Looking for the best PSP games of all time? Then you’ve come to the right place. When Sony’s PlayStation Portable released in 2005, the PSP was a bit of revelation in a handheld market that has historically been dominated by Nintendo. Intended to be a home console in your pocket, the PSP promised to pack a powerful portable punch, bringing PlayStation’s top franchises to a handheld device as well as an impressive amount of media functionality.
Unfortunately, the PSP was also a touch heavy, rather expensive (particularly the memory cards) and didn’t quite manage to live up to its potential. Nevertheless, anyone who can still remember the novelty it presented and the fantastic library of PSP games it had to offer will feel a fondness for it. Eventually the PSP was replaced by the far sleeker (but less successful) Vita, but thanks to backwards compatibility, its fantastic games won’t be forgotten.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best PSP games of all time. So whether you’ve got a PS Vita, and are looking for a trip down memory lane, or you’ve managed to nab a second-hand PSP, you can carry a piece of portable PlayStation history in your pocket.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
Birth by Sleep is an essential play for big fans of the Kingdom Hearts series, adding plenty of lore as a prequel to the original Kingdom Hearts. Being a prequel, it’s also a great title for those who haven’t played the series.
It stands a little different to previous Kingdom Hearts entries thanks to its new battle system and the fact that it centers on heroes Terra, Aqua and Ventus rather than Sora. However, this battle system is excellent for PSP and the ability to move between the unique abilities of the different heroes adds another enjoyable layer to gameplay. You can also enjoy it as part of the Final Remix remaster on PS4.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
It’s pretty thrilling seeing a proper Grand Theft Auto in handheld form and it helps that this one is a spin off from the fantastic Vice City. Vice City Stories isn’t quite as enjoyable as a console-based Grand Theft Auto adventure, but it is better and more full-featured than Liberty City Stories, which came before it.
It also brings a new story to the table, set two years before the mainline Vice City title, so it’s nice to see something that is more than just a straight port. There’s nothing innovative or game-changing in Vice City Stories’ gameplay – it really is just Grand Theft Auto on the go – but if you want nothing more than that, we suggest you give this a try.
The Sims 2
The Sims 2 on PSP isn’t quite what you would expect. Unlike the majority of Sims games, and its PC counterpart, The Sims 2 is mission-based and has much more of a (bizarre) story. Your Sim’s car breaks down in Strangetown, and it’s up to your Sim to uncover the extraterrestrial mysteries and secrets of the town – while keeping your sanity in check (literally).
While there are still classic Sims features like the ability to create your character, woo the local townsfolk and customize neighborhoods, this Sims game is much more of an adventure than other titles in the series. It may not be for those who enjoy the freedom of classic Sims games, but if you want a Sim experience with more direction, then The Sims 2 on PSP is an underrated gem.
God of War: Ghost of Sparta
It’s kind of hard to believe that the PSP could contain Kratos and still allow him to be his formidable self, but Ghost of Sparta manages it. This game will be enjoyed by anyone invested in the God of War story and universe.
Not only does it look great, it manages to play extremely well on the more limited PSP controls. The combat is satisfying, and since you spend most of God of War locked in battle that’s pretty essential. Chains of Olympus is another great God of War game but Ghost of Sparta is a little longer and a little more polished.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Still only available in physical form on PSP and nowhere else – despite being surprisingly relevant to the recent FFVII Remake – Crisis Core is a prequel to Final Fantasy VII that focuses on the story of Zack, Aerith’s boyfriend and member of SOLDIER. While the original game revealed Zack’s fate, here it’s extrapolated into a mid-length action RPG that takes you to different parts of the FFVII world in more detail than you’ve seen before. With a surprisingly touching story and a borderline-harrowing ending, it’s arguably the only good spin-off of FFVII that exists.
You remember Jak and Daxter, right? An unbeatable platforming team. Well, on PSP Jak’s ottsel sidekick Daxter is the star of his very own show. This is a funny and enjoyable platformer that looks great and shows the PSP at its best. A must-play for fans of action, adventure, and a bit of silliness in their platformers.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable
For many people in the West, this was their gateway game into the Persona spin-offs of the Shin Megami Tensei series that are now unquestionably more popular than the mainline games.
Persona 3 features a similar mix of school life sim by day, dungeon crawler RPG by night to later entries, and while the more modern games are probably a better place to start for new players, this is a perfectly fine way to lose 50 hours on PSP. You can also download this on PS Vita, along with the first Persona, Persona 2 and Persona 4 Golden.
Little Big Planet
Little Big Planet has long been one of Sony’s most distinctive franchises and it translated incredibly well from main console to handheld. Pretty much everything from the PS3 version of the game was translated to the PSP version and although it’s a little harder to create your levels, it’s the same fun and you can fortunately play through the levels created by others.
LocoRoco 1 + 2
It’s hard not to smile when you play LocoRoco. It’s a series that’s filled to the brim with dazzling colors, catchy melodies and fun platforming that coalesces into an uplifting experience that was entirely exclusive to the PSP (though you can play it on PS4 now, too).
While the second game is the better of the two, the original deserves a spot on this list for introducing us to the game’s dead-simple control scheme and the eponymous, delightful LocoRoco. If you need a break after slogging through the PSP’s amazing-but-dense iterations of Metal Gear Solid or God War, LocoRoco is absolutely reinvigorating.
It wouldn’t be a good handheld without a good racing game, would it? You can’t really go wrong with a Wipeout title and Pure is an excellent addition to the franchise. It’s a futuristic racing game that puts players behind the wheel of anti-gravity ships. Each ship is tied to a different team and has different characteristics.
As well as aiming to win, you have to keep your ship intact by avoiding crashes and weapons. Failure to do so will mean the destruction of your ship and removal from the race. As far as looks go, this game has them and its tight gameplay will keep you coming back.
Tekken: Dark Resurrection
There is no shortage of top-tier fighting games on the PlayStation Portable – the handheld has solid entries in the Street Fighter, SoulCalibur, Guilty Gear, Dark Stalker and, our personal favorite, the Tekken series with Tekken: Dark Resurrection.
What elevates Tekken above the rest is its depth of single-player content that keeps you entertained without ever having a player two to fight and the addition of great new characters to the series like Dragunov and Lili that have become staples in the competitive scene. Oh, and it also had Tekken Bowling, which might just be the best mini-game in any fighting game.
If you like electronic dance music and games reminiscent of Tetris, give Lumines 2 some of your time. This is an addictive puzzle game with simple gameplay – two-toned blocks will fall from the top of the screen and it’s up to you group colors together to remove them from the board for points and to avoid game over. It’s the addictive fun of Tetris, enhanced by a thumping soundtrack and visual flair.
Patapon is a unique game that combines elements of music rhythm gameplay with real-time strategy. In it, you take control of a cartoonish and two-dimensional tribe of Patapons who you command by inputting specific button sequences in the rhythm of a drum. Different sequences give different orders, whether that’s forward, retreat, attack or defend.
Patapon is a fantastic example of what a rhythm game, forging combat gameplay which requires thought and use of your memory rather than mindless button-pressing.
This RPG with a difference is perfect for those that don’t have a lot of time on their hands. The big selling point? You can get through quests in around 30 seconds. Actually, it’s not just that you can. You have to. There are ways to claw back your time slightly but a big part of the fun of this game is that you have to keep grinding to get a little further each time, learning lessons as you go.
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
If you’re looking for a game to lose hundreds of hours to your life to, this is it. Like most tactical role playing games, Final Fantasy Tactics takes some time to get to grips with and it can feel somewhat slow, but once you understand what you’re doing you won’t want to put it down. The story, visuals and gameplay or Final Fantasy Tactics come together to create a game that’s rich, complex, rewarding and not for the faint of heart.