Eragon on the PSP might as well be called Saphira. Whereas all of the other video game versions of Eragon put you in the shoes of the titular hero, the PSP version puts you in the role of Saphira, Eragon's scaly blue dragon companion. It seems like a great idea to make a flight combat game starring a bunch of dragons, but unfortunately Eragon is grounded by some frustrating control problems and unfortunate level designs. But despite those problems, there is some fun to be had by flying around as a dragon, chomping on goats, dropping boulders on enemy structures, and spitting fire at flying foes.
You play as Saphira, a magic blue dragon who has a special bond with her rider, Eragon. It's your job to fly overhead and protect Eragon as he sets about saving the world from evil. You do this by flying through nine different levels, completing mission objectives such as killing enemies, protecting allies, racing through narrow corridors, and using magic to clear pathways. None of the levels are on rails, so you can fly around at your leisure. The problem is that most of the levels take place in confined areas, so you'll usually be flying around in narrow canyons, within constricting city walls, and through underground passages. As a result, you'll spend a lot of time bumping into walls and cruising around mazelike pathways trying to figure out where you're supposed to go. This isn't an open-skies combat game where you get to soar through the clouds and dogfight with enemies, which is disappointing given that some of Saphira's moves are actually quite fun and satisfying to pull off.
You move Saphira with the analog stick, press X to accelerate, and square to stop. You can also hold square and use the analog stick to strafe your targets. Like any good dragon, Saphira can shoot fireballs as well as sustained bursts of flames. There are also a number of context-sensitive actions that you can perform. You can fly over a pile of rocks and press a button to pick up a boulder, then fly over an enemy archer tower and press that same button to bomb the tower with the rock. You can also pick up and eat enemies and livestock to replenish your health. It can be fun to swoop down on an enemy, pick him up in your claws, and then eat him whole with a satisfying snap. Most of the enemies are extremely small, though, so it can be very difficult to see them. Fortunately, Saphira has radar--or, "dragon vision"--to show you where enemies and checkpoints are located. But even with the radar, it can be very frustrating to maneuver about and go where you need to go. Saphira tends to move very quickly, and the analog stick is too sensitive, which means you'll regularly overshoot your targets and have a hard time keeping them in your sights. As a fast-moving creature trying to attack stationary targets, you'd need a more intuitive and precise control scheme than what you'll find here.
There are nine levels in the single-player game, three of which are basically tutorials. Since it only takes 10 or 20 minutes at most to finish a level, you can burn through the single-player game in just a couple of hours. As you play through single-player, you'll unlock arena levels, which are multiplayer stages where you can go up against as many as three bots or real, live players in 12 different game modes. There are only six arena stages, and they suffer from the same design problems as the single-player stages. However, with so many game modes to choose from, you can spend a lot of time with the multiplayer game--just as long as you're willing to forgive the frustrating control scheme.