There are a good number of PlayStation Portable (PSP) games that were not able to cross the oceans and into the English-speaking territories. Good thing, that there are hobbyists who are skilled, industrious, and unselfish and share their translations via unofficial patches. Here are seven of the best PSP games that are Japan-only with full English translation.
Best psp games with english translation
7. Neon Genesis Evangelion: Girlfriend of Steel (Shinseiki Evangelion: Koutetsu no Girlfriend Portable)
Evangelion: Girlfriend of Steel, also known as Iron Maiden, was developed during the early days of Evangelion when the franchise was still new and fresh. Unlike recent Evangelion games, Girlfriend of Steel stands out by having a meaningful point and is notably superior to its direct sequel, Girlfriend of Steel 2nd for the PS2. Essentially, Girlfriend of Steel functions more like an interactive anime than a traditional video game, serving as a fan service for dedicated Evangelion fanboys and fangirls. This game was released on various platforms but all of its releases are exclusively in Japan.
The narrative introduces a new character, Kirishima Mana, a newcomer to Shinji's school. As she sits next to Shinji and flirts with him, players uncover her true identity. The game revolves around revealing the enigma behind Mana, forming the core of the story. Playing as Ikari Shinji, players navigate the narrative, with all characters from the original anime fully voiced by their respective actors.
The game lacks full-fledged FMVs and even excludes the opening movie from Evangelion. Instead, it relies on still shots with minimal animation, though the visuals and character portraits are of high quality. The gameplay is straightforward, with limited control over Shinji and only a few options, emphasizing "Move" as the essential choice. This non-linear game offers three endings determined by a critical decision.
6. Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Tag Force 6
The Yu-Gi-Oh! Tag Force series has consistently been a staple on the PSP, however, the final title, Tag Force 6, never got ported out of Japan. The game introduces a plot that intertwines with each Tag Partner's role in the anime.
In terms of content, the game includes a vast array of cards from the OCG & TCG, featuring both anime exclusives and those from later booster packs. The UMD Recognition system unlocks characters and signature cards from the entire Yu-Gi-Oh! series, providing extensive options for players. Booster packs can also be easily unlocked. This offers endless possibilities for experimentation with different cards and characters.
The gameplay remains consistent with previous Tag Force games, featuring a simple system for deck alteration and clear card game mechanics. The addition of summon and attacking animations for four new monsters enhances the visual experience. The return of voice acting in the Japanese version adds authenticity to the anime feel.
5. Disaster Report 3 (Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3: Kowareyuku Machi to Kanojo no Uta)
Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3, the PSP-exclusive sequel to Irem's Raw Danger, offers a playable disaster adventure with a dose of chilling realism. The game presents a linear but tightly controlled experience within an entire city-island on the brink of collapse. The narrative unfolds through scripted events over several in-game days, leading to one of five endings per character.
Despite the linear nature, the game maintains a balance, depicting the human consequences of natural disasters without wallowing in misery. A positive, can-do attitude pervades, emphasizing the belief that survival is possible by staying safe and helping others. The game also incorporates a lighthearted, gamey aspect, evident in amusing compasses and an extensive collection of outfits.
The tightly controlled map design, with predefined routes and limited exploration, serves a purpose. It ensures that each location has a specific role in the narrative, promoting curiosity and interest. Scripted events, tailored to specific places and times, contribute to the impact of being struck with disaster.
Despite limited exploration, the virtual city feels complete, brimming with an emptiness that emphasizes the impact of the disaster on ordinary places. The game never loses sight of the humanity within these spaces, making every element an unmissable part of the adventure.
4. Ys vs. Trails in the Sky: Alternative Saga (Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki: Alternative Saga)
Ys vs. Trails in the Sky: Alternative Saga is a crossover fighting game released by Falcom in the summer of 2010, featuring characters from the Ys and Trails in the Sky series. The game also includes characters and locations from other Falcom games, creating a love letter to all the fanbases of these games. The game is also exclusive to Japan with no Western release in sight. Good thing, there is an English translation now available for download.
The story mode follows the protagonist summoned to the land of Xanadu to defeat the demon lord Galsis, who has corrupted other heroes. The narrative unfolds through battles, experience gain, and gear upgrades, providing a single-player experience reminiscent of the Super Smash Bros. series. The gameplay is influenced by the Dreamcast title Power Stone, featuring an angled top-down perspective, special attacks, and power-ups.
The game includes 17 playable characters, with five available in the story mode initially. Players can level up characters to 99, enhancing their stats and abilities. Support characters from various Falcom games can be assigned to assist in battles.
Despite its limited release and accessibility challenges due to the PSP's controls, Ys vs. Trails in the Sky offers an enjoyable experience for fans of the Ys and Trails series. The game's rich soundtrack, character designs, and nostalgic elements contribute to its appeal, making it a hidden gem for dedicated Falcom fans and fighting connoisseurs alike.
3. Super Robot Taisen A Portable
Super Robot Taisen A Portable is a challenging and rewarding turn-based RPG. Its diverse and customizable mecha roster, its improved graphics and sound, and its faithful translation of the original Game Boy Advance version are commendable. Unfortunately and to no one's surprise, it was not localized.
There is a lot to like in this game: the branching storyline, the turn-based combat, the upgrade system, the skill system, and the morale system. Other mech animes appear in this game such as Gundam, Evangelion, Macross, and Mazinger. This is a must-not-miss strategy for RPGs and mecha anime. This is not for not for casual players or newcomers to the genre though.
2. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep - Final Mix
The Final Mix version of Birth by Sleep was Japan-only. It was not ported on the handheld but only as part of the HD 2.5 Remix on the PlayStation 3 (and among other consoles from thereon). There are substantial changes from the original game to the Final Mix such as everything in the English version of the game added to the Japanese original, as well as a new command style for each character, new missions and bosses, and secret episodes, among other things.
The English translation of the Final Mix corrects the oversight by Square Enix of not releasing the definitive version of the game where it really started. This may be due to the rampant piracy of PSP software at that time, but it could also be Square Enix being Square Enix. It can be also attributed to the general chaotic releases of Kingdom Hearts games.
1. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA 2nd
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd is a nearly perfect music/rhythm game, offering a well-rounded experience. Building upon the success of its predecessor which was also released in Japan exclusively, the game features a diverse selection of fan-made and official songs.
The graphics showcase stunning environments and character models, with meticulous attention to detail. The gameplay, a crucial aspect, provides a wide range of difficulties to cater to different players, ensuring an enjoyable experience whether seeking a challenge or a relaxing session. The controls are also intuitive, fully utilizing all buttons and accommodating players of varying skill levels.
With a user-friendly interface, even non-Japanese speakers can navigate the controls seamlessly but it is just nicer with the English translation patch. The music, a fundamental element of the genre, excels with beautifully crafted songs that showcase vocal perfection. The game's replayability is enhanced by a variety of costumes and accessories available for purchase, as well as the ability to create and play user-generated songs.