The PSP or Playstation Portable hasn’t been known for its stellar games, and is often compared (with a sigh of disappointment) to the Nintendo DS. However, its 2010 games were considerably better than game critics have learned to expect. Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Valkyria Chronicles—really great, bankable titles. Plus, the PSP versions often had a unique twist that fans couldn’t get on their regular console versions.
Here are some of the best PSP games for 2010, which have kept many a gamer busy during long commutes or dead-boring hours in the office. Maybe they won’t win any major video game awards, but even the snarkiest PSP critic will have to admit that these titles have “leveled up” from the previous year.
1. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
The Metal Gear Solid series has a solid fanbase, and it was a smart move to bring a full-fledged installment to the PSP? There are quite a number of people who will buy the game, no questions asked, just to satisfy the itch to sneak around and shoot everything that moves.
The story is, well, unique. Lots of snakes—and not the type you’d find in Discover Channel—and characters named after animals. Uh, okay. But nevertheless, it delivers exciting gameplay, plus the opportunity to pair up with a friend. Yes, this time you’re not just the lone gunman. Find somebody else who has a PSP and then go after the bad guys, together. Nothing like another blood-thirsty sniper covering your back.
This game was developed by Kojima Productions and published by Konami.
2. Valkyria Chronicles 2
Sega’s Valkyria Chronicles was one of the biggest PS3 releases in the roleplaying (RPG) genre. Fans and critics loved the amazing graphics, plus an eye-popping HD-generation update.
Unfortunately, Sega never released another HD-generation game, but fans can find consolation that the Valkyria Chronicles live on—in the PSP version. They’ll still get the same exciting action, and enjoy a wider selection of classes. The game also has a multiplayer option.
3. Parasite Eve: The 3rd Birthday
This is the third in Square’s highly successful horror series that was inspired by a Japanese novel. Fans will be happy to see the return of Aya Brea, the lead character, but the game takes on an entirely new form. Now, it’s a third-person shooter, a shift from its last incarnation as a survival horror game.
Little bit of trivia. Parasite Eve has always had a mobile format. Its original platform was the mobile phone, but the PSP version is definitely easier to use. This sequel took a long time coming (almost a decade!) but the wait seems worthwhile.
4. MLB 10: The Show
Sports enthusiasts, get ready. MLB, considered to be one of the best baseball video games, has come to the PSP. Fans have high expectations, of course, and a few are bound to be disappointed when they compare MLB 10 to MLB 9. But, game developer SCEA has introduced a couple of interesting features (like the Futures Game) and retained those that made the series so successful. Some of the stadium animations are also interesting, and help enrich the game play. Loading times and online play still need to be refined, but all in all, it’s a solid game.
5. Persona 3 Portable
Persona 2, a role-playing game developed by Atlus was a favorite Playstation 2 title. Now, it makes its debut on the P3P.
The game has adapted well to the new format, using 2D screens for exploring the town and the school. The battle system has also been improved, taking the best features from the Persona 4.
Fans will also enjoy greater replayability because of the option to take on a female character. There will be subtle changes in the interactions with the game characters, especially the males.
6. Final Fantasy Agito XIII
Square’s been keeping its game developers busy. There’s the Final Fantasy Agito XIII, the multiplatform Final Fantasy XIII, and the Fantasy Versus XIII which is exclusive to the Playstation 3.
Hardcore Final Fantasy fans will probably want to try all these titles, which are part of Square Enix’s Fabula Nova Crystallis. But if you’re just looking for a good, portable title, the Agito—which is exclusive to the PSP—is a good bet. Its combat system is inspired by the highly successful Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core.
7. Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Square’s Kingdom Hearts RPG had everyone raving when it was released several years ago for the Playstation 2. Disney Characters and Final Fantasy characters met in an imaginary world for a fascinating plot that appealed to kids and adults alike.
However, Kingdom Hearts fans will be surprised to find that this PSP release is not a sequel, but a prequel. You won’t find Sora, but Terra, Ventus and Aqua. The battle system has also been changed, but the graphics are just as stunning. Definitely a must-have.