Sony’s PSP Library Deserves Better Treatment
Until this morning, I had totally forgotten about 2009’s Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny. It came back into my personal realm thanks to the magic of the PlayStation Plus Premium classics catalog, a haphazardly updated collection of older games that you can either access through a subscription or a direct purchase. The game was quietly uploaded to the service a few weeks ago, and it’s also available as a direct purchase for PS4 or PS5 owners.
Remember the PSP AKA the PlayStation Portable? It released at the height of Sony’s PS2 popularity in 2004/05 (depending on your territory), and it was a great little machine. It had a single analog nub alongside the classic PlayStation control layout, and its own tiny optical disc drive using the “UMD” format, which could hold either game data or a feature film. UMD was more or less tiny DVD shoved into an awkward cartridge, and although it’s a nightmare from a sustainability perspective due to all the extra plastic, it was a sound way to make optical discs portable while removing some of the durability drawbacks.
With a name like “PlayStation Portable,” Sony claimed that they’d offer full sized console experiences with the machine in spite of its low power hardware and limited battery life thanks to the spinning drive. Dozens of big franchises appeared on the PSP, sometimes even directly ported from their console versions on much stronger systems.
Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny contains a bunch of the content from Soulcalibur IV on the PS3 and Xbox 360, but with some work done to it to try and make it more friendly to short portable sessions…and simpler graphical models. It’s missing the classic fighting game arcade mode, and although it does have a story mode in it, the missions are pretty quick and simple compared to the sprawling efforts in other Soulcalibur games. Also, the story mode features a hilarious message at the front warning you that it’s non-canonical, as if anyone is truly worried about the lore of Soulcalibur that much.