The PlayStation Portable (PSP) is probably the best platform for strategy games. It is compact and portable, and this genre just calls for a pick and play sessions, no long commitments, go-as-you-will. Here are seven of the best strategy games on the iconic portable handheld gaming device.
Best psp strategy games
7. PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe
PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe combines all the content from the two PS3 PixelJunk Monsters games, meaning the original game and the Encore bonus pack, and introduces a multiplayer component on a handheld package. This game is the only decent RTS game on the platform. And that fact does not, per se, make this game qualified on this list, it is also a very entertaining game. It is a tower defense game though and not a pure RTS like StarCraft.
In PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe, players assume the role of a lone Tikiman defending a small hut housing villagers from relentless waves of attacking creatures. Players can convert trees into defense towers, each with its own cost in gold. Enemies drop gold and blue crystals, which are used for upgrading towers or unlocking new ones. Dancing next to towers can also upgrade them, but it takes time and leaves you vulnerable. The game features a wide variety of enemies, each following a predetermined path, which helps with tower placement strategy.
6. Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness
This franchise is not only known for its humorous dialogue but also its unforgettable characters. This is the first game that introduces everyone in a universe with interconnected titles. The game's story follows Laharl, a young overlord who aspires to become king after his father's comically bizarre demise. Joined by Etna and Prinnies, he embarks on his quest, encountering a host of unique and memorable characters, such as the Earth Defender Gordon and the charming Angel Flonne.
Movement takes place on a grid-based system, with different characters having varying mobility ranges like Final Fantasy Tactics. Combat involves attacking enemies and utilizing special skills, often with the option for team attacks when positioned near allies. Lifting and throwing teammates or enemies is a strategic aspect, and stacking teammates creates tall towers for map traversal.
There are several classes, offering a diverse range from thieves to mages to Holy Knights. Creatures encountered during the game can be recruited through clever means. Characters can also be "reborn," resetting them to level one with enhanced stats.
New additions to the PSP version include an Etna mode, expanding the story, and the appearance of characters from Disgaea 2, like Axel and Rozalin. The replay value is weird for this game since no one wants to replay after going bunkers with the game’s core gameplay but since there are multiple endings, New Game+, and additional content some might.
5. The Lord of the Rings Tactics
It is a shame that the Lord of the Rings property cannot have nice games anymore as compared to the time when The Lord of the Rings Tactics was released. If you are a Tolkien nerd or a fan of SRPGs, then this game is for you. If you are a fan of both, you will have a blast with this game.
The core gameplay of this tactical game consists of two phases: the movement phase and the battle phase. During the movement phase, you strategically position your characters across different battlefields with varied terrain and objects. The choices you make during this phase impact the accuracy and effectiveness of your attacks in the battle phase.
The battle phase involves selecting your attacks and targeting your enemies. Characters can perform attacks from various ranges and use unique skills. The game offers diverse and engaging objectives, from escaping the pits of Moria to battling trolls, along with a variety of enemies to keep players interested. The game's length and challenges ensure that it won't be completed quickly, offering two distinct campaigns—one for good characters like Aragorn and Frodo, and another for evil characters like Sauron and Saruman.
4. Jeanne D'Arc
Jeanne D'Arc is a unique and a standout RPG that artfully combines historical elements with fantasy. The game's storyline is inspired by the legendary tale of Joan of Arc and follows the journey of Jeanne, a young villager chosen by a mysterious voice to defend France against the English forces. This narrative is brought to life through stunning anime cutscenes and well-executed voice acting.
The introduction of armlets, mystical accessories that can be equipped with magical jewels, sets it apart from traditional SRPGs. These armlets grant characters powerful suits of armor and unique abilities. While the game adheres to some SRPG conventions, such as turn-based combat, it introduces the "Turn Counts" rule, which imposes limits on the number of turns per map. This prevents players from resorting to turtle tactics as seen in the XCOM remake that, just like Jeanne D’Arc, imposed a turn limit on XOM 2.
The game's exceptional design extends to its characters, who come with varied abilities and personalities. Each character feels distinct and contributes meaningfully to the gameplay. With its compelling story, remarkable graphics, innovative gameplay mechanics, and excellent sound design, Jeanne D'Arc stands as a must-play for RPG enthusiasts, offering a memorable gaming adventure that sets a high standard for the genre.
3. Valkyria Chronicles II
Valkyria Chronicles II, although initially met with skepticism due to its transition to the PSP from the visually stunning original on the PlayStation 3, manages to capture the magic of the original while being a portable game. The graphical limitations of the PSP are evident, but the game still impresses with detailed character designs and environments, albeit at a lower fidelity than the first title. The story takes a more teenage-focused approach with a military academy setting, which may disappoint fans looking for a more mature narrative.
Each member of the squad receives unique scenes and missions that enhance their depth. However, again, the shift towards more immature and cliche character interactions can be off-putting to players seeking a more serious tone. The overall plot and setting take a step back in quality compared to the original game, emphasizing teenage drama over the mature themes of the first title.
Where Valkyria Chronicles II shines is in its core gameplay. The strategic blend of turn-based, real-time, and third-person shooter elements remains engaging and is further improved. The game introduces more classes, weapons, and customization options, encouraging players to experiment and strategize. The robust amount of content, including multiplayer modes, ensures that players will have plenty to enjoy, making Valkyria Chronicles II a worthy addition to the series for fans of its unique gameplay mechanics and character-focused storytelling.
2. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, originally released in 1995, was remade twice. This is the first one that is vastly different than the original, and also the modern remake back in 2022. These three versions of the gameplay differently due to the overhaul of the systems, although the backbone is still a turn-based strategy RPG.
The game's story revolves around a war engulfing the Valerian Isles, with multiple factions vying for control. Players assume the role of Denam Pavell, a young Walister, and make choices that profoundly impact the game's narrative. Unlike typical hero narratives, Tactics Ogre emphasizes morally gray and sometimes downright evil choices that make up to positive results, where allies can become enemies based on Denam's choices, creating three distinct story paths.
This remake enhances the story with vivid dialogue, new story elements, and characters. Graphics receive an overhaul, with new artwork for characters and classes, and detailed spell effects and weapon skills. The Chariot system allows players to rewind actions in battle, and a crafting system enables item and equipment creation, though it suffers from a cumbersome interface.
1. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
This game is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, and no other tactical RPG can match its excellence. It has been praised, and imitated, but never surpassed. It deserves every accolade it receives.
The game's 22 distinct job classes, each with its unique abilities, create a dynamic and engaging experience where strategic thinking is paramount. Battles take place on varied terrain, and the direction of attacks and positioning play crucial roles, making every move a critical decision. While the original game's translation had some issues, the new translation added depth to the characters and storyline, even though it involved renaming some characters. However, the game suffers from a noticeable slowdown during battles, which, although not game-breaking, is an unfortunate flaw.
The War of the Lions introduces some new features, such as additional battles and fully animated, voiced cutscenes. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions stands as one of the best SRPGs ever created, thanks to its deep gameplay mechanics and compelling narrative. While it isn't without its flaws, such as the slowdown issue and limited multiplayer options, the game's strengths far outweigh its drawbacks, offering a rich and rewarding gaming experience that any PSP owner should consider.