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Posted on Oct 25th 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (GrayGhost81)
Posted under PSP, reviews

As with most Sony consoles, I purchased my first PSP solely for the purpose of playing the Metal Gear Solid title for the platform. It wasn't Portable Ops though, it was Peace Walker. This means I acquired my PSP pretty late in its life cycle. However, I have played it quite a lot and physical PSP games make up a nice chunk of my overall game collection. I recently added a second PSP to my collection and decided to spend some time with a few games I've never tried before. If I've learned anything from watching MetalJesusRocks on YouTube for years, it's that the PSP is home to many incredible racing games and rpgs. In fact, the first two games here have been mentioned by MJR so many times that once I got back into playing the PSP they were the first games I checked out.

Motorstorm: Arctic Edge - Though the Motorstorm franchise is probably best known for its PS3 entries, it turns out that a PSP port of a PS2 game remains the most talked about entry in the series. The gimmick of Motorstorm is the ability to race using a variety of vehicles for each race. In Motorstorm: Arctic Edge, there is more emphasis on snow vehicles such as snowmobiles and snowplows. The gameplay and presentation help carry the torch of the "Extreme" sports aesthetic born in the 1990s. The licensed soundtrack includes tracks from Queens of the Stone Age and Radiohead. The two things that jump out to me are the details in the graphical presentation and the pick up and put down gameplay, which is perfect for a handheld. The game conveys a sense of speed so well that I could feel the icy cold air on my face. I do have a few nitpicks about this game though. Unless I'm missing something, there is no mini-map or rearview mirror. So while you'll know what place you're in at all times, you won't know how far behind you any of your opponents are. The lack of a mini-map may be due to the many optional courses of each track which would make a this sort of feature confusing.

***Game footage courtesy of Echo***

Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast - Coast 2 Coast is an amazing reboot-esque tribute to the original Yu Suzuki arcade classic. I believe this game gets a lot of love because of how much it feels like the original, while adding tons of new arcade-like gameplay elements. There are plenty of game modes available, as well as over a dozen flashy licensed cars. The spirit of the original game is lovingly presented here, including the option to use the original game's songs on the signature dashboard radio before hitting the road. Admittedly, I have not put as much time into this game as I have Motorstorm as I prefer the latter's progression system to Outrun's "see how far you can get before time runs out." However, when I need a quick break from the next game on this list, the flashy arcade style is sure to take me away for ten or fifteen minutes.

***Game footage courtesy of Momotarosoresanjou***

Crimson Gem Saga is a sweet little Korean developed RPG (KRPG?) with many ease of use elements that endeared it to me immediately. First, you can save your game anywhere at any time. Ok, that's really a big deal for a portable game, so what else? HP and MP refill with every level up. There are no random encounters, but instead, players can see the monsters on the map. What's more, if the player can sneak up on a monster, he will land a hit before the battle begins, giving the player a nice head start on the encounter. The presentation of this game is wonderful, with lush and colorful environments, beautiful character sprites and portraits, above average voice acting, and great music. The script and translation are solid, and include fourth wall breaks and self-referential gags reminiscent of a Working Designs translation from the 1990s. Crimson Gem Saga is a great game for RPG veterans looking for a quality experience, but it is also friendly to newcomers to the genre. The familiar RPG gameplay loop and perfectly paced story have kept me playing this game every day.

What are some of your favorite PSP games? With such a massive library, including imports (as the handheld is region-free), I am always looking for recommendations! If you're looking to get into the PSP, I am confident in strongly recommending all three of the games above to start collection for this mighty little handheld. If you've already played them, what do you think?

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If you're a Castlevania fan, I think that Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles is a must own. It includes Symphony of the Night and Rondo of Blood, which are two of the best in the series IMO. I'd also recommend the two Pursuit Force games, Half-Minute Hero, and What Did I Do To Deserve This My Lord? 2.
Crimson Gem Saga sounds like a game I should check out.  I never play the PSP despite being such a huge RPG fan.
@Disposed Hero: I think you would like that game a lot. So many things about it are in your wheelhouse as much as they are in mine.
Actually two different studios handled development for the PSP/PS2 versions of MotorStorm, and had staggered releases with the PSP version releasing first.
PSP games where I come from are pretty hard to find with only one type of stores that sells them and any decent ones go pretty quickly (as in ones that aren't soccer, wrestling or football managers) but luckily got a fair bit of games already, also lucky to have got both Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles and Mega Man Powered Up 4 years ago before the store closed down. Haven't seen them since.

One of my favorites on the PSP is Burnout Legends, had quite a lot of fun playing that one. Other games that I enjoyed were Daxter, Driver 76, Ridge Racer 2, Medal of Honor Heroes, MotoGP, the two Ratchet & Clank games, Metal Slug Anthology and you mentioned OutRun 2006 very well since its my favorite game.

Crimson Gem Saga has NOT been on my radar, but it needs to be.  I'm after a complete PSP set, so I'll definitely have to add that to my watch list!  I love the PSP, and it has slowly become my favorite handheld system ever.  If you're not running custom firmware, you should be!  Now you can load up a "quick load" version so you don't have to have a Pandora battery or anything else, you can literally run a "quick recover" to run the firmware in RAM, and then when you do the quick power off to keep it in low power mode, it will stay running.  If you run out of battery, or turn it off completely, you just run the quick recovery, and you're back to custom firmware again.  I use this so I can rip games to the memory card, that way I save the UMD drive from wearing out.

I'll echo singlebanana and say that Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles is a must have if you're at all a fan of the CV games.  Mega Man Powered Up and Mega Man Maverick Hunter X are both excellent ports as well.  If you like shmups, you can't go wrong with the Gradius Collection, or either Capcom Collection, for that matter.  The port of Lunar Silver Star is pretty good on the PSP as well, though I still prefer the PlayStation port from Working Designs.  As for more original content, I have had fun with the The 3rd Birthday, Daxter, Exit (fun puzzle platformer), the exclusive God of War games, the Prinny games, Star Wars Battlefront Renegade Squadron, Ys 1 & 2 Chronicles, the Wipeout games, and the Luxor game I have.  Most of the other collections are worth getting too, like Taito Legends Power-Up, the Metal Slug Anthology, the SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1, and the Pinball Hall of Fame games.  I'm not much of a sports guy, either, but I had fun with MLB 06, if that trips your trigger.

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