Top 10 PSP Games [Best Recommendations]

INTRODUCTION

Sony shook up the handheld gaming scene when they launched the Playstation Portable in 2005. 3D graphics were still a novelty on handhelds, with the most prolific release prior being the Mario 64 port for the Nintendo DS. Playing games that looked almost as good as their Playstation 2 counterparts on an LCD you could take with you was a huge feat. Over the years, the games released steadily, delivering more console-like experiences on the go. Looking back, some were clearly more memorable than others. Today, we’re taking a look at the Top 10 PSP games.

10. Patapon

  • System/Platform: PSP
  • Publisher: Pyramid
  • Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Release Date: Feb. 26th, 2008

Rhythm gaming has had it’s ups and downs, but the elements that Patapon introduced were pretty astounding. Playstation fans were already familiar with the concept of keeping with the beat from titles like PaRappa the Rapper, but with an added strategy and fighting element thrown in, it was an all new experience. You marched a battalion of cute singing creatures called Patapons against enemies by pressing the face buttons when prompted. Along the way, you increased your forces by adding different types of units such as archers and spearmen. Even the melodies were catchy! Away from the game, you might catch yourself muttering “Pon pon Patapon”.


9. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G)

  • System/Platform: PSP, PS Vita, iOS
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Release Date: June 22nd, 2009

Hunting monsters has been a staple of video games for a long time, but only the Monster Hunter franchise has given it prime focus by taking to the hunting grounds online, building your character and skills, and then finally defeating larger opponents. Throughout the series, Monster Hunter has seen more releases on handheld and mobile devices than it has on home consoles, which shows just how important mobility is to the fans of the series. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite was massive game in scope, from equipment to monster variation and locations. It is still one of the largest entries in the series, and one that was well regarded on the Playstation Portable.


8. Ridge Racer

  • System/Platform: PSP
  • Developer: Namco
  • Publisher: Namco
  • Release Date: Mar. 22nd, 2005

Before the famous (or infamous) Sony E3 2006 showing where Kaz Hirai ruined the iconic intro voice forever, our pure hearts were still open to the excitement of this series! Drifting and leaving your opponents in the dust was already completely satisfying on the console titles, but something about the new release on PSP just felt right. As a handheld game, it clicked better than it ever had on console. Mainly due to the fact that the core gameplay of the franchise isn’t all too complex, and the pick-up-and-play nature of races was best suited to the freedom of a portable device. All in all, this was a truly solid entry in the franchise that felt like it was tailor-made for the PSP.


7. Jak & Daxter: Lost Frontier

  • System/Platform: PSP, PS2
  • Developer: High Impact Games
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Release Date: Nov. 3rd, 2009

The amazing studio that brought us beloved classics like Crash Bandicoot worked their magic and brought Jak & Daxter to the PS2. Released at a time when 3D platformers were still in their prime, the franchise grew and changed to introduce open world elements as well as a vast array of guns. When Naughty Dog left the series to begin work on Uncharted, new developer High Impact Games created a new addition to the series on both PSP and PS2. Lost Frontier was a faithful entry into the series. On PSP, it really delivered a complete package of what fans were looking for in a portable device. It was a change from the handheld only Daxter title released, and those looking to see Jak & Daxter reunited on the device were pleasantly surprised.


6. Gran Turismo

  • System/Platform: PSP
  • Developer: Polyphony Digital
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Release Date: Oct. 1st, 2009

Racing fans already know just how much the Gran Turismo series delivered to gamers. Astounding attention to detail in the cars and realistic mechanics were introduced at a time when the most prominent racing games were still cartoony and stylized. After a long five year wait, the PSP finally got its definitive realistic racing game. While it may not have completely delivered on everything the series had grown to, it did maintain 60fps on the portable device. It also did its best to tide gamers over until the eventual release of Gran Turismo 5 on PS3, holding true that Polyphony Digital crafts games worth waiting for.


5. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

  • System/Platform: PSP
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Release Date: Mar. 25th, 2008

Even though the Final Fantasy series is no stranger to spin-offs and direct sequels, the Final Fantasy VII world is the most revisited, and with good reason. Crisis Core put players in the shoes of the mysterious Zack character who was the previous owner of Cloud’s iconic Buster Sword. Set 7 years prior to the main game’s events, it highlights Zack’s struggle against other failed SOLDIER projects all stemming from the Jenova experiments. Gameplay-wise, it was a different direction for the series, introducing both a real-time action and turn-based RPG system similar to Kingdom Hearts. It wasn’t the much sought after Final Fantasy VII remake that fans at the time were still clamoring for, but it was an exciting addition to the universe and a solid game to boot.


4. God of War: Chains of Olympus

  • System/Platform: PSP
  • Developer: Ready at Dawn
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Release Date: Mar. 4th, 2008

The first of two God of War prequels on the PSP, Chains of Olympus was a landmark title that delivered just about everything gamers had come to love about the PS2 releases. Great graphics, exciting gameplay and the series’ patented quick time events were all accounted for in this dedicated title. Studio Ready at Dawn crafted three great titles for the PSP including both Daxter and the later released God of War: Ghost of Sparta. Although many franchises got the PSP treatment, we can always look back at how Chains of Olympus was the first handheld game that stacked up to its console counterpart.


3. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

  • System/Platform: PSP
  • Developer: Kojima Productions
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Release Date: June 10th, 2010

Hideo Kojima has been a big part of Playstation ever since the release of Metal Gear Solid on the PS1. It’s only fitting that he would release a landmark title for the Playstation Portable as well. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is a prequel starring the legendary Big Boss himself, taking place 10 years after the events in Metal Gear Solid 3, which released on the PS2. It was also a sequel to the earlier release Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops, but it had a number of marked interface and control scheme adjustments that made it a superior handheld Metal Gear entry.


2. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

  • System/Platform: PSP, PS2, PS3
  • Developer: Rockstar Leeds
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Release Date: Oct. 31st, 2006

Grand Theft Auto is the series that set the tone for open world action after the series made the jump from 2D to 3D. A handheld prequel to the 4th game in the series, Vice City Stories whisks players off to a stylized version of the iconic Miami Beach scene. As far as gameplay goes, the game was nearly identical to its console counterparts in most aspects. It even added swimming, a feature that was taken from San Andreas, the most recent entry at the time. As a Grand Theft Auto title, it was so popular that it was later ported to both PS2 and then later made available on PS3. It was an experience that almost made it worth owning a PSP all on its own.


1. Jeanne d'Arc

  • System/Platform: PSP
  • Developer: Level-5
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Release Date: Aug. 21st, 2007

Loosely based on the historical figure Joan of Arc, Jeanne d'Arc is a fantasy-based, tactical RPG exclusive to the PSP. Jeanne is a normal village girl who has lost her home to the onslaught of a demon horde. After hearing a voice from the heavens, she is then charged with leading the world to salvation. Crafted by Level-5 who made role-playing games like Ni no Kuni and Dragon Quest VIII, Jeanne d'Arc felt like it was a much bigger game than it wound up being. It was localized in the US, but didn’t see a launch in PAL regions. For a game that really felt like it could become Playstation’s own Fire Emblem, it is a bit depressing. As a standalone game, it delivered solid tactical RPG action on the pristine handheld screen, making it a go-to for anyone with the device.


Final Thoughts

The Playstation Portable has had a slew of great games released throughout its lifetime. These were only the Top 10 of these great selections, and we know there are quite a few more. Did you have favorites that we didn’t mention? Still refusing to upgrade to the Vita and holding fast to your oldie? Let us know in the comments!

Hercule SSJ

Writer

Author: Hercule SSJ

What happens when you give a Crunchyroll trial to a former Toonami kid who hasn't watched anime since Cowboy Bebop got dubbed? You get Hercule SSJ. Thanks to that, he's spent the last two years catching up on dozens of shows and manga he's neglected over the years. Has probably watched 60% of all harem ecchi in existence. Currently seeking series to fill the void left by Konosuba and One-Punch Man. Accepts NisiOisiN quotes as payment.

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