The PSP has one of the most unique popularity arcs we’ve seen. For those unfamiliar with the device, the PSP is PlayStation’s answer to Nintendo’s DS. It is a powerful handheld device capable of playing games and movies. And it also let users play some of the best franchises on the PlayStation.
In some ways, however, the PSP reminds us of The Big Lebowski. We know you must have a confused look on your face right now, but hear us out: PlayStation and the Coen Brothers are both highly respected in their respective industries. Both PlayStation and the Coen Brothers have these two major releases that were highly anticipated – the PSP and The Big Lebowski – and both were major flops, initially. Now, The Big Lebowski is a cult classic, and so is the PSP. Sometimes great things are just ahead of their times.
Now that the days of the PSP are coming to an end – PlayStation announced it plans on exiting the portable gaming console space soon — we felt that we should pay homage to the underrated gaming console. We researched the top tech and gaming websites such as TechRadar, IGN, and Digital Trends, to name a few, compared their lists for crossover, to bring you the consensus must-play PSP games. Below are the games that every PSP gamer should play.
*Many PSP titles are becoming hard to find. If you want to try your hand at any of the games below, order quickly before they disappear for good!*
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters
The Ratchet & Clank series has always relied heavily on corky characters and weaponry that pushes the boundaries of imagination. Size Matters is no different. This time, Rachet and his trusty robot sidekick, Clank, are on a vacation that is cut short by an awful discovery that the Technomites, a genius race of inventors, are planning something unimaginably awful. You’ll have to use all the unique artillery and customizable armor you can find to get through your mission.
There is plenty of additional play in Size Matters, such as Clank turning to a giant war machine and ensuing in an interstellar battle. Even if this is your first experience with the Ratchet & Clank series, you’ll quickly come to understand why so many gamers have a soft spot for the off-the-wall duo.
We love RPGs, but the problem with this style of game is most of us don’t have the time to get through 100 hours of slow, methodical gameplay. Enter Half-Minute Hero. This 8-bit, RPG-style game only affords you 30 seconds to slay underworld creatures, collect weapons and summon demons to help you through your quest. The game is like if Ground Hogs Day, Final Fantasy and Zelda was added, shaken and poured into a delightful gaming cocktail.
How do you suppose you are going to battle an ultimate evil from destroying the world from four different perspectives: one as the RPG hero, an evil lord, a knight and a princess? You’ll have to play Half-Minute Hero to find out.
When gravity-bound racing isn’t enough for you anymore, Wipeout Pure can fill that racing void in your gaming life. The anti-gravity racing game combined with the upbeat soundtrack is like Starfox, Crusin’ USA and Wave Race all rolled into one high-stakes package. You’ll dodge, duck dip, dive… and dodge throughout eight unique racing tracks. But in tournament mode, you’re able to unlock more levels as you progress through the game. Wipeout Pure is for those who love the white-knuckling sensation of teetering on the edge of control and chaos.
The story of Jeanne d’Arc starts well before her time when all of humanity banded together with the help of five holy armlets to seal a dark evil away for good. Although humanity prevailed, the evil was never fully destroyed. Now, after centuries of battles between the English and French, the evil has found its way back onto Earth and his helping the English destroy the French. One of first villages they destroy is that of Jeanne d’Arc. Jeanne soon discovers one of the holy armlets and starts hearing voices from God to rally the French and conquer the evil-spirited English. You’ll battle across landscapes far and wide, and eventually grow a crew of 14 unique warriors, and you’ll need all of their strength and attacking abilities for success in the journey ahead. Jeanne d’Arc is a well thought-out RPG with gameplay as epic as the storyline. This is a hard to find title, so if you’re interested in playing, don’t wait to order a copy.
Mega Man Powered Up
Fans of the original NES games will appreciate Mega Man Powered Up, not because it’s a spitting image of the popular NES series. It takes what the series does well and gives it a makeover. There are new graphics, new levels and even the ability to play as the bosses you try to conquer. Under the new makeover, the Mega Man premise is tried and true — get through each level to defeat the boss and steal their abilities. But an extra notch in the gameplay is a level editor to create your own stages. This game is a classic that improves on why people love Mega Man in the first place.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
If the Final Fantasy series had a baby with a Disney movie, you’d have Kingdom Hearts: Birth of Sleep. This action RPG follows the storylines of Terra, Ventus and Aqua, Keyblade wielders who are tasked with destroying the uprising of the Unversed. Each character has a completely unique storyline, so there is plenty of gameplay between the three friends. Along with the extensive gameplay, the fighting in the game is what makes it especially fun. RPG games are known for list-based attacks that can feel slow, but once you execute and attack, the next one cycles through automatically, which speeds things up nicely. If you don’t feel like attempting a campaign, there are a handful of mini-games that are linked to the main story but aren’t as time-consuming. This game is packed with entertaining gameplay and is a highly recommended must-have for PSP.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
In Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars you’ll play as Wang Lee, the spoiled son of a Triad leader. After his father is killed, he returns to Liberty City where he finds himself in the middle of a bundle of illegal activity as he tries to find out who assassinated his father. And of course, beyond the main storyline, there are grips of side-stories, side hustles, rampages, drug deals and car chases that the GTA franchise is known for. One fun iteration to this game is the way police chases are handled. Instead of having to evade police, ramming them off the road gives you just as good of a chance to escape. This gives you a fighting chance in every car chase even when it feels like the odds are insurmountable. Whether you like GTA for the storylines or you just like to run around and cause havoc around Liberty City, this game has everything that GTA fans love.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable is the tale of two games: Japanese boarding school student by day, and evil shadow slaying warrior by night. It’s a stark contrast, but combined it makes this game one that is difficult to put down. When the day gives way to night, that’s when the evil shadows lurk at Taurus, the Japanese boarding school you attend. You soon learn there is a special league of students called the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (SEES) that can combat the evil shadows, and lucky for you, you’re one of them! All of the combat happens during the night. During the day, you are basically your everyday high schooler — you go to class, join clubs, etc. You need to balance your schoolwork with your evening battles because finding the correct balance between being a social, A+ student and an evil spirit slaying warrior is key. It’s a unique concept for a game, but it’s one of the most fun and addicting games for PSP.
This game has become a bit of a collectible over the years, and you can find used copies of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 for anywhere from $40 to nearly $200. You can find copies of this PSP game on eBay, but there are also a handful of copies for sale on Amazon, too.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Grand Theft Auto is a classic. Vice City Stories is set two years before the main console’s Vice City, which is cool PlayStation decided to go prequel instead of releasing the same exact game on a portable format. Vice City packs all of the GTA violence, freedom of open map gameplay, and underworld empire fun that you’d come to expect from the GTA franchise.
The game follows Victor Vance (Vic), a dishonorably discharged army vet in the very Miami-esque, Vice City. Once Victor gets kicked out of the army, he is thrust into the world of Vice City, where empires are completely built on lies, drugs and violence. One decision leads Vic down the path of the underworld, and leaves him with the choice: let the violent underworld of Vice City take him to his grave, or fight and build an empire. It’s an absolute must play on the PSP.
The Jak and Daxter series for PS2 is one of the most popular games for PlayStation, and it is no surprise that Daxter became a mobile version hit. In this game, Daxter, Jak’s sidekick, is the main character in this prequel to Jak II. Jak has been imprisoned, and it’s up to Daxter to find his partner in crime. In this game, Daxter takes on the roll of a pest exterminator to fight metallic pests and follow clues that lead him to find his buddy. What’s cool about this game, other than the great sense of humor and overall silliness that we’ve come accustomed to with the franchise, is the unique gameplay perspective of the Daxter character. The shifty and nimble character is able to climb up walls, sneak up on enemies, and maneuver around in a way that gives this game its own flavor in the franchise. This game stands the test of time and is a wonderful and funny experience for all gamers.
God Of War: Ghost Of Sparta
God Of War: Ghost of Sparta is widely considered as one of the most visually impressive games you can play on the PSP. It takes place in the aftermath of God Of War. This single-player game follows the epic warrior, Kratos, as he embarks on a quest to find his brother, Deimos. In the process, the game submerges you deep in Greek mythology. The gameplay is gorgeous, yet brutal, as you take on the dead, ancient monsters, and trek through mythical landscapes. By the time you reach Thanatos in his Domain of Death, you’ll have already fallen in love with everything that makes the full console games so popular.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Metal Gear Solid is one of the best franchises on all PlayStation consoles. Peace Walker boasts a lengthy 30-hours of gameplay, which is an impressive amount of time for a handheld. This time, the ultimate badass, Snake, discovers a terrible plot for world domination. In Peace Walker, you learn more about Snake’s backstory, his enemies and allies, which brings depth to all of the series across the Metal Gear franchise. If the single-player game play isn’t enough for you, you can team up with friends for multi-player CO-OPS. Here, you can cover each other, administer medical attention to your team, and navigate the hostile territory as a team. This game really pushes the bar in terms of portable gaming capabilities.
If puzzle games are more your speed, you’ll love the gameplay that Lumines offers. Lumines is like Tetris on steroids. Much like Tetris, the point of the game is to stack blocks in your area to create color-coded sequences that clear when you arrange them correctly. Every level has its own theme and music. The music, color schemes, and speed all intensify as you go through the levels. You can challenge yourself in single-player mode, or you can play multi-player to show off your puzzle-solving skills against others. Lumines is one of the first PSP games, and still widely considered one of the classic games for the PSP console.
Patapon is one of the most unique game concepts for any console. If Lemmings, Simon Says, Tetris, and Command and Conquer had a child, it would be Patapon. The Patapons were removed from their home by the Zigoton Army. Now, they are going to take back their home by fighting to the rhythm of their once dormant war drums. That’s truly where the gameplay differs from all others. Instead of button-smashing to fight your enemies, you have to learn and memorize button combinations to the rhythm of the war drums in order to execute specific attacks. Beyond that, you have to build and arm your army from scratch, and strategically attack your opponent. For a game that doesn’t have a complicated storyline or advance graphics like others, it takes a lot of brainpower and strategy to achieve greatness in Patapon.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
The Final Fantasy franchise is about as long running, recognizable, and popular as any game franchise can be. Crisis Core is a prequel to Final Fantasy VII, set seven years in the past. The main character, Zack, is a footnote in the original Final Fantasy VII, but takes center stage as the main character in this world. Nostalgia plays a key part in Crisis Core, as the game returns the gameplay back to fan-favorite settings, such as Midgar and Nibelheim, and characters such as Sephiroth and Cloud make appearances from the original game. But the meat and potatoes of this game is the action, which Crisis Core cuts right to the chase. When “Combat Mode” is activated, the world shrinks down to an arena for the battle. You can still expect the turned-based style of combat that is familiar to the FF franchise, but you control the main character with the d-pad in real-time. Like all FF games, the story sucks you in, the visuals keep you in awe, and Crisis Core makes you want to marathon the entire franchise.