Review by Scarface
"Move over, Nintendo!"
The Kingdom of Portables was in turmoil. King Nintendo had just passed a decree that stated that all games for his GBA were supposed to either an RPG or a children's card game based off a certain television show. One citizen stood his ground. One citizen would rebel. One citizen would change the face of the Kingdom of Portables forever...That lone citizen was Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP).
After over a decade of Nintendo dominance in the handheld world, Sony decided it was finally time to spring their version of what a portable should be. And boy, are we glad they did.
The PSP was released on March 24th 2005 in America. It's Sony's challenge to Big N's (Dual Screen). Featuring the most amazing graphics yet, games geared at a more mature audience, and the ability to play movies (UMD format), MP3s, and display pictures, the PSP is something to behold. Straight up, it's the most worthy competitor yet.
These graphics simply aren't capable for a friggin' HANDHELD system. They are beautiful. Imagine a cutting-edge graphical feat for the PS2. Now imagine that on a 4.3" LCD wide-screen, and you've got the graphics of a PSP. No lie. As soon as I loaded in my copy of Wipeout Pure and Lumines, I was astounded at the extreme level of detail displayed. Millions of colors and bright textures await you in this magnificent shiny handheld.
Finally, there's an alternative to the tinny MIDIs we have had to put up with for so long with Nintendo's handhelds. Stereo quality music is blasted out of the 4 or so speakers the PSP has. Let me tell you, it's done nicely. Not to mention that the PSP comes with earbuds (That kind of resemble iPod earbuds...Hmm...) for your listening pleasure.
Also, the PSP plays MP3 music flawlessly. Transfer your music to your PSP's Memory Stick Pro Duo and start grooving to your favorite music.
The PSP has got to be the most sexy and sleek design ever for a portable, even to the point where you don't want to touch it because of the risk of getting fingerprints on it. It's wide screen gives maximum views, and it feels just right in your hands. However, it only comes in 2 colors (black and white), but it doesn't really make that much of a difference, as both colors are smooth and amazing.
GAME LIBRARY/LAUNCH GAMES: 8/10
This has been a subject of mass controversy everywhere. DS fanboys rave that graphics don't equal a good game, PSP fanboys scream back that remakes of 20 year old Mario games with mini-features don't make a good game. I personally agree with the latter, as the PSP had a few interesting titles at launch, and as the days and months went on, even more excellent titles appeared on store shelves.
Yes, the PSP doesn't really offer 'unique' games per say (Well, DS games aren't really 'unique' either; they're mostly continuations of age-old Nintendo franchises with either a map on the top screen or the ability to use the stylus on a character. Whoop-dee-doo.) , but it's not meant to serve that purpose (PlayStation Portable). Some titles are excellent ports of games that debuted on the PSX or PS2 but are now extremely hard to find or really expensive. Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth comes to mind, as the original was a timeless classic for the PSX but the price is now inflated to oblivion on eBay.
But honestly, I haven't had this much fun playing a handheld since....ever. Sure, I've had countless hours of my childhood used up playing my GBC with titles such as Pokemon...and more Pokemon, and the GBA which admittedly has many amazing RPGs, but my time spent playing with the PSP is something else entirely. Many an hour you'll be spending creating blocks in Lumines, or hotly racing down a futuristic track in Wipeout, or even beating the crap out of your opponent in Tekken: Dark Resurrection.
Controversies aside, the PSP offers a respectable amount of games in it's library that can easily justify the cost of buying one.
OTHER FEATURES: 10/10
Wow. Features...ON A HANDHELD?! Yes, you heard me. Nintendo never even considered this in the past; it was the same ole' 'stick in the cartridge and start playing'.
The PSP offers a completely new frontier. It has the capability of playing movies (either UMD format disks of movies or from your memory stick), listening to your favorite music (Again, from your memory stick), and displaying pictures (You know what I was about to say).
This in itself is amazing, but get this: People have hacked older versions of the PSP's hardware to allow it to play games from the previous era (Super Nintendo, Nintendo Entertainment System, etc...) using Emulators and ROMs (It's against the GameFAQs terms of service to talk about these in great detail, so I'll move along.)
The PSP also has a crapload of accessories available for it, including Memory Sticks (To store gamesaves, music, movies, pictures, Emulators, etc..), indestructible carrying cases, UMD protectors, and many, many more things.
With a 300$ price tag, and games costing as much as their console counterparts, the PSP is the most expensive handheld ever created. However, the cost is completely justified with the amount of fun you'll be having with yours. Larger Memory Sticks may also be an added cost, but these days a 1GB one goes for only 20$, compared to near 100$ they were before.
Purchase a PSP. It's wide variety of games in all genres, fun factor, and extra features makes this portable an excellent alternative to Nintendo.
FINAL SCORE (NOT NECCESSARILY AN AVERAGE OF CATEGORY SCORES): 9/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/13/06
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