Getting in on the PSP Today, for the Vita Tomorrow

Sure the PSP is pretty well dead in North America and Europe right now, but that doesn’t mean its software library is suddenly out of style.  If you enjoy RPGs in particular, this is a platform you should have been playing for years now, but if not it’s not too late to get onboard right now.  Below is a short list of some of the biggest releases to hit the PSP since its release.  Keep in mind this isn’t a complete list, just a bunch of titles I thought of off the top of my head.  I’ve broken the prices into two sections, one for the current PSN price and the other is the average asking price for a brand new sealed copy of the game.  Keep in mind many of these releases can be found at your local Wal Mart bargain bin for significantly lower than what’s listed here.  The other day I saw a copy of Dark Mirror for only $4!

Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles – $14.99 (PSN) / $14.99 (UMD)

Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness – $14.99 (PSN) / $24.99 (UMD)

Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days – $19.99 (PSN) / $24.99 (UMD)

Dissidia Final Fantasy – $19.99 (PSN) / $9.99 (UMD)

Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy – $29.99 (PSN) / $19.99 (UMD)

Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection – $29.99 (PSN) / $19.99 (UMD)

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions – $9.99 (PSN) / $9.99 (UMD)

God of War: Chains of Olympus – $19.99 (PSN) / $9.99 (UMD)

God of War: Ghost of Sparta – $29.99 (PSN) / $9.99 (UMD)

Killzone Liberation – $15.99 (PSN) / $4.99 (UMD)

Lord of Arcana – $19.99 (PSN) / $14.99 (UMD)

Lunar: Silver Star Harmony – $14.99 (PSN) / $19.99 (UMD)

Resistance: Retribution – $19.99 (PSN) / $9.99 (UMD)

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona – $39.99 (PSN) / $29.99 (UMD)

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2: Innocent Sin – $39.99 (PSN) / $29.99 (UMD)

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 – $39.99 (PSN) / $24.99 (UMD)

Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow – $9.99 (PSN) / $4.99 (UMD)

Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror – $15.99 (PSN) / $4.99

Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together – $19.99 (PSN) / $19.99 (UMD)

The 3rd Birthday – $19.99 (PSN) / $19.99 (UMD)

Valkyria Chronicles 2 – $39.99 (PSN) / $39.99 (UMD)

Ys: I & II Chronicles – $24.99 (PSN) / $59.99 (UMD)

Ys: The Oath in Felghana – $14.99 (PSN) / $29.99 (UMD)

Ys Seven – $14.99 (PSN) / $19.99 (UMD)

Oh I had some good times with you over the years

That’s a healthy amount of games for those looking to start a digital collection.  That would be the wisest move to make if you’re planning on purchasing a Vita next month as the portable doesn’t have a UMD drive.  Sadly that’s also a limitation because there are several real gems that are only available on UMD; all of them listed here are Square-Enix titles.  Take a quick look at what is missing from the PlayStation Store.  I’ve included the average asking price for a new copy.

Final Fantasy – $9.99

Final Fantasy II – $9.99

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII – $9.99

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep – $19.99

Star Ocean: First Departure – $9.99

Star Ocean: Second Evolution – $14.99

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth – $19.99

It sucks that this isn't available on the PlayStation Store damn it!

There are some really good games in that list, like all of them.  I’m not entirely sure why Square-Enix refuses to put these titles on the PlayStation Store considering how easy it would be for them to do so.  It also allows another revenue stream, especially for those purchasing a Vita looking to jump in on all the classics they may have missed on the PSP.

For those with a keen eye may have noticed there are quite a few discrepancies between the physical copy and digital version.  In some cases the digital versions are significantly overpriced like most Sony-published games.  Other companies like XSEED offer their games are nicely reduced prices, and then others still like Square-Enix that are pretty much on par.  Be wise with whatever you purchase as the prices are likely to continue to go down as time goes by, at least for the digital versions.

Obviously if you’re already an owner of the PSP, or one of its many incarnations than you’ll likely own a whole bunch of UMDs and be none-to-happy about the fact the Vita doesn’t offer true backwards compatibility.  Sony has said there will be a program where you can place the UMD into your PSP, sync up to the PlayStation Network and they’ll allow you to download the digital version for a reduced cost.  That essentially means you’re going to have to pay for something you already own.  Bizarre.  The other problem with this method is that games that aren’t currently on the PSN will obviously not suddenly appear just because you put the UMD version in your system and synced it with the Network.  Games like Birth by Sleep will remain UMD-only releases unless Square-Enix decides to release the game on the Network before the Vita launches…which I seriously doubt will happen.  Sadly there is no workaround for those of us with large PSP libraries, outside this method.

The Vita will likely be the absolute best way to get in on the PSP action because of improved controls and that incredible OLED screen.

If you’re looking to get into the PSP game at this point in time there are many avenues available to you.  You could purchase a PSP-3000 and either download your games or pick them up via your nearest retailer, or you could skip out on the PSP entirely and wait for the Vita to launch and go the digital-only route.  Whatever you decide to do, if you skipped out on all these games you’re really missing out.  Given the asking price is so low for the vast majority of these titles, I think now is the best time to see what the fuss is all about.

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