PlayStation Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Last updated: August 5, 2023

PlayStation Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

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We looked at the top Sony PSP Games and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Sony PSP Game you should buy.

Overall Take

Players can form a supergroup of Disney and Square Enix characters to fight evil in "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep." The multiple storylines ensure plenty of repeat playability, and gamers of all ages will find fun in any of them. Thanks to a refined combat system, the boss battles are also a particular highlight.

In our analysis of 77 expert reviews, the PlayStation Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep placed 1st when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Long before Sora was chosen by his Keyblade, the worlds’ safety lay in the hands of Keyblade Masters. Three youths — Terra, Ventus, and Aqua — have been training long and hard under Master Eraqus to prove that they, too, exhibit the Mark of Mastery. But they will soon find themselves in the middle of a crisis affecting worlds far beyond their own—just as another Keyblade Master, Xehanort, goes mysteriously missing. Three friends, three destinies. Everything will link back to the beginning. Play as Terra, Ventus, and Aqua – three friends with a common dream who find themselves in the middle of a crisis affecting worlds far beyond their own. Their destinies will unfold across memorable Disney worlds in three intertwining stories. Secrets will be unraveled and friendships will be tested. The KINGDOM HEARTS saga starts here.

Expert Reviews

What experts liked

As with the previous installment of Kingdoms Hearts on the PSP, Birth by Sleep is a thing of beauty, bringing the worlds and characters of the most beloved Disney movies to life is amazing detail.
- Kotaku
Birth by Sleep is awesome. Players can find, purchase or earn special commands that can be customized from the main menu.
This intriguing Square/Disney mixture has served the series well, as have great boss fights and flashy keyblade action.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep happily makes good on some old promises.
- Wired
You have the freedom to decide which of the characters’ stories to play through, but in order to understand the overall story, it is highly recommended that you play through Terra’s story arc first, followed by Ventus’, and then Aqua’s.
Despite the heavy borrowing, replacing Jedi with keyblade masters and the Force with magic fits well.
But getting back to the good, the combat system has been wonderfully overhauled into something the series can be proud of.
I find it very, very hard to find any real issues.
The battle system is a glorious blend of all the Kingdom Hearts that have come before it, refined with the addition of several new mechanics.
This game was really, really fun to play and a solid prequel to the Kingdom Hearts series
Small screens aside, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep is an amazing title that every KH fan must play.

What experts didn't like

Birth by Sleep will hurt your PSP in ways you couldn't imagine.
- Kotaku
It would have been great to see the same care given to the worlds themselves, as they continue to feel static and hollow.
The audio is occasionally annoying (the siren that signals low health is one such nuisance), but Kingdom Hearts and Disney fans alike will enjoy hearing some familiar tunes as they hop from one world to the next.
As I moved through each world, the design felt a little bare and immobile. Nothing really seemed to move except for myself and any enemies that appeared on screen.
Multiplayer is local ad-hoc only, so good luck finding a friend with a PSP and copy of the game.
Their story arcs occasionally overlap, yet all three character’s missions tend to differ drastically.
If you intend to play Birth By Sleep without using the data install option, prepare to spend a lot of time staring at black loading screens.
Just like Kingdom Hearts 2, it's somewhat convoluted, which I've always found quite jarring alongside the simplicity of the Disney plots.
However, simple moves can be used to negate the need for a Command System, taking a bite out of some of the challenge.
Multiplayer is limited to local AdHoc however.


The last edition of the PlayStation Portable (or PSP) was discontinued back in 2014, so to say that this system is past its heyday would be something of an understatement. But the early generation of PlayStation’s games are still some of its best, and many of them are playable on this handheld game console in some form. In a lot of ways, there’s been no better time to be a PSP gamer! For one thing, both the system and games can be found for just a fraction of what they cost when Sony’s flagship portable was released in the mid-2000s.

Back then, that sticker price was one of the main gripes against the PSP, but it was clearly worth it to the millions of gamers who bought one. The PSP was an early adopter of some the bells and whistles that are now commonplace to handheld systems like the Nintendo Switch, like the ability to play it on a television or monitor. And while they’ve stopped making games for it, the graphics hold up well on its 4.3 inch LCD screen.

Those games included nearly every genre there is: Action / adventure (“God of War: Ghost of Sparta,” “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories”), role-playing (“Final Fantasy 7,” “Kingdom Hearts”), racing (“Ridge Racer,” “Need for Speed: Underground Rivals”), sports (“NFL Street 2: Unleashed”) and much more. While solo is the primary way most gamers play on the PSP, you can play with a friend on some designated multiplayer titles if they also have a PSP in the same room. Failing that, you can hook up to Wi-Fi through the system’s internet capability and find other players online. Just bear in mind that Sony’s online support for the PSP has been largely phased out, so the community of players you find online may be less than robust.

While we’re on the subject of online support, it’s helpful to know that Sony has also phased out the PlayStation Store on the PSP, where you would originally go to download games. Barring some inventive tech solutions, the only way you can play the PSP’s games now is on the primary media that it launched with: The UMD, or Universal Media Disc. But that’s not to say your options are limited! Over its lifetime, Sony and other big developers put out hundreds of titles for the PSP. They’re still out there for sale, used and new. And as has been said before, they’re still some of the best.

Buying Advice

  • When you’re buying a PSP game, consider the player. If that player is a young child, you might have to do a tiny bit of homework first. With its slick presentation and sharper graphics, the PSP was initially marketed toward an older crowd of gamers than the Nintendo DS, its primary competition at the time. That’s not to say that the PSP didn’t have games for younger kids. Titles like “Daxter” and “Little Big Planet” are not only some of the system’s top-selling games, they’re great fun, no matter what age you are. But there are more mature games whose violence level might be a concern for parents, such as “God of War: Ghost of Sparta” or “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.” When in doubt, check the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) box on the cover of any game. It’ll not only tell you what age range the game is suitable for, but also the reasons the game is rated that way (violence, language, etc.).
  • Do you plan on playing the game with others? Group play is a highlight of the gaming experience for many, but the PSP — being a handheld, portable device — caters slightly more toward the solo player. That’s not to say you can’t play select games with friends, but since online support for the system has been largely discontinued, your options are a bit more limited. For the most part, you’ll need another player physically present in the room with another PSP to connect to. This can be a particular concern if you’re buying sports games or one-on-one fighting games like “Darkstalkers Chronicle,” where multiplayer competition is a primary appeal.
  • A lot of parents buy games to occupy their kids on long car trips or to buy a little quiet time at restaurants. If that’s the case, consider whether the game needs the sound on to be playable. While it’s nice to hear the soundtrack on “Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core,” that game and RPGs like it usually have subtitles for the dialogue. If a game really needs the sound up, maybe consider another option — or just invest in headphones, so your young player won’t bring the whole room into the game.
  • Another factor to consider is repeat playability. It’s great to binge-play an engrossing new game when you first get it out of the box. It’s not so great to be done the next day when you’ve played through the storyline and there’s nowhere else to go.
  • A word on the software: While you used to be able to download games and even movies through the PlayStation Store, that’s no longer the case now that Sony has phased out the PSP in favor of its newer handheld (the PS Vita). You can still play games on their primary physical format, the Universal Media Disc. That “universal” part is not to be taken at face value, though. Keep in mind that UMDs will work only in your PSP, and not in your larger PlayStation consoles or any other device.