Scott Hanselman

First Person Shooters on the PSP

January 16, 2006 Comment on this post [2] Posted in Reviews | Z | Gaming
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Z is fast asleep on my lap, and I'm trying to find a PSP 1st-person shooter that doesn't totally suck. Of course, I bought my PSP as a TV and Portable Media Center, not a gaming system. But, when you've got a kid asleep on your lap at 3am, somehow you find yourself wanting to blow 15 min with a game now and again. Maybe that's just me.

Here's the three I've got.

  • Codedarms1Coded Arms - I got this at the same time I bought the PSP. There were few games around an a hacker-themed 1st-person seemed like a no brainer. It's got gorgeous graphics, seriously. Detailed and beautiful. The first level is amazing. However, all subsequent levels are the same level. Never since Mario Bros. (Not Super Mario, people, just Mario Bros.) have I seen a game with such similar levels. I got bored after level 3 and feel asleep. It's a shame because the theme had such potential. You hack from level to level and get upgrades while fighting viruses. Sigh. For sale: $15 or buy me lunch a few times.
  • Starwars1Star Wars: BattleFront II - Got this for Christmas, it was on my wish list. It was a great Xbox game, how couldn't it be a great portable game? Well, let's start with an unspeakably obscure control schema that makes virtual no good use of the single analog stick and quite lousy use of the shape buttons. The guys I'm trying to shoot are always just above or just below my view. I literally can't get past the second Hoth level. Folks on the boards insist that this is a great game with some really great spaceship levels, but I'm too much of a putz to get that far. I've almost given up on this game. As I write this, I'm wondering if I was too harsh; I may try again for a few minutes. Seriously, though, it's got Castle Wolfenstein quality graphics (Not Castle Wolfenstein 3D from your 286, I mean Castle Wolfenstein from your C64. Achtung!)
  • Socom1SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo - I received a gift card from Cingular for $30 as a rebate and promptly squashed it on this game. Now THIS is a game. It's like Splinter Cell + Hitman + Rainbow Six. Many times while playing I thought I was, for a moment, playing one of these games. It's that broad in it's appeal. Some missions have you not shooting anyone, instead collecting digital photos of conversations between spies. Others have you sneaking into a compound to rescue the VP of Chile, while still others are more battlefield focused. That's just the single player game. What's amazing to me is that it supports online wi-fi multiplayer (via a poorman's Xbox Live that is specific to this game) with a headphone attachment. On a freaking PSP. Now THAT'S 2006 baby. The single player is well done, with excellent pre-rendered cut scenes with missions in locations like Chile and Morocco. And, get this, the folks in the cut scenes and the folks you fight actually speak the local language. I like that they recorded many minutes of Spanish and Arabic and included subtitles. It did give you the sense of traveling around the globe to different locations - and the maps are HUGE. It's not as pretty as Metal Gear: ACID (an almost un-playable, but truly gorgeous game) but it's tight. The controls are clean and feel natural after a few minutes (even though having a single analog stick ISN'T very natural.) You're graded on mundane things like accuracy to more "soft" skills like teamwork.

If you really want to know what the "Halo 2" killer addictive game is on the PSP, experience Hot Shots Golf for yourself. I love the single player career game. If I see you around and you've got a PSP with Hot Shots, let's play an ad-hoc multiplayer game, eh?

Now playing: Freshlyground - Human Angels

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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January 16, 2006 9:43
I've actually had a lot of fun lately w/ a FPS for the PC called "WarRock". The nice thing is, it's free.
January 16, 2006 18:36
I'm not really a console games guy but I wanted *something* to play on the PSP. Fry's had GTA Liberty City Stories on sale so I went for it.
It's pretty good, the quest like nature (if you don't just run around clubbing people) is interesting and given I like the SWG / World of Warcraft like game felt quite familiar..

SOCOM looks like something I might get into as well though - I may have to check that out!

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.