It’s been more than a year since I owned Sony PSP. In short, I found the system is a gem. It has no “zen of implicity” like iPod for its multimedia features, but for gaming (which is its primary mission), Sony PSP excels in every aspects. The screen is brilliant, the operating system is genius (clue: the instant “on-and-off” really helps for dedicated-gamers- without-dedicated –time-for-gaming like me), the game pads are comfortable (of course still can’t beat the comfy of Sony Playstation Dual Shock controller), and the battery life is good enough for a short trip companion.
But what is a great game system without the support of great games?
Through a year of use, I can share the list of Top 5 Games in PSP based on my gaming experience. I subjectively judged this ranking from the following criteria:
- On-the-go Playability. A game for a mobile game console should be playable while you are on the go. Having a game which holds you intensively up for 30 minutes before you can actually take a break is just silly. And a straight ‘vanilla’ port from an excellent game in Playstation console does not cut either.
- Tilt. You have enough interests in this world to keep you away from playing games. The game should carry enough carrots and challenges to bring you back for more.
- Presentations. The big and gorgeus screen of PSP should not be wasted with mediocre presentations.
Ok now, drum rolls…. here they are my Top 5 PSP Games so far (moving from number five to the top):
5. Fight Night Round 3 (Electronic Arts). Even though my favourite boxer of all time, Oscar De La Hoya has retired, at least I still can preserve his legacy through this game. Playing in its addictive career mode, I successfully made De La Hoya as champions in three weight classes, and made him the best pound-for-pound fighter. I also broke record of fastest and most Knock Outs with him. Not to mention is bulk of dollars reaped by playing him through out the ranks. Clearly, I delved this game quite intensively. Aside from its top-notch presentation (as Electronic Arts always do), what I like most from this game is the strategic element of the game play which require you to adjust your fighting style depending on your opponents. Jabbing out the opponents never comes as satisfying as laying them down in the canvas with this game. Great stuff.
4. Ridge Racers (Namco). Despite its stature as one of the first games available when the system was launched, Ridge Racer still possibly holds up as one of the best-looking game in PSP. While you are drifting around the corners, Namco provides you with gorgeous surrounding scenery and objects (helicopters and water falls, anyone?). But the trade mark of this game lies in its addictive gameplay. You move up the ranks through beating the tracks and intelligent opponents. On the hardest level, most of the times what you need is just a perfect race. A simple mistake costs you a spot in the race, which means failure to the next level and next car. No need to worry about lack of authentic cars, the range of beautiful fictional cars in Ridge Racer surely brings you back to unlock them for more!
3. Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 (Konami). Eh, no top spot for Pro Evolution Soccer/Winning Eleven? Even though 75% percent of my gaming time in Playstation and Playstation 2 console spent for this game, unfortunately for PSP, this is not the case. The reason is simply because playing this game in PSP needs dedication. You have to watch the action closely and mash your thumbs in rapid movement. This does give your eyes sore and your palm numbs to play this on extended period of time. So, unless you have spare time and focus for playing this, please steer away. This is the main reason why this game is not ranked in top spot. Other than that, the gameplay is still as superb as ever. You can still find every match is different to another, and every goal is appreciated. The lasting appeal of this game is still as much as its counterpart in traditional console.
2. Star Wars Lego II: The Original Trilogy (Lucas Arts). The joined forces of two my childhood favourites: Lego and Star Wars should be deadly in any form. Combined with excellent gameplay and intriguing puzzles, Star Wars Lego II comes up as a true winner. This is one of the few games which I keep on playing even though I have actually finished it. The unlockable Star Wars characters and vehicles are so tempting to be missed (any Star Wars fan must crave for piloting a Millennium Falcon). And the mission-based gameplay is really suitable for gamers on the go. You can switch off the game anytime when you are stuck without have to worry the time is not on your side. And during your ‘meditation’, somehow those untried ‘strategy’ or ‘route’ pops up in your mind. You switch on the PSP, and voila! You’re through to the next levels! May the force be with you, my young Padawan.
1. Hot Shots Golf (Sony Computer Entertainment America). I understand this may be a surprise winner for you. And to be perfectly honest, it is also for me. But really, this is how a mobile game should be. Instantly playable, but with enough depth to delve into. You can pick up this game anytime you want, and just play for a round (can be 9 holes game) against a computer-AI opponent for merely 5-10 minutes. Even though the golf game is set on cartoonish setting, but there is plenty of realism here. The winds, the slopes and the grass conditions do affect the outcome of your shots. The detailed stats keeper (Fairway hits, GIRs percentage, longest drive, best round, longest chip in, etc) make me keep back to play for this game just for the sake of breaking my own records. There are also six unlockable courses and plethora of characters items (golf clubs, attire, accessories, balls, etc) to be found in this game—adding reasons to play this game more and more. And because of those reasons, this is the ONLY game that remains on my PSP’s memory stick since I installed it. Indeed an instant breath of fresh air when you need it, whether you’re on queue line, on traffic jams, or simply on your weekend coach. Genius.