Hands-on with the PSP Feature - The Next Level

Hands-on with the PSP

Hours after the official Japanese release, Andrew takes some time out to offer a few impressions with Sony's portable gem.

Article by Chris Bahn (Email)
December 14th 2004, 02:56AM

I bet you're thinking that this feature is going to turn out like other articles about Sony's little portable system, but it's not. For one, I didn't have to stand in line overnight to get one. Secondly, I didn't even have to wake up ultra early to get the system. Yup, it's true -- I got up at nine in the morning to make it to my local game store at 9:50, about ten minutes before opening time. A grand total of one person was at the store, waiting in line.


For such a hyped product, I would've expected that the lines would be incredibly long, despite my area being a little bit small compared to other towns. Then I realized that the reason why no one was standing around was because the store was only giving systems to preorders, which I had. So I was pretty safe, even though I was #74 on their list. I casually walked into the store, showed them my preorder slip, and took home one brand new PSP Value Pack. Yeah, It's not a very exciting story, but living in Japan isn't an adventure every day!

So once I picked up the PSP, I headed to work and opened it. The first thing that came out of my mouth when I finally took the system out of the box was "Damn, I forgot how sexy this thing is." Make no mistake about it, the system is truly a work of art, and makes the Nintendo DS look like some '80s throwback system. I was more concerned about smudging the system than I was about the purported battery life. You'll get used to it though, since eventually the system will start to smudge, but damn if it isn't a pretty thing to look at.

The boot-up sequence for my first play was similar to the DS, where I had to set up everything, although I was surprised to see that I could change the language on it, like the DS. Seems like the system will be region-free, after all. Some of the cooler features on the system include a Hold option for when you're listening to music or watching movies on the system, and a backlight control function! You can select between three levels of intensity for your backlight, which is absolutely awesome for your batteries. There's also a Home button, which lets you quit any game in progress. Why do you need it? Well, simply turning off the power on the system doesn't actually quit the game. Instead, it puts the game into sleep mode, so that when you boot the system up again, you'll be able to continue on with your game. Obviously, this is a problem if you want to swap games, so the Home button is a pretty good idea.

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