Handheld Addict

PS VitaPSPPSPgoWii3DSDS LiteXboxGame Boy Micromp3 playersMobileGadgetsgeneral

Friday, August 28, 2009

new SW Battlefront: Elite Squadron pics

I'm pretty desperate for any info on Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron for PSP & DS.... just came across this Gamespot article that doesn't really tell us much more than what has already been announced.

12 maps sounds a bit small, but each one is supposed to have both ground & space components, so they could have quite a bit of content. And weapons on the ground can be used to fight space vessels; they cite as example the Ion cannon on Hoth..... oh man... I've always wanted to be able to use the Ion cannon! That would be awesome, especially after getting teased with watching it fire in the background on Star Wars Battlefront: Rengade Squadron, but not being able to interact with it.

More interesting than the article is the gallery they've got.

Are you kidding me? Oh man, if that pic is accurate-- can we really fly around the Death Star??? *Drool*

I sure hope this game holds its own and isn't watered down or rushed, kinda like Secret Agent Clank was after Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters.....


Thursday, August 20, 2009

PSP UMD drive troubles again?

One thing that's got me worried... when I first started playing Wipeout Pulse, the UMD would start up by itself while I was navigating in other menus like VIDEO or MUSIC... and the Do you want to quit the game? screen popped up during playing.... this is the exact same UMD drive problem I had with my previous PSP-2001.... it's been a year almost to the week that I sent that one in & got the current one I'm playing with as a replacement. And now THIS one is doing the same thing??? That really pisses me off. I don't abuse my PSPs at all; I never even open the UMD door when I can hear it spinning. So why is this problem so prevalent? I suspect it's more common than people think, but most PSP users only play games on it so maybe they don't notice. Judging by the number of views & comments on my Youtube video of the problem, it seems pretty significant.

It hasn't happened again since a couple days ago. But I know that's how it started on my other PSP-2001 too; occasionally at first-- then happening more & more often, interrupting gameplay until I couldn't take it any more. Grrrr. Maybe the PSPgo *is* a good idea-- after cutting corners to reduce their costs with the PSP-2000, Sony gives up on the UMD drive entirely. But their lack of professionalism with the PS Store doesn't fill me with much hope that that's a better alternative.


Wipeout Pulse

I've been playing lots of New Super Mario Bros. DS, but over the last couple days I finally pulled the wrapping off of Wipeout Pulse & dug into the game, which I got from The Source for $9.97 a while ago. Score.

It's fun... I'm a big fan of Wipeout Pure; I still think it's one of the best PSP games in the library. Unfortunately, every system seems to have an overabundance of 1 genre of games; For the original Xbox it was FPS games, for the Wii it's obviously minigame collections. And for the PSP, it's racing games.

But in my opinion, Wipeout Pure is one of the best of the genre. And Wipeout Pulse lives up to the high standards set by Wipeout Pure. It's a great game, but it does feel like more of the same. They haven't changed much at all... which is both good & bad.

If you're ravenous for more Wipeout PSP gaming, Wipeout Pulse would be the obvious choice. But even if you're new to the franchise, either one would probably do.... there's no story, it's just basically racing. I'm only early into it, but I find Wipeout Pulse has more time trials & "beat a certain time" events, and less actual races against AI opponents. I'd rather have more races... so that's one of my quibbles about it.

It also seems like the speed pads are placed just so you'll miss them unless you're really experienced with the tracks. I found the placement more natural in Wipeout Pure.

A nice feature with Wipeout Pulse is that you can import some mp3 tracks into the game. You create a folder named WIPEOUT in the MUSIC folder, and you can put up to 30 tracks into the game. I always wish that more games would take advantage of this feature, as the PSP is a multimedia device, so it seems like a natural. It is so freakin' awesome to be barreling down these futuristic tracks while listening to The Who's Baba O'Reily....

Wipeout Pure also supports gamesharing-- another great PSP feature that should be used more often by game developers. With 1 copy of the game, you can download a small portion of it to another PSP without the game. You can also do multiplayer with another PSP with only 1 copy... the content is limited of course, but it's a nice feature to have.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

IGN PSPgo video walkthrough

Not too much new to report on the PSPgo, but IGN has a video with Sony's handpuppet mouthpiece John Koller...... ugh. I just don't like that guy.... it's just that he's said things like, "There's definitely no new PSP coming! We don't need a new model at all!" then SCEJ whispers in his ear, and he's going, "Like I said, there's a new PSP coming! We think a new model is really needed!" Uh, right. It's probably not his fault that Sony is paying him to be a weasel, but whatever.

The video basically goes over everything we already know, but it is nice to actually see the button placements & have details spelled out for sure. Would've been nice if he'd actually talked more about the NEW features like Blutooth instead of just casually mentioning it at the end.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

PSP Go accessories - headphones

This article from Gaming Bits talks about some of the PSPgo accessories that are coming.

Hmmm... I assumed that there would be *NO* headphones/remote available for the PSPgo. It felt like Sony was leaving that handy feature behind... after all, they did screw it up a bit with the PSP Slim: there's an annoying buzz that can be heard when using the headphones/remote for the PSP-2000. It's a faint pulsing bzzzt.... bzzzt... bzzzt... bzzzt... (my complaint can be found here) I even took my first headphones/remote back to Walmart & exchanged it with another pair.... then I BOUGHT ANOTHER PSP-2000 from Walmart just to be sure it wasn't the PSP, which I also took back. I'm pretty sure there's a problem with the design of the remote/headphones for the PSP-2000, someone at Sony missed something that probably has never been fixed.

So that's disappointing. But Sony has had an otherwise great history with its remotes, going back to their portable CD players. My metal body Sony portable CD player I got in the early 1990's came with a headphones/remote. It's a very nice feature.

I'm a little stoked that they'll have one for the PSPgo, even though I'm becoming less decided on getting a PSPgo as the release date gets closer.

The headphones look nice, they're the in-ear ones which I've really become a fan of. I was fine with the stock earbuds that came with the headphones/remote, but since getting my first pair of in-ear-- Creative EP-630-- those are really nice buds, I got them on sale for like $10.00 or $20.00... something like that. Totally worth it. I also use JVC Marshmallow ones that you squeeze the hard foam-like buds and they expand in your ear like an earplug. Those are awesome for insulating from outside noise.

WAITASEC.... now that I've read that Gaming Bits article, it looks like those aren't a remote at all-- rather, they're a headset for Skype! Grrrrrrr....... okay I'm back to being pissed off then. Still, it looks like a nice headset, and a good price, plus the Amazon listing says it's compatible with all previous PSP models! Not sure how that works, but that's a good thing.

But looks like the remote may be left behind after all though.....


Monday, August 3, 2009

books on PSP

I've been using my PSP a lot this summer..... though not as much for gaming. It's still my most-used device.

I have been gaming on it, lately I've been playing Atari Classics Evolved... but I've mostly been catching up on taped tv shows, and for the last few weeks, reading books on it.

If I can come across a text file, I use a PSP ebook creator program that coverts the text file into JPG pages, which go into folders in the PICTURE section. I might be able to read the text file straight from the PSP web browser, but I find it to be finicky as to whether it'll work, and even if it does, it's tougher to scroll through one big .txt file than to look through .jpg pages.

After reading Twilight as a straight book, I've been reading the 3 sequel books this way. Currently reading Breaking Dawn on it.

I still prefer to have a physical book, I have to admit that reading on a PSP is a poor substitute. But it is handy.

The first rumour of what we now know as the PSPgo came from Dave Perry's twitter message where he said, "they've removed the stupid battery-sucking UMD disc drive". But of course since then... we also now know that the PSPgo will have the *SAME* battery life as the previous PSPs with "the stupid battery-sucking UMD disc drive"...... so what's really sucking the battery power? Sure, spinning a physical disc is power-intensive, anybody who's owned a portable CD player knows this (like me). But what most people miss is that just powering a device's SCREEN takes a lot of power.

And this is where I get back on track about reading books on my PSP. I get about 2-3 hours of PSP use on a single charge, and reading books is no different. I'm not using the UMD drive, yet it's about the same as if I was. It's because I have the screen on that whole time. That's a bummer since I'd never have to worry about that with an actual book. On the other hand, the PSP makes reading in low-light environments, like at night, very handy.

Another problem is the first book I loaded onto my PSP, I just dumped all the pages into one folder. Since I read my pages on my PSP in horizontal, landscape format, there are more pages than there would be in an actual book. Almost 2x as many, I'd say. So that first book was over 700 pages. Way more than I'd ever loaded in a single folder before. And it made scrolling through it a bit cumbersome. It also got a bit buggy, randomly skipping like 50 pages near the second half of the pages. So now I split the book up into 100 pages per folder.

It's only been the last few weeks that I've used my PSP to read full length novels... I hadn't really been reading novels for a long time, and I wanted to get back into it. The PSP has been pretty helpful in that regard. More compact than a book, and lit screen.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

New Super Mario Bros. DS

I bought New Super Mario Bros. DS a couple days ago, it's on sale at Future Shop for $30.00.... basically the game features the old-school, cheap, stingy kind of outdated gameplay that should be extinct in this day & age. It is fun to be sure, but "deliberate brokeness" really keeps this game from being nearly as good as the reviews claim it is. Highly overrated.

It's a stubborn throwback to the games of 1992, even though it came out in 2006. One of the biggest problems is the save system. The game is broken up into 8 worlds, and each world has a bunch of levels that need to be completed to advance. But there are only 2 ways to save progress in the game: you can save after completing a tower or castle; there's 1 of each in each world. Or you can spend Star Coins to open up areas, and it will ask if you want to save after spending them. You can collect up to 3 Star Coins during each level.

Because of the sparse save points in the game, you can do quite a few levels between castles & towers that are lost because you can't save unless you do a castle or tower (Boss levels) ... or spend a limited amount of Star Coins (provided you have enough) EACH TIME you want to save without having to finish a castle or tower.

What's particularly galling is that this is not an accidentally flawed system; it's completely deliberate. Because once you beat the game, you can THEN save at any time. In typical Mario game fashion, they give you what you need ONLY after you don't need it.

Then of course there's the archaic & outdated use of limited men. I think the game starts with 5 Marios, but you can increase your Mario count by collecting 100 coins, and bonus men powerups, etc. Still, it's not like Super Mario Galaxy where they're fairly generous with the men; New Super Mario Bros. DS is very stingy, and it remembers how many men you have when you save. So if you're down to 2 Marios when you save, that's how many you start with when you next play. There is a "glitch" where you can get up to 99 Marios, but you have to play through a level, and it's not easy to time it properly, meaning that sometimes you may not even get it... so you have to replay that level until you do.... again oldschool & outdated.

The powerups are very limited, there's only the fire Mario, and a few new ones. The new ones, like being a giant, should be hella cool, but instead result in a premature death for the most part, which makes them not all that useful.

Couple that with the way Nintendo games hardly ever go down in price.... this game came out 3 years ago, and has gone down maybe $10.00 since it came out. What a ripoff. And yet, suckers like me will still pony up the $$$.

Between this, Wii Sports Resort & WarioLand Shake It!, I've been spending way too much on games lately....