Gaming on Xperia Play – PSX, ANDROID & EMULATORS – XperiaPlay review Pt.1
What is the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY like as a gaming device? lets find out but putting its playstation designed control-pad and its Android Gingerbread brains through the gaming gauntlet of Android games, PSX games and several calssic gaming emulators including the Gameboy, GBA, NES, SNES, Atari 2600, MAME and more.
Gaming on Xperia Play – PSX, ANDROID & EMULATORS – XperiaPlay review Pt.1
well again I am bloody in today's exciting episode of my videos we're looking at the Xperia Play the playstation phone now for this device to be a success it has to succeed as a gaming device and as a mobile phone quick recap before we get rolling in the review the Xperia Play is the first of the PlayStation Certified Android handsets to hit the market there have been no others announced but it's supposed to be a platform so there should be more coming out sometime if this works out now if this device is going to be a success it has to work as a gaming device and it has to work as a Android handset as a regular phone so I'm going to take those two aspects of its personality and review them separately so we can get it covered as clearly as possible now we're doing gaming first why we're doing gaming first one because if you're buying this phone you might interested in mobile phone gaming otherwise you would go for something like the Xperia Arc which does everything this does but it's smaller and lighter but doesn't have all the gaming goodness hardware first naturally it looks much like most of today's smartphones do albeit like me a bit chunkier around the middle but it's chunkier because it does this a slide-out full-on playstation control pad which was not designed by the nerds who made the rest of the phone but it was crafted by a different expert team of nerds the same people in fact who designed the controller for the PlayStation 3 to make sure it was done the way gamers would want it done it feels really nice and solid and surprisingly comfortable to hold and use it's even complete with shoulder buttons around the back which feel ok maybe slightly spongy ER than my own personal preference but to be fair that never actually became an issue in gameplay the deep atom buttons feel great very responsive and with a nice tactile feeling when pressed the start select and menu buttons are all recessed flat so you really can't accidentally hit them while playing and those twin analog pads work very very well too but we'll get to those in a moment sliding the device open automatically launches a custom exterior play menu system where you can select games you've got installed and also browse the android market for new games there are really three distinct breeds of gaming for the Xperia Play Android PlayStation and emulators first up let's look at the Android games and there are already more than 50 titles that have been specifically optimized for the Xperia Play and it's game controller now you may well ask why do I need an XP really for these games most work just fine on other Android devices using touchscreen controls and that's a fair question but it's a question only people who have yet to try and Xperia Play will ask because aside from the advantage of not having to actually cover up out of the screen you're trying to play with your own thumbs and touchscreen gaming being the absolute fastest way to cover your screen with layers of finger grease having real physical buttons that you can feel when you press them having controls that don't obscure the game you're trying to see and having controls that feel absolutely natural and instinctive to any gamer out there is a huge advantage and aside from all that the controls on the play are simply very very good game controls in their own right even compared to other proper controllers out there they're highly responsive accurate and feel precisely how they should feel it's clear that a metric crapload of care was given to the design of these controls and yes I know I'm sucking at this Bruce Lee game as I will also suck like the vacuum of space at all the games I'll show you but hey you try playing these games through a camera viewfinder with your arms wrapped awkwardly around a tripod smart ass it ain't easy so what of those analog pads well there's no moving parts here they're not sliding pads like the PSV or 3ds have they're a touch sensitive surface that's very slightly recessed they each have a very slight nub in the center and a ring around the circumference these give you little tactile clues as to your precise position on the pads and let you very easily and intuitively keep your thumbs where they should be unlike the on-screen attempts at analog controls you'll never accidentally drift off these and wonder why your guns are no longer gunning or while your race car has exploded sideways into a nearby apartment building I was initially suspicious about how well these touch pads would do at replicating twinning and log sticks but five minutes in a twin stick shooter like Age of Zombies really let you realize how natural these feel and how accurate and responsive they really are I litter rated my old high scores using the pads as opposed to what I did with on-screen controls some games of course will give you an option like asphalt six which you can play with the analog pad or the d-pad for this particular game my personal preference was for the V pad it just felt a bit more precise for my style of pretend driving in this game and again playing with the controller instead of the on-screen controls or steering by accelerometer by tilting the whole device felt like a whole new world all of a sudden I was smashing my old times and I didn't look like a complete xx pretending my phone was a steering wheel bonus the second breed of gaming on this flagship PlayStation Certified device is of course PlayStation games many of these are and will be ports of classic PlayStation 1 games which is a very very good thing because there are some gems to be mined from those pantries yes in this mixed metaphor mining is done in cupboards don't examine it but this also likely to be some original games and cherry-picked ports from the PSP as well one of my favorite games from the original PlayStation even comes pre-installed crash bandicoot widely regarded as one of the best 3d platformers of its generation ll even violently kicked the shins in of many platformers of more recent times I played Crash a lot back in the day so I know it quite well and I can tell you right now it plays perfectly on the Xperia Play it feels precisely as it should it looks exactly as it should it even autogas in an entirely accurate way in every way it is completely faithful experience to the original and it's still bloody brilliant to play ok that's all fine but what happens when you get a call Bowl playing or you want to check an email or hit the web browser to find a play guide to help you through a tricky part or whatever well I'm happy to report that as soon as a call comes in or you hit the HOME key the games will instantly pause and a treat like any other application on a multitasking Android device you can switch back and forth quickly and easily at any time without screwing up your gaming I even had crash sitting in the background while I was playing another Android game and you'd never have known the PlayStation games also support emulation of the PlayStation memory card so game saves work exact how they should as well you can of course fiddle with the control allowed you can even assign your controller to play one or player two if you need to you may have also noticed that crash was faithfully playing in its original four by three aspect ratio as all original PlayStation games were and that left black pillar box bars at the sides of the widescreen well if you don't like this for whatever reason you can switch out to either a cropped mode or simply stretch the image to fill the screen some games will look just fine stretched out the Sun will look a bit weird but if you choose to crop please keep in mind that this may also affect gameplay in some games because now you're effectively chopping off the top and bottom of the game screen and if there's information like scores power-ups maps or enemies that come from the top of the screen it will affect gameplay slightly but you've got all three choices available to you so you can do whatever you like best for whatever game you're playing at the time and the best bit is you can even make this switch at any time as often as you like whenever you like and then you don't even need to restart the game after making the change you'll drop to back into the game precisely where you left it now the third breed of gameplay for the Xperia Play is emulation of game machines past of course this whole thing of emulators and rums is that best legally muddy and at worst very very naughty but I'd be doing at a service and an incomplete job at reviewing this gaming device if I didn't look at its performance in this area because whether they like it or not there are many many people out there who are looking at this device for precisely this purpose so I loaded up a bunch of emulators for various classic gaming consoles right from the Android Marketplace and went to down of course step one after installing emulators will be to manually assign the controller configuration as no emulators I tried have at least so far being patched to automatically support the experior place controller but manual configuration is very easy only has to be done once for each emulator and only takes a moment the processing hardware in the play isn't the very fastest around in current generation Android handsets but it has more than enough grunt to push these emulators around and get a big fat helping of classic gaming goodness I didn't have opportunity to test this at the time of the review but I have seen video of a Nintendo 64 emulator acceptable on the play and every predecessor to the n64 that I'm elated worked beautifully absolutely smooth the video no audio glitching and the screen was terrific providing nice sharp images with no ghosting or other weirdness that you sometimes see from emulation in fact my experience with the emulators on this device very much mirrored the rest of the game experience with the Android and PlayStation titles native to it gaming felt entirely natural and fun the control pad performed absolutely perfectly no matter what machine I was emulating or what the game I was playing it felt great and played great the device itself just kind of disappeared I wasn't thinking about emulation glitches or what setting I needed to tweak to get it to run properly or how much on screen controls suck and get in the way nope the only thing that was happening was I was playing these classic games they felt right they looked right they started right and they played as I remember them playing and you get all this without having to hack the device and screw around with unofficial firmware from who knows where it just bloody works and it does so natively and flawlessly without compromising your security without compromising functionality and without compromising your ability to stay updated with the latest official firmware and patches I'd go as far to say that for the very very naughty people out there who enjoy emulating classic games wherever they are on their portable devices the experience is currently the very best option for a classic game emulation handheld it just made me smile a big wide smile of nostalgia and joy over how easy it was to obtain that nostalgia and joy so at the end of the day you really only want one question answered the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play as a gaming device hit or miss hit absolutely undeniably unarguably and anything is and no doubts I mean that the little pause I had when I was pretend you think that that was just for drama sake there was a pregnant pause just for the sake of a bit of trauma didn't need it already knew loved it as a game of Isis it is honestly terrific as a portable handheld gaming device but like I said at the beginning of this video that is only half the I am because for this device to work it has to work as a gaming device and an Android handset so in the next video we're going to take a look at what it's like to live with as a phone so until then thanks for watching I am large-animal catch you next time