Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The 10 Best RPGs on the PSP

The PSP boasts an impressive library of games, especially in the RPG department. From sequels to great ports to wonderful new games, there's plenty out there for anyone to play. However, with so many games it can be hard to weed out the good from the bad, and so I've complied a list of the 10 best RPGs on the PSP. Ports that didn't add much in the way of new content weren't included on the list.

10.  Kingdom of Paradise

This action-RPG features Shinbu, a budding martial artist who must help rebuild his clan. Players follow him through about 20 hours of gameplay while mastering the wonderfully complex battle system which allows players to build their own sword combos. The game is very combat heavy and probably not ideal for those who play RPGs mostly for the story. 

9. Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology

This quest heavy game allows players to create their own character, picking their body style, hair, wardrobe, name, occupation, and voice. Gamers guide their character through quests, building fame and enjoying the action oriented turn-based combat. This game isn't particularly deep, but it's a good fun play.

8. Brave Story: New Traveler

At first glance, Brave Story might seem like a pretty typical RPG that just happens to have nice visuals. However, this game is something special. Each character is well crafted, and the turn-based battles move quickly instead of feeling like a chore the way many game's battles do. The story isn't reinventing the wheel, but it's an enjoyable ride all the same.

7. Star Ocean: First Departure and Second Evolution

The ports of the previously unreleased first Star Ocean game along with its popular sequel are both top-notch, featuring excellent voice acting and beautiful new animated cutscenes. Both games are a must-play for any fan of traditional 2-D RPGs, as the first two Star Ocean games are some of the best. If you can only pick one, Second Evolution is the better of the two.

6. Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth

Valkyrie Profile was criminally under appreciated when it was originally released for the PSX. Now that there's a beautiful upgraded version available for the PSP, hopefully it'll get all the love it deserves. If you've never played this one before, it's a must have. It's got a fantastic story and great gameplay. If you're already a fan, the added cutscenes should be enough to convince you to pick this up again.

5. Crimson Gem Saga

Though the beautiful sprites may lead you to believe that Crimson Gem Saga is also a port, this one is an experience original to the PSP.  The story revolves around Killian, a new graduate who always seems to find himself falling one step short of greatness. The game is full of the charm typical to Atlus games, and the character skill tree system brings excitement to the turn-based battles.

4. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Crisis Core probably won't appeal to anyone who isn't a fan of Final Fantasy VII, but that still leaves it with a pretty huge pool of gamers to draw from. It's easily one of the best looking games on the PSP, and the action-based gameplay- reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts-  is simple enough to keep turn-based fans happy. Anyone interested in the Compilation of FFVII should pick this one up.

3. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions

Even if you weren't a huge fan of the original Final Fantasy Tactics, War of the Lions is worth checking out. This port has been given beautiful cel-shaded cut-scenes (with voice acting) and a fresh new translation, giving the game a much stronger story then it previously had.  Additional animations were added for the attacks, meaning that no matter how many times you've played the original, you'll always have something new to see in this version.

2. Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness

Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness was a pretty amazing game to start with, but it's one of the most impressive ports I've ever seen. The game is full of new characters, now allows multi-player mode, and even has an entirely new story-mode called "Etna Mode". Disgaea is the sort of game that players never run out of something to do in, making it perfect for a handheld system like the PSP.

1. Jeanne D'arc

This PSP original tactical RPG is a mystical retelling of the story of Joan the Arc. That might not sound appealing to every gamer out there, but this game makes it work beautifully. Joanne D'arc puts an interesting new spin on the TRPG genre by having characters gain their powers through something called "skill stones". Each one grants characters different abilities, such as magical abilities or status boosts. This system makes the game incredibly flexible. Jeanne D'arc isn't just one of the best RPGs on the PSP, it's one of the best games on the PSP.


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