Vita? I don’t need no stinkin’ Vita! It’s still PSP for me
As much as I’d like one, unfortunately there’s no way I can justify, let alone afford, getting a PS Vita right now. Instead of looking upon owners of Sony’s latest handheld console with envy (well, to be fair I’ve been doing that too – obviously), I decided I would simply dust off my old PSP.
There’s a shocking amount of PSP games I’ve played for a few hours but never fully completed; MotorStorm: Arctic Edge, Resistance: Retribution, Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, and the list goes on. Therefore, I’ve been making up for lost time and pretending it’s 2005; none of the games I’ve been playing actually came out in 2005, but that’s not the point.
If I’m honest, I haven’t played any PSP games for at least two years, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I thought I’d start with Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars; upon release, the Rockstar Leeds game received critical acclaim, but for some reason I’ve hardly touched it since then.
It turns out that was a really bad decision, because it’s actually rather good. The dialogue is often hilarious, and the gameplay is brilliantly fun and very over-the-top, returning to the series’ more tongue-in-cheek style. The return of the overhead view works extremely well on the handheld too.
When I first got my PSP in early 2006, one of the first games I bought was Daxter. I played it a lot back then, but haven’t been on it much since. However, after playing The Jak and Daxter Trilogy earlier in the year, I fancied taking a trip down memory lane (or, rather, a trip to Haven City).
Despite its age, the title still holds up remarkably well today. This console generation has been almost entirely bereft of 3D platformers, so playing Daxter again has been a complete joy. Developer Ready at Dawn later went onto create the incredible PSP iterations of God of War but, for me, the studio’s first title was just as big an achievement.
As well as GTA and Daxter, I’ve been getting to grips with the PSP version of another classic PlayStation franchise: Gran Turismo. I think I may be slightly addicted to the Driving Missions, although my progress on them is painfully slow because I flat out refuse to move onto the next challenge until I have a gold medal. This is the case with all Gran Turismo games, which may explain why I’ve hardly completed any of GT5, despite my ridiculously high play time!
As well as retail games, I’ve also been sampling the delights of the PS minis range. Apart from a few exceptions, I’ve more or less completely ignored minis, even though I own dozens of them thanks to PS Plus. To start, I thought I’d discover why Velocity is currently the joint third highest ranking PSP game on Metacritic; the answer is that it’s very, very good.
Probably best described as Xevious with a teleport mechanic, Velocity came as a bit of a surprise to critics and gamers alike, not least because it’s only the developer’s second game (the first being fellow minis title, Coconut Dodge). Make no mistake; Futurlab is definitely a studio to watch out for in the future (no pun intended).
Other minis I’ve played recently include the evergreen Tetris (by far the minis title I’ve played most), the charming Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess (still Mediatonic’s best game), and the irrepressibly popular Angry Birds (I’m finally starting to see how this game managed to take over the world; better late than never, I know!).
So the question is; will I continue to play on my PSP in the future? Well, I recently downloaded a bunch of PSone classics (Crash Bandicoot FTW!), and even intend to get cracking soon on games like Valkyria Chronicles II and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. Speaking of Final Fantasy, I’m a big fan of FFXIII and XIII-2 so am eagerly awaiting the international release of Final Fantasy Type-0, which will be a day one purchase. I guess all of that means the answer is yes!
All the attention might be on the PS Vita at the moment, but personally, I’m perfectly happy with my good old reliable PSP. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say no if I was offered a Vita, but in my opinion the PSP is an extremely underrated console with some fantastic games, so I think I can just about cope without Sony’s new handheld… for now, at least.