The PSP might be technologically beefier than the DS, but it is no less hateable. Having faded into semi-obscurity in the US, it is nonetheless kept afloat by a regular trickle of Japanese RPGs and occasional Sony-published would-be blockbusters. Even considering its inoffensiveness and years of regular improvements, there’s still plenty here to rag on.
Firmware updates: These are easily the worst aspect of owning a PSP. Pop a new game in, and there’s a decent likelihood that it won’t work until you upgrade to the latest iteration of the PSP’s firmware. This means sitting through a lengthy download, followed by an even lengthier installation, and it’s always boring and disappointing and requires that the PSP either be plugged into an electrical outlet or fully charged. (Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be both anymore.)
Sucks batteries like a mofo: Speaking of keeping the thing charged, the PSP’s big screen and drive motor mean it takes a lot more power to run than, say, the DS, and it’s rare that you’ll be able to wring more than a few hours of gameplay from it at a stretch. That goes double if you’ve got the WiFi switch turned on. It also mysteriously eats power when it’s not plugged in, which you’ll find out if you ever leave it alone for a week or two and then try to play without charging first.
Lengthy load times: The problem here is a simple one: by the time your average PSP game starts up, cycles through its logo splash screens, checks your saves, loads a save and eventually loads up a level, you’ll probably already be done in the bathroom.
Above: Oh, are you finally ready? We got tired of waiting, sorry
The analog nub: The rough little disk that passes for a thumbstick on the PSP is awkwardly placed, imprecise, uncomfortable to use and – in late-model PSPs – doesn’t even snap off so that you can replace it with one of the more comfortable replacement pads offered by third parties. And that all might be excusable, except for the fact that there’s only one of them.
Above: THIS THING RIGHT HERE
Which leads us to the next reason…
Developers refuse to work within its limitations: We can understand the temptation here – the PSP’s power approaches that of a PS2, and that should mean you can develop PS2-sized games for it, right? Well, no. For whatever reason, seemingly every PSP developer seems think it’s their duty to create a shooter for the handheld, and so far none of them have done it particularly well.
Above: STOP DOING THIS
The lack of a second analog nub means the system just isn’t suited to console-style FPSes and 3PSes, but so far that hasn’t stopped anyone from trying to shoehorn them in. Instead of continually trying to ignore the PSP’s limitations, it would probably be better for everyone if more developers just tried to create good games within them.
Slow-ass web browser: That the PSP has a built-in browser at all is cool, but trying to actually use it is an exercise in masochism. It’s slow, it chokes on image-filled pages and it can’t display anything that requires newer versions of Flash. If you have a PS3, you’re actually better off using its browser through the Remote Play feature. Speaking of which…
Remote Play is still largely a gimmick: Being able to play PS3 games from anywhere is a pretty appealing proposition, but to date only a handful of games (and pretty much every PSone game, but we're not counting those) actually support the Remote Play feature, which can link your PSP to your PS3 from anywhere in the world... so long as you leave your PS3 on, and whatever wireless network you’re using doesn’t mess up the connection. Probably the biggest reason most games don’t support it is that the PSP’s lack of a second thumbstick and shoulder buttons means creative solutions have to be devised to get games to work right, and even then some of them don’t play well enough for the feature to be much more than a cool novelty.
Above: LEGO Batman is one of the few PS3 games to support Remote Play... which kind of begs the question of why you'd ever buy the PSP version
UMD movies were a ripoff: They might fill bargain bins now, but when the UMD movie format was first introduced, it didn’t take a genius to figure out they were a bad idea. They were more expensive than DVDs, but offered no extra features and held less data. They required the drive motor to be in constant motion, which meant watching a movie could wipe out your entire battery all by itself. They also couldn’t be played in anything except the PSP, either, and as Memory Sticks big enough to hold movies became more affordable, they weren’t really worth bothering with even after being deeply discounted.
TV connection hates SDTVs: Don’t own an HDTV? Then you’re not going to be able to take full advantage of the PSP-to-TV output feature that was introduced with the PSP Slim. Sure, the system will load up and display nearly everything, but the second you try to play a game, the system will politely tell you that you’ll need a TV that can do at least 480p resolution before it can display.
Above: As good an excuse to upgrade your TV as any
The most popular games just get ported to PS2 anyway: Want to play Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, either of the Grand Theft Auto Stories games or Silent Hill: Origins? Then play them on an actual TV, like God intended.
Mar 27, 2009
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Hmmmmppphh… must… not… smash… pad