Is Sony Ericsson Xperia Play the PlayStation phone we've been waiting for?
A few days have passed since we firstgot our hands on the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY, the firstPlayStation-certified phone, and nowit's time to draw some conclusions. Is the Xperia PLAY really worththe hefty price tag? Does it really boost gaming? Or is the gamepadjust a cheap trick? We took a dive in quite a few virtual worlds andhere's what we found:
First, webravely dissected all... six Xperia PLAY exclusive titlesonly to find what you might have already expected – the gamepadreally makes a huge difference here. While your selection of games isvery limited, the whole experience comes close to that on an originalPlayStation (save for the screen size) and is certainly worthadmiration. The unobstructed screen combined with the convenience ofhaving the time-proven PS controls might lead to a serious addiction.If more games come out, that is.
Angry Birds,Fruit Ninja and Doodle Jump, all of which rely on touchscreen actionsor the accelerometer. If this kind of gaming is all you really careabout, the gamepad would seem like hefty and unnecessary bulk addedto the phone as it's absolutely useless with those titles.
Somegraphically taxing phone titles like Asphalt6 (gaming demo here),though, make excellent use of the additional controls. You'll feel anoticeable improvement in your driving from the get-go, while the 4inches of screen estate seem all the more spacious when you have yourfingers out of the way. But motion sensing controls do pretty muchthe same job. It's titles like the Bruce Leefighting game orFifa 10 that trulyprove the use of gamepad controls – pumping out combos on with theinstant physical feedback giving you a precise idea of timing is justincomparable to anything else out there. The same goes for emulators– we gave Cadillacs andDinosaursa quick spin,which suddenly turned out in a full-fledged hourly gaming session.It's that addictive.
For the rest, we were left with mixedfeelings as the gamepad does make a difference for hardcoregaming, but if you only plan onspending a couple of minutes here and there to fill in the time withsome Angry Birds action, you'll find no good use for it.
Actually,it all comes down to the game genre – firstperson shooters, sports simulators and emulators aresome that fit well the idea of having the slide-out controller; othergenres, like racing games, are just as fun – if not more – withtheir motion-sensitive controls, while the rest of the classicalAndroid gaming roster is not even optimized for the gamepad. Finally,the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY might not bring breath-taking silicon,nor the long list of exclusive premium titles we all expected, butwhat it does is put the focus on cell phone gaming and that's whatreally intrigues us. It's all that PlayStation stalwarts ever wantedin a phone, but for everyone else, the Xperia PLAY is mostly apromise. A rosy one, but still a promise rather than a full-bakedplatform.