The Second Death of the PSP/PSVita

Sony officially announced that the PlayStation Store for the PS3, PSP, and PSVita will be shut down. It’s a shame that no one will be able to buy games digitally on those consoles anymore. Physicals will still be in circulation, and I’m curious to see if the prices of big name games will shoot up. I understand the general reasoning behind this decision. I’m sure the stores take up resources that very few people, including myself, use, but surely they could have found a way around that, right?

As a reality “oh my god I feel so old” check, these are the years that these three consoles were active.

PSP: 2005 to 2014
PS3: 2006 to 2016 in NA, 2017 in JP
PSVita: 2012 to 2019

Of these three, the PSVita as actually very “relatively” new, but had a really short run due to its commercial failure.

So I looked through all of the games on my PSVita to compile some thoughts of the games that will be lost digitally within legal means. I’m looking through my Vita rather than my PS3 because my PS3 is stored away and it would be a pain to set up on the TV, but my Vita is sitting in my bedroom and easy to pick up. It’s actually seen a decent amount of use as a “dead console” for me in the last year because I was playing through Persona 3 Portable, which brings me to the note that this post is secretly just one big plug for…

Persona 3 FES and Persona 3 Portable

Persona 3 FES is released digitally on the PS3 as a “PS2 Classic” game. It’s not available anywhere else as such, so soon the only way to get a copy of the game is a physical PS2 disc. I personally consider Persona 3 FES one of the best games I never want to play again. I love the characters and enjoy the story, but hate going through Tatarus and especially hate how the party members are AI controlled only.

Persona 3 Portable (a PSP game, but backward compatible on the Vita) on the other hand, is more enjoyable. Tatarus is still boring, but the Persona 4 gameplay was grandfathered into this game, which alleviates all AI based frustrations. I’m also not a huge fan of the way Persona 3 FES handles its social links. In FES, all the girls are romance options only, which means that to get a 100% you have to cheat on all of them, and the annoying part is that P3 is the only game, as far as I can tell, that actually punishes you for cheating. I don’t remember exactly how the mechanic works, but if you neglect one of your girlfriends for too long, I think the social link card reverses or breaks, or something like that.

And then in FES, you can’t build social links with any of the male characters, and the three girls (other than Aigis, who is a robot) are gated behind a maxed out social stat. Given how long it takes to build social points, you would have to be really good at min/maxing to max them all out in one go, so you’ll likely have to pick one of the three to prioritize. I guess this is a way to force the players to do a New Game+ perhaps?

Persona 3 Portable completely fixes that by the introduction of the female main character that you can choose to play as. She gets access to Yukari really early on, Fuuka at a lower stat requirement, and then Mitsuru is still the same as before, playing hard-to-get. The character has social links for all the male characters and can choose to date the ones that don’t have a canonical love interest. Not being forced to cheat is great and all, but the true highlight is the fact that you’ll actually be able to hang out with your party members and the male characters get so much more character growth and personality. You can even hang out with the dog! If that doesn’t convince you that Persona 3 Portable is the superior option, then I don’t know what will.

I’m really hoping that the closure of the PSN stores will finally push Sega/Atlus to port at least one of the Persona 3 games onto another console, hopefully to PC like Persona 4 Golden.

Persona 2

Persona 2 has had a stupidly confusing release pattern in North America. There are two parts to Persona 2 – Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Both of these were released for the PS1 in Japan, but only the second (which is a direct sequel, like a Chapter 2) was released in NA. Then, both games were remade for the PSP but only the first was released in NA. Thus, the only option for playing Persona 2 in NA is to play the Persona 2: Innocent Sin remake and then Persona 2: Eternal Punishment original PS1 game. Why? I don’t know. Wonderful.

I played some of Persona 2: Innocent Sin years ago, but admittedly didn’t get very far due to getting distracted with other games as well as it having a slow start. It’s still on my backlog, and I did end up picking up the second game to round out my Persona collection too, even though I haven’t played it at all yet.

Maybe someday.

Final Fantasy Tactics

The original PS1 Final Fantasy Tactics is available on the PSN as a PS1 Classic. The PS1 Classics are available for download and play on the PS3, PSP, and PSVita only – it is not available on PS4. There’s an updated remake of this game called Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, which is a game available on…the PSP. I never got very far in this game when I was younger because I was really bad at it and I tried again at some point when I was a bit older but was frustrated with how slow and dated it felt. That being said, I do know that this game has a fair share of fans, and I’ve heard the story is really good. I’ve been meaning to watch a Let’s Play of the game to experience the story, but I’ve been telling myself that for many years and still haven’t yet.

Unfortunately, I think the odds of this game being ported elsewhere like the mainline FF7/8/9 is fairly low, so Final Fantasy Tactics may end up being an emulator game only.

Dissidia Final Fantasy

The first Dissidia Final Fantasy as well as Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy seem to be PSP exclusives. For some reason I was really under the impression that they were ported out to one of the TV consoles, but from what I’ve looked up today, it doesn’t seem like they were.

I actually uninstalled this game from my Vita because it was taking up too much space on my memory card. Supposedly, you’ll still be able to reinstall and uninstall games you’ve already bought, and I really hope it stays like that.

Dissidia is an interesting game, but I don’t really know how to explain it because it’s been such a long time and I never ended up playing enough to finish the story. It’s supposed to be a fighting game, but it takes place in these huge 3D arenas and involves some points system where you build up power via attacks that don’t do damage and then unleash an attack that does do damage using that power. It’s weird.

To be honest, I bought it just because I liked the new character designs and the soundtrack, which I do still think is very good.

End of post

Well, that’s it for me. Luckily, my favorites like Persona 4 Golden, Symphony of the Night, Danganronpa, etc. have all been ported to other consoles by now. Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation got an HD remaster at one point too, though I’m not a huge fan of that game. Due to the failures of the PSVita, the library is quite small.

I played some of a Yugioh Tag Force game, but that series was never on the PSN to begin with, so I had to emulate that one from the start anyway. Too bad I wasn’t able to get the emulator to run smoothly though. Sometimes I still wish I could have played that one more.

The idea of digital preservation of media and the digital vs. physical debate is an interesting topic, but it’s also its own huge can of worms that I don’t think I’d write about, because then we start to get into consumerism and it gets all complicated, but I’d definitely look into it if it’s something that interests you as well.

Here’s a bonus Koromaru picture I found while looking for images for this blog post! It’s from the Persona Q spinoff and it’s super cute!!!

4 thoughts on “The Second Death of the PSP/PSVita

    1. Yeah I agree. The DS was huge and sold twice as many units (according to wikipedia) and if I recall correctly, I think those were the years when the iPhones and smartphones started getting really popular.

      Liked by 1 person

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