Developers of the free PlayStation 2 emulator have announced that PCSX2 is now compatible with 99% of PS2 games. It’s fantastic news for preservationists, although only a handful of titles runs perfectly.
Launched in 2002, the developers have been hard at work testing all 3,800 games over the past 21 years. Documenting compatibility, 1.23% have a ‘Perfect’ rating and run identical to how they’d play on the console. A further 97.92% are ‘Playable’ but could run into slight hiccups here and there.
Of the games not to make the cut, Final Fantasy XI and its expansions accounts for a fifth of them. It only boots to menu, which is unsurprising since it’s an MMO that requires access to official servers. Fortunately, the servers are still up and running, and you can play it on Windows.
Currently, PCSX2 is split into two builds: Stable and Nightly. Nightly acts as the Beta version, featuring the latest fixes and optimisation but possibly contains bugs of its own. The team is gearing up to release a new Stable update, but there’s no timeline in place just yet. Whichever you choose, they’re both free and open-source.
Backwards compatibility isn’t Sony’s forte, but it’s getting better. Officially, you can play PS2 games on PS4 and PS5 via PlayStation Network. The catalogue is much thinner, however, and some games are restricted to the cloud service only. This sometimes results in temporary availability before it’s pulled, much like the ever-rotating Netflix library.
PCSX2 keeps these games alive when they’re no longer officially obtainable. Now, all that’s left to do is get more titles running perfectly.