Despite the ribbing I got in the last episode about buying/not buying a PSPgo, I walked out of the local Best Buy (yes, the horribly crappy one that never gets anything on release day) with the system. I cashed in enough Reward Zone certificates to bring the price—along with the Black Tie Protection Plan just in case of a RRoD situation—to about $140. For the record, it was a couple years’ worth of Reward Zone certificates. I’d been building them up and the PSPgo seemed like a good opportunity to cash them in.
True to form, this Best Buy location had only two accessories: the PSPgo earbuds and a case. They didn’t have the dock or component video cables so I walked out with just the system. I thought the box would be larger than it was but I guess it doesn’t come with any of the accoutrements that launch systems sometimes do. No soft case, no wrist strap, no nuthin’. Ah the salad days of the original PSP launch.
I charged up the system while I was at work, and when it was finished turned it on. I expected the system to at least come pre-loaded with Rock Band Unplugged Lite Edition but no dice (that’s a code you have to redeem from the PSN store). The Go comes with just an interactive ESRB ratings guide and a Patapon 2 demo. That’s it. Considering the age of the PSP and the number of demos and breadth of free content available for it, that’s a bit of a disappointment. Another early disappointment came when the system powered on when I slid the screen up even when the power switch was in the Hold position. Luckily when I got home and finished performing a firmware update (yes, there’s already an update available) that went away.
My first two purchases on the new system were UmJammer Lammy PS1 (I only have the Japanese PS1 version and no longer have a Japanese PS1 to play it on) and Pixeljunk Monsters Deluxe. These two look amazing on the PSPgo’s exceedingly vibrant screen. While the screen is slightly smaller than that of the previous PSP models, it is easily the best looking. Lammy never looked better and makes me a bit sad that that detour in the PaRappa series never got a sequel. Pixeljunk Monsters is exactly as advertised—it’s a portable version of the PS3 game with extra content and online multiplayer. I was very happy to see that it supports Infrastructure play over the Internet. Co-op! Not many PSP games do these days. I’m lookin’ at your Phantasy Star Portable.
Rock Band Unplugged Lite is…well, it’s hardly worth it. It comes with five songs and that’s not enough to play through Career Mode and is barely enough to mess around with in Quick Play. It’s a fun game, what with it basically being a Frequency/Amplitude clone, but I would’ve rather had the option to buy the full game digitally for $5 off than keep this gimped version.
I also picked up Motorstorm Arctic Edge and Fieldrunners, both of which are pretty excellent. More on those in this week’s podcast.
I do have a couple more quick observations:
- L/R triggers are thinner than my index finger and because they’re right up against the slid-up screen it can be hard to get a good grip on the L/R. It was especially noticeable with UmJammer Lammy and Motorstorm.
- The analog nubbin is quite nice, if more out of the way than on the regular PSP.
- I really hate that you can’t organize games into folders and that D/L’d Rock Band songs go in a file that resides in the same list as your games.
- I like the positioning on the ancillary buttons like volume, home, display, etc. They’re much easier to use by touch in a dark room than they were on the regular PSP.
- I actually have kind of a hard time turning it off without pushing the other buttons that are strewn around the top. I wish that you could—like the PS3—hold the home button and select an option to turn the system off instead of using the switch.
We’ll have more on the PSP Go in Episode 154 of the Player One Podcast.