The 7 Best PSP Role-Playing Games

PSP E1000
PSP E1000. Jfanchin / Getty Images

Half-Minute Hero

Half-Minute Hero game jacket for PSP


Role-playing games usually take a lot of time, but definitely not Half-Minute Hero.

This hybrid role-playing game mixes real-time strategy and shoot-‘em-up action in a fun and humorous package. The 8-bit graphics style is similar to RPGs of the past on the Nintendo Entertainment System.​

The quests in Half-Minute Hero literally only last 30 seconds and take place in four different unique stories with different genres. You start in the RPG hero’s tale running around, buying weaponry and jumping quickly into battle against goblins, snowmen and cat snakes. When you play as a princess, you’ll be carried by guards as you fire your crossbow in a shoot-‘em-up. The knight’s tale has you rushing a sage around to safety. And finally, the evil lord missions require you to cast forces in a real-time strategy game. Sound too fast? If you need more time, you can always talk to the Goddess of Time and exchange money for time.

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep PSP game jacket


Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep brings the Final Fantasy world and Disney universe together into an action role-playing game with beautiful presentation. All your favorite Disney characters show up in this fun-filled adventure, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy.

It’s a big game in a small package; you’ll follow the story of three characters spanning various Disney settings with a star-studded voice-acting cast that includes Jesse McCartney, James Woods, Mark Hamill, and Leonard Nimoy. The hack-and-slash combat lets you cast magic and perform combos with your sword while you fill your power meter to use special attacks. The game is loaded with secrets and mini-games that keep it entertaining. You can even adjust the game’s color depth and CPU speed to tweak how you want to play.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII game jacket for PSP


There's plenty of Final Fantasy games on the PSP, but Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII stands out among the pack. The action role-playing game brings out the best of Final Fantasy, with cinematic visuals and a modern feel.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is a prequel to the fan favorite Final Fantasy VII, fleshing out a backstory about war and a mega corporation’s paramilitary unit. Crisis Core’s gameplay boasts an action-packed, real-time combat system where players can perform attacks, special abilities, magic attacks, use items, dodge, and block while a slot machine mechanic affects combat with added enhancements. The expanded lore and story of Crisis Core aims to please any Final Fantasy fan who wants more of its universe.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance game jacket for PSP


What would your dream team of Marvel superheroes look like? With Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, you’ll be able to see it in action by putting together an ensemble of four of your favorite superheroes in the Marvel universe like Captain America, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Wolverine and many more.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is an action role-playing game with elements of a beat-‘em-up and a story about Dr. Doom and the Masters of Evil launching an attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. agency. You’ll start by building your team from an initial roster of 20 playable characters, all of whom have their own individuality in dialogue, attacks, and super moves. The top-down camera view overlooks your four interchangeable and playable characters that have you exploring in a dungeon-crawling gameplay experience.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 Innocent Sin

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 Innocent Sin game jacket for PSP


Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 Innocent Sin is the most extreme, high intensity, and cerebral RPG on the PSP. The game puts you in control of high school students who are aided by embodiments of their personality (called Personas) to battle demons and a reality twisted by rumors.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 Innocent Sin features turn-based gameplay with battles that can cause story-triggered encounters and random fights in dungeons. Players can converse with enemies, and, if the right thing is said, they’ll leave behind items and spell cards that can summon new Persona types (assigning them to a character changes their stats and abilities). It's up to you and your friends to put an end to a being called Joker who can alter reality with just his words.

The 3rd Birthday

The 3rd Birthday game cover for PSP


The 3rd Birthday is the most innovative game on this list and the only role-playing game on the list with an ‘M’ ESRB rating due to its graphic violence and adult themes. Haunting choir orchestras contrast scenes of carnage in New York City while secret agents in sterile rooms figure out strategy. The third game in the Parasite Eve series pays homage to “The Thing” with an innovative blend of sci-fi horror shooter and RPG elements for the PSP.

The 3rd Birthday resembles modern role-playing games with more involved action-based gameplay, including over-the-shoulder combat, genre mixing elements and unique mechanics like possessing human allies to fight for you. You’ll take on multiple missions, upgrade your weapons (and buy new ones), take cover behind objects and gain experience points to level up your abilities in a traditional RPG fashion. The 3rd Birthday pushes the PSP to its limits and presents a story filled with heavy dramatic themes and complex story twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Ys I and II Chronicles

Ys I & II Chronicles game cover for PSP


Ys I & II Chronicles is an updated and revamped PSP version of the 1989 original game with beautiful modernized graphics, catchy music, and engaging dialogue. Its unusual title doesn’t do this solidly built remake any justice and its exciting fast-paced gameplay draws similarities to The Legend of Zelda.

The gameplay of Ys I & II Chronicles features quick, basic combat that requires no waiting. Battles are in real-time and enemies pop up immediately, showing you their strength and defense. The charm lies in its subtle writing; whether you’re buying new weapons and conversing with a shopkeeper or taking on a task for a poet whose stolen silver harmonica means the world to them, there’s always something interesting to do in Ys. The game’s fluid, dynamic feel lets you decide how fast or slow you want to go through it, either with the urgency of a speedrunner or by taking your time and enjoying the little moments.