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‘Pokemon Go’ just not satisfying your mobile gaming fix? Here are the top 10 PSP games

Before its launch in late 2004, the PlayStation Portable — aka the PSP — was touted as the Second Coming of handheld gaming. The full-color, backlit, widescreen, 3D-rendering console came out at a time when Sony’s Playstation 2 was dominating the console gaming industry, despite boasting less impressive hardware than Microsoft’s first Xbox or Nintendo’s Gamecube. The PSP received boatloads of hype and, paired with an aggressive marketing campaign, was primed to leapfrog the Game Boy series as the most popular mobile gaming system, years before smartphones shifted the paradigm.

So… what happened? Despite a lengthy life cycle that saw PSP games shipping until mid-2014, the PSP never really took over the world like many had expected. Nintendo introduced the DS around the same time, and published titles like Nintendogs and Animal Crossing, both of which had wider appeal than many of the PSP’s more action-based games. Despite strong initial sales numbers — the PSP sold more 500,000 units in North America during the two days following its release — the system’s popularity flagged rather quickly as newer, more powerful home consoles began to flood the market.

First-person shooters were also beginning to take front and center as online multiplayer became an industry standard, and the PSP’s design — namely, it’s single analog stick — didn’t mesh well with the quick-twitch play style required for FPS titles. Finally, the PSP’s unique Universal Media Disc (UMD) never caught on, and the system was subject to rampant game piracy.

That being said, the PSP still offers a slew of fun, unique games, as well as several handheld takes on already-popular franchises. If you’re a PSP owner, or if you’re thinking about picking one up — it’s never too late! — keep reading to find out which games we think are worth your time and money.

Burnout: Legends

Burnout: Legends takes the smash-mouth, high velocity racing formula that worked so well in Burnout 3: Takedown and brings it to the next level with the addition of several tracks and gameplay modes from the first two Burnout titles — in addition to most of the content from Takedown — to create a deep, extremely enjoyable package for racing fans. Legends brings back fan-favorite racetracks and modes like Pursuit, where players can take control of a police car and try to take down illegal street racers before they escape.

All told, the game includes 95 unlockable cars, 18 distinct maps, and nine unique race types (including the ever popular Crash, where you simply fly into intersections and try to rack up huge property damage bills). It’s enough to keep your thumbs busy for days.

Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood released in Japan in 1993 to critical acclaim, but an English version of the game was never made — well, until 2007, when Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles made its way to the PSP. Chronicles included both Rondo and its celebrated sequel, Castlevania: Symphony of Terror, in one incredible vampire-slaying package.

In Chronicles, you play as protagonists Richter Belmont and Alucard, and try to navigate perilous 2D, side-scrolling castles and dungeons in an effort to take down Dracula. Old-school Castlevania fans and newcomers alike should enjoy the game’s excellent soundtrack and updated visuals.


One of the most iconic gaming franchises of all time went mobile with this 2006 release, which brings the focus back to pure, unadulterated platforming. The beginning of Jak II depicts Jak’s capture at the hands of the sinister Krimzon Guard. Daxter, his friend-turned-furry-companion, escapes the ambush and returns to rescue Jak two years later. Daxter is set during those two years, and puts the hairy sidekick in the driver’s seat.

The result is a front-to-back romp full of personality and humor that perfectly complements the light, skill-based platforming that dominates the gameplay. The PSP’s visuals are a bit dates at this point, sure, but Daxter‘s vibrant colors and subtle details inject the game with a ton of flair. Add in some mini-games that lampoon popular movies, and you’ve got yourself a pretty nice game.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Fans of the Final Fantasy series — and, especially, the legendary FFVII — will feel right at home in this real-time adventure that takes place directly before the events of VII. As protagonist Zack Fair, a member of SOLDIER and a minor character in FFVII, you’ll search for missing SOLDIERs Angael and Genesis and learn about the truth behind the Shinra corporation.

The game features action-based combat that combines RPG elements with real-time fighting to create a seamless experience, and emails Zack receives throughout the game provide additional context and a greater sense of immersion. Crisis Core is built exclusively for gaming on the go, too, as dozens of short side quests provide entertainment for the bus or the train ride home.

God of War: Chains of Olympus and God of War: Ghost of Sparta

Everyone’s favorite combo-droppin’, god-slayin’ combat machine returned for 2008’s God of War: Chains of Olympus and 2010’s God of War: Ghost of Sparta. In Chains, we get to see Kratos during his 10-year service to the gods of Olympus, as he attempts to rescue Helios — who, ironically, he would later kill — and tries to save the gods from Dream God Morpheus and Persephone, the queen of the underworld. Ghost of Sparta follows Kratos after the events of the original God of War, as he searches for his lost brother Deimos and confronts Thanatos in his Domain of Death.

Both games, developed by Ready At Dawn, do a great job of adapting the control scheme for the PSP, and are some of the more graphically-impressive titles on the system. Each game is also steeped in Greek lore and provides tons of insight into the life of Kratos before the events of God of War.

Chains of Olympus  God of War: Ghost of Sparta

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