1. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is the finest example of a Sony PSP roleplaying game. Combining the team of Hajime Tabata and Tetsuya Nomura, the game adapts an unused Final Fantasy VII scenario developed by Kazushige Nojima. While one might assume that the one character control system makes the game sloppy, it was skillfully parlayed into an action RPG that never stops moving. The story of Zack Fair's quest to look for the missing SOLDIER Genesis Rhapsodos is quite exciting, and the Shinra Electric Power Company storyline lends of level of believability to this incredibly executed game.
2. It would be difficult to not include Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions as a top ranked game. Indeed, it would be possible to do an entire list of the finest achievements that Final Fantasy has seen. One shouldn't be accused of being a fanboy of the series for including it, though, since War of the Lions made up the second installment of the Ivalice Alliance campaign. The game maintains the setting from the PlayStation version, and is based around a complex political drama between Larg and Goltanna. This story is told through the eyes of the youngest member of the noble Beoulve house, Ramza, and the commoner Delita Heiral.
3. Star Ocean: Second Evolution actually pulls ahead of the first game in the series. This RPG is very unique, and features a truly evolving journey. The game may present the player with a different set of choices to work with, depending on whether one plays as Rena or Claude. The game may end in a different fashion for each character, and the choices that one makes further influences these outcomes. The game even has a mode to collect royalties from books that have been written in character. The level of depth is amazing.
4. Star Ocean: First Departure is not a weak game, however, and shouldn't be thought of as simply resting in the shadow of the sequel it spawned. One of the features that many players comment on is the battle engine. Most RPG models work around a turn based combat system, but combat is resolved in Star Ocean in real time. Nevertheless, spells can be used to slow down time as they slightly pause the system to dole out damage. Players can also influence the storyline progression by performing private actions with different characters that they find.
5. Jeanne D'arc was curiously never released in PAL regions, which is perhaps a shame because the story is actually rather accurate to the history of Joan of Arc. Though the story included interesting plot points like undertones of demonic possession for King Henry VI of England and underworld armies during the Hundred Years' War, the game actually does contain numerous contemporaries of the historical leaders. Magical amulets to grant special abilities may not be the most historically accurate aspects of the game, but it is obvious that game producer Akihiro Hino did his homework.
6. YS: The Oath In Felghana shares some elements of the genre that Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII fits into, because it is also an action RPG. The game follows a similar storyline to that of YS III, which it was technically remade from. Dogi and Adol Christin are heading to Redmont, where Dogi was from. The game takes place three years after the previous games, and once they arrive, they find that evil has returned within the timeframe of those three years. The gameplay model is borrowed in part from The Ark of Napishtim. Those that enjoyed the YS III soundtrack will certainly love Yukihiro Jindo's new arrangements made up for this release.
7. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable is the Sony PSP release of a game that had to be doing something right considering the various merchandising opportunities that the developers took with it. This game follows the story of a male student in high school who joins an organization called the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad. The SEES is investigating Dark Hour, which is a period of time that takes place between days. Few regular people are familiar with this period of time, so the society has to act to fight off Shadows to save the minds of the common residents of the human world.
8. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky has beautiful artwork, and runs on the same engine that YS VI runs on. Many of the towns have huge numbers of non-player characters that truly lend the game a touch of realism that most other games don't have. The field maps contain treasure that is hidden, and that fact can really push players to rotate the screen and explore in ways that few people would have thought necessary otherwise. The maps themselves can even usually rotate.
9. Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is a remake of a game that has been around for quite some time, and as such has developed an extremely devoted fanbase. The game has received numerous updates, and this version allows all of them to come together on a modern platform. It features an isometric view along with an endearing hand-drawn style of art that might almost make players feel like they are inside of an anime series or even an older classic JRPG. This naturally stems from the fact that the original was released in 1992.
10. Crimson Gem Saga was interestingly designed in Korea. In the world of Latein, a relic called the Crimson Gem is being sought out in a plot that isn't know to the general public. One of the newest graduates of the Green Hill Chevalier Academy, Killian von Rohcoff, gets caught up in the caper and ends up being staged as the protagonist of the video game. Though it was technically a sequel to Astonishia Story, the game is mechanically quite different so the name was changed to reflect this fact.
11. Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days is essentially a re-release of Cursed Memories, and like most Disgaea PlayStation Portable re-releases there are music and data shops available for the game. These largely allow the player to purchase music to play while exploring Item World. If a player also has an Afternoon of Darkness save file alongside their save file for this game, they can unlock additional content. This is really an interesting feature. It can allow players to do things such as create a female Ronin. Those who are into downloadable content will especially enjoy this game, and may like to have characters like Marona and Asha from Phantom Brave make an appearance in their quest.
12. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona may not rank up there with some of the derivatives that it has spawned, but the original is a solid JRPG nonetheless. It carries a number of allusions to Jungian psychology and the archetypes that come from that ideology. While same gamers might peg it as a game that makes one think too hard, this is where the game shows much of its strength. The entire concept of a persona might make one rethink the entire human condition. As well as a role-playing game, this RPG might be called a social simulation.
13. Wild Arms XF is the first game from this series to make it to the PSP, and takes 2D turn-based tactical combat to the next level. Some people have compared it a combination of chess and classic paper and pen role-playing simulations. The game offers precision control over the military forces that they are placed in command of, and the units can be altered using the game's class system. The experience system allows for permanently learned skills to fill character skill slots in such a way that they can be used outside of the original class.
14. Brave Story: New Traveler comes from a series that might be known to people for other reasons. This is because the game is based on a novel and manga that enjoyed popularity even before this game was released. However, fans of the series outside of the game will notice that the main characters were created for it. Tatsuya and Miki, along with some other members of their party, were inventions of the game's producers. Nevertheless, fans that read the books will find plenty of things to do in the game to keep them occupied. Notably, Wataru makes an appearance to assist Tatsuya and he wields a special blade.
15. Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade was a PSP launch title when it first game out, and takes the form of a third person action roleplaying-game. The game features four classes. The player can select to quest in the game as a Druid, Knight, Alchemist or a Berserker. Needless to say, such classes give the game a feel that is rather close to Dungeons and Dragons. Aven is a city that is so high in the mountains that it might as well be floating in the clouds. The evil that occupies it, however, threatens to spoil the good name of the floating city. It is up to the player to save the day.
16. Class of Heroes shares a lineage with many of the games featured among the top RPG titles for the PSP. Atlus published it, and it has a few unique elements that make it stand out. While it has a dungeon crawling mechanism that will most likely appeal to hardcore gamers, one can set different alignments for the characters in their party to make the game more interesting. In another relatively unique twist, their major divides characters up.
18. Mimana: Iyar Chronicle has been declared a tedious game, but this is actually where it shines. The game is another title that might be best received by hardcore gamers, and the storyline is relatively unique. Crais Sewell is a down and out mercenary who joins the quest of a young girl named Sophie Rothorn. North American players should look out for Crais Sewell's voice. It is provided by Johnny Yong Bosch, who is well known from the English dubs of anime series like Bleach and Trigun. Wendee Lee, who also worked on the dub for Bleach, also makes an appearance in the game.
19. Innocent Life: A Future Harvest Moon features a combination of gaming that lies somewhere between an RPG and a life simulation. The character grows crops and raises livestock throughout the course of the game. They end up learning more about what life really is by going through this process. The main character is the son of Dr. Hope. He is an elderly scholar from an island in the southern hemisphere. He sends his son on a quest to build a farm across ancient ruins, and it is here that the farming simulation takes a hold. The game's plotline depicts technology as having moved to a point where few actually have memories of taking care of real animals.