The PlayStation Portable is gone and now is good time to look back at its catalog. In particular, the handheld was home to an abundance of JRPGs. A good number of RPGs fell under the radar due to not being part of a well known franchises and/or having little to no advertisements. Here's a list of the top 5 PSP JRPGs you may never heard of and should play.
Brave Story, developed by Game Republic, is loosely based on the Japanese novel of the same name by Miyuki Miyabe. It tells the story of a boy who goes to the world of Vision to save a friend from a mysterious illness. He then becomes a traveler and *ahem* braves the trials and tribulations of this world. With each victory, he grows and gets closer to his goal. The plot of the game is really endearing as it manages to be family friendly and also very serious at the same time. The game tackles some serious themes when you'd least expect it.
The game has a fast paced turn-based battle system that incorporates a risks and rewards system. The game also features comic book like visuals and sound effects to make battle more expressive and fun.
Last Ranker is a game that only released in Japan, but it deserves a spot on this list. The game was developed by Imageepoch and Capcom. It tells the story of Zig, a young man bored with his peaceful village life. He leaves for the city Ghandoar and joins the combat organization Bazalta. Zig becomes a ranker to test his abilities as he aims for the top. He learns along the way that the organization is far from being noble and just. There's more to being number 1 than he bargained for. His journey reads like some battle manga from the pages of Shonen Jump.
Last Ranker features real-time, turn-based, one-on-one battles. Zig learns new battle styles like attack and/or defense style by defeating foes. You also gain powerful moves as you fight top ranked enemies. Its like having a boss fight all the time.The toughest fights really test your abilities.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is a remake of the 1999 PS1 game developed by tri-Ace. You play as a Valkyrie ordered by Odin to collect the souls of heroes to stop Ragnarok. Lenneth plays more of a role as an observer as she witnesses the deaths of many people. To say this medieval fantasy goes to dark places is putting it mildly. Throughout the game, you'll smite evil and lead her mighty einherjar to victory. The hidden true story of the game reveals very dark secrets about our heroine and her fellow gods.
No game is quite like Valkyrie Profile and the same applies to battle. The key point of battle is to maximize your hit count with your party. Doing so allows you to unleash devastating signature moves. The game also features a performance system via Odin rating your performance. You'll have the ability to create new weapons and powerful armor as long as you send him heroes for the war.
Jeanne D'Arc, developed by Level-5, is a SRPG based loosely on the story of Joan of Arc. In our story, King Henry VI becomes possessed by demons and he uses those dark powers to subjugate France during the Hundreds' Year War. Jeanne is chosen by fate to save her people and gains a bracelet that blesses her with magical armor to fight evil. Along with her allies plucked straight from the novel, the story is very compelling and engrossing from all sides.
Jeanne D'Arc features a lot of content for players. Your biggest hurdle may be deciding upon a definitive team. All characters prove useful in battle and others will dominate the battlefield in ridiculous fashion. Battle requires attention to all details at all times. Difficulty spikes and side quests make for a fun game.
Tactics Ogre is a port of a 1998 PlayStation 1 SRPG directed by Yasumi Matsuno and developed by Square Enix. The story involves the complex power struggle of Valeria. You take the role of Denam Pavel as he and his friends try to survive the war and strife cursing the land. Eventually, Denam becomes the leader of the liberation army. He is then charged to free the people and stop the corrupt oppressors by any means necessary. Narratively speaking, this barely scratches the surface. This game is hefty, and it's something you can get lost in.
From a gameplay perspective, it's a very deep and content rich game. The diversity of jobs, weapons, abilities, magic, and battle positioning are some things to consider. There's also the matter of recruiting characters from chapter 1 until the very end. Tactics Orge will devour your time, and it'll be worth it.
Tactics Orge is one of the best examples of what the PlayStation Portable library provided. The visuals, the music, pacing and textbook like content is why its number 1.
The games listed took well a established genre and were able to expand upon it. Upon release they were criminally unknown and should be played. If you can't play them, all at least play Tactics Orge.
Do you agree with this list? Do you disagree? Comment and let me know.