PS2 emulator PCSX2 gets a user-friendly UI at last

(Image credit: PCSX2)

Open-source emulator PCSX2 is the best way to play PlayStation 2 games, proudly declaring that it supports "over 98% of the original PS2 library". It's never been a looker, however, with a barebones UI that often sends players off in search of a separate frontend launcher. That's changed with the first public release of PCSX2 that uses the GUI framework Qt.

The new interface includes a grid view for showing off box art as well as a more traditional list view, a dark mode option, and a row of straightforward icons across the top. (Some of which are grayed-out as this is a developer build, and it'll be a while before it hits the next stable release.) The UI will look familiar to users of PS1 emulator DuckStation, and that's probably thanks to contributing developer Stenzek, who was DuckStation's primary developer.

To get your library looking schmick, download box art from somewhere like The Cover Project, rename the files so they match the relevant .iso files, and pop them in a covers folder in your PCSX2 directory. Then select Game Grid from PCSX2's View menu and voila, all your Burnout and Silent Hill and Metal Gear Solid games will be ready to stare at.

Other improvements in PCSX2's Qt release include per-game settings (in case you need to remap controls for one game but not others, or make use of fan-made texture packs, for instance), native support for DualShock 4 and 5 controllers (no more relying on DS4Windows or Steam), and future updates will download automatically.

Before you race to download the latest build, be aware that only Windows 10 and 11 are currently supported, and as this is an in-development build, you may encounter some issues. If you're into bug-reporting go ahead, but as the PCSX2 team explains, "these releases are intended for those who want to, or require, being on the bleeding edge. They may contain unresolved bugs or issues, use at your own discretion with this in mind." 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.