25 Best PSP RPGs & JRPGs Of All TimeThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
The PlayStation is among the best consoles for role-playing games, so it’s no surprise that its portable brethren is another excellent RPG machine.
With the PSP you even get quicksave in many titles. Take that, save spots!
The PSP RPG library is incredibly diverse, featuring both original games and remakes. But also incredibly good.
Quality always comes first, and these games are chock-full of it.
Released: February 10, 2005
PoPoLoCrois is a nightmare to pronounce, but much simpler to play.
Simple is the name of the game in PoPoLoCrois, from its story to its gameplay.
And it is not a bad thing: newcomers will thoroughly enjoy Pietro’s journey to save his parents from the darkness, getting eased into the basics of RPGs.
Veterans will find this simplicity refreshing, as the game moves at a very fast pace. And the straightforward turn-based combat system make for a very good bite-sized on-the-go experience.
This simplicity takes away any lasting appeal the game might have had, but PoPoLoCrois is still a worthy RPG for those who do not have a lot of free time on their hands.
24. Gods Eater Burst
Released: February 4, 2010
Eating gods sounds like a typical Japanese video game concept.
And so is saving the world in the process.
Gods Eater Burst has been heavily inspired by the Monster Hunter series, but the twists to the formula gave rise to a series that is still quite popular nowadays.
Instead of tracking down monsters, you will be hunting down Aragami in a post-apocalyptic world.
Armed with the God Arc, you will have to slice and shoot down these monstrosities, eat their remains to obtain items that can be used to craft more powerful weapons and bullets.
While this sounds way too familiar, the setting and more focused story makes Gods Eater Burst a great choice for the monster hunters looking for a real reason to fight.
23. Phantasy Star Portable 2
Released: December 3, 2009
Phantasy Star Portable 2 is, effectively, Monster Hunter in space. Exciting!
Phantasy Star Portable 2’s story and mission variety aren’t particularly great. Mostly relying on design and tropes that we have seen thousands of times.
What brings the experience to a very different height is the excellent, fast-paced action combat system, which pits players against a variety of enemies including giant beasts.
It’s also such a fun playthrough because of the massive customization options, and the multiplayer features that allow players to play through the entire games together with others.
And what isn’t more fun when enjoyed with others? Nothing, I’d say.
Not to mention this title took #3 in our ranking of Phantasy Star games so it’s definitely up there as one of the best in the series.
22. Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time
Released: December 18, 2003
Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time is a melting pot of JRPG tropes. And the result is quite impressive.
If anything, the many tropes seen in Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time make the story very engaging, with a mix of politics and magic that few other games executed as nicely.
Combat is still among the most unique ever seen in an RPG, combing real-time strategy and turn-based elements that make for an extremely dynamic experience.
While some features feel extremely dated (like the graphics) the excellent gameplay mechanics and the branching storylines make for a game that no true fan of the genre should pass on.
21. ZHP: Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman
Released: March 11, 2010
Some games hold nothing sacred. Truly nothing.
ZHP: Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman twists the deep mechanics seen in the Disgaea series so that they could work in a turn-based dungeon crawler.
Controlling the Unlosing Ranger, you explore dungeons to train hard and become strong enough to defeat the evil Darkdeath Evilman, whom you’ll face multiple times.
And die by his hand multiple times.
With an incredibly entertaining story that parodies RPGs’ tropes and a deep customization system, ZHP: Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman is the most serious unserious RPG you could ever play.
20. Wild Arms XF
Released: August 9, 2007
The world of Filgaia may not be the most fertile in the role-playing games universe.
But does it know how to change.
Wild Arms XF marks the series first foray into the tactical role-playing game genre, twisting the rules of the genre in interesting ways.
Battlefields, for example, are not divided into squares. But into hexagons, leading to a six-way movement option that opens up a ton of interesting combat options.
This unique take on tactical turn-based combat is enhanced by a robust class system, and varied map and objectives design that will keep you engaged from beginning to end, despite the story of Clarissa and Felius and their fight against the council of the kingdom of Elesius not being particularly gripping.
19. Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days
Released: March 26, 2009
Disgaea’s in the house.
And you know what that means: huge, huge numbers are coming on a screen near you!
Following the human Adell and the demonic princess Rozalin in their battle against Overlord Zenon, who turned the entire population into demons, Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days is just as wacky as its predecessor.
And just as fun.
The game’s turn-based tactical combat system comes with an incredible amount of depth, thanks to the masterful interweaving of the many mechanics like Geo Panels and Geo Symbols, character creation, and reincarnation.
And if things are not going too well, appeal to the Dark Assembly for a boon.
And if they are not particularly collaborative, you can just bribe them. Money truly rules the world… and the Underworld as well.
18. Persona 2: Innocent Sin
Released: September 20, 2011
After a very long time, the Persona 2 experience has become whole.
Persona 2: Innocent Sin is the first part of the Persona 2 story, and features characters and themes that have been seen in the PlayStation 1 game Eternal Punishment.
The mystery of the Joker still takes the center of the stage. But it develops in a very different way.
Despite remarkably mixing together modern setting with fantasy elements, Innocent Sin is a little difficult to get into for fans of modern Persona, due to slow story and clunky battle system.
Yet if you manage to look past these elements, you will find a great story that rivals the one of its sequels.
17. Valkyria Chronicles II
Released: August 31, 2010
Among tactical role-playing game, the Valkyria Chronicles series is in a league of its own.
Valkyria Chronicles II represents a complete tonal shift from its predecessor, presenting a light-hearted military academy setting in place of a full-on war.
Avan Hardins’ curricular activities in the Lanseal Military Academy are hardly representative of the climate the academy operates in. This creates a weird separation that does lessen the experience.
Looking past this, you’ll find an excellent tactical role-playing game that combines turn-based action with third-person shooters featuring varied mission objectives and great map design.
War’s never been so much fun.
16. Riviera: The Promised Land
Released: November 22, 2006
First impressions can be deceiving.
What seems lighthearted and childish can hide a lot of darkness inside.
Riviera: The Promised Land twists all of the genre’s conventions while confounding players with its simple anime aesthetics. Controlling wingless angel Ein and his companions, players get involved in yet another war between angels and demons.
Saying yet another is quite reductive, as the game’s mechanics are unlike anything seen on PSP.
Exploration feels more akin to point-and-click adventure games, and the creative customization system grants different abilities depending on the items that have been brought in battle.
With a lot of optional content and multiple endings to boot, can we really say that Riviera: The Promised Land is just another Japanese role-playing game?
15. Lunar: Silver Star Harmony
Released: November 12, 2009
The Lunar: Silver Star story has never been told as well as in Silver Star Harmony.
Trust the world of a three-times Dragonmaster.
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is the definitive version of the classic JRPG.
The story is mostly left unchanged, seeing young Alex and his childhood friend Luna embark on a journey to save the world, but the addition of new sequences adds more depth to this already excellent coming-of-age story.
Gameplay has also been left untouched, with a strategic turn-based combat system that is a little slow-paced, but extremely rewarding.
14. Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Edition
Released: March 24, 2011
Final Fantasy IV? Again?
Yes, and you will love every second of it.
Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Edition includes the original game remade with beautifully enhanced 2D graphics, along with The After Years sequel, and a new story that bridges the gap between the original and the sequel.
While The After Years is definitely the Complete Edition’s main draw, the sequel isn’t as good as the original due to the frankly bad story and balancing issues… despite some interesting combat tweaks.
Not a huge problem when you can just enjoy the classic FF4 in all of its glory.
Excuse me if this is not enough!
13. Star Ocean: Second Evolution
Released: April 2, 2008
Star Ocean: Second Evolution isn’t much of an evolution over the original PlayStation 1 release, but it’s bloody good regardless.
Star Ocean: Second Evolution stars Claude C. Kenny and Rena Lanford as they investigate the mysterious meteorite called the Sorcery Globe, which is influencing life on the underdeveloped planet Expel.
They meet a colorful cast of characters, whom they get to know better with the unique Private Action system, and beat up a lot of bad guys in full-on action battles.
The PSP port doesn’t add much, other than revised voice acting and an optional new character.
But the dual point of view story and the fast-paced combat are more than enough to carry the game even without all the bells and whistles of modern titles.
12. Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth
Released: March 2, 2006
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth only gets a new opening cinematic on PSP.
Disappointed? You really shouldn’t be.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth on PSP is still the same engaging experience seen in the original release.
You accompany the Valkyrie Lenneth in her journey through Midgard to find suitable warriors that can be sent to Valhalla to take part in the incoming Ragnarok. And it’s a lot of fun.
With an excellent battle system that combines real-time and turn-based elements, platform games-like exploration, great story, and multiple endings, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth greatly stands the test of time becoming as legendary as the Aesir are.
11. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
Released: March 27, 2008
Sometimes, one has to wonder why monster hunting is so popular.
Monster Hunter, that’s why.
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite never managed to achieve the massive popularity following entries in the series did, but not due to its quality.
On the contrary, it’s an extremely polished experience featuring a simple yet addicting gameplay loop that sees players embark on a multitude of quests to defeat a variety of fearsome monsters.
You’ll also be collecting resources to craft better gear, and hunting more dangerous monsters, possibly with the help of friends.
With so many different weapon types, a lot of different gear, and an experience that’s as hardcore as it can be, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is the game for those who are not afraid of 4 meter tall monstruosities.
10. Jeanne d’Arc
Released: November 22, 2006
The only way to avoid getting burned at the stake is to fight one way’s through.
And don’t get caught.
Jeanne d’Arc isn’t a revolutionary tactical role-playing game, but the concept is executed so well that it does not matter.
Many of the turn and grid-based combat features included in the game are meant to speed up battles, granting extra turns to adjacent units and increased damage with the elemental affinities mechanics.
This creates a very interesting system that feels fast-paced, complex, and yet easy to understand.
With fun gameplay powering up this re-telling of Jeanne d’Arc’s story of self-discovery, you’ll be asking for more by the time the ending credits start rolling.
9. Half-Minute Hero
Released: May 28, 2009
Half-Minute Hero is the role-playing game that better respects your time. Unlike so many others.
Controlling the hero chosen by the Time Goddess, players must travel the land to stop the Ultimate Evil Lord and his minions who all can cast a spell that can destroy the world in 30 seconds.
During these 30 seconds you’ll have to defeat enemies in a very straightforward combat system, and reset back the countdown and defeat the bad guys.
While the experience sounds unappealing on paper, the humorous writing and variety of scenarios makes Half-Minute Hero a remarkable game.
If you give it a try I swear you’ll have a smile on your face. For longer than 30 seconds!
8. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
Released: January 9, 2010
No one can deny that the Kingdom Hearts story has become very difficult to follow.
And it all began… with Birth by Sleep.
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, set before the events of the first game, introduces some extremely important story elements and characters.
Such as the real Master Xehanort and the concept of Keyblade Masters.
Controlling Terra, Aqua, and Ventus, you travel to several Disney worlds to defeat the new Unversed enemies and bring back peace. With me so far? Yeah…
The series’ snappy combat system saw some changes in Birth By Sleep, with the introduction of the Command Deck, which gives an unprecedented amount of customization options.
Bad balancing and floatiness of aerial combat make Birth by Sleep not as good as Kingdom Hearts II. But for being a portable game, Birth by Sleep definitely delivers on most fronts.
7. Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
Released: March 3, 2011
Different worlds collide in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. A fun clash that honestly doesn’t make much sense.
There are deep motivations behind the century-long war between Cosmos and Chaos, but they are so muddled beneath bad writing that you stop caring pretty quickly.
What makes you stay is the excellent gameplay, which combines 3D fighting games elements with role-playing game mechanics: all the main characters and villains from Final Fantasy I to XIII are here, including some of the most popular side characters.
And they come with unique special attacks that will make battlefields burst with fire, blizzard, and lighting as soon as a match begins. Plus customizable equipment and so on.
With plenty of play modes added to the mix, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy is a very difficult game to put down.
6. Ys Seven
Released: September 17, 2009
Ys Seven is as packed with action as any self-respecting action role-playing game should be. And possibly even more.
Ys Seven marked an important evolutionary step for the series.
It features multiple playable characters, all coming with their unique moveset and attack properties that makes each one more effective against certain monster types.
This also helps transform battles into a chaotic affair that’s quite pleasing to the eyes. And the fingers.
Adol’s adventure in Altago does takes a while to get going, but when it does, you won’t stop playing, even after you’re done with the story: Nightmare mode will be waiting for you.
5. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Released: November 11, 2010
The original Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together deserved a lot more than it got.
But justice has finally been done.
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together features the same excellent story seen in the original release, which follows main character Denam as he raises from a lowly peasant of an oppressed minority to the hero that saves the Kingdom of Valeria.
Pretty much everything has been improved in the remake.
The class system got a major overhaul, with a new and improved skill system that allows for better customization. Difficulty has been rebalanced, and the improved English localization gives the whole adventure a fantasy-novel feel that the original desperately needed.
A true labor of love, from the developers to the most loyal fans.
4. Persona 3 Portable
Released: November 1, 2009
What can improve an excellent game like Persona 3?
Reshaping it for a portable experience, of course.
Persona 3 Portable is not a straight port of the PlayStation 2 game, as it has been tweaked to produce a more compact experience that can be even more enjoyable than the original.
Going the extra mile, Persona 3 Portable features a new female protagonist coming with new Social Links and story sequences that will spice up your umpteenth Persona 3 playthrough.
While the game sadly lacks the epilogue story available in Persona 3 FES, Persona 3 Portable is the best way to enjoy a massive role-playing game without ending up getting glued to a TV screen for tens of hours.
3. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions
Released: May 10, 2007
There are times when even perfection can be improved. No kidding.
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions manages to improve the stellar story of the original with beautifully animated cutscenes and an English translation that finally brings the nuance that a political story requires.
The better told story, the multiple gameplay tweaks, and the new designs all make this a fantastic FFT title.
Plus it comes with two brand new jobs, and the same solid tactical role-playing game experience that fans have been loving since 1998.
2. Trails in the Sky FC & SC
Released: October 28, 2006
Here are Trails in the Sky First Chapter and Second Chapter. A.K.A. the revenge of the random NPCs.
Trails in the Sky First Chapter and Second Chapter are remarkable Japanese role-playing games thanks in part to their excellent story, which details the rise of Estelle and Joshua to full-fledged heroes but also for how its developed.
But it’s not just the main characters that get real storyline development. But all NPCs found in towns have their own name, personality, and a story that develops as the main one does. Crazy!
This makes Liberl Kingdom feel dynamic and alive like few other fictional worlds can.
The two games do take a while to get going, and the slow turn-based combat doesn’t do them any favors. But if you can look past these things you’ll enjoy a story that can stand head to head with novels. And that says a lot.
1. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Released: September 13, 2007
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is not only the best role-playing game ever released on PSP, but also the best game in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.
It adds so much to the lore that even the original becomes more enjoyable. First Class indeed.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII follows Zack Fair, a First Class Soldier, as he completes missions for the Shinra corporation up until the beginning of Final Fantasy VII in an emotional crescendo that’ll leave you in tears.
The experience is enhanced by the excellent development of established characters like Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, and most of all, Sephiroth. Who is presented as an intriguing yet likable man. Shocking, I know.
The game’s battle system, while not on par with the story, is an interesting action take on the FFVII combat system. It comes with many of its staples like the Materia system and Limit Breaks which makes Crisis Core an all-around great experience.
Just be ready for the ending: the Price of Freedom is steep. Very steep.