Tag Archive | "gaming console"

Tweaking Your PSP: Stuff You Can Do Without Modifying Your System

The PSP is a great portable gaming device, and considering its large library of impressive games, there is plenty of reason to have fun with it. However, there are times when a little tweaking is needed to make your gaming life a little easier, and here are a few things you can do with your device without voiding your warranty.

Make use of the quick hibernate function

Instead of turning off your system fully, just quickly slide up the power tab to set it to into quick hibernate. This is perfect when you are playing a game that does not allow you to pause during a certain sequence or event and you have to really put the device down (you either have to stand up from the waiting lobby and meet your appointment or simply need to check the computer for the latest FAQs about the game you are playing). This also lets you continue your game progress without worrying about the battery life so much –speaking of which, when you see the battery light blinking and you might not make it to the power outlet and charger in time, going into hibernate can buy you that extra amount of time.

Switch out the memory stick for single-auto-save games

The great thing about games that the real world does not have: save points -which basically allow you to redo any wrong decision or action you take. But what about games that have auto-save functions? This is where having a second memory stick comes in. Simply copy your original save file into a new stick, and then switch back and forth depending on your needs. Of course, you will need a computer and to carefully back up and rewrite the save files. Keeping tabs of your save backups will also help a lot here.

For classic PSP-1000 owners, watch the battery

While not exactly a trick and more of a maintenance issue, those using the older PSP-1000 models might notice that their batteries may no longer be charging when using WiFi despite being plugged in. This is due to the old battery not being able to keep up with the device needs. Sadly, the only way to solve this is to buy a new one.

Speaking of the battery, set the PSP to save consumption

If you are out on the road and you want to maximize your battery, here are few things you can do. First off, lower the brightness settings. Those little buttons to the left of “select” allow you to tweak audio and screen brightness settings. Even on lowest, the PSP screen is still easy to see so do not hesitate to lower this. As for audio, strap on earphones (they use less power than headphones and the PSP speakers) and set the volume to a manageable level. Lastly, if you are using your PSP as a music device as opposed to gaming, be sure to set the screen settings to shut off after a few minutes.

Lastly, use the lock!

A lot of PSP owners are not aware that there is a key lock function on the device. Simply slide down the power tab and the PSP will not accept input commands. This is actually great if you are watching a cut scene and do not want to accidentally skip it by pressing a button and for those on MP3 mode.

Aside from swapping out the memory stick, most of these tips are in some ways, semi-documented on the PSP’s manual. All you need to do is to read carefully and you might even find out more useful and practical ways to use the various features of this powerful Sony handheld gaming console.

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Portable Packing: What You Need When You Bring Your PSP

The point of having a portable handheld gaming machine is so that you can move around with it. Bring it out during those long hours of waiting, and be able to send it back to your bag instantly without having to worry. This also means being able to bring your favorite games with you without having to carry a bag full of boxes, in this and many other concerns, the PSP is a great system to have. And here is a quick list of things you will want to have when you travel.

First off, a protective casing; manufacturer Capdase has a large library of solid and soft cases for the PSP’s many variants. The best ones come with their own carry cases as well. Look for a carry case that suits your style (for those with special colored PSP units, a transparent case works best), and ensures that the screen is well protected.

Speaking of screens, invest in a good screen protector. These days, this is as easy as buying a screen protector for an iPhone 4 or an iPad, simply reduce the size with a cutter and a ruler so that it fits your PSP screen. The best thing about these screen protectors is that they are meant for touch screen devices which mean that they are fingerprint resistant. Since this goes directly on top of your screen, it works as a permanent protective layer.

A good microfiber cloth is always recommended. These are small and easy to store so having them around will not be an issue. Best of all, you can easily wipe the screen without worrying about making the typical scratches that from rough cloth and other fabrics.

Speakers are a definite must have, especially if you will be out in noisy locations. The official PSP speakers are simple comfortable earphones with excellent sound quality so there is no need to buy a new one if you are short on budget. But if you really want to get geared up, try some Sennheiser or Audio Technica branded ones for impressive audio quality. For those who want to go for style, Skullcandy has a host of impressive looks to choose from. Sony also has earphone -attached control dock for music fans which is a must-have for those who will be using the PSP as a music player (it also serves as a mini extension cable as well).

For those who spend a lot of time outside (or play games that are heavy battery users), a second battery is definitely recommended. The default PSP battery is small and lightweight to having a second one in your bag should not be a hassle. For those who really spend a lot of time away from home, bring along your charger as well. It should be noted that owners of the PSP-2000 and later models have the option of charging through a mini-USB cable too. There is an official car charger that is available for gamers with access to a vehicle.

Gamers will definitely want to bring their games and thankfully, UMDs are designed to be carried around. Thanks to the non-removable casing, there is very little risk of scratching UMDs; just be sure to avoid touching the exposed area of the disc. Those with plenty of downloaded PSN games (or lots of media) will want to invest in a second memory stick to help make file management a lot easier.

Lastly, bring a small bag! Lugging around the PSP openly could potentially damage the device’s screen if it gets bumped around a lot. A small secure bag with protective padding should do well for handling your PSP and any accessories and games you decide to bring along.

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Ad Hoc Party: Multiplayer Adventures With Your PSP!

There are plenty of reasons to love the Playstation Portable, and one of these is the fact that the device has its own built in WLAN feature. Just flip up the WiFi switch and you are ready to go online or connect with other players. While Sony has opted to not allow games to have multiplayer options via the PSN, the PSP does support ad-hoc connectivity –giving players all the more reason to meet up with their friends and play together. If you have been itching for some solid cooperative multiplayer gaming fun, here’s a quick list of our most recommended games to try out.

Phantasy Star Portable

Without a doubt, Sega’s Phantasy Star series is one of the most famous multiplayer games of all time. Even with its initial incarnations on the Dreamcast, the game has already been placing its multi-player feature on the forefront. On the PSP, players get to continue the story of the Phantasy Star universe after the events of the first couple of games, bringing a completely new cast of characters and locations.

The game’s menu driven navigation lets you get around the usual array of shops and mission lists in a flash, with the system waiting only for the host player to confirm the commencement of a mission. Once started, players get to explore the mission maps in a full third person action mode. The ingame combat is easy to grasp and the lock on system feels very intuitive. Overall, this game makes for a perfect starter’s run on multiplayer. For those looking for a deeper gameplay, you might want to check out the next entry.

Monster Hunter Portable

Originating from the PS2, this strange dinosaur-monster hunting game has taken the world by surprise. Capcom has come up with a really good formula: a main town where the player has plenty to do such as cooking, mining, fishing and crafting items. Then top it off with specialized missions that place the player out in search of massive creatures through deserts, forests, ice capped mountains and more.

The hunting theme is quite evident in game, from the concept of having to track down a target monster in a large map to the visual details of the town and character models. In multiplayer, the large variety of weapons and items allows players to join and compliment each other’s fighting styles. Currently considered as one of the most famous multiplayer games on the PSP, this is one game you cannot afford to pass up.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Unlike our previous two series entries, Peace Walker is a standalone game. This epic prequel story to Metal Gear (and sequel to Snake Eater) brings back more of the stealth based action and cinematic storytelling that MGS is known for. But new to Peace Walker is the ability to link and team up with your friends to accomplish missions.

While it is possible to complete story mode alone, the game is best played with a friend or three. As a team, players can utilize varying squad formations, make joint attacks and accomplish missions faster and more efficiently. As a bonus, creator Hideo Kojima has teamed up with Capcom to put in a few special Monster Hunter stages as well –placing Big Boss (and friends) up against some of the meanest enemies on the MH bestiary.

Godz Eater Burst

It may seem like an odd title, but this Namco Bandai game is currently the best cooperative game out there yet. The controls and combat are often cited to be very simplified and we certainly agree –but remember this is not necessarily a bad thing. With multiplayer games, it is quite often that you have to mind a lot of things in the intermission areas. While there is also some inventory management and crafting to be done in GE Burst, these functions are made simple to accomplish and understand.

The result is a game that lets you focus on the fun part: hunting giant monsters. These monsters, or Aragami, are some of the most epic creature we have yet seen in a cooperative game (and we have seen the whole lot that MH has to offer). You, with a team of three will have to work together and take down these nasty beasts. Did we say beasts? Because we meant to, after all, there are plenty of missions in the game where you and your team will also have to face a squad of these titanic monsters. More often than not, players will have to split up and strategize properly to succeed.

There is no doubt that there are plenty more amazing multiplayer genres available on the PSP, some allow for competitive gaming, and others are also cooperative. But there is a certain charm to the third person action hunting genre that makes it hard to resist. Be it the in depth character customization, or the many things you can do in game, or the fact that you can take on some of the most epic monster battles ever made in a game. Either way, you can expect to see of these types of games to appear in the future, and more reasons to stay connected with your friends.

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Portable Gaming Redefined: The Top 5 Signature PSP Games

The Playstation Portable is a truly impressive system, with hardware that easily matches that of the PS2 (which was one of the top ranking systems during the time of the PSP’s launch), many hardcore gamers feel that its extensive library of games are a must have for any real gaming collector. Of course, the PSP has had its share of critics and one of the most often raised points against the system is that it relies on ports of major console titles. We beg to differ. In fact, here are several exclusive made for PSP-only titles that games should look out for.

Patapon

Visually deceptive, this cutesy looking title is actually one of the most original games ever to be developed. By combining music-beats with adventure and RPG elements, Sony’s army drumming game has introduced an all original way to play.

In Patapon, players take on the role of the Mighty One, a powerful deity that commands the Patapon army across forests, marshes and deserts. To do this, players must use four drum beats to command their armies to charge, attack, block and retreat. Special drum beats will also allow one to access special deity powers such as manipulating the weather. In between stages, players are able to micro manage their armies by defining the job specialties of the various “-Pon” units and what equipments they will use.

The story is simple, yet intriguing, placing players on top of a bizarre mythos worshipped by oddly amusing eyeball creatures. As players advance through the game, they learn more of the history of the Patapons, their journey to the ‘Promised Land’ and the many obstacles they face.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Gaming legend Hideo Kojima brings the epic saga of Metal Gear Solid to the Playstation Portable in this amazing prequel story to the first Metal Gear game. Following Big Boss’ trail after the events of Snake Eater and Portable Ops, the legendary soldier finally finds a place to call his own and provides a home to soldiers from all backgrounds.

However, earning a base comes with its own strings. In exchange for the high tech facilities, Snake takes on the needs of small war-torn country and their plight from what seems to be an invasion. As the story unfolds, players learn that the invasion is merely a front and that a new Metal Gear project is underway. With nuclear threat on the horizon, the Boss gears up once again to bring down his foes. And this time, it will no longer be a solo mission.

Players now get a chance to link up with friends (thanks to the PSP’s built in WiFi ad-hoc capabilities) and in-game allies to take on this new chapter in MGS. Also, managing the home base will require players to set aside soldiers to manage research, medicine and even prepare some hearty dishes in the mess hall.

Echochrome

Puzzle games are a dime a dozen and very few games in this genre could ever stand out –let alone be defining for a gaming system. But such is the legacy of Echochrome. Story wise, there really isn’t anything here. You control a doll like figure (similar to the ones by artists for posing references) through a series of platforms, stairs and holes as you move from point of origin to the goal.

This is made challenging by the fact that many holes lead to bottomless drops, and the stairs and passageways lead to either open air or dead ends. To get by these players must manipulate the game’s camera to change the way they view the stage. By altering the angle of view, the scene changes; stairs are given an illusion of being connected to an open ended path. And this illusion is more than enough to the game to consider as reality, players are able to walk safely across. The puzzles are original and the solutions are applaud-able, Echochrome and its many challenges certainly deserve all the praise it gets.

The game’s simple black and white 3D graphics allows players to concentrate on the game’s puzzle aspects and the soundtrack is often quiet and thought provoking. With its impressive gameplay, excellent delivery and hundreds of stages, expect to this game pick at your brain for many enjoyable hours on end.

Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core

Square Enix is taking a new approach to the FF7 franchise by re-introducing the real EX-SOLDIER, Zack. This legendary side character played a bit part in the original series by serving as lead character Cloud’s ideal (he was delusional to the point of claiming Zack’s actions as his own) and through the in-game narrative, we learned that it was Zack who rescued Cloud from the Shinra Mansion at Nibelheim.

But what really happened? Crisis Core answers this question and so much more. Other major FF7 characters are given notice and appear in game as well such as Sephiroth, Yuffie, Aeris and Tifa. Side characters such as Tseng, Rufus, Reno and Rude also make varying appearance and Cid Highwind also gets mentioned in game. For fans of the original game, this is massively nostalgia-inducing game to play.

There is more to Crisis Core than relying on the fandom of the first game however. The game makes use of a unique active combat system that blurs the lines between a hack-and-slash and menu driven RPGs. Players get full, real time control of Zack in combat, and is able to access his entire array of physical attacks and materia skills. As one would expect, SE has provided this game with some of the most amazing graphics seen on the PSP, smoothly combining real-time models with pre-rendered content.

Loco Roco

As much as we love hardcore titles, there are some truly innovative casual games that manage to charm our hearts to unimaginable degrees. Such is Loco Roco. The game is simple, use the L and R shoulder buttons to shake, shift, and tilt the world as your Loco Rocos roll, slide and bounce their way to the goal. As much as we would like to expand more, that is really all there is to this game, and yet it manages to be so good to play.

Aside from its impressive simple yet addictive gameplay, the game features some of the best music to be featured in a game with styles varying from lounge to rock to pop. The stylized graphics provides players with a visual delight as the oohs and aahs of the Loco Roco further endear them to players.

As we said, this is a casual game, but it is still something that hardcore players should not pass up. After all, it is in the innovative titles such as these that the groundwork for even greater games is based.

Wrapping Up

Of course, there are plenty more games for the PSP that are truly amazing to play: Radiant Mythology, GTA: Liberty City Stories, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Jeanne d Arc and so much more. The three games above are merely a sampling of the many great choices players have with Sony’s powerful handheld gaming system and the only real way you can know how great these games are is by trying them on your own.

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Sony’s PSP Bringing New Life to Cooperative Gaming

We all know the fact that the Monster Hunter series is making waves all over the world thanks to the fact that the PSP has got some pretty sweet WiFi Ad hoc gaming capabilities. But does the multiplayer adventure really stop there? After all, with the deluge of the 3D hack and slash adventure genre, it seems pretty hard to fathom that other types of games would also be available –but they are. And here are three of the most unique cooperative play experiences you can get on the PSP.

Patapon 2

Patapon has made plenty of waves with its unique beat system controls. Now, the super-cute army simulation game takes you and a friend in control of special, customized heroes that will dish out attacks that matches that of a full squad. As a team, players can link up with up to four friends as they march towards various goals in order to hatch an egg. Succeed and the egg hatches into a special item awarded to the host player –with a few side items awarded to everyone. In order to encourage more cooperative play, players will take turns changing the designated hosts.

It may sound simple, but between lugging around a giant egg and facing off massively gigantic creatures, you and your team will have your work cut out for you. This game rewards timing and cooperation: do not hesitate to call out what needs to be done (attack, dodge, charge, etc) and keep your rhythm up to reach your hero’s fever induced super mode.

Ace Combat X2: Joint Assault

While the single player for ACX2 has been a bit of a letdown for many hard core fans of the incredibly popular dogfight simulation series, the cooperative move is undoubtedly one of the most innovative ever made for a game. Up to a total of four human players can link up for this game and depending on each player’s choices and performance, many of the stage events can change.

On a regular mission, players all fly together in a single map in order to reach a certain goal (reach a location, destroy certain targets, etc). On special missions, players are divided into two teams, each with their own map and specific goal. By doing this, players can affect what happens in the adjacent missions. Something similar to stopping enemies from lifting off –effectively prevents what would have been a third wave or reinforcements for the other players.

Of course, there are also competitive missions that you and your friends can play –but with the game’s offering of a full campaign cooperative play, why pass up on such an experience?

Lego Star Wars

There is more than one to choose from and all of the Lego SW games are known for their impressive multiplayer gameplay experience. In this series, two players can link up to control various characters in the famous science fiction storyline. While most of the events follow what is considered to be Star Wars canon, the delivery has been changed to suit the Lego universe a lot better. Most noticeable is the less serious atmosphere and the many humorous scenes that have been inserted in the game. And yes, it is eternally amusing to watch Darth Vader using the force to combine a bunch of Lego bricks to form a bridge.

The gameplay follows your typical 3D action platformer –with an added twist: you are using Lego! Combining the power of the force and the fact that the entire universe is made of bricks, players can switch in and out various characters, build objects, and even break apart obstacles much like you with the actual toys. Each character is designated with one of several ‘classes’ (with a few abilities transgressing each) that helps players get past the many obstacles in the game. Fun, easy to learn and even better when it is played with a friend, Lego Star Wars has become one of our most cherished multiplayer games of all time.

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Sony’s Playstation Portable Takes on the Nintendo DS

For the most part, the handheld console market has been heavily divided between the Sony PSP and the Nintendo DS. Together, these two devices literally controlled the industry, and despite the advent of app gaming for smart phones, game developers know that if they wanted to produce big games, it would be on either one of these two.

Of course, there is a distinct difference between the two devices and while the ideal is to have both (and have access to both gaming libraries), one simply cannot help but compare. So here it is: the PSP vs DS showdown.

Model to Model

One of the biggest arguments that DS owners make is that the later versions of the DS matches that of the PSP. However, on a side by side comparison, the only DS to get a leg up is the DS XL –which offers a larger screen (there is no PSP version with a screen larger or smaller than the original). However, even this is not that big a deal, the PSP’s screen size is still packing a higher resolution. Other features such as the DSi’s browser, media player and camera have all been available since the first PSP device –though the camera is an external attachment that hooks up on top of the PSP. To match the DS’s microphone, the PSP introduced a mic jack for the PSP-2000 model and a built in mic for the PSP-3000.

Input Controls

Sony’s PSP brings to players a directional pad, an analog nub, four buttons and two shoulder buttons. The Nintendo DS makes use of a resistive touch screen instead of a nub. While the DS has an advantage of a second screen, the fact is that most games hardly utilize the secondary screen for any worthwhile purpose (nothing that a pop-out menu on a single screen layout could not change). And even titles that seemed reliant on the touch screen (GTA: Chinatown Wars, Knights in the Nightmare), eventually were ported to the PSP without any control issues. The big drawback for the DS is that they did not make use of a capacitive touch screen (in fairness, the technology was not common back then). Since players would need to hold a stylus with one hand, supporting the entire device with the other hand became slightly difficult. This was especially the case for the first edition of the NDS which was particularly heavy for just one hand.

Portability

Right off the bat, the PSP’s better with its’ quick hibernate mode and simple controls. As with any device that makes use of a stylus, DS players have to be mindful of where they place their sticks. The quick hibernate mode gets a special mention since you never know at what point in the game you will be when your train reaches your stop. While placing down the lid of the DS sets the game into sleep mode, the battery drain is strong. The PSP allows players to quickly press up the power button and send the entire device into hibernation. This lets you head off the train, get to work/class and return to your game at the exact point where you left off later in the evening. With the DS, you’ll be praying the whole time that the battery does not run out.

Hardcore Games

There is no lack of casual gaming titles for both devices. But with established hardcore titles, the PSP has a much larger library. So far, Nintendo has been doing great with many of its big-name first party developed games such as the Pokemon series, Metroid and innumerable Zelda and Mario games. With third party developers however, Sony has more to offer. Capcom’s Monster Hunter series pushes the PSP’s connectivity features to the forefront by emphasizing multiplayer gaming (other such games include Namco Bandai’s Ace Combat X2 and Godz Eater Burst, Sega’s Phantasy Star Portable series, Square Enix’ Lord of Arcana, and Konami’s MGS: Peace Walker). Other major franchises such as the “City Stories” for Grand Theft Auto also appear on the PSP as full games as opposed to the sprite based mini-games that appear on the NDS.

While this may seem one-sided, the NDS is not without its good points. But for the most part, there is very little that the Nintendo device has to offer for the hardcore gaming market. As we mentioned above, a gamer’s true ideal still lies in being able to get both systems and play all the great games available!

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