Playstation Portable

March 27, 2006

Please allow me to use a quote from the podcast: “The PSP is like a BMW”. I couldn’t agree with it more. When I look and feel and play on my [i]PSP[/i], I feel like I have been sitting and driving in a luxury car, straight from Germany, with expensive clothes made by…ok, you get the idea, right? Right.

The [i]Playstaion Portable[/i] ([i]PSP[/i] from now on), is the multifunctional hand held made by Sony. Multifunctional you say? Well, what are these things?

The ability to play music. You can convert your music files to the format of the [i]PSP[/i], and you can listen to your music on your handheld gaming device! Too bad that the memory stick the [i]PSP[/i] Value Pack is only 32 MB, and is useless for this.

Play movies! Yes, the [i]PSP[/i] is able to play movies. You can play them via the UMD discs (same discs that the [i]PSP[/i] games are on), which you can buy, but some people might be turned off by buying the discs at a higher price than DVDs, and owning them again. But let me tell you guys a secret: you can convert files of movies or whatnot onto the [i]PSP[/i]! But the problem stands as with the music: the basic memory stick is useless.

Look at pictures in amazing quality. The [i]PSP[/i] allows you to put pictures on it, and while looking at them, you will notice that the quality is much better than on most digital cameras, or even TVs. With the 2.00 software, you can put the pictures in the background of your screen (gotta love my Jessica Alba one). There are numerous sites which make backgrounds specifically for the [i]PSP[/i].

You can surf the web with the machine. Amazing isn’t it? Not many people would have thought after, say, the GBA was released that one day you will be surfing the web on a handheld. Well, you can do it and it’s great. All you need is wireless internet, and the 2.00 firmware. You can also play online with online enabled games, and with games such as [i]Socom[/i]: Fireteam Bravo, it is highly recommended.

The [i]PSP[/i] allows you (with certain softwares and low firmware) to play old ROMs and various homebrew applications. The downside of this is, later firmwares disallow this, and these pieces of software can wreck your machine by essentially turning it into a brick (meaning frozen forever).

Now, these were only the “accessories” to the [i]PSP[/i]. But a “Playstation” wouldn’t be called that without playing games.

The graphics are mind-blowing. Imagine playing a PS1, with slightly better graphics in your hand. Yes my friends, the graphics are that amazing, and I am very sure that many people would not have thought of handheld graphics EVER becoming so great. Cutscenes during games and playing movies look sharper than most TV screens.

Forget the outdated sound that we began to get used to on the GBA and its predecessors. The sound there felt like on systems decades old, and it was really time to move on. The [i]PSP[/i] boasts excellent sound, whether in game (with voice acting and real music in the games), or when watching a movie or listening to it.

At launch, the [i]PSP[/i] was criticized due to the lack of (quality) games. Fear not, a year after the launch, the good games are finally pouring in. [i]Metal Gear Acid[/i] (and its upcoming sequel), [i]Splinter Cell[/i], [i]GTA: Liberty City Stories[/i], [i]Socom[/i], [i]Daxter[/i], [i]Syphon Filter[/i], [i]Tekken[/i], [i]Devil May Cry[/i] and many Japanese RPGs as well as tons of other hot titles too. The [i]PSP[/i] is getting a freaking awesome library of games in the very near future.

I don’t have that many complaints about the system, except the low battery life, price, and the size of the memory stick. Let’s look at all of these in order.

When the battery is charged 100%, it will only last you about 5-6 hours. When playing on the highest light screen, and a fast paced game (Ridge Racer, or Burnout), the battery life will be drained even more. I find this rather unacceptable, as the point of a handheld is the ability for hours upon hours, such as when you’re on long car trips. No matter, as later on the battery life will (hopefully) be improved.

250 United States dollars is a lot of money for some people, and they might not be willing to spend that much money on a handheld. If you can afford it, then it will be a really valuable purchase, and if you don’t feel like playing a game, you can listen to music and watch videos and pictures, as well as surf the web on the machine. In my not-so-humble opinion, that 250 bucks is well worth it.

While it was really generous of Sony to include a 32 MB memory stick, it is utterly useless if you want to do anything other things than play games (which most people will want to do). So, other than spending the 250 dollars, you might as well pick up a 1 GB stick (or the [i]PSP[/i] Giga Pack, that includes the 1 GB stick, which is cheaper than buying them separately). The last I heard, a 5 GB one is on the way (which will cost a heck load too, as expected). But if you just want to game, then don’t spend more for a stick, as the 32 MB will be sufficient.

The [i]PSP[/i] is an excellent little machine, despite the above mentioned problems. You can do so many things on it that you could never do, or couldn’t even imagine to do on a handheld, I say the [i]PSP[/i] is a must buy for anyone. If you don’t feel like gaming, then there are tons of features with the system, so you will never be bored. Trust me, it will be a $250 well spent.

Score: 5/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.