TGS: PSP Go hands – on impressions

 

At Tokyo Game Show on Thursday and Friday, I had two relatively brief opportunities to get my hands on the forthcoming PSP Go, due October 1st in the US and EU, and 1st November in Japan. My first hands-on was 3 minutes spent playing Gran Turismo, whilst the PSP was attached to a Sony employee by an elastic cord! It was rather off putting trying to play the Go whilst connected to a full grown woman, so I couldn’t really come to any sort of conclusion about the system.

However, the next day I was afforded a second chance to play 15 minutes of Little Big Planet on the lilliputian Go, and this time I was only attached to the playing stand, which made proceedings that much easier. I’ll start with some thoughts on LBP, which thankfully remains as fun and as charming as its home console brethren. The available stage had an Outback setting and contained all the gameplay elements that any fan of the original will be acutely familiar with: jumping, seesaws, swinging from objects and lots of pushing and dragging boxes. It all seemed well and good, though some of the problems that plagued the original were still present, most notably the fiddliness of moving between the foreground and background of the levels. Still, I am happy to report that all seems to be well in the strange universe of LBP.

As for the PSP Go, it’s a mixed bag. My main concern, the relative proximity of the face buttons, was a negligible problem at best. I didn’t have cause to use the d-pad, but simultaneously using the analogue nub and the face buttons was comfortable and easy. The system fits nicely in the palm, and does look the bees-knees. And although the screen is slightly smaller than the PSP 3000, it didn’t impact my enjoyment in any way, and to be honest, I didn’t really notice the difference.

However, one problem did rear its ugly head, and made me sour on the system considerably. Whilst using the analogue nub, face and shoulder buttons is easy, and surprisingly comfortable, my remaining six fingers were forced into a rather unnatural and uncomfortable position at the rear of the unit. Due to the significantly reduced size, my fingers were forced to interlock and overlap, which caused some minimal discomfort, which I can only imagine would be magnified over a longer playing session. I must stress here that I did only play for around 15 minutes, and I could only remove the Go so far from its display stand, as for security reasons it was attached by a short cord, thus I didn’t have the freedom of movement that I would have liked. Still, it’s definitely a concern.

Alongside my hands-on session, Sony’s backtracking on original statements suggesting there would be some sort of goodwill program, allowing the existing base of PSP users to trade in their UMDs for their digital counterparts, has led me to drastically change my tune concerning the Go. Add the high price point into the equation, as well as some worrying, though granted, limited rumblings that some retailers are refusing to carry it, and I really cannot justify picking one up for now.

I think the PSP Go is a brave and logical move by Sony. I can foresee it achieving a certain level of popularity initially, being a smart looking portable that has appeal for an audience that always welcomes new gadgets. But, I struggle to envision it sustaining any sort of continued success, particularly if Sony is unable, or unwilling, to shift their position on a goodwill UMD exchange programme.

Matt M

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

One comment

  1. I’d love a psp go, just because it smaller than the PSP 3000, and I can carry all the games I want (mgs & GTpsp) easily.

    Only thing I hate about it is the price tag… I’ll be waiting till its alot cheaper 😛

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