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Where many established franchises are moving away from their platforming roots, Daxter embraces them and thats a good thing on the PSP. Jak and Daxter have been an inseparable pair on the PS2, but on the PSP Daxter plays the starring role in a very well-crafted adventure that actually feels like it would only work on the Sony handheld. And that means, unlike a still-growing number of frustrating PSP games, the controls are spot on, which is essential for making Daxter do exactly what you want him to.
You wont even miss Jak in Daxters first solo adventure.
Daxter is an old-school game at heart but on the PSP it feels original. The guns from Jak II and 3 have been cut out--san the Ottsels bug sprayer that lets him stun enemies-- which makes the game play much more like the original Jak and Daxter. The game is set in the world of Jak II, which is pretty darn big, and the games streaming technology means hardly any loading at all. And the game is just beautiful...pretty close to PS2-quality in terms of animation and overall graphical performance.
But more than anything, Daxter is just plain fun and one of the few large-scale adventures worth your time and money on the PSP
9.Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror
Considering how incredibly complicated and intricate the control scheme is in Syphon Filter PS2 games, its amazing how well it works in Dark Mirror on the PSP. Its standard terrorist business as usual, but the story doesnt turn you off or take anything away from the gameplay. If anything, it sucks you in deeper.
Dark Mirrors shooting controls are a Godsend on the PSP.
An array of gadgets and vision modes exist, and theyre made accessible through the surprisingly easy-to-use controls scheme based on using the left stick to move and the face buttons to aim. The sensitivity mapped to the face buttons is just about right, so its not jerky like other failed PSP shooters. But the magic left shoulder button links it all together, allowing either scoped view or enemy lock-on that makes taking on a group of baddies unrestrictive.
Almost a year after its release, Dark Mirror still has some of the most robust multiplayer features in a PSP game, which is really not surprising because that was one of the biggest draws in the console series.
I personally never thought the face-meltingly fast Burnout series would ever be able to deliver technically on the PSP, but withstand some moderately long load times and youre basically in for a rehash of Burnout 3. The controls are very simple and Burnout Legends is a great technical showcase of how much power the PSP has. The same over-the-top sense of speed is reached in handheld form and nothing is compromised in terms of speed.
Burnout is just as fast on the PSP.
The simplistic layout of Burnout Legends in also a plus, making jumping in and out of play sessions relatively problem-free. Car models did take a bit of a dip, but Burnout has never been about making shiny custom cars. Its about smashing your wreck as soon as possible.
7.Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters
Ratchet & Clank has done something few other console franchises have been able to do: present itself as something truly original for the PSP. The latest and greatest PSP game is the newest on our list, but its overall quality bumps it up into the top 10. Its a fun hybrid of shooting and platforming laid out in standard Ratchet & Clank adventure style.
Size Matters is a truly original Ratchet game for the PSP.
In short, the game is an amalgamation of the best parts of the Ratchet & Clank PS2 trilogy and everything translates to a tee, including the shooting controls. Taking into consideration that Ratchet games are pretty much constructed entirely around the many wacky guns and unique weapons, nailing down an easy way to control them was a must. An easy lock-on system and the ability to strafe with the directional pad is how it is accomplished.
High Impact Games took over from Insomnic for this first PSP version of Ratchet & Clank, but youd be hard pressed to find ANY real drop in quality with story and animation. Plus, you get online multiplayer. This is Ratchet & Clank and anyone with a PSP should give it a try.
6.Tekken: Dark Resurrection
Because it uses the directional pad instead of a dual-analog-stick control scheme, Tekken succeeds as THE fighting to own on the PSP. And everything else here is classic Tekken right from the fast and furious gameplay, with massive pop-up juggle combos and devastating multi-throw chains. The graphics are a near PSP best, almost matching the beautiful 3D characters from Tekken 5 on the PS2, but its possibly even more impressive on the PSP because of the small wide screen.
Its classic Tekken, and its damn good.
Dark Resurrection also adds a collection of addictive mini-games, many taken from the series PlayStation salad days. These include Tekken Bowling, which makes a welcome return from 1999s Tekken 3, and Gold Rush, a fast-paced brawling mode in which the player has 30 seconds to inflict as much damage as humanly (or inhumanly) possible.
5.l Gear Solid: Portable Ops
The first real translation of the patented l Gear Solid style of play is a good one. I guess its third times a charm, because the first two card-based l Gear Acid games deviated from what makes l Gear good: stealth action.
Portable Ops returns to the series stealth-action roots.
It takes influence from a number of l Gear games, but Portable Ops is completely unique in its own right. Its all centered around Big Boss, and its basically one rogue outing for Snake. The way the game is presented, though, is in short gameplay bursts that make it extremely original on the PSP. The main part of the gameplay is getting enemies to join your cause, which becomes very strategic regarding the abilities of the soldiers that you choose.
Portable Ops gets bonus points using the PSPs Wi-Fi in new ways and for being the first game to utilize GPS.
The fact that Wipeout Pure (I refuse to spell it over and over again with the misplaced capital E) still holds up as one of the best games available for the PSP, says something about its originality. More than anything, though, this game was designed to take advane of the PSP with futuristic racing that you just cant get anywhere else. The many unique racing power-ups drastically alter races each and every time you play it, keeping the game ultimately fresh.
This futuristic racer is suited for the PSP.
Its tight controls make racing fun, its trance-y music creates a pulsating aural atmosphere, and its vibrant color scheme and cool futuristic looks really makes Wipeout shine. Its a different type of experience than the Burnouts and Midnight Clubs; one that just fits on the PSP.
3.Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories / Vice City Stories
Im grouping these two games together because they essentially do the same thing: port the core-GTA experience that many of us have fallen in love with to the PSP with flying colors. Rockstar Leeds did a fantastic job in translating the short load times and save-anywhere features from the console series to the PSP, and while the character models are as low-resolution as ever, everything else in the game looks wonderful (OK, the cut-scenes are a bit wonky).
The full GTA shebang is pretty much flawless on the PSP.
With a few exceptions, everything from Liberty and Vice Cities is there--Ammunations, Pay-n-Sprays, save houses--and on top of that you get a completely new story and new missions. Plus, you get new soundtracks, which for Vice is just awesome. Driving is relatively problem-free with the PSP analog stick and no one can really complain about the addition of motorcycles, can they?
GamePro originally gave LocoRoco a relatively moderate review score, but after playing the crap out of this game on several flights to and from Japan, I am officially re-staking it as one of the best PSP game out there. There are many reasons LocoRoco succeeds, but the main ones are simplicity and originality. More than anything, though, LocoRoco emanates fun and provides an emotional gaming experience unparalleled on any other platform.
If you dont love these Rocos, you have no heart.
LocoRoco is so simple, yet incredibly fun and addictive. The unique thing about it is that you dont really control the LocoRocos (ridiculously cute little blobs) at all, only the environment that surrounds them. The way it works is you lead the Rocos through each level by tilting the world left and right to roll them though a series of platform-y obstacles. You can also launch the Rocos and split them up to slide through tight areas.
Because the levels are relatively short, LocoRoco is a great pick-up-and-play PSP game. Its bright, pleasing colors, creative level design, and often challenging puzzles make it a great technical feat. But the emotions you feel toward the Rocos are what really make it a great game. When the Rocos are singing and smiling you feel happy. When they are scared and sad, you feel sad. Its a feat that is rarely accomplished in video games and deserves a heck of a lot of credit when it comes through like it does in LocoRoco
There is no doubt in my mind that Mizuguchis Lumines is the best PSP game on the market because it and the PSP directly compliment each other. Its obvious that Lumines was made for the PSP, but sometimes I feel as if the PSP was made for Lumines. No other game takes advane of the PSPs beautifully sharp widescreen display and walkman-like sound as well as Lumines does.
The ryhthm IS going to get you!
Its a simple puzzle game that feels like Tetris on acid. Lumines will suck you in and put you in a glorious trance heightened by bright colors and pulsating music. If you own it, youve played it in your car and or youve probably played it on a plane. Heck, one of us here admitted to busting it out during long traffic lights and even on the john (you might want to invest in some antibacterial wipes). Its puzzle-y nature makes it a perfect portable, and the magical scrolling line that wipes combos clean is what makes the gameplay stand alone from other puzzlers. Its groovy and pleasingly simple.
If there is an underlying trend in the two best PSP games, LocoRoco and Lumines, its simplicity. The PSP may be comparably as powerful as the PS2, but its still a handheld platform and it needs handheld games. Just because it doesnt have a touchscreen doesnt mean it cant have games that emphasize quick, unique fun like the Nintendo DS. Few people have the time and the place to play big, complicated action games on the go, so even though the PSP has the power to produce console-like experiences, doesnt mean it should.