Dave, I keep seeing your site pop up on Google for Sony PSP searches, but I haven’t yet been able to figure out: do you own one of these units? If so, what games do you think are the very best ones to buy? There aren’t a ton out yet, but each one is so darn expensive…
Okay, true confession: I haven’t yet bought an actual Sony Playstation Portable, uh, PSP, yet, but I’m darn close to buying one, even to the point of being over at EB Games in another browser window with a shopping cart holding:
- PSP Value Pack
- Sandisk Memory Stick Pro Duo 256MB
- Ridge Racer
- Get Connected: USB Link Cable Set
Why? Because first off, lots of people coming here to Ask Dave Taylor are PSP fanatics – I get a surprising number of questions about the PSP, particularly about connectivity, MP3 playback, movies, etc – and secondly because, well, I deserve a chance to play with spiffo new geektoys once in a while, right?
But buying into the PSP world is rather intimidating too, with each UMD movie costing $20-$35 and games averaging about $40-$50 per unit. Buying a game, even from eBay, then realizing it’s not a match with your own gaming style and preferences can be darn expensive. Which stinks. Worse, trying out a game in a store for 90 seconds isn’t a very good way to find out if it has the ability to engage you long-term, and all the old favorites I used to play on my Nintendo Gameboy like Pipe Dream are long-gone from the scene.
Fortunately, a bit of surfing led me to the site Metacritic.com, which has a great premise: they aggregate published and user-submitted reviews to give you a quick sense of the overall community opinion on specific games, DVDs, books, etc. One of the few sites I’ve stumbled into that I’ve bookmarked for later visits. Brilliant!
According to Metacritic’s PSP Game Scores page, the top five games for the Sony PSP are:
- WipEout Pure (and am I missing something with this bizarre capitalized “E” in the middle of the game?)
- Ridge Racer
- Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 Remix
- Twisted Metal: Head-On
WipEout Pure is a racing game that takes place in the future, with zero gravity hovercars, spiffo weapons, aggressive combat and so on. Gamespy says: “For racing fans who want a perfect mix of compelling gameplay, unequalled excellence of presentation, and a few sore thumbs, WipEout Pure will not disappoint.” For me, though, I don’t really like the combat thing so much, so I’ll skip this popular title.
Lumines sounds very cool, though, a puzzle game that’s described by Modojo in lyric terms: “Like waves crashing onto a white sandy beach, it’s a spectacular elemental fusion that lulls you into a zen-like state, a type of serenity that relaxes your body as well as your mind as you peacefully walk its shores. An artistic achievement and a must buy, Lumines is therapy for the soul.” How can you not like that? Well, I dunno. This is one I want to try out before I buy it…
Ridge Racer is the one that’s made it into my shopping cart, it’s the top rated car racing game, a genre that seems to be tailor made for the form factor and processor capabilities of the Sony PSP. And, heck, it’s more fun to crash a virtual car than a real car, isn’t it? Here’s what Deeko says: “To call Ridge Racers on the PSP a satisfying game would be a lie. The entire experience is euphoric, a game that is beyond satisfying and is quite easily one of the finest racers on a handheld to date.”
Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 Remix is yet another successful game in the long line of Hawk games. I gotta mention here that Tony’s not only an amazing skateboarder, but he’s demonstrating his awesome business savvy as he continues to grow into one of the most valuable franchises in sports history. Way to go, Tony! This particular game is about … skateboarding. Here’s how Next Level Gaming describes it: “The graphics in THUG 2 Remix are incredible for a handheld system. It looks almost identical to the PS2 version with only a few drawbacks that are barely noticeable. With the great graphics, the game also sports a very solid framerate and smooth gameplay.” Not my cup of tea.
Finally, Twisted Metal: Head On even has a title that’s sure to repel people older than eighteen, at least in my opinion, and is all about multi-player combat in cars. Yeah, I know, I made the comment earlier about crashing a virtual car being more fun than crashing a real one, but I don’t mean that I want to get into the demolition derby business. Anyway, here’s what GameZone says: “Head-On is the first top-of-the-line multiplayer game designed for a handheld. It’s vehicular combat at its finest. It’s satisfying, but will leave you hungry for another bite.” Me? I’ll skip this first bite.
There are clearly lots of games and movies for the Sony PSP, some that I don’t yet have on my radar screen as I’m just about to take the plunge (where’s the Pacman game series anyway? Or Tetris? Those boring classics are darn nice to have, in my opinion), but it’s a brave new world of handheld gaming.
So, dear reader, if you have a Sony PSP, what games are you finding the very best, most compelling and most addictive? For that matter, what games did you find just stunk and were a complete and frustrating rip-off?
And if you think this means that Ask Dave Taylor will be featuring a lot more PSP help and information, you’d be right! Stay tuned, gamers!