The average mental image of fighting games tends to be dominated by frantically tapped-out combos and buxom gals in skimpy outfits smacking the crap out of each other. While this style has certainly carried the genre a long way, wouldn't it be nice if a little variety existed? After all, we aren't all masters of speedy button-pressing, and some of us might actually prefer a more strategic, methodical fighting game. Enter Bushido Blade: a samurai-centric, weapon-based game where a match can end in seconds or drag on forever, if you let it. Rather than memorizing button sequences for combos and special attacks, you spend your time parrying and delivering sword strikes, hoping to score a blow. Hit someone in the arm, and you'll knock it out of use. Manage to score a blow in a vital area, and it's an instant kill. Both Bushido Blade and Bushido Blade 2 are available to Japanese PSN users, but the rest of the world could use some love, too.
Wing Commander III and IV was a space opera that starred freaking Luke Skywalker. Not a character model, or even the character, but actor Mark Hamill himself. Granted, Mark Hamill hasn't been a big-name actor since Star Wars ended, and Luke Skywalker wasn't even the coolest character in the original trilogy, but it's still awesome to see him in action.
Even better is that, in terms of videogame stories, Wing Commander III and IV are ambitious even by today's standards. Depicting the end and aftermath of the war between Earth and the feline Kilrathi aliens, the games follow fighter ace Christopher Blair, who can't seem to not save the human race on a regular basis. There are some cheesy moments, but overall the games present a deep, well-executed story. The biggest flaw is actually the gameplay; the Wing Commander games never evolved much beyond the whole, “go here, shoot this, come home” shtick common among space shooters, and playing them actually feels less interesting at times then watching them. Even at their worst, however, they're leagues beyond more recent entries into the series (Wing Commander Arena, ugh) and easily deserve a PSN home.
Above: Image from MobyGames.com
Remember when Civilization: Revolution came out and the big buzz about the game was that it was tailor-made to be a “console”-gaming experience? One really has to question why they had to change anything, when there had already been quality ports of the PC games on consoles for years. Even the SNES had a competent version of the original Civilization. The PlayStation, to its credit, had Civilization II. There are fans of the franchise that still insist that the second game is the best of the lot, and while the PSOne version of the game didn't add much from the original, it was still great, empire-building fun. Do we really need to tell you why a digital version of this would rock on your PSP?
Chrono Cross is not Chrono Trigger. This fact is something that has dogged Chrono Cross since its conception. After all, when you're a pseudo-sequel to a game counted by the gods of gaming as the greatest RPG ever, ever, chances are you'll have trouble living up to expectations. That said, despite the shortcoming of not being that most beloved of SNES games, Chrono Cross was actually great, possessing a good story, fun gameplay and nice visuals for its time.
Your eyes never leave the single lit window, following the movements of the figures inside. You reach the house and scale the wall, your lithe fingers seeking out handholds that other mere mortals wouldn't know were there. You reach the window and peer inside. You're either a peeping tom or an assassin. Either way, you should be playing Tenchu. Tenchu is a series that’s long been on the decline, but its first two games were fantastic. Wouldn't it be great, then, if they were readily available? Granted, a used copy of Tenchu: Stealth Asassins will cost you maybe two bucks on Amazon, but that's not the same as having it on PSN, just begging to be played on your PSP without the fuss of remote play.
If you're looking for one reason to justify purchasing a Wii, look no further than the SNES version of Black Queen on the Virtual Console. It's one of the best 16-bit RPGs that no one played. Why rant and rave about it here, then? Atlus, trying to make up for the fact that only 25,000 copies of the SNES version ever hit the US, went and ported it to the PlayStation, making it a perfect candidate for this list. Seamlessly combining elements of real-time strategy with a complex, turn-based RPG, March of the Black Queen is an experience that more gamers need the opportunity to play, preferably via a PSP memory stick.
Speaking of classic RPGs, did you know that there were actually Final Fantasy games before VII? Weird, huh? You might be painfully surprised how many gamers actually seem to think the series began with Cloud's adventure. If you're one of those people, you should know the series in fact had six releases on Nintendo consoles (not counting spinoffs) before it became the PlayStation extravaganza we know today. Several of these games – Final Fantasy IV, V, VI and Chrono Trigger, for good measure – were ported to the PlayStation through the Anthology and Chronicles collections. The ports weren't perfect, but the games themselves are still great, and having these classics available would be a peerless treat for fans. We’d throw the Origins collection in here as well, but honestly, the port of Final Fantasy I sucked, and II was never good.
It almost feels weird nowadays to say “Warcraft” without first saying “World of,” but there once was a time when Blizzard's premier product was rooted in real-time strategy. Warcraft II expanded a lot on the original premise of orcs and humans beating the hell out of each other, and the PlayStation version actually made some improvements to the already-great PC game. We could see some control problems cropping up, considering the PSP's lack of buttons in comparison to even the old PSOne controllers, but it would still be a ton of fun on the small screen... STOP POKING ME!
Xenogears is often considered one of the best RPGs ever made, as well as one of the most bizarre and disturbing. Following the adventures of Fei, a young man forced from his home following a series of terrible events, it explores an unbelievable slew of themes including giant robots, conspiracy theories, mental powers, religious philosophy and even incest. The game wasn't without flaws, including some severe pacing and balance issues. That said, it's one of the most ambitious RPGs ever made, and it’d be great to have a chance to revisit it.
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