While it reigned supreme, the PSP enjoyed its fair share of shooting games. From simple shmups (shoot ’em ups) and third-person shooters to large-scale first-person shooters. At the time, the idea of playing one’s favourite shooters on a handheld was uncommon. However, the PSP alongside its fearsome rival, the DS, proved that the idea is possible if done right.
Despite shooting games not being the PSP’s strongest selling point, it was a free ground for developers and deliver what many may consider solid shooters. A lot of the games showcased in this article have never been ported outside of the PSP’s grasp. And that’s a shame because some of these titles remain impeccable games to go through even today.
The PSP may be dead, but its legacy still lives on after years of its official discontinuation by Sony. Without going further into details, let’s turn on that PlayStation Portable and go through the best shooting games ever for the system.
Believe it or not, the PSP’s library of first-person shooters is a blast to shoot your way through.
Coded Arms: Contagion is probably Konami’s answer to giant shooters like Halo, Wolfenstein and GoldenEye 007. Its non-stop action shooting gameplay alongside the tight controls makes Coded Arms: Contagion a fun-to-play hidden gem on the system.
Acting as a sequel to its predecessor, the story sees you controlling an unnamed soldier who has to put an end to a cybernetic crisis. Cyber-terrorists have gained access to a virtual reality program known as A.I.D.A, which they’re using to obtain classified military information. Equipped with potent firearms and hacking abilities, only you can stop the turmoil.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas on the PSP is not a port of the original, but actually, a completely different game sharing the same name. The original game was a blast to go through at the time, featuring over-the-top action gameplay laden with elements that made the series an icon.
The PSP version, demake or however one may call it, feels like a dream come true. The game feels well-done, with tight controls, and graphical aesthetics that run well on a handheld. It’s a shame that Six Vegas hasn’t received a sequel yet, but who knows what Ubisoft may be cooking behind the scenes.
Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game Of The Movie is the impossible-yet-made possible port on the PSP. The game on a handheld feels like a wet dream come true, and it’s unknown how Ubisoft managed to pull this off, but they did it without compromising any major content from its console counterparts.
Based on the movie critically acclaimed King Kong movie, players venture with Jack Driscoll to the mysterious Skull Island, and his struggle to save Ann Darrow. Loaded with elements from the survival horror genre, the game is an immersive first-person shooter that sees players encountering foes of different sizes — from giant insects, and flying bats to giant ancient dinosaurs. However, the main selling point of the game is the ability to control King Kong as you smash your way through hundreds of dinosaurs to save Ann.
Whether you’re playing the game on the PSP, PC or the PS2, it doesn’t matter (except for the DS port) because all of these versions have perfectly emulated the movie.
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex on the PSP is an obscure shooter that probably flew under your radar, but if you’re a fan of the anime, you may have already played this. Unlike its third-person shooter predecessor on the PS2, the PSP game is a full-blown first-person shooter. Both are based on the critically acclaimed anime of the same name and the funny part? all of these three share the same name, making it confusing for newcomers to discover the series.
Call of Duty: Roads to Victory is a spin-off of the critically acclaimed Call of Duty 3 released in 2006. Much like its predecessor, Call of Duty: Roads to Victory takes soldiers to the battlefield as they experience World War 2 on the go.
Featuring up to 3 campaigns throughout the game with 14 playable levels, players are sent to historical war events that occurred in World War 2. While it may not feel as good as its predecessors, Call of Duty: Roads to Victory is a fine treat for PSP fans. Now if only Battlefield was released on the PSP, perhaps we would have seen an array of shooters on the system.
Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 is the sequel to MOH: Heroes and is part of the now-dormant Medal of Honor franchise. Before Battlefield became the main focus of Electronic Arts, its success with shooters began with this series. Originally debuted on the original PlayStation the series went on to spawn several successful sequels only to be axed down by EA after a series of failings with Medal of Honor (2010) and Warfighter.
Looking back, Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 is a solid single-player FPS, with tight controls and impressive visuals, albeit a short campaign. EA may have missed the opportunity to release a Battlefield game on the PSP, but the company has made up for it by releasing two Medal of Honor games.
Brothers in Arms D-Day may seem like a Call of Duty clone at first glance, but the game manages to carve an identity of its own at the end of the day. While the best game in the series is Hell’s Highway, D-Day isn’t bad at all. Considering it’s exclusive to PSP, you don’t have to expect anything groundbreaking from it.
In this first-person shooter with tactical elements, take the role of a soldier and spring into action. The game may suffer at times from unresponsive controls that lead to unnecessary death, and barebones graphics that don’t do justice to its predecessors, but thankfully, the tactical elements will keep you busy for a while. While you’re reloading your gun, you can order your comrades to initiate attacks and follow or distract enemies for the ultimate ambush.
The PlayStation Portable was home to some of the best third-person shooters ever made.
Tomb Raider: Legend and Anniversary are both some of the best shooters to land on the PSP. The visuals, animation, and peculiar atmosphere of the games are sublime for the PSP. The blend of action-packed shooting with platforming and puzzle-solving sequences makes both of these games a fitting mention in this list.
While many may argue that Tomb Raider is essentially an action-adventure, and not a shooter at its core, Anniversary and Legend features some of the best shooting gameplay mechanics ever — which sees Lara shooting down bats, and animals, or taking on a myriad of bad soldiers.
Tomb Raider: Anniversary is a remake of the classic Tomb Raider initially released in 1996. The game’s controls have been completely overhauled, providing the player with a solid Lara to control. However, what makes Tomb Raider: Anniversary and Legend timeless classics is the charming atmosphere that sees players discovering tombs, and solving puzzles while gazing at magnificent lost civilizations.
The 3rd Birthday is the third game in the critically acclaimed Parasite Eve franchise by Square Enix. While it may have noticeably departed from the roots of the first two games in the series, The 3rd Birthday isn’t a bad RPG shooter at all.
As Aya Brea, your job is to defend the world from a threat known as The Twisted while trying to regain your lost memory. Instead of the traditional shooting ala style of classic Resident Evils the first games had, The 3rd Birthday is a full-blown TPS on the PSP. Thanks to its RPG-style gameplay, extensive guns and amazing voice-acting, this is a great introduction to newcomers.
Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror is Bend Studio’s answer to other stealth-based shooters like Hitman and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series. Although it may be considered a stealth game, the espionage emphasis isn’t so forced on the player, making Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror cater to both sides: casual and hardcore players.
Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow on the other hand is an exclusive title on the PSP. Carrying most of the elements that made the original a blast to experience, Logan’s Shadow is an attempt to elevate the series to new heights without compromising anything. We can only hope that with the success of Days Gone, a remake of Syphon Filter may be on the horizon.
GUN is an open-world third-person shooter set in the cruel old-wild-west with all its epicness and brutality. Players take control of a skilled gunslinger named Colton White seeking revenge on Thomas Magruder. The remorseless who killed Colton’s father, Ned White. The best aspect of GUN is the engaging gunplay. The developers have made an immersive game where players get to experience the deadly nature of the old-wild-west.
It’s quite tragic that GUN is the only western-themed game to land on the PSP during its reign, and that’s a shame because the PSP could’ve been home to some of the best western-themed video games.
James Bond 007: From Russia with Love is a movie-tie-in game based on the movie of the same name. Originally released on consoles, this is a port that is almost identical to its console counterpart. Like any game from the series that came before it, players take control of the man once again, James Bond. With various Q gadgets and weapons under his belt, James must accomplish several missions.
Although the game is primarily a third-person shooter, there are several driving levels that see players chasing targets, evading enemies and tons of gun blasting all over the screen. To many, From Russia with Love is an incredible game for fans of Double-O-Seven. It’s a shame that 007: Everything or Nothing didn’t land on the PSP because that one is also a great instalment..
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters is the second game to land on the PSP, as well as, the second game to be developed by High Impact Games. The story sees players once again venturing with Ratchet and his sidekick, Clank to different planets, beating baddies to death, accomplishing missions, and… resting on the beach. Isn’t that what heroes do all the time?
With a gameplay style pretty much reminiscent of previous instalments in the series. Ratchet wields a mechanical wrench which he uses to beat enemies. As players progress further, they unlock various futuristic weapons, which level up if used frequently.
Resistance: Retribution is considered the 3rd instalment in the Resistance franchise, released two years before Resistance 3. Developed by Bend Studio, the same creators behind the Syphon Filter series and Days Gone, Retribution’s plot is set between Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2.
All of the Resistance games are played from the first-person perspective except Retribution. A departure from the already-established formula by its predecessors. However, the decision of Bend Studio to opt for third-person perspective gameplay wasn’t bad at all. With its engrossing, over-the-top shooting thanks to auto-locking and a memorable main character, Resistance: Retribution is a blast.
SOCOM was pretty big in its heyday, spawning several successful sequels on various Sony platforms. Yet, despite its considerable success, the series never managed to land a name for itself on the PS4 or the Vita. And that’s a shame because a multiplayer SOCOM game on the PS4 would have worked pretty well. Perhaps in the future, a sequel will surface. In the meantime, players can play up to three games on the PSP.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is the sixth instalment from the series to land on the PSP, and also the last. The original trilogy was a technical marvel, making use of the PlayStation 2’s hardware capabilities to deliver an immersive story-driven game like no other. And even after years of their original launch, the games are still being discovered by newcomers.
Peace Walker is nothing short but incredible. Kojima Productions have done a great job at making a peerless shooter on the PSP. By retaining elements from the original trilogy, Peace Walker made them even better. The reason why this title was released exclusively in PSP is due to the PSP’s cooperative multiplayer feature that was exclusive to the system.
Chili Con Carnage is the unheard-of sequel to Total Overdose that flew under your radar. It could be because of the game’s different name, or the nearly non-existent marketing campaign. Nobody really knows for sure.
The game puts players in the shoes of Ramiro Cruz on a mission to cleanse the earth of those responsible for the murder of his father, Ernesto. As Ramiro, you’ll take on a bunch of pendejos using multiple firearms, ranging from dual guns all the way to a powerful shotgun.
There are tons of great shmups on the PSP that were sadly released only in Japan. Thankfully, they can be played without any prior knowledge of the language.
Metal Slug XX (or double X) is an over-the-top action run & gun shooter from SNK and acts as an enhanced port of the Metal Slug 7 that was originally released on the DS. Like any game from the series, this is an engrossing epic 2D platformer with non-stop action. Featuring an array of guns, and vehicles to control, players won’t stop playing until they’re done with the game.
Despite the short-campaign story, players will find themselves coming back for more every once in a while. Although it may not introduce anything new to the series, that’s exactly what makes Double X a worthy mention on the list. The best part about the series is that there’s no specific game order to follow, making this instalment the best introduction to the franchise you’ll ever experience.
Mega Man Powered Up is a remake of the original Mega Man (1987) built entirely from the ground up exclusively for the PSP. The visuals have been completely overhauled from 8-bit pixelated graphics to an attractive chibi art style that makes everything adorable to gaze your eyes at.
Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, on the other hand, is a remake of yet another instalment of the blue bomber adventures, Mega Man X (1993). The remake brings the classic with a new fresh coat of paint, revamping the visuals, controls and overall feel of the game to fit perfectly with the PSP.
Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins can be summed up in six words; the game is made in hell. This is a fiendishly difficult 2D run & gun game from the minds that brought you excellent platformers such as Bionic Commando. And if you thought Cuphead or Dead Cells were brutally unfair, Ultimate Ghosts n’ Goblins will kick you in the nuts. One could argue that the game belongs in hell because that’s where it probably came from.
Unlike its predecessors, this re-imagined release is fairly designed. In the sense that, it doesn’t punish newcomers to the series. For those who are new, and want to get their socks wet, Ultimate Ghosts n’ Goblins is the best choice to pick up. Ultimate features a slew of new additions that make the game a step above its predecessors in so many ways.
Cho Aniki Zero is one of the weirdest horizontal shmups you’ll ever play, but that’s part of what makes it special among the rest. Take control of two muscled baldies as you shoot your way through a myriad of minions in space. For a shoot’em up, Cho Aniki Zero isn’t difficult at all, and with the right amount of practice, players can finish the game in a few hours.
Platypus is an obscure horizontal shmup that a few have heard of, but if you’re a fan of shmups, you already have heard of this one. Originally developed by Retro64, a small team consisting of 3 developers. Platypus was one of their first games before they were acquired by PopCap Games. Since then, nothing new came out of them.
Platypus feels cheap and unpolished. And even for the PSP, it feels weak. Though, if you have a few hours to spare while waiting for your wife to come back home, you can fire up the PSP and play Platypus while you wait.
Gradius Collection is a great way to explore the fantastic era of the ol’ gold Konami in its heyday. The then-booming Gradius franchise was the game to go for any shmup fan at the time. However, with the rise of several competitors such as Raiden, Aero Fighters and Strikers 1945, its popularity began to fade away. However, if you missed the fun back then, Gradius Collection boasts 5 games in one package for newcomers and old-time fans to enjoy.
TwinBee Portable is yet another way for you to dive back into the bygone era of classic shmups. Similar to Gradius Collection, TwinBee Portable is a compilation that boasts 5 games from the fantastic TwinBee franchise by Konami.
Its colourful visuals paired with the well-made soundtrack score make TwinBee Portable worth the mention on this list. But the best part? It’s easy to play. Meaning, if you suck at shmups, you won’t find any issues with TwinBee Portable.
Tragically, the PSP didn’t enjoy many top-down shooters. And that’s a shame because the console could have used some more.
Alien Syndrome is a top-down shooter developed by the now-defunct Totally Games and released by SEGA back in 2007. Its plot takes place 100 years after the original game (1987) sharing the same name and introduces some generally interesting RPG elements to the mix. The game is nothing special, but is it fun? hell yes. And that is what matters.
Killzone: Liberation, similar to Resistance: Retribution, is a departure from its predecessors’ first-person-shooting roots. Opting instead for a top-down shooter introduction that paid off pretty well. Thanks to the brilliant visuals, easy-to-learn controls, and captivating gameplay, Killzone: Liberation is arguably the best top-down shooter on the system. If you’ve hated Alien Syndrome and want something slightly better, this is the one for you.
Thank you for reading. This marks the end of this article.
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.