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TomChick - News - 03/09/06 - Link

I've been playing the latest round of PSP games and it's alternately discouraging and heartening to see how developers are dealing with its slow load times.

THQ managed to be the butt of a great joke with their recent wrestling game, which features power-up to in-the-ring speeds in excess of six minutes. Konami's two most recent games, Street Supremacy, and Ys: Ark of the Napishtim, both of which I reviewed on Yahoo, are snowed under frequent loading times. Street Supremacy, for instance, forces you through a load screen when you just want to check very basic data, or maybe adjust your gear ratio a smidge. It's a truly wretched lack of appreciation for the hardware that has plagued many otherwise decent PSP games. I'm still steamed by how Rockstar fumbled their port of Midnight Club Racing, an excellent game that, when played on the PSP, features more downtime than driving.

But then there's the latest stuff direct from Sony, where someone must have written an angry memo. "Fewer load times, dammit!" the memo might have read, "And make them shorter! But mainly fewer! Dammit!"

And lo and behold, you have Daxter, Untold Legends 2, and Syphon Filter, which feel downright spry for how rarely they grind against their Universal Media Disks. I guess it's no surprise that it takes Sony to play to the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of their own hardware.

Oh, and something to keep in mind next week: the PSP Syphon Filter is really nice and one of my favorite games on that system. You can read the May issue of Computer Games Magazine for details, but in the meantime, I heartily recommend picking it up when it hits the shelves on the 15th.

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