The PSP is a handheld I personally felt was designed specifically with core gamers in mind, although many of its must-have titles are also great for casual crowds. Buying a console at the end of its lifecycle is a perfect time for purchase; most, if not all, of the must-have’s are already available, the software and hardware issues have all been resolved, and the system available in its most feature-packed iteration at its most inexpensive price. If you haven’t played your PSP in awhile, are a potential buyer and haven’t dived into the PSP scene yet, or are looking to purchase a backwards compatible Playstation Vita in the future, look no further since these are seven of some of the best titles available:
7. Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness
Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness is a remake of a TRPG that came out awhile back on PS2, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth checking out. If you are a fan of niche titles or of other TRPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics, you’ll instantly fall in love with what Disgaea has to offer, the battles go much more quickly, the story has a lot of charm to it, and there is a lot to see and do here. However, most of the content outside of the enjoyable and lengthy main story is mainly surrounded upon level grinding characters to ridiculous proportions. This won’t be an issue for most people already acquainted with the genre, but if you are not a fan of RPGs, quirky Anime and Manga, or other niche titles, I can easily guarantee that there will be a much higher learning curve ahead of you. In that case, you don’t need to apply. If you do like all of the above, even if you don’t prefer level grinding as much as the next guy, I assure you that you will have a blast with Disgaea and it should be in your collection if it isn’t already.
Every gaming platform has that mascot platformer that everybody can identify the system with. For PSP, that game is LocoRoco, a cute, fun, and incredibly accessible title coming straight from Japan. Fun in short bursts; LocoRoco is the kind of game that you sit down with for a few minutes before putting your PSP back into sleep mode and moving onto the next thing in your life. It is incredibly easy to pick up, since the game only uses primarily the left and right triggers for nearly all of the controls in the game. You’ll spend a great deal of time exploring each of the levels in LocoRoco and although it isn’t as fast paced or as challenging as platformers like Sonic the Hedgehog or Super Mario Brothers, LocoRoco constantly encourages players to search every nook and cranny of every single level, rewarding the player accordingly. Although there isn’t as much variety in the gameplay as one might hope, LocoRoco is a fun game most players will enjoy if played in short bursts.
5. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep feels like a proper sequel to a console game, rather a remake or a port. It is the most accessible RPG on this list, the story and cinematics are of high quality, and there is a ton to see and do in this game, even after the lengthy and interesting main story. Although the battle system is very deep for such an accessible game, it does a good job of easing players into the experience quite well. There are a variety of ways you can shape your own play style and the difficulty feels just right overall. If you were a fan of the Kingdom Hearts games on PS2, Birth by Sleep feels like a true sequel with the added bonus of portability. If you are a new player to this franchise, Birth by Sleep definitely is a great place to start.
4. Half Minute Hero
A tongue and check take on the JRPG genre as a whole, Half Minute Hero is a really fun puzzle game that is both fun in short AND long bursts. The objective of this game is to complete an entire old school JRPG in thirty seconds, and although you can manage to obtain more time on the clock than thirty seconds of play, Half Minute Hero is a very fast paced game that will have you thinking on your feet as you try to discover the most time efficient solution to the RPGs ahead of you. If you love JRPGs in general, you will definitely get a kick out of Half Minute Hero. There’s nothing to worry about if you new to the genre, Half Minute Hero is very accessible for players of all kinds and of all ages.
3. Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker
Let me get one thing straight, if you don’t have somebody to play this game with who owns their own copy of the game, you will not have as good of a time playing Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker as you would otherwise. Most of the levels are suited for two player multiplayer, online or off, and the boss fights almost require two players to complete them. There’s even an additional multiplayer mode outside of the almost entirely co-operative campaign. There aren’t that many good multiplayer titles available on PSP, and because Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker has such a good multiplayer component with a lot of incredibly interesting content, you are almost guaranteed to have a really fun time, EVEN if you haven’t played an MGS game before.
2. Persona 3 Portable
This is probably THE best JRPG I’ve ever played in my life. I could go on and on about how this game is something that you should check out as soon as you can, but that really wouldn’t do this game any justice, since much of the appeal comes from just discovering this game for yourself. What I will say is: Persona 3 hooks you right in from the start, reels you in tight, and refuses to let you go until the game has been finished. The battle system is very accessible and deep, and although most of your time in the tartarus segments will be spent dungeon crawling from one place to the next, everything is paced so well that it never feels like an actual grind of any kind. There is so much interesting content available that you will have to play through this entire lengthy adventure again if you want to see everything. It is the best PS2 to PSP remake available on the PSP, hands down. If you want to play a game that really represents the pure crux of what makes a really good JRPG or even an RPG in general, look no further than Persona 3. Prior experience in the genre is not required, but is well advised.
Now that this game is available on a number of different platforms ranging from the Xbox 360 to iOS of all things, Lumines is a game that you probably have heard of at least once before. It reminds me a whole lot like Tetris in the sense that it is easy to pick up and play, but Lumines is a very difficult to master. There’s a lot of depth to what at first glance seems to be an easy objective of stacking sets of larger boxes from smaller ones, as blocks start falling and changing shape at varying speeds depending on the music that’s playing in the background. Lumines is the perfect example of what makes a really good casual game. If you haven’t played this game already, I advise that you give it a chance and check it out posthaste. If I could define a game that really summarizes everything that’s good about the PSP, Lumines would definitely be that game.