Thursday, September 22, 2005

Madden PSP Review or Hey Sony, where is the software for the PSP?!

When I posted on WoW's Impact, I included a short blurb on Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP). Well Madden 2006 finally came out last night, and I quickly dug into the title.

I have been waiting MONTHS for this to come out. Seriously, I have been carrying the PSP around in my backpack to work doing nothing with it because nearly all of the games were disappointing. How has Sony handled the time since the PSP launch in March? It’s clear now that Sony and all their publishers have been holding out for the holiday season to release some games. What did they do in the meantime? Release a bunch of UMD movies instead.

Why in the world am I going to buy your UMD movies?!?!! Where the iTunes for the PSP that Sony supports? I am not going to pay for some third-party iTunes clone to rip my own movies from DVD to computer and transfer them to the PSP. If you think I am going to drop $20-$30 on a UMD that I can only play on the PSP, you are sadly mistaken. I hope the UMD market completely tanks. You could have at least released a way to connect the PSP to a TV to play movies, but I know that’s too much to ask. Say I actually wanted a movie, like Sin City, to watch on the PSP. I watch that on the PSP, but if I have some friend’s over to watch Sin City, can I watch that on the TV? No, I have to go rent or buy the DVD! Hey Sony, why don’t you stop crap like A-B repeat to the 2.0 firmware and write some software for Mac and Windows, of course.

Back to Madden. I am playing on the train into NYC. We pull into the station, do I stop playing, no, I walk and play at the same time. I have a franchise to groom dammit! I stop in Starbucks to get my morning coffee, I am half a block from the office, do I stop playing, no. I get my latte and sit down, finish training camp and start the preseason. I am laying into the Bengals, I am the NY Giants of course, when the Blackberry vibrates. I jerk my left hand off the PSP to grab the Blackberry and I forget the wrist strap is on my left hand. PSP slams onto the counter and just completely turns off!!! I don’t mean I nudged the Power button, the thing is off cold. Turn the power back on and it does a cold boot. At this point I have a knot in my stomach, have I just lost my franchise work and the beginning of my first preseason game? Surely not, Madden has to have been saving all those changes I was making to my franchise!

Madden doesn’t know anything about my franchise, I am totally disappointed but also thankful I figured out this quirk now. You see the franchise “Save” option is behind the “My Franchise” menu on the main screen of franchise mode.

Besides the comedy of errors above, how is the game? It’s pretty good, but not great. Graphics are somewhat chunky, maybe not even Dreamcast level. Load times are not good, even while in game. Try this, on offense hit the audible key (I think triangle), and then wait 3 seconds or so for the game to figure out overlaying buttons on the screen, weak. Camera seems kind of far away from the action sometimes, but maybe that is just the screen size. There might be some tweaking for me to do there. I haven’t played a Madden game in a long time, used to Sega’s awesome football games, so maybe it’s a bit of what I am comfortable with. Regardless, this thing is going to eat a whole bunch of my time. If you like football games, you’ll probably find yourself sucked in, regardless of the flaws.