Unlike the PS Vita, PSP might not exactly mean ‘life’ but, by thumbing through the catalogue of what launched way back when, it’s easy to see there are plenty of terrific games that deserve a second go-around when the revamped service, codenamed ‘Spartacus’, launches in June.
The information on how PlayStation is going to treat these titles is scarce, so it’s unknown whether they’ll come with all of the bells, whistles, and care that rival publishers have put into their backward-compatible software, but getting to play these again without having to dig through boxes stacked ceiling-high in the garage might be gift enough for most players.
Here are the big games we’re crossing our fingers for when the PSP arrives on PlayStation Plus in a couple of months.
EDITOR’S NOTE FROM SHANNON: Whilst I’m sure Brodie has recommended some fantastic PSP games, I can’t help but add my two cents as the PSP was the last console to get a bunch of Ape Escape love. Classics such as Ape Academy 1 & 2 (yes there was a sequel) as well as a remake of the original Ape Escape game called Ape Escape: On The Loose are all genuine classics and should be the first games to feature on the service. Ape Quest also released on the PSP (god, Sony really just said goodbye to Ape Escape after the PSP, hey). Now, onto Brodie’s games.
God of War: Chains of Olympus
Before Kratos took refuge in Midgard to play house, he spent a lot of time mercilessly brutalising the Gods of Greek mythology. Chains of Olympus bridged the gap between the original of God of War and God of War: Ascension and brought the bloody, once-frenetic hack-and-slash gameplay to a handheld. Confining the franchise’s storied, epic battles to a small screen never quite felt right.
And seeing as how we’re not likely to see the remastered version for PlayStation 3 on the service any time soon, if this is the only way to experience the game on the bigger screen then that’s just a boon.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable
It’s fair to say that throughout the years, Persona as a franchise has stuck to its guns. As a high school student, you’re tasked with thwarting supernatural monsters all the while keeping up appearances during your school life.
As the definitive version of Persona 3, Portable remains a dense role-playing game that would surely be eaten up by fans who hopped aboard the series with Persona 5.
Metal Gear Acid
A serious departure from what the franchise was known for, Metal Gear Acid would be an easier pitch in a post-Hearthstone world. It’s a compelling blend of strategy, stealth, and card-based mechanics that doesn’t shy away from the batshit insane narrative hooks that Metal Gear has always been known for.
Although a remastered version of Lumines is available today, playing this Tetsuya Mizuguchi-designed puzzler in its original glory feels like essential homework for any die-hard fans of his work. Some would argue that Mizuguchi perfected the Tetris experience with Tetris Effect, and Lumines is in every way a predecessor to that hypnotic, zen core loop that is sure to melt the hours away.
As a Jak fan, I always felt like missing Daxter on PSP, set canonically before Jak II, was like missing an important stamp in my journey’s passport. With any luck, the wise-cracking ottsel will find his way to the new PlayStation Plus and provide an opportunity for an evidently-fair-weathered fan like myself to play the game for the first time.
Up until maybe even Mario Kart on the Switch, Burnout Legends was perhaps one of the better racing games to grace a handheld. It didn’t so much serve as its own experience as it did compile the best bits and pieces from the three previous Burnout games and bung them into one package.
Unless the actual greatest racing game of all-time Burnout 3: Takedown lands on the service too, then Burnout Legends would be essential playing for anyone who has the need for speed.
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters
Would it even be a Ratchet & Clank game without a rude double-entendre for its subtitle? Of course, this particular title refers to the duo’s first adventure fit for a player’s pocket. With the console’s somewhat compromised control scheme, this team of former Insomniac developers did well to translate the franchise’s frenetic, third-person shooting across to the PSP.
Despite being a pared-down experience, Size Matters still delivers the same blisteringly fun action the series is synonymous with.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
On the heels of playing Final Fantasy VII Remake, it’d be the perfect time for PlayStation to port across 2008’s spin-off Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.
The game, while not exactly essential to the overarching experience, does well to build out events and provide context for the events of the game, while giving players some terrific character moments between Zack, this game’s protagonist whose role was fairly diminished in the original PlayStation classic, and Cloud.
Rock Band Unplugged
Licensing will all but make this an impossible task, but I’d love to see Rock Band Unplugged make a return.
The game was very much the predecessor to Rock Band Blitz, and it still astounds me that the team managed to boil down the peripheral-driven experience of the franchise into what is essentially a reskinned iteration of Frequency – the game that inadvertently led to the conception of the Guitar Hero wave generations ago.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
After pumping over one hundred hours into the original Vice City, collecting my novelty t-shirt for seeing and doing everything, I was ecstatic to dive back into the gritty, cocaine-fuelled power struggle of the neon-drenched 1980s.
It felt like one of the first examples of Rockstar building out a larger world for Grand Theft Auto, which obviously led to bigger, better expansions in the series’ future, and it’d be great to once again step into the shoes of Vic Vance.