Is Emulation the Best Feature of the Nvidia Shield?

PlayStation Portable (PSP)


The PSP was a superb handheld games console, sure a lot of the limelight has been stolen by the immensely powerful Vita, but the PSP had many great games that are still worthy of your attention today. It is a hard console to emulate, and can require some fairly specific and technical tweaks to the emulation app settings to get certain games running, but the end results are certainly worth it.

Emulators used

  • PPSSPP

First up was Final Fantasy: Crysis Core, a stunning RPG continuation of the legendary Final Fantasy VII title from the PlayStation 1 era, long regarded as one of the most iconic games ever to grace our screens. Setting up the game was very easy and compatibility was near perfect. There were a couple of crackles and pops to the sound when things got busy, but certainly nothing to interfere with the game. The frame rate in the most frantic scenes was still steady at 30 and often reached a silky smooth 60fps, the Tegra 4 hardware was even running this scaled up 2x in terms of resolution and with extra filtering and anti-aliasing.

Gran Turismo was virtually unplayable with stock settings, I had to do a fair bit of research on forums to beat it into a playable state. The graphics looks great, but the frame rate was only 5fps. A few advanced and very specific tweaks to the emulator settings soon fixed things up and with a bit of frame skipping applied I was able to enjoy the game at a steady 32fps, even when there was a long draw distance and other vehicles on screen. The only issue I had was a glitch in the car engine noises, something I suspect can be fixed with more tweaking, but it’s all trial and error. The music worked great though, so just turn up the tunes, turn down the engine noise and enjoy a few laps of some of the most iconic tracks from the GT series.

The best example of PSP emulation I found was Little Big Planet, it ran straight away with zero issues, no graphical glitches, no sound glitches, in fact it looks and performs better on the Shield than it ever did on the PSP, running more like a native app than anything else.