Posted by: pdk27 | April 25, 2008

How the PSP Got It’s Groove Back

Let me take you back to March 2005. Nintendo had already launched the DS and the world was now waiting for Sony to come in with it’s PSP and take over the handheld console market. With it’s almost PS2 quality graphics, most people assumed Nintendo had no chance. Fast forward three years later, and things turned out quite differently. I’ve owned both systems since launch and seen them through good game and drought with the DS receiving most of my gaming time. Sure the PSP got used, but mostly for playing videos or the occasional game of Hot Shots. If I had to pick between the two, Sony’s device didn’t stand a chance. However something happen in the last month. Something that caused me to completely ignore my DS for the past month. That something was the release of some killer apps (finally). Of course I am talking about God of War: Chains of Olympus and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core.

God of War: COW (4/5 stars): Forget the hate that insanemouse put up a couple of weeks ago. This game is the real deal. Sure the main story line is short, but what is there is a A1 prime steak with none of the fluff that is usually put into these kinds of games to make them artificially longer. This of it more as a 1 1/2 summer blockbuster movie as oppose to a 3 hour epic drama. This game just makes me realize that it was a huge mistake for Sony to gimp the processor speed at launch. If more games where closer to PS2 quality like this one is then things may have turned out very different.

Final Fantasy VII: CC (4.5/5 stars): I’ve always had a strange relationship with RPGs. I’m very intrigued by them but I’ve actually only ever finished a couple (Dragon Warrior, Pokemon, Golden Sun). Most of them I get 40 -50% of the way through, find out I’m going to have to grind for six hours to get any farther and then give up. One such RPG was Final Fantasy VII. As much as I am interested in the story, I could never finish the game. Final Fantasy VII:CC changes all that. I have never finished a RPG as quickly as I blew through this game. Part of the reason is that the main story line isn’t that long (20 hours). But the real reason is that once again, here is a game that gets rid of all the fluff.  Most of the things that drag down a RPG are gone in this game.  Need an item?  All the stores are accessible from the menu at all times to buy more things like potions and ethers.  Do a lot of summons?  All summon scenes are skippable.  Got to the last boss and you not leveled up high enough to fight him?  Don’t worry about classic grinding, from any save point you can access missions.  They are little 4-5 min adventures that give you treasure and help level up everything.  Wrap this streamlined RPG in  an amazing looking graphics package and you have the perfect RPG on the go.

So thank you PSP for one hell of a month of gaming.  I’m going to return to my DS now because I want to finish Professor Layton and Advance Wars: Day of Ruin.  I hope I don’t have to wait as long for the next awesome expirence.

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