The 2014 World Cup is currently taking place and it made me long for a game of Pro Evolution Soccer on a console. I can’t get used to the controls on a tablet so decided to try a PSP.
Playing games like PES (football) or GTA (driving and action) on a touch screen isn’t a lot of fun. If you are used to a console gamepad (e.g. Playstation or Xbox), a touch screen with “imaginary” buttons provides awful accuracy in comparison.
At the moment I am travelling slowly and don’t know how long I will be in my apartment, so a handheld device seemed like the only option. The PSP I bought is around 10 years old (first version), but the new ones are very cheap in the UK (and probably in the US too). It has the familiar Playstation style buttons and a rather poor but usable analog stick.
Games like GTA and PES were instantly easy to play. The only issue was the screen; it is tiny and also not very good quality. It was a real struggle to see the details in the daytime. In the end it just had to go. There are newer versions of the PSP but it doesn’t sound like there is much of an improvement in the screen. The PSP has now been discontinued so there won’t be any new games.
A slightly better option is the PS Vita which has had such low sales that it will not be getting many new big name games. This device does have a bigger and better (touch) screen but the buttons are smaller. It looks like these handheld consoles have been beaten by the tablets, which is a shame for those of us who want portable console style gaming.
Instead I will have to switch to either a PS3 or Xbox 360. In the meantime the iPad will have to do.
The iPad is fine for touchscreen games like Angry Birds, Room and Plants Vs Zombies. GTA San Andreas looks 100 times better on the iPad than on the PSP, but the controls are just plain wrong. It is usable and enjoyable, plus the game is a lot cheaper than console prices. But on the racing missions the controls issue is really highlighted. Crashing with a touch screen is inevitable and I’ve noticed similar with other racing games like Colin Mcrae Rally.
PES isn’t available on the iPad which is a shame as I hate Fifa. Fifa 2014 just isn’t anywhere near what I am used to in a football game. It is full of in app purchases and confusing options. The gameplay just doesn’t have that smooth feeling like PES games. So for now I am happy that I am in Asia and it is easy to find PES to play in malls.
I am hoping in future there will be a gamepad for the iPad so that it can be used as a console. The closest thing I have seen so far is that there is a hack which will allow you to use a PS3 bluetooth controller with the iPad for some games (including GTA). I will give this a try soon as forking out for a PS3 controller is better than buying a whole PS3. There are a couple of options for iPad to be used with a controller but the existing ones aren’t good enough and they seem expensive.
Surely there has to be a market out there for people who want portable console gaming? Touch screens are almost useless for many games, but tablets are able to run so many console games. Hopefully someone out there will bring us a good product for this in future.