Sony’s PSP is a very good portable gaming and entertainment system but has been plagued by one thing. Slow load times. This I have found to be quite unacceptable when trying to get in a quick game of Star Wars Battlefront for example. Loading a UMD and listening to it spin, then watching the screen as it goes through it’s start up routine is incredibly painful and very annoying. Being just a casual gamer, I could just imagine how you hardcore gamers must feel going through this process.
I must say though, that Sony does deserve some credit as they have been consistently pushing out firmware updates, which you can’t say the same for the competition. Each update has brought something new or made even minor under the hood improvements.
Well, last month on October 22, 2008 to be exact firmware update v5.02 was released and outside of the usual security and some nice feature updates which gamers may not really care about they did do a few things right for the hardcore gamer.
First off, this latest update actually decreased the dreadfully long UMD load times. Loading Star Wars Battlefront Renegade Edition took dramatically less time to start up from a completely off PSP.
The next improvement was the smoothness of the game play. Although the system does a good job of anti-jitter insuring heavy action scenes refresh at a decent and consistent rate there are moments when it would slow down to keep up with the action. Now that seems to have been nearly completely eliminated. The action is extremely smooth with no jittering, quick pauses or sudden jumps in action during intense scenes. This leads into the last observed improvement which is the actual speed of the game. With the elimination of action induced slowdowns the game actually moves at a better pace which makes the action even more intense and raising the fun factor. This also allows the game to go at and maintain a faster pace which could also raise the difficulty level depending on the type of game being played.
Based on these observations, I feel Sony has finally begun to bring the gaming aspect of the PSP to where it’s suppose to be. If you’re the type who doesn’t do updates or just haven’t gotten around to doing so; wait no longer. This is a must install and recommended update for any gamer on any level.
NOTE: These results were based on and compared to my previously installed update of firmware v4.01. Gaming experience may vary depending on the last version installed prior to v5.02. Also this update has many other worthwhile improvements and added features which are not discussed here since I only use the PSP for gaming.