Sony’s PSP has been given a bad rap, almost as bad as Nintendo’s Virtual Boy. I remember everyone making fun of it 6 or so years ago, yet I didn’t give in to peer pressure and still bought one. I purchased the Star Wars one to be exact, and boy the handheld looks slick. A Battlefront-type game was packed in with the system and after I set my Wi-Fi settings I popped the UMD into the system. Suddenly, I was thrust into a mini galaxy far, far away and was slaying the Empire with my blaster. During rounds, the player would be jumped to different sides of the battle; I remember coming back as Darth Vader in one round and smiting the Rebels with a light saber. To say that I had an enjoyable first experience with my PSP would be an understatement.
After that fun first time, I put the handheld down for quite some time. I’m pretty sure the reason I picked it up again was due to the fact that The 3rd Birthday had just been released and I wanted to see what happened to Aya Brea. I lost interest pretty fast due to the fact that this was not the Parasite Eve that I remembered or enjoyed. Once again, I put my PSP on ice until God of War: Chains of Olympus was released. I played Kratos’ story from start to finish. Then with nothing else piquing my interest the PSP went into a deep hibernation next to my computer, collecting dust instead of games. Every now and then I would turn it on to make sure it was functioning and to see if the battery was still charging.
Recently, I’ve been getting back into my neglected hand-held consoles and the PSP has been the most neglected. I revisited my time with The 3rd Birthday and realized that everyone had the PSP wrong. I dug through my little collection of UMDs and discovered that I had a nice little treasure trove of games that just needed to be beaten: Silent Hill: Origins, Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters, and of course The 3rd Birthday; the list goes on. The PSP actually has a good library of games. Some of the PlayStation’s hottest franchises sadly found their demise on this device, but they went out with a bang. MediEvil, Parasite Eve, Syphon Filter and Jak and Daxter had their last hoorah on this device, and these are very important franchises, if you ask me.
As I rummaged through the PSP titles at my local used book store I found some great titles that I cannot wait to play. MediEvil, Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and Daxter are all waiting for me to get my claws into them. The only drawbacks to the PSP is the fact that the games are UMDs. It took me two tries to get a working copy of Ghost of Sparta, and some titles just wouldn’t run. Always try a used UMD right away so you can get your money back; being one for three so far isn’t too bad. Recharging my PSP and finding this nice pile of under-appreciated games makes me happy. Personally, I still have a very difficult time getting into hand-held games, but I’m working on Ghost of Sparta right now and loving every minute of this early title from Ready at Dawn Studios. Yes, the Ready at Dawn Studios that brought us the amazing, yet exceedingly short, The Order: 1886. This is one of many studios that cut its teeth on the PSP only to deliver a nice new IP a few years later.
I understand that the PSP could not compete against the juggernaut that is Nintendo’s DS. The DS was super amazing and had a huge amount of first-party support: Sony just couldn’t find a Mario to throw onto the PSP. Vainly, they tried by putting some famous third party IP’s on the hand-held, one of the biggest probably being Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. Square Enix even threw their biggest franchise Final Fantasy on there, but it could not topple the castle that Mario built. While I’m sad I didn’t show my PSP enough love while it was in its prime, I’m glad I rediscovered it and that I get to enjoy all these games on the cheap. Should you need a cheap portable system with quality games and equally cheap games then pick one up; you won’t regret it.