Wednesday, March 16, 2011

10 Great PSP Imports

 

Suikoden I & II

 A nice collection to own for fans of the RPG classics. This game collects both Suikoden and Suikoden II on one UMD and offers several enhancements. The graphics have been touched up nicely, you can now move your character diagonally, there is a gallery mode, and Suikoden I features a new anime opening movie (taken from the Sega Saturn release). Great RPGs all around, some of the best on the PSX.


 QUICK RUNDOWN

+ The redone sprite and background work looks really good

+ The games still hold up very well today

- No substantial content has been added

Import-Friendly?: Not very, there are no English options. Still a recommended import for big time Suikoden fans.


King's Field Additional I & II

Fans have received these two games with polarized opinions. I happen to think they're pretty cool, but the gameplay is very different from the King's Field games for the PSX and PS2. These games are straight up dungeon crawlers, so anyone with an interest in those kind of games should take note. They retain the original King's Field style and atmosphere very much, so people that enjoyed the series may want to look into these. Gameplay has taken a board-by-board approach, a somewhat rare design used by a lot of older dungeon crawlers. You'll see what I mean in the video below.



QUICK RUNDOWN

+ A good amount of content, solid gameplay if you're into this sort of thing

+ The music is still very good (a tradition for the King's Field series)

+ Fans of King's Field wishing there was more might have found a decent answer

+ You can carry your character and data from King's Field Additional I to the sequel

- Very niche audience gameplay-wise, will probably feel too dated for most

- Very difficult

Import-Friendly?: There are no English menus, but the game isn't especially text based. There is little to no story or dialogue. The games come with an English instruction manual.


Black Panther: Yakuza New Chapter

A spin-off to the popular Yakuza series on the PS2 and PS3. Original series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu is not featured in this game, and instead you play as the violent Tatsuya Ukyo. Combat has been heavily revamped since previous series entries, but the old-school beat em up gameplay style remains highly entertaining. A great game by all means that fans of the series or gamers interested in Japanese culture should consider picking up.

QUICK RUNDOWN

+ Excellent production values; top notch graphics, great Peace Walker visual novel style narrative, smooth gameplay mechanics

+ Very intriguing story

+ Soundtrack is easy on the ears

- Loading times have been a small complaint among players, exploring Kamurocho feels some what jittery

- Long time players of the series may feel exploring a largely unchanged Kamurocho yet again is getting stale

Import-Friendly?: If you've played the previous Yakuza games, you really shouldn't have much of a problem enjoying the game without knowing Japanese. If you haven't, you may run into some confusion.


Breath of Fire III

 A direct port of the PSX classic. This release never made it to the US, but fortunately, it was released in EU territories, meaning US importers can enjoy it in full English. To my knowledge, nothing has been altered in this port. A timeless RPG from a great series, still recommended to fans and newcomers alike.

QUICK RUNDOWN

+ A solid, enjoyable RPG

- Longer loading times are present

- No content has been added

Import-Friendly?: Yes, the EU release of the game is, obviously, in full English.


Star Soldier Collection

 One of my personal favorites, the Star Soldier series, got the collection treatment on PSP. The compilation contains Super Star Soldier, Final Soldier, Soldier Blade, and Star Parodier. That's enough shooter action to occupy any shump fan for hours on end, having all 4 of these classics in one place is almost too good to be true. If you have even a passing interest in the shoot em up genre, you need this collection.

 QUICK RUNDOWN

+ 4 of the PC Engine's most memorable shooters all in one place

+ An absolutely great package for both veterans of the Star Soldier series and shoot em up fans looking for some great games

+ Seamless conversions

Import-Friendly?: Yes, this kind of game requires no reading.


Salamander Portable

 The PSP is the home of many great shoot em up collections, remakes, and original titles. I don't want to fill up the entire list with them though, so I'll make this the last one I mention. This collection features the Konami greats Salamander, Salamander 2, Life Force, Xexex, and Nemesis 2. As with the Star Soldier Collection, this should not be missed by any fans of the shoot em up genre. Salamander 2 and Xexex alone make this entirely worthy of a purchase. Konami also released portable collections of Gradius, Twin Bee, and Parodius, but I would argue this is the definitive Konami shump collection.

 QUICK RUNDOWN

+ 5 phenomenal shooters in one package, doesn't get any better than this

+ A slew of bonus gallery and music features

+ The only place Xexex is available outside of Japanese arcades

Import-Friendly?: Yes, this kind of game requires no reading. In fact, the menus are largely English.


Another Century's Episode Portable
 

A return to form after the disappointing release of Another Century's Episode: R for the PS3. This title removes many of the frustrating elements brought fourth in the series' first PS3 endeavor, and plays much more like the PS2 games. Another Century's Episode is a mech crossover game that is essentially a 3D action game custom made for fans of mech anime. The game creates scenarios that involve all of the series present in the game, and offers dozens of selectable mechs. Series include numerous Gundam series, King Gainer, Code Geass, Metal Armor Dragonar, Aura Battler Dunbine, numerous Macross series, and quite a few more.


QUICK RUNDOWN

+ Major gameplay improvements over Another Century's Episode: R

+ Huge list of anime series and selectable units present

- Lack of another analog stick and 2 triggers can pose some control issues

- Disappointing Banpresto Original mech representation

Import-Friendly?: If you're new to the series, it could be a little rough, but doable. If you've played previous ACE games you'll pretty much feel at home. If you're just looking to play as some of your favorite mechs and you aren't terribly concerned with fully understanding the story, there is certainly some fun to be had.

 

Brandish - The Dark Revenant

 
Some of you may remember the game Brandish on the SNES. Brandish was a game made by the talented RPG developers Falcom (Ys, Faxanadu, Dragon Slayer, Sorcerian) originally for the PC-9801, and ported to the SNES late in it's life. Basically, it's a solid top-down dungeon crawler. This PSP game is a full 3D remake, and a very good one at that. If you're looking for a little-known, fun, and accessible RPG to add to your PSP line-up, look no further.
QUICK RUNDOWN

+ Yet another great RPG by the Nihon Falcom team, if you're familiar with their efforts, you'll likely enjoy this

+ The rearranged soundtrack is great

- The game shows it's age a bit, gamers that aren't very into dungeon crawlers might not be able to get into it

Import-Friendly?: Surprisingly so. There is very little menu navigating to be done, and much of the game's text is displayed in English anyway. You should be able to enjoy this one with minimal language barrier issues.

 

Oreike

 

Also known as Onore no Shinzuru Michi wo Yuke, this incredibly unique action puzzle platformer is one you ought to take mental note of. The game's stand-out feature is it's approach to puzzle solving. Your character is capable of creating multiple copies of himself, and most of the puzzles will require more than one person to solve (standing on a switch, moving something out of the way, etc). You record yourself doing certain tasks, and then replay that self while you control your other (real) self. There is also combat in the game, in the form of melee and spell casting. Every level has a pretty strict time limit in place, making the game quite challenging, but highly rewarding. The art direction is also very compelling, the game looks great.

QUICK RUNDOWN

+ Unique puzzle elements and gameplay make this a standout PSP title all together

+ Eccentric boss design is very welcomed

+ Gorgeous art design

- Steep difficulty

Import-Friendly?: As far as gameplay goes, you should be able to enjoy it to it's fullest without any knowledge of Japanese, which is the most important part. I strongly suggest you give this one a shot.


RockMan Dash I & II

Both of the fan favorite MegaMan Legends games were ported to PSP, and eventually released in a value pack. A great collector's item (especially with the PSX titles being so expensive now a days) for Legends fans. The aspect ratio has been adjusted to fit the PSP's screen to 16:9, and as a result the game does look a bit smoother, but no substantial graphical overhaul has been done. No new content was added however, except for a Roll mini-game in Legends 2.

QUICK RUNDOWN

+ Both of the great MegaMan Legends games in one place

- No features added, making a double dip not especially rewarding to anyone but hardcore MegaMan Legends fans

- As with most PSX ports to the PSP, the controls suffer a bit

Import-Friendly?: No. If you've played the games already, then you'll be able to make your way through, but this is a very plot driven and menu based RPG.


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Some Honorable Mentions:

Super Robot Wars MX (Strategy RPG. Enhanced port of the PS2 game of the same name.)

Super Robot Wars A (Strategy RPG. Nice looking remake of the GBA game of the same name.)

Tales of Eternia (RPG. Port of the PSX game. Was released in EU territories, so an English import is available.) 

Bleach Heat the Soul series (Fighting games. Eighting has developed a number of quality fighting games based off the Bleach anime for the PSP.)

Hokuto no Ken: Raoh Gaiden (3D Fighter. Based off the Fist of the North Star series.) 

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