSX2 can function well on Mac’s. This has never been done before but someone has forked a version of PCSX2 on Windows, made it work for Intel/ARM and ported it to macOS and the graphics are at full speed.
You can even use cheats on this emulator too, read our guide: how to use cheat codes on PCSX2 emulator.
AetherSX2 is the latest addition to this article, and as of the start of August the development team has release a wide number of incredible updates, making this PS2 emulator a worthy opponent in this article.
The recent update helps with performance, allowing you to push your device to the limit and get even better frame rates from the games you love. Obviously, it all depends on what device you are using, but with the right device, you’ll get most of the best PS2 games running silky smooth on here.
The update also added a lot of options to change settings, update resolutions, sync up controllers and more.
If you are you looking for the best PS2 emulator for Android devices, this is it.
- Downloadable app with ro variant for better results
Most of the best PS2 emulators are created by members of the retro gaming community, but DamonPS2 breaks the mould. This program is the brainchild of Chinese DamonPlay Technology Co who have created a downloadable product specifically for Android users.
DamonPS2 is heralded by many as being the quickest and most reliable emulator for Android play. It has a game compatibility rate of around 90%, with 20% of those playing perfectly. That’s a big drop, but it still gives users roughly 720 games to play through.
As with most free emulators, ads disrupt the general flow of the program. Still, a Pro version provides ad-free usage with extra features such as more memory slots and widescreen gameplay. It’s well worth it if you’re serious about playing PS2 games on the go.
Scale up frame rate and graphics to make old PS2 games look better than ever, all from the same device you use to text your mum and check the weather. It does have some flaws, but what emulator doesn’t? Playing Final Fantasy on the bus is worth a few glitches here and there.
NSX2, or NeutrinoSX2, is one of the best PS2 emulators for people that like to get a little bit creative.
I’ve already said that the best PS2 emulator of all time is PCSX2, making the other PC and Laptop offerings on this list a little bit redundant. That’s why I’ve included NSX2, as the open-source coding is open and available for users to dive into to create their own emulators.
NSX2 is one of the very first PS2 emulators that arrived on the scene. The code is super clean and well laid out, giving other users all the tools they need to successfully build their own programs or further the work started by the developer.
As it stands, NSX2 can play PS2 games, though the list isn’t very long. This one is for all the people who choose to purchase ‘diy kit’ handhelds as opposed to the full package. I’m in the second category, which means I’m heading straight for PCSX2
5. Golden PS2
- Downloadable app
Android users looking for a reliable emulator should check out the next entry on our list of the best PS2 emulators. Golden PS2 looks and plays beautifully and works with a vast range Android smartphones from a variety of companies.
The graphics look superb, and this app doesn’t require a BIOS file to get it going. What’s more, it allows users to play both PS2 games and the best PSP games, which is fantastic news for PlayStation fans.
Gameplay speeds depend upon how modern your device is. Older Android phones will have a tougher time with some of the bigger PS2 games, but newer phones will undoubtedly cope with any title with ease.
The widescreen 16:9 display turns any phone into a handheld gaming powerhouse, especially when using bigger devices or Android tablets. Again, glitching can occur on older models, but Golden PS2 has a good compatibility rate and is a go-to program for many portable users.
Play! has been in the works for a while now and is continually improving. While most users tend to go straight to PCSX2, Play! is a neat alternative that, while a little glitchy, provides access to lots of exciting games.
Like PCSX2, Play! is one of the best PS2 emulators for multi-platform usage. It works on Android, Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, and iOS, covering all bases. So, Chromebook or MacBook Pro users shouldn’t have any problems loading up massive titles.
The same goes for newer iPhone and Android smartphones. Frame rate drop and lag occur far more than PCSX2 and loading times span an age. Still, the graphics are good and it doesn’t require a BIOS file to run, so it’s a good alternative if users simply want to switch on and play without any faff.
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.