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All Nuances You Need To Know About PlayStation 2 And PCSX2

Last update: Oct 2, 2020

PCSX2 emulator

It’s not only reminiscent of the old days, but it offers smooth graphics and top-notch quality.

So, if you’re to download this emulator, make sure you have a decent computer to run it smoothly. Unlike other emulators, which are played on the budget computers or laptops, you’ll need to have a faster computer. What’s more, you’ll need a gamepad for a better experience. As you may remember, the PS 2 controller has several button options, and the keyboard may not be convenient.

Another interesting point is that you shouldn’t download PCSX2 from its homepage, as it’s a bit outdated. Thus, no updates on the emulator have been made so far. Here comes the automated builds page, where you download the updated version of the emulator.

Understanding the plug-in system

Being a shell of operation, the PS emulators are generally built with a plug-in system. The same applies to N64 emulators, as well. Thus, plug-ins are essential components of the emulator.

Although the emulator comes with built plug-ins when you download your PCSX2, it won’t be bad to understand the plug-ins’ functions. This way, you know how your emulator functions. There are different types of such plug-ins, and some of them are explained below:

  • GS: it functions as 3D rendering and known as the graphic plug-in.
  • PAD: it’s a controller one. It controls how you play your games, that is, via a gamepad or a keyboard.
  • SPU2: it’s a sound plug-in. It controls the music and sound effects of the games played on this emulator.
  • CDVD: it comes as a CD/DVD plug-in. It’s responsible for reading CDs, DVDs, or images(ISOs) related to the game.
  • USB: it’s responsible for USB emulation.
  • FW: it’s responsible for the firewire port of PS 2.
  • DEV9: it’s a hard disk and ethernet plug-in, and responsible for the HDD and ethernet emulation.

Don’t forget you’re not to follow these plug-ins coming with PCSX2. If you understand how to add, you may always add your favorite plug-ins which you may easily find on the web.

The BIOS is a must

The PS 2 BIOS is needed to boot games you’re planning to enjoy. Once you’ve downloaded PCSX2, you need to download the BIOS separately. The link will be provided further in this article. Proceed with the following instruction if your BIOS download is complete.

How to install

The new versions of PCSX2 come in zip files, separate programs. Yet, older ones are to be installed through a wizard. So, there are two options for how you install the emulator.

Installing newer versions of PCSX2

With this type of PCSX2, it’s quite simple to set up your emulator. What you have to do first is just extract the program from the zip file. If you’re not aware of how you unzip your program file, you may watch a tutorial of it.

Note that you should place your PCSX2 in a common folder, and recommended places might be Documents, Downloads, or simply on any newly created folder on the desktop. If you put your PCSX2 anywhere on your main C drive, it’ll result in restricting your file to read-only access, causing the saving problems.

Installing older versions via install wizard

  1. You’ll see the file with an EXE extension (pcsx2-1.4.0-setup.exe). Just double click on it, and you’ll start the installing process.
  2. Now, you’ll have the box of ‘Choose Components’ that will pop up first.
    Installing older versions
  3. No need to uncheck anything here, so leave as it is, and simply click Next.
  4. The process will move on. Then, you’ll see the following box saying Visual C++.
    Visual C++
  5. After you check ‘I agree to the license terms and conditions’, click Install.
  6. After this, PCSX2 is installed. Yet, this isn’t complete. Now, you should read on what you’re to do once you open PCSX2 for the first time.

Configuration and BIOS installation upon the first time opening

  1. First, you need to open PCSX2 with double click on pcsx2.exe
  2. If you have the program installed via the wizard mentioned above, you better open PCSX2 in your Start menu, where you have a program list and open the program:
    Configuration and BIOS
  3. Once you open PCSX2, you’ll see a box of PCSX2 First Time Configuration:
    Once you open PCSX2
  4. All you need is to click Next.
  5. On the next page opening in this box, you’ll see the review of the plug-ins accompanying your PCSX2:
    review of the plug-ins accompanying your PCSX2
  6. All you need is to click Next.
  7. After that, you’ll see the BIOS box, and here you need to press Open in Explorer, as indicated in the following:
    see the BIOS box
  8. After that, you’ll be shown a prompt saying ‘This path does not exist. Create it?.’ Here, you’re to click Create.
  9. Right now, you just need to minimize the ‘First Time Configuration’ box. Don’t forget the path of the BIOS folder location. You need to open that folder. Then, you’re required to download the BIOS if you haven’t done that before, and you’ve installed PCSX2. After, unzip the file and drag what’s inside to the BIOS folder. This all will look like the following:
    First Time Configuration
  10. Go back to the ‘First Time Configuration’ and press the ‘Refresh list’ shown in the circle below. Also, you’ll see the USA, Japan, and Europe BIOS files in the white box.
    Refresh list
  11. Now, you click on the country you prefer and Finish.
  12. And that’s all. Your installation is complete, and all configurations are done.

How to set up a keyboard and gamepad

Generally, keyboard keys are already configured without a need for extra set up. Yet, PCSX2 keyboard configurations aren’t set up. When you open this emulator for the first time, you’ll have to set it up on your own.

It’s highly recommended that you should buy a gamepad for convenient gameplay, as there are a lot of buttons and playing via a keyboard won’t be so great. So, how to configure the buttons for Player 1:

  1. You need to find Config > Controllers (PAD) > Plugin Settings, as illustrated below:
    Config  Controllers
  2. Then, you’ll be prompted to the tabs indicated as General, Pad 1, and Pad 2. For Player 1, there’s Pad 1, and Player 2, Pad 2. Press Pad 1, and you’ll see the following:
    prompted to the tabs indicated as General
  3. Now, you see the place full of buttons inside the area outlined by the red line. These are buttons you’re to configure. The logic is quite simple here. You click a button and then press the key on the keyboard or gamepad button accordingly. If done correctly, you’ll see the set-up button appearing in the Device/PC Control/PS 2 Control panel.
  4. You just press OK once you’ve finished configurations.

PS2 or Xbox Controllers

PCSX2 doesn’t need you to configure controllers of PS 2 or Xbox. Yet, when plugged for the first time, these controllers need to be set up, so follow the following instructions as to how to connect them. This won’t be challenging as there are many videos you’ll find online.

How to load a PS 2 game you have

Now it’s time to load the game you have. That should be a PS 2 game. Just after you pop the game in, you need to wait a bit and then in PCSX2, go to System > Boot CDVD.

Still, it’s not advisable to play games through a DVD-ROM drive. Given how demanding the PCSX2 is, playing the game through DVD-ROM may not be lag-free and smooth. Instead, you may easily rip your game into an ISO. Check the following on how to do that.

How to back up PS 2 games to ISO

If to follow the following instructions, you’ll have an idea of how to back up your games to an ISO file. Such files of ISO have formats known as BIN/CUE.

Note: If you have an antivirus like AVG, it might flag the adware program. No worries, there’s no adware on this program. False warning! All that you see as ads will be shown to you during the installation of this program. Thus, the program is safe.

  1. Firstly, you need to download and install the ImgBurn program available for free on its homepage.
  2. When you open ImgBurn, click on Create image file from disc.
  3. Be sure to set in the proper source in Source. After, click on the Read icon.
    Read icon
  4. That’s all you need to do for now. Ripping your CD with your game may take some time. Given the default settings of the program, the program will place your game into Documents.

How to load a PS 2 ISO file

  1. Now, you put your ISO files anywhere you wish.
  2. Go to CDVD > ISO Selector > Browse, as indicated below:
    load a PS 2 ISO file
  3. Find the location of your ISO file.
    location of your ISO file
  4. Select your ISO file, and then press Open. Please note that PCSX2 supports NRG, BIN, ISO, MDF, IMG.
  5. Find System > Boot CDVD.
  6. PCSX2 keeps all your previously selected ISO files in the ISO Selector list, as shown below:
    ISO Selector list
  7. This is good when you open PCSX2, as you simply may select a game from the list.

What to do if the game gets stuck showing the loading screen?

It happens that some games may get stuck when loading them. This is due to some reasons. There’s a checklist you may want to look through:

  1. Try downloading other games and then load them. It’s important to eliminate the option of the game-specific problem or whether it’s a global issue with all games. For global issues, you may need to check if you have set up PCSX2 correctly. Or it might happen that your PCSX2 isn’t compatible with your computer.
  2. Be sure the file format is supported by PCSX2 and was unzipped from its compressed version.
  3. There’s a possibility that the game is problematic or even corrupt. Maybe you need to try downloading it from other sites.
  4. Look up at the settings and try to fix what’s needed. You have some recommendations from the video: 8 ways to fix the loading screen problem in Pcsx2.

What if PS 2 game isn’t an ISO?

Already, PCSX2 supports ISO, IMG, BIN, NRG, and MDF. If to be more specific, the file name needs to have an extension .iso.

If you don’t see file extension

Windows hides the extension of the files. By the video offered, you may learn how to enable them.

If the games are in ZIP, RAR, 7Z

Files in these formats mean they’re compressed, and your games are just inside. All you need is to extract/unzip it. By default, you may extract ZIP files, as shown in the video. If you need to extract 7Z or RAR files, you may use 7-ZIP, and it’s free.

If the game is in CDI, UIF, DAA, XBX, BWI, B51

These formats belong to other software. They’re associated with other programs, which you’ll find online. You find the appropriate program, yet it’s much better to download games in ISO or BIN formats.

Try Fullscreen mode

Do you want to play on a full screen? Press ALT+Enter. To undo the full screen, do the same.

Speed Improvement

Thanks to the sophisticated computers, you may not need to use PCSX2 speed hacks. Generally, default settings are okay. Perhaps, if you’re using a tablet or low-cost computer, you may need the speed hacks only if it’s running slowly.

Adjusting is easy to implement. Access the video plug-in, and to do so, find Config > Video (GS) > Core GS Settings, as illustrated below:

Speed Improvement

At the bottom, you’ll see the slider for adjusting:

slider for adjusting

The default setting is 2-Safe (faster). You might spot the following info:

‘The Presets apply speed hacks along with other settings like recompiler options and other game fixes to increase speed. Presets info is as follows:

  1. The most accurate, yet the slowest.
  2. Balancing compatibility of the speed.
  3. Some aggressive hacks.
  4. Too many hacks that might probably slow down most of the games.

Try 3 and click OK. Then, check the game if it runs faster. Still slow? Try 4 then. It doesn’t help? Then, alas, you have to upgrade your computer.

How to fix graphic glitches in 2D

How to fix graphic

Owing to the default setting of PCSX2, some 2D may have odd glitches related to graphics like bounding boxes of graphics and sprites. Look at the sample above:

  1. Find Config > Video (GS) > Plugin Settings.
    Plugin Settings
  2. Choose the ‘Internal Resolution’ dropdown.
    Internal Resolution
  3. Pick 2x Native.
  4. Press OK and check if the game is fixed. If not, go back to this configuration and select 3x Native. One should help.
  5. Don’t forget that incrementing internal resolution will result in slowing down your 3D games. Thus, you need to readjust every time you choose 2D or 3D graphics.

Save state (F1)

This is a good feature that saves the exact moment you’re in the game. If to save manually, find the File menu. Or you use shortcuts as well.

Save state

To take a save state, find File > Save state and choose one of the 10 slots offered. As you may see, you have 10 different save states, not more. The shortcut is F1.

To load a state, find File > Load state. Choose your slot where you’ve saved your game. The shortcut for this is F3.

Using Fast forward

To speed your game, there’s a Tab key. You press it, and you make your gaming speedy. To undo this, press Tab again.

How to hide the console window

Using Fast forward

This annoying window shown above can be closed, if you go to Misc > Show console.

How to make screenshots

Unfortunately, PCSX2 doesn’t have such a feature by default. Yet, getting your screenshots is possible. To do so, you need to download ShareX, as it’s free and Google supported. After you install it, all you need to do is press Ctrl+Prt Scr. Your captured photo will be saved in Documents > ShareX > Screenshots.

What if a white bar gets your screen obscured

A white bar or gradient might cover the part of the screen. It’s a video related issue, which means it might be attributed to PCSX2 or your video card. The following steps you may try:

screen obscured

Video card or PCSX2 problem?

First of all, you need to identify the root of the problem. If the visual problem is in terms of gradient, it’s a PCSX2 related problem. If so, skip to ‘Direction 1’ depicted below. If it’s a white bar, then go on reading the following.

It’s effortless to figure out the problem is caused by trying other emulators or connecting other monitors. If a white bar is present, it means a video card problem. Fix according to Microsoft recommendations. If you don’t see a white bar in other emulators, still try this troubleshooting.

One of the common mistakes is to download PCSX2 from its official homepage. There’s been no update so far. Thus, this causes glitches. The only solution is just to update PCSX2. If this doesn’t help, try another step.

It’s possible that such glitches don’t happen in all games, just in one or some. It may be due to a corrupt ISO file. Try finding this game somewhere else. If glitches continue on other games, maybe the next attempt will help.

Configuration of the video plug-ins may help.

Configuration of the video plug-ins may help.

What to do in case of ‘CDVD plugin failed to open’ error?

It may happen that your game will close and the error will pop up. The error says the CDVD plugin failed to open. Your computer may have insufficient resources, or incompatible hardware/drivers.’

In this video on YouTube, you’ll find how to select other graphics plug-ins to solve this error.

How to find ISOs

One of the best places to find your ISOs is googling. Let’s say you want to play Resident Evil 4, and all you need is just to google it. Sometimes, it’s hard to find your favorite game ISO just by typing its name.

The other way to find your game is through Reddit. Thus, instead of typing download Resident Evil4, you better type Reddit download Resident Evil 4. Why is it so? It’s just because many of the PS 2 games are stored on cloud platforms, and Reddit users keep these games in this way.

  • Direction 1: Update PCSX2.
  • Direction 2: Game-related issue.
  • Direction 3: Changing The Renderer.
    1. If you’re playing right now, close the game.
    2. Find Config > Video (GS) > Plugin Settings.
    3. See the ‘Renderer’ drop-down. OpenGL (Hardware) is the default. Click and choose a different one from the list of options.
      How to find ISOs
    4. Press OK and reopen your game. Check if your chosen renderer helped or not. If not, try a different one until you get the problem solved.
    5. If the glitch persists, it means that your PCSX2 is incompatible with your computer or tablet.

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