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What are the Best PSP Games to Play on Vita?

We've picked out 10 of them. Load up your shiny new Vita slim with these last-gen greats!

Article by Jeremy Parish, .

Interested in picking up the new slim version of PlayStation Vita? It's a pretty slick piece of kit, to be sure... and it has the benefit of an amazing library.

Seriously, the Vita has a vastly better library than its sales would suggest: Big retail titles, tons of PS1 classics, and an amazing (not to mention ever-growing) pile of indie games. But if you really want to get the most out of the system, you need only look backward to the hundreds of games from Vita's predecessor, PlayStation Portable.

While last-gen games don't always make the transition to better hardware cleanly (if, in this age of no backward compatibility, they make the transition at all), PSP games look absolutely fantastic on Vita. Because Vita's screen resolution is exactly twice that of PSP, those older graphics scale up cleanly — and besides, the best PSP games still look pretty great.

But best of all, Vita has twin analog sticks, something the PSP lacked. Sony has thoughtfully included the option for players to remap the controls for PSP games on Vita, meaning you can "trick" the system into treating the right stick like the PSP's face buttons. A lot of excellent PSP shooters simulated the use of a right stick by putting camera controls on the face buttons; by using Vita to swap those commands around, you can actually play limited PSP shooters like proper twin-stick console shooters. It's not so much playing games the way their creators never intended, and more like playing them the way their creators wanted but couldn't due to hardware limitations.

In other words, some PSP games actually play better on Vita than they did on the original hardware. How often does that happen?

Given that the PSP digital library is quite vast, we thought we'd help you cut to the chase by recommending 10 last-gen selections that truly shine on Vita in this handy video feature:

Did we miss any? As usual, amend our oversights in the comments below.

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Comments 15

  • Avatar for Roto13 #1 Roto13 3 years ago
    I like that Tactics Ogre is on here despite not really benefit from the second analog stick. I just bought it recently and I've been waiting to start playing it. I think that endorsement will get me to crack it open today.
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  • Avatar for BuddyLuv324 #2 BuddyLuv324 3 years ago
    It's not a bad list. I think though more PSP games should of gotten mentioned like Valkyria Cronicles 2 ( despite it being the black sheep of the series, it improves over the 1st game for the most part), Castlevania Dracula X Cronicles, Megaman: Maverick Hunter X, Megaman Powered Up, the first 2 Corpse Party games, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and some others I know im missing out.
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  • Avatar for tsamba #3 tsamba 3 years ago
    @Roto13 Tactics Ogre's inclusion was pretty funny.
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  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #4 Funny_Colour_Blue 3 years ago
    @nimzy I didn't know there was a fan patch! Thanks for mentioning this! How this issue went under the radar is beyond me. I bought Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions several years ago and haven't picked it up since - The slow down was just unplayable.Edited May 2014 by Funny_Colour_Blue
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  • Avatar for Exhuminator #5 Exhuminator 3 years ago
    One must have Valkyria Chronicles II or one is doing it incorrectly.
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  • Avatar for lanmao #6 lanmao 3 years ago
    What about Crisis Core: FF7 and Kingdom Hea... Oh right. Darn you Square Enix! Darn you all to heck! Wow, my auto correct does not like bad words.
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  • Avatar for secularsage #7 secularsage 3 years ago
    This list is a good start. Here are 10 I'd recommend.

    HALF-MINUTE HERO: An RPG for those with short attention spans. Funny, unusual, and a real gem on any platform.

    GOD OF WAR: CHAINS of OLYMPUS / GHOST OF SPARTA: God of War is great. These two games are great. They're everything their console cousins have to offer, and they focus on Kratos's tragic backstory.

    DISGAEA: AFTERNOON OF DARKNESS: If Tactics Ogre is too serious for you, this game's your punk rock alternative to turn-based tactical strategy.

    DISSIDIA 012 duodecim: FINAL FANTASY: A fighting game unlike any other (except the original Dissidia -- this one's an ultra-enhanced remake with tons of new content). Ignored by far too many and dismissed by those who didn't take the time to learn its complexities, this is a real gem of a 3D fighter with a hefty amount of gameplay to offer.

    SOULCALIBUR: BROKEN DESTINY: Looks, sounds and plays just like its console cousins, and includes Kratos to boot!

    STREET FIGHTER ALPHA 3 MAX: For some reason, this version of Alpha 3 (which includes the largest roster of characters) never made it to consoles. It was awful on the PSP due to that system's terrible d-pad. On the Vita, it's excellent.

    VALKYRIA CHRONICLES II: Every bit as good as its PS3 cousin, with astoundingly great graphics and a ton of gameplay. It's not officially supported on Vita on the PSN store, but it can be sideloaded from the PS3 with very little fuss.

    PERSONA 3 PORTABLE - The entire Persona 3 adventure with some Persona 4 improvements, redone in a handheld, digital novel edition! It's not quite as flashy as Persona 3 / P3 FES on the PS2 and not nearly as stunning a game as Persona 4 Golden on Vita, but P3P still offers a solid gameplay experience for one of the best JRPGs of the last 10 years in portable form.

    CASTLEVANIA: DRACULA X CHRONICLES -- While the remake of Rondo of Blood that you'll first play is, to put it nicely, utter trash, it takes all of 15 minutes to unlock the original Rondo of Blood (in its English debut!) and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (with a better localized script and new voice acting). These two games are among the best Castlevania has to offer, bookending two defining styles of play. They're wonderful on the Vita.
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  • Avatar for pdubb #8 pdubb 3 years ago
    It's real stupid that Crisis Core can't be played on Vita. Also it's really crappy you can't get old Irem games on the Vita at all due to them delisting their catalog on PSN. I just found out about R-Type Tactics two months ago and would LOVED to have been able to purchase it.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #9 Stealth20k 3 years ago
    PSP had such an under rated lineup. I love PSP
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  • Avatar for federicoastica #10 federicoastica 3 years ago
    Tactics Ogre is on that list. I'm at peace. I would've also add Persona 3 and the Patapon series.
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  • Avatar for federicoastica #11 federicoastica 3 years ago
    @lanmao Yeah, I can't believe SE didn't released those two games digitally. SE put each game digitally at $15 you will get a lot of money for some weeks.
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  • Avatar for chrisviola #12 chrisviola 3 years ago
    I guessed that Tactics Ogre would make this list despite it not taking any advantage of the new hardware. I'm on to you, Parish. Also, I just clocked over 200 hours. It's so good.
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  • Avatar for inkphantom #13 inkphantom 3 years ago
    I had no idea the Vita could play PSP games in the first place. That feature alone makes the Vita a lot more appealing to me.
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #14 Frosty840 3 years ago
    I absolutely wouldn't play either of the PSP's MGS releases on Vita. Even remapping the camera to the analogue sticks, where it belongs, can't salvage them, sadly.
    It's a shame, because they're top-notch MGS games, design-wise, but the experience of playing them on the handhelds is just woeful, simply because they try to do too much with far too little in the way of buttons.
    At least Peace Walker got a PS3 remake that actually does it justice. For Portable Ops, I'd recommend watching a Let's Play or the condensed "MGS: Portable Ops: The Movie" cutscene/bossfight compilation.
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  • Avatar for nipsen #15 nipsen 3 years ago
    @inkphantom It can play some of them. Specifically, only the ones that are on the psn-store, and that have technical difficulties sorted out, as well as licensing difficulties taken care of. SEGA pulled Phantasy Star Portable from the store altogether, for example. Valkyria Chronicles, same thing.

    By the way, did the slim version of the vita finally get a lithium polymer/synthetic based battery, and a battery that lasts more than 3 hours? Video output via micro hdmi?
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