Games whose portable ports are actually better than the console version


Bringing a game from a console to a portable system is a risky business. These are generally weaker systems, so concessions are often made to make the game work on the handheld. But sometimes it works even better.

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Either the game is already so old, and the release on a handheld adds features and amenities, or it’s an almost completely different game that manages to be as good as the console version. The games below are all better on a handheld. There might be an exception, but it’s different enough to play with console output without feeling noticeably worse.

Final Fantasy Tactics

Final Fantasy Tactics for PS1.  Cinematic.

The original version of Final Fantasy Tactics was affected by minor technical issues and lackluster localization. Even so, the PS1 game is often considered one of the best RPGs of the generation. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions for PSP addresses all of these issues while adding multiplayer to the mix. All these years later, the PSP version remains the best way to play Final Fantasy Tactics. We’d love to see this version come to Nintendo Switch or, even better, receive a full remake.

Chrono Trigger DS

chrono trigger introduction portal

Fans are clamoring for new Chrono Trigger content from the PS1 Chrono Cross sequel. The classic SNES RPG was re-released for the Nintendo DS in 2008. It came with an additional dungeon and story segment that connects it more closely to Chrono Cross.

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All future ports are based on the DS version, although it’s still best to play it on the handheld. Until a new story in the world comes out, Chrono Trigger DS is the best of fans.


Tetris on the Nintendo Gameboy

Tetris is one of the most ubiquitous games ever made. Even those who have hardly ever watched a console know the puzzle game and have played it many times. It was already a phenomenon in the 1980s, but its popularity and heritage was really cemented with the Game Boy. The game was integrated into the console and helped the handheld reach a more casual audience who did not regularly play games.

Max Payne

Max Payne GBA box

The original Max Payne is still a classic, and it’s hard to imagine the gameplay translating into the Game Boy Advance. To help the story fit in the palm of your hand, it has been turned into an isometric shooter. The move is working wonderfully. The gameplay still feels like a Max Payne game, despite the change, and the levels are similar to the stages of the main game. There are even the comic book panel cutscenes in this version. Anytime you feel like playing the trilogy, add this GBA port to the spin as well.

Liberty Monster Hunter

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

Monster Hunter started life on PS2. Later, the original games were remade for the PSP. The series format is well suited to the portable system. You can use a ride to grind or adjust gear, and the increased multiplayer functionality plays to its strengths. If you want to dive into the franchise’s past, you can’t do better than these PSP titles. His success influenced Hideo Kojima in the development of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.

Ogre Tactics: Hold On Together

Tactics Ogre Let Us Cling Together is one of the deepest games on Sony handhelds

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is more of a cult classic than Final Fantasy Tactics, though the two are spiritually linked. If you are interested in this amazing turn-based strategy RPG, you better grab the PSP reissue. Gameplay is smoother than ever on SNES or PS1 and you can also rewind corners for maximum comfort. Even among the crowded RPG space of the PSP, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together stands out as a must-have game.

Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Edition

Final Fantasy One Fight on PSP

The original Final Fantasy is available on countless consoles. Even with the recent re-release, the best way to play is still the 20th Anniversary Edition on PSP.

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The art is brilliantly remade with new sprites. We would prefer new pixel remasters to borrow this artistic style. Final Fantasy 2 is also playable in the same form on PSP, although the second entry is more of an outlier in the series. The first entry is light on the story, but the gameplay and pacing make it a joy to walk through.

Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness

A screenshot from Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness

Turn-based strategy games work so well on handhelds. It is more comfortable to travel to work or school. The Disgaea series in particular has dozens and dozens of hours of bonus content to explore. Even upgrading weapons can be a process of almost endless hours of battles. This makes the PSP remake of the original game, called Afternoon of Darkness, more suitable for a game than the first PS2 version.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

A screenshot from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This modern open-world opus was released simultaneously on Wii U and Nintendo Switch. As the first hybrid console, Breath of the Wild was a great showcase for the concept. Breath of the Wild works almost as well in portable mode as it does in docked mode. Both modes also work better than the Wii U version. It was nice of Nintendo to release it on the previous console, but most Zelda fans were up for a new system. With the sequel still far away, fans are biding their time as they explore Ruined Hyrule even further.

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