SB Recommends PSP Games

psp_setting.jpgSony's first portable system. The PSP has been released in four major iterations, differentiated by size and screen, and then by a new form entirely (PSPGo). Hacking all of them is relatively simple, and gives much better load times for most games, access to most of the PlayStation library, and good emulation options. Home to the UMD format, which has set landfills and bargain bins on fire. There is something mildly romantic to the idea of buying Die Hard on UMD and then watching it immediately on a long train ride though.

The PSP has had sort of a tough ride, in that a lot of the games are just iterations of console games but with that PSP look on your PSP.

Now that the PSP is effectively dead and buried in North America and Europe, physical copies of PSP games are becoming increasingly difficult to find at retail outlets, with even trade-in stores like Gamestop phasing out their UMD collection to free up shelf space. Thankfully for the PSP late adopter, most of the system's noteworthy retail games have been made available for digital purchase via PlayStation Network, though a few older titles (circa 2008 or earlier) can only be found on UMD.

  • The 3rd Birthday
    • Rudie: It is almost Godhand with guns on the PSP. The absolute nonsense story and dubious choices make it not Godhand with guns. But it almost is!
    • muteaid: Accomplishes everything mind jack couldn't. Real battle damage on the player model, great feeling guns, intuitive controls (this game doesn't cramp as much), good flow, and it's short. Jump in, around, and out. NAGOTY2011
  • Atari Classics Evolved
    • Rudie: Fantastic remakes of 10 or so classic Atari games with one disc multiplayer. I would easily pay 10 dollars each for half of these games on XBLA/PSN. Also: Warlords.
  • Brave Story: New Traveler
    • Sniper Honeyviper: A very traditional JRPG based off a book/anime franchise, with an endearing plot and likeable characters. Way too much tutorial BS that you can't skip in the beginning, though… can't they assume we know how to select “Fight” by now?
    • Rudie: It was traditional JRPG garbage for me.
    • muteaid: Boring and ugly. Takes about an hour to start the game. A game that makes me wonder “Can I delete games other people recommended on this wiki?” WARNING
  • Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles - forum thread
    • Sniper Honeyviper: There's three games here: a 2.5D remake of Rondo of Blood, the original PCE-CD version of Rondo, and a nicely re-translated Symphony of the Night with unnecessary new sound effects. (Prepare for the blue-baller: you have to unlock the second two by playing the first.) It's a joy to finally be able to play Rondo without shelling out massive sums of cash or resorting to finicky emulation. The remake plays almost as well as PCE Rondo, and the controls are actually a bit better, but the graphics are extremely bland, so you'll probably just end up ignoring it once you unlock the classic games.
    • Loki Laufeyson: The re-translation of SotN removes all the overblown melodrama of the original translation, and replaces it with blandness.
    • Shapermc: I don't think I really need to say too much about this. I mean, Rondo of Blood remake, original Rondo of Blood (only US release), and Symphony of the Night (though, not the best/most complete version story wise, it is the best for gameplay). All in one package. You're a bastard if you demanded more.
  • Crush (also on: 3DS)
    • Shapermc: This is a puzzle game. Don't let the prospect of a puzzle platformer misguide you. There's very little skill based platforming, it's more about figuring out how to get from point a to point b. Anyways, I can't in good faith recommend this game flat out to anyone. The game is very difficult, even very early on. It doesn't care if you can't for the life of you figure out a puzzle and want to move on. It's a bit of a mean game. I respect it for that though, and do like what I played of the game, but probably a bit too early on I ended up getting hopelessly stuck in this game and I do hate it a bit for really giving me no way out. Very challenging if you like that kind of thing.
  • Daxter
    • Rudie: I'm convinced when people say Jak 2 sucks, they played this game instead.
  • DJ Max Portable Clazziquai Edition
    • Rudie: Korean music game aesthetic gets me hot.
  • DJ Max Portable Fever
    • Rudie: This game is TOO FUCKING HARD.
  • Dungeon Maker: Hunting Ground
    • Shapermc: I just happen to grab this game really cheap used after some interest in the mechanics behind it. I ended up really liking it for most of the game, until I made it a bit too difficult/long for it's own good. See, there's not much within the basic design concept that separates this game from most dungeon crawling RPGs, except the most important thing: you're creating the dungeons. Were it not for that it would be pretty lame, but the game slowly builds the player up with knowledge and a bit of trial and error that you will want to create a more grand and tempting maze within your dungeon to trap better monsters so that you can then lure in the better prizes so that they can be sold for money to buy more equipment to build more dungeon. It's a vicious circle that's difficult to articulate properly without playing the game itself. Either way, I highly recommend this one, it's great for short before bed play sessions, and long boring afternoons as well.
  • Every Extend Extra
    • Shapermc: Go play Every Extend by Omega. Do you like it? Great, then go get EEE: Q? Entertainment's update and expansion of the game. It's not exactly the same, but more like a spiritual continuation of the original. Some of the mechanics are slightly different and the visual style changes for each level, but in its heart it is still Every Extend. The game molds and adjusts to your skill, and is perfect for it's arcade like flow. (Now, I do not recommend EEEE for the 360. It is awful. I'm really not sure how they went from making something that's pretty good to making the worst, most bloated, easy, and pointless games ever created).
  • Everybody's Golf (PAL) / Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee (NA) / Everybody's Golf Portable (JP) (series)
    • sam: I've played more Everybody's Golf than anything else on the system, by my reckoning.
  • Fate/Extra
    • Persona: If you like jazzy as fuck soundtracks by GODDAMN SHINJI HOSOE and want to play JRPG rock, paper, scissors in cyberspace with tsundere ancient heroes fighting for your love as you clash swords with legendary heroes led by masters with much nobler goals than you, then this is your game. Also you fight psychotic female Ronald McDonald who wants to eat you.
    • BotageL: I was kind of enjoying the dumb plot of .hack//Fate/Stay_Night for a while, but the gameplay is just a complete snore. Boring dungeons with by-the-numbers combat and only the occasional boss fight to make you actually think a little bit about your strategy.
  • Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection (forum thread, in which the “DEFINITIVE” status of this version is discussed and contested relative to the various others)
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: Yes, it is yet another entirely distinct version of FF4, because evidently someone at Square wanted to be absolutely certain that it had the most confusing release history of any game in the series. This version is based on the 2005 Game Boy Advance port, as opposed to the substantially modified 2008 Nintendo DS remake, only with hi-res sprite graphics reminiscent of the PS1 remakes of Final Fantasy I and II. Basically, either this or the DS version can reasonably be considered the “definitive” FF4 experience, but which one is best comes down to taste.
    • muteaid: The only FF I've played to completion. This is the gastropub burger of 16bit JRPGs. Everything feels and plays better than you remember. The game menu looks fucking amateur though.
  • Gitaroo Man Lives! / Gitaroo Man Live! (JP) (also on: PS2 (sans 'Live!' moniker))
    • This Machine Kills Fascis: Man. Gitaroo Man is so good. Like, I really thought it was going to be a deeply flawed game that people only like for the aesthetic, but—man—I really loved the non-stop stimulation of it.
      So much fun! Just sheer enjoyment from beginning to end, even when the imprecise joystick made it unduly frustrating.
      If only you could use arcade sticks, it would be a perfect game.
    • haze: I really liked Gitaroo Man's approach to the rhythm game genre. A little bit less “pretense of simulating a real guitar/keyboard/dance floor” and a little bit less “Simon Says press these buttons” following a curved line with an analog stick is so satisfying in a mysterious way. It has nothing to do with playing a guitar, it's just the raw music being fed into you.
      It's like a predecessor to Rhythm Heaven? at least in my mind.
    • Take It Sleazy: I prefer Ouendan/EBA as far as [INiS's] games go but only because I can actually complete them/master them.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Pretty much the same thing as Parappa with a better note display and an added analog-fiddling mechanic that doesn't work too well. Fun for a while, but the English voice acting may drive a person insane.
  • Gradius Collection / Gradius Portable (JP)
    • Shapermc: It has every major version of Gradius. Ever. Even Gaiden. There, the US finally got Gaiden. Go play it. (As an aside: Gaiden is probably the best Gradius game ever made, even more so than GV in my humble opinion).
  • Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure / Gurumin (JP)
    • Shapermc: Not only a great adventure game, but a well constructed one. Originally a PC game from a few years back, Gurumin was brought to the US by Mastiff. After seeing what Konami had done with their Ys series on the PSP, Falcom decided to port this game their selves and they did an amazing job. The gameplay mixes a little bit of Mega Man Legends into the package and creates an excellent action adventure game with a story written for the more child like in us, and solid controls that evoke a more mature game. Either way, this is one of my favorite “PSP only” games (it was never released on the PC for the US… so yeah).
  • Half-Minute Hero / Juusha 30 (JP)
    • Mikey: A brilliant deconstruction of the JRPG.
  • Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble / Kenka Banchō 3: Zenkoku Seiha
    • Loki Laufeyson: Be a teenage thug and spend your week-long school trip beating up other thugs to prove yourself the hardest teenager in Japan. Or spend the week going on dates and looking for paranormal sightings instead.
  • Knights in the Nightmare (also on: DS)
    • Rudie: Your Bullet Hell SRPG MP3 Organizer with Time Life System. Did that not make any sense but sound vaguely intriguing? Then jump in the deep end and you'll eventually end up swimming. Warning: excessive load times.
  • Lumines (series)
    • Rudie: Download Lumines demo. Try Lumines demo. Decide whether you are depressed once you figure it out.
    • boojiboy7: The good news is that since Lumines was a launch title, it can be found cheaply pretty much anywhere that sells used PSP games. The music and aesthetic of the first one are nice, but yeah, once you figure it out,it is only a matter of time until you stop playing it.
  • M.A.C.H. Modified Air Combat Heroes
    • muteaid: Plays like After Burner Climax: The Race. Great graphics, good feeling of speed. I don't understand the need for bizarre creations and Kuju made Blur when they already made this excellent title. The best kart-race game on the PSP and one of the better arcade jet fighter games as well. All you blue sky game romantics should have played this already. RECOMMEND ++
  • Mega Man Maverick Hunter X / Irregular Hunter X (JP)
  • Rudie: Despite popular opinion, I prefer this remake of Mega Man X to Powered Up.
  • boojiboy7: I actually like them about the same, but this one has the advantage of the wonderful Vile Mode, which you play through as Vile and find a ridiculous amount of different weapons and items to use in combination with each other.
  • Mega Man Powered Up
    • boojiboy7: A remake of Mega Man, with a lot of added content, including a level editor and challenges you play through as the bosses. It's still Mega Man, though, so if you hate the first game, it's not going to change your opinion.
    • Shapermc: For the most part it's just a remake of the first game. There's even one mode that is an exact block for block remake of Mega Man 1, but it's not as enjoyable. After you complete the game proper if you haven't had enough lovingly thick nostalgic syrup poured on, you can go and download/make any level you want with a very robust level builder. There were even more tilesets released than are playable in the game proper. Other players created some really, really amazing levels with it all too. This is probably the best action game package you can pick up on the console, but good luck as I haven't seen it around much in stores.
  • Metal Gear Acid 2
    • gatotsu2501: A strange but compelling combination of turn-based strategy and collectible card game - two potentially addictive genres on their own that in tandem make for one of the most addictive games I've ever played. I was glued to the Acid games for a good couple of years back in high school. The first Acid is good too (and lets you carry over your best/rarest card to the sequel if you have a completed file on your memory stick), it's just that the sequel polishes, tweaks, tightens and improves just about everything.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
    • gatotsu2501: Often overlooked in favor of Peace Walker, but still reasonably worth playing. I kinda like the controls better, clunky as they may be. If you care at all about the Metal Gear canon this is also a pretty important (if perhaps not totally essential) chapter, mainly for bridging the character-development gap between Big Boss the disillusioned soldier (as seen at the end of MGS3) and Big Boss the transnational anarchist icon (as seen at the start of Peace Walker).
    • muteaid: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Cramps
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (also on: 360, PS3) - forum thread
    • Sniper Honeyviper: MGS3 Gaiden Portable with added Monster Hunter and Vocaloid functionality because them wacky nihonjin kids just love that stuff. I assume it becomes more bearable with co-op buddies, alone it's often strenuous, drawn-out and punishing. Though either way, it's definitely worth it for the story and palm-sized sneaking action if you like Metal Gear, and the default controls are just about perfect. Piles and piles of post-game content that doesn't feel like bullshit will keep you occupied well after the credits.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: You've got sort of a strange conundrum, here: the game's level design is clearly intended for handheld play, while the controls are - aggressively - designed with consoles in mind, to the extent that the PSP control scheme feels gimped (no idea what Sniper is talking about here). In my opinion the console version wins out, just because of how vast the improvement in playability is with a proper dual-stick gamepad; though if you're willing to double-dip for the game on both PSP and PS3, you can transfer saves and get the best of both worlds.
    • Felix: I tried playing this for the first time after buying the HD Collection which included this on PS3, and I couldn't get over how much less interesting both the level design and the range of motion afforded to you in this game are compared to MGS3. The bossfights present some relatively unique difficult spikes that all but require co-op (which otherwise helps to make the rest of the game bearable), but in all this one's a fair bit weaker than I expected.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: What distinguishes PW from MGS3 is its overarching focus on the metagame aspects first introduced in Portable Ops. If you go in expecting a cohesive, cinematic campaign with the scope and depth of MGS3 (as opposed to a progression of simplified, bite-sized scenarios woven into a more abstract metagame) you are bound for disappointment.
    • Ni Go Zero Ichi: WARNING: The obligatory torture sequence QTE mission in this game is so stupidly, pointlessly, unfairly hard that unless you have a natural-born talent for button mashing it grinds the entire game to a halt and might actually force you to stop playing unless you can literally find another person to do it for you. It's that bad.
  • Monster Hunter Freedom Unite/Portable 2nd G
    • boojiboy7: The most honestly named games to come along in years. Try to have someone else with a PSP and this game to play with, though this version does give you an AI teammate to fight along with, if you want it. Can be relentlessly addictive. I've personally suck 230 hours into it at this point, though I've met people with over 500 logged in. It's pretty much the perfect use of the PSP.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: I made a serious effort at getting into this, but just wasn't able to do it. Resource farming is too difficult and tedious without multiplayer bros. They tried to give solitary players a concession with the felyne companions, but it was hardly enough. I hear Portable 3rd fixes this though.
  • OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (also on: PC; PS2; XBox)
    • Rudie: Sadly, not as perfect as UK:R made out to be.
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Holy shit, owning this is the only way to unlock some stuff in the PS2 version.
  • Patchwork Heroes / Hyakumanton no Bara Bara (JP) - forum thread
  • muteaid: A great Qix clone that has more variety than the extreme redux Qix++. Add to your deck if you need a quick puzzle game or something unique and fun for your game curious lover.
  • Persona 3 Portable
    • gatotsu2501: Even without the female MC path and nifty bonus bosses, the fact that you can actually control your party members in battle makes this the definitive version of the game by default. After playing it you'll never believe that Persona 3 wasn't designed with a handheld platform in mind. The simplified visuals and removal of animated FMVs are a shame, but they're a small price to pay for the benefits this edition offers.
  • Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle (also on: PS2, Wii)
  • Power Stone Collection
  • Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?
    • Rudie: I picked this up because I had been hearing about Prinnies for a while, but SRPGs scare the shit out of me. I do love d00d, but I hate this game. The platforming is G&G rough with frequent bottomless pits. The action of doing the butt stomp everytime you jump never felt natural for me. Everytime I started it up, I came away frustrated and unsatisfied.
  • Ridge Racer
    • Rudie: It's Ridge Racer on your PSP! Please replace Ridge Racer for Tekken/Soul Calibur/Ace Combat for more opinions about Namco games.
  • Riviera: The Promised Land (also on: GBA)
  • Rock Band Unplugged
    • robotdell : It is, for all intents and purposes, Frequency/Amplitude but on the PSP (and arguably better music).
    • Rudie: I'll be the one to argue that! Unplugged doesn't nearly have the conscious note design that goes along with switching tracks. It feels like they built each instrument individually then threw them together. This is more obvious when you play in free mode and all tracks are activated at all times. Judge this by the track list not the promise of Frequency/Amplitude.
  • Salamander/Gradius/Parodius Collection
    • Rudie: Every Salamander and Xexex/Gradius/Parodius game on your PSP!
  • Sega Genesis Collection (also on: PS2)
  • Silent Hill Origins (also on: PS2)
    • Rudie: A by-the-numbers Silent Hill game. Though, it is in your hands.
    • gatotsu2501: Way too bland to recommend in good conscience. Although the same developer's next stab at Silent Hill, Shattered Memories, is fantastic.
  • Space Invaders Pocket
    • Shapermc: I love some of the Space Invaders games, though the early ones are mostly unnecessary. This version has almost every version available (even cellophane colored versions of the original B&W game and cellphone versions) including some of my favorite versions like Majestic Twelve (a version with non-standard formations, bosses, and world runner-esque 3D sections) and Attack of the Lunar Loonies aka Akkanvader (the only console release iirc). Just for MJ-12 and Akkanvader alone this game is worth it, but it's nice to see the others tossed in for free anyways. Oh, yeah, the game supports TATE mode so you can rotate the PSP for a more correct aspect ratio.
  • Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together - forum thread
    • Talbain: Another game with a great soundtrack. This one adds a great story and good characters to boot. What is most interesting about this game is that it's intriguing how much you can abuse things that are never abusable in most games. Things such as stuns or paralysis, abilities that, in general, are useless in most other games.
    • Felix: Virtually every change from the original is a negative – permadeath is all but removed (and its removal poorly compensated for), and the new skill system they cooked up is sphere-grid-trivial and a disincentive to experimenting with new character setups, all of these changes serving to make your units less replaceable, which was one of the most unique things about the original – but it's gorgeous, the formerly lacking Lawful route through the game has been improved, the new script is less contentious than FFT's, and it is the game's first proper western release (the limited-quantity bad PS1 port doesn't really count for much). And for those of you who haven't played it, it's a direct predecessor to FFT; that should be a huge selling point right there (just stick to the translated SNES ROM if you don't mind doing so).
    • gooktime: That's going a bit far I reckon! While the skills & item creation are extraneous menu busywork, the original ROM is so slow & has the weird Matsuno difficulty curve where things get progressively easier. I love both though, don't get me wrong.
  • Trails in the Sky (also on: iOS, PC [JPN only])
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Still in the market for a traditional, turn-based fantasy JRPG with a materia skill system? You could do a hell of a lot worse on the PSP than with this. And it's made by Falcom. The writing and characters are amazingly good.
  • Ultimate Ghosts'n Goblins / Goku Makaimura (JP)
    • Shapermc: I loved this game and played though it quite a few times. It does hearken back to a time that most developers have left in the dust with instant deaths and irreversible leaps of faith. But that's what made the series so great in the first place. I think I would rather recommend the version that was released in Japan that cut out a lot of the BS that the first version had (like ring collection and level warping) that just seems to bog the flow down. That's not important really though, it's not like the the first/US version of the game is bad, it's just a bit mis-guided.
    • muteaid: My new favorite Makaimura game after the Wonderswan version. Not hard in a good or bad way, but in a learning a monologue in another language sort of hard.
  • Valkyria Chronicles 2
    • Felix: The consensus seems to be that the first game is better than this one, but I disagree – the sequel is better-balanced, has fewer tonal issues, fewer gimmick battles, and (possibly because I never had the patience for the jRPG mechanics in the Persona games that popularized this) I actually like the Harry Potter boarding school MAX S-LINK setting. There are still issues with most of the winning strategies feeling cheap/broken/mushy (lots of rushing past tanks and shooting guys point blank in the face; the difficulty spikes are too obviously the best part) and this game admittedly has way too much padding (you have to basically rush every mission and skip all of the optional stuff to finish it in under 20 hours), but now that the PSP can be emulated well on Android, it works really well as SRPG comfort food for me.
  • Valkyria Chronicles 3
    • Felix: Continuing the trend, this third installment is even better balanced and more padded than the second one. Rushing strategies and tanks are finally no longer overpowered, and leveling up / class changing / upgrading your weapons no longer seems designed to be as tedious as possible. Unfortunately, the English translation patch that was recently (2013) released is incredibly dry (less enjoyable than the second game's school setting save for its particularly gross anime moments), and after having played through most of the first two games I don't really have much remaining interest in plugging through the 80 or so missions in this one. The AI is also needlessly bad, which means that even though half of your units are no longer useless and you actually get to make some interesting decisions about how to build your characters (that aren't just 20-hour FAQ projections), you'll still be challenged far too rarely outside of the obvious difficulty spikes unless you keep forgetting to guard your bases. If not for that and the length, this would finally have risen above its sort of C-plus status, but alas.
  • Wild Arms XF
    • mothmanspirit: This is probably the best SRPG on the PSP. I like it more than Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre combined.
  • Yggdra Union (also on: GBA)
  • Ys I and II Chronicles
    • Rudie: Pretty good rendition of Ys I and II. If you've never played it, I would actually recommend playing the Turbographx CD version first. Then buy this because you are now an Ys/Falcom fan. The claustrophobic dark mazes would have been a thousand times worse if I didn't have memory of playing them on a big screen TV.
  • Ys Seven
    • Sniper Honeyviper: A more polished revisiting of Napishtim's gameplay with CPU-controlled party members that don't end up meaning a whole lot. Very snappy, brisk and unpretentious, like all Falcom games. The disparity in difficulty between normal battles and bosses is ridiculous though.
    • Rudie: The anime plot is a little bit draining, as is the repetition of environments. Most of the bosses are super fun to fight though. the normal battles being push overs is Ys style.
    • muteaid: This game broke my heart. Great controls, great boss battles, and grinding to level up moves for extra damage. Almost a perfect game! Half-way through the game you have to play through all the dungeons again. Bullshit anime story. RECOMMENDED ++
    • Loki Laufeyson: No-one else has mentioned that this game also has some amazing scenery.
  • Yuusha no Kuse ni Namaikida (JP) / Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman - forum thread
    • robotdell: Easily the best RTS on the system. It's remarkably similar to Dungeon Keeper!
    • Sniper Honeyviper: Lemmings/Sim City with a retro RPG aesthetic. Fun, but you're given little control over the proceedings, and it's somewhat taxing on one's patience.
    • Rudie: Easily one of the best games on the system! The sequels are equally swell. It is the reason to own a PSP.
    • Felix: Yeah, I don't know. I was finally playing this on my phone lately after PPSSPP got to a point where it ran well enough, and it's pretty clever, but I couldn't really get excited about the pacing.
 
 sb/recommended/psp.txt · Last modified: 2017/04/08 09:58 (external edit)
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