Sony portable hits Australian shelves and Sammy's Hands!
Thu, 1 September 2005
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What a day this has been. What a swell mood Iâ€™m in. Why itâ€™s almost like being in love. Yes indeed, as far as Iâ€™m concerned thereâ€™s nothing better in life than the launch of a new video game system. Sonyâ€™s PSP has finally officially reached Aussie shores! If you can spend a few minutes with one of these things and not be impressed, then you are one jaded son (or daughter) of a bitch.
Nintendoâ€™s DS wooed me with its innovative ways and the refreshingly unusual experience its games can provide. The PSP on the other hand, is not doing anything that hasnâ€™t been done before, but it makes it look so nice that it all feels brand new. Basically, it is just drop dead gorgeous. Once your eyes get a load of that immaculate screen, it really is hard to stop staring at it. The clarity of the picture is truly amazing; it reminds me of how it felt to watch movies on DVD for the first time.
When Nokia released their N-Gage they were attempting to give consumers a "cool" and "mature" handheld gaming device. Everyone knows that Nokia failed miserably, as the design of the thing was poor from the get go, it was awkward looking (in other words, not cool at all) and had no games at launch good enough to justify the high price of the system The PSP however, is the real deal. It is beautifully designed, slick and stylish. Iâ€™ve never really thought of a game system in terms of how cool it is, I just like to play games and I donâ€™t give a shit how I look to others while Iâ€™m doing it. But, I have to admit, the PSP really is cool. I reckon people will want to be seen with one of these suckas. And the launch software line-up is very nice too.
At $399(Aus) the PSP "value pack" has a debatable title. But considering how impressive the technology is and the numerous things the system can do, it is not really an unreasonable price. What you get with this bundle is: The PSP itself (yeah, no shit right?), AC Adapter & power cord, battery pack, ipod-esque white headphones/remote control, 32MB memory stick duo, wrist strap, protective pouch, cloth (for wiping the screen) and a demo UMD (the discs that PSP uses). The demo has some preview footage of several games and some music video clips.
Early purchasers can also register their PSP online, after which Sony will send you a free copy of the Spider-Man 2 movie on UMD along with some other goodies. When they first announced the movie feature, I didnâ€™t think Iâ€™d want any UMD movies for the system. After all, why buy a second copy of a film I have on DVD just to watch it on a way smaller screen? But after seeing how good they look on PSP, I canâ€™t wait to get my free Spidey 2 to watch in full! Especially as I can do it when I take my plane trip to Sydney (or whatever it might be).
The sound quality of the speakers is pretty good too, but with the headphones it improves dramatically. You can get extra speakers for the system and if you happen to watch movies regularly on it with others that might be worthwhile, but I donâ€™t see myself doing that. The headphones are definitely the way to go for individual users and Iâ€™m very happy with the quality of the ones that come with the package. Pop those badboys into your ear holes, crank the volume and you're away.
I always say that it sucks that no systems come with a game at launch any more, but thatâ€™s just not looking as though itâ€™ll change. The demo UMD will show off exactly how incredible things look on the PSP screen, but other than that it isnâ€™t going to entertain anyone for any extended length of time. So, youâ€™ll definitely need to stretch your budget even further and pick up a game to go with your PSP. I chose Wipeout Pure as my first PSP game because, as WWE wrestler Christian would say, thatâ€™s how I roll. Iâ€™ll have a full review of that game up in the next few days too, but I can tell you right now that it rocks.
|It looks even better in "real life". |
I also picked up some other gear for my PSP, most notably a PC link cable so that I can download stuff onto the memory stick. I needed that right away because having Jessica Alba in her Sin City costume as my PSPâ€™s wallpaper is not something I could have coped without. You can save your digital photos to the memory stick as well as music, video and games. Wipeout Pure, for example, already has some extra courses available for download.
The PSP fits fairly snugly into the users hands, not quite as comfortably as a dual shock pad, but not too shabby all the same. The button layout is most familiar if youâ€™ve spent any time using a PlayStation 1 or 2 and it works very well. It also has a little analogue "nub" under the digital directional buttons; at first that looks like it would be way too awkward to use, but in actual fact it is quite easy to get accustomed to.
Some people will probably want to know which I think is the better portable system; PSP or DS? My honest answer isâ€¦I donâ€™t really know. I love them both. But I know thatâ€™s not what people want to hear. So Iâ€™ll say that, right now, I prefer the PSP, purely because I just got it. Plus, Wipeout is a favourite of mine that Iâ€™m stoked to see back in such fine form. However, there are some DS titles set for release (check my E3 articles) that I think will rule and most of them can only be done on the dual screened wonder. So Iâ€™ll say PSP is my pick right now, but DS will likely be my favourite again in the near future. If that answer is not definitive enough for you, well tough shit, thatâ€™s all youâ€™re getting! At the end of the day, I reckon both have plenty going for them and either way I am one happy gamer.
Looking at the PSPâ€™s widescreen in action, the images are so crisp and have a depth to them that is hard to believe. So yes, it is cool and sexy and has all sorts of neat bells and whistles. It also plays games, which is of course my main concern, and Iâ€™m happy to say that, so far on that front, things are looking sweet. Speaking of games, Iâ€™ll leave it there, because I want to get back to playing Wipeout Pure.
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