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2010 was the year of the PSP. Some of you may disagree with me, but it's true.
OK, maybe the hardware itself failed to see an upgrade, but in terms of games, it delivered on all fronts. It all started with a little game known as Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. I'm a big MGS fan, so I decided to pick this up. I also saw it as a great way to dust of my PSP and start playing it again. I traded in all my older PSP games that I hadn't been playing for years, so Peace Walker cost me about 15 bucks.
And let me tell you, those were some of the best 15 bucks I've spent in a long, long time.
Peace Walker sucked me into its world with its fantastic gameplay, great story, pokemon-style recruitment and micro management, and unbelievable amount of content. I can safely say that I've played this game more than any other game. Ever. At 300+ hours and counting, Peace Walker still throws new and fresh things at me, and I can forsee myself playing this game for years to come. And it's all on the PSP, so I can take it anywhere, anytime. It may be my favorite Metal Gear Solid yet.
So that game engaged me over summer. Then, when fall came, I saw another game for the PSP that I decided to try. It was called God of War: Ghost of Sparta. I was familiar with the series, but had never actually played or owned any of the games.
After going through my 4th playthrough, GoS is still freaking awesome. The gameplay is tight, brutal, and addicting. Furthermore, it has awesome characterization and a focused narrative that makes Kratos more than a pissed-off killing machine. But what truly blew me away were the graphics in the game itself. The part (spoilers) where Kratos travels through the mountains and battle Erinys in particular expressed the capabilities of the handheld. I can even have the audacity to say that it looks better than most PS2 games, while even standing toe-to-toe with some early PS3 releases. It's that good.
No one can deny that these games were the blockbusters of the PSP for 2010. Both are critically acclaimed (see Metacritic), and Peace Walker alone has sold over 1 million copies. I have yet to try Kingdom Hearts and Valkyria Chronicles, which I heard were great too. Also, the number of smaller, yet notable releases such as P3P have further bolstered the system's staying power. No wonder the PSP is so popular in Japan. In fact, according to NPD numbers last year, the PSP outsold any other system during the final quarter of the year, probably because of the awesome library of games that came out.
I'm seriously glad that developers and companies are releasing great games for this old, battle-worn system. However, could it be the PSP's swan song? Is the PSP2 (while already obvious), inevitable? We'll just have to see...
But all that aside, most analysts and gamers can conclude that 2010 was the PSP Renaissance.
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