Review by TheRetroPlayer

"The alternative to the DS, but only by a margin."

I thought about getting a new portable system that I can play, so I can play outside of a TV medium when I'm in the mood. I choose the PSP because its pretty much a portable PS2, and the DS has games that don't really appeal to me enough to get it I have nothing anything major against it, but the PSP has some great features and a better look, and has some good games even though the library is on the mediocre for the most part. Now its review time.

PSP 3000 8/10
PSP GO 4/10 (More like PSP Don't GO)

Its very attractive looking. The PSP features a nice looking widescreen, and the button layout is not too bad except for that strange analog button. The L/R buttons are a bit awkward to press at first, but its not too bad once you get used to it. They come in many colors and the black one looks the best since it blends it more with the screen than the other colors The slim models 2000 and 3000 has the added ability to play on a TV thanks to a TV-out function built into it if you feel like playing it on the big screen. All models have wifi so you don't need to have hardwired internet access to update the system, or download games, but the downside to this is the slow standard it uses for speed. I have no idea why the never upgraded the standard, and thanks to this, downloading games will take a long time, plus the time for installing it so beware when downloading game off of PSN with the PSP through wifi.

As for the PSP Go, I just don't like the design for it so much because it looks too much like a glorified phone that can play games than a handheld console. Just look at it, its smaller, and features a shorter screen size that is not really widescreen it seems, and you have to slide the screen up to reveal the buttons which has a more compressed layout. Not to mention, it has no UMD drive which is a huge downgrade, and a slap in the face to those that have UMDs laying around waiting to play. Even though you can get games off of PSN, the selection is still growing at this time of the review, but if you have one of those obscured PSP games, then you're screwed for the most part as the chances of the game becoming digital is small. I forgot to mention, there is no way to redeem those games into digital so you would have to pay for it again if you we're foolish enough to replace your PSP with the GO. Because of all of this, it looks like an wannabe phone to me without the calling function. It even has a new memory standard which is more expensive and a proprietary USB cable. I have no idea what were they thinking with this model so stay away from this one unless you have the need to get it just because.

Features 8/10

Not only it has the ability to play games, it can play music, videos, and on the 3000 and Go models, you can use skype thanks to the build in microphone in those models as well. Instead of a memory card, you have to use what they call a memory stick, but what I even like more about memory feature is that you can get anything from 512MB to 32GB of memory. With this much space, you can use save files which take up a small amount of space in comparison to movie files and music files, and that is a great thing since you will never run out of save space for games as long as you don't have too many big files on the memory stick. I really like how clean and crisp videos look on the PSP, and even though the PSP has some small speakers, the sound quality is superb for what it is.

Graphics 8/10

It really depends, but most games look too good on the PSP, and at times better than the PS2 itself. The small sharp graphics on some games on the screen makes it something new to me, since I am used to dealing with older handheld consoles which have a permanent place in my heart, but that is another story. The colors are very rich and detailed for something I was expecting to be no better than any handheld I ever played, but I was wrong. Some of the current games at this time look almost look like a PS3 on a non-HDTV that has been downscaled to a smaller screen which I find impressive. This mainly applies to the PSP 3000 and Go models as they have a better contrast ratio on both screens than the older models. The older models have faded colors so that really does not count today since most will have the 3000 or Go (Yes the GO -_-).

Sound 8/10

This handheld has some good sound out of something so small, and its not even a stand alone MP3 player. The games sound, music, and voice acting sound like radio quality without the distortion, and I its nice on how crisp and clear it sounds on this thing. Playing music on this thing is pretty decent quality wise, and with headphones, its better enough to put my old cheap MP3 player to shame, not the mention it has longer battery life as well. Overall, great quality sound, and no real flaws for something like this.

Controls 8/10

It works, but like most handhelds, hand cramping can be an issue sometimes, but its not a big worry unless you have big hands, and a PSP GO. The analog stick at the bottom left of the console feels nice, and the cap can be replaceable if you don't like it for whatever reason. The control layout, and setup is perfect for the most part, and its just as good as any other handheld I ever played, so no complaints here for me.

PSP Library 6/10

I never had that much fun with handheld gaming since I was a kid back in 1998 with Mega Man 1 and Metroid 2. For hours, I have been playing Star Ocean: First Departure, Mega Man Maverick Hunter X, and the Dracula X Chronicles, and Ys Seven, and it amazes me how these games make me feel like a kid again in how gaming was fresh for me at the time. The thing about the PSP I have a problem with is that for some odd reason this has not caught on enough to give the DS serious competition. The thing does not have a big enough library of games that is really appealing, and I had to wait 5 years to get it, because now, the library is somewhat decent enough to grab the handled over. Most of the good games are from japan, and when they get released there first, it takes months to even years for it to see a translated NTSC-U/C release. I feel really sorry the European and AU gamers, because games that make it to North America sometimes don't even see a release in Europe/AU, and I think this could be a factor in the half empty library causing a lack of sales. Lack of handled sales can mean lack of interest game development which is a shame for the PSP. The good news is that the PSP is not as filled with shovelware as the DS, but its still annoying that you don't see more games for it since its a mini-PS2 for goodness sake.

Overall 7/10

If you like the idea of a mini-PS2 in your hands, then get this handheld, but if your a gamer outside of the NTSC zone, then do your research before grabbing the console. The games combined with the features of this thing makes it a somewhat well rounded contender in the handheld market. I did tried out the DS, but I got bored by these games quickly, and I was not too interested in the other games on the handheld since I prefer the GB/GBA library over it anyway. I won't get too far about this but games like Hexyz Force Force (My favorite PSP game), and other listed above are the only reason why I even got this thing in the first place. That is just me since I know there is many will disagree, but then again its just an random opinion. Overall, its has very few good games IMO, but what you will find depends on your taste.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 05/05/10, Updated 03/10/11

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

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