This week we return to one of the most underrated handheld consoles in gaming – the PlayStation Portable.
Sony’s PSP debuted in North America in 2005 as the first true portable gaming company. Things were already looking tough for this sturdy little console, which had to compete with the Nintendo DS. But its stunning graphics, PS2 and PS3 connectivity, and multimedia features have allowed the PSP to hold its own where others have failed.
Eventually, the PSP spawned a successor in 2012 (NA version) in the form of the PS Vita. While both handhelds saw some awesome and unique games making their way to the system, the days of the PSP and Vita were soon over. In 2014, PSP shipments to North America ceased, and in 2019 Vita hardware production was officially ended.
Despite the console’s exit from the gaming sphere, the PSP and Vita left a lasting impression on many gamers. We’ve rounded up a look at some of our favorite games to always adorn this portable system.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Max: The greatest PSP title of all time.
An ARPG prequel to one of the greatest games of all time after Zack Fair’s story. What more could you ask for? One of the first games I completed 100% as well. Play through history as you reunite with familiar faces such as Sephiroth and Aerith throughout a new playstyle for FF7. Easily the best PSP game in my book.
Ralston: Mind you, this remains the only Final Fantasy game to date that I’ve ever purchased and played. For some reason, many years ago, I decided to give Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII a shot knowing nothing about Cloud, Sephiroth, and one of the most famous RPGs of all time.
Perhaps that was to be expected, given that I’ve also listed Kingdom Hearts as my favorite PlayStation game of all time, but Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII’s real-time action RPG gameplay was just right. within my reach. I thoroughly enjoyed the sights and sounds of the journey this game took me on, and the ending knocked me out of left field. (Spoilers: I tried so hard not to let my guy Zack go out like this!)
God of War: Chains of Olympus
Noah: I think my home PSP actually belonged to my brother, so I didn’t spend much time on it. Chains of Olympus is the only game I’ve ever played on it, so it’s de facto my favorite. Not a hot take – this is perhaps the most critically-regarded game on the console.
To compensate, here’s a hot take: God of War games are boring. Youthful writing and a fight on edge. In the wise words of Frank Reynolds, “You just crush it.” My time stuck in the car on family trips was better spent sleeping. Either way, yes, the best PSP game ever!
Ogre Tactics: Let’s Hang Together
Nat: Then go on a trip with me. I was a young boy living in Germany on a military base and was told I could choose a game for my Gameboy Advance. I had no idea what I wanted. I roamed the island of video games, unable to choose. And a random game caught my eye. I can tell you now that I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I think the Ogre part made me think it was something else. I had no idea I was about to play a turn-based strategy game. And it was hard. I remember dying so many times on the way to school. Eventually I got so frustrated that I got stuck and never beat the game.
Flash forward to 2010 and I see an ad for the remake of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together for the PSP. I don’t have a PSP or PlayStation console for that matter, but the game suddenly clicks into my head like the game I never beat as a kid. I borrow my friend’s PSP, buy the game and finally beat what turned out to be an amazing game. It’s the only PSP game I’ve ever played.
alexander: I don’t know how I ended up with my copy of Sonic Rivals. Admittedly, I don’t remember many things. But having found it in my possession, in the mid-2000s, there was something about this game that meant I just couldn’t put it down.
Now, I’m not a big Sonic fan. I’m not even really a side-scroller fan. Still, this game has become a reliable companion for me during car trips and boring family gatherings. The area designs were quite attractive, the courses were replayable, and even the boss fights were awesome. I spent way too much time collecting cards and cosmetics. The cast of characters wasn’t huge though, and the entire game itself was pretty short. But honestly, I would say it worked in his favor.