I first started messing around with the PCSX2, the PlayStation 2 emulator that allows you to run PS2 discs on your Personal Computer, a couple of years ago, in June of 2010 to be exact. Though flawed and riddled with bugs, the PCSX2 emulator is a powerful piece of software but several days after messing with it, I decided to just stick to the PlayStation 3 to play my PS2 games because it's a lot more convenient and I don't have to worry about encountering graphical bugs, which really overweighs the emulator's ability to render PS2 games to stunning high resolution - it can even run the games at native 1080p, something that a lot of those recent supposed "HD" remakes can't even provide.
Well, my original backwards-compatible PS3 died in August of 2010 while I was really having fun playing my PS2 games. The event stopped me in my PS2 gaming tracks, perhaps because it was such a traumatic event, the fact that I then decided to just get the newer PS3 model, thus losing my ability to play my PS2 games on it - to be honest, not much was lost because the upscaler of the PS3 for the PS2 games was, let's just say, not very spectacular. I didn't even think about playing my PS2 games on the PCSX2 again, until yesterday. Thus, I downloaded the latest version of the software from the official site and started to see if it has become more stable than it was before. I have upgraded my graphics card between then and now so I was expecting things to be a little better this time around and it is, to an extent.
Kingdom Hearts II running at 4 times its original resolution is quite a sight to behold.
A definite improvement now for me is that the software doesn't crash as often as it did before - it only did once over the past 2 days. In terms of the actual game performance, well, that's title dependent and the games that are listed as playable on the official list doesn't necessary translate into a smooth experience. It is hard to tell whether or not the new graphics card helped because the games that I have troubles with before like Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria is still buggy as heck with slow frame rates and corrupted visuals. But then when I booted Final Fantasy XII up, the slight slowdown and sound bugs I encountered before are now gone. I do think that using the Direct X10/11 engine causes less graphical problems and I couldn't select it before on my previous graphics card. The one thing that I want to do this time around is just stick to a couple of games and play through them until the end instead of jumping from one title to the next and I do have a whole lot of PS2 games so it's easy to get lost in the whole excitement. I found that Kingdom Hearts II runs extremely well. So does FFXII and if you could see these running at native full HD, you will be in awe by how incredible they look through the PCSX2. I am definitely going to start with these titles or at least ensure that they will be my focus. That first act of KHII can be extremely boring though but I have gotten through it once so I know I can do it again, especially now with the sharp, boosted graphics. If you would like to see just how great things could look when playing PS2 games using the PCSX2, check out the official PCSX2 channel on YouTube.