I have had a PSP for about 3 months now (from the first week it was sold in Italy, which was September 2005). I played, I think, a good number of games such as Ridge Racer, Wipeout Pure, Burn Out Legends, NFS, Lumines and now I’m playing with Pro Evolution Soccer a.k.a. Winning Eleven.
I received PES5 as a Christmas present and I was really happy about it. I have been playing it for about a week now and I have a problem… I can’t play more than about half an hour at a time because my left hand hurts! It’s not my problem, IMO, but rather a design flaw of the PSP. Unfortunately this is not the only one!
The analog stick is really a pain and this is the biggest problem in the PSP design, IMHO. It is too low on the left, to play PES5 you NEED to use it and my hand simply hurts after a few minutes.
The digital joystick, on the other side, is positioned perfectly for my left thumb. There is not much space for buttons and joysticks, of course and Sony must have decided that the digital stick was more important than the analog one. Obviously, while playing with the analog stick, you will have more problems reaching the L key than normally.
Next in my list of flaws are load times. In most games I have to say that load times are acceptable, when playing PES5 they are seriously too long. The UMD is slow and noisy, every time you end a match you go back to the main menu (and loads) during games when you substitute a player you see a short animation, and the UMD loads the animation and then loads when the game restarts. It is really too slow. It might be a problem of PES5 you might say, since other games don’t seem so slow, but to me, future games will simply present the same problem as PES5 as developers add animations, make the graphics more complex and so on. Sony put the beautiful MemoryStick in the PSP, why not release games on it? Wouldn’t it be faster when loading? I think so.
Power key and led. I haven’t experienced the problem myself, but I heard a few friends turning the PSP off (or on hold) while playing. This is a SERIOUS problem, most of all if you turn it off! Aside from this, the power led is really cute, little green light, too bad that while I’m playing I have my finger on it and don’t see when it starts blinking to notify that the battery is running out. I happened to finish the battery while playing more than once! Why not put the very same led on the upper left or right? It would have been in plain site.
The style of the PSP design is simply great. When you look at it you can’t do anything but say that it’s beautiful. Like many things that look beautiful, you can’t touch it! Fingerprints will appear on your entire PSP after 5-6 seconds that you started using it. Most notably, in certain light environment you can see your face on the display. This happened to me often.
Probably the last point is not really THAT bad, but the previous ones seem really important to me. It is really a shame that the analog stick is SO uncomfortable that it makes it almost unusable. When playing Wipeout or Ridge Racer I always used the digital stick and it was ok, but with PES5 and BurnOut Legends you really need the analog one. NFS is simply a bad game so I didn’t spend so much time on it. Got bored in a couple of days.
I am considering the Nintendo DS as an alternative, but I have to admit that the number of games available is a little bit a show stopper to me. I really like Mario Kart DS and would love to play online with other people, but there aren’t really many other games attracting me at this time (as I don’t play Mario DS).
By the way, when is a PSP game going to support internet games?
Update: I forgot to mention this link about Sony knowing of design flaws. Thanks to GameSpot.
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