The Most Underrated Titles on the PSP Games

PSP Games

The PlayStation Portable was home to so many iconic franchises and amazing exclusives. But with a library over 1,300 games strong, there were bound to be some underappreciated titles that are unknown to many PSP game lovers. While gamers were going crazy over heavy hitters like God of War, GTA and Dragon Ball Z on PSP, many hidden gems were overlooked.

That’s why I’m here today – to shine a light on some of the most underrated and obscure games to grace Sony’s phenomenal handheld. These are the unsung classics that every PSP fan needs to check out. Read on for a dose of portable gaming nostalgia and discover some awesome hidden gems for your retro gaming backlog!

What Makes An “Underrated” PSP Game?

Before we dive in, let’s quickly go over what qualifies a game for this list. The main factors are:

  • Low sales and lack of mainstream success
  • Minimal marketing or hype during release
  • Huge discrepancy between quality and popularity
  • General obscurity in retrospectives of the PSP library

Basically, these are the awesome games that slipped through the cracks of the PSP’s heyday. The creme de la creme of cult classics on Sony’s handheld that desperately deserve more love. Got it? Good! Now let’s uncover these bababies. 

PSP Games

Trails in the Sky (The Legend of Heroes):

Let’s start with one of the PSP’s best gems – a stellar JRPG that simply couldn’t escape the long shadow of Final Fantasy Tactics and Persona 3 Portable back in the day. Trails in the Sky is the first entry in Falcom’s acclaimed Legend of Heroes franchise, renowned for excellent world-building and complex characters.

The game featured a huge open world, rewarding turn-based combat, and a propulsive story punctuated by charming moments of slice-of-life levity. It’s since gained recognition as an all-time great JRPG, but during its initial Western PSP release, Trails unfortunately flew completely under the radar. For lovers of classic fantasy RPG adventures, Trails in the Sky is an absolute must-play hidden gem.  

Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice

This high-octane arcade racer/shooter hybrid wore its quirky personality on its sleeve. As a new recruit in the titular Pursuit Force, you chase down gangs of thugs in high-speed pursuit while blasting them from your tricked-out squad car. It sported over-the-top action movie cheesiness that complemented the innovative gameplay perfectly.

However, it seems Pursuit Force was just too niche to garner mainstream success on PSP. Which is a shame, because it took full advantage of the handheld’s hardware to deliver an intense portable adrenaline rush unlike anything else. If you like unconventional arcade experiences, keep an eye out for Pursuit Force.

Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? 

At first glance, this spin-off of Disgaea featuring the series’ loveable penguin creatures didn’t seem poised for greatness. But Prinny surprised with fantastic platforming gameplay and challenge. Guiding the luckless pack of Prinnies through devilish obstacle courses and battling hellish bosses was equal parts hilarious and frustratingly difficult. 

Despite its quality, most written Prinny off as yet another throwaway mascot platformer. In reality, it provided old-school platforming fans one of the PSP’s toughest and most rewarding challenges. Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero is a must for any Disgaea faithful or platformer diehard.

Ys Seven:

Nihon Falcom steps up to the plate again with Ys Seven, another criminally underrated gem lost among the PSP’s crowded RPG lineup. This entry in the long-running Ys action RPG series eschewed the classic top-down perspective for full 3D exploration. This brought the kinetic real-time combat and lush world to life like never before.

Ys Seven shone on PSP with its fast-paced battles, varied party members to switch between, and strong writing. But due to a lack of marketing, the Ys series has always lurked in the shadows of Square Enix’s giants. Give this one a shot to experience a polished, exciting action RPG many players sadly glossed over.

What’s your favorite hidden PSP game that not enough people played? I want to hear about the underappreciated classics only true PSP fans know!

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable

Now I know Persona 3 is far from obscure. But this enhanced PSP port added so much excellent new content that it deserves a mention. Along with gameplay improvements and visual upgrades, Portable introduced the option to play as a female protagonist with new social links. This created tons of fresh story opportunities. 

Hardcore Persona fans certainly played it, but the female protagonist path and other additions let Portable stand on its own. It showcased how a port should properly reinvigorate an already amazing RPG. Persona 3 Portable deserves to be discussed among the PSP’s best, not just a bonus for diehards.

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together:

The other godfather (or is it godmother?) of tactical PSP RPGs besides Final Fantasy Tactics was of course Tactics Ogre. This remake of the Japan-only Super Nintendo game made the masterpiece fully accessible to Western audiences for the first time. It was packed to the brim with Job classes to customize your squad, gut-wrenching war storylines, and intricately designed battlescapes.

Yet it never saw the same mainstream fervor as Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem. But for strategy RPG nuts, Let Us Cling Together deserves just as much reverence for its complex systems and political drama spanning generations. It’s the perfect blend of accessibility and customization that begs for more widespread recognition.

Conclusion:

And there you have it – a spotlight on some of the PSP library’s best hidden gems and underrated classics! I tried to unearth a wide variety of overlooked games across genres that PSP fans sadly may have missed.

It’s incredible the sheer amount of quality titles Sony was able to pack into the handheld’s lifespan. I’d argue these hidden gems stand proudly alongside the PSP’s most popular hits as amazing gaming experiences everyone should try.

So do yourself a favor and plug into PPSSPP to play these forgotten favorites if you haven’t already. Or if you have, let me know in the comments which underappreciated PSP games you think I missed! I’m always hunting for more hidden handheld gems to experience.

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