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Best PSP games: top PlayStation Portable titles

Best PSP games: Kingdom Hearts' Sora and Stitch on a pink background
(Image credit: Future/Square Enix)

Looking for the best PSP games of all time? Then you've come to the right place. Sure the PlayStation Portable was released nearly 14 years ago but Sony's handheld console boasted an abundance of fantastic titles that still (mostly) hold up to this day. 

The PSP was Sony’s first foray into handheld gaming, and while the company never held its position in the market in the way Nintendo did, the console provided a great opportunity to play Sony exclusives on the go. Now that many former Playstation exclusives are also available on other platforms such as the Switch, that doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore, but it was groundbreaking in 2005.

While the PS Vita tends to get more attention, we're firm believers that the PlayStation Portable should not be forgotten, nor should its excellent games. So, if you're fortunate enough to still have a PSP knocking around  – or are interested in hunting one down  – then our list of the best PSP games should help you decide on which top PSP games to jump into first. And remember, some of these games may also be playable on the PS Vita, so you don't necessarily need a PSP to play them.

Ready to take a trip down memory lane? Read on for our picks of the best PSP games of all time.

Best PSP games

Ventus, aqua and Terra looking angrily at something off-screen

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (Image credit: Square Enix)

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Soak yourself in lore

Reasons to buy

+
Rewarding gameplay
+
Provides a lot of KH lore
+
Well designed worlds

Reasons to avoid

-
Environments are a bit lifeless
-
Boss fights feel repetitive

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. If afterward, you decide to play the series as a preparation for Kingdom Hearts 4, here’s a guide on how to play the Kingdom Hearts games in order.

Birth by Sleep 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.

A player driving a motorbike along a palm tree lined road

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (Image credit: Rockstar)

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

Revisit Vice City

Reasons to buy

+
A new story
+
Great 90s soundtrack
+
Fun to play

Reasons to avoid

-
Nothing innovative here
-
Clunky controls
-

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, especially as we likely won't get ours hands on GTA 6 for a while. 

A yellow car driving in the desert passes a billboard displaying a Sim family

The Sims 2 (Image credit: EA Maxis)

The Sims 2

The Sims... but not as you know it

Reasons to buy

+
Something different for the series
+
Weird and wonderful characters
+
Unravelling the mystery is good fun

Reasons to avoid

-
Don't expect your average The Sims game
-
Quite a few fetch quests

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. That’s essentially why we’ve included it in our list of the PSP games – the Sims 2 on PSP does something different with the well-known 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.

Kratos looking at a temple

God of War: Ghost of Sparta (Image credit: Sony)

God of War: Ghost of Sparta

Pocket-sized Kratos

Reasons to buy

+
Satisfying combat
+
Performs well for PSP game
+
Graphically impressive (for the time)

Reasons to avoid

-
A few awkward mechanics

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, but it also 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.

All fans of the latest iteration of God of War can enjoy this game while they wait for the next series entry, God of War Ragnarok.

View of Zack parrying a sword blow from Sephiroth

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 (Image credit: Square Enix)

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7

Even more Final Fantasy 7 goodness

Reasons to buy

+
PSP exclusive
+
Touching story
+
Worth playing if you've played FF7 Remake

Reasons to avoid

-
Camera can be frustrating

Still only available in physical form on PSP and nowhere else – despite being surprisingly relevant to the recent Final Fantasy 7 Remake and upcoming Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2 – Crisis Core is a prequel to Final Fantasy 7that focuses on the story of Zack, Aerith's boyfriend and member of SOLDIER. 

It's one of the best PSP games by virtue of being both available for that system only and providing a great story in a fan-favorite universe. 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 Final Fantasy 7 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 Final Fantasy 7 that exists and one of the best Final fantasy spinoffs in general.

New to Final Fantasy? Make sure to check out our list of the best Final Fantasy games for beginners.

Daxter on a conveyer belt that's shooting out flames

Daxter (Image credit: Sony)

Daxter

Breaking out on his own

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent platforming
+
Great fun
+
Funny and interesting characters

Reasons to avoid

-
Clunky controls
-
Awkward camera

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 and he holds his own very well indeed.

This is a funny and enjoyable platformer that looks great and shows the PSP at its best. A family-friendly must-play for those who enjoy a bit of action, adventure, and silliness in their platformers. 

Persona 3 Mazio surrounded by blue light

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3  (Image credit: Atlus)

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable

Portable Persona

Reasons to buy

+
Interesting characters
+
Intriguing story, well paced
+
A lot of customization

Reasons to avoid

-
Repetitive
-
Unoriginal battle system

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.

Sackboy running in a desert landscape

Little Big Planet (Image credit: Sony/Media Molecule)

Little Big Planet

Another Sack Boy outing

Reasons to buy

+
Simple controls
+
Clever level design
+
Lots of collectibles

Reasons to avoid

-
Some technical issues
-
Not a lot of replay value

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. 

A yellow blob manoeuvres through a green landscape

LocoRoco (Image credit: Sony)

LocoRoco 1 + 2

Oh my Blob

Reasons to buy

+
Adorable and uplifting
+
Catchy melodies
+
Dazzling colors

Reasons to avoid

-
Not particularly challenging

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.

Two Wipeout gravity ships racing each other on a track near a mountain

Wipeout Pure (Image credit: Psygnosis)

Wipeout Pure

Cooking on gas

Reasons to buy

+
Visually impressive for a PSP game
+
Unique tracks and ships
+
Multiplayer is great fun

Reasons to avoid

-
Races can be repetitive 

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.

Yoshimitsu in Samurai armour about to swipe at sumoka Ganryu

Tekken: Dark Resurrection (Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Tekken: Dark Resurrection

Take Tekken out

Reasons to buy

+
Tekken Bowling
+
Great visuals for a PSP game
+
Over 30 playable characters

Reasons to avoid

-
Ai can be frustrating

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. While on other platforms, Tekken may have lost its standing as one of the best fighters, Dark Resurrection is undoubtedly one of the best PSP games available.

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. It also comes with Tekken Bowling, which might just be the best mini-game in any fighting game.

Lumines board of orange and white blocks

Lumines 2 (Image credit: Q Entertainment)

Lumines 2

Turn the music up

Reasons to buy

+
PSP exclusive
+
Balances difficulty and appeal well
+
Innovative color and shape grouping system

Reasons to avoid

-
Some blocks fade into background

There are not that many puzzlers out there that offer the balance of difficulty and near-endless appeal of Tetris, but Lumines 2 does. 

Great music and an innovative color and shape grouping system come together to make Lumines 2 difficult to put down once you understand how it works. It’s a perfect handheld game for a quick game, and should be a staple in any PSP library.

While Lumines 2 is a PSP exclusive and one of the best PSP games, the Lumines legacy goes on in Lumines Remastered on all current-gen platforms.

An army of small creatures about to attack a large worm. One creature says “ready to attack”

Patapon (Image credit: Sony)

Patapon

Beat'em up

Reasons to buy

+
Lots to do outside main missions
+
Combines rhythm and combat well
+
Colorful and memorable

Reasons to avoid

-
Instructions aren't very clear
-
Can't replay missions

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 a rhythm game, forging combat gameplay that requires thought and use of your memory rather than mindless button-pressing. Deservedly lauded as one of the best PSP games, it was later also ported to PS4, together with Patapon 2.

A character stands near a castle

(Image credit: XSEED Games)

Half-Minute Hero

Gone in 30 seconds

Reasons to buy

+
Very funny, a lot of in-jokes about genres
+
Different campaigns to choose from
+
Fast-paced action

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be infuriating and repetitive

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.

One character inside a circle of several other characters

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (Image credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions

An excellent Final Fantasy tactical RPG

Reasons to buy

+
PSP exclusive
+
Rewarding gameplay
+
Rich and complex

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes time to get to grips with
-
Can be a bit slow

If you’re looking for a game to lose hundreds of hours of your life to, this is it. Like most tactical roleplaying 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 of Final Fantasy Tactics come together to create a game that’s rich, complex, rewarding, and not for the faint of heart.

We have already called Crisis Core one of the best Final Fantasy spinoffs, but our heart belongs to Final Fantasy Tactics. Strategy games like it have become woefully rare, and the Final Fantasy Tactics series has not been revived since this release. If you’re looking for one of the best PSP games that is also exclusive to the console, you can’t go wrong with this one.

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