Videogame face-off: DSi and 'Zelda' vs. PSP Go and 'LittleBigPlanet'

Want to give the gift of gaming on-the-go, so your loved ones can play at work, at school, on the bus, during childbirth — whenever? Face-Off has you covered. Today, Nintendo’s lastest goes head-to-head with Sony’s higher-end system. Check back each weekday through Dec. 24 for a new match-up.

In this corner… Nintendo DSi with The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (System: $169.99. Game: $34.99)
Earlier this year, Nintendo slimmed down its popular DS portable gaming system (grandchild of the Gameboy — remember those?), and embedded two cameras: one on the outside, for snapping pictures, and one on the inside, to be used for motion-capture games. The technology for the latter is still a work-in-progress, but there’s no denying this stylus-totin’ system is the sleekest it’s ever been. And its reputation for cartoonishly fun, unbearably addicting games continues with the recent release of The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. This sequel to 2007’s Phantom Hourglass once again has a hesitant Link stumble into an epic battle, this time taking on an evil chancellor who’s trying to unleash a demon onto the world. Of all the franchise’s 15 titles, this one embraces its silliness the most—Link gets around via an ancient train, is haunted by the shrill ghost of Princess Zelda, and finally rocks his woodland nymph-like persona by literally playing a pan flute. And given most of the game’s controls are done by slashing and swinging the stylus, it’s also as fervent a gaming experience as you can get on the small screen.

In the other corner… PSP Go with LittleBigPlanet (System: $249.99. Game: $39.99)
This new companion system for the longstanding PlayStation Portable does away with playing games on the pint-sized Universal Media Discs; instead, games are downloaded via Wi-Fi from the PlayStation Store directly onto the 16MB system. So there’s no need to carry around your game library, and the unit has a compact design where the screen slides up to reveal the controls. This is by far the most “portable” PlayStation Portable yet. That doesn’t mean it lacks the punch of its big-system counterparts. Take LittleBigPlanet, a popular 2008 PS3 title that was given its own title for the PSP last month. The game’s trippy, Tim Burton-like aesthetic and simple platformer gameplay survived the transition nearly flawlessly. The smaller game even includes a favorite feature from the PS3 version: the ability to build your own levels from scratch—hell, the creation mechanisms have even improved somewhat.

And the winner is…
Nintendo DSI with The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
. Given the PSP Go requires nearly a fresh start game-wise—it won’t play those UMD titles you inherited from your cousin—it’s awfully expensive; and at the moment, the game selection skews more towards hardcore players. The DSi is a lot more inviting, with titles like Scribblenauts that are a step forward in inventive, interactive gaming. And though Zelda titles are all structurally the same, each feels fresh with new enemies, new levels, and an arsenal of new gadgets. Truly, Link is the James Bond of the video game world.

Comments (9 total) Add your comment
  • paige

    wow- Way to compare Apples to Yogurt… seriously, these post of these game vs game y’all have been doing have been very dumb and shows that EW knows little to nothing about the video game industry. Seriously, you couldnt pick to completely different games to compare. I cant wait till you compare New Super Mario Bros Wii to Borderlands… seriously, if you need anybody to actually WRITE about video games on EW, I will send in my resume. Thanks

    • paige

      sorry, i meant to write two instead of to- in case the grammar police wanna beat me over the head with their wordsticks

      • eliott256

        *puts wordstick away*

      • Guilherme

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  • Nick T

    These systems are for two different kinds of people.

    • Kelly

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  • Confused

    I am totally confused!!! I have an older PSP and I put LittleBigPlanet on my Christmas list. Now, there is a PSP game sized package under the X-mas tree. Was littleBigPlanet also available in UMD?

  • L.L.

    My solution – have one of each. I have an original DS (the silver bulky one…it still works fine and I don’t like how the GBA cartridge sticks out in the DS Lite and I don’t like the fact that the Dsi got rid of the GBA slot entirely.) and a PSP (one of the ones with Vader on it). I’m not fond of the download only game format of the PSPgo. But to compare the two…it depends on what you want. There are great games for both. I want the new Zelda, but since I have Little Big Planet for the PS3 already, which I’m planning on trading back anyways, the comparison doesn’t really apply. I alternate between the two rather regularly, playing Scribblenauts on the DS and Crimson Gem Saga on the PSP.



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