The PSP was PlayStation’s first major foray into the handheld world. As the most powerful handheld of the time, it introduced a number of memorable games based on existing PlayStation franchises, some impressive third-party support, and a format that stood the test of time and has been a hallmark of technology ever since, the UMD.
OK, no, UMDs may not quite be the industry standard yet, or ever were, but the PSP still delivered a number of incredible games throughout its lifetime. Looking back at this little console, we decided to compile a list of the top ten PSP games of all time, prioritizing games that took advantage of the hardware and represented the ingenuity of the developers to bring some amazing franchises to life. So, without further ado, here are our top 10 PSP games of all time.
The 10 best PSP games
Daxter is a spin-off of Naughty Dog’s Jak and Daxter series and focuses on the titular Ottsel and his endeavors just before the events of Jak II. True to the formula of Jak and Daxter, Daxter is a platformer that combines the charm and… revives the cleverness of the first game. While Daxter is smaller than Jak, Ready at Dawn intelligently makes Daxter a worthy platforming protagonist, not only smaller but also a bit more agile than his best friend.
And while both characters are stark contrasts in terms of size, the gameplay and level design perfectly match Daxter’s strengths and weaknesses. And let’s not even start with the “Dream Sequences,” a series of mini-games in which Daxter dreams up himself as a hero in well-known films like Braveheart and The Matrix. A delightful, worthy spin-off to the main franchise.
9. Grand Theft Auto: Tales from Liberty City
Travel back to 2005, and Rockstar had recently released three industry-changing GTA games. Back then, the idea of playing a fully realized open-world GTA on a handheld device was a pipe dream… until Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.
It brought us back to the moment and feel that made GTA such an iconic franchise in the PS2 era, complete with an all-new story and missions in a prequel to GTA 3. And it was a good enough game to look forward to it was later ported to PS2 and held up as its own console-quality GTA release.
8. God of War: Spirit of Sparta
Ready At Dawn has been one of the most consistent developers over the lifetime of the PSP. And the studio’s 2010 action game, God of War: Ghost of Sparta, is another must-buy game if you own a PSP. Ghost of Sparta didn’t massively change the gameplay formula of the other PSP God of War exclusives Chains of Olympus, but it didn’t have to either, instead refining and improving the previous game.
And Ghost of Sparta Legacy is ultimately the better game because of the pace and cinematic storytelling that cleverly captures the feeling of playing a God of War game in the palm of your hand.
7. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
It took about 14 years before Kingdom Hearts fans got a numbered sequel to Kingdom Hearts 2. Despite this colossal gap, a slew of new Kingdom Hearts games debuted, including the only one to grace the PSP, Birth by Sleep. But despite being the franchise’s only take on handheld, it marks one of the best entries in the Kingdom Hearts franchise, as well as on the PSP itself.
Square Enix has intelligently adapted the series’ controls and core gameplay mechanics (with a few new additions) to take advantage of Sony’s wearable device. The soundtrack is also among the best in the Kingdom Hearts series, with writing and story to match adding a surprising amount of depth and lore. Numbers aside, Birth by Sleep is an essential Kingdom Hearts and PSP experience.
Despite being part of the mostly ill-advised Compilation of Final Fantasy VII screen that grew out of the meteoric success of the original FF7, Crisis Core is miles ahead of the rest of those projects. Not only does it put some of history’s most popular JRPG characters in a new context, but it also delivers a great action RPG in its own right.
It can sometimes delve too deeply into the genre’s usual excesses (see characters quoting poetry mid-fight), but Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is an example of a prequel done right, especially now that more of its impact is being seen will be future Final Fantasy VII Remake titles.
Lumines was arguably the greatest puzzle game since Tetris. Director Tetsuya Mizuguchi deftly mixed some Tetris-esque block matching with the rhythm of Lumines’ incredible custom soundtrack. The result was a totally unique experience that could oscillate from totally smooth and zen to the puzzle game equivalent of Guitar Hero (which wouldn’t be out for a year).
But it wasn’t just “Tetris with cool music” – there were also beautifully themed visuals and backgrounds thrown into the mix that matched the music to create a truly freaky experience. It’s no surprise that Lumines is still going strong today, many years and many platforms later. But it started on the PSP and was one of the system’s best games ever.
4. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable
On a platform full of great RPGs, Persona 3 Portable is arguably the best. An updated version of the PS2 game that first popularized the series in the West features a group of Japanese high school students attending classes by day and investigating the mysterious “Dark Hour” by night. Over the course of this 100-hour adventure, you’ll make friends, join social clubs, and try to figure out what lies on Tartarus’ Spire while rocking out to one of the series’ best soundtracks.
With many quality of life improvements and a brand new storyline featuring a female protagonist – a first in the series – it’s an amazing experience. Unfortunately Persona 3 is hard to find these days, but if you can get a copy for PSP or Vita it’s worth it.
3.Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
When seasoned hunters regale you with tales from the clawing nightmares of days gone by, this is probably the game on their mind. A sort of “definitive edition” of Monster Hunter 2, Unite gave players the chance to experience exciting new hunts against now-iconic monsters like Nargacuga and Ukanlos.
Various quality of life improvements, such as the introduction of the Felyne Comrade system, which has since evolved with each new entry, made it a pleasure to play Unite with friends over the PSP’s wireless ad hoc connection. If nostalgia could have a face for the PSP, the countless hours of playing Monster Hunter Freedom Unite would be a very strong contender.
2. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions
Some might say that Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together deserves this spot on the list, but the original Final Fantasy Tactics is still one of the best grid-based RPGs of all time. With a heartbreaking story, snappy menu-based combat, and endless replayability, War of the Lions isn’t just a port of the original game. The update for PSP includes a new translation, cutscenes, new jobs, new characters (including Balthier from Final Fantasy XII) and the whole fantastic story in a handheld format.
A game that can be endlessly tinkered with, Final Fantasy Tactics is perfect for handheld play, as you can pause longer battles or spend hours editing a single map to max out job classes. A superbly unbalanced RPG, Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions remains the gold standard for tactical RPGs, standing out even among its numbered competitors.
1. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walkers
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was a standalone, powerful Metal Gear experience despite living on such a small, humble system. After the events of Snake Eater, Peace Walker prioritized pickup and drop gameplay with two game modes: Mission and Mother Base.
The former was the main campaign/story and was told in easily digestible, bite-sized mission pieces, while the latter expanded upon the army management gameplay that was teased in Portable Ops and later expanded further in The Phantom Pain. In that regard, Peace Walker bridged the gap between the original and all future parts of Metal Gear Solid.
After playing through all of that single player content, there was a multiplayer mode that allowed you to play cooperatively with friends or in deathmatch, and there was a ton of additional content that you download using the PSP Network via the Extras menu could .
Sure, this downloadable stuff was more cosmetic, like different clothing for the characters or additional music for the Walkman (hey, anyone remember that?), but it was easy to get lost in what felt like an endless amount of goodness within such a small package. Peace Walker was and is one of the greatest Metal Gears of all time.
And that’s our list of the top 10 best PSP games of all time! Do you agree with our list or do you think we have delisted PSP classics? Do you still have any Hitch UMDs lying around, or is it just us? Let us know in the comments below, and while you’re here, check out our list of the best PS3 games of all time and top PlayStation first-party exclusives
https://www.ign.com/articles/the-10-best-psp-games The 10 best PSP games