Review by Byzantine_1453

"The honest and unbiased PSP review"

I've seen so many reviews by PSP fanboys on this site that it makes me sick. I had to write a review from an honest point of view. Let me first point out- I own both a DS and a PSP. Originally, I never gave the PSP much thought. All I needed was Mario Kart DS. That changed when I won my own PSP unit at a church raffle for free. I'm actually sorry that I didn't buy one earlier.

NOTE: This is a review for the original PSP, not the new Slim and Light version.

The PSP is truly beautiful. It's probably the best-looking gaming console I've ever seen. The unit looks even better than on the internet pictures. The face is a sleek black colour, with cool transparent shoulder buttons. A UMD drive resides on the back of the unit, and this is where you put the games. On one side, there's a MemoryStick Duo slot. The back of the PSP looks sleek and beautiful as well, but nobody every looks at the back. The auxiliary buttons are a little cramped, but this doesn't affect gameplay too much. The only flaw in the design is that it smudges very, very easily.

The buttons and the D-Pad on the PSP put the buttons on the DS to shame. The PSP buttons are larger and feel better after playing a long time. The D-Pad is also much larger. I like the inclusion of an analogue stick, which makes it easier to control many games. As cool as the shoulder buttons look, they feel clunky and uncomfortable compared to those found on the DS

Lots of people on this site have been saying that the PSP's graphics are better than those of the PS2. I'd say they're more on par with the Sega Dreamcast. The best way to see what the graphics are like is to go to Gamespot and look through some of the game reviews. Some games look too good, and end up suffering from slowdown. But they are few and far between.

AUDIO- 8/10
Very high quality audio, especially when you're listening through headphones. Through headphones, the PSP definitely reproduces a home console's sound quality. But what about the speakers, without headphones? They're amazing considering their puny size, but sound tinny and lack bass.

SCREEN- 10/10
There has never been a better screen on a handheld console. The PSP's screen serves a perfect compliment to the raw graphical power of the system. It's huge and bright and, as far as I could see, has no dead pixels. The DS lite's screen is also pretty good, but it just doesn't compare to this.

MEDIA- 6/10
The UMD disk is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, it has about the same capacity as a GameCube disk. This means a huge amount of content can be crammed into one disk, making games larger and more elaborate. But the load times are atrocious. Games take anywhere from 20 seconds to over a minute to load. On the DS, you can be in the game within 20 seconds of turning on the power. I do like the inclusion of the semi-standard MemoryStick as appose to even more proprietary cards. The system comes with a 32 MB MemoryStick. This is good enough for saving games, but you may want to buy another one for multimedia.

GAMES- 5/10
It really depends on your tastes. In my opinion, the PSP loses to the DS in this department. Most of the games are lacklustre PS2 ports, and it shows. The games that were crafted uniquely for the system, such as Daxter, play a lot better. Some PS2 ports, such as NFS: Underground Rivals are done quite well. It's just the system is lacking an identity of its own. Though the PSP's library was bigger than the DS' at the beginning, the DS has now gained the upper hand in terms of the number of games available. I think Sony focused too much on the multimedia aspects, instead of what we're all looking for: great games.

DURABILITY: 5/10. The PSP looks and feels delicate. I dropped it from 3 feet onto a carpet floor, and that was still enough to make the UMD disk shoot out. My friend dropped his onto hardwood; the result was a broken battery door and a cracked screen. I've got my doubts about the the disk drive's durability. Overall, this system must be handled with care.

OVERALL- 7/10. The PSP's hardware and design are both nearly flawless. But some of the other aspects- and the way they were implemented- bog the system down. Would I recommend it? Depends what you like. If you're all about graphics and a multitasking fanatic, then I'd say that this is your system- no questions asked. But if you like more innovative games and a pick-up-and-play sort of system, I'd recommend the DS.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 03/31/08

Game Release: PSP Hardware (US, 03/24/05)

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