Many people use video game reviews to determine how to spend their hard-earned dollars. While as an adult I don’t take this as seriously and I now make my own money I am more forgiving of games that aren’t perfect. As kids or teens, we have limited money and are usually picked through gaming magazines to determine if that one game was worth the money because we only got a few a year. For me, it was only during Christmas time that my parents bought games. I mostly rented mine throughout my childhood and teen years. Even for rentals, I was picky as I didn’t want to be stuck on my weekend with a dud of a game. Even a 7/10 or 3.5/5 would be considered a waste of time. This was the last generation in which AAA title after AAA title would be considered fantastic and with so many exclusives it was hard to keep up with. The HD era of gaming would see budgets balloon to insane heights and game releases slowed down as a result.
In my eyes, 7/10 or 3.5/5 games are mostly ignored. These aren’t always considered hidden gems either. Some are, but some are just considered forgettable. Not awful or good, but just passes under everyone’s radar. These aren’t the “so bad it’s good” games either. A few of these games have cult followings; a few I had only heard of while compiling this list and some I played myself growing up. I compiled this list from Metacritic with games between 74-70. I feel that’s the true blue 7 range. 79 and 78-rated games usually only have about 25% of the critics giving it a 7 to bring an otherwise 8 score down some. These games are at least rated by half the critics as 7/10. While I know many people don’t listen to critics and some might feel this game should be rated higher or lower is subjective. Like it or not, critic reviews drive sales and it may be the reason why you might find a few games on this list you’ve never heard of, thought was talked about worse than you remember, or something along those lines
Chili Con Carnage – 2007
While not as good as the PS2 entry, playing this frantic shooter was marred by clumsy controls and camera, but it isn’t horrible. It does feel dated and formulaic even at the time of release, however. This would be the final game in the series.
Every Extend Extra – 2006
While visually pretty and fun at first, the game doesn’t have enough content or gameplay elements to throw at your to keep you busy for very long. If you like Geometry Wars or other bite-sized shooters that don’t do much other than throw challenging enemies at you then this is for you.
Most Recent Entry: E4: Every Extend Extra Extreme – 2007 (X360)
ClaDun x2 – 2011
You have to really love old-school 16-bit JRPGs to like this game. The story is mostly not there, but the game offers fun RPG elements with cute pixel art. Pretty simple. It also doesn’t do anything new over its predecessor.
Most Recent Entry: ClaDun Returns: This is Sengoku! – 2017 (PS4, VITA, PC)
FlatOut: Head On – 2008
Compared to being too close to Burnout, FlatOut does offer a smattering of content and a great sense of speed. It may be simple and might get boring for some, but it’s one of the better racers on the system.
Most Recent Entry: Fl4tOut: Total Insanity – 2017 (PC, PS4, XONE)
Patapon 3 – 2011
The third and final game in the series was met with less fanfare than before. The game focused less on what made Patapon special and more on new features. It was starting to stray from what people liked so much. It’s still not a bad game, and if you never played the series you will be in for tons of charm and beautiful graphics.
Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower – 2004
A fantastic launch title marred by the PSP D-Pad. Many felt the classic game was hindered by this and required third-party solutions to go over the D-Pad. If you play this on the Vita it’s a bit better. It’s still a good-looking and solid fighter on the system. Especially for being the first-ever PSP fighter available.
Most Recent Entry: Darkstalkers: Resurrection – 2013 (PS3, X360)
Need for Speed Underground Rivals – 2005
Need for Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0 – 2005
If you’re okay with uneven framerate, awkward controls, and rubberband AI then Rivals is for you. Bringing the franchise to the PSP was expected, but it was only the first outing on the system. Most Wanted looked great and had a good sense of speed but lacked variety in race types and overall content.
Most Recent Entry: Need for Speed Unbound – 2022 (PC, PS5, XSX)
Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake – 2010
A great addition to the PS3 version with great multiplayer. Sadly, the levels weren’t as big and single-player AI wasn’t that fun. I remember playing this and losing a lot because of how bad the AI was. It’s still a fun title on the system.
Most Recent Entry: Fat Princess Adventures – 2015 (PS4)
Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony – 2006
The best dungeon crawler on the system at the time, and sadly none of them ever achieved greatness. This one was fun and did everything you’d like albeit in the simplest form. Dungeon-crawling fans would still find over a dozen hours of fun content here.
Most Recent Entry: Dungeon Siege III – 2011 (PC, PS3, X360)
Power Stone Collection – 2006
A serviceable port of the Dreamcast games. Sadly, there was no online play which really irked gamers, and it was a straight-up port. No extras, no new visuals, nothing. If you loved the originals this is all you got. Sadly, it was the last entry to be seen in the series.
SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 – 2010
The best in the PSP trilogy, and if you only play one game play this one. While the series didn’t evolve much from the PS2 games, it still was the best online shooter for the system. Improved controls, visuals, and overall design. It’s one of the best shooters on the system period.
Most Recent Entry: SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs – 2011 (PS3)
Gran Turismo – 2009
One of the most anticipated games on the system, and many gave up after a few years. This was one of the most exciting games I could imagine on the system. It was rumored to be a launch title and then kept getting pushed back more and more due to the focus of Gran Turismo 5. It was finally released…but it felt like, “Here, take what we have so far. That’s all you’re getting” and gave up. The game looks phenomenal and runs well, but it lacks a career mode. The biggest disappointment to the game was a huge blow. Many didn’t even bother picking it up because of that. It was arcade-style modes with a racing sim.
Most Recent Entry: Gran Turismo 7 – 2022 (PS4, PS5)
Star Ocean: First Departure – 2008
Westerners didn’t get the first SNES outing so it was brought back on the PSP. Sadly, it feels dated and may only appeal to diehard fans or those who love 16-bit JRPGs. There weren’t any extras or improvements outside of some 3D-generated backdrops.
Most Recent Entry: Star Ocean: The Divine Force – 2022 (PC, NS, PS4, PS5, XONE, XSX)
Infected – 2005
Despite the interesting concept of infecting other players online, it was incredibly repetitive and not worth the $40 asking price. This was among the first generation of PSP titles to release so it also didn’t look that good either. It’s fast-paced arcade fun for a couple of hours and that’s about it.
PQ2: Practical Intelligence Quotient – 2007
Part of the Intelligent Cube line of games by Professor Koyasu, and the final game in the series, test your IQ with hundreds of puzzles. The game feels nostalgic, especially to those that are fans of his games, but the presentation is really lacking and of no excuse for a more modern system.
Summon Night 5 – 2015
This was released for the PSP in 2015 if you can believe it. It’s one of the last games to ever be released in the West on the system. The story is great, so that’s good for those who want that in their SRPGs, but the combat is tedious and there’s no exploration. It’s just one battle after another with the story in between.
Most Recent Entry: Summon Night 6: Lost Borders – 2016 (PS4, VITA)
Bomberman – 2006
Despite playing like your typical Bomberman there’s not much here. It’s a port of an older arcade game with no extras and only local wireless play. Online functionality could have gone a long way and maybe some updated visuals. If you like classic Bomberman than look no further.
Most Recent Entry: Amazing Bomberman – 2022 (MAC, iOS)
What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord?! 2 – 2010
A great sequel with a fun sense of dark humor, but the steep learning curve wasn’t dialed back from the first game. If you love 16-bit-looking arcade titles that require a lot of dedication to master than this is for you.
Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice – 2008
A bombastic scripted arcade title full of high-speed chases and explosions. This is a solid series on the PSP, but it never got a lot of love and this would be it. There’s improvement here, the visuals are better, and the story is entertaining if simple, but it’s over before you know it with no real replay value.
Namco Museum Battle Collection – 2005
A great collection of games for a decent price. Taking these on the go without being dumbed down was a first and the PSP was a great handheld to have these on. There weren’t many extras and the staying power would depend on how much you love 8-bit games.
Most Recent Entry: Namco Museum Archives Vol. 2 – 2020 (PC, NS, PS4, XONE)
Yggdra Union: We’ll Never Fight Alone – 2008
A port of the GBA game and part of the loosely connected Dept. Heaven series from Atlus. This was sadly just a straight-up port. There were no enhancements or features added. While it is the best way to play thanks to the voice acting that was added, the strategy is simple so this isn’t for hardcore SRPG fans.
Hammerin’ Hero – 2009
A fun rhythm-style platformer that wasn’t too difficult. Sadly, control issues marred the game, and it would be the last one in the series. It’s still really cute and has a lot of charm.
Gun: Showdown – 2006
A surprising reworking of the game specifically for PSP. The open world is cut for large areas and bite-sized missions plus fun multiplayer offerings. It’s not perfect as it looks rather ugly and has some control issues, but overall it’s the closest to a portable Red Dead Redemption we’ll ever get.
LocoRoco: Midnight Carnival – 2009
Being the third outing on the PSP everyone was kind of done with this series. It was still charming, but that fully wore off on most people by now. It was also a download-only title so it went under a lot of people’s radar.
Most Recent Entry: LocoRoco: Remastered – 2017 (PS4)
After Burner: Black Falcon – 2007
Being the last and final game in the series it’s surprising how little has changed. It has the classic sense of speed and gameplay, but the boring missions and plain visuals don’t help. This is mostly for diehard fans.
Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron – 2007
It’s awesome that this series came to PSP at all. Sadly, the game looks pretty ugly and has a short single-player campaign. These games are best played online and the servers are long dead. If you can get some friends together it’s a blast.
Most Recent Entry: Star Wars Battlefront II – 2017 (PC, PS4, XONE)
Capcom Classic Collection Remixed – 2006
Many complained about the D-Pad not working well for this game and the screen blue (the original PSP-1000 model had it pretty bad) made the game unenjoyable for some. If you can play it on a newer PSP model or even the Vita then you will have a better time.
Most Recent Entry: Capcom Classics Collection: Volume 2 – 2006 (PS2, Xbox)
Monster Hunter Freedom – 2006
Monster Hunter Freedom 2 – 2007
Mostly an irrelevant entry today, the game had repetitive missions and hadn’t advanced the series at all. It was great for diehard fans, but the barrier to entry was still really high. Still, the multiplayer was where it was at. The game did suffer from long load times as well.
Most Recent Entry: Monster Hunter: Rise – Sunbreak – 2022 (NS, PC)
Tokobot – 2005
A fun and charming puzzle game if void of any personality. The puzzles are really challenging and the game is easy to learn, but some puzzles may cause you to throw your PSP. This was an early puzzle offering that sadly only got one sequel.
Most Recent Entry: Tokobot Plus: Mysteries of the Karakuri – 2006 (PS2)
Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? – 2009
You couldn’t be a PSP owner without hearing about this game. This was considered one of the hardest platformers ever made at the time. Everyone also ate up the humor which is still great today. While the series has improved and still lives on today, this first entry was either loved or hated just like Dark Souls. You loved masochist games or just didn’t.
Most Recent Entry: Prinny 2: Dawn of the Operation Panties, Dood! – 2020 (NS)
Kingdom of Paradise – 2005
Don’t come for the story. The game also looks pretty generic, but the combat is fun and it was an early title for the system. One of the only RPGs at the time. It’s not the best on the system, but it’s unique and sadly never got a sequel.
Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins – 2006
Fans of the series will love to know that this is still hard as balls, but there were difficulty settings added for newcomers as well. It’s great to go through this on easier difficulties to learn the levels and then ramp it up. It didn’t advance the series at all, but it’s still a lot of fun.
Most Recent Entry: Ghosts ‘n Goblins: Resurrection – 2021 (PC, NS, PS4, XONE)
SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Tactical Strike – 2007
The black sheep of the series. A slower more strategic approach makes sense in handheld form with limited controls. This plays kind of like Full Spectrum Warrior. Strategy fans had another series to get into while long-term fans loathed the slower approach and lack of direct control. It’s a great game that could have been better with refinement in further sequels. It sadly didn’t sell very well.
Most Recent Entry: SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs – 2011 (PS3)
Medal of Honor Heroes – 2006
At this point in time, everyone was tired of the WWII FPS craze. Heroes didn’t advance the series at all, and in fact, dialed it back by giving us linear and short missions to complete. It was a very short game but had awesome online multiplayer which was quite popular at the time. It also looked really good. Just don’t expect anything ground breaking for the genre or series.
Most Recent Entry: Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond – 2020 (PC)
Ace Combat: Joint Assault – 2010
It’s Ace Combat all right, and it’s mostly safe and sometimes boring for the wrong type of person. If you want your plane sim on the go then look no further. Just don’t expect it to innovate or excite.
Most Recent Entry: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown – 2019 (PC, PS4, XONE)
Gods Eater Burst – 2011
Believe it or not, the entire series started here. This Monster Hunter clone is best played with others, but it doesn’t offer much new in the genre. If the anime or manga appeal to you then go for it. Fans of Monster Hunter might not find enough freshness here.
Most Recent Entry: God Eater 3 – 2018 (PC, PS4, NS)
The 3rd Birthday – 2011
One of the most anticipated games on the system and the last big AAA title ever released for it. It was also one of the biggest disappointments. Long-time Parasite Eve fans were expecting an atmospheric horror title but what we got was the frantic, repetitive, and chaotic shooter. It’s pretty to look at, but the story is confusing and the gameplay requires patience. It’s not for everyone.
Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble – 2009
This weird and zany Japanese beat ’em up had lots of humor and looked decent, but the combat was slow and it was really short. If you liked God Hand you will like this game. Just expect some clunkiness in all its systems.
Dungeon Maker: Hunting Ground – 2007
Don’t come into this expecting excitement. You create your own loot dungeon, pick your mobs, and go in and smash everything down. It’s plain, dry, and might be dull for anyone who isn’t heavily into JRPGs. Also, don’t expect any kind of interesting story. It’s a unique game, but it won’t be for everyone.
Most Recent Entry: Master of the Monster Lair – 2008 (DS)
GripShift – 2005
A unique twist of Super Monkey Ball meets stunt cars. The insane trial and error needed is a love-or-hate-it situation. If you hate those kinds of puzzles you will detest this game. It’s fast-paced and looks good and has been ported to newer systems over time.
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes – 2007
A fun fighter on the PSP without needing to be a Naruto fan. You also only need one copy of the game to play with others. It’s not very deep, and it may not hold your attention for long, but it’s fine.
Most Recent Entry: Naruto X Boruto Ninja Tribes – 2020 (AND, iOS)
Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai – 2006
Not very deep or as flashy but with a large roster and a friend you were sure to have a good time. Non-DBZ fans may not find much here, but it at least got the feeling right.
Most Recent Entry: Dragon Ball: The Breakers – 2022 (PC, NS, PS4, XONE)
Mortal Kombat: Unchained – 2006
The port of Deception had a lot of hype around it. It included all of the content and nothing was cut except a single fight style for every character. What we did get was a lazy port. Compressed audio, muddy visuals, and no online play. Yeah, the biggest blow to this game was the lack of online play that the PS2 version had. It’s still a solid 3D fighter, but if you didn’t like this era of MK games it won’t change your mind.