The Nintendo 3DS may rule the roost as the most popular next-gen handheld console. But Sony’s PS Vita is starting to give it a run for the money, especially with its recent hardware redesign and the ability to play most downloadable PSone and PSP games.
The problem? As many of us found out around the time the ill-fated PSP Go came out, not all PSP games ever got a digital release. So if you were thinking of selling your PSP once you bought a redesigned Vita, think again! Here are six classic role-playing games you’d be missing out on.
Specifically, the anniversary remakes of the original Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II. These were released in 2007, on the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy’s NES release, and feature updated graphics and prerendered CG cutscenes. The UMDs also come in commemorative packaging.
While you can download and play the PSone classic Final Fantasy: Origins on your Vita, which includes the first two Final Fantasy games, these versions aren’t quite as polished as the anniversary remakes, nor are they designed for a widescreen aspect ratio. The PSP versions appear to have served as the base for the mobile phone ports, but the one I have on my phone of the original Final Fantasy doesn’t include the Bestiary or prerendered cutscenes.
The first two Star Ocean games got a similar treatment to the Final Fantasy titles above, with a UMD re-release and matching box art. But here’s the thing: The first Star Ocean game never got released in North America before the updated PSP version. And it hasn’t been remade since.
Dungeons and Dragons: Tactics
Like Final Fantasy Tactics, Dungeons and Dragons: Tactics is a turn-based tactical RPG, played out on grid maps with customizable characters. Unlike the other games in this list, though, it’s based on a North American property, and is in fact a faithful recreation of the D&D 3.5 rules. While it received mixed reviews, that alone should be enough to get some fans to check it out.
Okay, this is technically another Final Fantasy game. But it’s really more of a Kingdom Hearts-style spinoff, where you control a single character and combat’s more action-y than turn-based. Even the graphics are reminiscent of the PS2 Kingdom Hearts games, and there are oodles of prerendered cutscenes using the same art assets as Advent Children — which makes sense, seeing as how it’s a prequel to Final Fantasy VII. It’s worth playing even if you aren’t a fan, though, just on the strength of its own storytelling and surprisingly involved gameplay.
Square- Enix has since ported its PSP Kingdom Hearts game, Birth by Sleep, to the PlayStation 3, as part of the Kingdom Hearts HD remake. Will Crisis Core ever see similar treatment? Don’t toss your PSP until you find out!