Modojo Report: PSOne on PSP
PSOne on PSP - is it half-baked, or the real deal? Our full report...
Earlier this season, Sony announced an intended download program for their PlayStation 3 console that would allow players to obtain classic PlayStation games through their new-fangled system. However, there's a catch. The games cannot be played directly on the PS3, and have to be downloaded to the Sony PSP for portable play. As awkward as this sounds, the program actually looks like it could work pretty well, provided that a player has a memory card (1.0 GB or higher) that can store the data for the PlayStation games. The program took off in Japan a couple of weeks ago, including such games as Jumping Flash!. Now it's the USA's turn, as Sony Computer Entertainment of America recently unveiled the program to full effect in the PlayStation Store.
Thus far, only five titles are available through the service- Syphon Filter, Hot Shots Golf 2, Cool Boarders, Crash Bandicoot, and Tekken 2. All of these games were pretty big hits for the PlayStation back in their day, and Sony is promising perfect conversions for on-the-go play. Each game costs $5.99, and downloads are stored in PS3 memory. From there, a player has to hook up a PSP via a connection cable and download the games into the memory card. The games can then be accessed through the memory card menu in the PSP system.
The whole process takes approximately 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the game in question. Hot Shots Golf 2 and Cool Boarders were very quick to download, while more monstrously sized games like Crash and Tekken took about double the time. Licenses are also downloaded with each game, and must be activated in order for the games to play on the system. Once a game is downloaded, a player can share it with up to five friends before a lock-up takes place, preventing any widespread "giving-away" of the game. Sadly, multiplayer is not an option with these games- single player only.
There are a number of options available for each game once they're downloaded. Players can configure the controls to their liking, either opting for analog or digital-pad control. Buttons can be mapped any which way, with different mappings provided automatically for each game. The screen can either stay in the center in the screen in its original ratio, or spread out to fit the entire PSP screen. It doesn't look that ugly at all stretched out, and that's probably the best option for those who want to get the fullest experience from these downloads.
The games themselves aren't necessarily classics. Crash Bandicoot has been dwarfed by later adventures in the series (namely Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped), and Tekken 2 looks downright old-school compared to Tekken: Dark Resurrection. But most of them are fun to play. Crash is good for speedy platforming action; fighting fans will enjoy putting together numerous combos with Tekken 2 if they can get used to the control scheme; Hot Shots Golf 2 is an enjoyable arcade golf title, complete with a series of silly golfing characters; and Syphon Filter is a thrilling spy adventure with action galore. Only Cool Boarders seems to be the big stinker of the bunch, a flaccid, slow-moving snowboarding game with limited trick moves and bland visuals.
So far, the service has better potential than we thought it would. The games are more reasonably priced (instead of sitting at $10-$15 apiece), the downloading time isn't too bad (but larger games could take upward of an hour or so), and the possibility to play the games on the PS3 directly still lingers somewhere in the future. It probably won't be for all buyers out there, especially those who want to get their hands on more bona-fide PS1 classics such as Klonoa: Door To Phantomile and Gran Turismo 2. But for now, it's a decent service for those who don't feel like cluttering their closet just to drag out the old PS One sitting somewhere in a box.