If you’ve been asking about the best games on PSP, it’s a pretty fair question since the PSP has undoubtedly made a huge impact on the handheld console market since its release in the late 2004, even though it has been quite a while since its launch. Seemingly, age has not affected the console at all, and it has been able to snatch the title of the second best handheld console of all time due to the tip top games for PSP, graphics that can sometimes even match up to even the PlayStation 2 and prices that are almost half compared to games on the full-blown consoles such as the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.
Although the PSP has been facing stiff competition from Nintendo with the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo 3DS, it has been braving the handheld market only due to the sheer quality of great PSP games that are available for it. This year has not been any different in that respect, so without further ado, here are the three best games on PSP that made their mark in 2011.
Best Games On PSP #1. Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection
Final Fantasy IV is one of the most revered role-playing games of all time and definitely one of the 3 best games on PSP available. So much so that it has been the inspiration behind many modern RPGs and even the average RPG fan would consider any word against it as sacrilege. Several ports, re-releases and re-mastered versions of the game have only added to its importance since its initial launch on the SNES in 1991, making Final Fantasy IV one of the best traditional console Japanese RPG games in the history of gaming.
It is only fitting then, that the release of another remake of the game, Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection, which not only includes the title Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, only available as WiiWare or on mobile platforms in Japan up till now, but an all new game known as Final Fantasy IV: Interlude that ties the events of Final Fantasy IV and The After Years together, was met with unprecedented hype. Let me assure fans first and foremost that all the hype was not in vain, and that the Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection is worthy of bearing the Final Fantasy IV insignia.
Final Fantasy IV still plays like the traditional RPGs of the era it was created in, as gamers in a simple and nostalgic fashion control a party of up to five characters and journey to a variety of places ranging from castles and dungeons to towns and cities. As you progress through the main story, occasionally drifting off to complete some random side quests and other tasks, you will trigger random encounters. Once a random encounter traps the player and his party, you’ll have to fight enemies in a quite unique battle system known as Active Time Battle, which requires you to pay attention to each fight as it is not your typical turn-based fighting system.
The strongest quality of the game is not shiny, brand spanking new-age graphics; but the story, character development and the gameplay, which even make the current generation of Final Fantasy games look pale in comparison to this 20-year old gem that still shines brightly to this day. The re-release is only made stronger by all the extra content that is shoved into the package. The After Years takes an episodic approach, making you play scattered events as many characters from Final Fantasy IV, as well as new ones, both familiar and unknown. Meanwhile, Final Fantasy IV: Interlude takes place almost directly after Final Fantasy IV.
Both additions are almost identical to the main game itself as they use familiar locations and graphical and audio assets, but The After Years challenges gamers with a combat system called Band and a strength and weakness system based on the phases of the moon and will take player quite a bit of time to get through. Interlude, on the other hand is a pretty short affair, only measuring up to about three hours or so. Playing through the entirety of these three campaigns will unlock some small extras such as a bestiary, musical tracks and a slew of art.
Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection is undoubtedly one of the best games on PSP and the ultimate purchase for Final Fantasy IV fans and newcomers alike. Even if you have already experienced the core of Final Fantasy IV, you still have much more to experience, and by the time you’re done with playing through it all, which you will notice leeches quite some time from your life compared to other games, you will be left deeply impressed with this masterpiece.
Best Games On PSP #2. Patapon 3
Patapon is perhaps the most entertaining and interesting franchise on the PSP, with the first two games reaching critical acclaim status. Well, I’m here to tell you that the third game is no slouch in the entertainment department either. Patapon 3 is truly one of the top games for PSP and certainly one of the most amazing. To top it all off, it is also the best game in the Patapon series, making it a must buy for both fans of the series and newcomers.
This top game for PSP can best be defined as a musical role-playing game, where you use the main four buttons of the console to string together music patterns that will guide your offensive and defensive actions. The song patterns are listed at the bottom of the screen at all times for your convenience and these songs are also quite catchy, so if you find yourself singing along don’t be ashamed, it is completely natural.
Patapon 3′s cartoon-like graphics are simple beautiful and breathtaking, making you think about the power the PSP still holds even after almost six years. The third game in the series does have some fresh ideas when compared to the last two games, as you are no longer an all-seeing deity but instead an “Uber hero” with the ability to come back to life if defeated in battle. You also get the power for some powerful attacks and get to summon ancient spirits to aid the team this time around. In single player mode, the Uber hero will be joined by three other AI companions and you will have the ability to pick equipment for your team. One of the most dramatic additions to the series is the online multiplayer, where you have the ability to create a clan of up to 20 people and set goals for your team.
This entry in the series is more about leveling up, with grinding through levels again and again as the preferred method, and about earning more and more new items as you progress. As you get stronger, you unlock new classes for your hero that can make him stronger at offense or defense. Exploring these evolutions results in new powerful skills you can use to flip the favors in battle. There is also a blacksmith in the game, where you can forge new weapons, shields and other items. Also, you get the ability to pause the game this time around, although you have to work to get the pause song at the start of the game.
Overall, Patapon 3 is a great game and definitely deserves a place in this list of the best games on PSP because of its great graphics, awesome gameplay and the ability to suck dozens of hours of your life without you even noticing – a great game to buy for all PSP fans.
Best Games On PSP #3. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
The last entry in our list of the best games on PSP is Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. This fantastic PSP game has been available in Japan and in the Japanese language for quite some time, and is considered one of the best traditional JRPGs in the Japanese locality. Now, after waiting for several years, the game is finally available in an English localization.
Basically, Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is a branch of the larger Legend of Heroes series, the roots of which lie in the decades old Dragon Slayer games, which were also only released in Japan, with the exception being one of two games or third-party translations.
Trails in the Sky is the first part of the trilogy to get a North American release and its addictive gameplay and strong story are surely the marks of a very popular series, holding hope for more to come in the future. The game focuses equally on both gameplay and story telling in order to draw the user in, using funny and witty text-only dialog sequences for the progression of the story and a turn-based combat system for the gameplay.
During combat sequences, the characters have the choice to move, attack, use magic or special attacks or trigger a powerful attack called an S-Craft, and such a diverse arsenal at your disposal makes combat not only thoroughly interesting and entertaining, but also results in dynamic battles that test the player’s skills to the fullest. The system is forgiving enough that it will also you to try one or two tactics to check out the nature of battle and see which approach would be more effective. In addition to the combat and fighting, players can browse the bulletin boards for side quests and odd jobs to get more money and experience, but players should take heed that the optional quests have a time limit and can expire, becoming less and less as you progress. Side quests are also restricted to each area so they will become unavailable once you leave the area.
The factor that makes this one of the best games on PSP is definitely its complex and extremely well-written story that also has some comedic elements in it. Some gamers might be put off by the dated graphics, but they are still pretty darn good considering the age of the game. All in all, the game is the first of a promising trilogy that gives you hours and hours of gameplay, and its charm and overall entertainment value are without a doubt worth your while.
Best Games On PSP – Conclusion
The PSP, as always, has been a RPG-centric console due to its popularity in Japan, and that is why the games in this list are RPGs. Also, the PSP’s cycle is definitely near its end. Even though Sony may claim to have 10-year support for its console, the fact of the matter is that the PSP is near the end of its life. Even though its sad, this is the perfect chance for gamers to catch up on the PSP library and get their hands on some good games as releases of better-than-average games has slowed down and games have gotten really cheap.
So, to summarize, the obvious choice for veterans, new comers to the PSP or die-hard RPG fans is Final Fantasy IV due to its massive size, awesome story and great gameplay, making it the best bang for the buck for gamers. Patapon, on the other hand, is definitely a niche title and may not appeal to some users, but from personal experience, I can say that almost all gamers will definitely like this game, even if they didn’t like the first two. Last, but definitely not the least, is Trails in the Sky, which should appeal to die hard RPG fans and those who were waiting for the English localization of the series.
Do you agree with this list of the best games for PSP? If you had your way, which games would be on this list? Tell us in the comments!