The PSP Go has had a rough time since its launch last October. Since then, however, Sony has been releasing a steady stream of games, and the count as of now sits at 288 games (on the US store, as of this writing). While you’re pretty much at the mercy of Sony and third-party publishers as far as pricing goes, there’s a good amount of great games available for download at a good price, sometimes even cheaper than their UMD counterparts.
Of course, you already know about the heavy hitters — God of War: Chains of Olympus, Gran Turismo, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars — but you already know about those, and a couple aren’t what you’d call “value” (despite how good they are). So here we present some games that are often overlooked because of how much older they are than the PSP Go, yet still provide hours of fun.
Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles
Here’s a little-known secret: Symphony of the Night for $10 as a PS1 classic is a ripoff. Whoa, put that down! Hear me out! If you’re looking for some old-school castle-crawling goodness for your PSP Go, then Dracula X Chronicles is definitely where the smart money goes. For starters, you get a totally remastered version of Rondo of Blood, a game previously unreleased outside of Japan. If that’s not enough to whet your vampire-slaying appetite, you can also play the game in its original form. Still not satisfied? What if I said you can unlock Symphony of the Night, in its entirety, when you find a certain item in RoB? Suddenly, you’ve got dozens of hours to play with. Talk about a metric crapton of gameplay!
That is why buying Symphony of the Night for you PSP as a standalone game is a ripoff, compadre.
This game launched with the PSP way back in 2005, so it’s definitely got some miles on it. There’s also a sequel, Pulse, which came out in 2008. However, Pulse is also $7 more expensive, while Pure offers a ton of free DLC. The game was supported after launch with a bunch of great content — new tracks, craft, music, and skins. Add that to the fact that the game ships with 16 initial tracks, the usual thumping soundtrack, and wi-fi multiplayer for 8 and you’ve got yourself a hell of a lot of value.
Metal Slug Anthology
Like Castlevania, Metal Slug is a series rooted in the old-school. For the uninitiated, it’s essentially Contra with a goofy sense of humor. Not only does it offer white-knuckle side scrolling action, but also features some of the best-looking 2D sprites and animations that you’ll find in all of gaming. With the Anthology, though, you get that sevenfold – Metal Slug 1, 2, X, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are all included, each one loaded with crazy action sequences and boss fights, and all lend themselves quite well to on-the-go play. And honestly, who doesn’t love hearing “rocket lawn-chuh”? For $20, this is a steal.
Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee
This game should honestly come with some sort of warning on its page, because it’s addictive as hell. Tons of different tournaments and challenges along with seemingly endless character customization dig their claws into you early, and it’s hard to break free when they do. The three-click swing mechanic is a little dated, especially if you’ve played HSG: Out of Bounds on the PS3, but it still works just fine once you get the timing down.
The game has a sequel that’s also on the store, but $30 is pretty steep for gameplay that’s essentially unchanged. If Open Tee 2 had implemented the new swing mechanic introduced in its PS3 big brother, perhaps I’d think differently. It definitely improves on the original with more courses and online gameplay, but as it stands, I can’t recommend spending twice the money on such a similar game.
This game was criminally overlooked when it came out in 2007, but here’s your chance to help correct that. The game is about Dan, a guy with insomnia looking for any way to cure it. The cure, of course, comes from a kooky doctor with an even kookier device that he claims will help. What results are 40 strikingly unique puzzle levels where you “crush” your 3D environment into 2D, and vice versa, to find areas that are otherwise impossible to reach. Take a look at it here.
It’s quite literally unlike anything else on the PSP, and each puzzle leaves you with a feeling of tremendous satisfaction upon completion. You really owe it to yourself to check it out.
The DS has Advance Wars, and the PSP has Field Commander. While it hasn’t proven to be as popular for Sony as Advance Wars has been for Nintendo, it’s still worthy of your attention. As far as strategy games go, it’s pretty easy to pick up and learn, and its realistic 3D art style is certainly more mature than its Nintendo counterpart. Like its competitor, the turn-based gameplay is great for playing a battle or two on your commute.
Let’s not even bother bringing up Tom Clancy’s EndWar, which tries to mooch Advance Wars’ 2D style, but takes itself way too seriously to be anywhere near as charming. Field Commander is definitely the go-to game for your war general fix.
Dead Head Fred
This is another quirky title that, like Crush, didn’t get its due when it released. In it, you play as Fred Neuman, a private investigator who is murdered by a mob boss after getting just a bit too close. Fred is reanimated (of course), with the hook being that his head is now just a jar containing his brain and eyes. Gameplay revolves around swapping your head with others to grant you different abilities, and results in one of the more imaginative games that you’ll play anywhere.
Did I mention that Fred is voiced by John C. McGinley? His voice acting really gives the game an awesome sense of humor, as you can see here.
So that’s that. Hopefully with this list, you’ll be able to get some serious bang for your buck. Of course, I haven’t played all of the games available in the store, and there’s a good amount of $15-20 games that I haven’t played. So if you have any tips, go ahead and share them below.