The Best Open-World Games On PSP

Sony’s first handheld device was the PSP, which went head-to-head with the Nintendo DS in the market. While it did not sell as well, it was still a huge success and contains a massive library of games. You might even be surprised to hear it has a decent slate of open-world games.

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While these games do offer a whole world for you to explore, it’s best if you follow the set path.

None of the tech in these games will blow your mind, but they are all impressive feats for the little handheld that could. They were especially jaw-dropping when you consider that just a few years before, the best handheld system was the Game Boy Advance, whose visuals were on par with 16-bit consoles.

For the games below that were released on multiple consoles, the Metacritic scores are taken from the PSP release and not the average of all versions.

6 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

Metacritic Score: 86

Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories Screenshot Of Vic Vance And Lance Vance

Both Vice City Stories and Liberty City Stories somehow look better than their console counterparts, and both games include the entire map of their respective settings. However, Vice City Stories takes the cake as the better game with a better mission design and further indulging in the ’80s aesthetic from Vice City.

To be fair, the game just has more to work with than the characters from the Liberty City era. Playing as Lance Vance’s brother is more interesting than controlling Tony Cipriani, especially when he is no longer voiced by Michael Madsen.

5 Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines

Metacritic Score: 63

Altair walking through the streets in Assassin's Creed Bloodlines.

Some Altair fans might feel short-changed by how many games Ezio starred in, and even though you see a conclusion to the protagonist’s story, you don’t control him often. You will be happy to know that Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines gives you a chance to jump into Altair’s shoes once again for a more bite-sized adventure.

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The map is minuscule but it manages to be enough for a true Assassin’s Creed adventure, so don’t expect anything visually on par with what the series typically offers though. It’s the closest we got to finding out how the series would have looked like on the PS2.

4 Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition

Metacritic Score: 74

Racing on the Los Angeles streets

Direct ports of console games often sacrifice a lot in the name of fitting onto a notably less powerful machine. The Nintendo Switch’s ability to be both a handheld console and a home system mostly eliminates this problem, though it does have a hard time with third-party ports.

The PSP was over a decade before the Switch, though, so it was a special case when a game was ported to a handheld without losing the best parts of the experience. Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition turned heads with what it was able to accomplish when the developers released the PSP version, so it’s essentially the same open-world experience with slightly downgraded graphics.

Midnight Club: Los Angeles Remix also came out on the PSP, but this game did see cutbacks compared to the console counterpart.

3 Gun Showdown

Metacritic Score: 73

Aiming at an enemy running away in Gun Showdown.

If you already played Red Dead Redemption 2 there is no way anything about Gun is going to impress you. All the same, it is an interesting curiosity, as it features a surprisingly star-studded cast of such as Ron Perlman, Lance Henriksen, Tom Skerit, and country music legend Kris Kristofferson.

The PSP version, Gun Showdown, downsizes the experiences as expected but still takes place on an open-world map, and there are even additional weapons to use in the PSP version, not available in any other release. Whether this trade-off is worth the emptier feeling map is up to you, but it is certainly not a bad way to play the game when on the road.

2 Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Metacritic Score: 90

A screenshot showing shooting gameplay in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

This game was first released on the Nintendo DS and utilizes that handheld’s unique features, but the game lost its console exclusivity when it was brought over to the PSP. The version on Sony’s console follows the same steps but has a different graphical style and the comicbook-style cutscenes are smoother.

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Of course, you don’t get the dual-screen setup, and the touch controls are taken out entirely, but this might be a plus to some. Additionally, having a version that works on one screen is an advantage for any potential re-release.

1 Retro City Rampage

Metacritic Score: 83

Retro City Rampage DX Police Confronting Criminal

It is clear at first glance that Retro City Rampage is an homage to the older Grand Theft Auto games (pre-GTA 3). The graphics take on an extremely primitive 8-bit style, as if the genre had started on the NES, and the gameplay follows a familiar structure; roam around the world and take missions from people on the map.

This is probably why the game was able to come to PSP in the first place. It only came out on the console in 2016, years after the PS Vita came out, but we hope somebody got some use out of it on the then-outdated handheld.

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