This week, we're taking a look back at arguably one of gaming's most underrated handheld consoles - the PlayStation Portable.
Sony's PSP made its North American debut way back in 2005 as the company's first real venture into handheld gaming. Things were already looking tough for this hardy little console, having to compete against the Nintendo DS. But its surprising graphics, PS2 and PS3 connectivity, and multimedia features meant the PSP held its own where others failed.
Eventually, the PSP spawned a successor in 2012 (NA release) in the form of the PS Vita. While both handhelds saw some impressive and unique games head to the system, the days of the PSP and Vita were soon over. In 2014, PSP shipments to North America ceased and in 2019 production of Vita hardware was officially done.
Despite the console's exit from the gaming sphere, the PSP and Vita left a lasting impression on many gamers. We've put together a rundown of some of our favorite games to ever grace this handheld system.
DBLTAP's Top PSP Games of All-Time
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 following Zack Fair's story. What more could you ask for? One of the first games I actually 100% completed as well. Playing through the back story re-encountering familiar faces such as Sephiroth and Aerith all through a new style of gameplay for FF7. Easily the best PSP game ever in my book.
Ralston: Mind you, this remains the only Final Fantasy game to date that I've ever bought and played. For some reason, many years ago, I decided to give Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII a shot not knowing anything about Cloud, Sephiroth and one of the most famous RPGs of all time.
Perhaps it was to be expected, considering I also listed Kingdom Hearts as my all-time favorite PlayStation game, but the real-time, action RPG gameplay of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII was right up my alley. I really enjoyed the sights and sounds of the journey this game took me on, and the ending hit me out of left field. (Spoilers: I tried so hard not to let my guy Zack go out like that!)
God of War: Chains of Olympus
Noam: I think my household PSP actually belonged to my brother, so I didn't spend much time with it. Chains of Olympus was the only game I ever played on it, so it's de facto my favorite. Not a hot take — it may be the best critically regarded game on the console.
To compensate, here is a hot take: The God of War games are boring. Juvenile writing and inch-deep combat. In the wise words of Frank Reynolds, "You're just mashing it." My time stuck in the car on family road trips was better used sleeping. Anyway, yeah, best PSP game of all time!
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Nathan: So go on a journey with me. I was a young boy living in Germany on a military base and I was told I could pick out one game for my Gameboy Advance. I had no idea what I wanted. I was walking up and down the video game isle, unable to choose. And one random game caught my eye. I can tell you now that I had no idea what I was getting into. I think the Ogre part tricked me into thinking it was something else. I had no idea I was about to play a turn-base strategy game. And it was hard. I remember dying so many times on my way to school. Eventually I got so frustrated 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 any PlayStation console for that matter, but the game suddenly triggers in my head as 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. That was the only PSP game I ever played.
Alex: I don't know how I ended up with my copy of Sonic Rivals. Granted, I don't remember a lot of things. But having found it in my possession, in the mid-00s, 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. Yet this game became a reliable companion to me on car journeys and boring family gatherings alike. The zone designs were pretty engaging, the courses were replayable, and even the boss fights were great. I put way too much time into collecting the cards and cosmetics. The character choice wasn't massive though, and the entire game itself was pretty short. But honestly, I'd say that worked in its favor.