The Long Dry Summer

I find it rather amusing that it has rained every day this week in Columbus, Ga., and I here I am writing about a dry spell. In my last blog entry I wrote about what a godsend the PSP has been for my gaming life; in short, it has revived my gaming experience. Now I have to bunker in for a long dry summer.

There is absolutely nothing on the PSP release list horizon that catches my interests for summer gaming satisfaction. In fact, there is next to nothing schedule for release this summer.

At this point I suppose I will try out some other games that I would not normally purchase just to spice up the action. I was pretty reluctant to pick up FIFA because of the $49.99 sticker shock, but I needed a sports game, and I was curious about FIFA, so I made it part of my initial preorder bundle. Of course it was delayed for a month, but what can you do? I played it a bunch the first week, but now the UMD is lonely, collecting dust on a book shelf.

What about the other PSP sports games? At this point I do not see any PSP sports games that have everyone clamoring praise over, so I will divide up the PSP sports titles into two categories:

  • May be worth owning: MLB, Hot Shots

  • May be worth trying: MVP, World Tour Soccer

  • Probably not going to happen: Gretzky, NBA, NBA Street, NFL Street 2, Tiger Woods, Tony Hawk

To be fair, some of the “probably not going to happen” games have received average or better ratings, but I do not have the time, energy, or money to toil away on average at best games. Based on what I have read MVP and Tour Soccer are probably not worth my time, but it is going to be a long dry summer, so why not give them a go if I can get them discounted or on the cheap via eBay?

Because PSP releases have slowed to a crawl, I decided to pick up Brotherhood of the Blade, which is no doubt a quality title that I may have otherwise missed. I am reluctant to give any license money to MLB, but I think the dry summer and my curiosity will get the better of me with MLB (and perhaps MVP). I have played Hot Shots on the PSX in the past, and while the franchise is pure quality, I am just not a golf fan, so I hazard a guess that I will not get my money’s worth from the game. I know I would waste money on a NBA or hockey purchase, and I just do not care for the whole street thing. Give me SSX any day of the week for my “BIG” experience.

Virtual Tennis could be a solid title; it was on the Dreamcast. Problem is that I am not a tennis fan, so once again I may not get a good return on my purchase. Besides, the game is not scheduled for release until the end of August, so it is not going to help me fight the dry spell.

Alas, no football anytime soon except for the Street thing. Madden is too far away – it is not schedule for release until mid September – I really need some PSP football! As of now, NCAA Football is not scheduled for a PSP release, which I can understand since it may be hard for EA Sports to make money off a PSP college title, but I still find it disappointing.

I think I have written enough about Ridge Racer and Wipeout that everyone knows I think the two games are quality titles with excellent replay value and both games provide a solid gameplay experience. What about the other racers? ATV Offroad? May be a good game, but I am just not into the ATV thing. Need for Speed Underground looks very underwhelming. Midnight Club 3 is going to be out towards the end of June, but I will probably hold off unless it gets great reviews that force me to open my wallet. This fall we will get Burnout, F1 Grand Prix (yes!), and WRC (happy days are here again, but why no CMR?), but the wait will be long, hard, and dare I say dry.

Anything else on the horizon? Midway and Namco both have collections (I need me some classic gaming action) coming out this fall, so no help for the weary summer gamer.

So if I have to hold out with what I have now, here is the current pecking order of my PSP library; pecking order subject to change as the long dry summer drones on:

  • Brotherhood of the Blade – Brotherhood may not be the best game in my library, but it is getting the most play time since it is the current new shinny. Great for those hack-and-slash fixes, but could get a little monotonous if you are not a fan of the genera.

  • Ridge Racer – This is a great game for pick up and play racing; possibly the best title on the PSP. I am not sure how long this game will last because I can only take so much arcade racing, but so far, so pleased.

  • Lumines – Absolutely a great puzzle game, and Lumines is a great way to waste 20 minutes. There have only been a handful of puzzle games that have come close to the level of addiction seen in Tetris, and Lumines certainly fits the bill.

  • Wipeout Pure – Wipeout is a fantastic racer in the mold of the classic PSX Wipeout and Wipeout XL games. I am not sure what else can be said; you either like stylistic futuristic racing or you do not. I happen to think Pure is one of the best PSP releases to date.

  • FIFA 2005 – This game is sort of a wild card. It is not necessarily bad, but it is certainly not great. I think EA straddled the fence with mediocrity. We should expect more for our gaming dollar, but FIFA is typical of previous first generation sports games on console systems. FIFA is the only sports game I own for the PSP so you would expect it to get more play time, but I just do not find it that compelling. I have actually put it down for a while so I can give it a fresh go at a later date.

  • Twisted Metal: Head-On – I think Twisted Metal loses out due to sheer numbers; too many games, not enough time for them all. I am a fan of the series, but something about Head-On has thus far failed to capture my imagination. Maybe this summer’s dry spell will bring it back to life. Time will tell.

There you have it; the first time I have written a 1000 word article in months. Must be the dry spell.


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