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Please read this spoiler first!

The NGPC thread died a bit of a death but I'm going to give it another go. There have been a number of PSP game list threads before but they don't have much in the way of explanation - see http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/220163-list-of-essential-psp-games/ and http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/127597-psp-essential-selection/ for examples. Feel free to use those to remind you of which games to feature!

How it works: each poster should post the title of one game per post (be careful of the forum automatically combining posts!), and give a short description or review as to why it's essential. We're talking Eurogamer-essential here, not if-you-don't-own-this-throw-your-3DS-away-essential. When you're reading the thread, if you have played that game and think it's essential, press the pos button. That way someone who's reading the thread for recommendations can see the strength of opinion behind each suggestion.

Try not to discuss the games in this thread. If possible, link to the game's thread on the forum so discussion can go there!

Loco Roco

A sort of puzzle platform game, with pretty woolly and imprecise controls which would normally be the death of any such thing. But not here, for some reason. Press the left shoulder to tilt the world left, and the right shoulder to tilt the world right. Press and release both together to jump. You have to work yourself around some complex levels, collecting new locorocos as you go which merge into the original and make it bigger. Luckily you can demerge and merge at will, so you can get through tight spots, and this is where the puzzle element comes in. Hidden rooms, difficult jumps ... I think the reason nobody hates it is that it's got tonnes and tonnes of charm. And the music is amazing.

Getting through the levels is easy; finding everything is hard. It works well on the Vita as well.

http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/100488-loco-roco-cool-new-psp-title/

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Wipeout Pure

The more obvious option would be Pulse, which has a slightly smoother framerate, is a bit prettier and more advanced. But, good people, I like to champion exclusives and Pulse got a PS2 port, so the aptly-named Pure it is. This first Wipeout PSP release is still lovely to look at, more technically difficult than the sequel (i.e. tracks are tougher even at slower speeds than its progeny).

A fabulous showcase for what the PSP was capable of, Pure is one of the PSP's shining lights, retaining the series' great controls, eye-watering speed, neon-bleeding aesthetics and also featured a good few downloadable tracks available for free. Very much worth your time.

P.S. a shout out to the emulator PPSSPP at this point. Run your PSP ISOs on your PC with all the visuals pumped up. And is if on cue, here's Wipeout Pure through PPSSPP!

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Metal Gear Ac!d

A weird title; a PSP-only release; a turn-based card game... what could possibly go, err, right?! Good question. Thankfully the answer is 'lots' with MGA being one of the PSP's half-hidden gems. Another exclusive - which is pretty miraculous considering the IP - the oddly-monikered Ac!d sees you engage in single missions with varied objectives, but as always with stealthy caution being the by-word for success.

Selecting cards from your deck to either move or perform actions or attacks, MGA should be tedious but Snake's world is a surprisingly good fit for a card game. You'll spend ages shuffling your deck (snarf!) looking at the fantastic artwork and choosing your favourites from a huge arsenal of support items, weaponry and some oddball stuff that could only originate in the house of Kojima. As in Peace Walker, cutscenes are presented in 'animated comic-book' form (which just works brilliantly for handhelds) and retains the atmos from the main series successfully, particularly the PSone's Solid.

An outlier, a curio, and a bit of a (diamond) dog to look at, but a minor triumph nonetheless, MGA distils the Solid essence into a tiny, strangely-shaped beaker without losing any vital essence.

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Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles - not because this version of Rondo of Blood is good, because it isn't. But for the price of one game you also get a full PSP specific version of the classic Symphony of Night thrown in which you can unlock after about 30 minutes. And it's the Saturn version of SOTN to boot. And then continue on a little bit more & you get the original Rondo of Blood which is still great to this day (see here for how to do it; http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/castlevania-the-dracula-x-chronicles-review) Worth the £7.99 price of admittance imo.

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You cannot talk PSP without mentioning

Lumines

Essential puzzle game. It's been out all over the place in the last decade but it fits the PSP so well. Simple and additive, there's just something really satisfying seeing a huge area get wiped out and a cascade begin.

For the few who don't know, it's a block-dropping puzzle game where you try to create areas of the same colour from 2x2 blocks of two-colour tiles. A vertical beam sweeps across in time with the pumping music and clears the areas larger than 4x4, giving points. There are several themes or "skins" with different music, sound effects, backgrounds and block styles.

Essential for it's simplicity, bags of style and addictive gameplay. Ideal portable gaming.

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Parodius Collection

Who doesn't want a collection of the fabulous Parodius series? Parodius, Parodius da, jikkyou oshaberi Parodius, gokujou Parodius and Sexy Parodius all on one disk? You'd be mad to miss out. They'd cost quite a bit to get on MSX, PS / SAT, so this is a bargain.

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Persona 3 Portable

It may not be as tight or polished as the fourth game, but in the west Persona 3 was most people's introduction to the series, and the PSP release is probably the best version of that game around. It takes place in the fictional Japanese town of Iwatodai circa 2009, and follows a group of students investigating a bizarre tower that materialises in a time period after midnight that few people are aware of.

Gameplay is divided into a traditional dungeon crawl in the evening as you make your way up the tower's floors fighting enemies along the way, and a bunch of distractions and activities available in the daytime. Being a student, you'll answer quick quizzes in class and later spend time in town maybe working part-time somewhere or hanging out with other people. Whilst the locations available in the daytime rarely change, an in-game calendar means that there will often be different things to do each day and certain special events during holidays, etc.

In the evening you'll have the option of entering the tower, which sees you battling regular enemies, collecting items and equipment and fighting bosses from time to time. Combat is turn-based and an elemental weakness system (exploiting weaknesses grants a free turn to the enemy or character that exploited the weakness) adds a tactical angle to battles. Boss events outside of the dungeon also occur during certain calendar dates, and there are sometimes optional rescue missions that are new to the PSP game, so you're encouraged to explore the dungeon even after you've finished the most recent "block" of floors.

Whilst P3 was already worth recommending due to it's fun battle system and numerous events and activities, the PSP release is arguably the best version of the game, as it introduces a female protagonist to play as (which leads to alternative events and dialogue), a few extra events, new music, a new intro and the option to issue direct commands to other party members (the PS2 original only let you influence AI party member actions with a "Tactics" menu.) Consequently, it's the version I'd recommend to most people, and if you have a Vita it's available to buy from the PSP area of the PS Store.

Rllmuk thread (P3P)

Rllmuk thread (P3)

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Joan of Arc

One of the best turn-based tactical RPGs on any platform.

It's called Jeanne d'Arc, you bugger, but yes, that's an absolutely brilliant SRPG.

And on a related note, here's another absolutely brilliant SRPG on PSP:

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

post-409-0-35771000-1425049158.jpg

A remake of the game which begat Final Fantasy Tactics, and better than its progeny by some margin. This is a solid, beautiful game of strategy with a surprisingly engaging (and branching) story; expansive, interesting levels to battle through and a deep job system underpinning everything. Absolutely one of the best SRPGs ever made, it's an essential purchase on PSP (or indeed Vita, where the PSP version can be bought from the PSN store, and looks even more beautiful on the Vita's screen).

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Killzone: Liberation

This PSP spin-off was, in my opinion, best Killzone game by far. An isometric stealth/shooter which looks gorgeous and has really slick controls. I never tried the multiplayer, but even that was meant to be pretty good as far as I know. A really fun shooter.

Field Commander

A little bit po-faced in comparison, but pretty much the PSP's answer to Advance Wars. Visually a little rough, but it nails that stone/paper/scissors tactical gameplay really well. I'd say it's essential in the same way Advance Wars is on the GBA and DS, in that as long as you like simple turn based squad level tactics games, you'll dig it.

Edited to avoid handbags at dawn with Wiper. Of the two, KZ Lib is the more essential IMO.

Edited again - I was tired and grumpy when I read Wiper's post last night and read it as being needlessly snarky, which reading it this morning, it isn't. FYI I simply missed the spoiler box in the opening post too, maybe it does need to be made more obvious.

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Lots and lots of games on the system to recommend, both domestic and import wise.

Three of my favourites include Mega Man Powered Up and Megaman X Maverick Hunter

Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX, worth it for the extra characters and for play on the go but not the best version.

Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles - not because this version of Rondo of Blood is good, because it isn't. But for the price of one game you also get a full PSP specific version of the classic Symphony of Night thrown in which you can unlock after about 30 minutes. And it's the Saturn version of SOTN to boot. And then continue on a little bit more & you get the original Rondo of Blood which is still great to this day (see here for how to do it; http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/castlevania-the-dracula-x-chronicles-review) Worth the £7.99 price of admittance imo.

Just to correct you it's not the Saturn version included, as it's missing all the extra content featured in the Saturn version. It's more a special edition of the PlayStation version with Maria made playable and a new translation.

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stuff

other stuff

FYI: this thread is following the pattern of other "Essential [format] Games" threads, where the idea is that each poster recommends one (previously unmentioned) game, and readers upvote any posts where they agree that the game is in fact an essential purchase - allowing for a quick overview not only of recommended games, but how much of a consensus there is on its quality.

Your posts don't really match to that thread logic, which is probably why Riven has a little red score by his post.

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I think the little red score is due to me accidentally hitting it on my phone. But yes, there's a "How it works" bit in the first post - please read it!

Don't spoiler it then, make it clear for all to see e.g. one game per post that way no one will make a mistake. :)

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I think the little red score is due to me accidentally hitting it on my phone. But yes, there's a "How it works" bit in the first post - please read it!

I'm assuming that the neg I received from Riven isn't a mistake, however, which is quite funny considering I never negged them in the first place.

Don't spoiler it then, make it clear for all to see e.g. one game per post that way no one will make a mistake. :)

Yep, I realised it wasn't that obvious, which is why I thought it best to clarify. Clearly you'd rather I hadn't.

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Densha De Go! Pocket Yamanote Line

I love this game. I never really had the first clue how to play it, beyond figuring out how to control the train's starting, stopping and speed (mostly), and I could also stop at the stations roughly where you were supposed to.

But it's so relaxing! Everything is accompanied by cool music, except when you are driving the train, which is accompanied by the sounds of a train, and Japanese people ranting at you, in a vaguely comforting way.

I have never fallen asleep to a game as many times as I have playing this game. Which is why it's perfect for the PSP, and essential. Unless you are actually on a train, when you might A) Drop your PSP, and B) Miss your stop. Basically, play this sat on the sofa. Then fall asleep.

Also, if you don't get a vague feeling of joy when your train tilts on a mild incline, you are dead inside.

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If you must know Wiper it was the way you re-quoted mine and Nathan Wind's posts it came across as you where discounting our game suggestions which is why I marked you down. I understand you may well have not intended that, but that's the way it came across. By the way it was purely a mistake on my part as to why I posted more than one game I just skimmed the first post.

Anyway back on track, one of the best PS2 music games got a PSP release in Gitaroo Man Lives! Great to play on the go or just listen to the music.

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Metal Gear Acid 2

This is an incredible sequel that not only greatly expands the gameplay of the original, but also corrects all the many clunky annoyances found in Metal Gear Acid. I remember actively thinking about all the niggling things that i didn't like in the first game, only for them to all have disappeared in part 2. It was almost like the team hadmade the game justfor me. It's a crying shame we've never had a sequel or at least a hd digital rerelease.

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ZHP Unlosing Ranger vs DarkDeath EvilMan

With the current indie obsession with "Rogue-like"'s this one ought to go down pretty well.

ZHP is pretty different to the other games that Nippon Ichi are known for as it focuses on grinding through randomly generated dungeons in order to become strong enough to fight "DarkDeath EvilMan", which you do at the end of each chapter in a more traditional Nippon Ichi SRPG style system. The whole thing is presented in an entertaining blend of the atypical NIS character types and a Super Sentei/Power Rangers style which makes it stand out from the rest of the studio's output.

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I'd actually gofor metal gear acid 2 over the first. It's an incredible sequel thatnot only greatly expands the gane, but also corrects all the many clunky annoyances found in the first game. I remember actively thinking about all the niggling things that i didn't like in the first game, only for them to all have disappeared in part 2. It was almost like the team hadmade the game justfor me. It's a crying shame we've never had a sequel or at least a hd digital rerelease.

I haven't played 2 because it's just about the ugliest game (in stills) I've ever seen.

But anyway, we shouldn't really be debating in this thread. Suggest each person goes through and deletes their non-review posts, whaddayasay?

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Sounds like a good idea!

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories

Recognising that the PSP was essentially a handheld PS2, I was looking forward to ports of the GTA games. I hadn't thought about the fact that the games themselves weren't particularly suitable for portable play - as is evident from the iOS conversions which remain virtually untouched on my iPad. Luckily, Rockstar realised this, and created a game with shorter missions, a more obvious storyline, and reworked controls (taking account of the lack of a second stick). The result is a masterpiece both technically and in game mechanics.

So successful was the game that they converted it to the PS2 a number of years later, and created a follow-up on the PSP in the form of Vice City Stories. If anything the former is a bit too easy (with additional controls taking half the challenge away) and the latter stretches the hardware a little too much.

http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/89286-gta-liberty-city-stories-screensinformation/

http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/103775-gta-liberty-city-stories/

http://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/105539-gta-liberty-city-stories/

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Half-Minute Hero

 

This was something that could so easily have been a gimmick of a game that offered very little once the initial novelty had worn off, but HMH offers a refreshing take on traditional RPG grinds and other genres (once the extra modes have been unlocked.) The premise behind the game is that each character has 30 seconds to complete a particular objective, which varies between the four characters on offer. The Hero's story plays like a mini RPG, the Princess mode is more like a multidirectional shooter, the Evil Lord mode is a strategy game of sorts, etc. Once the objective is complete, a new chapter is unlocked for that character, with a new goal. Many of the modes have novel mechanics that help you influence the 30 second countdown - for instance, the Hero can pay to reset the timer but the fee increases with each reset - this leads to frantic moments where you're racing to complete more and more battles to earn money faster, but because you're levelling up and becoming more powerful, that goal always seems just within reach. Similarly, the Princess' shooter campaign allows you to fly over designated red carpets to automatically exchange earned gold for more seconds on the clock, ensuring that you never lose momentum.

Whilst some of the game modes seem to have a bit more substance than others (and the Hero's story is clearly the main attraction), all of the modes are shot through with charm and wit; snappy dialogue scenes occur before and after most missions and there are plenty of amusingly absurd scenarios for all of the characters. Even after you've completed each 30-mission campaign for each character there are extra game modes that become unlocked that offer more twists on the 30-second format, and you can revisit completed missions to mop up optional objectives and (in the case of the Hero's story) earn bonus titles, or simply try and beat par times. I can definitely recommend this as a game that offers fun for much longer than its title may suggest. :)

Rllmuk thread

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Crisis Core :Final Fantasy VII

The closest you can get to a FFVII sequel (Well... prequel). A really good RPG in its own right, but for a FFVII fan, absolutely essential.

Patapon

Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful rhythm action game. Don't bother with the sequels, this is where its act.

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