25 excellent PSP games at a bargain price (part 5 of 5)

25 Excellent PSP Games for $25 or less - Image 1We’re down to the last leg of our 25 excellent PSP games at a bargain price series and we’re bringing you a variety of titles. We’ve included a turn-based tactical strategy title, a rhythm strategy title, a dose of portable Grand Theft Auto, some undead head-swapping, and some good old cute golf. Interested? Check out the full article.

25 Excellent PSP Games for $25 - Image 1

We’re down to the last leg of our running feature on 25 excellent PSP games for US$ 25 or less, and this batch of titles includes a little of everything. We’ve got an army driven by drums, an undead detective, an Advance Wars-ish video game, a golf game, and a portable serving of Grand Theft Auto.

Some of the titles we have for you today offer a lot in terms of gameplay value, entertainment value, and just plain value for your money. They’re up for grabs at slashed down prices, and a couple of bucks saved is always a good thing, right?

Let’s count down the titles in today’s 25 excellent PSP games for US$ 25 or less, shall we?


Patapon from Sony Computer Entertainment Japan - Image 1

Patapon (available at US$ 19.99)

From the frontline comes Patapon from Japan Studios and Sony Computer Entertainment Japan (SCEJ). What is it all about anyway?

In case you’ve been living under a rock, this rhythm video game is pretty simple. You’ve got a tribe of little cyclops called Patapon and they’ve lost their land to the nefarious Zigoton. You’ll have to communicate with the little critters using the war drums and lead them to victory. Certain drum combinations will have the Patapon advance, attack, defend, dodge, and charge. The four talking drums have individual “syllables” or battle cries: Pata, Pon, Chaka, and Don (Square, Circle, Triangle, and Cross respectively).

You get three basic types of units: infantry, ranged, and cavalry. Like any other game, you get additional units, equipment, and upgrades as you progress through the game, which involves battling against giant fire breathing dragons, giant worms, and giant crabs, among other giant things. Also, the tribe will need basic things like food so you’ll need to hunt for the one-eyed critters, too.

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Another thing that drives the cyclopean army is the search for IT. They don’t know what IT is exactly, but their journey will bring them to the ends of the Earth, aptly called Earthend. We don’t want to spoil the fun for you so we’ll stop right there.

Patapon was tagged with a budget price tag (US$ 19.99) on the onset to make it more accessible. Its innovative gameplay and surprising strategy elements make Patapon something of an acquired taste. It got above average reviews and was received moderately well, much like Loco Roco when it first rolled into our PlayStation Portables.

As it is, Patapon offers a mix of both strategic and rhythm gameplays, unique art from French artist Rolito, and hours upon hours of gameplay. It might seem unimposing at first, but a few levels into the game will get you to appreciate its value.


Field Commander from Sony Online Entertainment - Image 1

Field Commander (available at US$ 11.99)

Now that we’re on the subject of war and strategies, we’ll take you to the second front, Field Commander. If this is the first time you’ve ever heard of this title, here’s a bit of a briefer: It’s a turn-based strategy game often compared to the DS’ Advance Wars titles. They have a good number of similar gameplay elements, but Field Commander does have its unique and good points.

Field Commander was first released back in 2006 by Sony Entertainment Online (SOE), and was met with mixed reviews (but was relatively given high scores). It brought great multiplayer modes into the table, along with 3D graphics.

In case you missed it when it first came out, we’ll outline a number of its features for you. Here are the numbers: 30 single player missions, 11 COs (Commanding Officer), two divisions (Shadow Nation and ATLAS), a map editor, and 4 multiplayer options (Infrastructure, Hot Swap, Ad-Hoc, and Transmission).

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Multiplayer is really Field Commander‘s biggest selling point as it offers players several options. Well, you can have one PSP and pass it to a friend during turns or you can play the Play by Email-ish Transmission mode (you can basically send your move over the Internet and check back when your opponent has made a move). Despite being on the shelves for a couple of years, Field Commander‘s appeal doesn’t really fade and so if you haven’t this one up, we suggest you do.


Dead Head Fred from Vicious Cycle - Image 1

Dead Head Fred (available at US$ 13.79)

What do you do when you’ve lost your head? Put your brain and eyeballs in a jar and start hunting down those who took your head. At least, that’s what private eye Fred Neuman did. And what sweeter revenge can you get than ripping enemies’ heads from their bodies? Changing heads in D3Publisher and Vicious Cycle’s Dead Head Fred is where the fun starts.

You start out with the standard makeshift head the mad scientist Doc Steiner made for you. It’s really just Fred’s brains and eyeballs stuck in a jar, hence the name Jar Head. From there, you can move on to other heads you can “acquire” from your enemies.

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Fred can use several heads for different occasions:

  • Corpse Head (for excellent projectile vomiting and sucking powers)
  • Bone Head (for great melee and long range damage)
  • Dummy Head (for talking to Denizens)
  • Tiki Head (for teleporting between tiki totems)
  • Scarecrow Head (for attack crows and fire immunity)
  • Stone Idol Head (for heavy attacks)
  • Mutant Head (for strong, if not gnarly, attacks)
  • Shrunken Head (for some upsize and downsize action)

In Dead Head Fred‘s world of twisted film noir, you’ll have to find your head, exact revenge on those who decapitated you, save the girl and the town Hope Falls. It’s a bit tricky without your real head but at least the goons don’t know you aren’t really dead yet, right?

Dead Head Fred brings more that a hodgepodge of heads onto the table, it also packs humor (with voice acting from John C. McGinley who played Dr. Percy Cox in “Scrubs”) and a great story.


Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee from Clap Hanz - Image 1

Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee (available at US$ 19.99)

We all know the Japanese love all things cute, fresh fish, and golf, which is why this next title is hot in Japan. Minna no Golf Portable (Everybody’s Golf Portable) or Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee debuted on the North American shores way back in 2005 and incorporates two of Japan’s favorite things: cuteness and golf.

If you’re not familiar with the title and the series, Clap Hanz and Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) Studios Japan’s Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee is the first title in the Minna no Golf series to grace Sony’s portable. With its chibi-fied golfers and numerous customization options, Open Tee spells out fun on the green. Intuitive controls, several gameplay modes, and challenges are certainly mixed in wonderful portions in this golf game.

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Gameplay modes include single player (Stroke Play, Putting Challenge, Challenge Mode), multiplayer, and training. Of course, Hot Shots Golf for the PSP wasn’t all about pars, birdies, and eagles as customization is still a big selling point for Open Tee. You can basically choose nearly everything from your character’s accessories to clubs, and even down to your golf balls.

Don’t let the challenge in Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee catch you unawares though – the portable iteration of Minna no Golf still has the tricky greens. Like any other game in the Hot Shot Golf series, Open Tee is easy to learn, but hard to master.


Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories from Rockstar - Image 1

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (available at US$ 19.99)

Really, what do we need to say about this title? At some point, you all have played one iteration or another of Grand Theft Auto. Rockstar LeedsVice City Stories for the PlayStation Portable takes place two years before Tommy Vercetti came to the sunny city and took over the entire “business.”

Vice City Stories centers on Victor Vance’s story, and in case you haven’t played this title yet, Victor is Lance’s older brother. Here, we see how Victor turned to a life of crime after getting discharged from the Army to provide for their sick brother Pete. Well, if you played GTA: Vice City, you’d know what eventually happens to Victor.

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GTA: Vice City Stories was a bit better than Liberty City Stories but it barely brought anything new to the table. The controls and nearly everything else is familiar and within the safe confines of the sandbox’ norms, but it does provide a good story and a great soundtrack to boot. As we said earlier, the GTA formula lives large in this PSP iteration and the controls would feel somewhat instinctive if you played Liberty City.

If you want to find out how the Vance Brothers rose to power in Vice City, then now would be a good time for you to pick up this game.

Article originally posted May 20, 2008 at 01:35PM

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