- The PSP had a devoted audience and showcased impressive games that pushed the hardware limits.
- Games like LittleBigPlanet, Jeanne d’Arc, Ridge Racer, and Tekken: Dark Resurrection were standout titles on the PSP and still hold up today.
- The PSP also had successful ports of beloved games like Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and God of War: Chains of Olympus, showing that the handheld platform could deliver high-quality gaming experiences.
Nintendo has been steadily dominating the handheld video game market, but that doesn’t mean that Sony and Sega both didn’t make a go in the field. Sony’s PSP may not have been as popular as its follow-up, the Vita, which also struggled. However, the PSP still had a devout audience and it did some impressive things for a handheld.
However, most of the gems that were released on the PSP are easy to overlook or were trapped in obscurity. Those that gave the handheld a proper chance were pleasantly surprised and there are plenty of games that pushed the hardware to its limit and still hold up today.
Updated November 18, 2023 by Ritwik Mitra: The PlayStation Portable is easily one of the greatest handheld consoles ever made. The incredible library of this handheld coupled with Sony’s impressive support of this platform turned it into one of the most successful consoles of all time.
The fact that the PS Vita didn’t receive the same support was nothing short of a crime, with the successor to the PSP being one of the biggest what-ifs in gaming history. Regardless, the PSP itself is home to some of the greatest video games ever made that players will have a great time playing through.
- October 27, 2008
- Media Molecule
LittleBigPlanet could’ve been Sony’s answer to Sonic and Mario in the new generation of gaming. This platforming title certainly had something going for it, but the company’s unerring focus on mature gameplay experiences led to LittleBigPlanet becoming a casualty of their approach to gaming.
The games the lovable mascot has been featured in are pretty excellent in their own right, with the version of this game on the PSP being lauded too. The mainline console version had higher scores, showing just how much of a waste it really was that the developer never built up on this promise barring a few sequels and an excellent PS Vita title.
11 Jeanne d’Arc
- November 22, 2006
- Level 5
The PSP was home to some great JRPGs, and Jeanne d’Arc is no exception. The game focuses on the story of Joan of Arc with a much-welcome fantasy twist that makes the events of the plot all the more engaging.
The strategic gameplay present in the series coupled with a masterful narrative made Jeanne d’Arc one of the best PSP games of all time. The fact that this game hasn’t been ported to modern systems is genuinely unbelievable!
10 Ridge Racer
The Ridge Racer series was a staple of the 90s, but one of the most celebrated versions of the game is the PSP release, which also happens to be one of the best racing titles on the handheld platform. PSP’s Ridge Racer picks and chooses cars, tracks, and music from the previous games to create the best possible version of the franchise.
Ridge Racer helped prove what could be accomplished on Sony’s handheld and in addition to the impressive visuals and soundtrack, it even allows for eight-player multiplayer through online play.
9 Tekken: Dark Resurrection
Tekken: Dark Resurrection is the PSP port of the fifth entry in the popular fighting game. Fighters like Tekken can excel on a handheld and this port not only brings the arcade update to the home, but it’s an extremely polished package. Dark Resurrection features the regular Tekken staples, but the PSP delivers the fighting at a remarkable 60 FPS.
There’s also a heavy incorporation of online features, as well as some of the more enjoyable mini-games and extra features from other Tekken titles. The PSP even released a special D-pad attachment to make the Tekken experience as authentic as possible.
8 Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
- Android, iOS, PC, PS2, PS3, PS Vita, PSP
- October 25, 2005
- Rockstar Leeds, Rockstar North
- Third-Person Shooter, Sandbox
Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series is still one of the most popular and lucrative video game series of all time. Liberty City Stories is the first handheld entry for the PSP, but it’s an absolute success. The game functions as a prequel to Grand Theft Auto 3 and it captures the same manic energy as the console releases.
A major selling point is the game’s extensive soundtrack, which also includes the ability for players to rip and build their own soundtracks. Liberty City Stories performed so well that it was eventually ported over to the PlayStation 2.
7 Final Fantasy Tactics: The War Of The Lions
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
- Android, iOS, PSP
- May 10, 2007
- Square Enix, Tose
Final Fantasy Tactics is an interesting departure for the series. A decade after its release on the original PlayStation, Final Fantasy Tactics was updated for the PSP. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions gives a new audience the chance to experience the intricate tactical RPG with a wealth of new features.
The PSP is the ideal platform since the portable aspect allows the game to be experienced on the go. Online capabilities, connections to other Final Fantasy games, and new cinematics all help The War of the Lions become the definitive version of Final Fantasy Tactics.
6 Wipeout Pure
The Wipeout series is Sony’s solution to Nintendo’s F-Zero as a futuristic and fast-paced racer that caters more to quick decisions and trippy visuals than a realistic racing experience. Set in 2197, Wipeout Pure leans into the futuristic aspect and creates some highly memorable cars and tracks that feel truly unique.
Wipeout Pure looks and plays like a dream, but it was also a big deal for being the first PSP game to feature downloadable content, with new cars and tracks becoming available, and all free of charge.
Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid is one of the biggest video game series of all time. Following the success of the PSP’s Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Peace Walker perfects the gameplay and creates a Metal Gear Solid title that’s as satisfying as any of the mainline games.
Peace Walker offers both standard stealth missions, but also a mode that caters to army management. The incorporation of cooperative play also helps the game stand out from its predecessors. Peace Walker was so well received that an HD remaster was eventually released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
4 Lumines: Puzzle Fusion
There’s a rich history between handheld platforms and puzzle games, but the PSP’s Lumines: Puzzle Fusion is a great example of the kind of magic that can be accomplished. Lumines began as a new Tetris game until licensing issues led to it forging its own path for the better.
Lumines pulls from other popular matching puzzle games like Tetris and Columns, but the game puts a heavy focus on the integration of music into its puzzles through the use of the PSP’s headphone jack. Lumines started as a humble experiment, but it’s turned into a massive franchise.
3 Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable
Persona 3 Portable
- PC, PSP, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S
- July 6, 2010
The Shin Megami Tensei series, more commonly known as Persona, took some time to catch on outside of Japan, but the franchise is now one of Atlus’ biggest successes. Persona 3 Portable is an updated PSP port of the PlayStation 2 classic.
The biggest change in the PSP version is that it adds a female protagonist, which opens up many different opportunities with the game’s social links and interactions. It also incorporates gameplay features and characters from Persona 4 to help make the sequel better tie into the franchise.
2 Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
- Nintendo DS, PSP, Android, iOS
- March 17, 2009
- Rockstar Leeds, Rockstar North
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is another impressive spin-off title in the series that speaks to how handheld platforms are a strong fit for the franchise. Chinatown Wars deals with a struggling Triad member who’s trying to solve the mystery of his father’s murder, as well as recover a missing family heirloom.
Chinatown Wars is a huge game and it even saw release on the Nintendo DS alongside the PSP. The PSP version supports superior graphics, which ditch the cel-shaded aesthetic, updated mini-games, and several extra missions and soundtrack options that are not present in the DS version.
1 God Of War: Chains Of Olympus
God of War: Chains of Olympus
- Ready at Dawn
- Hack and Slash
The God of War series has become a staple of Sony consoles, but God of War: Chains of Olympus is proof that the franchise could transition to a handheld platform with little compromise. Set before the events of the original God of War, Chains of Olympus has Kratos on the hunt for Helios, the Sun God.
Chains of Olympus features a simplified control scheme and it’s easily the best-looking PSP game that shows what can be achieved with the handheld. Chains of Olympus is such a triumph that a remastered version was later released for the PlayStation 3.
MORE: The Best Handheld Games Of All Time (According To Metacritic)