So how does the new PSP model compare with the old ones? We take a closer look.
Sony Computer Entertainment of America took one big step towards its holiday season this week with the release of its new Ratchet and Clank PSP bundle. For $199, you get the silver PSP system, a copy of the hit game Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters, a UMD featuring the film National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets starring Nicolas Cage, a 1 GB Memory Card Duo and a downloadable code for the PSP version of Sony's puzzle game Echochrome.
This may sound like a typical bundle, but there's one huge difference. The Ratchet Bundle introduces the new PSP-3000 model to the market. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on one of these upgraded systems and decided to take it for a test drive.
First off, most of the features you've gotten used to on the PSP are still intact. It still hooks up to your television through the proper component cable (sold separately), it'll play all your original PSP games without a single problem, it'll connect to your PlayStation 3 console with the help of a supplementary cable and the controls are the same, with the four-way digital pad, the analog nub, the shoulder and face buttons. There are a few differences, however, that a few eagle-eyed people will notice.
The Home key is gone, replaced by a new button featuring the PlayStation logo. It still serves the same purpose, enabling you to exit out of a game and return to the same menu. The start and select buttons are also shaped a little differently, so they're easier to press than they are on previous PSP models.
There are two changes that really stand out, however. The first is the feel of the PSP-3000. Although it looks the same, the grips on the side are a little more ergonomic. So, when you're cruising along to your grandmother's house, you won't get so much of a cramped feeling in your hands.
The second change is the screen. Yes, on the PSP-3000, the screen is much brighter. Some people have complained that it's not exactly as high quality as they'd like, but that's not what we noticed. The display is much easier to read, thanks to picture clarity and brighter colors. Games look noticeably better, especially such high-detail ones as Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Lego Batman: The Videogame. Even God of War: Chains of Olympus, a workhouse of a game that puts the PSP through its paces, looks better on this system.
Now the question remains: is it worth the upgrade? Well, that depends on a couple of things. First, do you need a new PSP system? If so, and you're not up for the blood-red colored God of War model, then this is the way to go. Second, the bundle could've been a little better. Why go with such a forgettable movie like National Treasure 2 when there are better adventure films out there? Why not The Mask of Zorro or something that actually lives up to the adventure hype? National Treasure 2 is just so...been there, done that. The game, however, is an ideal pick, one of Ratchet and Clank's better adventures. The 1 GB Memory Card Duo and Echochrome are handy for showing you the advantage of downloading games on the go for PSP.
Overall, the system has changed nicely, although you probably won't notice just staring at it through the clear box. Don't let that fool you, as the PSP's revisions make it a little better. Now if we could just get Sony to remanufacture it with Darth Vader's face, we'd be set.