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:
1. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 game play, 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 game play 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 story line or advance graphics like others, it takes a lot of brain power and strategy to achieve greatness in Patapon.
7. 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.