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Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review

Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY

Posted: , posted by Daniel P.

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We already reviewed the gamepad, and found it styled in the best PlayStation traditions, only redesigned to fit the phone's form factor, but what’s there to do with it? For starters, there is the PlayStation Pocket app, which is dedicated to the sentimental gamers out there, to offer such PS one classics like… Crash Bandicoot. Yes, that’s the only classic title preloaded on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, but we are sure more are to follow, since we asked Sony itself. The company told us we will soon have also Syphon Filter, MediEvil, Rally Cross, Cool Boarders 2, WildArms, Destruction Derby and Jumping Flash in Android Market, before the PlayStation Suite initiative launches later this year.

The PlayStation Pocket app - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review

Besides, we made a test downloading a bunch of emulators from Android Market for the old consoles  like Nintendo, PSX, Capcom's titles, and so on. All worked as they would on any fast Android phone, but since we have a physical gamepad here, we mapped the keys to it, and switched off the virtual gamepad overlays, which gave us the whole 4” screen to play Cadillacs&Dinosaurs, or any other classic. Thus we didn't worry we'll break the touchscreen with the constant enraged tapping, or we'll have to wipe it with a cloth each time we finished gaming. However, knowing Sony, it might address this loophole, since one of the PS one emulators was just pulled from Android Market.

Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY emulator gaming:



The rest of the gaming action is happening within the confines of the Xperia Play app that fires up when you slide open the gamepad. It shows all the Xperia Play-friendly titles available, with a separate section for the ones you've already installed, and the ones that are still out there. The full list of titles is in the Get Games app, which lists such tailored Xperia Play games, regardless if the source is Android Market, or developers' own websites, like the Gameloft titles.

The Xperia Play app - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review
The Xperia Play app - Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY Review

There are up to seven preinstalled titles coming with the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play from the box, depending on the region, and we counted 30+ in the Get Games app list, so this brings us to about 40 titles we had at our disposal at launch. The prices hover around $4, and some of them are free.

Verizon's Xperia PLAY actually relies on the VCast store to supply you with those additional Xperia PLAY-optimized games. The good thing about it is that it uses carrier billing, so all purchases will go to your monthly bill, rather than your credit card.   

Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY preloaded games test:



We had Bruce Lee, Star Batallion, FIFA 10 (which will most likely be Madden NFL 2011 in the US), Sims 3, Crash Bandicoot and... Tetris. As you can see, nothing really exclusive, but we are willing to give some time for the game store to mature.

Furthermore, when the PlayStation Suite initiative hits later this year, we should bring much more titles to choose from. It will be a platform initiative for downloadable PlayStation content to devices that meet the forthcoming PlayStation Certified requirements, like Sony's new NGP console, and our here own Xperia Play phone. We are currently probing Sony for the exact PlayStation Certified requirements. Sony hasn't explicitly said no other manufacturer will be able to make PS Certified gear, but we won't be surprised if it says so.

It is also worth mentioning that the Havok game physics engine, which is behind titles like Fallout: New Vegas and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, will be available for developers on the Xperia Play:

“As part of Havok’s overall support for the Android™ platform, we are very pleased to partner with Sony Ericsson to put the full power of the Havok product line into the hands of Xperia™ PLAY developers. We were extremely impressed by the performance of the Xperia™ PLAY and the ease with which we were able to port and optimise our technology to the platform. This will enable developers to use Havok technology to create cinematic, rich 3-D immersive games for Android™ smartphones with Xperia™ PLAY in the forefront.”, said the managing director at Havok.

We tried to test the multiplayer capabilities of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, but, naturally, we couldn't find anyone to join our games yet. You can still use your Gameloft ID, though, to play Star Batallion and the like on the developer's network, if there is a host to join. The handset also asks you if you want to stage a deathmatch over Wi-Fi, or on the Internet, so you can have some local fun with friends too. The FIFA 10 edition in particular, Sony told us, is “world-first multiplayer version of FIFA 10 for mobile”, so there you have it. We wish we had one more review unit to kick off a fight in the office.

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PhoneArena rating:
8.5Excellent
Display4.0 inches, 480 x 854 pixels (245 ppi) TFT
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon S2, Single core, 1000 MHz, Scorpion processor
0.5 GB RAM
Size4.69 x 2.44 x 0.63 inches
(119 x 62 x 16 mm)
6.17 oz  (175 g)
Battery1500 mAh, 8.41 hours talk time

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