Best PS2 Emulator for PC and Mac Free Download 2021

Quick recap of this article and what you are about to read:

Using a Sony PlayStation 2 emulator to play its video games on your personal computer can be more fun and exciting. Find out more and understand about using the top 8 PS2 emulators for PC & macOS and engaging in more thrills.

If you are an avid and enthusiast video game player and love playing video games on whatever device you can get hold of such as any exclusive video gaming console, your iOS or Android-based tablet or smartphone, or even a computer, you probably would have thought about one common question.

And that question is about why you cannot get to play all your games on a computer.

This question usually arises especially when you are playing your favorite game on a mobile phone or any other gaming console.

This is because it is a well-known and well established belief that playing video games on a computer is much more fun than playing it on any other platform.

So the next question that comes to mind is about if it is possible and how do you do it?

Well, technically it is possible through a software or hardware support called an emulator.

In this article, we look at what an emulator is and how it works, with a particular focus on the top 8 PS2 (PlayStation 2) emulators for personal computers (PC).

What is an emulator?

While it may have been pretty clear of what an emulator is from the words described above, in its simplest form an emulator is a piece of hardware or software installed on a personal computer to enable it to act as another device.

The personal computer in this case is called a host platform and the device it will support will become its guest.

Technically, by using an emulator, one platform can be adjusted to perform the functions of another platform, thus making it possible to run, read and write over its software and programs or video games in this case which we discuss later.

How does an emulator work?

Basically, an emulator is more of software that transforms or recreates the functions of one platform to create a virtual environment in which software from any other platform can work totally and easily in a way as if it was originally working on the platform for which it was intended to be.

Also Read: Best PS3 Emulator for PS3 that works

Best 8 Sony PlayStation (PS2 Emulators) for Personal Computer

Since using an emulator means virtually recreating a different platform’s working environment onto another platform, it should be no wonder that selecting the right PS2 emulator for your PC can be quite tricky and hard.

For this reason, we have carefully selected and briefly reviewed the following 8 best PS2 emulators for PCs to choose from.

In addition to this, we have also listed down a few pros and cons for each of the recommended PS2 emulators for PC to help you decide and pick the right one.

1. PCSX2

Initially released in March of 2002 with its stable version launched in May of 2020, it has almost been 2 decades since PCSX2 has been there as a PS2 emulator for personal computers.

PCSX2

It is also one of the most famous and widely used emulators for playing Sony PS2 games on a PC.

But just like any other PS2 emulator, it also is a combination of some good points as well as bad points which we have mentioned below – 

Pros

  • It is free to use and an open source emulator.
  • Currently it is available in 22 languages.
  • It supports Windows, Linux and macOS.
  • It offers support for a wide number of video games, almost up to 90% of them. For complete details and list of supported video games, visit their website for latest updates and news.
  • By being out there for almost 2 decades now, it makes it one of the most sorted and well tested PS2 emulators you will ever come across.
  • Its supported custom resolution is 4096 x 4096 pixels.
  • Game saving and retrieving at any point is easy and smooth.

Cons

  • PCSX2 is technically better for playing simple games. When it comes to playing complicated and more advanced games, it might lack to some extent.
  • There are still some complex nature issues with its code and plugins which make it unbearable at times.

Download (Windows) (macOS)


2. ePSXe

ePSXe is another well-known and almost 2 decades old, free to use, and quite reliable Sony PS2 emulator for personal computers.

ePSXe

It was initially released in October of 2000.

Pros

  • It is compatible with most of the games for Sony PS2.
  • Aside from being available on the personal computers (Windows, Linux and macOS), it is also available for Android users.
  • Menu system and settings control is much easier to adjust on the ePSXe emulator.

Cons

  • Most games run smoothly with the basic configuration that comes as a default, but some games might have issues running flawlessly. If this happens, download the individual game patches and plug-ins available online for a better experience.
  • Auto-saving and auto-loading issues may arise in certain cases.
  • Leaving the system idle for some time may close the ePSXe emulator and crash the currently running game as well.

Download (Windows) (macOS)


3. RetroArch

Our third selection for the PS2 emulator is RetroArch. RetroArch was originally released in May of 2010 and since then have released many versions which make it one of the most stable and smoothly functioning PS2 game simulators for PC users.

RetroArch

It is also free to use, based on an open-source program and is a front end for cross platform emulation.

Pros

  • In addition to playing PS2 games, RetroArch can also cater video games from other famous gaming consoles, whether new or old classic ones.
  • It can run on Windows, Linux and macOS.
  • It also offers a great and stress-free way of settings and controls. Just configure it once in the beginning and then it will adjust on its own every other time.
  • Although quite lengthy for beginners, its user interface is easy and user friendly.

Cons

  • Hardware configuration and finding the right core for a game might not be easy especially when RetroArch has so many to offer.
  • In the beginning, it can be quite complex to handle. Therefore, it is generally considered not a good choice for those who are more used to playing on standard configurations and old emulators.

Download (Windows) (macOS)


4. BizHawk

Although it might sound something like a business app, it is not.

BizHawk is another one of the most popular and widely used PS2 emulators for PC users out there.

BizHawk

It is also packed with multi-system emulation and offers some cool features and functions such as playback, recording and debugging tools.

Pros

  • Users can control the speed of the video game they are playing like frame stepping and rewinding. This helps a lot since playing on a personal computer and a gaming console like Sony PS2 are basically two different systems with different hardware configuration by default.
  • Users can also take screenshots while playing games as well as record gameplay videos together with audio. This is particularly useful for people who share such things on their social media with fans.
  • Besides PS2, BizHawk supports a number of other platforms such as Apple II, Attari, NEC, Nintendo, Sega, Uzebox, etc.

Cons

  • Game speed while playing some games might seem a bit too fast or slow. This means that it would need to be adjusted for different games every time.
  • It might crash at times while recording gameplay videos.

Download (Windows)


5. PS2Emu

The PS2Emu is a PS2 emulator for PC users by Shunt, Scar_T and Roor.

As a matter of fact, this emulator is comparatively newer so it is still a long way before its stable release.

PS2Emu

But despite this issue, PC video gamers having experience of using other PS2 emulators for PC have so far reported smooth and satisfactory gameplay modes with very few distractions or complications.

Pros

  • It offers full screen and similar sound quality on the PC.
  • Users can easily capture screenshots in multiple image formats.
  • It also supports playing with a joystick via DirectX.
  • It offers memory card support and good quality graphics.

Cons

  • As it is new, you will only find a limited number of games that it supports currently.

Download (Windows)


6. PCSX-Reloaded

PCSX-Reloaded is another emulator for running Sony PS2 games on a personal computer.

Its stable version was released in 2013 which makes it quite reliable and free from major issues.

PCSX-Reloaded

The PCSX-Reloaded is basically a free and open-source video game emulator.

Pros

  • Is an excellent solution provider as its users do not need to dump PS BIOS. It can still replicate the Sony PlayStation 2 BIOS by using top-level emulation.
  • It has gone through major software improvements and thus can strongly support running many games.

Cons

  • Although it is now a stable version and does not need any fixes, it still is not suitable for every user due to its non-user-friendly interface and complicated options.

Download (Windows)


7. NeutrinoSX2 Emulator

NeutrinoSX2 is another good option to use as an emulator for playing Sony PS2 games on a personal computer.

If you have used the PCSX2 emulator on a personal computer, chances are that you might find it easy to use.

NeutrinoSX2 Emulator

NeutrinoSX2 is also open-source and free to use.

However, just like quite a few other Sony PS2 emulators, it is also under construction which means users will likely come across some issues related to gameplay and configuration, etc.

Pros

  • Despite being not released in its stable form, it still offers high-quality sound for the games it supports.
  • It features a saving state.
  • Users can easily deploy cheat codes during gameplay to enhance their performance.
  • Although it supports a limited number of games, its compatibility with them is can still be praised.

Cons

  • Since it is still under developmental stages, users will still have to wait for it’s more stable and complete version before they can enjoy its full potential.

Download (Windows)


8. HPSx64

The full name of HPSx64 is basically ‘Highly Experimental PlayStation Simulator x64’.

HPSx64

HPSx64 is being developed by a single person whose online name is The Gangster 256. Although it was initially released somewhere about 8 to 9 years ago, it is still under development and experimental stage.

Pros

  • Even though it is in its developmental stage, it still boasts a quite similar gaming experience as that of Sony PS2.

Cons

  • The current version is available for Windows only and that too for the 64 bit version.
  • It still is under development stage so some issues regarding compatibility may arise.
  • It does not have a cheat system till yet.
  • Graphic quality might not be that great for some users.

End thoughts

To end our discussion and recommendation list about the best 8 Sony PlayStation 2 Emulators, let us now look at two important concepts with regards to using emulators in general.

Is using an emulator legal?

While it is often argued whether using an emulator is legal or not, the fact is that a part of it is legal whereas a part of it isn’t.

Using an emulator itself is totally legal so you can actually download any of the above mentioned emulators for Sony PlayStation 2 and run on your personal computer.

But for the illegal part, remember that video games are copyright content under intellectual property rights.

This means that sharing or downloading from the internet of ROMs for games is without any doubt illegal.

So make sure that the ones you use are the ones that you have bought and have the ownership of.

Is it worth using an emulator and does it provide with the same level of fun and experience

Another good point to remember here is that using emulators on a personal computer to play video games and playing a video game on a gaming console such as Sony PlayStation 2 are completely different things.

No matter how stable and well written the source code for an emulator is, it still won’t replicate or re-create the original and authentic experience of an actual gaming console.

Thus, there will always be some lacking on the part of it.

We have covered the best PS2 emulator for you, now it’s your turn to select one of them and simulate PlayStation gaming on your desktop.

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