Role-playing games have been popular among gamers since the early 90s. Since then, several gaming companies have released multiple role-playing games and even ported successful games to their consoles. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best RPGs to play on your PlayStation Portable. In this article, we aim to make the decision easier by highlighting the top PlayStation Portable RPGs of all time.
What Are PlayStation Portable RPGs Games?
PlayStation Portable role-playing games (RPGs) are video games that allow players to take on the roles of their favorite characters and explore expansive worlds. These games are known for their rich and detailed stories, engaging gameplay, and unique characters. Some popular PlayStation Portable RPGs include Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, and Half-Minute Hero.
Was the Playstation Portable Known for Its RPGs Games?
The PlayStation Portable (PSP) was the first handheld PlayStation console that Sony released in late 2004. In North America, the console was made available on March 24, 2005. From its initial release, the PSP has had a great line of RPGs that have since been ported to other consoles. Some notable examples are Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman, which was later released on the Nintendo Switch, and Half-Minute Hero, which became so popular that it was ported to the Xbox Live Arcade.
Let us now look at the ten absolute best PlayStation Portable RPGs ever released.
10. Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Ys: The Oath in Felghana is a classic game that has been rejuvenated to provide hours of entertainment. With a score of 80 on Metacritic, it’s clear that this game offers great combat and fun gameplay. It’s worth noting that this game is a recreation of the 1989 game Ys III: Wanderers from Ys, but the new features in this version make it feel fresh and updated.
The game starts with the protagonists, Adol Christin and Dogi, traveling to Dogi’s hometown of Felghana. When they approach the town, they discover that the inhabitants of Felghana are under attack by evil spirits. Adol must now battle this evil and save the citizens of Felghana. The enemies in the game are referred to as Guffs, and you have to fight them off in the different game levels. When you kill an enemy, you receive experience points and bonuses that enhance your character’s abilities.
Ys: The Oath in Felghana features several characters, including the lead character Adol, Elena, Dogi, Ricardo, Gardner, Margo, Joel, Adonis, Cynthia, Randolph, Antonio, Aida, and Anya. The game also allows players to adjust the difficulty level between Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Hard, and Nightmare. As you progress through the game, you’ll collect Gold and Raval, which can be used to upgrade your weaponry.
9. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is a must-play for fans of the Marvel universe. It features an impressive selection of over 20 iconic playable Marvel characters who work together to stop villains from taking over the world. It was released in North America on October 24, 2006 by Activision and immediately received largely positive reviews, earning a score of 81 at Metacritic.
In the game, you can play as your favorite comic book hero and battle against various villains in different missions. Defeating enemies will increase your character’s levels, abilities, special powers, and overall stats. The game kicks off with an attack on S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier U.N.N. Alpha, where Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil are the villains. Nick Fury calls on all available superheroes to defeat these villains, and a task force is formed with Stark Towers as its headquarters. You can progress through the levels as you fight against various villains.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance features new characters, including exclusive ones like Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, and Ronin. The game also has six unique missions and three additional single-player game modes. In the online play mode, players can use voice chat to communicate with each other while playing.
- Features more than 140 characters from the Marvel universe
- Create your own customized Marvel team from 20 playable superheroes and unlock more as you complete missions
- Switch team members instantly to utilize their unique abilities
- Your missions, completed objectives, and interactions with other characters indicate how the story progresses
8. Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman
If you’re a Nippon Ichi Software games fan, you’ll definitely want to try Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman. This game is inspired by Japanese tokusatsu, which is a film and TV genre that features superheroes and special effects. It offers hours of entertainment for fans of tactical role-playing games. The gameplay is deep and engaging, and customization is also available for weapons and body gear.
During gameplay, players control a character who explores randomly generated dungeons filled with enemies. These monsters must be fought using various combat moves. The dungeons also contain special hazards, such as rockets that can blast players to a random location. When a player successfully completes a level, they are awarded a score that boosts their character attributes. There is also a boss level at the end of each chapter where players are required to come back to earth and fight Darkdeath Evilman.
Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman features a Body Modification system, which allows players to improve their character’s base characteristics and even the features of the Home Base. The Home Base serves as the central hub of the game. It provides access to different game settings such as dungeons, item storage, and the ability to buy and sell special items.
- Highly customizable superhero (From head to toe)
- Build your own secret superhero base
- Randomly generated grid based battle maps
- Highly strategic battle system with numerous traps and puzzle effects
7. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is a highly-rated action-packed video game with a score of 81 on Metacritic. It is a great upgrade from Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and has included excellent updates and improvements that can keep you hooked to your PSP for hours. When it was released in Japan in early 2008, it sold a million copies in its first week alone, making it one of the best-selling role-playing video games in the region. The gameplay is exciting, and there’s a considerable amount of collectibles and monsters to discover.
In this game, players take on the role of a hunter based in the small Pokke Village, located near the Snowy Mountains. The game’s objective is to work your way up through the ranks and become an elite hunter. The player’s journey begins with a trip across the Snowy Mountains, where they are attacked by the game’s main antagonist, Tigrex. After waking up in Pokke village, a retired hunter explains the situation and provides the player with starter gear. From there, players can take on a variety of quests as they strive to become elite hunters.
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite features new missions, special equipment, and advanced monsters. Players can also enlist the help of a Felyne fighter throughout their journey. Additionally, a new Epic Hunting Quest has been added, allowing players to face off against up to four different monsters in a single stage.
- Character data from Monster Hunter Freedom 2 can be transferred to continue the adventures
- Features over 500 hours of gameplay with 400 missions
- Choose from 1,500 weapons and 2,000 armor customizations
- Create a team of up to 4 players through the wireless Ad-Hoc connection
- Defeat 5 new monsters
6. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep allows players to enjoy interactive gameplay with single and multiplayer modes. The gameplay is nicely animated and can keep fans of role-playing video games busy for hours. As the sixth edition of the Kingdom Hearts series, it has improved battle and progression systems.
A new gameplay system called the Command System has been introduced in this installment. This system allows players to create their own Command Deck, filled with special techniques and abilities. The Command Deck has a gauge that fills up as players perform ordinary attacks. When the gauge is full, players can initiate powerful combos called Surge Commands. If the gauge is filled up again in quick succession, players can unleash even more powerful moves called Storm Commands.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep features three primary characters: Terra, Ventus, and Aqua. The gameplay changes depending on the character chosen. The Shotlock feature allows players to cast homing spells in a third-person view, while a new D-Link gauge enables players to perform powerful finishing moves when full. The game also includes a Command Board, which becomes available after successfully completing a world. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep also supports multiplayer for up to six players.
- Features never-before-seen kingdoms like the Enchanted Dominion from Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella's Castle of Dreams (Cinderella)
- Play as all three new characters, Terra, Ventus, and Aqua, to reveal the whole story
- Improved combat mechanics with new features such as Command Styles, Command Decks, Shotlocks, and Dimension Links
- New multiplayer modes include Versus, Arena, Command Board, and Rumble Racing
- North American release includes an extra boss, more multiplayer options, and additional rewards
- Acclaimed voice cast featuring Leonard Nimoy, Mark Hamill, James Woods, and more
5. Valkyria Chronicles II
Valkyria Chronicles II offers a new and exciting gaming experience with its real-time strategy gameplay. It allows players to strategize and take control of different command posts. This tactical role-playing game is the perfect sequel to the Valkyria Chronicles series and will provide an engaging and dynamic gameplay experience for fans of the genre.
This game offers players the choice between two modes: Command Mode, which features an overhead view, and Action Mode, which uses a third-person view. In Command Mode, players select their units and use command points to advance and attack until their Action Points are depleted. This initiates the end of the Player Phase and the beginning of the Enemy Phase. These phases alternate until the battle is won or lost. When you capture enemy camps, you unlock additional regions on the map. These regions can be used as checkpoints and places to hold ground while waiting for reinforcements.
Valkyria Chronicles II features a diverse cast of characters, including Aliases, Cordelia Gi Randgriz, Audrey Gassenarl, Sofia Collins, Leon Hardins, Jugin, Oscar Bielert, and Nichol Martin. These characters are divided into specific classes: Scouts, Shocktroopers, Engineers, Lancers, and Armored Tech. The game also has a new School and War theme, where characters must balance their duties at military school with their responsibilities in the midst of war. Players can also customize their tank in terms of firepower and armor to suit their preferred playstyle. Valkyria Chronicles II allows both single-player and multiplayer modes, allowing players to experience the game on their own or with friends.
- Complete over 200 missions designed for the PSP
- Play with up to 4 friends in co-op and versus modes using the ad hoc wireless connection
- Features a redesigned turn-based battle system to control military units and soldiers from overhead or from a third-person view
- Customize characters, weapons, and vehicles with more options than ever before
- 30 all-new battlefield maps and 10 unique settings
4. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is a must-buy for any PlayStation Portable owner and role-playing game fan. It has high-quality graphics and like all Final Fantasy games, it pays attention to every detail in its storyline. The gameplay is incredibly addictive, and the music is also excellent, providing a truly memorable gaming experience.
In this game, you play as Zack Fair and get to explore the game world as you fight monsters along the way. To defeat enemies, you can use attack moves, special abilities, and magic tricks. You earn experience points when you successfully fight off monsters. There are also special missions featuring more challenging monsters that can be unlocked by completing certain levels.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII features a cast of characters, with Zack Fair as the main protagonist. Other notable characters include Cloud Strife, Angeal Hewley, Sephiroth, Genesis Rhapsodos, Aerith Gainsborough, Tifa Lockhart, and Gillian Hewley. The game also has a slot machine feature, where players can spin the wheel and earn special moves by matching similar slots. Matching three slots also grants experience points, improves your health, and earns soldier and ability points. Additionally, the game also offers a difficulty setting, allowing players to adjust the challenge level.
- Play as Zack Fair in the prequel to the 1997 game Final Fantasy VII
- Real-time combat mechanics where Zack's abilities are determined by up to 6 Materia currently equipped
- Employ magic tricks, attack moves, and special abilities to defeat monsters
- Features notable characters like Angeal Hewley, Genesis Rhapsodos, Sephiroth, Tofa Lockhart, Aerith Gainsborough, and Gillian Hewley
- Use the slot machine mechanic to earn special moves and abilities
3. Half-Minute Hero
Half-Minute Hero is a highly rated strategic role-playing game with a new and exciting gaming experience. Its sense of humor and unique storylines guarantee an enjoyable gaming experience at every level. It also received a score of 84 on Metacritic, making it a must-have game for your PSP.
This game offers a variety of different gameplay experiences. When playing the single-player mode, you can access six unique game modes that are tied together by an overarching plot. The first three modes are unlocked from the start, while the last three are unlocked upon completion of the first three. Each mode has a duration of 30 seconds and is built around a specific gameplay mechanic, such as strategy, shooting, action, or role-playing. The objectives of the different game modes vary, providing a diverse range of challenges and gameplay styles for players to enjoy.
Modes include the Hero 30 mode, where you play as a hero, while in the Evil Lord 30 mode, you play as an evil lord summoning creatures. The Princess 30 mode lets you control a princess on a quest to save her father, and the Knight 30 mode has you protecting a sage as a knight. The Hero 300 mode gives you 300 seconds to play as a hero, and the Hero 3 mode is a boss battle that lasts only 3 seconds. All of these game modes contribute to the main plot of Half-Minute Hero.
- Fast-paced action requires clearing stages in 30-second intervals
- Four different storylines and modes with 30 distinct stages
- Old-school 8-bit graphics
- Features over 15 hours of gameplay
- Play with up to four friends through the ad-hoc wireless connection
2. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
X-Men Legends II: Rise of the Apocalypse is an action-packed and enjoyable role-playing game on your PlayStation Portable. The game features a decent roster of characters and has very comfortable controls. The game’s multiplayer mode allows you to team up with other players and take on challenges together, adding to the fun. Moreover, the game received a score of 84 on Metacritic, indicating its overall positive reception.
In this game, your goal is to take on Apocalypse, a mutant villain, and his minions. To start, you can select up to four characters from the available options. As you play, you’ll earn experience points that allow you to unlock your special powers and abilities. During the battle, you have the option to use various offensive and defensive moves against your enemies. You can also team up with other players to launch coordinated attacks.
X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse offers several exciting new features for players. There is the Game Plus mode, which allows you to replay a level without losing your progress. The game also has Skirmish Mode, where you can compete against other players or the AI. Another new addition is the Central Hub, which is a neutral area where you can view your achievements or take a break from missions. Additionally, the Danger Room offers special missions that you can unlock as you play.
- Play as one of 16 playable characters, each with 10 unique abilities
- Customize your own team of four Mutants
- Battle 100 different types of enemies
- Open storyline where your choices impact how the game unfolds
- Fully destructible settings with hidden items to discover
1. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is the role-playing game you’ve been waiting for. With a score of 89 at Metacritic, it’s a shining example of a role-playing game done right. Its fresh and interesting gameplay makes it a standout RPG for the PlayStation Portable. As the fourth edition in the Persona series, this game allows you to step into the shoes of a high school student and relive the experience all over again.
In gameplay, you take the protagonist’s role and do normal day-to-day activities like schooling and socializing with other people. During the Dark Hour, you will have to fight off evil spirits, known in-game as Shadows. The activities you are involved in and the characters you meet vary depending on the day of the week. Time also moves throughout the game. During the day, you are free to choose your activities. In the evening you can visit Tartarus for a partying experience. When there is a full moon, you can participate in the boss level, and if you win, you will progress to the next stage.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 features the newly added Velvet room, where the gamer can create new personas. Personas are the game’s monsters and creatures. Additionally, the game protagonist comes with three distinct attributes: Academics, Charm, and Courage. The game also includes Tartarus, which is the main dungeon where you can play with your friends against Shadows as you explore the area. Experience points earned after successfully defeating a Shadow help you increase persona levels. Furthermore, Persona 3 added a mini-game, Shuffle Time, which involves picking random cards that can give you special bonuses.
- Includes nearly all of the content from the original PS2 game and some elements from Persona 3: FES
- Continues the typical Persona RPG gameplay where players can wield physical manifestations of their thoughts
- New ability to play as a female character, offering a different perspective on events and impacting the game's social dynamics
- Improvements for the PSP version include greater control of teammates in battle, five difficulty settings, shorter load times, menu shortcuts, Skill cards, and the addition of part-time jobs
Please Note: As of July 19, 2023, the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 game is currently unavailable on Amazon. If you are unable to locate this product elsewhere, please check back later.
As we have seen, role-playing games offer unique and engaging experiences that can keep players coming back for more. So if you’re looking for the best RPGs for your PlayStation Portable, try any of the above titles and create a lifelong memorable gaming experience for yourself.