The PSP is dead, long live the PSV.
Let's face, the PSP is over. In fact, for most of us in the west, it has over for a long time. Going into a game store locally for the past 2 years has been very reminiscent of the last couple of years of the Gamecube - pathetic. Yet the party was much stronger and still goes on in Japan. For some reason, the Japaneses "got" the PSP and in return, they got a lot of games to choose from. Sadly, so many of those games never saw an English translation, so we missed out. Looking back, how have those years been with my PSPs?
I got 2 free PSPs.
That is how it started for me, I got 2 PSPs and they cost me nothing. They were a bonus work incentive. I certainly wouldn't have purchased them myself back then as they were far too expensive and didn't have the games I wanted to play. All I had to do was find some games to play on them. That was the first problem. I just couldn't find a single game I would pay $30 for, let alone the $70 they were asking. That is where the overall failure to sell aspect of the PSP became an advantage - clearance games. I was finding games for $10 to $25 everywhere, so I picked a few up. Over the years, despite the $70 new game price tag, the most I have paid for a game is $35.
I couldn't love the PSP no matter how hard I tried.
I wanted to love the PSP, but it just wasn't happening. It felt really uncomfortable in my hands and that was just the start. I hated the analogue nub, it was just horrible. The load times nearly drove me insane. The constant updates every time I got a new game. The battery? The time it would last wasn't the problem, the problem was how quickly it drained when I didn't use it. I have a Gameboy that was sitting for 5 years and still had charge. I leave the PSP for a week and it was completely drained. All this just left me cold and playing the DS more.
It was a good MP3 player and displaying photos.
I found most of the time, on trips interstate (I do frequently) that I used it as am MP3 player and to show friends photos. What struck me was how so many people had no idea what I was using. They had never heard of a PSP. Eventually an iPod Touch and then an iPhone made the PSP completely redundant for the functions I was mainly using it for. If I had purchased them for that purpose, it would have been a very poor purchase indeed.
Finally, the games.
I have been pretty harsh on the poor old PSP up until this point, so let's talk about the games. The PSP is oft criticised for not having a decent games catalogue. I think this is unfounded and a touch ignorant. I did a proper count of my PSP games and despite all my criticisms, I have managed to gather 54 games and I am not finished, as I am finding good RPGs cheap to import, so I expect to add at least another 10-15 before it is all over. So what games am I prepared to share my enjoyment of with you?
This is some of the good stuff. In fact, these 10 games (2 Monster Hunter) are reason enough on their own to justify having a PSP. The real standout in this group for me is Jeanne D'Arc. The reason for that is perhaps the surprise element - it was just so damn good. Tales of Eternia was pretty close to the first game I got (it is hard to remember) and it impressed me a lot as a hamdheld game, but it is a port and I will get to that issue soon. I got Monster Hunter Freedom and Freedom Unite after I got Tri for the Wii. Tri sold me on the series and no regrets - can't wait for the the 3DS 3G and 4. I played the hell out of Final Fantasy Tactics on the GBA, so I jumped for some more with War of the Lions. After getting Valkyria Chronicles on the PS3 and loving it, the PSP sequel was a no brainer. Disgaea Afternoon of Darkness is a port of the PS2 game, but along with the DS game, I enjoy the series enough to play any version out there. Valkyrie Profile Lenneth was another easy choice after palying the PS2 game (a different one). Tactics Ogre just screamed at me to play it and now I have downloaded the N64 VC game. Lastly, I have every Kingdom Hearts game so far (PS2, GBA & DS), so it was natural to want Birth By Sleep as well.
Too many average ports and cutdown PS2 games with bad controls.
This plagued the PSP for me. What the DS had going for it was a unique offering, due to the nature of the controls and the lesser graphical power. With the PSP closely matching the PS2, the games on offer were much the same. In fact, they seem cutdown, missing parts. Then there was the controls. Now I am not a fan of the PS controller - I don't like it - but it eats the PSP as a controller. Given a choice of PSP or PS2 of much the same game, I certainly wasn't buying both and rarely choosing the PSP. It was just too tempting for the developers to be lazy. It needed them to dedicate themselves to creating from scratch, a game for the PSP. It happened, but not enough. Then PSP games started getting ported to the PS2. The likes of GTA are examples and I certainly didn't buy them again.
Other games I liked.
The 10 earlier games were the best of the bunch, but amongst the other 44 games, there were some I still liked:
Astonishia Story, Crisi Core: Final Fantasy VII, Everybody's Golf, Everybody's Tennis, Field Commander, Final Fantasy I, Final Fantasy II, Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon. LittleBigPlanet, Locoroco, ModNation Racers, Phantasy Star Portable, Popolocrois, Sid Meier's Pirates.
Then there the games I wanted to like, but didn't:
God of War: Chains of Olympus, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Key of Heaven, Lord of the Rings: Tactics, Sims 2, Tekken: Dark reurrection, Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade.
Then there are those that had moments, but not enough:
Burnout Legends, Echocrome, Exit, Gran Turismo, MNaruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes, Mytran Wars, Need For Speed Underground Rivals, Pursuit Fore: Extreme Justice, Ridge Racer, Samurai Warriors: State of War, SSX On Tour, Streetfighter: Alpha 3 Max, Test Drive Unlimited, Virtua Tennis World Tour, Wipeout Pure.
If you are counting, there are still more games I have, but not everything needs talking about.
Games still to be added to the library.
I still have my eye on some games that are clearly awesome and now I am seeing under $20 as opposed to $70, so I need to snap them up:
Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley, Breath of Fire 3, Final Fantasy IV Complete, both Final Fantasy Dissidia games. If I finally see the persona games at a good price, I will add thos as well. I am sure there are others I haven't covered, but my search for importing games will uncover them eventually.
The PSP has been a bumpy ride to say the least. I really don't like the console and it gave me little reason to. However, gaming is all about the games and it delivered more than enough for me to reflect on how much is has been worthwhile. If you bothered reading, thank you.