“But…I really wanna play Portable Ops.”
When I was contemplating my PSP purchase, this phrase was a key priority. There were two reasons I wanted to purchase a PSP: Lumines and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, with the latter being a higher priority; Metal Gear Solid 3 is my favorite game in the franchise, and any opportunity to play as Big Boss again was one I didn’t want to miss out on.
So, the question you’re most likely asking yourself now is why I chose the Go over the 3000, when the 3000 easily gives me the option to play both games. Originally, I had decided that I would put my decision on hold until I saw the PlayStation Store update for the first of October, and see if Portable Ops was among the games available at the Go’s launch; sadly, it wasn’t.
I had thought that the game not being available would convince me to buy the 3000, but instead it made me debate with myself even more. It seemed fairly obvious that Konami would make it available at some point, and if I bought the game on UMD and then saw it available on the store for download, I’d feel like an idiot for jumping the gun. Then again, I really wanted to play it before Peace Walker came out, and the release of the new game was a likely date for the release of the older one.
Of course, there were other factors that went into consideration for my purchase, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say Portable Ops was chief among them. Without the weight of back catalog that most PSP owners cited as their reason for not buying the Go, I felt that, as a new customer, I could seize the chance to start fresh and enjoy the benefits of digital downloads and not feel like I wasted a bunch of money.
I ended up buying the Go with the hope of Portable Ops being available at some point. At launch, I didn’t actually buy much, opting to sustain myself on demos until something I liked came out. I enjoyed the “Lite” copy of Rock Band: Unplugged that came with the unit for all of an afternoon, played the Patapon 2 demo for about two hours — much longer than I thought I would — and then bought Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, which was on sale at the time. Disgaea happily ate up the majority of my time with the system while I waited for something else to come out.
The first big PSP release that I bought was Half-Minute Hero, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I quickly learned something: I’m not very excited to buy many new games for the system. It isn’t necessarily that the PSP lineup isn’t good, it’s that for some reason, it’s hard for me to spend forty dollars on a download. As big of a fan as I am of digital distribution, I realized that most of the stuff I buy online is under twenty bucks. Half-Minute Hero was an exception at thirty; so far, I’ve bought Disgaea and games like Super Stardust Portable, Echochrome (Both of which were five dollars, as part of a recent deal), and Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX (twenty dollars).
When I saw new games like LittleBigPlanet hit the store, I was excited to buy them, but I couldn’t make it past the page where it showed the $39.99 price tag. Every time, it simply occurred to me that it was possible that the price could go down, then I realized it probably wouldn’t for long time. I was prepared to call myself a hypocrite and trade the Go in right then and there.
Then Portable Ops showed up on the store last Thursday, for the modest price of $14.99. I didn’t feel vindicated per se, but it did stop me from trading in my Go. Sure, the games on shelves are no doubt cheaper than those on the digital store, but I still don’t want to bother with UMD’s, or any other physical media. Buying these cheaper titles on the store is how I think I’ll end up enjoying the Go the most. Sony would do well to encourage publishers to put their older, by now cheaper games on the store, along with the newest releases.
There are also the smaller things that add up. The “pause” feature of the system, which allows you to stop the game at any time and save it for later, kicks in when you’re out of batteries, which has saved me more than a couple of times. The ability to connect a PS3 controller is limited by the fact that you can’t take advantage of the second analog stick, but it’s definitely something to use then you’ve got the game hooked up to a TV. These features aren’t going to get anyone to trade in their old PSP for the Go, but they’re definitely something I’d rather not be without now.
Should I have bought the 3000 over the Go? Probably; it has most of the Go’s features, as well as the access to older PSP games. If I really wanted to go down the digital distribution path, I still could’ve done it with the 3000, with the added safety net of buying whatever isn’t on the store. But, I won’t be trading the Go in. The only other game I think I’m missing out on is Lumines, which should in some form or another arrive on the store soon. It may have been the wrong choice, but I don’t regret it too much, now that Portable Ops is on me at all times.
That game better be worth it.