The Anbernic RG503 is the first in a new line of successors to Anbernic’s previous RG351 line of retrogaming devices. Boasting a more powerful chip, the RG503 also has a gorgeous 4.95″ screen that makes it perfect for playing PlayStation Portable games. PSP games are difficult to emulate though, so not all of them will run well on the RG503. Interested in getting an Anbernic RG503 but only if it can play your favorite PSP game? Read on!
Before We Get Started
This post will contain a list of PSP games that I tested personally on my Anbernic RG503. I’ll also mention how well it runs, and what general settings to change. I will continue to make changes to this list as I get the chance to play more PSP games.
My Anbernic RG503 runs using the latest version of ArkOS (download it here). ArkOS does upgrades over OTA/wifi so it’s pretty easy to update to the latest version. For the emulator, I’m using the Standalone PPSSPP. This is on version 1.13.1 as of this writing. If you’re using a different cfw like JELOS or TheRA, you might get close but different results.
As of the last update, there are 65 games on this list total.
When tweaking the settings in PPSSPP on the Anbernic RG503, I realized that I was only changing a handful of them. The rest didn’t result in noticeable changes, or were already giving better performance on their defaults. So let me talk about the settings that I play around with and what they do.
- Mode – You can choose between Buffered rendering and Skip buffer effects. The first option ensures that PPSSPP will emulate your game with complete graphics effects. The second option will strip off some of the special effects. Choosing the second option can improve performance, but may make the game you’re playing look ugly. Some games become unplayable because the missing graphics are actually essential to the gameplay. Because of this, I try to stick to using Buffered rendering when I can.
- Frame skipping and Auto frameskip – Sometimes, the game’s visuals will run too slow, making the audio choppy as it tries to sync with the graphics. Frame skipping eliminates a number of frames, making the visuals flow faster. At the most, I’ll try Frame skipping at 1 and Auto frameskip enabled if a game isn’t running well.
- Force Max FPS – I only recently played around with this. I have it set to Auto by default, but it helps to play around with it for games that don’t run well. I usually test this from 30 to 60 and just see which one helps the game I’m playing.
- Rendering Resolution – This setting makes PSP games look better on the RG503. I have it set to 2x PSP by default, but if a game isn’t running well, I’ll try it at 1x PSP. The only drawback is, some games will look quite pixellated.
- Change Emulated PSP’s CPU Clock – Hidden in the System tab, this is set to 333 by default in the latest version of ArkOS. As a last resort for games that aren’t running smoothly, you can try changing this value to 0, 666, and 1000. Thanks to the folks at K-tec UK for teaching me this!
Now, on to the lists!
Group 1 – Buffered Rendering, 2X Resolution, No frame skipping
The settings above will result in an experience that’s even better than the real thing. Choosing Buffered Rendering will preserve all the graphical effects, and disabling frame skipping will prevent the game from looking/feeling choppy. What makes these games better on the Anbernic RG503 is the resolution enhancement. At 2X of the original PSP’s resolution, these games look a lot smoother on this device.
Not all of the games on this list will perform perfectly. Some will have some minor stuttering issues (I’ve added notes on which ones have this) but nothing too long or too frequent to impact my enjoyment of the game.
- Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai Another Road
- Gottlieb Pinball Classics
- Knights in the Nightmare
- Lunar Silver Star Harmony
- Metal Slug XX
- Persona 3 Portable
- Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection
- Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max
- Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology
Group 2 – Buffered Rendering, 2X Resolution, Auto frameskip at 1
These games still run well on the Anbernic RG503 but some people can detect the effect of setting frameskip to 1.
- Ape Escape On the Loose
- Armored Core Formula Front Extreme Battle
- Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines (occasional minor stuttering)
- Burnout Legends (occasional stuttering in menus/transitions)
- Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles (click to view!)
- Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII (has minor stuttering during some cutscenes or transitions)
- Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (set Force Max FPS to 60)
- Dissidia Final Fantasy
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy (has occasional stutters)
- Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce
- Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection
- Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex (very rare framerate drops)
- Ghost Rider (has occasional stutters)
- Ghostbusters (map the face buttons to the right analog stick for better aiming)
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
- Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley
- Jeanne D’arc
- Justice League Heroes
- Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X
- Mortal Kombat Unchained
- Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes (uncheck Lazy Texture Caching)
- Persona 2: Innocent Sin
- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (occasional stuttering)
- SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny (click to view!) (a few stutters during some moves)
- Spider-Man 2 (click to view!)
- Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror – (set Emulated CPU to 1000; still has occasional stuttering and graphical glitches)
- Tekken 6 (click to view!) (set Emulated CPU at 0 and Force Max FPS to 50)
- Tenchu: Shadow Assassins
- The 3rd Birthday
- Virtua Tennis 3 (click to view) (some stuttering in non-gameplay scenes)
Group 3 – 1X Resolution
These games still play well on the RG503 but you can’t use the resolution enhancement feature as it’ll slow these games down. As such, these games can look a bit pixelated – like when you play them on a PS Vita. Still very playable though.
- Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (buffered rendering, auto frameskip at 1)
- Jax and Daxter: The Lost Frontier (skip buffer effects, frameskip at 1, still has occasional framerate drops)
- Valkyrie Profile Lenneth (set frameskip to 2 and Force Max FPS to 30; framerate drops when someone teleports)
Group 4 – Playable but Noticeable Performance Issues
These games still run well enough to play, but their issues will depend on your tolerance level. Someone like me might enjoy them enough (kind of like playing a game on a low end PC) but others may not, so I’m putting them in their own group.
- Armored Core 3 Portable (decent performance but has dim lighting that turns bright randomly)
- Crash of the Titans (game speed occasionally drops to 80%)
- Guilty Gear Judgment (good performance at auto frameskip 1 but loses sound in 1-3 of Story Mode)
- Iron Man (game speed varies from 70% to 100% even at skip buffer effects and frameskip of 2)
- Iron Man 2: The Video Game (click to view!) (dips to 70% in larger levels)
- Metal Gear Acid (click to view!) (auto frameskip 2, still has occasional stuttering)
- Metal Gear Acid 2 (skip buffered rendering, stutters just before attacking)
- Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters (buffered rendering, auto frameskip at 1, below 100% gamespeed)
- Rock Band Unplugged (skip buffered rendering, set frameskip to 1; background is all black but game is playable)
- Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (runs at about 22 FPS)
- Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (skip buffered rendering, stutters in some areas, you’ll need to apply frameskips)
- Super Monkey Ball Adventure (skip buffered rendering; still has occasional framerate dips)
- X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (click to view!) (game speed varies from 70% to 100%)
Group 5 – Runs but Unplayable
These games have issues that are so bad, the experience simply isn’t enjoyable. Don’t bother even trying these games out.
- Burnout Dominator – too many framerate drops, especially on busy tracks (will revisit!)
- Crash Tag Team Racing – framerate dips in larger maps and during racing
- Secret Agent Clank – constant framerate dips, choppy gameplay
- Silent Hill Origins – too slow when using buffered rendering; skipping buffer effects results in major graphics glitches
- Spider-Man 3 – framerate is too low
- Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together – need to keep flipping between buffered rendering and skip buffer effects
- Tomb Raider: Anniversary – game speed at 70% even at high frame skips
I’ll be adding to this list as I’m able to test them. If you have a game in mind that you’d like me to test, comment below and I’ll move them up the queue. Hopefully, this will be helpful to anyone who has an RG503 or is interested in getting one!
I should have done this sooner, but it’s better late than never, right? Special thanks to these people for their contributions to this guide:
- Jose Erodio – He created a repository of PPSSPP settings for the Anbernic RG351P, which I used a lot as a resource back when I was still tinkering with RG351 devices.
- Michael Kaye and the people at K-tec UK – They’re also tinkering with the RG503, RG353P, and the upcoming RG353V. They’ve covered several games that I haven’t even tried in their own repository of PPSSPP settings. Check their list out too!
- 20220624 – Published the list with the first 17 PSP games that I tested.
- 20220626 – Added 5 more games to the list
- 20220629 – Added video links for Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man 2.
- 20220704 – Added video link for X-Men Legends II and 7 more games to the list.
- 20220706 – Added video link for Tekken 6 and 4 more games to the list.
- 20220708 – Added video link for Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles and added 6 more games to the list.
- 20220712 – Added video link for SoulCaliber: Broken Destiny and added 3 more games.
- 20220717 – Added video links for Metal Gear Acid and Virtua Tennis 3. Also added more games to the list.
- 20220928 – Added five more games and an Acknowledgement section.
Guilty Gear Judgment is well worth a look 👌🏻
Thank you for the suggestion! I’ll add that to the current batch of PSP games to test!
Thank you for the guide. It was been helpful. Can you check out Burnout or Final Fantasy 4?
Thank you for the suggestions! They’ll definitely next in line for testing!
Can you check out the Metal Gear Ac!d games? I had a hard time with them
Thank you for dropping by! I’m actually in the middle of trying out Metal Gear Acid 1, and for some reason the opening cutscene isn’t playing correctly. Gameplay is great though. I’ll update the list for both as soon as I’m done with them.