The initial release of the PlayStation Portable (PSP) shook the gaming industry’s ground. Nobody can refute that we all at some point fantasized about playing all of our favourite games from the PS2 on a handheld system. But alas, that wasn’t the case. Perhaps our fantasies were way unrealistic, but who’s to blame, really? However, the PSP’s strong library of games made the handheld an unforgettable piece of hardware. And even after years of its initial release, the console is still attracting newcomers who missed all the fun, or those yearning to relive their nostalgic memories.
The PSP quickly became Nintendo DS’ competing hardware, thanks to its interesting hardware features and technical capabilities. While it’s true the PSP had strong exclusives, the system suffered from a limited library that couldn’t confront the juggernaut library of its former rival, the DS.
This is evident in part due to the dry library of the PSP’s horror catalogue. The idea of playing horror games on the go held a powerful potential at the time — which would ultimately be adopted by the Nintendo Switch, a handheld that is now home to some of the best horror games ever made.
But fear not, the PSP has a couple of horror games worth checking out. With a spooky atmosphere and grotesque creature designs, there are horror games here for everyone to enjoy.
Manhunt 2 was Rockstar Games’ second foray into their twisted stealth-based horror experience. Players take the role of Daniel Lamb, who is suffering from Amnesia in his pursuit to discover his identity. You’re not alone in this as you’ll receive instruction from a sociopath assassin known as Leo Kasper throughout the entire game.
In Manhunt 2 you’re not in danger, you are the danger. Players will use dark corners to their advantage as they hunt down their prey in the most brutal ways possible. Sound distraction can also be used to lure enemies to the dark, and the rest is history. It helps to note that every execution you perform is recorded, making the experience merciless.
Silent Hill Origins is a prequel to the original Silent Hill, a traumatic psychological horror trip to the seemingly empty town of Silent Hill. The game puts you in the shoes of Travis Gray, searching for the girl he rescued from a burning house. Little did he know that he got himself stuck on a trip to hell.
Although not as great as Team Silent’s Silent Hill trilogy, Origins’ demonic atmosphere, top-notch scary sound design, and the ability to switch back and forth between two worlds make the game worth a shot, at least once.
On the other hand, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a re-imagining of the first game. This time around, featuring a completely different Harry Mason, he sets out to find where his daughter, Cheryl disappeared to. This particular did away with the traditional mechanics the series was renowned for— and instead opted for a gameplay style that sees you running from enemies. The inclusion of using your mobile as a way to solve puzzles and take pictures of ghosts is clever, and that alone earned the game a spot on this list.
Obscure 2, or known as Obscure: The Aftermath in North America, is a survival horror co-op where you control a group of university students as they explore, investigate and struggle to stop a wicked plant from infecting planet earth.
Offering a slew of puzzles to burn your brain cells for, and the emphasis on co-op gameplay makes Obscure 2 a genuine instalment in the genre. A well-executed idea with tight controls, and an uptight atmosphere that will keep you entertained until you’re done with the game.
Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is an evident demonstration that even games based on anime can be genuinely scary if done right. Book of Shadows is the second game of the storied Corpse Party franchise — and it acts as both a sequel and prequel to the first game.
At first glance, the game may look cute, luring you to think this is another anime game that caters to anime fans only — but the biggest slap you’ll ever receive is that Corpse Party isn’t cute at all. This is a twisted take on the visual novel genre, blending elements from different places such as survival horror and RPG to deliver an unsettling experience that’ll haunt your memory forever.
Previously, the game was released exclusively in Japan. But thanks to the huge recognition it garnered in the west, it was later ported to Steam and GOG fully translated to English.
Dante’s Inferno is a hack and slash with horror elements, and is based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Players jump down to the nine circles of hell to save their beloved Beatrice from the tempting manipulations of Satan. Equipped with a stylish scythe he’s just taken from Death after being slain, Dante plunges deep into Satan’s realm in search of Beatrice’s soul pleading for redemption.
With an amazing presentation of hell along with its horrors and nightmares, Dante’s Inferno is arguably the best depiction of hell to date. As you progress further into the game, you gaze at all the wicked souls being tormented for their sins, souls pleading for someone to rescue them, and screams of hopeless souls with no hope for redemption.
While you’re at it, if you’re interested in more games set in hell, you can check out this list featuring video games that take you on a trip to hell.
Death Jr. was one of the first horror games to land on the PSP. At the time, it was advertised as a killer app for the system. Death Jr.’s origins date back to when the developers were working on a Sypro the Dragoon spin-off, which was somewhat planned to release in conjunction with the former. Alas, that never happened.
The game’s plot sees you controlling the Grim Reaper’s son, Death Jr., who opens a special box at a museum to impress his crush, Pandora. His action ends up freeing the demons that were imprisoned inside. With demons roaming the world freely, it’s up to Death Jr. to rectify his doings before his father comes back home.
While more cute-looking than scary, the game has enough elements such as the scary enemy designs, twisted story, and sinister atmosphere that will certainly please fans of cute little personifications of the Grim Reaper.
Dead Head Fred is a clever blend of comedy and horror with 1940s noir vibes on top of the mix. In this comedy-horror game, players control a headless investigator named Fred as he searches for his murderer so he can get his revenge.
Surprisingly, Dead Head Fred is a solid beat’em for the PSP. Despite Fred not possessing any superpowers or potent weapons under his belt, he relies continuously on the powers he collects from the severed heads of defeated enemies.
Dead Head Fred may not be considered a perfect game due to various issues — but bits of original ideas that were presented in the game such as making use of severed heads make Dead Head Fred an entertaining game for PSP fans.
MediEvil: Resurrection is a reimagining of the first game in the forgotten series of MediEvil. Released as one of the launch titles for the PSP-1000 in Europe, the game’s revamped visuals make it a fresh breakthrough for newcomers and old-time fans alike to experience the bizarre adventures of Sir Daniel Fortesque.
In this horror-action-adventure game, players take control of the undead Sir Daniel Fortesque in his quest to thwart the plans of the evil sorcerer Zarok from destroying the kingdom of Gallowmere. Daniel Fortesque will encounter fierce enemies he must defeat, as well as, valuable allies that will aid him in his adventure.
Although the game’s visuals have been improved along with the enhanced sound design, the original game’s flaws are still evident in this re-imagined title. The combat, dialogue and gory graphics are some of the best parts of the game, and the camera controls during combat are the worst. Though, this can be worked with by locking-on enemies at all times.
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I'm just your average gamer who enjoys hunting hidden gems and underrated games. My love for Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams is like a truck and I recommend that you play it.