SLIDESHOW

Best PSP Games (Part 2)

The countdown continues: We look at the best games released for Sony's PlayStation Portable.

Best PSP Games: The Countdown Continues

Sony's PlayStation Portable has been inspiring game developers and gamers for four years. Yesterday we began the countdown of the top games. Here's the next batch . . . watch for more of your favorites.

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Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow

Focusing more on action than stealth, Gabe Logan's second PSP adventure unquestionably tops the genre. Logan's Shadow surpasses Portable Ops in terms of control, even if it isn't as rich an experience. Don't let this gem get lost in Snake's shadow--one of the PSP's best.

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SOCOM: US Navy SEALs Tactical Strike

The third SOCOM for the PSP ups the tactical element for more deliberate, thoughtful action perfect for portable play. An impressive array of features including online play, voice commands and chat, and an 11-mission single-player campaign easily make it best of the handheld series.

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Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters

Fitting tools of destruction in your pocket can be difficult when you're going commando, but Size Matters makes it possible. The first portable outing for Ratchet and his robotic buddy Clank establishes a new standard for handheld action with top-notch graphics, a challenging story mode, and full online multiplayer. Adjusting to limited camera controls takes time, although it's a minor complaint in the face of big action on your little screen.

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Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Phenomenal real-time battles and gorgeous graphics put Crisis Core among the most impressive handheld games around. Cameos from popular Final Fantasy VII characters make it a trip down memory lane, even though its innovative gameplay does much to differentiate it from other RPGs.

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Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the WarLords

Tetris may have opened the way for portable puzzlers, but Puzzle Quest stands above the pack. Its unique combination of puzzle-solving and role-playing is like nothing else out there. Not only does it provide immense depth, but also makes the game incredibly addictive. +1 charisma for this PSP version thanks to a cleaner presentation, although the DS edition gets a special enchantment for intuitive touch controls. Anyway you put it, Puzzle Quest levels up handheld gaming as a must-own.

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Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

The best way we can describe Monster Hunter to the uninitiated is by thinking of it as a grittier, more Lord of the Rings-influenced take on the world of Pokemon. Oddly enough, the game's publisher Capcom proudly boasts that the Monster Hunter series is actually even more monstrously popular than Pokemon is in Japan. The latest installment in the beast busting series is a completely revamped version of Monster Hunter Freedom 2, loaded with new missions, monsters, weapons, and armor with some gameplay tweaks also sprinkled in there for good measure, which makes Freedom Unite the ultimate version of Monster Hunter.

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Rock Band Unplugged

Similarly to how PSP ports of graphically advanced console video games like God of War and Resistance can leave one skeptical, we didn't know how the hell Rock Band would work on a handheld but for reasons other than graphics (let's face it: Rock Band/Guitar Hero games' visuals aren't all that awe-inspiring). How exactly do you play drums, guitar, not to mention sing on a PSP? Thankfully no miniaturized instruments accompanied the PSP-exclusive version of Rock Band, which took a more Amplitude and Frequency approach to creating music in the game where the player rocks out solo by taking up each instrument individually, cycling through them (with the exception of singing). Now, if only they'd bust out a DS version of Rock Band so we could have vocals in a handheld Rock Band game due to the platforms built-in microphone.

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Star Ocean: Second Evolution

Released early this year, Star Ocean: Second Evolution is an enhanced remake of the PlayStation-era classic RPG Star Ocean: The Second Story. If you like console role-playing games and have never picked up any of the games in the Star Ocean series, you owe it to yourself to check it out and there's no better game to take for a test spin than Second Evolution, which is crammed with delicious new goodies like additional playable characters, scenarios, artwork, and best of all, new animated cutscenes. It may not be as well known as Final Fantasy or even Dragons Quest in the realm of RPGs, but Star Ocean isn't any less of a franchise.

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Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions

It always comes as somewhat of a surprise just how many gamers missed out on the original Final Fantasy Tactics on PlayStation. Oddly enough, Tactics shared little with the RPG behemoth aside from "Final Fantasy" being in its title. Some of the series' traditional spells and creatures like its mountable overgrown chickens are featured in Tactics, but other than those things it has a completely unique feel to it, from its epic score, to its rich water-color-like environments and art-style, to its heavy emphasis on strategy. The PSP-exclusive Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is a revamped version of the PS1 classic game and proof that the game hasn't aged much since its initial release.

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Daxter

Taking place during the events of Naughty Dog's first sequel, Jak II on PlayStation 2, the PSP-exclusive Daxter allows you to play as Jak's small sidekick and weasel/otter mixbreed, Daxter. Aside from switching up the series' protagonist, the game also plays with some interesting ideas such as having you hired by an old man named Osmo as an exterminator and eventually having to figure out a way to save your humanoid friend and partnet Jak who's been imprisoned by Krimzon Guards. The bottom line is that, while the game does introduce some new forms of gameplay and a new main character, it's still Jak & Daxter at heart and shouldn't be missed by fans of the series.

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