As someone just getting started with retro handheld gaming through emulation, where do you even begin exploring the massive PSP catalog? The PlayStation Portable packs a punch with tons of legendary titles spanning all genres from platformers to JRPGs to racing sims.
It can be downright overwhelming booting up PPSSPP emulator with literally over 1,300 games to choose from. Well friends, let me make your entry into PSP emulation a bit smoother. I’ve compiled the 10 must-play PPSSPP games for beginners – classics accessible for emulation newcomers that showcase the diversity and quality of Sony’s phenomenal handheld.
These picks cover a range of genres sure to whet your appetite. Ready to dive in? Let’s count down the top 10 PSP games to start your PPSSPP journey!
We’re kicking off the list with the creativity-fueled LittleBigPlanet – a 2D platformer bursting with an expansive toolbox for building and sharing levels. Hop into the adorable handcrafted world as charming hero Sackboy, filled with vibrant locales, inventive hazards, and quirky narrative charm.
LittleBigPlanet shines with near endless replayability courtesy of the deep level editor and online community features. If you want a friendly, inviting gateway into PSP platformers with tons of content, LittleBigPlanet is a top pick for new emulators.
2. Burnout Legends
For a breathless rush of high-octane arcade racing action, Burnout Legends is easily one of the PSP’s best. It packs together the series’ best tracks and gameplay modes into one content-loaded package perfect for short handheld play sessions.
Pull off spectacular crashes and weave through traffic at blistering speeds across varied locales. The intuitive pick-up-and-play controls make jumping right into the race a breeze. Overall, Burnout Legends serves up console-quality racing action in your pocket.
3. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
No handheld gaming experience is complete without dipping into the seedy underworld of Grand Theft Auto. Vice City Stories lets you do just that with its sprawling open world set in the neon 1980s backdrop of Vice City.
Run wild causing all sorts of mayhem from street brawls to epic police chases in this prequel storyline. Approach missions with creative freedom using vehicles and weapons at your disposal. For sandbox action on the go, Vice City Stories is a must for new PPSSPP users.
4. Ridge Racer
Sometimes you just want simplified racing fun without complexity. And Ridge Racer on PSP dutifully delivers with its straightforward drifting mechanic and lengthy roster of unlockable cars.
Weave around hairpin turns with colorful, stylized visuals popping off the screen and energetic electronica beats driving the pace. It’s arcade racing distilled to pure, high-speed fun – perfect for quick PSP sessions on the go through PPSSPP.
5. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Now here’s a true PSP exclusive that must be played. Peace Walker puts players in the sneaking boots of Big Boss as he builds his own mercenary group in 1974 Costa Rica. It blends tight stealth action gameplay with an engrossing storyline bridging the gap to Metal Gear Solid V.
With graphically impressive visuals, in-depth squad management, and tons of tools at your disposal, Peace Walker makes excellent use of the PSP hardware for a console-like experience you can’t miss.
One of the PSP’s most creatively addicting titles is the rhythm-based God simulator Patapon. As deity of the titular tribe, command your Patapon warriors to march, attack, and defend to rhythmic beats using button inputs. It’s like playing a music game meets real-time strategy.
With colorful 2D graphics and a quirky tribal charm, Patapon offers a gaming experience like no other perfect for short bursts. You’ll find yourself tapping along to the rhythms long into the night.
7. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions
Considered one of the greatest tactical RPGs ever made, Final Fantasy Tactics saw new life on the PSP with the War of the Lions remake. Building on the already stellar PS1 classic, it packs new cutscenes, jobs, characters, and content to create the definitive version.
Lose yourself in the sprawling medieval storyline filled with betrayals and war. Then master the deeply strategic turn-based combat on battlefields scattered with obstacles and elevation. Final Fantasy Tactics remains a masterclass in tactical RPGs with the PSP version being the exemplary edition for newcomers.
8. God of War: Chains of Olympus
It’s time to embrace anger and go on a divine rampage as Kratos in Chains of Olympus, a prequel to the iconic PlayStation series. This handheld outing retains all the savage combat, mountain-sized bosses, and slick cinematic flair seen on consoles for an impressive graphical showcase.
Journey through mythological Greece and lay waste to enemies and legendary beasts using Kratos’ signature chained Blades of Chaos. The robust combo system and special attacks make you feel truly powerful. For satisfying action, Chains of Olympus is easily one of the PSP’s most fun beat ’em ups.
9. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
We’re looping back to the seedy criminal underworld of Grand Theft Auto, this time with Liberty City Stories set in the sprawling Liberty City metropolis. Experience the events that shaped this iconic open world before the events of GTA III.
Once again you’re placed in the shoes of a small-time gangster climbing the ranks across neighborhoods packing personality and danger around every corner. Approach missions with creativity and experience the magic of having Liberty City in the palm of your hands via PPSSPP.
10. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.
Claiming the crown of best introductory PPSSPP game is Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. This seminal PSP RPG serves as a prequel to Final Fantasy VII, following fan-favorite character Zack Fair’s journey. The combat system blends action and RPG elements for fights with real-time flair.
But the real strength lies in the emotionally gripping storyline that reveals the events leading to that pivotal moment we won’t spoil here. With gorgeously cinematic visuals and a soundtrack to match, Crisis Core stands tall as one of the PSP’s most impactful gems perfect for newcomers.
Well, those are my picks for the top 10 must-play PPSSPP games to get your feet wet with PSP emulation. Each offers something special making it perfect to start out your handheld gaming journey. Once you’ve whet your appetite with these classics, the full buffet of PSP titles is at your fingertips!
Did I leave any essential intro PPSSPP games off the list? What was your gateway into the world of PSP emulation? Let me know in the comments! I hope this list helps guide you into the incredible experience of reliving Sony’s awesome portable.