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 PSP FEATURE

The 10 worst PSP games of 2008

This lot should be sent straight to the UMD scrapyard...
Product: Top 10 PSP charts | Format: PSP
 
Sony PSP2008 hasn't been the most prolific year for PSP game releases. It's probably fair to say that if we were purely a PSP reviews site we'd currently be sunk into internet obscurity, stirred only by the odd hit for God of War: Chains of Olympus and LocoRoco 2.

Because there haven't been as many games released onto the console, entry into the Top 10 worst PSP games of 2008 is that much easier than in the Top 10 worst DS games of 2008. Over on Nintendo's format we had plenty of 4/10 and below scoring games to choose from (and that's because we didn't dig through the dross we didn't get round to reviewing), whereas our worst PSP games include a fair few with an average mark of 5/10. 

While that makes them not as bad as the dirgiest games on DS though, it still makes them the worst on their format, so we make no apologies for laying into them. When there are great titles such as Patapon and WipeOut Pulse out there, there's really no excuse for picking up any of the below. So read and then pledge never to go near this little lot…

The ten worst PSP games of 2008

10. Manhunt 2
Developer: Rockstar
Publisher: Rockstar
Released: October
PG score: 5/10


Our beloved BBFC got its knickers into such a knot about this torture action game, we ended up waiting near to a year for it after its release in other territories. It finally emerged over Halloween with barely a 'boo' but then, as we'd already informed you in our US review written over 12 months earlier, it didn't deserve anything more. The stealth sections of the game don't work as well as they should, and now it's been censored, the torture bits have lost their impact, too. Which leaves you with a well presented but uninspiring to play third-person action game that's best forgotten.
9. WWII: Battle Over the Pacific
Developer: NAPS Team
Publisher: Midas
Released: May
PG score: 5/10


Functional but remarkably dull is the best way to describe WWII: Battle Over the Pacific. Right from the start, when you make the choice between flying a nippy but crap-gunned fighter jet or barge-like bomber you know this game is going to deliver you the obvious basics and nothing more. Our reviewer describes the missions as: "Destroy-the-ships followed by engage-the-enemy-fighters. Or destroy-the-train followed by engage-the-enemy-fighters. Or destroy-the-radar-beacons followed by engage-the-enemy-fighters…" He goes on, but you probably get the idea. This game might have been a budget release but there was no need to stamp that fact all over it.
 
8. The Fast and the Furious
Developer: Eutechnyx
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Released: February
PG score: 4/10


"The Tame and the Tedious more like" read the strapline and the condemnation of this low octane film-based racing game continued throughout our review of it early in 2008. It's not that the street racing in the game is terrible – in fact it's passable, if a bit uninspired. It's the gaping long loading times it suffers from that really kill it. Over three minutes in the case of the first load, but the dreaded load screen and sound of disc churning crop up more times than any sane person will be able to bear. Certainly not when there are better street racing efforts available for PSP.
 
7. Need for Speed Undercover
Developer: EA Black Box
Publisher: EA
Released: December
PG score: 4/10


You might think it would be tricky to break a game like Need for Speed. A bit like an armoured tank, the franchise just keeps rolling along and doing exactly what you expect it to do. Somehow though, EA got it badly wrong with Undercover – a game which  overlooks everything that's important in a driving game. Cars feel almost stuck to tracks but just in case you still manage to mess things up, invisible walls keep you on the road. Playing as an undercover cop this time around might sound like an exciting plot element but this aspect is dropped in in passing then pretty much ignored as the game decends into the usual types of races. Still, better luck next year, EA. 
6. Fade to Black
Developer: EA
Publisher: EA
Released: April (PSN)
PG score: 4/10


Those of you who missed out on Fade to Black  when it was originally released on PSone might feel privileged to have got the belated opportunity when the game was released for PSP on the PSN Store in 2008. This is not the correct sentiment, however, since Fade to Black is showing its age worse than Cilla Black's jowls nowadays. The cinematic third-person action game might have been impressive back in the day but on PSP it's just a shoddy and annoying experience that gives you unkillable enemies and a terrible save and restart system. Really, you're far better off with Tomb Raider  or any number of superior action adventure games that have emerged since Fade to Black's day.
 
5. Command & Conquer
Developer: EA
Publisher: EA
Released: May (PSN)
PG score: 4/10


These PSone re-releases aren't doing too well, are they? Here's another one – a game that back in its time was a smash hit, but over ten years later has been reduced to a lazy and virtually unplayable mess. The problems begin early when you discover that at 905MB in size, it'll consume a hefty slice of memory (and the only reason it's so big it because it contains so many bland and unnecessary cut-scenes), then continue when you start the game and realise its speed has been notched up so high it's near impossible to keep up with the movements of your AI enemies. Another one best left to nostalgic thoughts, perhaps.
4. Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops Plus
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami
Released: March
PG score: 4/10


Portable Ops Plus was another game that us in the UK waiting several months for after its release in the US, and boy was it not worth the wait. While this never claimed to be anything other than an expansion to Portable Ops, we expected a bit more than this underwhelming effort. Out goes the compelling storyline of the original and in comes hundreds of meaningless levels, all taking place in recycled environments. The game's controls have been expanded, which means they're massively complicated, and online team play doesn't work very well when you can't use voice chat. By the time you've selected something to say, you're likely to be dead. As a downloadable extra it would have been fine. To flog it as another game is just tight.
3. Off Road
Developer: Razorworks
Publisher: Xplosiv
Released: April
PG score: 4/10


From the maker of Ford Racing came Off Road in 2008. Clearly this statement isn't quite as bold as if we'd said it came from the maker of Gran Turismo, but on console the Ford Racing games have been decent enough. Even if they do feature Fords. Sadly, Razorworks hasn't really nailed off-road driving here. In fact, it doesn't feel as though it really tried. Instead of feeling like you're off-roading in a Ford 4x4 you simply drive across flat surfaces that are the colour of mud and grass. Your AI opponents shamelessly cheat and there are only 18 not-particularly-good-looking vehicles to drive, too. As far as PSP racing games go – a genre that isn't exactly under-subscribed on the format – this was the year's very worst.
2. Street Sk8ter
Developer: Atelier Double
Publisher: EA
Released: July (PSN)
PG sore: 3/10


Skateboarding is meant to be a rad experience, so we're at a loss imagining why anyone would create a game like Street Sk8er based on it. Things start off bad for this PSone remake when you're introduced to four hackneyed characters more state than street, then only get worse when you're dumped into the game with no tutorial, explanation, anything. Bad visuals and poorly designed courses add to the stink, while – as our reviewer pointed out – "cringe-worthy shoehorning of 'street' terminology jars like an embarrassing middle-aged uncle bopping to MC Hammer." Much like our verdict that this remake is the second worst game that appeared on PSP this year 2008 will probably jar with the team responsible for it, then.
1. Hellboy: The Science of Evil
Developer: Krome Studios
Publisher: Konami
Released: August
PG score: 2/10


Anyone expecting Hellboy to buck the trend of rubbish film/comic to game adaptations is going to be sorely disappointed should they consider picking this one up to play. Not only does it all feel disconcertingly familar; it also comes with a bad combat system, super stupid enemies and a camera that seems adamant on showing the bland levels' flimsy walls instead of what's actually going on. "Hopeless", "shambling" and "a mockery" are three summations used in our review, which ended with the game getting 2/10, the lowest score for a PSP game for the whole of 2008. Hardly the demonic stuff fans of one of comics' more interesting characters deserve. If that's you, you know who to shake your stone fists at. 
 

Reviewer photo
Kath Brice 28 December 2008
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